Hermitage Theatre

The Hermitage Theatre at 32 Palace Embankment was built by Giacomo Quarenghi, who designed the auditorium in the form of an ancient amphitheatre (1783–87). Constructed on the site of Peter the Great’s second Winter Palace, it was joined to the Old Hermitage by an arch spanning the Winter Canal. The first performance at the Hermitage Theatre was held on 16 November 1785. Although intended for the exclusive use of the imperial family as a court theatre, it soon began to play an important role in the cultural life of St Petersburg. After its reconstruction (1895–97), the ballets of Mikhail Fokine were performed at the Hermitage Theatre by Fyodor Chaliapin, Leonid Sobinov and Olga Preobrajenska in sets and costumes designed by Léon Bakst.

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