Monday, October 13, 2014

Behind the Scenes at the Bolshoi

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.

The lobby.

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. 


Two Adventurous Moms said... [Reply]

Hi Donna,
Beautiful photos! Glad you're still blogging.

Can we publish an exerpt of your Guidelines for Bloggers from the AASFW website? We're covering the topic in our CLO Blog and in the newsletter. We will attribute if you'd prefer.


Donna said... [Reply]

Please feel please to publish but please do attribute and/or link to the AASFW site so they get the traffic. Good idea for a newsletter topic!

Please. Write your own stuff.