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Bolshoi 2014-2015 Season

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Ballet performances will include “The Legend of Love,” choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich, and the world premiere in March 2015 of a new staging of “Hamlet,” with choreography by Radu Poklitaru. Also, the world premiere of a ballet based on Mikhail Lermontov’s “A Hero of Our Time,” is scheduled for June 2015, choreographed by Yuri Possokhov.


2015 tours to Hong Kong and São Paulo, Brazil.



http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/16/bolshoi-theater-plans-tchaikovsky-celebrations/?ref=arts


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Yikes -- Poklitaru choreographed the drecklich "Romeo and Juliet" that the Bolshoi brought to Seattle.

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Yikes -- Poklitaru choreographed the drecklich "Romeo and Juliet" that the Bolshoi brought to Seattle.

Oh yes...ITA with you. That "R & J" was inexplicable.

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I hope this isn't a stupid question, but does anyone know whether the autumn 2014 performances have already sold out, or are they not on sale yet?

To explain the question -- I logged into the web site (http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/), and navigated to the list of September and October performances. In the column at the right for every performance are the words "no tickets." I tried clicking on the name of one of the performances ("The Taming of the Shrew" - October 5), and was rewarded with another page that has a "Tickets" link. But when I click that link, the site then takes me to a seating plan for the show's premiere on July 4.

I know there are alternatives to buying tickets from http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/, but I just want to understand it -- if they'll have tickets here later, I will keep an eye on it and try to buy them this way.

thanks a lot for any insights!

Sasha

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I can't give you much insight but maybe some hope. The same problem you had with the seating plan for the premiere was what I had every time I looked for casting. It would take me to the premiere until recently when my show (July 10 Onegin) was finally the only performance of the show left. Then, it took me to the correct casting. But before it did, there was always an option to look at the listing to the right and choose the date. It just would not go to July 10 casting immediately. So maybe look to the right hand side. Usually no matter what show you are looking at (for example, I clicked on July 10 Onegin and it took me to the info but when I clicked on casting it took me to the premiere so then I looked to the right of that and saw a whole list of Onegin and clicked on the right date in the list) there is a listing of all the performances of that ballet or opera and you can choose the date.

But I think buying tickets through one of the middlemen (sites) is going to cost a lot more. I think buying directly is always better. There will be a record of the purchase and a ticket certificate to print out (the Bolshoi doesn't seem to allow printing out tickets like the Mariinsky does).

I do think that they have "no tickets" set until they are ready to sell them, and I suspect next season is not on sale yet. I could be wrong, but I think that they did not have Sept. or Oct. listed until this week, and it would not sell out that fast. I think June and July "no tickets" really means "sold out" but for Sept. and Oct. it means they are not ready to sell tickets yet so be patient. Every show in Sept. and Oct. would not be sold out this soon, so I am 99% sure it simply means they are not on sale yet.

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hi Birdsall,

Thanks a lot for the info. I think you are right -- upon closer inspection, I see that the details on the page for my show are very sparse, with no "Cast" link and other elements missing. So I think the tickets must not have gone on sale yet. I really hope so, because I'm still recovering from the heartbreak of realizing I planned my trip in such a way that I will not get to see the Mariinsky at all. I've consoled myself with Mikhailovsky tickets, but a Bolshoi ticket would certainly help speed the recovery process!

Sasha

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The Bolshoi usually posts tickets about two months in advance so the tickets for September should go on sale all in one batch at the beginning of July - check back every day around the end of June/beginning of July and you should see a bunch. August tends to mess up that schedule a bit, so October tickets might appear in July as well.

The casting, on the other hand, won't appear until late August or September. And even after that it can change, so you just have to cross your fingers and hope you get someone good. Often if you wait for the casts, you can still get seats, but they're the most expensive ones - around $200-400.

I have a guide to first-time attendees at the Bolshoi on my website that I think you might find helpful (http://itinerantballetomane.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-guide-to-bolshoi-for-first-time.html)

Good luck with the tickets!

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hi Birdsall,

Thanks a lot for the info. I think you are right -- upon closer inspection, I see that the details on the page for my show are very sparse, with no "Cast" link and other elements missing. So I think the tickets must not have gone on sale yet. I really hope so, because I'm still recovering from the heartbreak of realizing I planned my trip in such a way that I will not get to see the Mariinsky at all. I've consoled myself with Mikhailovsky tickets, but a Bolshoi ticket would certainly help speed the recovery process!

Sasha

The Mikhailovsky is worth seeing. Most of the dancers are Vaganova trained and not necessarily "lesser" dancers. In fact, some are better than some Mariinsky dancers. And it is a pretty theatre.

But one day return and go to the Mariinsky Theatre. I can't explain the soft glow of that theatre. It is simply amazing. And, of course, seeing the dancers in that theatre is like being in a magical world for me. If I were you I would see an opera if no ballet is playing during the time you are there. Just being in the theatre is a dream come true. I am really, really worried about the impending renovation.....some say 2015; some say 2016......there is no telling what will be changed and/or what disaster could happen once they start working on it. I have no idea if they do tours of the theatre during the daytime. I never thought about that. If they do tours, maybe you could do that if there is nothing you can attend.

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hi Birdsall,

Thanks again for the info. I had actually been toying with the idea of going to see La Traviata at the Mariinsky Theatre -- I am not really an opera person, but I figure I should give it a try, and this may be the perfect time!

I definitely want to go back for a ballet there. I'm applying for a three-year visa, and I live relatively close (the Czech Republic), so hopefully another trip will work out.

thanks again,

Sasha

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The Bolshoi posts the dates that tickets go on "pre-sale." If I understand the rules correctly (no guarantee there!), the tickets should go on sale to the general public the following day.

The "pre-sale" dates are:
June 21 - Swan Lake, (Boris Godunov, Eugene Onegin)

June 28 - Flames of Paris, (The Maid of Orleans)

July 5 - Taming of the Shrew, (La traviata)

July 12 - La Sylphide (The Enchantress, The Tsar's Bride)

July 19 - (Così fan tutte)
July 26 - Legend of Love, La Fille mal gardée [Moscow Ballet School], (La Sonnambula)

Point #3: http://bolshoi.ru/visit/buyingnew/

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hi Birdsall,

Thanks again for the info. I had actually been toying with the idea of going to see La Traviata at the Mariinsky Theatre -- I am not really an opera person, but I figure I should give it a try, and this may be the perfect time

thanks again,

Yvonne

La Traviata is one of my favorite operas. There is one waltz after another in the score. Because Violetta is trying to live life to the fullest. It is one of the most human characters in opera, and I never tire of it.

I have a theory that it is as challenging as Norma and should be approached by sopranos with a sense of awe the way they approach Norma (Norma is the Mount Everest of soprano roles). But because Traviata is such a popular opera it is common to play it often and throw in almost any type of soprano willing to sing it, but it is a long role (like Norma), requires coloratura, lots of dramatic acting, all different emotions, etc. A really good Traviata/Violetta is as rare as a really good Norma.

I could go on and on about various moments in the score that almost bring tears to my eyes. It is such an incredibly lovely work. I have "Dite alla giovine" running through my mind as I type this!!!

And a great Violetta will make you cry when Alfredo shows up and throws the money he wins from gambling at her in an attempt to insult her (after he has been hurt) and basically call her a prostitute.

So I vote for you to go see Traviata!!! One of the most beautiful works ever composed.

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I agree that Traviata is one of the most beautiful operas in the world. I strongly suggest, however, that you see it somewhere other than the Mariinsky. The opera company there is quite simply not very good. I saw them perform Traviata four years ago (a while, so granted things might have changed). It was massively underrehearsed in the orchestra and the chorus. The blocking had probably been patched together during intermission, and the staging, while lovely, was not exciting. Unless there are soloists performing that you really want to see I would skip the opera and see the ballet instead.

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I agree that Traviata is one of the most beautiful operas in the world. I strongly suggest, however, that you see it somewhere other than the Mariinsky. The opera company there is quite simply not very good. I saw them perform Traviata four years ago (a while, so granted things might have changed). It was massively underrehearsed in the orchestra and the chorus. The blocking had probably been patched together during intermission, and the staging, while lovely, was not exciting. Unless there are soloists performing that you really want to see I would skip the opera and see the ballet instead.

I do have to admit that when I walked by the Mariinsky last summer and overheard a soprano rehearsing Violetta's first act cabaletta through upstairs windows, I cringed.

However, the issue at stake is that sasark is going when there is no ballet. The Mariinsky Ballet is the non plus ultra in ballet (my own opinion), but the Mariinsky Opera is not up to international standards most of the time as you imply (despite Gergiev's paying more attention to it).

But I think it is a shame for sasark to be right there and not see the inside of the historic theatre, so I was suggesting opera just to be able to see a performance there at least one time. And she MIGHT luck out and get a good performance. I tend to think the Mariinsky Opera is best with the Russian operas, but if I were in St. Petersburg and there wasn't a ballet playing and I was only there for a couple of days I would probably go see anything just to get inside. My feeling is that we have no idea what might happen to that gorgeous theatre once renovation begins, so anyone in St. Petersburg should go pronto!

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Thanks to all of you for the great information. Thank you especially, Birdsall, for the compelling synopsis of "Traviata." I'm quite excited to see it now!

The issue of where to see it may be resolving itself. I realized that, while I am in St. Petersburg, the Mariinsky will be performing it in the new theater. (I mis-read the schedule before.) However, when I am in Moscow, the Bolshoi will be performing "Traviata" in their historic theater. Since I was also having problems figuring out how to see a performance at the historic Bolshoi theater, it seems like maybe "Traviata" in Moscow is the right option. (Does anyone have an opinion on the Bolshoi's opera company?)

Separately, I'm still struggling with whether or not I should go to "extreme measures" to see the Mariinsky while I am in Moscow. I'm actually thinking about taking the fast train back to St. Petersburg, seeing the Mariinsky's season opener ("La Sylphide") in the historic theater, then returning to Moscow on the night train. Of course, that would be expensive and possibly exhausting, and to be honest, "Sylphide" is not my favorite work (with the disclaimer being that I have only seen it once, and it's possible I just didn't like what that company did with it -- I'm guessing it would be better at the Mariinsky). The Mariinsky will also be doing the "The Little Humpbacked Horse" during that same week, so, as an alternative, I could make an extreme side trip to see that performance, thought it would be in the new theater. But at least I would get to see the company perform before leaving Russia.

I have to admit, it has also crossed my mind to push the whole trip forward two weeks in time so I can see more of the Mariinsky. But I had separate reasons for wanting to be in St. Petersburg in September, and I'm also now kind of curious to see the Mikhailovsky performances slated for when I'm there. And I notice it's easier to get front-row seats at the Mikhailovksy.

Thanks again, everyone, for the helpful input. I love this forum!

Sasha

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I agree with Birdsall. If you are a ballet lover, then the inside of the historic Mariinsky theater is not to be missed especially now the theater is going to be renovated. (Given the current cast of characters running things there, it's hard to trust that the renovation will be worthy of the theater. Though one can hope.)

When I say "not to be missed": The historic Mariinsky is not exactly spectacular--no Palais Garnier grand staircase as in Paris--and I suppose it is aging and...uh...you certainly should pick your seats carefully and other caveats that often apply to 19th-century theaters ... but it is just so completely and utterly enchanting, that if you can get to see a performance there during your trip, (even a ballet you aren't crazy about or, indeed, even a lesser opera performance), then I think you should.

Since I do find travel kind of stressful myself and I have limited stores of energy, I understand that one might decide to stick with Moscow, which should be plenty great--I still haven't been to the Bolshoi and hope I get to go someday!!--but though it's hard to explain, the historic Mariinsky is just something very, very special.

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The Bolshoi Opera is a lot stronger than the Mariinsky Opera overall. From your Bolshoi pre-sale dates earlier in the thread, I'm assuming you mean the early October run of "La Traviata" (1-5 October). I don't know how long in advance the casting for opera is posted. (The latest posting is for the last summer "Tosca," with the smashing Maria Gavrilova.) For the July run of Traviatas, they will alternate two casts, which is likely for the October run. The casting is posted on the opera's page:

http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/performances/570/

Under "La Traviata" click "Cast." The earliest current performance cast will appear on the page. To see later casts, click the link to the date in the little menu to the right. (The link for 1 October is up, but only the conductor is listed so far.)

If you can wait to buy tickets until the casting is posted, you can search for the singers on YouTube and see whose voices appeal to you most. If they're singing Violetta, Alfredo Germont, and Giorgio Germont at the Bolshoi, it is almost certain that they've had experience with the role and a 99% chance you'll find at least a selection of theirs from "La Traviata" on YouTube. You'll have to adjust your sound expectations, since a lot of the YouTube videos are either bootlegs or degraded versions taken from professional recordings and broadcasts, but you should be able to get an idea of what they sound like. For example, one of the summer Violetta's uses more vibrato and sounds more dramatic, while the other has a lighter voice with little vibrato.

My favorite scene in "La Traviata" is the one between Violetta and Papa Germont, the baritone. The tenor has more music, but this scene is the heart of the opera. I don't even like Renee Fleming, but when the Royal Opera did an HD broadcast of "La Traviata" with Fleming and Thomas Hampson, this scene made me blubber. The director for the Bolshoi production, Francesca Zambello, is very renowned and very strong.

Here's a bootleg of one July cast's Violetta, Oxana Shilova, and the other July cast's Giorgio Germont, Igor Golovatenko:

I wouldn't suggest trying to sit up close or at ground level for opera. Sound travels up. I saw "Eugene Onegin" in the Historic Theater before the renovation, in the second tier up side boxes, and the sound was great. I haven't been there post-renovation, though.

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If you are getting a 3 year visa you can always wait and go to St. Petersburg another trip. But La Sylphide at the historic theatre would be charming. It is nothing to sneeze at. I will see that this coming trip in July and can't wait.

The Little Humpbacked Horse has terrible sets but it is actually a nice ballet, in my opinion. It is fairly modern but based in the classical vocabulary and the music is enjoyable. I saw it twice last summer (Osmolkina/Zyuzin one night and Kolegova/Sergeyev the other night) at M-2. It is no Swan Lake or Bayadere but it is a cute, charming ballet. You will go home with a smile on your face.

But I would opt for La Sylphide at the historic theatre if you can't get back soon. That way you will have had the experience of that theatre!

You will like the Mikhailovsky.

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I agree with Drew's assessment of the theatre. I look around and say, "I can't believe I am sitting here!" when I am watching a ballet there.

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The Bolshoi posts the dates that tickets go on "pre-sale." If I understand the rules correctly (no guarantee there!), the tickets should go on sale to the general public the following day.

The "pre-sale" dates are:

June 21 - Swan Lake, (Boris Godunov, Eugene Onegin)

June 28 - Flames of Paris, (The Maid of Orleans)

July 5 - Taming of the Shrew, (La traviata)

July 12 - La Sylphide (The Enchantress, The Tsar's Bride)

July 19 - (Così fan tutte)

July 26 - Legend of Love, La Fille mal gardée [Moscow Ballet School], (La Sonnambula)

Point #3: http://bolshoi.ru/visit/buyingnew/

Yes, folks, it's after midnight Moscow time, and tickets to Swan Lake, plus Boris Godunov and Eugene Onegin, are now on sale. Swan Lake is well on its way to selling out, astronomical prices notwithstanding. So the key is to keep track of those "pre-sale" dates.

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Helene, thank you for the tips and clip! It looks like Oxana Shilova will be performing on all the nights that I can go, so she will be the one I see.


Drew and Birdsall, I will indeed be seeing "La Sylphide" in the historic theater! I just bought the ticket yesterday and am pretty excited. Now I just have to wait three months....


Sasha

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I look forward to hearing about the trip & performances --

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I look forward to hearing about the trip & performances --

Thank you Drew! I have now purchased my Bolshoi tickets and, yes, I will definitely report back.

Now I am going to describe my ticket-buying experience, just in case it's helpful for anyone else, particularly in regard to figuring out the timing.

The pre-sale date for the performances I wanted to see was July 5 (today). I didn't understand what the "pre-sale" entailed, but I decided to be optimistic and see if I could participate. At midnight Moscow time July 5 (10 p.m. July 4 my time), I began checking the web site. I tried several times over the course of a few hours, but the tickets were never available. Then I gave up and went to bed.

I checked again this morning around 11:30 my time (1:30 p.m. Moscow time). Then I forgot about it for a while. I think I assumed I'd have to wait until evening. When I tried again at 4 p.m. my time, I was shocked to see the pretty blue "Buy ticket" button next to "my" performances! I leapt into action. I bought tickets for three performances, two in the new theater (both ballets) and one in the historic theater (opera).

Selecting a seat for the opera was pretty easy. However, I'm quite choosy about where I sit for ballets, and a good chunk of seats were gone already. It wasn't a terrible situation, but I had a little trouble deciding, partly because I have never been to the theater, and partly because my "first choice" areas where I would normally sit (in any theater) weren't free. I used the following photos to help me choose, and I am excited about the seats I ended up picking.

http://2011.rostropovichfestival.ru/wp-content/gallery/bolshoi-theatre/br3.jpg

http://2011.rostropovichfestival.ru/wp-content/gallery/bolshoi-theatre/bt2.jpg

http://see-you-in-moscow.com/blog/the_new_stage_of_bolshoi_theatre_pictures/2010-06-14-109

So it was a good experience. I found the Bolshoi's web site easy to use, and I got near-immediate email confirmation of my purchases.

Sasha

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If anyone is planning a trip to Moscow in November, this is the next batch of ticket pre-sale dates at the Bolshoi.

August 2 - The Bright Stream, (Don Carlo)
August 9 - Legend of Love, (La Bohème, Les Arts Florissants)

August 16 - Lady of the Camellias (Eugene Onegin)

August 23 - Giselle (The Tsar's Bride)
August 30 - (Moiseyev Dance Company, The Story of Kai and Gerda)

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