As the temperature starts to cool and bold autumn colours transform St Petersburg’s skyline, the city’s grandest theatres, concert halls and palaces open up for a series of exciting events and celebrations. From music fetes like Early Music Festival and International Organ Festival to film events such as Message to Man, there are plenty of autumnal events in St Petersburg to discover.
Following the same rituals as the opening ceremony in May, the closing of the Peterhof Palace fountains is a captivating affair. Crowds gather to watch a dramatic dancing fountain show which is timed to music while lasers and fireworks light up the dusk sky. As well as celebrating the famous fountains, the annual event marks the end of summer and the start of a new season.
One of Russia’s most exciting autumn festivals, the International Alexandrinsky Theatre Festival invites historical theatre companies from around the world to perform at St Petersburg’s impressive Alexandrinsky Theatre. Performing arts enthusiasts can look forward to a diverse programme of classic and modern productions, put together by some of the world’s most exciting directors and performers.
Autumn is theatre season in Russia and visitors can indulge in a variety of theatre-related events throughout St Petersburg. Standing out among the many offerings is the Baltic House Theatre Festival, dedicated to modern theatre. A fascinating experience for visitors, the festival presents a busy schedule of Russian performances by national theatre troupes as well as shows by international companies.
Message to Man started as a documentary film festival but has since expanded to cover additional genres including animation and short fiction filmmaking. The event is one of the most highly anticipated annual film festivals in the city and is revered for its variety of Russian premieres, international screenings, competitions, exhibitions and master classes. If you love film, don’t miss out.
Russia has a strong musical heritage and the Early Music Festival celebrates genres such as Baroque, Renaissance, Medieval and Classical. A series of concerts by stars of the world music stage are held at concert halls and palaces across St Petersburg, giving visitors plenty of opportunity to savour their favourite musical scores and styles.
Returning to the spectacular Mariinsky Theatre for a fourth season in October is the International Organ Festival. Organ music enthusiasts can look forward to a series of performances by leading players from around the world, starting with an opening concert by French organist and composer Thierry Escaic, accompanied by the Mariinsky Orchestra.
One of the most unique events of the season is Interfolk in Russia. The international folklore festival festival is an annual celebration of the Russia’s folk heritage and showcases the cultural diversity of the country through a variety of performances ranging from traditional folk to modern ethnic adaptations.
Murder, intrigue, crime and punishment… St Petersburg has it all. Those fascinated by the more ghoulish side of history will love these significant spots from fiction, and real life.