When we knew we were to be in St Petersburg for a few days, I consulted the Mariinsky Theatre website. What might we go to see? Amy had expressed an interest in seeing a ballet and I wasn’t too worried what I saw – I simply fancied going to the theatre to see a “real” show rather than some tourist compilation. It seemed that we were in the city during the last few days of a ballet festival, but sadly none of the classics were to be performed and our choice was limited.
Prince Igor seemed a good choice though, for a real flavour of Russia! I found a great website with seat advice – a kind of seatguru for the Mariinsky and booked the last four tickets together, which amazingly were on the front row and highly recommended. I had a series of email confirmations in Russian, a phone call from my credit card company to check that I’d just made a transaction in Roubles and printed out the ticket pdf at home.
Though the theatre wasn’t so far from our hotel, we booked a car with Denis the concierge and so arrived in style in a black BMW 7 with Dmitry, our driver.
“I’ll give you my card in case you want to leave early”, he said. “You’ve chosen the long one”.
Well, yes, we had. But our seats were fantastic and we settled in for the long haul, thanks to Amy’s little tin of fruit sweets purchased earlier in the day. We’d hoped there would be a bar or at least some refreshment on offer, but sadly that was not the case.
The chairs were generally comfy enough, until the last hour or so!
The audience were mainly Russian, there were quite a few children in the audience and people were smartly dressed. We felt we were part of an occasion.
The opera itself was grand – a little dated perhaps, but the spirit was there and the sentiment absolutely spot on for the moment. Ah Russia!
Being able to see everything was key – I loved to watch the conductor (with his waist-length pony tail!) and the orchestra as well as the performers on stage. That website was spot on advice, by the way.
But when the curtain came down after the last chorus, it was good to stand up and move!
Sure enough, Dmitry was there, right outside waiting for us and in no time at all we were back in the hotel for a nightcap in the bar named after the Tsar.
The perfect way to spend our last night in St Petersburg, I think.