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Opening of new Mariinsky II Opera House in St. Petersburg

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In the past I tried watching live streams on Mariinsky.tv and had absolutely no luck. I might get two or three seconds of the stream, and then the picture freezes up, though the sound usually continues. I don't have a super fancy internet package, but generally I don't have difficulty watching streams. Unfortunately, Mariinsky live webcasts are the exception.

http://mariinsky.tv/n/

So if it isn't geo-blocked, I will be trying my luck with Arte Liveweb.

http://liveweb.arte....nt_Petersbourg/

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I had no idea that Miami City Ballet allows such a thing, i.e., the public can stand outside and watch classes/rehearsals.

Allegra Kent:

"We worked in the large sunny Miami City Ballet studios, which have picture windows visible from the sidewalk. Casual strollers can watch classes and rehearsals while walking by. A generous concept."

http://www.dancemaga...-La-Sonnambula.

The more massive part of the Mariinsky II building, Natalia, is probably the least noticeable. The main traffic is in front of the old theatre (new theatre is behind) and in front of the glass main entrance to the new theatre.

Added later:

The second picture down shows the intersection of the two main streets. Some sunlight or illumination (which should now be working) would have helped this photo.

http://ellmikhaleova...com/533391.html

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I'm sure a lot of folks here are looking forward to the actual opening of the Mariinsky II in a few days. I am and will be glad to see the future discussions about what is the most important to us, the Mariinsky Ballet. Thanks for the few quick comments about the possibility of viewing some of the opening on the internet. I'm in Europe so I'll see what kind of luck I might have.

Much of the discussion in the press and on the internet has focussed on the new building. I'm sure that will change in a few days, so this may be some of the last discussion here about it.

As I mentioned a few posts back, I've always been very fond of the Initial Models for the design that was eventually replaced. It's the Golden Shell design, which is also ultra modern. Again the third and fourth pictures down are perhaps my favorites.

http://www.arcspace....e-mariinsky-ii/

The design was heavily debated. Did it really fit into the scale and beautiful historic fabric of St. Petersburg was one question, a perfectly valid one. My affection for this design is that, for me, there was something 'Ethereal' about it, at the beginning anyway, the same quality that makes me love the ballet.

So now we have a new and different building. Overall it should work quite well functionally, even though us ballet followers are scrutinizing the allocation of the facilities and the unraked stage. Also the massive exterior appearance of some of the building is being heavily debated.

As possible members of the audience, I think that we will be quite pleased with how the building works. The inside looks very beautiful and initial studies and comments seem to confirm that it works very well. Every Seat will have a perfect view and the acoustics are supposed to be excellent. I'm very much looking forward to seeing my first ballet performance here, hopefully next year.

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Buddy, the original design is definitely more avant-garde (at least for a historical city). It reminds me somewhat of a Frank Gehry building. And Gehry's buildings are quickly becoming huge tourist attractions in their own right around the world. So you might be right that this was a missed opportunity (I am assuming you feel that way and could be wrong).

The final outcome of the exterior of Mariinsky II has ended up being really ho-hum (doesn't break any architectural boundaries), and as Natalia mentioned, looks sort of like a Costco discount store. I can't imagine people 100 years from now wanting to take pictures outside of that building the way they take pictures outside of the historic Mariinsky. Maybe I am wrong. While probably upsetting a lot of people, the original design might have at least been tourist-worthy (I can actually imagine people snapping pics of themselves in front of the original gold alien egg design and posting on Facebook just as people take pics of the Disney Center in L.A.).

So far the photos of the interior do look nice for a new building. I mean, nothing to compare with the historic theatre (where you see TONS of people taking pics all over the place before, during, and after performances), but the important thing will be the acoustics and that the stage enables great artistry to work upon it. So far from word of mouth it sounds like Mariinsky II is more conducive to opera.

Personally, I would be in favor of moving all opera into the new theatre and doing just ballet in the old theatre!!! I doubt that will happen. Some of the Russian operas probably look better in the old theatre also.

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Personally, I would be in favor of moving all opera into the new theatre and doing just ballet in the old theatre!!! I doubt that will happen. Some of the Russian operas probably look better in the old theatre also.

In effect, this is what the Paris Opera did, not because the Bastille has better acoustics (they're a disaster!), but probably because of the Bastille's new-fangled technical possibilities. The ballet generally doesn't require a tilt-a-whirl stage. About two-thirds of opera productions are staged at the Bastille, and about two-thirds of ballet performances take place at the Garnier. Operas by Mozart and earlier composers are usually done at the Garnier, I would guess primarily for acoustic considerations.

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Every Seat will have a perfect view

That's what they said about the almost identical opera house Jack Diamond designed in Toronto, and I assure you, for ballet it is NOT TRUE. In fact, very few seats have a good view.

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Personally, I would be in favor of moving all opera into the new theatre and doing just ballet in the old theatre!!! I doubt that will happen. Some of the Russian operas probably look better in the old theatre also.

In effect, this is what the Paris Opera did, not because the Bastille has better acoustics (they're a disaster!), but probably because of the Bastille's new-fangled technical possibilities. The ballet generally doesn't require a tilt-a-whirl stage. About two-thirds of opera productions are staged at the Bastille, and about two-thirds of ballet performances take place at the Garnier. Operas by Mozart and earlier composers are usually done at the Garnier, I would guess primarily for acoustic considerations.

It is sad to find out the Bastille hasn't been able to fix the acoustics after all these years. I know installing certain panels that re-direct sound can be used in some houses, but there is probably only so much you can do once the house is already built. I was actually surprised that they started doing some ballet at the Bastille, because I think the plan was originally to keep the ballet and the baroque operas at Garnier. I suspect this is because they figured less stage machinery is needed for both those areas. I suspect scheduling conflicts have forced them to be more flexible.

So far from what I have read it sounds like they are planning to use both Mariinsky houses for both arts, but I wonder if over the long run it might be better to do what you say the Paris Opera has done.......I think the historic Russian opera productions and classic ballets (and maybe Fokine) will always look better in the old house. It is truly breath-taking to see a classic Petipa ballet or Russian opera in that setting. The modern stuff and standard opera works would look fine in the new house. Balanchine would be fine in either place for me.

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The Bastille seats more people, which would be a big incentive for performing the bigger and more popular of the two December ballets there.

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Every Seat will have a perfect view

That's what they said about the almost identical opera house Jack Diamond designed in Toronto, and I assure you, for ballet it is NOT TRUE. In fact, very few seats have a good view.

Maybe I've been lucky, but this hasn't been true in my limited experience.

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Side ring seats will inevitably have incomplete views of the stage. A curved balcony with an insufficient incline often makes for very poor sightlines. I'm wary of anyone who promises me a "perfect" anything.

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The int'l cable network RT (Russia Today - mostly in English and available with basic cable in many US markets) newscast this morn announced that it would be broadcasting tomorrow's Gala live @ 10AM Eastern, 7AM Pacific (USA times). RT is channel 274 in the Washington, DC, Comcast system; might be a different number elsewhere. The on-screen calendar does not show it yet...so please don't hold me to it! Just an option that might work out, which would allow us to DVR it nicely.

In case RT doesn't work out, there's always the online TVTeka.com http://tvteka.com/ ($15/month subscription) which gets you practically EVERY Russian channel live, including Kultura. (That's how I saw Grigorovich's ballet competition from the Bolshoi last month.) Just in case the potential 'free' options do not work out.

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Thanks, Natalia.

Back to sight lines for a moment.

By looking at the pictures in the Mclean's article you can get some idea about sight lines.

Second picture down is the Four Seasons in Toronto.

Fifth picture down is the Mariinsky.

http://www2.macleans...they-will-carp/

I really haven't studied these pictures, but I may give it a try. At first glance at the Mariinsky II, it looks like the architect at least gave it a really good try. The upper boxes nearest the stage all seemed to be used for lighting equipment or doorways only and it looks like a lot of front row only seating in the upper boxes next to these.

I would imagine that all orchestra seating is good visibility. The orchestra pit is far down and the first row is fairly well back. Whether the seating area is sloped and the seats are not directly in front of each other I can't tell. The balcony seats in the front of the picture are staggered. Stage seems elevated enough. Raked?

I will say that when I made my statement about "perfect sight lines", that was my choice of words based on what I've read. I can try to locate an actual quote if anyone really wants me to, although the concluding evidence will depend on the truth and even that could be somewhat subjective.

[typo correction made]

[also a correction, apparently the Mariinsky II stage is not raked]

Comment added next day:

In the orchestra level seating area, the floor is indeed sloped and the seats staggered.

(click on second picture down slide show and look at first photo)

http://www.the-villa...4997-mariinka-2

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Every Seat will have a perfect view

That's what they said about the almost identical opera house Jack Diamond designed in Toronto, and I assure you, for ballet it is NOT TRUE. In fact, very few seats have a good view.

Maybe I've been lucky, but this hasn't been true in my limited experience.

You must have been lucky (or perhaps tall). I spend a lot of time at the Four Seasons in many different seats.

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It looks like most of the box seats (for lack of a better term since it looks like there are no actual boxes but side seats in what look like the box areas) are made to face forward toward the stage which I have never seen. I would think that is better since side boxes cause people to turn their seats like that anyway if there is room to avoid twisting your neck. It also looks like the Mariinsky II does not have seats jam packed in the way that many of the boxes in the historic theatre has. But judging from the pic with the two men sitting in the seats, it doesn't look like the seats will be comfortable for men at least. Of course, those two men look a bit burly and have coats on.

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NY Times reports on the opening of Mariinsky II with slide show: http://www.nytimes.c...g.html?ref=arts

Interesting that Gergiev says in this article that he wants to bring Italian opera companies and German opera companies to perform their works. Maybe the Mariinsky II will become more of a performing arts center that has all kinds of programs.

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The int'l cable network RT (Russia Today - mostly in English and available with basic cable in many US markets) newscast this morn announced that it would be broadcasting tomorrow's Gala live @ 10AM Eastern, 7AM Pacific (USA times).

This would be two hours before the start of the performance. At this time of year the time difference between the east coast and St. Petersburg is 8 hours. I wonder whether the network is planning "from the red carpet" coverage.

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Maybe the Mariinsky II will become more of a performing arts center that has all kinds of programs.

NYT:

The emphasis seems to be on hosting traveling orchestras and operas rather than Russian ones.

Seems to be a big chuck of Mariinsky II schedule will be for set aside for visiting companies.

But plans beyond August, including for the forthcoming 2013-14 season, have not yet been announced.

And they are clueless what they're going to do this summer. The article also mentioned Ratmansky ballets set to Shostakovich score will be performed at M2, are they the same ballets that will premier later this month at the Met? If yes, either ABT will travel to M2 this summer or the new Ratmansky ballets will be a co-production of ABT, SFB, and MB.

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Here are some more places to try on the internet for today's gala if they haven't already been mentioned.

Mezzo et Mezzo Live HD (Noon US east coast)

Perviy Kanal (Russian)

Arte Live Web

Mariinsky TV and Mariinsky FM

(This information and a lot of other great stuff about the Mariinsky can usually be found at the site in french that posted this. I won't say more because of my understanding of Ballet Alert's policies, but it does seem that other forums could at least be thanked when appropriate. Also the Mclean's article that we've been discussing about the Mariinsky II was first posted elsewhere and may have remained solely there if it hadn't been brought over here. I know that these matters aren't simple, but I just thought another point of view about them might be helpful. Maybe a moderator would care to comment on this sometime.)

[Corrections made above: the Gala is "Today" and the Mezzo broadcast is at Noon US east coast]

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The int'l cable network RT (Russia Today - mostly in English and available with basic cable in many US markets) newscast this morn announced that it would be broadcasting tomorrow's Gala live @ 10AM Eastern, 7AM Pacific (USA times).

This would be two hours before the start of the performance. At this time of year the time difference between the east coast and St. Petersburg is 8 hours. I wonder whether the network is planning "from the red carpet" coverage.

I know that it's 8 hrs difference. What I heard yesterday is that there will be some sort of preview documentary about (guess who) Gergiev. Also some mention about a 'behind-the-scenes' look at the ballet company. Sorry that RT is quite mysterious and parcels out information about exact times so slowly. [Update: the very latest (8AM Eastern US) hourly newscast at RT clarifies that the live broadcast will occur online and not on real TV (darn)...commencing 16:00 GMT (so 12 noon Eastern US; 9AM West Coast).]

In the meantime, another 3-minute 'gala preview' report just aired during the regular newscast, showing portions of the gala during yesterday's dress rehearsal. It included the entrance of the Shades from Bayadere...while 'extra' Shades stood on the balconies of a set of the old Mariinsky auditorium and did port-de-bras moves (so one of the backdrops of today's gala will be a set of the old Mariinsky's auditorium).

By the way, unrelated to today's opening, RT will be airing a 1-hr documentary about the Mariinsky Ballet titled Ballet, Sweat and Tears - on May 3, repeated May 4 and May 5. Check local schedules for times. The preview snippets look gorgeous.

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You're very welcome, Natalia !

Olga Esina, Vaganova graduate, now at the Vienna Staatsballett, has been added to the list. Her Swan Lake performance at this year's Mariinsky Festival was one of the Absolute Highlights ! She's Great !

http://www.mariinsky...013/5/2/3_2000/

(thanks again to the french language forum for posting this site)

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I agree about Esina. She's a true Russian beauty!

I found an online version of the 3-minute preview report that is currently airing on RT (the one with the Shades dress rehearsal):

http://rt.com/news/m...-new-stage-630/

Thanks, Natalia!! Please keep the RT and other reports coming in. It looks like things are off to a good start.

Last night's performance (shown in Natalia's post) was actually a pre-official opening, full performance for veterans and Mariinsky personnel.

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Ladies and gentlemen,

The live broadcast already noted by Buddy from the Mariinsky TV link (here: http://mariinsky.tv/n/ ) starts in just about 90 minutes. Today I went on the press preview tour of the new building - secret service with squiggly ear pieces abound all over theatre square and all parking lots have been cleared of cars with DPS cars parked to prevent any incomers from entering. The distinguished guest will be ushered in through the VIP entrance .. security is very very high.

As for the theatre, I have never seen anything so huge or spacious inside. The sight lines are very good for every seat in the house, and that was one of Gergiev's main concerns -- namely that the sight and acoustics for each patron are the same, and that just bc you're in the last row or in a cheaper seat will not mean you have less of the theatre experience. (summarizing his words from the press talk today).

I will add that many employees from the Jack Diamond firm are here on site and five of them gave tours this morning. I asked our guide directly about the studios in the theatre. "Well there are seven and they have the ability to adjust the sound..." I had to stop him. "I mean for the ballet, there are only two, correct?" Yes, one large one and then one small in the basement."

Confirmed.

That said, the space on the SIDE of the wings is like a huge warehouse. It must be five (?) stories tall or more. It is vast. The current wingspace in the old MT is maybe....20 feet deep? Max? Probably less than that. 15 feet I think. This is the same width as the stage itself so what you see looking at the stage, that same amount of space extends to the right of the stage and the left. if they 1) wanted to 2) were persuaded to and/or 3) had money to, they could easily use this space for rehearsals by installing mirrors on the east and west walls and somehow cordoning it off... although noise from on-stage set shifts would disrupt the rehearsal process.

Happy to answer any inquiries if anyone has specific questions (given what limited parts of the new theatre I've seen so far).

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