One of the highlights of my visit to St. Petersburg was to be able to attend the ballet at the famed Mariinsky Theatre. Built in 1860 by Albert Kavos, the architect who designed the Bolshoi.
So along with fellow travellers, Mary and Sue May, we started out the evening with a wonderful dinner at the nearby Répa Restaurant. Our meal was imaginative, beautifully presented and delicious as was the decor. If they don’t have a Michelin star, they should have. Located almost next door to the theatre, they also make sure you are out in time for the show.
Les Ballet Russe is said to be the most influential ballet company of the 20th century. It promoted ground-breaking artistic collaborations between choreographers, composers, designers, and dancers. Tfhe company was based in Paris and performed between 1909 & 1929 throughout Europe. After the first season, they never performed in Russia because of the Revolution.
As we walked the few steps to the theatre I was struck by the beauty of the pale green and white building, looking like a palace itself. But I wasn’t prepared for a wonderful evening of beautiful music and dance. And costumes. We were in the old original theatre and saw three short ballets. Chopiniana. Schéhérazade. and Firebird. Each different and each beautifully performed.
On the way back to our hotel, our driver drove us past the Russian (Vaganova) Ballet Academy where dancers like Baryshnikov lived and train. I heard an intersting story about Nureyev here. He was born on a Trans-Siberian train near Irkutsk Siberia (one of the stops on our Trans Siberian train trip) to a Tatar Muslim family. He began his early career with the Mariinsky ballet. It was a fabulous evening.