The Hermitage Theater is one of the oldest in St. Petersburg and in Russia. It was constructed by the architect by order of Catherine the Great in 1783-1789 on the site of the former Winter Palace of Peter the Great. The auditorium of the theatre was constructed to be similar to one of antiquity: semi-circular rows of seats rise from the stage of the amphitheatre. The walls and colonnades are decorated in colored, artificial marble. Sculptures of Apollo and the nine muses are located in alcoves and beneath them are bas-reliefs with portraits of famous musicians and poets.
The first season of the Hermitage Theatre opened before the finishing work was completed on 16 November 1785, with a performance of the opera The Miller who was a Wizard, a Cheat and a Matchmaker (music М.М. Sokolovsky, libretto А.О. Ablesimov). Performances were given two - three times a week. All St Petersburg theater groups - Russian, Italian, French, German and ballet - anyway, separately and together, were busy in court performances, especially in plays written by the Empress.
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