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What is on at Moscow theatres today?

Moscow has always been known for its theatres and theres a variety of old, well-known and new, modern theatres you can go to. And nearly everyone will find a theatre for his or her taste. To test this and to prove or disprove the statement I visited several most known theatres in Moscow. There are all sorts of theatres in the city: drama theatres, non-repertory theatres, musical theatres, which include ballet dance and opera houses.

To start with I visited the Bolshoi theatre. This theatre has a long history and is famous for its soloists, both opera and ballet. They staged "Giselle", a famous classic ballet, by Perro and Gotier. It seemed very queer to me that no visitor sitting there was speaking Russian. Is it right that only foreigners visit the Bolshoi theatre in Moscow? To tell you the truth, Ive been to the Bolshoi before, two years ago. They staged "Tsarskaya nevesta" (The tsar fiancee), a beautiful opera by Rimsky-Korsakov but then I had my seat on the balcony and the ticket was a great deal cheaper than the one for "Giselle". People next to me were all Russians then. I won’t make any judgments, only I wish the tickets to the Bolshoi could be cheaper so that more people could afford watching a ballet performance from the pit which costs now about 150 USD per person. But of course, the real theatre-goers either will try to save money in order to afford it or sit on the balcony, and thats what most retired people do to have the chance to visit the Bolshoi again. I neednt tell you the reason to go to the Bolshoi - to breathe the air of the old theatre, to feel the presence of the famous people who visited or played here before, to seat upon stiff, a bit worn-out seats, to listen to the famous orchestra and thus to touch the art in its essence. Here you wont see or hear anything "too modern" or "too contemporary" and thats what attracts elder people to Bolshoi - to get some classic.

Keeping in mind that I need to visit a contemporary drama, I went to see "Mamapapasynsobaka" (Motherfathersondog), staged in Sovremennik. The play, written by a Serbian writer Sbrlyanovich, is praised by the critics for its keen and rather cruel satire on our grown up world watched through a prism of a kids eye. The tickets were of about the same 20 USD for an amphitheatre seat but some elder people seemed to have free invitations, and its very good that they have this opportunity to visit theatres for free. But some of them stood up after 20 minutes of the play, and left the theatre indignantly. The same thing occurred in the Sovremennik during the play "Desire tram" by W. Tennessee, where the actors got undressed right at the stage. This is probably the question of a wrong audience, not a wrong play. Curses coming off the stage may sound offensive for most of the people over 40 because they are expecting to see something more classical on a theatrical stage even if they go to a modern theater or to a modern play.

The other play I saw not long ago was "Unona and Avos", a contemporary opera, which was staged in Lenkom theatre with its premier in 1981. If you ask me the reason why see "Unona and Avos" Ill tell you - to listen to the song by Voznesensky "I will never forget you", the hymn of all lovers, which is sung by Dmitry Pevtsov and Anna Bolshova, a famous young actress, and she proved to be not only a drama actress but also a decent singer. Speaking of the prices, they seem to be not expensive for the Muscovites, you pay some 20 USD for a ticket but the seat is of course somewhere in the amphitheatre. And besides, this is the play for all ages because you could see both young and old people sitting and crying at the end of the play, pitiful for Konchita sufferings and her grief for the lover.

Nowadays theatres in Moscow offer you a variety of musicals. Recently they staged "otre Dame de Paris" which was of great success, world famous "Cats" and several domestic musicals. The Moscow Operetta theatre stages now "Romeo and Juliet", so if youre willing to watch a modern musical its the right performance to go to. Mossovet theatre has staged "Jesus Christ - Superstar" for years and they dont seem to stop it. Musicals are considered to be popular modern operas, so most people who visit them are young people who want to try something different from classic.

In the conclusion I must add that Moscow theatres are all different and so is their audience: retired people, seeking for classics in this modern fussy world, foreigners (this of course refers mainly to the Bolshoi theatre), and a great deal of younger people who are really interested in contemporary theatre and actors and are willing to spend their money and time not solely in cinemas (which are of course cheaper), because visiting a theater is an experience youll never forget, it remains in your heart. Believe me each time you taste it, it tastes differently as compared with a popcorn-coke-beer cinema taste.

June 26, 2006 18:12

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