St. Petersburg ballet – where to see ballet in Russia

posted by Liza 7th July 2017 1 Comment
St. Petersburg ballet - where to see ballet in Russia

St. Petersburg Ballet is world famous. If you want to know, where to see ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia, you’re in the right place. As a former local (yes, I lived in St. Petersburg, Russia for over 22 years), I used to go to watch opera and ballet in St. Petersburg quite often and even have my favourite performers and theatre.

In St. Petersburg, students often have a 50% discount for the performances and I was lucky to have even bigger one – 80% for the opera and ballet in Mikhailovsky Theatre. So, during this year when I have this MASSIVE discount (imagine watching an opera for 2 pounds, yes, it happened to me), I managed to see over 14 performances and develop a taste for opera and ballet. Now I have favourite artists, performances and even a theatre. However, it all started when I was 9 years old – and I went to watch a ballet for the first time with my mum. We watched Giselle and it was magical! Ballet was always like something from a fairytale to me and that’s why I think I only like classical ballet – the modern one doesn’t impress me at all. And St. Petersburg ballet has the majority of the classical performances!

St. Petersburg ballet - where to see ballet in Russia - Mikhailovsky Theatre

La Fille Mal Gardee at Mikhailovsky Theatre

Where to see ballet in Russia

In Russia, two best places to see ballet are Moscow and St. Petersburg. Moscow has its famous Bolshoi Theatre and tickets there are sometimes very hard to get, due to a large number of resellers, who buy them out and try to sell them for the price, 4-5 times bigger than the original price. We wanted to see the Nutcracker in Bolshoi just after the New Year, but the tickets were sold for almost $400 – over 20,000 rubles and they would never cost so much in the normal ticket office, so we decided to watch it in St. Petersburg for 6,000 rubles instead.

There is a huge debate over the ballet theatres in Russia: which one is better – Bolshoi in Moscow or Mariinsky in St. Petersburg. I personally think that the both are great, but tickets to Mariinsky are somewhat easier to get.

If you’re choosing a ballet in St. Petersburg, it makes sense to check the following theatres.

Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia:

1. Mariinsky Theatre

Mariinsky Theatre is a world famous theatre located in the city centre (but you need to take a taxi to it, because the metro station is still being built) and it has 3 stages. The only 2 good ones, however, are the main stage and the new stage. Try to avoid the Concert Hall, as they usually don’t show the best performances there. You can buy a ticket online at

St. Petersburg ballet - where to see ballet in Russia - Mariinsky New Stage

New stage of Mariisnky Theatre

2. Mikhailovsky Theatre

Located in the heart of St. Petersburg, on the Square of Arts, this theatre is my favourite. I also think it’s one of the most beautiful theatres there are in Russia – its combination of gold and red makes it look lavish. Also, it’s more spacious than the main stage of Mariinsky and the chairs, in my opinion, are more comfortable. You can buy the tickets online at

St. Petersburg ballet - where to see ballet in Russia

Mikhailvosky Theatre

3. Hermitage Theatre

If both of the theatres above are not showing performances or everything is sold out, try the lovely Hermitage Theatre, though it’s the theatre, which shows the Swan Lake and the Nutcracker all year long and its audience are 100% tourists (95% of them – from China). Nonetheless, the quality of the ballet is still good and the theatre is very small and beautiful. You can buy the tickets here.

There are more places to see St. Petersburg ballet, but I really don’t recommend them, because the only 3 impressive theatres are the ones I listed above.

Which ballet (and opera) to see in Russia:

Swan Lake (Ballet)
Giselle (Ballet)
Nutcracker (Ballet)
La Fille mal gardée (Ballet)
La Sylphide (Ballet)
Romeo and Juliet (Ballet)

Prince Igor (Opera)
La Boheme (Opera)
Eugene Onegin (Opera)

Don’t forget to check the ultimate guide to St. Petersburg, which I composed not so long ago – it’s very useful! I tried to write about everything you might possibly need to know before going to St. Petersburg, Russia.

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St. Petersburg ballet - where to see ballet in Russia - Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Giselle, La Fille Mal Gardee, Flame of Paris, Boheme


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1 Comment

How expensive is Russia? Cost of travelling in Moscow & St. Petersburg 12th November 2018 at 11:50 pm

[…] If you want to see ballet in Russia, I’ve got a guide to watching a ballet in St. Petersburg for you! […]


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