Arts + Culture

The Dream List: Once-in-a-Lifetime Trips

by Brook Wilkinson

Russia: Theater in St. Petersburg

The specialist: Greg Tepper, Exeter International; Tampa

The Dream Trip: "The exclusive Hermitage Gala, in St. Petersburg, an annual event that benefits the museum, is held during the White Nights—the period around the summer solstice in June when it's light all night long. It's a mind-blowing, intimate affair: an invitation-only, sit-down dinner in one of the imperial rooms, with only 100 to 200 guests. The galleries are open, and the best of the best perform—top ballerinas and opera singers from the Mariinsky companies. After the party, it's off to the Taleon Imperial, the only hotel in the city that's in a former palace. You've got to stay in the Eliseev Suite, which has original furnishings and restored paintings [invitation to the Hermitage Gala, including hotel room, $12,200 for two].

"While in St. Petersburg, you must set aside some time for a backstage tour of the Mariinsky Theatre—better known to Americans as the Kirov, its name during Communist times. What exactly you get to see backstage depends on the day of your visit, but it might be the prop area, or the costume area (which is extraordinary), or sometimes the set-design area above the theater, where they paint the backdrops and then lower them onto the stage. The rehearsal rooms are often the best part, because you can see classes being held or hear the singers warming up an hour or two before a performance [90-minute backstage tour of the Mariinsky, $450 for two]."

Greg Tepper
Tel: 800 633 1008
greg@exeterinternational.com

Next: A secret workshop in Italy ›

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