The New Mariinsky Theatre (Mariinsky II)

The Mariinsky II will open in May 2013 with three days of festivities to commemorate the event.

Joining the historic Mariinsky Theatre, which dates from 1860, and the Mariinsky Concert Hall, which was inaugurated in 2006, the Mariinsky II will expand the Mariinsky’s cultural complex on legendary Theatre Square and enable the institution to offer the public a greatly increased schedule of presentations. Mariinsky II, funded by the Russian Government, is designed by the Toronto-based firm of Diamond Schmitt Architects in conjunction with the Russian firm KB ViPS. The 851,580-square-foot Mariinsky II will be one of the largest lyric arts facilities in the world.

Jack Diamond, Principal Architect of Diamond Schmitt Architects, stated, “When I was approached by Valery Gergiev to enter the international competition to design the new Mariinsky Theatre, he presented the opportunity to work in one of the world’s most magical architectural settings, not to mention with a Maestro who is justifiably renowned as one the world’s most respected leaders in the performing arts. I am very proud of Mariinsky II and trust it will achieve our design intent, which is to channel the immense creative spirit that is at the heart of the Mariinsky Theatre and its Maestro.”

Mariinsky II is designed to complement St. Petersburg’s beloved 19th century architecture while adding a distinctive new element to the landscape of Theatre Square. Dramatically large glass facades and bay windows set in the masonry exterior will provide panoramic views of the city and the adjacent historic Mariinsky Theatre, while fulfilling the traditional role of colonnaded porticos. A gently curved metal roof will be enlivened by a glass canopy, giving the building a contemporary identity that is nevertheless rooted in St. Petersburg’s architectural heritage.

The auditorium, designed in the tradition of 18th and 19th century opera houses, features a horseshoe configuration with three balconies, offering optimum acoustics and sightlines for approximately 2,000 opera goers. Capacious backstage facilities and advanced technological capabilities, and acoustical design by Müller-BBM, will allow for the production of the most elaborate and demanding works. An additional orchestra shell on stage and an orchestra pit with platforms that can be raised and lowered will enable Mariinsky II to function as an ideal hall for symphonic concerts as well as opera productions. Other facilities of Mariinsky II include a rooftop amphitheatre (soon to be a principal space of the ‘Stars of the White Nights’ Festival), a lobby amphitheatre, multiple rehearsal rooms and backstage space that allows multiple productions to be performed in repertoire.