One city: 307 theatres, 32 concert halls, 30 orchestras

One city: 307 theatres, 32 concert halls, 30 orchestras


norman lebrecht

November 12, 2015


st petersburg

Stats courtesy Sasha Makila


  • Max Grimm says:

    Did you forget to tell us, or are we to guess?
    In any case:

    Saint Petersburg

    • Eddie Mars says:

      From the stats, I thought it must be somewhere in the USA – after all, they are famed for their support for the Arts there?

      The picture of St P is surely a красная селёдка (a red herring) As we all learnt at school, Leningrad (erstwhile SPb) is a grim grey concrete city of pitiful waifs standing outside closed breadshops.

  • RW2013 says:

    Naples, Florida?

  • Alvaro says:

    Norman’s wet dream is that this is the description of Texarkana, Arkansas ….;)

    • John says:

      What’s yours?

      • Alvaro says:

        That arts organizations are managed by actual managers and not failed musicians who became ‘administrators’ in order to get a paycheck.

        Oh, and that orchestras dont have to play pop arrangements to ‘get new audiences’ – I.E. Simon Rattle conducting B.Phil on Star Wars.

        I think Norman is closer to his dream that I am to mine….

  • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    Amsterdam, no, wait, Venice, no, wait, Annecy (france), np, wait, Helsinki, no, wait, I give up unless it actually is St. Pete (Russie).

  • Peter Freeman says:

    Karachi it ain’t!

  • Peter Freeman says:

    Or did I miss something when last there?

  • william osborne says:

    Moscow is similar, including at least 4 opera houses: Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow Operette Theatre, Mayakovsky Theatre (Helikon Opera),and the Novaya Opera Theatre. I think there are others. Wiki mentions 94 theaters and 24 concert halls for Moscow.

    In terms of social organization, one might also mention the high speed train service from Moscow to St. Petersburg and Helsinki that tops out at about 180 mph and extensive, affordable, subway systems that have no comparison to anything in the USA.

    • Eddie Mars says:

      Mayakovsky Theatre *isn’t* Helikon Opera. It’s the next building in the street.

      Moscow has the Bolshoi, Stanislavsky-Danchenko, Novaya Opera, Helikon Opera, Pokrovsky Chamber Opera, the Moscow Operetta Theatre (nowadays mainly staging musicals), plus the Vishnevskaya Opera Studio (non-professional and not full-time). All are fully profesional theatres with their own teams of singers, and their own orchestras).

  • Marg says:

    Nowhere in Australia or NZ, that’s for sure.

  • MacroV says:

    Must be Moscow; St. Petersburg doesn’t have that many orchestras. Don’t get too excited over the 30 orchestras. There are “only” about 8 that play regularly, and many you have to keep track of by their conductor’s name (at least from ten years ago):

    – Russian National (Pletnev)
    – Tchaikovsky SO (Fedoseyev)
    – National Philharmonic (Spivakov)
    – State Symphony Orchestra (Jurowski)
    – Moscow Philharmonic (Simonov)
    – Symphony Capella (Polyansky (formerly Rozhdestvensky)
    – Nova Rossiya (Bashmet?)
    – Forget the name (Pavel Kogan)

    Plus the theatre orchestras

    You’d see another one pop up once in a while for a one-off show. The amazing thing is there was little if any overlap between these groups, and they ranged from decent to amazing.

    And if you count every little room with a piano you might come to 32 concert halls, but really there are only three that can and do regularly host an orchestra: Moscow Conservatory, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, and the International House of Music.

    • Marcato Sempre says:

      Where in Moscow is there a canal like that???

      • Eddie Mars says:

        Ozerkovskaya naberejnaya )) Just 300m from the House Of Music concert-hall complex. Google Street View will show it to you.

        Or another is the Yauza River. From the late C16th there was the so-called ‘German Settlement’ there – a special place where foreign merchants & craftsmen could set up business without needing permits. (An idea of Tsar Mikhail Fyodorich, Peter Ì’s father, to help westernise Russia). Then in the C18th the Yauza embankments became ‘little Petersburg’ – lined by palaces and parks laid out by Petesrburg-Italian architects like Rastrelli and Quarenghi. They are still there now, for anyone with the time 🙂

  • V.Lind says:


  • John Borstlap says:

    The picture looks a bit like Amsterdam after the last raid of the city council’s hatred against trees, but the numbers definitely exclude the town.

  • Murray Citron says:

    The Bronx after a water main break.

  • George King says:

    Looks like St Petersburg. Parts of it are very beautiful (like most cities).

  • SoCal Dan says:

    If you right-click the photo and choose save-as, the file name is “st-petersburg-243×180”.

  • Jorge Grundman Isla says:

    Wait…Wait…Wait…But how many concerts at day?….

  • Eric says:

    Surely it’s one of those big Vegas hotels.

  • Sally Denkers says:

    My guess is St. Petersburg, though I would not have guessed that there were that many theatres and orchestras there.


    You can identify virtually any image that appears on your screen from anywhere. Right-click it then choose “Search Google for this image.” If Google can’t find it, it’s rare indeed.

    This rather takes the fun out of quizzes about St. Petersburg (as Socal Dan found when he chose “Save As”).

  • MacroV says:

    The picture is definitely St. Pete, but I would dispute those figures. I’m aware of only two symphony orchestras – the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and the St. Petersburg Academic SO (?). And of course the Maryinsky, which is a whole industry. Maybe there are others that give an occasional concert, and if you count every little pickup chamber orchestra…