January 01, 2012

Travel Notes

The Bolshoi Theater, newly reopened after years of remodeling, is now battling a string of bad publicity incidents, though it is performing its ballets and operas to full-house audiences.

Muscovites reeled all fall when demand for Bolshoi tickets led to a prolific scalper bloom and tickets selling for up to 10 times their face value. The ticket mafia, loathed throughout the blogosphere, even inspired a scathing reportage from Afisha magazine, which called the situation “organized impunity,” implying that the Bolshoi’s management was tolerating the chaos for some unstated reason. In response, the theater introduced a policy where spectators would have to present their passports at the box office, and then again at the doors.

Just as a solution was found to this problem, two of the Bolshoi’s most famous dancers, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, announced that they were leaving the Bolshoi to join the Mikhailovsky Theatre, a small but generously funded venue in St. Petersburg. The married couple* said they want were seeking greater creative freedom and a chance to break from the Bolshoi’s restrictive classic repertoire.

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