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BalletPerfection1

Mariinsky in Baden Baden

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Hi! I was looking at the tickets for the Mariinsky tour in Baden Baden, but since most cheap tickets are mostly sold out and it would, work wise, not so easy to go there this year, i think i will skip this years events. If you look online the mariinsky goes there every year, so can you logically expect them to return again next year? I also was wondering why the mariinsky goes to baden baden every year, since it is not a really big city? Is there a specific reason for this, just curious?

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I've been several times and it does seem the company is a fixture there now.  The Festspiellhaus has an ideal stage for a ballet company and the transport links to other German towns are very good.  Speaking to some German ballet goers it seems they are keen to make the journey now that certain companies veer away from classical ballet.  Personally I find the town very attractive and the locals very friendly, though it's a shame some of those amazing antique shops have closed down.

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Baden-Baden is sort of the Palm Beach of Germany, in my opinion. It has a very similar feel (attitude)......quiet playground. There is a lot of money and is a resort town (with amazing baths, casino, luxury hotels, sporting options nearby, etc.) I have only visited twice, but my suspicion is that the Festspielhaus (a privately funded opera/concert house.....unheard of in Germany or most of Europe) offers good contracts and pays well, so the Mariinsky signs up for an annual winter tour. They probably have a contract of some sort with the Mariinsky. The Festspielhaus is quite big (a renovated old train station). The fact that the small town has a small Faberge Museum with one of the eggs in it says a lot. This is not your normal small town. Their Christkindlmarkt was full of handmade and luxury items in comparison to most German Christmas markets that are still charming but geared for all people. 

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What month is the Mariinsky there annually?  Sounds like a nice trip.  

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I found the program online for the coming season, and it shows the Mariinsky performing The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and Jewels during the week of Christmas.  Also, Hamburg Ballet is performing in late September and early October of 2019.  

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I believe the Mariinsky is there around December, or the week of Christmas. They were there around that time this past December, and performed Swan Lake, as well as Ilya Jivoy's "Seasons", and Balanchine's "Diamonds" (and I believe something else on that triple bill, but I can't quite remember). 

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I think another reason that the Mariinsky tours at Christmas (Western Christmas) is that the Vaganova Academy does a lot of Nutcrackers at home (St. Petersburg) and it is probably the time of year less tourists want to travel to Russia due to the cold. The tour is usually always around our Western Christmas, because Russians don't celebrate until January 8 (Orthodox Christmas....same with orthodox Greeks). So they are able to still enjoy their Christmas with family once they return home. 

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One of the reasons the Mariinsky comes to Baden-Baden is the huge stage of the Festspielhaus, which is not exactly a renovated train station, that's only the entrance - the rest of the house was built completely new and is really big. Baden-Baden is a spa in the Black Forest, it was a favorite place for Russians in the 19th century, Tolstoy or Dostoevsky were there and Russians still love it.  Especially rich Russians.

The Festspielhaus is a bit like the Salzburg Festival, but stretched over a one-year-season: only the best orchestras, opera singers and chamber ensembles are invited, the tickets are rather expensive. They have a special relation to Gergiev and the Mariinsky orchestra. They invite five or six dance companies during their season, Hamburg Ballet (in October) and the Mariinsky (in December) come every year, the rest is made up of mostly modern companies: NDT, Cloud Gate Theatre, Aterballetto, Alonzo King, Béjart Ballet, also Het Nationale, Compania Nacional de Danca, Flamenco stars, etc. etc. The NYCB was there some years ago, on one of their rare trips to Europe. The next big towns are Strasbourg in France, Karlsruhe and Stuttgart in Germany, Basel in Switzerland. The audience comes from all these countries. 

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Yes, it is very obvious when you are there that the train station serves as the entrance and coat check. After leaving your coat you step into a very modern, large house which sits where the different tracks used to be. It is sort of a feel that you are entering an old building but it becomes very state-of-the art once you step through. It is a very interesting concept that combined the old with the new. 

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Since it is a rather large theatre I sat in the orchestra each time in different areas.  I liked the aisle seat on the left set of seats in maybe the 6th or 7th row (can't remember exactly). There are two center aisles dividing the center orchestra seats from the left and right side orchestra seats. My favorite seat was the aisle seat on the left (between the left side and the center orchestra). It was close enough to the middle to see the whole stage, but it was at a slight angle since it is off to the side so no heads were in the way. But I am 6 feet tall so maybe others would have had head issues. I think the rake of the audience seating gets steeper the farther away you sit. I also liked the first row of the next section of seats (there is an aisle between the front orchestra and middle orchestra seats. That was a good seat also. The aisle between the front orchestra and the middle orchestra probably helps with heads as well. 

Edited by Birdsall

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My advice is the opposite to Birdsall's, as I am a fraction under five foot five, I avoid the front stalls as they aren't raked,  Personally I like the circle best, for a lot of classical ballets I prefer to look down to appreciate the floor patterns.  Generally though the sight lines are good throughout the auditorium.

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The stalls are not raked, only from row 11 on, where you are already rather far from the stage. The balcony is very far from the stage, the first rows there are exclusively reserved for sponsors (they rely very much on donors). If you want cheaper tickets, go for the first balcony on the sides. The few boxes they offer have good sight with a slight restriction. In the second balcony you are already very far away, the theatre is huge.  Avoid the seats on the second balcony sides, very bad view from there. 

 

 

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