I with my family and friends took in "Swan Lake" at the Alexandrinsky Theatre. Prior to purchasing the tickets I knew that the Mariinsky was the top ballet in St.Petersburg but since their show was sold I out booked here instead.
Paying a premium, we sat on the left side of the theatre about ten rows from the stage. I noticed that the left-most six seats of the row are under the mezzanine and have a partially obstructed view of the stage. Since our kids were seated there - it didn't matter much but it's worth noting to anyone hoping to watch the performance.
The ballet production itself is mediocre. There were a couple of very talented cast members to be sure - but the ensemble in general seemed quite a bit less schooled and rehearsed than other ballet companies I've seen. Certainly, and I always appreciate the effort of professional performers...they didn't to my mind live up to their billing as a "Russian Ballet."
The orchestra was not very good at all. First, it clearly lacked the proper instrumentation to perform the music as Tchaikovsky wrote it. Second, the musicians themselves played poorly - cracked notes by brass and woodwinds were heard more than once and none of the pieces were played with the emotion being acted out by the dancers.
The worst part of the Alexandrinsky...and this could be a seasonal phenomenon...was the audience. Made up mostly of cruise-ship folks dressed in logo clothing and white sneakers; there were enough theatre neophytes that the two ushers working the main floor couldn't keep up with their disruptive and rude behaviors.
1. Woman humming along with performance
2. Several people taping performance on smart phones...after being told to stop
3. Several people taking flash photographs during performance
4. People talking loudly during performance
5. Repeat smart phone offenders being "zapped" by ushers wielding handheld laser pointers
In short, it seems that the producers of this "Swan Lake" understand fully the opportunity brought on by peak travel season and have moved to maximize their profits by putting second tier performers on stage in front of people who will fill the seats and just don't know the difference between a ballet and buffet.