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Opening of new Mariinsky II Opera House in St. PetersburgMay 2-4, 2013


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#31 kbarber

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:31 AM

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.

#32 Birdsall

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:40 AM


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.

#33 volcanohunter

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:58 AM

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

#34 Helene

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 09:01 AM


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.

#35 volcanohunter

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:23 PM

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.

#36 Natalia

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 01:58 PM

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.

#37 Buddy

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 02:03 PM

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

#38 kbarber

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 02:04 PM



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.

#39 Birdsall

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 06:46 PM

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.

#40 mussel

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:28 PM

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

#41 Birdsall

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:45 PM

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.

#42 volcanohunter

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:10 PM

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.

#43 mussel

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:36 PM

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.

#44 Buddy

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 02:08 AM

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

Mezzo[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=3] et [/size][/font]Mezzo Live HD[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=3] (Noon US east coast) [/size][/font]
Perviy Kanal[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=3] (Russian) [/size][/font]
Arte Live Web[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=3] [/size][/font]
Mariinsky TV[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=3] and [/size][/font]Mariinsky FM[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=3] [/size][/font]

(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]

#45 Natalia

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 02:32 AM


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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