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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 09 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Jennifer Eremeeva

No visit to Russia’s cultural capital is complete without a performance of classical ballet or opera.

The Mariinsky Theatre (known as the Kirov Theatre in the Soviet era) is the city’s premier opera and ballet theater, and it was here that Tchaikovsky’s famous ballets, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake were first performed. The stage of the Mariinsky was home to Fyodor Chaliapin, Anna Pavlova, Anna Netrebko, Rudolf Nureyev, and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Visiting one of St. Petersburg’s theaters is an elegant experience, so dress up for an unforgettable evening.

Price from: £40
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: 2+ hours

Getting there & doing it

If theatre-going is high on your list of reasons for visiting St. Petersburg, research the theatre’s schedule on its website ahead of time. Advance planning will ensure you get a seat in the Mariinsky’s often-overbooked performances.

Tour operators and hotel and credit card concierges can be helpful in securing tickets for popular performances. Beware of the legion of illegal ticket scalpers throughout the city.

When to do it

Consult the Mariinsky Theatre’s website for performance schedule and off-season dates. Note that the theatre is usually black on Mondays.

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

St Petersburg

Northwestern Region, Russia

Shining domed towers of orthodox cathedral

On the shores of the Baltic, Russia’s dazzling cultural capital is a treasure trove of art, music, literature, and history.