New cities in the world can offer as many operas, ballets and concerts each year as the city of Saint Petersburg. However, its celebrated Mariinsky theatre no longer has the proper equipment nor the space to compete with the biggest international stages.
Under the direction of Valery Gergiev, chief conductor and director of the Mariinsky, and the support of Vladimir Poutine, the building of a new cultural complex finally takes way. Though a new concert hall is built in record time by French architect Xavier Fabre, the construction of the new opera house is delayed after heated pressure from the conservative public causes two proposed projects to be abandoned. It is finally up to Canadian architect Jack Diamond to take over the project.
His goal: to elegantly integrate the architectural codes of the city and provide great acoustic details inside the new Mariisnky, thus bringing comfort but also the technical space needed to make it one of the world’s finest modern opera and ballet houses. However, huge complications lie ahead for him: the marshy lands below the construction site, the intense cold weather, communication challenges with authorities, and of course, Russian bureaucratic redtape. Thanks to his relentless determination and the unfailing support from Gergiev, Jack Diamond and his team work around the clock to meet deadlines, surpass all obstacles and finally deliver the first new opera house since the reign of the Czars.