White Nights - the time in summer where the night is white with the midnight Sun. Even after an evening concert, you can see children playing in the parks under the sunshine as if it were a leisure Sunday afternoon. This spectacular scene cannot be found anywhere else than in Russia, the largest country in the world, going over nine time zones, and home of many famous classical music composers. The music of these famous composers still lingers, particularly during the summertime of St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg: the cradle of Russian classical music
After Moscow, St. Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia, as well as the second most important city in the development of Russian Classical music. As the cultural capital of Russia, St. Petersburg is where The Five (famous Russian composers) met and aimed to produce music that could represent their Russian home.
As one of the members of “The Five”, Modest Mussorgy’s spirit can be found in St. Petersburg even after his death – his body was buried in Tikhvin Cemetery, a famous cemetery in St. Petersburg, the very same rest place for other renowned composers such as Rimsky and Tchaikovsky.
In St. Petersburg, there is a lot of historical architecture that link to its classical music roots. The St. Petersburg Conservatory named after Rimsky Korsakov is a world-class music school with graduates including Peter Tchaikovsky and Sergery Prokofiev.
There is also Mariinsky Theatre, a grand and green architecture in renaissance design, is the same places many masterpieces of Tchaikovsky and Rimsky received their premieres. It is this theatre, along with the recently built Concert Hall, are the main venues for “Star of White Nights”.
Listen to the “Stars of White Nights” – the prologue of white nights festival
White Nights Festival is an annual art festival held from May to July in St. Petersburg to celebrate the midnight Sun. Due to the extremely northern geographical location of St. Petersburg, during summer time, the Sun only goes down for around three hours and even at midnight, the Sun is high up in the sky, making the night white.
Started by the city’s first Mayor in 1993, the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg begins in May with the “Stars of White Nights” at Mariinsky Theatre.
During “Stars of White Nights”, there are daily evening art performances. Whether the performances are ballet, opera or classical concert, their qualities are absolutely guaranteed since the artistic director is the renowned Valery Gergiev, the general director and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre and the principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Those concerts conducted by Gergiev himself are naturally the most sought-after ones.
Sail along the cannels of St. Petersburg – “Venice of the North”
Enjoy an evening concert, and the moment you step out from the concert hall, a beautiful scene is waiting for you: the midnight Sun shinning on the numerous canals and the water reflecting the light beams.
St. Petersburg is located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea and, due to the abundant network of river canals, St. Petersburg has the nickname of “Venice of the North”.
Along the river canal, you can find the famous “The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood”, its colourful bonfire domes seem to shine brighter under the midnight sun.
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Russia welcomes you!
If you are fan of art and nature, come to St. Petersburg during summer! The most Westernized city in Russia will welcome you with the familiar melody of Tchaikovsky under the backdrop of a “White Night”.
Editor's note: In light of the 2022 political and military situation in Russia, Trip101 urges you to be apprised of the latest news if you have any urgent plans to travel to Russia. Do note that some bookings and services have been suspended or may not be available at this moment.
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