I was on the edge of my seat. I had to be or I couldn't see.
Before leaving home I'd bought (on line from the Bolshoi website) ballet tickets for the Bolshoi Heritage theatre performance of Ivan the Terrible. Dressed in our finest - well the finest you take when travelling - we arrive to find our tickets are for The opera Don Pasquale (who?) in the new theatre. Aaarrrggghhhhhhh.
Luckily God invented ticket touts. It was 10,000 roubles ($NZ200 ish) for two tickets. We'll take them, but only after I check with the doorman they are legitimate. They are. But no prizes for guessing they aren't the best seats in the house. Who needs to see the right hand part of the stage anyway?
The theatre itself is not as breathtaking as expected. I've seen more glitz in Chinese restaurants. Bolshoi means big and I was expecting something, well, big. And grand. And spectacularly ornate. It's smaller than I expected, but tall and steep with a narrow floor area. This makes the seating more of a semi oval then a semi circle around the stage.
|Not so fancy|
|We are seated at the third of seven upper levels, right next to the (unoccupied) Royal box. In other theatres the VIP box is positioned so Great and the Good are seen and can rattle their jewels at the proles; here it is positioned for the best view of the stage. Our two seats are right against it, meaning the seat closest has an imperfect view.|
|My imperfect view|
I spend the first half leaning on the hunter-gatherer so I can see the right hand side of the stage. We change at half time after a refreshing glass of local fizz in the 7th floor bar. Really, we have way better seats than those on higher levels close to the stage.
The ballet was totally beautiful and the technique looked, to me at least, flawless. The story is Ivan's life - from becoming Tsar, marrying Anastasia, going to war, finding Anastasia poisoned by his enemies, wreaking bloody revenge and committing suicide. Your basic boy meets girl really.
The troupe comprised 50 plus dancers, and some scenes had 30 to 40 on stage at once. The pas de deux with Ivan and Anastasia were things of beauty, especially when they were, as the synopsis put it, enjoying mutual happiness.
It was such a fabulous performance I would've paid double to see it.
Oh that's right - I did.