In 1783 the empress Catherine the Great ordered to rebuild the Peter I’s Winter Palace to a court theatre. It was inaugurated on November 16, 1785 and the first comic opera that was played there was called “The miller, magician, liar and affiancer”. It was acted by Russian troupe and by personally invited by Catherine the Great Italian, French and German artists. After the revolution the Theatre was headed by Meyerhold, but soon it was closed. Only in 1980 the restoration had started and in 1991 the Hermitage Theatre opened its doors to a wide public. Less than in ten years the Theatre became one of the most popular theatres in Saint Petersburg.
The Hermitage Theatre is a part of the Hermitage complex. The Italian master Kvarengui created the marvelous classical green building which is located in one row with The Winter palace, The Small and the Great Hermitage on the bank of Neva river. The auditorium hall was made with a perfect acoustics, the performance that takes place on the wide stage is perfectly seen from every corner of the hall, so the guests don’t need to use binoculars. The hall looks like the antique amphitheatre with two side stairs and the central one. The benches are covered with red velvet, the walls are decorated with marble semi-columns and statues, and a magnificent bronze lamp appears in the center of the ceiling.