Finally opening its doors in 2013 after more than a decade of construction, legal wrangles, scandal and rumour, the Mariinsky II is a showpiece for St Petersburg's most famous ballet and opera company. It is one of the most technically advanced music venues in the world, with superb sightlines and acoustics from all of its 2000 seats.
There's no denying that the modern-yet-not-modern-enough-to-be-interesting exterior is no great addition to St Petersburg's magnificent wealth of buildings. Inside, though, it's a different story. The interior is a beautifully crafted mixture of backlit onyx, multi-level public areas between which staircases, lifts and escalators weave, limestone walls, marble floors and Swarovski chandeliers. The simple yet superbly designed auditorium boasts plenty of legroom, three stages that can be combined to form one, and an orchestra pit that can hold no fewer than 120 musicians. Serious music fans should come here to see a state-of-the-art opera and ballet venue, while anyone curious to see the results of a decade of building work will also not leave disappointed.
As well as the main auditorium, there are also several smaller venues within the venue (Prokofiev Hall, Stravinsky Foyer, Shchedrin Hall, Mussorgsky Hall), all of which host regular concerts that can be a cheaper alternative to seeing a performance in the main hall.