When Westerners think of theatre in Russia, Moscow, and St. Petersburg usually come to mind. The Kremlin Palace, the Bolshoi and the Marinskii have been the great names of Russian stage. Most Westerners would be surprised to hear now that a venue in Siberia is a rising star of the performance industry in Russia. The Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous Okrug (KhMAO), the capitol of the Yugra region in Western Siberia, is home to the impressive new Yugra-Klassik Theater and Concert Hall, a cultural benefactor of the region’s oil wealth. KhMAO provides one-third of Russia’s oil output (7% of the world’s total) and some of nearly all the elements on Mendeleev’s Periodic Table. The arts are flourishing in this place virtually unknown to people outside of Russia.

The economic center of Yugra, KhMAO is now considered the cultural capitol of the region, owing in part to the Yugra-Klassik Hall. Planning for the 20,000-square-meter Hall began in 2002, and the grand opening was held December 10, 2004. The contemporary architectural design of the building features neon-lit geometric shapes, metallic beams, and large-paned windows, which stand in stark contrast to the traditional design of most Russian theaters. The Yugra-Klassik houses an 1,100-seat concert hall, a chamber music hall seating 150, rehearsal studios, master class studios, an 80-seat film screening room, two restaurants, a 30-room hotel, and an underground parking lot.

The Yugra-Klassik also uses the latest lighting equipment from ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc.). The Hall’s concert hall is outfitted with hundreds of ETC’s Source Four®-line fixtures. Dimming is done by ETC Sensor® ESR 48s, ETC ECEM96, and ETC Sensor Advanced dimmer modules. Also featured in the Hall are ETC portable SmartPack® dimmers, which can be used for the Hall’s touring shows.

Light Power Design (LPD), a theatre-technology distributor based out of Moscow, did the installation for the Yugra-Klassik project. A leader in the market since 1986, LPD has an extensive history of working with many of the country’s best theatres, providing lighting and sound equipment. ETC Eastern Europe regional sales manager Armin Kloss says, “As the theatre industry in Russia continues to grow, ETC’s Russian distributors are getting more requests for the latest lighting technology. We’re thrilled to contribute to the technological advancement of theatre in Russia.”

The Yugra-Klassik Hall was also designed to highlight the cultural heritage of the region’s many ethnic groups, including the Khanty and Mansii people for which the okrug is named. During KhMAO’s 75th Anniversary celebration in 2005, the Yugra-Klassik was used for traditional dress fashion shows and musical and dance performances. From opera to pop music, gubernatorial inaugurations to chess tournaments, and pageants to children’s shows, the performances at the Yugra-Klassik Hall have been as diverse as the region’s population. As its popularity grows, so does its appeal to touring shows. In May, the celebrated Marinskii Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Valeriy Gergiev, performed at the Yugra-Klassik.