Mariinsky Theater New Stage, St. Petersburg

The Plenary Session on the 15th of May was held on the new stage of the Mariinsky theatre which had just opened in the beginning of May, 2013.

The Forum’s guests were among the firsts to appreciate the result of a long-term cooperation of Russian and foreign architects, “one of the most perfect theatre complexes of the world”, according to Valery Gergiev, the theatre’s director and the world famous conductor.

The project of the new building elaborated by the French architect Dominique Perrault, was confirmed in 2002. The fronts, roofing and interiors were designed by the Canadian Toronto-based architecture firm Diamond & Schmitt Architects.

General Staff Building, St. Petersburg

The main foyer, with its two levels, features rear-lit onyx stone walls that surround the auditorium and marble floors.

As Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of the Hermitage, noticed, the new theatre had incomparable acoustics which the Forum’s delegates admired during the ballet opening night on the New Stage.

The discussion sessions were held in the Eastern Wing of the General Staff Building which currently belongs to the State Hermitage. The General Staff Building was architected by Carlo Rossi in 1820-1830to accomplish the Palace Square ensemble. The famous arch with an allegorical sculpture of the Russian triumph in the Patriotic War 1812 became the center of the composition forming a symmetrical axis with the central part of the Winter Palace. In XIX-XXcenturies different state ministries were located in the Eastern Wing.

Mariinsky Theater, St. Petersburg

In 2008 large-scale reconstruction of the Eastern Wing started by one of the leading Russian architects, Nikita Yaveyn. Long empty courtyards are now covered with a transparent dome and connected in single enfilade. By the end of the reconstruction, exhibition halls, Faberge museum, lecture halls, cafes and museum shops will appear in the Eastern Wing. Moreover, the historical interiors of several rooms will be restored, for example the offices of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. The full completion is expected by the 250th anniversary of the State Hermitage in 2014.

The social programme included a performance in the Mariinsky Theatre, one of the most famous opera and ballet theatres in the world. The history of this theatre dates back to 1783, when a theater committee “for performances and music” was established by the decree of Catherine the Great and the Bolshoi Stone Theatre was opened. The modern building of the theater was constructed upon the project of Alberto Cavos. It was named the Mariinsky in honor of ruling Empress Maria Alexandrovna, wife of Alexander II.

Mikhailovsky Manege, St. Petersburg

For more than two centuries the world famous artists performed on the stage of the theater. Among them outstanding opera singers Osip Petrov, Feodor Chaliapin, Ivan Yershov, Medea and Nikolai Figner, Sophia Preobrazhenskaya and ballet dancers Matilda Kshessinsky, Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinsky, Galina Ulanova, Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Today the theater’s repertoire covers all masterpieces of world opera and ballet.

The gala dinner, putting the finishing touch to the Forum 2013, took place in the Mikhailovsky Manege on the Manezhnaya Square of St. Petersburg on May 17. The Mikhailovsky Manege is the oldest exhibition center in St. Petersburg that held world-famous Russian exhibitions and fairs since the 19th century. Currently the Mikhailovsky Manege also includes Winter Stadium and the Track and Field Academy, a sports school for over 800 children and teenagers trained by Russia’s honoured coaches.