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Summer 2014 NYC & Saratoga Tour

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The Mariinsky's version of Swan Lake is, in my opinion, superior to the Bolshoi's in so many ways. The sets, the choreography, the arrangement of the score, etc. It is just beautiful (pleasing to look at and experience) unlike the Bolshoi's production.

Raymonda is also much better at the Mariinsky. The Bolshoi adds more leaps for Jean de Brienne and he even shows up in the first act leaping around, so there is more male dancing, but Raymonda's beautiful entrance where she picks up the flowers is deleted. At the Mariinsky.... Raymonda is like a beautiful delicate flower of a ballet. At the Bolshoi it is Raymonda on steroids!!!

As Canbelto mentioned, the Mariinsky does the Lavrovsky Romeo and Juliet which is much better than Grigorovich's version.

La Bayadere is very different at the Bolshoi.....more dancing for Gamzatti and even when Solor's hunting friends enter in the first act they are dancing whereas they walk on at the Mariinsky. The Bolshoi Bayadere also has 4 ramps for Kingdom of the Shades which is actually very magical. There is also more closure to the Bolshoi's version at the end.

And since most people were discussing Spartacus, the Mariinsky's Spartacus is the original version choreographed by Leonid Yakobson, and the sets and crowds create an incredible spectacle. It is sort of like a Cecil B. DeMille movie!!! In contrast, the Bolshoi's Spartacus is more exciting for the male dancers (especially the title role) and the more famous version. So that is give and take too.

I would say that in general all the ballets are better at the Mariinsky and the unique Vaganova style is better (my opinion), but for sheer male excitement the Bolshoi's Spartacus might thrill you more. However, if you love gorgeous sets and Cecil B. DeMille movies and less athletics (also the women are not on pointe), then you will prefer the Mariinsky's Spartacus.

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No, but ballet, oil painting, the traditional orchestra, opera, were, and for the past 500-600 years largely what we think of as Western art has evolved from the Renaissance foundation.

This was not necessarily a result of royal patronage. The flowering of modern dramatic theater was most pronounced in the mercantile cultures of England and Spain, where for-profit theaters were common.

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No, but ballet, oil painting, the traditional orchestra, opera, were, and for the past 500-600 years largely what we think of as Western art has evolved from the Renaissance foundation.

This was not necessarily a result of royal patronage. The flowering of modern dramatic theater was most pronounced in the mercantile cultures of England and Spain, where for-profit theaters were common.

Perhaps not, but specifically referring to ballet its origins were in the Medici courts, and the first professional ballet company was the Paris Opera Ballet founded under the patronage of Louis XIV. The Bolshoi Theatre itself came into existence under the patronage of Prince Pyotr Urusov and by proxy Empress Catherine the Great. Suffice to say Obama or Merkel hardly has the clout or resources to do the same for a new developing art form, and even if they did, it would hardly be their priority.

But I take your point, I'm no deep scholar of European history or ballet history, yet I would think that a lot, but certainly not all, of the culture we appreciate today was developed under significant patronage.

And would we have Rome's Colosseum without the Roman emperors or the Egyptian pyramids without the pharaohs, would we have any "wonder of the world" anywhere or even the large majority of popular "tourist destinations" if society was always as it is today, for me the answer is no.

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Thank you, Birdsall, for this wonderful information ballet by ballet, which I didn't quote here but I will take to heart and start adding to my DVD collection.

It was only with this visit of the Bolshoi that I came to realize the enormous differences between the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky styles, especially the difference in the carriage of the upper body. I definitely prefer the Mariinsky style, which is undoubtedly why Veronika Part is my favorite ballerina at ABT. As I said earlier on this thread, the Bolshoi dancers carry themselves with a more erect torso, like the dancers at POB. The Mariinsky dancers have much more fluidity, which to me allows for more expressivity. You can even see in the YouTube videos of the school how the dancers are trained from an early age to use their upper bodies even in barre exercises, beginning with plies and cambres. Now, with all the switching of companies (Zakharova, Obratzova, Smirnova, et. al.) I wonder whether that will have an effect on stylistic matters.

I think David Hallberg would be more suitable for the Mariinsky than the Bolshoi. Of course it was the Bolshoi that invited him to join.

I hope the Mariinsky Ballet will be coming to New York soon and will bring some of the great 19th century classics as well as some more contemporary ballets. Now I feel more than ever motivated to attend multiple performances with multiple casts.

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So I guess the question is, do we as a society want to be desperately focused on "learning" culture from the past or do we want to be focused on "creating" culture, or is modern society just so devoid of "culture" that we can't think of anything else (we've gone from creating to evolving/improving/changing to imitating).

I don't think those are the only options -- although new media have been and presumably will continue to be created (film, video, digital) whether they have led or will lead to masterpieces that last for centuries or, what also may be the case, a different idea of art that isn't as oriented around the "masterpiece" per se; and older forms will continue to be imitated in fairly conservative ways. But art, and in particular an art form like ballet, lives by building on its past and transforming it. (And ballet as a medium is nothing I would ever want to lose....) That's what Balanchine did with Petipa; it's what Ratmansky is doing (in my opinion) with a broad spectrum of Russian/Soviet, Danish, and other influences. The word you used for that kind of process was "evolving"--I'm relatively comfortable with the word "tradition;" ballet lives as part of an ongoing tradition. Without arts that are very much in touch with the past in that way, I don't think much would be left even for what you referred to as revolutionary art or for the invention of new media. Creativity is also a relation to the past even when it claims otherwise. The Renaissance was in part fueled by a rediscovery of past traditions (though scholars argue to what degree those traditions had ever been entirely lost).

To return to the Bolshoi: I hesitate to defend Grigorovich--and when choosing what I could manage to see during my time in NY opted for Swan Lake and Don Quixote rather than Spartacus which I saw for my first and only time four years ago--but I think that it would not be to the Bolshoi's benefit simply to toss its heritage aside. That is one reason I was so fascinated by Ratmansky's interest in a recreated, but also revised Flames of Paris and notably in contrast to the version the Mikhailovsky is bringing which, as I understand, attempts to be more of a recreation only. Anyway, I'm happy to have Spartacus remain an arrow in the Bolshoi's quiver: there may come a time--maybe not so far in the future after all--when they no longer believe in it enough to pull it off and it will look dutiful, which is to say unwatchable because it's not a ballet that can live in the twilight of dutiful. Already, based on reports, it doesn't seem as if any of the NY casts were all that close to 100 percent successful...though they do sound to me as if they were plenty entertaining.

I do also think the Grigorovich productions of 19th-century classics that I have any knowledge of pose serious problems for the company. The Mariinsky Swan Lake, which is certainly a Soviet Swan Lake (happy ending, jester), is much better. Kind of wonderful actually. But I tend to think of Swan Lake being to the Mariinsky what Don Quixote is to the Bolshoi...

(Filin, in a public discussion with Anna Kisselgoff that was part of the Lincoln Center festival, spoke in fairly predictable ways about balancing old and new at the Bolshoi, but some fire entered his voice when talking about the dancers putting their personal stamp on things and not just imitating the dancers of the past--I believe he named Vasiliev, Maximova and one or two others of the so-called "golden" age--and also, though he was speaking more indirectly, the importance of having their own roles created on them.)

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Without arts that are very much in touch with the past in that way, I don't think much would be left even for what you referred to as revolutionary art or for the invention of new media.

I don't think we should throw away the past. But in many ways the past is also a burden on the future, as humanity's collective knowledge grows in breadth and depth, it becomes increasingly difficult for each generation to assimilate both all of the previous generations' knowledge and create new value and serve new human needs. The pressure and impact of the Digital Age/Moore's Law and exponential population growth is pretty extreme for Gen Y and beyond, the marginal new child born is living in an exponentially tougher world than 100 years ago, or even 20 years ago. I found this list of "occupations and trades of the 18th century": http://www.history.org/history/teaching/trades.cfm, compare this to what we have today, sobering, is it not? (And it's only been 300 years... a mere wrinkle in time)

Of course it's also not improbable that we are all here existing today discussing on this forum, after all, there's a higher probability of being born today and living longer than ever before in history. In the early 20th century, a college degree would have meant something, now even graduate degrees mean nothing, for a physicist 100 years ago he would have had to know Newtonian physics, now he has to know quantum physics and string theory and beyond. And when everyone is constantly forced to learn more and more difficult things from the past to keep up and at an increasingly fast pace, sometimes beyond their innate capacity or endurance, is this all a good thing for collective human happiness and utility? For me, the answer is no. So institutional memory and tradition, for me, isn't all that it's cracked up to be. And people wonder why I never want to have a kid -- why would I ever want to put another human being through all of this in such a unique time in human history?

But of course, I join you in agreeing that we shouldn't "forget" the tradition of ballet biggrin.png

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And also, as I see it, ballet is still definitely very much an "elitist" form of entertainment for the wealthy middle- and older-aged, as a 26-year-old young professional I could count on my fingers the number of people of my demographic who were in the audience in any of the performances I attended.

I really don't think ballet is elitist. Ballet is still attracting large numbers of young people (maybe more than ever) who want to be dancers. As for viewers, though I am not in your demographic, I know a number of devoted ballet goers (one even goes to virtually every performance of ABT) who are. What keeps younger people away are the high ticket prices. When NYCB has their $29 for every seat in the house programs, the theater is full of young people. The same goes for Fall for Dance. The Bolshoi ticket prices were exceedingly high. To get reasonable prices per ballet, you had to buy a package of 3 ballets, which cost hundreds of dollars. After that, dynamic pricing meant seats were in the $200 - $300 price range. That's very high for anyone, let alone a 20 something young person. Companies still haven't realized that they won't get many new young viewers until they bring pricing down.

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Well I thought I would hate it but I found it very enjoyable in a kitschy schlocky kind of way. It reminded me of those Cecil B. DeMille Biblical epics -- campy and over the top. I think the Sunday afternoon casting was amazing -- they really sold this ballet, and the partnering of Lobukhin was spectacular. Would I run to see it again? Probably not, but for one afternoon, it was a lot of fun.

Also a big hand to the Bolshoi Orchestra. It was such a delight to hear them play Minkus and Khatchuturian as if it were Mahler -- I'm not used to hearing such quality sounds from the pit when I go to the ballet.

Riding a Merry -Go- Round is fun. Like California above, I found it troubling that this work is still considered to be a "signature" ballet of this company. How very sad. I too will not go into the "politics" of it all, but to keep this ballet at the forefront of this company's rep. is astonishing. The many fine dancers of the Bolshoi surely deserve better than these lesser attempts of Grigorovich. And we, the audience, also deserve to see better examples of choreography and production. The World of Dance has m oved on, but it would seem the Russians are still caught in some time warp, unable or unwilling to step into this new World.

I do think the Russians (even the Bolshoi) are trying to move into the new world. The Bolshoi dances MacGregor and just had their premiere of Maillot's The Taming of the Shrew. When Filin was asked at a YAGP talk why he was bringing these war horse ballets, he insisted it was the choice of the LCFestival; the Bolshoi had no say. Similarly, the Mariinsky dance Forsythe and Ratmansky. Luckily, they are bringing a more varied rep to London. Often what we see on tours is what the impresarios insist the companies bring.

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I really mind the fact that the ugly, reworked Grigorovich versions of Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, Nutcracker, Raymonda, etc. are still untouchable. Not to mention his atrocious R&J which meant the Bolshoi dropped the Lavrovsky version. Ugh.

Please pardon my ignorance, but does the Mariinsky Ballet have different (and better) versions of these classics?

Yeah, they're available on video ...

Just in the last few weeks, the Mariinsky performed Spartacus but they dance the Yacobsen version that preceded Grigorovich.

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.





It's difficult to disagree with anything in your well-thought-out post, California, but I would submit that the reason why "it's easy to tangle separate and distinct issues" is because they are profoundly difficult.

My understanding is that Triumph of the Will and The Birth of a Nation are considered highly effective and/or groundbreaking works. The fact that we find their content appalling does not prevent some individual of generally sound mind (Spielberg for example) from appreciating their merits and even --I daresay-- admiring their sheer craft. Sadly, the reality is that others will view such works and draw all sorts of dangerous and wrongful conclusions from them. How does a free/open society like ours handle this dilemma? I, of course, entirely agree with you that they should be carefully studied. But the key point is that different people will derive something entirely different from the exact same thing.

Wagner's case is mind-boggling because of his character and the anti-Semitism you mention. But his operas simply cannot be lumped with the above works. Wagner has a reputation --justly from all I know-- of being a sophisticated thinker and a great musician. This is why so many Jewish musicians have no problem performing his works. To put it differently, your race, creed, gender, religion, nationality, class --these need hardly matter with Wagner. Many simply cannot stand the man and his works, but these same works can potentially appeal to a wide variety of people because they explore profoundly "human" issues. To this I hasten to add that many persons love his great music who don't care about or bother to understand the messages in his operas. And also, of course, that some may derive certain crazy and harmful ideas from them. But again: we are affected differently by the same thing.

Here is the deal with Spartacus. I am not convinced that it really belongs with any of the works we are discussing here. It's certainly not great the way Wagner's operas are. But I don't believe that an artwork's being bombastic and over-the-top is sufficient grounds for considering it repulsive. I'm also unsure about the strength of its militaristic message. Some will view it this way, yes; but others will either belittle this aspect or ignore it altogether. In fact I don't quite understand what both its detractors and its proponents think this ballet is about. Does everybody derive the same message from watching it? And, I would argue, it's important that we in the West are not perceived as having ulterior motives for attacking it.

To get back for a moment to the Bolshoi's Lincoln Center performances. The bottom line is that the Company did a fantastic job of presenting Spartacus. I attended two performances. One was very impressive, and the other was downright powerful. All the members of the troupe and the orchestra deserve to be applauded for their wonderful work. Happily, I'm not one iota more militaristic today than I was a few days ago.

You're absolutely right about the importance of trying to understand the historical and cultural context surrounding a work of art. At the same time that must come after first becoming acquainted with it. That Spartacus reflects the Soviet Union's "glory days" should be a secondary consideration for a viewer in 2014. That it reminds Putin and his countrymen of the "good old days" should not be the primary concern of a ticket buyer in New York. An artwork should firstly be judged on its own merits. An examination of the societal context it sprang forth from (and exists in) should be tackled afterwards.

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And also, as I see it, ballet is still definitely very much an "elitist" form of entertainment for the wealthy middle- and older-aged, as a 26-year-old young professional I could count on my fingers the number of people of my demographic who were in the audience in any of the performances I attended.

I really don't think ballet is elitist. Ballet is still attracting large numbers of young people (maybe more than ever) who want to be dancers. As for viewers, though I am not in your demographic, I know a number of devoted ballet goers (one even goes to virtually every performance of ABT) who are. What keeps younger people away are the high ticket prices. When NYCB has their $29 for every seat in the house programs, the theater is full of young people. The same goes for Fall for Dance. The Bolshoi ticket prices were exceedingly high. To get reasonable prices per ballet, you had to buy a package of 3 ballets, which cost hundreds of dollars. After that, dynamic pricing meant seats were in the $200 - $300 price range. That's very high for anyone, let alone a 20 something young person. Companies still haven't realized that they won't get many new young viewers until they bring pricing down.

I don't think it's as simple as, let's just bring down prices, the companies still need to support themselves, and artists are already underpaid relative to other professions. In addition, if prices went far below market value, ticket scalpers would just step in and create the same problem. The limited theatre capacity together with the demand to see ballet is the problem. Maybe if they had a lot more funding and did a lottery system it could work but I don't think they would ever lottery ballet tickets. Currently much is reliant on generous individual and corporate donors, and those donors have priority seating as well (as they should, I don't disagree with that). Obviously it would be much different with government funding but of course that will never happen. Agree that Bolshoi pricing was extreme but they also haven't been here in 9 years.

So as I see it, it's still "elitist" not by nature but in practice due to the economics as you also pointed out which restricts certain demographics from partaking.

Also I would surmise most (but certainly not all) of the aspiring younger dancers you mentioned have parents in high income brackets. I've always seen a ton of teenagers in the Lincoln Center vicinity, whether they are Juillard or SAB or whatever it is, they all clearly belong to at least the upper-middle class, the girls in summer dresses, the boys in blazers, reminded me of prep school. Let's be honest, just to live in NYC, you have to be pretty well off, and if you're also able to afford sending your kid to one of these elite arts schools...

And besides, ballet is an investment, it's not like break-dancing, swing, or even ballroom where you can become reasonably proficient much faster, and so those with the free time to partake must also have the free capital.

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I actually think that Lincoln Center could have charged a lot more initially for Bolshoi tickets and also did not need to offer any package discounts initially. Demand was huge, and Lincoln Center Festival grossly underestimated the pent ujp demand for tickets. While I agree that the "home team" of ABT and NYCB should keep their prices down to attract new audiences and fill giant patches of empty seats every night, I don't think that applies to a visitiing Russian company liike the prestigious Bolshoi. I'm sure this venture of bringing so many people here for two weeks (not to mention all the people they brought for the Tsar's Bride) costs a small fortune. They should be able to recoup and make a big profit under the circumstance. God knows Lincoln Center Festival and its honchos needed a big hit after last year's Monkey Journey to the Earth.

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I liked both of the DQ & Spartacus (both of which i saw before). With DQ, I attended both evening casts, & would like to applaud both Lantratov and Labukhin, the latter of which showed more elegance, fineness, fluidity and harmony of Vaganova/Mariinsky training despite of the crazy tempos. Both of them have great jumps and very flexible. I love all the characters and folk dances. Bravo to Anna Tikhomirova, Denis Rodkin, Oxana Sharova, Kristina Karaseva Anna Antropova, Maria ZHarkova, Anna Balukova, & Maria Vinogradova. I also like the charming (and impressive) performance of Loparevich and Petukhov (DQ and Sancha). Kitris did not impress me. I have seen M.Aleksandrova in a better form (she has a great stage presence though), and it was my first time seeing K. Kretova. Stiffnness of their backs, non-fluid arms, very angular vector like movements made me miss Mariinsky (I know the styles are different). With Queen of Dryads – Smirnova & Nikulina were very different from each other, but I will watch both again (and in other ballets too). Smirnova’s slimmer frame and softness of dancing was a sharp contrast to Alexandrova.

It was my 7-9th Spartacus, previously seen in NYC in ’05 and DC in ’10. I’d say I would like to “can & preserve” the Sunday performance (Volchkov, Zakharova, Lobukhin, Nikulina), which was as great as Friday night, but with more ease and familiarity with the stage, more abandonment from A. Nikulina, it was a very moving ballet. I was happy to see that (high jumping, not-over-bulked, great lines &extensions, highest elevations and ballon and still great acting) great Spartacus’es are still with Bolshoi. I also loved to see Rodkin and Vinogradova on Saturday, they were great, soft, impressive, (however) they did not emote me as much as other cast. Lantratov was good, though I kinda liked Volchkov better (for my impression). Zakharova and Aegina are made for each other. I have not seen her dancing this role before, and what a great body, lines, musicality, image, acting and full control of Crassus, army, & theater.

I like the mix of that music, choreography of Spartacus. Bravo to the company for performing it so well, I enjoyed watching the perfect lines of dancers, drawings of dances, absolute synchrony of moves (as if made by rulers). Bravo to the whole company and to the orchestra and its conductor P. Klinichev.

PS: I had the same seat for all performances, so the angle did not play into. All the best to everyone and next step is Mikhailovsky

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When the Paris Opera Ballet came to New York two years ago it hadn't visited the city in some 20 years, but tickets were a good deal less expensive. A big difference was that the POB had not brought its own orchestra, just as the Bolshoi did not bring its own orchestra to Washington in May, though a chamber orchestra and choir were brought in from Germany especially for Pina Bausch's Orpheus and Eurydice. Not that unionized American orchestras are cheap to hire, but plane tickets and hotel rooms add up.

The Bolshoi is not necessarily a sure thing. Two years ago they brought Swan Lake to Toronto's vast Sony Centre, and organizers tried to charge very high prices for tickets, only to be forced to offer discounts later on.

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Exorbitant prices for tickets can be perhaps explained by the fact that ridiculously high ticket prices for Bolshoi ballet performances are the norm in Moscow (one of the few cities on the planet where there is little correlation between the quality of anything and the price).

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That's an important point. For the most part it's still less expensive to see the Bolshoi on tour than at home; there's only so much foreigners are willing to pay. Last summer the top price for Bolshoi tickets in London was £120, higher than what the Royal Ballet charges, but far less than what it would cost to buy an orchestra seat for Swan Lake at the Bolshoi. In Washington prime orchestra seats for Giselle sold for $135, almost half of what it would cost to buy comparable tickets for Grigorovich's production in Moscow.

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I don't think you can compare KC prices with other venues like the Koch or the Met. KC is America's national performing arts center, and in part it is a federally funded operation> I think their ticket prices are much fairer than most other venues because federal funds are part of the equation.

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If a touring company is included in a larger subscription series, it usually brings the ticket prices down significantly. Otherwise subscribers would balk, and guaranteed sales to a subscriber base is something no organization wants to squander. Instead I'm guessing the costs are spread out over the season, as you suggest.

The Bolshoi gets lots of federal funds, too, but it doesn't seem to bring down their prices at home.

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Thank you, Birdsall, for this wonderful information ballet by ballet, which I didn't quote here but I will take to heart and start adding to my DVD collection.

It was only with this visit of the Bolshoi that I came to realize the enormous differences between the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky styles, especially the difference in the carriage of the upper body. I definitely prefer the Mariinsky style, which is undoubtedly why Veronika Part is my favorite ballerina at ABT. As I said earlier on this thread, the Bolshoi dancers carry themselves with a more erect torso, like the dancers at POB. The Mariinsky dancers have much more fluidity, which to me allows for more expressivity. You can even see in the YouTube videos of the school how the dancers are trained from an early age to use their upper bodies even in barre exercises, beginning with plies and cambres. Now, with all the switching of companies (Zakharova, Obratzova, Smirnova, et. al.) I wonder whether that will have an effect on stylistic matters.

I think David Hallberg would be more suitable for the Mariinsky than the Bolshoi. Of course it was the Bolshoi that invited him to join.

I hope the Mariinsky Ballet will be coming to New York soon and will bring some of the great 19th century classics as well as some more contemporary ballets. Now I feel more than ever motivated to attend multiple performances with multiple casts.

Angelica, thanks for the comments. Yes, I love the Mariinsky (Vaganova style) a lot more than the Bolshoi style, but, as you say, there are Vaganova grads who are starting to go to the Bolshoi. That should be very interesting to see if they help influence the style or if they lose their unique style.

I do like the Bolshoi though. I don't mean to say I don't, but I prefer the Mariinsky.

Someone mentioned that the Mariinsky is doing a NY tour soon, but I can't remember when that will be or if it is just a tentative rumor with no firm dates planned yet. Probably if you go to the forum for Mariinsky on here you might find a topic title about a potential NY tour.

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Exorbitant prices for tickets can be perhaps explained by the fact that ridiculously high ticket prices for Bolshoi ballet performances are the norm in Moscow (one of the few cities on the planet where there is little correlation between the quality of anything and the price).

Yes, I was really surprised at the prices for the Bolshoi when I booked a ticket for Onegin on my recent trip. It was double or even more than double than a similar seat at the Mariinsky (and sold out a month or more before I went on my trip), and I personally like the Mariinsky better, but I wanted to experience the Bolshoi in person in their home theatre and decided to pay the price. Apparently, they easily sell out no matter how high their prices are.

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Someone mentioned that the Mariinsky is doing a NY tour soon, but I can't remember when that will be or if it is just a tentative rumor with no firm dates planned yet. Probably if you go to the forum for Mariinsky on here you might find a topic title about a potential NY tour.

Thank you, Birdsall. I see on the Mariinsky thread that the company is coming to the US and Canada in 2015, but that they are bringing only Cinderella to NY (the exact dates weren't clear to me). That might be motivation enough for me to go down to the Kennedy Center or up to Canada for performances of other ballets.

This board is a terrific resource!

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Unless an official source mentioned a potential tour, it would not be allowed here. Official sources don't always have all of the details up front, and plans have been known to change, most notably in that Lotto known as casting, but as more news and changes are announced, they are generally posted here, especially regarding NY companies, tours to the US, and US companies touring abroad.

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Apparently, they easily sell out no matter how high their prices are.

They have problems selling Contemporary and Modern, in fact. "Institutionalized" scalping has been for years contributing to those inflated prices at Bolshoi.

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Exorbitant prices for tickets can be perhaps explained by the fact that ridiculously high ticket prices for Bolshoi ballet performances are the norm in Moscow (one of the few cities on the planet where there is little correlation between the quality of anything and the price).

My seats for the Bolshoi (bought as a three pack) were less expensive than what I normally spend for my ABT seats. I sit in Grand Tier at the Met, but, as I've mentioned before, the 2nd Ring at the State Theater is a really good deal, both sight wise and financially. As far as being over priced, Americans (and others) think nothing of shelling out well over $100.00 a pop to see the big hits on Broadway. And they bring the whole family! And that's before "dynamic pricing" comes into play! Shows like "Lion King", "Alladin", etc. are always well, if not sold out. No one blinks at the prices. Broadway doesn't seem to be hurting from high prices. I think to bring a huge company, plus orchestra, here is an enormous undertaking. I don't think the prices were out of line, and judging from the full houses and standees awaiting seats, there were plenty of people out there willing to pay the fare. As for younger people at dance audiences, one sees quite a few at Paul Taylor and Ailey performances. Granted the seats are less expensive. There's lots of young money in this city. (just look at the housing costs lately!). They don't always support Opera, Ballet or the Symphony. And it would seem from various surveys that the Tech industry, both here and in Silicon Valley does not support the finer arts very well. But they think nothing of spending tons of money to see an Arena show or rock concert. "Nutcrackers" will always sell well. I don't have an answer. It's a puzzle. I, however, saw quite a few young people at the Bolshoi, and they were not all from school and camp groups.

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In modern times, it's obvious that we haven't innovated much in terms of creating entirely new artistic concepts, at least not anything near the sophistication or complexity of the forms created in the past.

We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. Exhibit 1 is hip hop, both music and the exquisite specialized dance forms. And hip hop artists didn't need a Renaissance court to birth the art form. Opera was once a popular art form and considered just as accessible as hip hop, but that doesn't make either of them any less complex.

So I guess the question is, do we as a society want to be desperately focused on "learning" culture from the past or do we want to be focused on "creating" culture, or is modern society just so devoid of "culture" that we can't think of anything else (we've gone from creating to evolving/improving/changing to imitating).

I don't accept this "either/or" argument as relevant.

People have been reinterpreting Shakespeare's plays -- and abridging them, changing the endings, adding in pieces that were current and popular or specific to the performer, etc. -- for hundreds of years. I don't see a compelling reason to stop or to stop interpreting "Giselle."

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