Jack Diamond Architects winning design
In 1860 the renowned Mariinsky Theatre was opened in St Petersburg, named after wife of Tsar Liberator, Alexander II and then renamed after one of the soviet leaders into Kirov Ballet and Opera Theatre.
Its’ historical building must retain its beauty for another 100 years to come but it won’t be an exaggeration to say, that the historical building has long exceeded its capabilities and has reached its’ limits: they perform 760 times a year while most of the world famous theatres do it only 200-250 times a year. So it was decided to start creating a new building of the Mariinsky theatre nearby which became the source of great disappointment for the St Petersburg residents who grew up in the city of classical beauty: it is enough to say that honorable president of the St Petersburg Union of Architects, Vladimir Popov called its’ style “ the most primitive one which has nothing in common with any architectural style”. However, the art director of the Mariinsky Theatre, world famous conductor Valery Gergiev, has different opinion.
The site of new building occupies 7,914 square meters and will have 7 floors above the ground level as well as 3 underground levels; the audience capacity will be 2,000 while the old Mariinsky Theatre building is able to accommodate only 1,616 spectators and not every seat allows the audience to see the entire stage (in the new building it’s not the case).
The stage area will cover 1,000 square meters, having 4 elevating platforms with all the latest international innovations including stage machinery. The stage itself is of standard size 16×16 meters, but they have a backstage, a rehearsal room, and two side pockets so the actual size is near the size of a football field. The orchestra pit will have several levels as well.
The exterior appearance will also be greatly influenced by the interior of the building when it is covered with onyx. As Gergiev states, “… you do not yet know what the precious onyx will look like when it is completed and lit from behind”…
The opening of the theatres new building will take place on the 2nd of May 2013.
When it is happens the Mariinsky will become one of the largest (and by this reason , we do hope, the tickets will be cheaper) and best equipped theatre complexes in the world, comprising the historical building of the Mariinsky, the new building which is under construction, and The Mariinsky’s Concert Hall (opened 2007).