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the hermitage theatre
a beautiful small and intimate Russian theatre

The Hermitage Theatre is a small and intimate historical theatre where anyone can enjoy a cultural evening while on a visit on St Petersburg.

Situated at the eastern end of the Hermitage museum complex it is considered one of the oldest buildings in St. Petersburg. The classical green building is in the row of buildings comprised of The Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage and the Great Hermitage facing the banks of the Neva River.

Its historical semi-circular auditorium is adorned with red velvet seating, marble columns and niches that display regal statues of Apollo and the Muses. Famous ballerina Anna Pavlova and other great artists, such as Mathilde Kschessinska and Fyodor Chyaliapin gave their final performances at The Hermitage Theatre for the last Russian Tsar.

After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Russian theater was closed and the building was used for administrative purposes. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, restoration began and in 1991, the Hermitage Theatre opened its doors to the public with performances by Svyatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Yelena Obraztsova and is now one of the most popular and prestigious theaters in St. Petersburg.   

Local and visiting theater-goers say the intimate setting is gorgeous, the performances are beautiful and the chance to see the expressions on the faces of the ballet dancers close up is very special. But be sure to go early as there is no assigned seating and the theater fills up fast. 

a look inside at the hermitage theatre

Interested to visit the Hermitage Theatre? If so, click on the links below or scroll down the page to learn more.

more about the teathre

The Hermitage Theatre is a small chamber theater that's big on history. At the behest of Empress Catherine the Great in 1783, this theater was constructed on the site of the decaying Winter Palace of Peter the Great.

Built in the middle of the XVIII century by the Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi, this exquisite Palladian-style theater opened on November 16, 1785, to premiere the first comic opera entitled, “The Miller, Magician, Liar and Affiancer.“

Although designed with 250 seats to accommodate the Empress's closest friends and advisers, it was often overcrowded with Russian aristocrats and members of the diplomatic corps who were personally invited by Catherine herself. She also graciously reserved a separate loge for Giacomo Quarenghi and his family to attend all performances

If you plan a visit there the first thing you will notice is the beautiful Statues of Apollo and the Muses and the Bas-reliefs depicting famous musicians and poets. Soon after you may enjoy their amazing music cultural program, which is varied and produced by the theater's own orchestra, St. Petersburg Camerata. Ballets are generally Russian classics performed to very high standards.

The only downside we can think about is its size and the cost of it. Unfortunately, the Theatre is small and often overcrowded, mostly during summer, and admission tickets aren't cheap.

interesting facts

You might be keen to know that The Hermitage Theatre at the beginning was used as a private theater to entertain the Imperials, it became a venue for Catherine to display her personal talents, as she composed her own operatic librettos, chose the comedy plays to be staged and arranged for performances of various theater troupes. Costumes were also taken from a wardrobe collection of 15,000 dresses belonging to the late Empress Elizabeth.

where to buy tickets

You can purchase tickets through the theatre's official online website and at the box office, or through their partners. Also, you can buy the tickets through your Hotel or Tour Guide, this way is much smooth and easy.

how to get there

The Hermitage Theatre is located on the Palace Embankment next to the Great Hermitage museum. From Nevsky Prospekt, it is a 5-minute walk or you can take one of the underground subways to Nevsky Station, Admiralteskaya Station or Gostiny Dvor. If your hotel is far away from the city and the city center, it is best to take a taxi.

practical information

Address: Palace Embankment 32

Metro: Nevsky Propekt Station, Admiralteyskaya Station, Gostiny Dvor

Open: See the website

Telephone: See the website

Website: www.hermitagemuseum.org

Accessibility note: No ramps or lifts available

Note: All the info about the theatre can be found on the given website, which is the same website of the Hermitage Museum as the theatre is hosted in the same complex.

tips & recommendations

  • You should know that The Hermitage Theatre is open all year, but many people most enjoy going to the theater from May-July when the weather is mild and you can also see the White Nights of St. Petersburg.
  • If you plan a visit, make sure you go early (at least one hour prior to the start of the show), as it's free seating and there are no assigned seats. Tour groups also take a lot of seats. Seats to the rear center have the best views.
  • The dress code is formal. During the winter, don't forget a change of shoes and leave your coat in the cloakroom.
  • Don't purchase a ticket that includes dinner because you'll want to go early to find a good seat. There are lots of great restaurants nearby to go to after the show.
  • Be aware that the tickets are for general admission only, no seats assigned.
  • This theater is very popular in the summer when the Mariinsky Theatre is closed and many top dancers and artists perform here instead.
  • Personally we don't recommend going there for the price of the tickets. With that money, you can get a much better experience in theatres such as the Mariinsky, Alexandrinsky, or Mikhailovsky.

accommodation nearby

Our picking list of Hotels nearby the Hermitage Theatre

must-have travel resources

Our picking list of essential travel resources for your trip to Russia


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From Hermitage Theatre return to Theatres in St Petersburg or go to the Homepage

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