The Saint Petersburg Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre (Большой Каменный театр) was a theatre in Saint Petersburg.
It was built in 1783 to Antonio Rinaldi
's Neoclassical design as the Kamenny (i.e., Stone) Theatre. It was rebuilt in 1802 and renamed the Bolshoi, but burned down in 1811. The building was restored in 1818, and modified in 1836 to accommodate more modern machinery. Until 1886, the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre was principal theatre to both the Imperial Ballet
and the Imperial Russian Opera. It was there that the first Russian operas — Glinka
's A Life for the Tsar
and Ruslan and Lyudmila
— were premiered. Although the theatre would include many of the great Russian operas in its repertory, many of the works of Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov would receive their world premieres on the stage of the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre
. Many of the great 19th century ballets of Marius Petipa
and Arthur Saint-Léon
were given for the first time on the stage of the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre.
In 1886 the building was declared unsafe and, at the behest of the theatre director Ivan Vsevolozhsky, the ballet and opera performances moved to the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, where they have remained ever since. The Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre was then torn down to make place for the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. The only surviving sections of the original theatre are the grand staircase and landing, preserved in the building of the conservatory.