On September 17, European aristocrats, royalty and culture aficionados worldwide will gather in St. Petersburg for what is bound to become a new tradition: the Mariinsky Opera Ball, a glittering affair worthy of its setting.
The first-ever ball, which is patterned after Dresden’s famously lavish Semper Opera Ball, coincides with the Mariinsky Theatre’s 150th anniversary and promises to be an intriguing night of culture. (The Russians have never failed in this regard.) Though the theater is not releasing the names of artists, I am told the ball will incorporate ballet, opera (of course) and multimedia performances for a mix of the traditional and the contemporary.
The concept of the ball was started by Vladimir Putin himself. He charged Maestro Valery Gergiev with the task of conceptualizing and bringing to life a magnificent evening of culture, no holds barred. Can’t wait to see what the Maestro has put together.
Tickets are not cheap. For third row circle, expect to pay 800 euros per person. It goes way up from there: Second floor circle is 1,200 to 2,000 euros per, and first floor circle (which is a must, if you can get it) will set you back 1,800 to 2,200 euros per. To get the best seats, I suggest turning to the concierges at the Grand Hotel Europe, who can pull a few strings to make your trip as memorable as possible. The Grand also has a special package to coincide with the Mariinsky Opera Ball.
The Mariinsky Theatre (originally the Bolshoi Theatre), with its opulent blue and white color scheme and lavish gilding, will be the site of the Mariinsky Opera Ball on September 17.
The Grand Hotel Europe (an Orient-Express hotel), a central part of St. Petersburg’s cultural scene