Jump to content


Inefficiencies of the Mariinsky WebsiteAre there monkeys or humans operating the MT website?


  • Please log in to reply
73 replies to this topic

#16 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,201 posts

Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:07 AM

Is the website's Russian version any better? Not about casting or scheduling, which could be run against a machine translator, but the bios and other info?

Can anyone shed light on the economics of the opera vs. the ballet? The ballet was a touring cash cow, especially after the breakup of the Soviet Union, and kept the company afloat long enough to be rescued. The opera tours, but not nearly as much as the ballet, and the top singers at the Mariinsky are much more likely to spend extended periods outside Russia, at the Met, Paris Opera, Covent Garden, etc.

Gergiev courts ballet donors actively: are they that taken by Gergiev that they don't care if the ballet is neglected, or do they not realize the ballet is neglected because the brand is so strong?

#17 Tiara

Tiara

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 192 posts

Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:18 AM

[size=6][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]I co-sign Tiara's, Natalia's and Birdsall's posts. In my experience, the Mariinsky Ballet management has scrambled up to the11th hour to cast ballets. Personally, I can't stand the disclaimer "TBA." If you wish to book ahead, good luck with that, because there's no telling who or what you will get. That's true at home and when they tour. If a star is featured in a major work, it will be advertised to the nth degree, i.e. "So and so in..." whatever ballet. On the other hand, when a major work is not a 'benefit' performance for the star, and a routine night, when the ticket sales near capacity, they slip the current favorite in sometimes as late as 48 hours prior to curtain. I've posted time and time again that the site is not only antiquated, but it's essentially a hommage to Maestro Gergiev, the Orchestra, the Opera and musicians whom he has invited to perform at the Concert Hall. [/font][/size][size=6][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]This [/font][/size][size=6][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]reflects the main focus of the General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre. [/font][/size][size=6][font=arial, helvetica, sans-serif]The Ballet is incidental. [/font][/size]

Yes, the ballet is incidental and not high on Gergiev's agenda. And, with the current frequent casting of such dancers as Kampa and Skorik, I am afraid I do wish to know casting in advance so that I can avoid these dancers. And in the current financial climate at MT, where it is not the best, most talented dancers who get to perform, yes, I do want to know in advance exactly which dancers I will be seeing. The wonderful performances the audiences deserve to see are few and far between, and there are many discerning balletomanes who deserve to be able to have a choice of who to see. Mariinsky management is guilty of extreme arrogance in thinking any name will sell its performances out. They need to look at the displeasure expressed by members of this and other forums and realize that knowledgeable fans are not happy about who is being given roles, and that this information needs to be shown on their antiquated website long in advance so that audiences can have the opportunity to vote with their feet and veto these performances. Perhaps MT management thinks the only way they will sell tickets to see certain dancers is if the audiences do not know until the last minute that they will be performing? I will continue going to see the Mariinsky, but I will not waste my money on seeing dancers who I know are not worthy to be dancing on the Mariinsky stage. I want to see a detailed playbill with detailed casting before I buy my tickets and Mariinsky management needs to take the wishes of its audience into consideration.

#18 Cygnet

Cygnet

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 732 posts

Posted 17 April 2013 - 12:13 PM

...Can anyone shed light on the economics of the opera vs. the ballet? The ballet was a touring cash cow, especially after the breakup of the Soviet Union, and kept the company afloat long enough to be rescued. The opera tours, but not nearly as much as the ballet, and the top singers at the Mariinsky are much more likely to spend extended periods outside Russia, at the Met, Paris Opera, Covent Garden, etc.

Gergiev courts ballet donors actively: are they that taken by Gergiev that they don't care if the ballet is neglected, or do they not realize the ballet is neglected because the brand is so strong?

The main claim to fame of the Mariinsky Theatre, in Imperial, Soviet and the present time has been the Ballet. Unfortunately, unlike the Paris Opera, the Mariinsky's site doesn't post its annual demographic and financial stats. Here is an example of transparency; specifically, please see pages 40 - 52: http://www.operadepa...ris_en_2011.pdf. The Paris Opera posts a comprehensive study of the previous season, giving equal time to its Ballet and Opera. The Mariinsky Theatre notes at the bottom of its home page that we can follow it on Facebook, Twitter, etc., and yet, we can't get casting details in advance, nor the kind of detailed analysis that Opera Garnier offers. Yes, Maestro Gergiev actively solicits donors for the brand wherever he can find it as do all Directors. However, it's the Mariinsky's ballet donors who have historically stepped up to the plate, because they know that's where this brand's bread is buttered.

#19 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,326 posts

Posted 17 April 2013 - 01:45 PM

I agree with the above. When I was a hardcore opera lover before I became a traitor and turned ballet lover I had absolutely no intention of ever going to the Mariinsky for opera. I have some cds and videos of their rare Russian operas and enjoyed them, but that is the main interest in the Mariinsky for hardcore opera lovers. I don't think most opera lovers would ever plan a trip to Russia to see Turandot, Pelleas et Melisande, or Aida. But they might plan a trip to see several rare Russian operas.

I think Gergiev has been trying for years to bring the opera side of the company up to the same level and esteem that the ballet is on, but it simply hasn't happened. I am not saying you can't get a good performance of opera at the Mariinsky. It is just that despite all his effort the Mariinsky is really not in the same league as the Met or La Scala or even Vienna State Opera. Opera lovers dream of going to La Scala or La Fenice or Bayreuth, but not the Mariinsky. Maybe if someone is obsessed with Russian opera he/she would go to the Mariinsky, but basically opera lovers would usually choose another pilgrimage.

But ballet is a different story. I think most would want to make a pilgrimage to the Mariinsky for ballet. Gergiev needs to open his eyes and realize he has a diamond (ballet) he is not shining while he is trying to turn bronze into gold (opera).

#20 alexaa1a

alexaa1a

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 88 posts

Posted 18 April 2013 - 11:15 AM

There was a time when only the names of the ballets mattered, but now, who is being given the leading roles is not the same as before. In the past, there was always a good dancer in the leading roles, but now you often have a terrible dancer in a leading role. Nobody wants to pay Gergiev prices for lousy stars.

#21 Tiara

Tiara

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 192 posts

Posted 19 April 2013 - 09:50 AM

Historically, ballet directors have been experienced businessmen, with Kekhman at Mikhailovsky as a current example. It is generally not advisable to have a director of opera or music or ballet as director of the entire theatre, making decisions on his speciality and possibly discriminating against one of the other areas, particularly if he is known as not liking one field, which is its most important field. Gergiev has proved that he is not qualified to run the entire theatre due to his obvious discrimination against the field which has built the Mariinsky tradition during Tsarist times, during Soviet times and today: BALLET. Anyone looking at ticket prices will realize that Gergiev knows which is his money maker because ballet performances have much higher prices than operas and concerts. Opera and concerts will offer many more discount tickets to Russian citizens than what is offered for ballet.

Gergiev knows which is his top money maker, but he treats the ballet company like slaves and the opera and music company much more favorably. Anyone looking at what has been happening with the May playbill, will see that MT1 opera casting came out more than 7 days prior to ballet casting and the final 5 ballets currently shown have no casts. Today, MT2 programs have been listed for the end of the month, but only operas and concerts have been listed today, no ballets. There are 11 days of MT2 performances with many open dates and no ballets shown.

Gergiev may charge much more money for ballet, but he treats ballet as being subservient to opera and music.

#22 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,326 posts

Posted 19 April 2013 - 05:50 PM

Tiara, I think it would make more sense to have a General Director who cares deeply about both art forms or a businessman, as you say. A businessman would at least recognize the money the ballet brings in and say, "We need to support the ballet and promote it to the public b/c it is so loved and makes so much money!" But things are how they are. I bet it won't change UNFORTUNATELY!!!! Posted Image

#23 Drew

Drew

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,251 posts

Posted 20 April 2013 - 06:30 PM

Still nothing on Mariinsky site about June, but BalletandOpera.com claims Sleeping Beauty for opening days of June and says 1st is already sold out; for 2nd only very poor seats left. I find this very puzzling -- I had decided not to use their site because of their high mark up and also because I had read suggestions by Ballet fans on the web (can't remember if it was here at Ballet Talk or not) that one should not trust any announcement not directly from the site of the theater. Also I had followed BalletandOpera.Com's own site instructions about getting announcements as soon as they occured and they did not follow up, so I was a little dubious about their "guarantees" as a business anyway. Still would welcome any advice, comments, suggestions.

I would be thrilled to see Sleeping Beauty--either Mariinsky version, whatever casts--while there. And would certainly pay a mark up rather than miss it or indeed be willing to pay a mark up if I could get better seats.

Seriously if I'm in Petersburg and the Mariinsky dances Sleeping Beauty and I miss it, I will throw myself in the Neva.

#24 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,326 posts

Posted 20 April 2013 - 07:29 PM

That is bizarre that the Mariinsky itself has not announced it yet the BalletandOpera.com site has and it is almost sold out. I don't know what to tell you b/c I purchased from the Mariinsky's website, but I totally understand your worry and thoughts about using the other site. Hopefully someone on here has used BalletandOpera.com and can advise.

Maybe the shows are being sold to tour groups? Otherwise, it makes no sense.

#25 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,244 posts

Posted 20 April 2013 - 08:49 PM

Seriously if I'm in Petersburg and the Mariinsky dances Sleeping Beauty and I miss it, I will throw myself in the Neva.


Posted Image

#26 Lcg

Lcg

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 20 April 2013 - 10:16 PM

Drew,
If you do not mind paying a markup your hotel in Petersburg will always be able to get ballet tickets. Various hotels have never, in the past twenty years, failed me, even when asked the day before a "sold out" performance, including during both the White Night and International Ballet Festivals.

#27 Drew

Drew

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,251 posts

Posted 21 April 2013 - 12:33 AM

Drew,
If you do not mind paying a markup your hotel in Petersburg will always be able to get ballet tickets. Various hotels have never, in the past twenty years, failed me, even when asked the day before a "sold out" performance, including during both the White Night and International Ballet Festivals.


Thank you for passing that along. As my posts make pretty obvious, I am quite anxious about the whole trip, but that's a bit of reassurance...

#28 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,326 posts

Posted 21 April 2013 - 04:27 AM

Let's all pray for Drew!!! Yes, she must see Sleeping Beauty!!!! I almost cried when the fairies came out on stage. So, yes, I will send good vibes your way!!!

#29 volcanohunter

volcanohunter

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,947 posts

Posted 27 April 2013 - 07:59 AM

Can anyone shed light on the economics of the opera vs. the ballet? The ballet was a touring cash cow, especially after the breakup of the Soviet Union, and kept the company afloat long enough to be rescued. The opera tours, but not nearly as much as the ballet, and the top singers at the Mariinsky are much more likely to spend extended periods outside Russia, at the Met, Paris Opera, Covent Garden, etc.

Gergiev courts ballet donors actively: are they that taken by Gergiev that they don't care if the ballet is neglected, or do they not realize the ballet is neglected because the brand is so strong?


Even Gergiev must realize that the ballet brand is much stronger, including domestically. In St. Petersburg tickets to ballet performances are generally more expensive than those to the opera.

Orchestra seats at the main theater: Swan Lake - 7,000 RUB ($225); Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker - 6,000; The Fountain of Bakhchesarai - 4,300; Pique Dame - 3,840; Don Quixote, Ruslan & Liudmila, Il trittico, Le nozze di Figaro, Faust, Evgeni Onegin - 3,200; Carmen - 2,560

Orchestra seats at the new theater: Jewels - 5,300 RUB; Bolero/Symphony in C - 5,000; Prodigal Son/Rite of Spring - 4,300; Un ballo in maschera - 3,800; Apollo+, Iolanta, Il trovatore, Tosca, Rusalka - 3,200

Exceptions would be opera performances with international stars, for example, a main-stage performance of Nabucco with Placido Domingo and Maria Guleghina for 10,000 RUB or a new-stage performance of Iolanta with Anna Netrebko for 8,000 (vs. 3,200 without her).

At the Bolshoi, the difference is even more pronounced.

Main theater orchestra: Swan Lake, Spartacus - 12,000 RUB ($385); La Bayadere - 10,000; Giselle (Grigorovich), Jewels - 9,000; Romeo & Juliet (Grigorovich) - 8,000; Onegin (ballet) - 7,000; Prince Igor, Turandot, Der Rosenkavalier - 4,000

New theater orchestra: Romeo & Juliet (Stuttgart Ballet) - 8,000 RUB; Rite of Spring (Finnish National Ballet) - 6,300; Giselle (Vasiliev) - 4,000; La Sylphide, Flames of Paris, Anyuta, Ek/Baganova - 3,000; Evgeni Onegin (opera), La sonnambula - 2,000; Die Zauberflote, Nabucco, Iolanta, Le Coq d'or - 1,200

This is completely different from our experience in the West, where opera tickets are generally more expensive than ballet tickets, presumably because opera singers are paid a good deal more than ballet dancers. At the Paris Opera the top-price tickets to the opera, regardless of work or house, cost 180€, while the top-price ticket to the ballet is 92€. Top tickets to forthcoming operas at Covent Garden range from £150 to £225 depending on the opera, while the Royal Ballet maxes out at £93, with the Bolshoi fetching higher prices (£110-120). At the Met a weeknight orchestra seat for Die Walkure costs $350 and Rigoletto costs $370, while a weekday performance of Don Quixote by ABT, with its fancy-pants dynamic pricing, costs $95 for Part/Whiteside, $110 for Semionova/Stearns and $140 for Osipova/Vasiliev.

#30 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,326 posts

Posted 27 April 2013 - 01:19 PM

There is also an unspoken sentiment in the West, I believe, that opera is "better" because the composers are major composers often. And the sets are more elaborate and more expensive probably. I do think there is a snobby hierarchy in the West where opera is placed above ballet and considered deeper and more complex music. Ballet, on the other hand, gives you incredible dancing with "light" music most of the time.

I also think opera is closer to film or plays b/c the singers act and "speak" (sing actually), so ever since the advent of supertitles above the stage (which was VERY controversial years ago) people understand everything and less people are "afraid" of opera. Of course, it could be argued that ballet dancers act and "speak" (mime), so maybe I am wrong.

I suspect the historical aspect of the Tsars preferring ballet (I believe I read this somewhere) has a lot to do with the Russian people loving ballet and the Russians stressing ballet.

I think Gergiev wants desperately to make the Mariinsky Opera the more important part of the theatre. He wants it to be more like the West. But I think most of us think that is a big mistake. He has something unique and wonderful and he takes it for granted while trying in vain to make the opera important. Someone needs to shake him and say, "Nobody flies to Russia to see opera, but tons of people fly to Russia to see ballet! Get over it!" LOL


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):