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Inefficiencies of the Mariinsky Website

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There is a cost to enter the US on the green form (countries in the visa waiver program). It might be ~ $6.00, and, I've noticed that they don't always both to charge it. It takes time to process, and sometimes they have higher priorities.

I had more difficulty with India customs and immigration trying to leave the country than entering any other country. (India checks on the way in and out.) I had traveled there a half dozen times for work over three years under a multiple-entry business visa; each entry was limited to a certain number of days. Once I changed my outbound flight, and the itinerary didn't have my incoming flight info. The inbound stamp was incorrectly partially stamped over another stamp, and it was hard to find among the many stamps and extra pages. The immigration officer insisted that I had entered the country seven months earlier on this visit, even though I had found the outbound stamp from the same airport six months earlier. After 10-minutes of grilling, where I was about to be sent to an office, I finally found the inbound stamp, he glared at me, and finally let me through.

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I've always found it quite difficult to obtain and update a visa for Russia.

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There is a cost to enter the US on the green form (countries in the visa waiver program). It might be ~ $6.00, and, I've noticed that they don't always both to charge it. It takes time to process, and sometimes they have higher priorities.

I've heard EU citizens complain about the information they're required to submit in order to get travel authorization to the U.S. under the VWP, particularly under the "do any of the following apply to you?" section.

https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/WebHelp/ESTA_Screen-Level_Online_Help_1.htm#ata2

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They reflect the standard border questions that look for people who may not be qualified to cross the border, based on health, prior records, and the problem of child kidnapping, particularly in custody suits. I would rather answer the questions up front than be asked them at the border and be turned away.

Americans often don't realize that things like DUI convictions that are misdemeanors in the US can get them turned away at the Canadian border, because they are felonies as far as Canadian immigration is concerned.

What I thought was discretion about paying the fee looks to me as if the people who pay at the border crossing window are the ones without credit cards. I'm assuming the credit card info on the visa is to process the payment.

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Truthfully, I don't remember whether I've ever been asked about leprosy, drug addiction, kidnapping or crimes of moral turpitude when entering the EU, but I will try to make a mental note of it the next time I cross an EU border innocent.gif

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Pre-NEXUS, I used to be asked about kidnapping children each time I crossed the Canadian border by car. That and firearms. Sometimes I was asked about diseases and DUI felonies. Coming back into the US, they only asked asked about fruits and vegetables. I thought this was a telling sense of priorities.

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I've been asked about firearms, drugs, and fruit / veggies while entering Canada. On the reverse trip, they just say "pop the trunk" and send the dog around. I miss the good old days pre 9/11, where they just asked if you had a nice time, and please confirm you're not bringing any live plants across the border.

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I have been trying hard to restrain my whining on the theory that it's an unbecoming trait and, on the internet, will of course live forever. But just in case anyone is keeping track, we have entered the second week of May and still the website offers no word on Mariinsky programing for the first week of June. In any of the theaters.

I underline the word programming. I'm not talking about cast information. They DO still say there is an "international" White Nights festival through all of June and through early July. Just don't say what it involves past May 31st.

Of course, one assumes they are dancing Swan Lake on June 6th based on the ads for the 3D live broadcast of it. But evidently they are not interested in selling seats to the live performance. Perhaps because it's so far off in the future...no ballet fan in their right mind could be trying to plan that far ahead.

Oh...never mind.

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Of course Paris Opera Ballet are very bad about casting, only disclosing who is dancing at the last moment. But my annoyance with POB is more about wanting to see as many casts as possible whereas at the Kirov there are more and more dancers I want to avoid.

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I have been trying hard to restrain my whining on the theory that it's an unbecoming trait and, on the internet, will of course live forever. But just in case anyone is keeping track, we have entered the second week of May and still the website offers no word on Mariinsky programing for the first week of June. In any of the theaters.

I underline the word programming. I'm not talking about cast information. They DO still say there is an "international" White Nights festival through all of June and through early July. Just don't say what it involves past May 31st.

Of course, one assumes they are dancing Swan Lake on June 6th based on the ads for the 3D live broadcast of it. But evidently they are not interested in selling seats to the live performance. Perhaps because it's so far off in the future...no ballet fan in their right mind could be trying to plan that far ahead.

Oh...never mind.

So sorry about your predicament! It is unbelievable that they don't at least list the repetoire. I guess most people who planned to go to the White Nights will forget it this year unless they live in St. Petersburg and can decide at the last minute. All others have no clue when to travel so they can't get a visa or airfare or hotel at this point without risking a lot.

The only condolence is that you will already be there and hopefully some good things will finally appear on the playbill and they shouldn't be sold out since nobody knows what is playing. From what I can tell it seems like tons of tourists populate the audience, so I wonder if there will be lots of seats available, since most people will not bother to travel since they have no clue what will play.

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But my annoyance with POB is more about wanting to see as many casts as possible whereas at the Kirov there are more and more dancers I want to avoid.

I commiserate with you Drew, because of this. I would rather see the opera in some cases.

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I have been trying hard to restrain my whining on the theory that it's an unbecoming trait and, on the internet, will of course live forever. But just in case anyone is keeping track, we have entered the second week of May and still the website offers no word on Mariinsky programing for the first week of June. In any of the theaters.

I underline the word programming. I'm not talking about cast information. They DO still say there is an "international" White Nights festival through all of June and through early July. Just don't say what it involves past May 31st.

Of course, one assumes they are dancing Swan Lake on June 6th based on the ads for the 3D live broadcast of it. But evidently they are not interested in selling seats to the live performance. Perhaps because it's so far off in the future...no ballet fan in their right mind could be trying to plan that far ahead.

Oh...never mind.

Drew,

Some of the June schedule is finally up. June 2, 4, 5, and 6 Swan Lake.....June 11 Sleeping Beauty.....June 13 La Bayadere....

Not sure your exact dates, but it sounded like you would be there in early June, so I think you will be happy with this rep. Casting is TBA still, of course.

I think the Mariinsky gives you your money back on your credit card if you buy from their site and cancel ahead of time. I think I would purchase all 4 Swan Lakes until I saw casting and drop any "Oh, crap!" evenings.

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Just noticed that Lopatkina will dance in Little Humpbacked Horse on June 25. Very unusual casting it seems to me. At one point the Princess has to do some pop dancing. She seems to be trying out new things (Midsummer Night's Dream earlier in the year and now this).....

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Just noticed that Lopatkina will dance in Little Humpbacked Horse on June 25. Very unusual casting it seems to me. At one point the Princess has to do some pop dancing. She seems to be trying out new things (Midsummer Night's Dream earlier in the year and now this).....

Lopatkina (to her credit) has danced in a number of ballets that people would consider 'un-Lopatkina': Forsythe's In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated and Petit's Le Jeune Homme et la Mort for example. But that just means the dance audience hasn't totally caught up with her. She's even danced in Christian Spuck's Grand Pas De Deux - the footage was on YouTube for a while. And I'll admit it was a little scary to see her attempt some risky bits, but, she did it. And if your not familiar with Grand Pas, it really has to be watched:

[Note this is not footage of Lopatkina, but it IS the best version that's been done]

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I never believe anything until it happens, but if I really see Lopatkina's Swan Lake (and I have now bought the tickets), then I'm inclined to think I will be a pretty satisfied customer....Kondaurova performances not yet on sale for whatever mysterious reason. I've decided to wait on the "tba" cast Swan Lake. Being a Ratmansky admirer I will certainly catch Cinderella which I have never seen, though I'm afraid "Mr. Drew" will find it inexplicable. No casts yet but I'm hoping for Shirinkina or Osmolkina and wouldn't mind seeing Kolegova or Pavlenko...and anyway, that is a case of it really being the ballet that piques my curiosity--plus a chance to see the new Mariinsky. (Vishneva is an announced Cinderella for much later in the month.) I also think it likely some more ballets/operas will be posted in coming days since several nights have one or the other theater with nothing going on...which seems unlikely.

To return to more immediate topic: Since I have been complaining about the website, I feel I ought to say too that, for my first ticket purchases I found it surprisingly easy to use. Well...there was one eruption of Russian text in the middle of the English language site--I "clicked" the Cyrillic letters on faith and got the tickets I had chosen but was still a little bemused...

They are missing one of the high tech elements of the Covent Garden site -- being able to "check" the sight-line from particular seats -- but actually picking and purchasing the tickets went very smoothly and quickly. And, in case anyone from their publicity office reads these online ballet fan discussions...special praise for the long amount of time they give you to make the purchase once you have picked out the tickets. Particularly useful when dealing with puzzled credit card companies (Russia?) as I assume the Mariinsky must realize.

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They are missing one of the high tech elements of the Covent Garden site -- being able to "check" the sight-line from particular seats...

Of course the ROH system would be better and more realistic if the sightline view included an open curtain so you could see the stage behind it. As for Mariinsky II, we'll rely on you to give us the skinny on sightlines.

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She's even danced in Christian Spuck's Grand Pas De Deux - the footage was on YouTube for a while. And I'll admit it was a little scary to see her attempt some risky bits, but, she did it. And if your not familiar with Grand Pas, it really has to be watched:

It still is,

from 2009 with Igor Kolb. And here from last year with Korsuntsev:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCI7u8eKYkc

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I never believe anything until it happens, but if I really see Lopatkina's Swan Lake (and I have now bought the tickets), then I'm inclined to think I will be a pretty satisfied customer....Kondaurova performances not yet on sale for whatever mysterious reason. I've decided to wait on the "tba" cast Swan Lake. Being a Ratmansky admirer I will certainly catch Cinderella which I have never seen, though I'm afraid "Mr. Drew" will find it inexplicable. No casts yet but I'm hoping for Shirinkina or Osmolkina and wouldn't mind seeing Kolegova or Pavlenko...and anyway, that is a case of it really being the ballet that piques my curiosity--plus a chance to see the new Mariinsky. (Vishneva is an announced Cinderella for much later in the month.) I also think it likely some more ballets/operas will be posted in coming days since several nights have one or the other theater with nothing going on...which seems unlikely.

To return to more immediate topic: Since I have been complaining about the website, I feel I ought to say too that, for my first ticket purchases I found it surprisingly easy to use. Well...there was one eruption of Russian text in the middle of the English language site--I "clicked" the Cyrillic letters on faith and got the tickets I had chosen but was still a little bemused...

They are missing one of the high tech elements of the Covent Garden site -- being able to "check" the sight-line from particular seats -- but actually picking and purchasing the tickets went very smoothly and quickly. And, in case anyone from their publicity office reads these online ballet fan discussions...special praise for the long amount of time they give you to make the purchase once you have picked out the tickets. Particularly useful when dealing with puzzled credit card companies (Russia?) as I assume the Mariinsky must realize.

The Mariinsky's Cinderella is okay, and I actually like the male punk fairies' variations. Be prepared for modern things and sparse sets. It entertains and is humorous at moments but anyone familiar with the more traditional Cinderellas might be scratching their heads at moments not quite sure what is going on. It will be a chance for you to see the inside of the Mariinsky II so please report back about that experience so we know what it is like!!! Sight lines, acoustics, general impression of the look of it in person.

By the way, the later Cinderellas that you mention have Gergiev conducting and the same cast both nights, and I wonder if that means a dvd in the making.

I noticed an Anna Netrebko Gala added on June 10 at Mariinsky II also. If you are still there you might want to get a ticket to that. She is one of the few exciting singers around, in my opinion. It only says that the program is made up of arias and scenes from Verdi operas.

I can't wait to hear about your trip!!!!! I am so happy that it all turned out great for you!!!!

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Thank you Birdsall--I will report on trip as best I can. Think it will be fun to attend new Mariinsky its first season.

I see Gergiev is also conducting the Kondaurova Swan Lakes.

If my trip had been timed solely for ballet/opera and with no work considerations I probably would have chosen 2nd week of June rather than 1st (Bayadere, Vaganova graduation, Sleeping Beauty, Netrebko gala...) But if everything works out as announced with the Swan Lake etc. then I will be pleased.

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Thank you Birdsall--I will report on trip as best I can. Think it will be fun to attend new Mariinsky its first season.

I see Gergiev is also conducting the Kondaurova Swan Lakes.

If my trip had been timed solely for ballet/opera and with no work considerations I probably would have chosen 2nd week of June rather than 1st (Bayadere, Vaganova graduation, Sleeping Beauty, Netrebko gala...) But if everything works out as announced with the Swan Lake etc. then I will be pleased.

YAY!!!!!

Yes, seeing Swan Lake at the Mariinsky with famous stars.....not too shabby!!!! LOL

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She's even danced in Christian Spuck's Grand Pas De Deux - the footage was on YouTube for a while. And I'll admit it was a little scary to see her attempt some risky bits, but, she did it. And if your not familiar with Grand Pas, it really has to be watched:

It still is,

from 2009 with Igor Kolb. And here from last year with Korsuntsev:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCI7u8eKYkc

Pherank and Lidewij,

Thanks for the videos. I will watch when I get home. I think I saw a small portion of Lopatkina's version, but I never watched it completely. I will have to take time and watch fully.

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Drew, I forgot to comment about one thing. Yes, the Mariinsky's website as far as purchasing is very, very straight forward and easy to use. Make sure to print out your tickets or the vouchers for them. I actually didn't do that and by sheer chance went back and read the instructions and realized I was supposed to.

I wanted the actual hard copy ticket for my box of opera and ballet tickets over the years (I collect them in a box....when I am 80 years old I will go through the box), but the actual hard copy tickets are really not very special the way American tickets are, so you are better off simply printing them from your computer if you don't really care about having a sturdier ticket. Then you don't have to wait in line for the actual tickets. If you don't print them from your computer, you have to print the voucher and take it with you so they can find the tickets and print them at the theatre.

So, yes, there are some good things about the theatre's website. I am glad you mentioned that. Online purchasing has made life easier for foreign tourists. I remember buying at La Scala used to be crazy. You had to call and speak some Italian and it still was up in the air if you got them. It was like searching for Bigfoot........so online systems have made things easier. Anytime someone complains about technology, I say, "Shut up! Opera and ballet tickets for overseas trips are easier to buy so just shut up! Get your priorities straight!" I don't care if the world has become impersonal as long as I can get my ballet tickets!!!! LOL

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She's even danced in Christian Spuck's Grand Pas De Deux - the footage was on YouTube for a while. And I'll admit it was a little scary to see her attempt some risky bits, but, she did it. And if your not familiar with Grand Pas, it really has to be watched:

It still is,

from 2009 with Igor Kolb. And here from last year with Korsuntsev:

Thanks for finding that video Lidewij - I'm not too good at searching though the Cyrillic titles. ;)

It is interesting to note the choreographic differences between the two versions - the Russians don't bother trying to emulate the Western pop dance moves, but rather, insert their own non-classical bits. I'll let you be the judge of which produces better comic effect.

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