The Embassy was closed today, but the school was open. Love those U.S. holidays overseas!
Bart and I took advantage of this rare empty day and joined a bunch of people from the Embassy for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Bolshoi Theater. Today I was really regretting not having a real camera. I suppose it's time to figure out how to get a new one. (It isn't just the cost - it's also trying to figure out how to get one delivered. The pouch doesn't allow lithium batteries or glass, both of which a camera has. Heck, the pouch just rejected my prescription medicine. I'm sorta frustrated with the pouch right now, but not as frustrated as I am with my lack of camera...)
Anyway. We got a few decent pictures. And now it's time to start plotting how to get tickets to a ballet some time soon. It won't be easy. Not only do they cost in the neighborhood of $300 per ticket, but they sell out months in advance. Bart scored tickets for my birthday last time we lived here. But now we have to find 6 tickets somehow!
|Looking up at the facade.|
|The Emperor used to sit up there. Now it's the President's box.|
|This was apparently Stalin's favorite place to sit, just above the orchestra pit overlooking the stage.|
|Even the signage is fancy.|
|The chandelier in the center is decorated with over 25,000 crystals. Down below you can see the stage crew hard at work.|
|Looking up at the same chandelier from the main floor.|
|A wall detail.|
|Me, in one of the rooms the Emperors used to hang out in.|
|Here's a peek at the costume shop, where there were too many sewing stations to count.|
|Some of last season's costumes.|
|We even got to go up on the rehearsal stage. After all those years of dance classes, I can finally say I was on stage at the Bolshoi!|
|Looking down into the orchestra pit.|
|The view from on stage.|
Aside: Once, when I was still in college (and studying 3 different types of dance in addition to Russian), I was asked to translate for a donor fundraising event when a group of famous Russian dancers (not from the Bolshoi!) came to town. It was a terrific opportunity - not only did I attend the fancy fundraiser, but I got to sit in on the dress rehearsals and watch real dancers in action. At the fundraiser, though, I was appalled by the rudeness of the dancers, who were, as a group, total jerks. It was very difficult to translate some of their surly remarks. I was sorely disappointed to discover how awful they were, almost to a person. The orchestra folks, on the other hand, were awesome. A few of us translators pulled an all-nighter with them back at their hotel, just hanging out, drinking, talking, telling funny theater stories. I thought of that today, for the first time in a long time, when I looked into that orchestra pit. And it really was so amazing to get to stand on the stage, looking down at all of the taped "X"s marking up the floor.