The Mariinsky Theatre officially opened the doors to Mariinsky II, its new state-of-the-art opera house in St Petersburg on May 2. The company, led by artistic and general director Valery Gergiev, celebrated the opening with three days of special performances, showcasing the Mariinsky’s Opera, Ballet, Orchestra, Chorus and Youth Ensembles.
The Opening Night Gala concert, conducted by Gergiev, featured vocalists and instrumentalists, including Yuri Bashmet, Plácido Domingo, Leonidas Kavakos, Denis Matsuev, Anna Netrebko and René Pape, as well as Mariinsky ballet dancers.
Complementing the city’s 19th-century architecture, the new opera house will connect to the historic stage of the Mariinsky Theatre, which opened in 1860, by a planned pedestrian bridge. It joins the Concert Hall, inaugurated in 2006, and the Artistic Production Complex of the State Academic Mariinsky Theatre, established in 1874. Mariinsky II features seven stories and three underground levels, including a main auditorium, a 200-seat rooftop amphitheatre, a third-floor lobby amphitheatre, multiple rehearsal rooms, and production facilities for 2,500 staff.
‘These performances are designed as showcases for the extraordinary range of our companies and our expanded Centre,’ said Gergiev, who celebrates his 25th anniversary with the company this autumn. ‘The opening of Mariinsky II invites us to reaffirm the long and great heritage of this institution but also gives us the opportunity to celebrate our future, in which we will be able to create new works and innovative productions as never before. Above all, this building will be beloved as a great home for education, where every schoolchild and university student in St. Petersburg will engage with opera, orchestral music, and ballet.’
For full details of the Mariinsky’s celebratory performance visit mariinsky.us.
Read Geoffrey Norris's feature on the Mariinsky II's opening night in the August issue of Gramophone, out on July 22.