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Mariinsky Theater


One of Russia’s oldest and largest musical theaters, which staged Russia’s first operas.  The company was formed in St. Petersburg in 1783 but did not assume its present name of Mariinsky until 1860. In 1935 it was renamed “Kirov Theater” after the head of the CPSU city committee in Leningrad. The pre-revolutionary name was restored in 1992.

The theater has played a major role in the development of Russian opera and ballet competing with Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater. It owes its reputation to many outstanding personalities including the conductor Eduard Napravnik, the ballet masters Marius Petipa and Michel Fokine, the singers Fyodor Shalyapin and Ivan Yershov, the dancers Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina and Vaslav Nijinsky, and the artist Alexander Benois, who created sets and costumes for the company. Currently (2008), the world-renowned conductor Valery Gergiyev acts as the theater’s art director. See also BALLET.




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