The famous Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg is celebrating its 160th birthday. How can that be when the company is in its 238th season?
The thing is, the theatre was established by Empress Catherine the Great in 1783, but got a building of its own and the name of Mariinsky after Empress Maria, the spouse of Emperor Alexander the Second, in 1860.
The theatre has a large programme in store for its audience for its anniversary, with not only premieres and well-known performances, but video lectures about its history.
This week, the audience were happy to see Swan Lake, the signature ballet of Mariinsky, with Victoria Teryoshkina and Kimin Kim starring.
Victoria Teryoshkina, prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theatre, recalls: ‘I was dreaming about the Mariinsky Theatre, I would come to performances and admire ballerinas sitting in the third circle, but I could never imagine I would be on stage like them.’
Kimin Kim, principal dancer of the Mariinsky Theatre, tells: ‘I was set to dance in the Mariinsky Theatre ever since I went into ballet, and now I am happy to be working here.’
The historical scene of the Mariinsky theatre was built in a very short period of just 15 months. The first performance shown in the new building 160 years ago was the opera A Life for the Tzar by Glinka.
Photo and video: St. Petersburg TV channel