Hermitage Theater

Sights / Opera and ballet

As if the Hermitage’s breathtaking art displays aren’t enough, the Hermitage Theater has been hosting world-class productions of ballet and opera since 1787. It is one of the many buildings that comprise the Hermitage collection along the Neva River.

Commissioned by Catherine the Great in 1785, the Hermitage Theater was built and designed by the same architect who constructed Alexander Palace and the layout of Red Square. Its Neoclassical-Grecian inspirations are not to be missed, from its amphitheater layout to its statues of mythological gods and goddesses. Its exterior, a delicate ivory façade with twisting columns and golden accents, ties together the overall Greek feel of this theater among art.

The Hermitage Theater was not always a theater. After the Soviet rise it was converted into a lecture hall for the State Hermitage Museum. It was not until the 1980s that an effort was enacted to restore the theater to its glory under Catherine, and after much renovation modern theater equipment was installed. The Hermitage Theater is now a combination of the one-of-a-kind architecture of Catherine the Great’s era and the modern amenities of the world’s best theaters.

The productions that can be viewed at this theater remain a unique combination of lectures, conferences, and theatrical productions. The halls of the Hermitage Theater burst with musical productions of the State Hermitage’s own orchestra. Famous actors and actresses grace the stages in beautiful performances of Sleeping Beauty, the Nutcracker, and more. Every so often a throwback performance is staged that commemorates Catherine the Great’s love of comedic operas.

The word “Hermitage” brings to mind walls covered in art, the grandeur of palaces, and the ornate perfection of centuries of art. But within the array of buildings on the Palace Embankment stands a world of auditory as well as visual beauty. The Hermitage Theater is truly a world-class venue for productions of unspeakable awe!

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Tomas B.

12/11/2012 12:16

I have been there at rainy night (what else in November 8o) - but even at that condition it has been very beatifull experience. It is a "must see" experience when U R in the citiy. I had no chance to visit the museum, but I experienced the ballet performance in Hermitage theater (Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker) and it has been stunning!! I have not visited ballet for more than 25 years - but this one was beatifull, amazing - just go! The theater is a great experience - relatively small, beatifully decorated, stylish, historical - just beatifull. There was Shagals painting exposition in fore room - extra artistic experience itself!

Masha G.

11/13/2012 10:23

Hello! Hermitage Theater is one of the best ballet theaters in St. Petersburg (despite it’s not Mariinsky). They always use live music. In any way I’ve never heard about using recorded soundtracks in there.

Yes, it so called “free seating” in the theater and this tradition goes back to the time of Catherin the Great. Her favorites perfectly knew where they were supposed to sit without any numbered sitting. There are no separated areas and having a ticket you will be able to sit in any seat. By the way the theater was constructed in the way that all seats have very good view. If you buy tickets to this theater in St. Petersburg the cost will be around 3000 rubles.

Enjoy Russian ballet!