Mariinsky II
It's official!  The Mariinsky II has opened its doors on May 2nd 2013.   Eight years of construction and an approximate cost of 570 million Euros (740 million USD) contributed to make it an impressive theatre and wonderful compliment to the main stage of the Mariinsky.  To commemorate the grand opening President Vladimir Putin was in attendance along with many other VIP's and stars.  The timing of the opening was appropriate, as it fell on the 60th birthday of the Mariinsky's famous conductor and general director, Valery Gergiev.  2013 also marks Gergiev's 25th year with the Mariinsky.

The original main stage of the Mariinsky was opened in 1860 and was named after Maria, the wife of Tsar Alexander II.  During the Soviet Regime it was known as the Kirov Theatre and this name is still commonly used.  Sergey Kirov was a prominent Communist politician that worked closely with Joseph Stalin in the formation of his government.  Kirov's power and influence was significant to say the least.  Some believe that he was one of Stalin's closest allies, while others believe Stalin felt him to be a direct threat to his power.  In 1934 Kirov was shot and murdered.  Some maintain that this was the direct order of the Stalin while others believe it was the opposition party that where the powers behind his murder.  

The Mariinsky's history is filled with details like this.  The addition of the 2nd stage to the already existing main Mariinsky stage and Concert Hall, has seen its own share of accusations and speculation.  Regardless if these accusations are true or not the Mariinsky II is an impressive theatre that undoubtedly adds to the rich artistic, historic and cultural backbone of St. Petersburg.