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June 2, 2006

Mariinsky II

The Mariinsky Press office sat me in “extra” seating. IThe ticket situation was a comedy of errors. There is one tiny box office window. Press tickets are “inside, to the right” – I passed through a metal detector to a stairway, most ushers do not speak English besides “left” and “right”. Moving down another corridor there is a lone window, the woman inside gave me a hand written ticket and after asking, a program in English. The seat location was written in Russian. There are no seating diagrams that I saw. I went back to the woman at the stairway. She pointed outwards and to the left. I went through another checkpoint. I headed to a door. The woman looked at the voucher. “To the left”. I found another usher; she looked at the voucher and said something in Russian. Finally I was at the absolute end of the corridor, where an usher was sitting. “Где?!” (Where??) I pleaded with her. She led me to a box, and pointed to two chairs outside the box. Through quick mime she indicated that I was to take one of the chairs outside and sit in it at the back of the box. Good God. I had been warned that the press office gave awful seats, but this is beyond my expectations. If I sit, my view is blocked by the people in front. If I stand, there is a hanging chandelier that blocks the exact center of the stage. I alternate between standing and kneeling on the chair.

This only happened the first night. On every other night I was in the “parterre” which at the Metropolitan Opera House is a separate ring, but at the Mariinsky is the back of the orchestra. There are six small unmarked chairs curled along the side of the house on both sides; these are given out by management. I was placed in one of these chairs each night; the view is fine.

Besides the corps de ballet in Swan Lake (oddly enough, the corps in La Bayadère did not have the same resonance) the most notable thing of the weekend of performances was Dmitri Semionov performing Solor. Russian friends have been telling us to watch for him for years; but he suffered a major injury. He’s got great proportions and an easy, full jump.

Posted by Leigh Witchel at June 2, 2006 5:43 AM

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