History of the Hermitage Theater

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The Hermitage Theater - one of the oldest in St. Petersburg and in Russia - was built by the architect Giacomo Quarenghi by order of Catherine II in 1783-1789. on the site of the former Winter Palace of Peter I. The theater's auditorium is designed like an ancient amphitheater. The walls and columns are decorated with colored artificial marble. In the niches there are sculptures of Apollo and nine muses, and above them there are bas-reliefs with portraits of famous musicians and poets.

The first season at the Hermitage Theater opened even before finishing work was completed, on November 16, 1785, with the performance of the opera “The Miller, the Sorcerer, the Deceiver and the Matchmaker” (music by M. M. Sokolovsky, libretto by A. Ablesimov).

On January 20, 1789, the premiere of the comic opera “Woe-Bogatyr Kosometovich” took place, the libretto for which was written by Empress Catherine II.

An interesting page in the life of the theater is connected with the end of the 19th - beginning of the 20th centuries. In 1894, restoration was carried out under the leadership of architect A.F. Kvasova. In 1902, architect L.N. Benois designed the theater foyer in the Rococo style. F.I. performed on the theater stage. Shalyapin, L.V. Sobinov, M.F. Kshesinskaya, A.P. Pavlova, A.Ya. Vaganova. In 1914, the play “King of the Jews” was staged. Its author, known under the pseudonym K.R., is Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich Romanov, poet, one of the most educated people of his time.

The dramatic events of 1917 could not but affect the life of the theater. The Workers' University named after A.V. Lunacharsky, in the 30s various concerts were held, ballet numbers and opera performances were staged. In 1935, the theater ceased its activities. For many years the premises were used as the Lecture Hall of the State Hermitage.

In the early 1980s. it was decided to carry out a complete overhaul and restoration of the theater building. During the reconstruction, the theater was equipped with modern equipment. In January 1991, the Hermitage Theater reopened its doors to the public. Today it is one of the most popular stage venues in St. Petersburg. The Hermitage Theater also hosts scientific conferences, seminars, and symposiums.