Russian entertainment depends upon the season. Winter time brings more indoor events, and it is a great opportunity for theatre-lovers to attend their favourite performances with the best St. Petersburg actors, singers and dancers. St. Petersburg White Nights open a row of festivals and outdoor events and activities. Any season of the year there is something for everyone:
Night boat and raised bridges tours
Rock & jazz clubs
Bars & nightclubs
In Soviet era, before perestroika the role of theatre in the cultural and spiritual life of the Russian people was enormous, and this is now returning.
While in order to appreciate Russian drama some knowledge of the language is necessary, ballet and opera are accessible to everyone, and a visit to the Mariinsky Ballet and Opera Theatre is almost a pilgrimage for music lovers.
Classical Russian Ballet Evening
Admired throughout the world, Russian ballet evening is definitely a highlight of any visit. Ballet is our country has always been treated as a matter of national pride and a priority art. Mariinsky, is, certainly, the cream of the cream. If during your visit there are no performances or tickets to the Mariinsky, then opt for Mikhailovsky ballet as the second-best troupe.
Most renowned works are Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.One of the highlights of the year is the Christmas performance of The Nutcracker.
In summer many troupes perform for tourists in various theatres. Such performances are of varied quality but still provide good entertainment.
St. Petersburg Opera
Although Mariinsky is better known abroad for its ballet company, it is also one of the country’s leading opera houses. Most of the great 19th century Russian operas were performed here, including Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov and Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades and Eugene Onegin. These remain stalwarts in the repertoire of Mariinsky, Mikhailovsky Opera and Ballet. Less common works including 18th century chamber operas are berformed on the stage of St. Petersburg Opera.
Operas are usually performed in the original language, with translation available.
Russian Entertainment and Classical Music
Classical music is very popular and local orchestras are much in demand worldwide. The Grand and Small Philharmonic Halls and St. Petersburg Capella are traditional venues for classical concerts. Quite often classical music concerts take place in historic palaces and mansions of St. Petersburg (e.g. Yussupov Palace or Sheremetev Palace – Museum of Music). Chamber music concerts are advertised specially.
Russian Folk Music & Dancing
Both St. Petersburg and Moscow offer a variety of Russian folk music and dancing performances, some of which are very good.
St. Petersburg most famous folkloric show is called Feel Yourself Russian and takes place nightly on the historic stage of Nicholaevsky Palace.
Second by the popularity, but no worse in quality is the Kossack Show performed at Smolninsky Concert Hall.
A number of restaurants like Podvorye and Katyusha have excellent small ensembles performing floor shows (check out the schedule). Some restaurants charge additional fees for the show.
St. Petersburg can be quite a difficult city to keep up with, as both official and unofficial events are organized at short notice. For instance, theatre playbills are not announced more than 2-3 months in advance, so it’s important to keep alert in order not to miss the fun.
Let us know what event you’d like to secure the tickets for and we’ll keep track and do it for you!