Russia Ukraine Travel
Russia Ukraine Travel


arrow Flights & Airports
arrow Train Travel
arrow Trans Siberian
arrow Travel by Bus
arrow Ferry Transport
arrow River Cruises
arrow Organized Tours
arrow Hotels & Lodging
arrow Russia
arrow Ukraine
arrow Belarus
arrow Moldova
arrow Kazakhstan
arrow Latvia
arrow Russia
arrow Ukraine
arrow Belarus
arrow Moldova
arrow Kazakhstan
arrow Latvia
arrow Sport & Recreation
arrow Performing Arts
arrow Traditional Dance
arrow Folk Songs
arrow Music & Lyrics
arrow Online Radio
arrow Nightlife
arrow Historical Sites
arrow Architecture
arrow Sochi 2014 
arrow Famous Russians
arrow Russian Fine Arts
arrow Folk Art, Handicraft
arrow Holidays, Festivals
arrow Traditional Dress
arrow Russian Food
arrow Russian Gifts


































HOME: Russian / Ukrainian Culture: Russian Performing Arts

Performing Arts in Russia, Ukraine


Performing arts in Russia have earned an esteemed reputation around the world. From Russia's renowned classical music composers, ballet dancers and opera singers, to Russian and Soviet playwrights, directors and actors, many Russian and Ukrainian names are synonymous with excellence in music and theatre. To give visitors an introduction to Russian performing arts, we've outlined a brief history of each art form, noted some of the most recognized names in music, dance and drama, and listed the must attend theatre and concert hall venues.  

The Nutcracker performed at Mariinsky (Kirov) Theatre, St. Petersburg




Classical Music


Classical music in Russia can be broken down into several different periods of the Classical, Romantic, and Soviet eras. Throughout each period, Russian and Soviet conservatories have produced numerous celebrated composers, as well as a wealth of renowned musicians and conductors.

Some of Russia's most recognized musicians include pianists Vladimir Horowitz, Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels, violinists David Oistrakh and Gidon Kremer, as well as one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century, Mstislav Rostropovich.


Western music tradition was originally introduced to Russia by Czar Peter the Great in the early 18th century as part of his reforms to modernize Russian society. During the reign of subsequent Russian rulers, the imperial court invited many prominent Italian musicians who brought with them Classical traditions of opera, chamber music and symphony. While this foreign influence helped inspire Russia's early Classical musicians, Russian composers were also sent abroad to refine their skills. A few of the early Russian / Ukrainian composers of the Classical period include the likes of Maksim Berezovsky, Dmitri Bortniansky, and Artem Vedel.


It didn't take long until a number of Russia's Classical composers started to...   Continue reading about Russian Classical Music





Russian Opera


The origin of Russian opera can be traced back to 1731 when Frederick Augustus I (King of Poland and Elector of Saxony) lent his Italian opera troupe to Empress Anna for the celebration of her coronation in Moscow. Giovanni Alberto Ristori presented this first opera, Calandro, with the assistance of his father Tommaso Ristori, 13 actors and nine singers. Making an obvious impression, the Empress invited another Italian opera troupe, led by composer Francesco Araja, four years later.


Francesco Araja went on to spend a total of 25 years in Russia and wrote at least 14 operas for the Russian Imperial Court. A few notable operas of the Italian composer include Bellerofonte (1750) - the first opera to include a Russian participant (singer Mark Poltoratski), and Tsefal i Prokris (1755) - the first opera written in Russian language.


Another foreigner to have a longstanding influence in Russian opera was composer Hermann Raupach. The German composer spent 18 years in Russia serving as a court composer and eventually, as an instructor at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St Petersburg. Raupach wrote the second opera in Russian language, Alceste (1758).



18th Century Russian Composers of Opera

As the 18th century progressed early Russian composers, trained at home and abroad, started to appear. A few of the 18th century Russian...   Continue reading about Russian Opera Theatre





Russian Ballet


Russian Ballet, like other western art forms, had its origins under the reign of Peter the Great in the early 18th century. As part of his reforms to modernize Russian society, the Czar and his successors invited French and Italian teachers of the arts. One of the first ballet teachers, Jean Baptiste Lande, brought his students who performed for the court of Russian Empress Anna Ivanovna. So impressed was she by the spectacle, that the Empress decided to start a ballet school in Russia in 1738. Initially called the Imperial Ballet School, it is now known as the world famous Vaganova Academy.

Named in honor of legendary Agrippina Vaganova, a Russian ballet teacher who perfected the teaching of Classical ballet into a workable syllabus, Fundamentals of the Classical Dance (1934), the Vaganova Academy has trained world renowned dancers such as Anna Pavlova, George Balanchine, and Vaslav Nijinsky.


Another famous ballet school, the Moscow Choreography College (commonly known as the Bolshoi Ballet Academy), had its origins later in the 18th century when Catherine the Great saw to the opening of the school at a Moscow orphanage in 1773. It was at this same time that private ballet theatres were also starting to appear and thrive amongst the courts of Russian aristocratic families.


By the 19th century ballet became a favorite art form within Russia. Special privileges were given to ballet amongst other art forms, privileges that included government grants, new theatre development, and the appointment of French ballet master Marius Petipa as chief choreographer for the Imperial Ballet School in 1871. Pepita's appointment...   Continue reading about Russian Ballet





Drama Theatre


Russian drama theatre has its roots in traveling performers - actors, singers, musicians, dancers and animal trainers - known as skomorokhi (скоморохи). Emerging from the peasantry and restricting their activities largely to that class, skomorokhi became an integral part of the cultural life in Kievan Rus' by the 11th century.


Often incorporating elements of social satire and protest against the church and ruling classes, skomorokhi soon found themselves at odds with ecclesiastical authorities. Demonized by the Orthodox Church as a symbol of paganism, persecution of these wandering actors and performers was common by the 17th century.


At the same time that skomorokhi were being persecuted, the Orthodox Church began to stage its own performances. By the 17th century several private theatres were in existence. A few of these included the Greco-Latin Theological Academy in Kiev, Novgorod Seminary and the Bishop's house in Rostov.


Early Russian playwrights included the likes of Saint Dimitry of Rostov, and a high...   Continue reading about Russian Drama Theatre






English Polski
Deutsch 中文
Español 日本語
Français 한국어
Italiano Türkçe
Português عربي
arrow CIS Currencies
arrow Work in Russia
arrow Business Basics
arrow Investing in Russia
arrow Real Estate
arrow CIS Dialing Codes
arrow Time Zones
arrow Russia SIM Cards
arrow Ukraine SIM Cards
arrow Roaming SIM Card
arrow Travel Guides
arrow Language Aids
arrow Russian Literature
arrow Russian History
arrow Country Maps
arrow City Maps
arrow Metro Maps
arrow Russian Alphabet
arrow Russian Vocabulary
arrow Russian Grammar
arrow Study in Russia
arrow Marriage Agencies
arrow Free Dating Sites
arrow Romance Tours
arrow Gay & Lesbian



Russian Opera visits Paris







Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova


Nijinskys Costume in Ballet - Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov





Russian theatre

Must Attend Theatre and Concert Halls



Classical Music Concert Halls

Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Moscow

Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Moscow

The main stage for the Moscow Philharmonic Society, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall is one of the centers of musical and cultural life in Moscow. Officially opened in 1940 (to celebrate the one hundred year anniversary of Peter Tchaikovsky's birth), the recently renovated, state-of-the-art concert hall can seat 1505 spectators and hosts roughly 300 performances per year.  Apart from concerts staged by the Moscow Philharmony and local artists, the concert hall also hosts different international music festivals and invites some of the most famous troupes and orchestras from around the world as well.

address: 4/31, Triumphalnaya Ploshchad, Moscow

metro: Mayakovskaya

box office: daily 11:30am - 7:30pm (3pm - 4pm break)


see complete list of Moscow Concert Halls

Shostakovich Philharmonic Hall, St. Petersburg

Shostakovich Philharmonic Hall, St. Petersburg

One of the most well-known concert halls in Russia and all of Europe, the Shostakovich Philharmonic Hall is bursting with history and prestige. It is home to the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Society (Europe's oldest, established in 1802) and plays host to two world renowned symphony orchestras - the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (Russia's oldest, formed in 1882) and the Saint Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra (founded in 1931). Built in 1839, the hall itself has been the center of Russia's musical life since the 1840s. With seating capacity for more than 1500 people, and an exquisite interior, its a treat to take in a concert and experience a part of Russia's cultural heritage.

address: 2, ulitsa Mikhailovskaya, St Petersburg

metro: Nevsky Prospekt, Gostiny Dvor

box office: daily 11am - 7:30pm (3pm - 4pm break)


see complete list of St. Petersburg Concert Halls

National Philharmonic in Kiev, Ukraine

National Philharmonic, Kiev

Presently called the National Philharmonic, and/or the Kiev Philharmonic, the building (built in 1882) originally went by the name Merchants' House. Used by the Merchants' Assembly for all sorts of cultural gatherings, it was particularly recognized for musical performances due to its amazing acoustics. The State Philharmonic Society was bequeathed the damaged, but still standing concert hall after the Germans' retreat in 1944. Since that time the National Philharmonic Society of Ukraine (as its officially called) has used the facility to stage a wide range of programs. In the main concert hall, known as the Lysenko Hall of Columns, visitors can enjoy a full season of concerts by Symphony and Chamber Philharmonic Orchestras, folk ensembles, plus various music festivals and competitions with distinguished national and international participants.

address: 2, Vladimirsky Spusk street, Kiev

metro: Maidan Nezalezhnosti


see complete list of Kiev Concert Halls




Opera Theatre

Moscow Chamber Musical Theatre

Moscow Chamber Musical Theatre, Moscow

Also known as the Moscow State Academic Chamber Musical Theatre, the popular Moscow opera theatre is home to a company known as the Pokrovsky Opera. Founded in 1971, the theatre bears the name of founder Boris Pokrovsky, a former operatic stage director of the Bolshoi Theatre (from 1943 to 1982). Over the decades the exacting and uncompromising director has helped develop a diverse and innovative repertoire of both classical and contemporary works. Combine this with a state-of-the-art theatre that seats up to 240 people and you get an intriguing, very entertaining night at the opera.

address: 17, ulitsa Nikolskaya, Moscow

metro: Okhotny Ryad, Teatralnaya, Ploshad Revolutsii

box office: daily 11am - 7pm (3pm - 4pm break)


see complete list of Moscow Opera Theatre

Mikhailovsky Theatre, St. Petersburg

Mikhailovsky Theatre, Saint Petersburg

One of the oldest opera and ballet theatres in Russia, the Mikhailovsky Theatre was founded in 1833 at its historical location on Arts Square (Iskusstv Ploschad). While it currently goes by its original name, you may also notice locals using its other name (used from 1989 to 2007) - Mussorgsky Opera and Ballet Theatre. Regardless what you want to call it, visitors have the opportunity to view major opera and ballet works of the 19th and 20th centuries, performed and directed by some of the most talented and respected artists from Russia and abroad. 

address: 1, Ploschad Iskusstv, St Petersburg

metro: Nevsky Prospekt, Gostiny Dvor

box office: daily 11am - 7pm (3pm - 4pm break)


see complete list of St. Petersburg Opera Theatre

National Opera House of Ukraine, Kiev

National Opera House of Ukraine, Kiev

Officially named the National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet named after T.G. Shevchenko, Kiev's oldest musical theatre dates back to 1867. Following a 1896 fire that destroyed the original building, the theatre moved into its current, neo-Renaissance style facility, in 1901. Throughout the turbulent 20th century the opera house adopted various names and followed different ideological directions (from classical Russian and European performances, to a period of Ukrainization and liberalization, to Socialist Classicism in which more contemporary works were largely condemned). Despite the change, the one thing that remained constant was the high artistic level of the troupe. Today the theatre stages a wide range of opera and ballet performances, both classical and contemporary, and has earned awards and recognition both at home and around the world.  

address: 50, Vladimirskaya street, Kiev

metro: Zoloti Vorota


see complete list of Kiev Opera Theatre




Ballet Theatre

Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow

Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow

One of the oldest and most famous theatres in the world, the Bolshoi theatre company dates back to 1776, while the building itself dates back to its 1825 Grand opening which staged Fernando Sor's ballet Cendrillion. Since then the Bolshoi theatre has hosted many historical opera and ballet premiers and gone through many restorations. The most recent (and ongoing) restoration is expected to be complete for the 2011-2012 theatre season. In the meantime audiences can enjoy classical productions and modern opera and ballet performances on the new stage directly behind the historical building.

address: 1, Teatralnaya Ploshad, Moscow

metro: Teatralnaya, Okhotny Ryad, Ploshad Revolutsii

box office: daily 12 noon - 7pm (3pm - 4pm break)


see complete list of Moscow Ballet Theatre

Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg

Mariinsky Theatre, Saint Petersburg

The Mariinsky Opera and Ballet Theatre, often referred to as the Kirov Opera and Ballet (as it was known during Soviet times), is home to one of the most famous ballet companies in all the world. Opened in 1860, it became the premiere music theatre of late 19th century Russia. The "Mariinka" as it is affectionately called today, is a architectural masterpiece unto itself, so whether you take in a ballet or opera you are in for a marvelous treat.

address: 1, Theatralnaya Ploshchad, St Petersburg

metro: Sadovaya, Sennaya Ploshchad

box office: daily 11am - 6:30pm


see complete list of St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

Kyiv Modern-Ballet founder Radu Poklitaru

Modern-Ballet, Kiev

A contemporary dance theatre founded in 2006, Kyiv Modern-Ballet is the creation of Radu Poklitaru, one of the most famous young ballet masters in Europe. Poklitaru has set out to take well-known theatrical plots and choreograph his own experimental, audacious interpretations. At present the theatre company has produced over 20 one-act and full length performances that can be viewed around Kiev, Ukraine and abroad.

address: 2, Mezhigorskaya street, Kiev

metro: Kontraktova Ploshcha


see complete list of Kiev Ballet Theatre




Drama Theatre

Lenkom Theatre, Moscow

Lenkom Theatre, Moscow

One of Moscow's most well-known theatres, the Lenkom is recognized for its creative enthusiasm, innovation, bold experiments and longevity. Officially started under the name Theatre for Working Youth (TRAM) in 1927, the building itself has been staging theatrical performances since it was built in 1907 to house a Merchant's Club. The Soviet youth theatre later went by the name Moscow Leninist Komsomol Theatre, which earned it the nickname LENKOM (LENinist KOMsomol), which eventually (post Soviet Union) became its official name. Staging both classical and contemporary plays, plus some outstanding musicals, there are few theatres in Moscow that can compete with its exceptional stage direction or acting.

address: 6, ulitsa Malaya Dmitrovka, Moscow

metro: Tverskaya, Chekhovskaya, Pushkinskaya

box office: daily 12 noon - 7pm (3pm - 4pm break)


see complete list of Moscow Drama Theatre

Alexandrinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg

Alexandrinsky Theatre, Saint Petersburg

Also known as the Russian State Pushkin Academy Drama Theater, Alexandrinsky Theatre is one of the oldest and most respected drama theatres in all of Russia. Founded in 1756, the theatre has occupied its current location (part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site) on Alexandrinsky Square since 1832. Today the "theatre of masters" is most recognized for its drama productions, but also stages excellent ballet performances as well.

address: 2, Ploschad Ostrovskovo (just off Nevsky Prospekt)

metro: Gostiny Dvor

box office: daily 11am - 7pm (2pm - 3pm break)


see complete list of St. Petersburg Drama Theatre

Lesya Ukrainka Theatre of Russian Drama, Kiev

Theatre of Russian Drama, Kiev

The historic home of the Russian Drama Theatre, originally known as Bergognie’s House, dates back to 1875 when it initially housed a circus. Also home to the theatre's predecessor, the Solovtsov theatrical troupe, it was Soviet authorities who ultimately created the official Theatre of Russian Drama in 1926. Originally used to support Socialist ideologies, the theatre, nevertheless, has been an incubator of many great actors, writers and directors since its beginning. Named in 1941 after renowned Ukrainian poet Lesya Ukrainka (1871-1913), and given the status of Academic Theatre in 1966, the present day Russian language theatre has gained national and international acclaim for its interpretation and presentation of classical and modern playwrights. 

address: 5, Bogdana Khmelnitsky street, Kiev

metro: Teatralna

box office: daily 10am - 8pm (3pm - 4pm break)


see complete list of Kiev Drama Theatre


20% Off 100 Hr Online TEFL