- Title: RUSSIA: New Mariinsky Theatre opens in St. Petersburg
- Date: 3rd May 2013
- Summary: ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA (MAY 1, 2013) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF OLD MARIINSKY THEATRE NEW MARIINSKY THEATRE TOP OF THEATRE PEOPLE ON BRIDGE FRONT OF NEW THEATRE REFLECTION OF OLD THEATRE IN GLASS OF NEW MARIINSKY THEATRE VARIOUS OF SIGN ON BRIDGE READING IN RUSSIAN AND ENGLISH 'OPENING OF THE NEW STAGE (MARIINSKY II) INTERIOR OF THEATRE BUILDING CRYSTALS FROM CHANDELIER PAN OF THEATRE HALL INTERIOR
- Embargoed: 18th May 2013 13:00
- Location: Russian Federation
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Entertainment,General
- Reuters ID: LVAENCAJB8NVI3645ARQ7M48GO9J
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: It has been variously described as a sleek piece of modernism or an ugly shopping centre, but whatever Russians think of the exterior of St. Petersburg's new Mariinsky Theatre, they finally got to see inside the much-debated building at its grand opening on Thursday (May 2).
President Vladimir Putin led a select crowd of guests to the first performance at Mariinsky II, a 2,000-seat theatre, which, at a cost of $700 million, ranks among the most expensive cultural projects ever built.
The new building stands near the 19th century Mariinsky Theatre, one of the great showcases of Russian culture and which became home to the opera and ballet companies renowned around the world under their Soviet-era name of Kirov.
But the new theatre has divided opinion in Putin's home town, where critics have dubbed the glass-and-limestone building the "Mariinsky mall", incongruous among the other elegant 19th-century buildings in the Imperial capital and the ugly sister of its ornately gilded predecessor.
Valery Gergiev, head of the project and regarded by many as the greatest living orchestral conductor, has promoted the plan to build a new Mariinsky for 10 years, capitalizing on Putin's desire to show that Russia no longer lags behind the West.
He has promised that doubters will eat their words when they see the interior of the 80,000-square-feet (7,400-square-meter) structure.
Gergiev conducted at the opening, which included prominent artists singing Bach and Tchaikovsky and ballerinas performing scenes from "La Bayadere".
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