Ballet and tickets is one of the question I get regularly. When in a good mood I say something neutral like “the Bolshoi is there to fleece fools like you”. Otherwise the traveller will hear a diatribe that will include the story of my two visits there, first in 1993, when I, myself a foreigner after a 12 year Canadian exile, fell obligated to get some “culture” before going back. Back then I was somewhat taken aback by numerous matreshka doll sellers in the lobby. In December 2011 I was hired do some interpreting for a Norwegian magazine doing an article on the Bolshoi. That time the matreshka spirit was present in the form of sponsor messages like “toys for this Christmas tree were donated by xxxxx”. I translated these as a revenge against being. The journalists never called me again so I take they appreciate my efforts. But today I dropped by a place called New Ballet at Novaya Basmannaya 25/2 to get tickets for my clients who, as is usually the case, failed to order them online. Despite “New” in the name the place impressed me as a time capsule. One of the particularly annoying things about this universe it time. I would not mind the phenomonon of time if it just stood there. But its propensity to flow is annoying. I am always on the lookout for places and situation where it stops its incessant movement. New Ballet felt like one of these. A one by three feet gray sign points to the building. For 15 min. I was ringning the bell to their tickets office. The proceeded to call numbers on their posters. Got fast “beep-beep-beep”, which means “out of service forever”. Walked around the building in search of some hidden entrance. Tried ringing again. This time was let in with profuse apologies and an explanation about the general meeting. Was taken to the ticket lady who was introduced to me by her name and patronymic, in full formal manner. The tickets were cut from one sheet with scissors in my presence, and then the date and price were rubber-stamped. Glossy paper, not the authentic grey variety, was a bit of a dissonance. As a final touch I was mildly reprimanded for not being clothed warm enough for this time of the year. Back to early 90s and before, when Russia was in part what it is supposed to be. Somewhat clumsy but cozy and… Guess “texture” is the best word I can come up with. Places of this sort is where you find the real thing. I’m putting the New Opera on my “Recommended” or “To check out” list.
Novaya Basmannaya 25/2, Metro Krasnyye Vorota or Baumanskaya or Komsomolskaya. Tel. +7 495 632 1963 but it’s no use calling. Their sites does not work but unconfirmed rumours say that some persistent individuals succeeded in ordering tickets online. Prices are 400-500 roubles ($13-17), which is very cheap by Moscow standards.
Close to Preobrazhensky Farmers Market, one of my favourites. If you need tickets picked up and I’m still in Moscow just ask and I’ll drop by when in the area.