The Mikhailovsky Theater
The Mikhailovsky theater is the third Imperial stage in St.Petersburg. It was opened in 1833 by decree of Emperor Nicholas I in Mikhailovsky Square (now called Arts Square). The theater owed its name to the Mikhailovsky Palace situated in the same square. The Mikhailovsky palace was built by the famous architect Carlo Rossi, who designed facades of other buildings in the square. The theater was built by architect Alexander Bryullov following Rossi’s master plan.
The internal design was made in line with mid-19th century attitudes. Everything possible was done to prevent audiences seated in different levels meet on the stairs.
The theater didn’t have its own resident company till 1931. Performances were given by Mariinsky Theater and Alexandrinsky Theater companies, and after 1859 by French and German troupes. Johann Strauss conducted the orchestra more than once. Famous actors, singers and dancers performed on the stage. Among them Konstantin Stanislavsky, Fyodor Shalyapin, Matilda Kshesinskaya, and Vera Komissarzhevskaya.
After the Revolution, the theater had its own orchestra and choir, and soloists were invited from the Mariinsky theater. In 1933, the theater finally got a ballet company of its own directed by Fyodor Lopukhov. The opera company was established in 1931.
Russian operas and ballets by Sergei Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, Modest Mussorgsky, Andrei Shostakovich, and of course, Pyotr Tchaikovsky were staged at the Mikhailovsky theater with great success. Classical ballets and operas were also very popular.
Now, after a recent restoration of the theater’s interiors, it welcomes visitors from different countries. The ballet company is directed by Nacho Duato, who staged some of his own ballets on the Mikhailovsky stage.