Belarusian Opera and Ballet Theatre, Minsk
The present building of the Belarusian Opera and Ballet Theatre was built in Soviet Constructivism style between 1934 and 1939 after designs of the Belarusian architect Iosif Langbard.
It is officially called: National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus.
During WWII the theatre was bombed, but luckily stayed almost undamaged. During this time it was turned into stables by the Nazis.
Between 2006 and 2009 the building and the surrounding area underwent massive renovations. The current theatre has a capacity of 1200 people.
The magnificent building of the Belarusian Opera and Ballet theatre towers on top of Troitsky Hill, at
the eastern end of Minsk's old town (Trinity Suburb, Traiyetskoye Predmestye).
Address: Belarusian Opera and Ballet Theatre, pl. Parizhskaya Kommuna 1, Minsk
I LOVE Belarussian Opera and Ballet! If you are in Minsk, you absolutely must see it! I promise, you won`t be disappointed (and it`s SO affordable anyway).
As our original Opera/Ballet theater (on Parizskoj Kommyni square) is under reconstruction (see picture #3), the operas/ballets are held in the Palace of Republic on Oktyabr`skaya square.
Tickets can be bought in the theater`s ticket office OR on Nezavisimosti avenue next to GUM (see lady standing in a small booth covered with posters - few yards on your left from the GUM entrance if you are facing the building).
Price range is from 3500 (~$1.6) to 20 000 belarussian rubles (~$9.00).
MUST see ballets:
- ESPECIALLY: Karl Orf`s 'Karmina Burana' + Bize`s 'Karmen Suita' - I`ve seen it 3 times and still cannot get enough. ;-)
- Petrov`s 'Sotvorenie Mira' [translation: Creation of the World].
Performance starts at 7.00 pm.
Theater does not work on Mondays.
Today on March 27 is the International Theatre Day, and I thought it would be a good day to book the tickets.
That’s no brainer as such – they take credit cards, and the transaction went very smoothly, all in all hardly taking 5 minutes.
The problem was to choose the right seat for the ballet. With opera you just take the inexpensive balcony, but make sure it’s opposite the stage – connoisseurs say this is where the sound goes.
But with ballet I have no experience whatsoever – used to make little sense with my eyesight, until I got new crystal lenses. The photo here is the best I could find in WWW – hope they have ascent in the stalls, and I will see both Romeo and his Juliette :)
‘Prince Igor’ is the staple Russian opera, the right thing to strike acquaintance with this Belarusian theatre. Any office clerk will rebuff a new task with ‘…there is neither sleep, nor rest for his tormented soul’ (Prince Igor’s aria, Act II), and on Friday afternoon he will whistle ‘…oh, freedom, freedom must I have!’ (same aria).
You can google Wikipedia for the plot, here are my personal impressions.
I rather liked the gentle Yaroslavna (Ekaterina Golovleva), femme fatale Konchakovna (Kriskentia Stasenko) was not bad either – ladies typically fair better, be it singing or anything else.
Among menfolk it was Prince Galitsky (Andrei Valentij) who stole the show. Bookmark him, this Ukrainian-born, St.Petersburg-schooled fellow is a true star, and he knows it, see his YouTube channel below.
You know how opera singers often have trouble with delivering the sound to the audience, they keep it tucked instead in their throats and further down to their guts. No such nonsense here, the voice is clear, the words are thoroughly articulated, everything goes without any visible – or hearable – effort. What’s even more important, he definitely enjoys the job, although he is said to be more of a dramatic bass than bass-baritone. Still, in future I rather see him as the unfortunate Prince Igor than the indulgent Khan Konchak.
The production is more on the classical side which I rather like: period costumes, appropriate stage settings, not the ugly modernistic stuff as in the recent Met piece, or even the our Bolshoi for that matter (see my Moscow tip). They did cut off a full hour of music, though – the audience are working people who have to be at home early. Nonetheless there was a long applause after the performance; I could not catch up everything with my point-and-shoot camera, but trust me, no singer left without a bunch of flowers.
Impressing ‘Polovtsian Dances’, as usual – Minsk ballet has a reputation of its own.
The funniest thing is the price: parterre box, 1st row, centre - $ 7.
Less than that mushrooms soup at Vasilki!
I’ll upload the full review later, when I have time.
So far I can tell you that the production is (a) marvelous and (b) rare, not the traditional Lavrovsky’s choreography.
See video below – these are the same dancers I’ve seen. Click on the picture.
You certanly should go to my favorite theatre, the State Belarussian Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. In front of it is the monument to poet Maxim Bogdanovich
Great dancers with a rich repertoire, amazing - often avant-garde - sets and an extremely competent orchestra.