The story of Mariinsky Theatre began in 1783 when at the request of Catherine the Great the Bolshoy Kamenny Theatre was built on the spot of the present-day Conservatory of St. Petersburg. The theatre was named Mariinsky after the wife of Alexander II, the empress Maria Alexandrovna.
The building of the current Mariinsky Theatre was erected in 1847-1848 and then rebuilt in 1860 after a fire.
The first theatrical season opened on October 2nd 1860 with a performance of opera "A Life for the Tsar" by Mikhail Glinka.
The theatre played a leading role in development of Russian ballet and opera art. Its stage hosted the premieres of many of the operas of W.Mozart, R.Wagner, M.Glinka and saw such outstanding singers as I.Alchevsky, P.Bulakhov, F.Chaliapin.