The modern-day Maly Drama Theatre owes its glory to Lev Dodin who began working here in 1974 and became the theatre’s permanent artistic director in 1983. Dodin’s famous “psychological theatre” with its skill of tearing the hearts of the actors and the audience and its view of theatre as a method of studying life and human nature quickly won many fans. Dodin has staged some legendary performances such as Fedor Abramov’s “Brothers and sisters” that has been in the repertoire for the last 30 years (1985 - 2015) - the performance is still staged but with different actors.

The absolute hit of the current season is Chekhov’s “Cherry Garden” with such stellar performances by well-known Russian actors that the audience does not move a muscle throughout the entire show and then spends months thinking things over.

The older residents of St. Petersburg remember the times when you had to spend a night at the doors in order to buy a ticket for this theatre. The company of Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theater included some of the best Soviet and Russian actors who dedicated dozens of years of their lives to its stage. Most of them are already dead, but some elders, such as Oleg Basilashvili and Alice Friendlich, still go on stage and are still one-of-a-kind.

The current artistic director Andrei Moguchy breathed new life into the theatre itself and into its company. He combines technical methods and the classical Russian drama school. The result is the outstanding benefit performance of Alice Friendlich titled “Alice” that centers on the adventures of Alice in Wonderland and some very personal memories of the actress herself. Moguchy has also staged a dispute performance “What is to be done?” based on Nikolai Chernyshevsky’s pamphlet and “The Drunks”, a play written by modern playwright Ivan Vyrypaev; both these performances are always a sell-out.

The theatre was built by Carlo Rossi and named in honour of Alexandra Fedorovna, the wife of Nicholas I. In the 20th century, it acquired the unofficial name of “directors’ Mecca” as many great stage directors, including Vsevolod Meyerhold, Sergei Radlov, Nikolai Akimov, Grigory Kozintsev, Georgy Tovstonogov and Igor Gorbachev, used to work with this stage. Today the theatre’s artistic director is Valery Fokin. The audience and critics respect his desire to add original interpretations of the classics to the theatre’s repertoire, and like the fact that he invites stage managers and theatre companies from abroad, as happened with the Comédie Française.

Ticket offices: 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., 3 p.m. - 8 p.m.

This is a unique theatre with just two performers, Maxim Isaev and Pavel Semchenko, who come up on stage and perform mind-blowing tricks that tell a certain story. Everything is hissing, splattering and exploding, liquids are pouring from one vessel to another, water turns to fire and fire turns to water, tons of handmade mechanisms and optical illusions are present — this isn’t an engineering theatre for nothing. Sometimes it’s difficult to follow the story behind all the tricks, but it is not even necessary: there is nothing set in stone and everyone is free to construct his or her own story. The only things that you need are a bit of imagination and the right mood.

Despite its twenty-five-year-old history AXE theatre still has no home stage; Isaev and Semchenko perform at other theatres or at such unusual places as the Peter and Paul Fortress, or Museum of Water.

The Mariinsky Theatre is about to leave its historical building and transition to the new stage, behind the Kryukov Canal at Mariinsky 2. The so-called “second stage” is equipped with the most advanced theatre machinery and has enough space for large rehearsal rooms, big warehouses for the stage sets, a large concert hall and several smaller concert chambers as well as a traditional theatre cafe.

As for the repertoire, the artistic director of Mariinsky Theatre Valery Gergiev recommends the opera trilogy Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner (performed in Russia only); Verdi’s La Traviata staged by the British director Claudia Solti; Levsha (Left-Handed), an opera based on a story by Nikolai Leskov and Musorgsky’s drama Khovanshchina.

The concert hall of Mariinsky Theatre has excellent acoustics, the work of the Japanese architect Yasuhisa Toyota, that have already received high marks both from the singers and the audience. Organ performances, operas, orchestra and solo performances by the Mariinsky musicians and visiting international stars can be enjoyed here and should not be missed.

Ivan Vasiliev from the Bolshoy Theatre is now dancing on the stage of the Small Opera Theatre, which also hosts numerous ballet festivals. The rehearsal halls still remember the stellar Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato who taught the local public to appreciate modern ballet. Tickets to some of the operas are sold out months in advance.

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