There’s been a lot of Russian connections this summer. Some fun – football, playing some Rachmaninoff at my latest concert. Some not so fun – basically everything else. With everyone jetting off on holiday and the news looking particularly scary, I’ve been trying to remember some of the cultural and musical moments from my trip to Russia last year. During our stay in St Petersburg I, of course, wanted to visit as many musical spots as possible, and luckily a whole bunch of them are collected together in one handy place!
Welcome to Glinka street! Here you’ll find two of the most famous historical music spots in the city – the Mariinsky Theatre, and the Rimsky-Korsakov St Petersburg Conservatory – sitting across the road from each other.
I’ll start with the Mariinsky theatre because, with it’s beautiful green exterior, it’s the first thing you see on the street. The evening we walked by, there was a performance taking place as part of the White Nights Festival – it was May, and daylight lasts til around 11pm. So, we couldn’t go inside but we could admire the exterior.
As you can imagine, for one of the most famous theatres in one of the most musical cities, a lot of my favourite musical footsteps have echoed around the building. Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov was premiered here, as was Tchaikovksy’s The Queen of Spades. And a different kind of footstep – many of Marius Petipa’s ballets were premiered here, including 2 classics with music by Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, and both Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky danced here.
Across on the other side of Glinka Street sits the Conservatory. Alumni includes composers Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, soprano Anna Netrebko, conductor Mariss Jansons and violinist Jascha Heifetz. Rimsky-Korsakov, Anton Rubinstein and Shostakovich were all teachers there. Unluckily, the whole building was covered in scaffolding when we were there, but we did get to have a look at the two monuments on either side, one for Rimsky-Korsakov (who taught there for nearly 40 years) and one for Glinka (not associated with the Conservatory, but considered the forefather of Russian classical music. His opera Russlan and Ludmilla was premiered in the theatre that had stood on the spot before the Mariinsky).
Down at the bottom of Glinka Street is Rimsky-Korsakov Prospekt, taking you back in to the centre of the city (Glinka Street is towards the South West). St Petersburg isn’t an enormous city but the pavements are solid and we did have achey feet after all the walking around. The subway is pretty great though so you could always save your feet and hop on the train. Save those footsteps for more musical spots!
Pins on this post
- Mariinsky Theatre
- St Petersburg Conservatory