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“Ballet Lovers...Beware”

Alexandrinsky Theatre
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Ranked #107 of 1,819 things to do in St. Petersburg
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Reviewed July 5, 2013

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.

Observed:
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.

13  Thank BuonaNotteRoma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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64 - 68 of 274 reviews

Reviewed July 5, 2013

A dream come true...Swan lake in this beautiful theatre...amazing. The ballerinas were exquisite and the theatre so regal

3  Thank jyoB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2013

Came here to see Swan Lake to see a Russian Ballet in Russia. I was not disappointed with the building or the performance, both were superb. Our seats were great, we purchased our tickets from http://www.balletandopera.com/ with no issues whatsoever. The only issue I did have with our experience, which I am guessing is common in most of these Russian theaters during peak tourism seasons, is that this place was crammed with tourists who were loud, rude, and that took flash photos the entire performance. They were just there because it was part of their tour bus deal and then they were off to the next thing on the list. No matter where you sat or what you did there was no way to escape this. We had a pretty good time but this kinda ruined it a little for us.

3  Thank Erich H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2013

We booked from the UK for Swan Lake at the Alexandrinky and were not disappointed - it was superb! We had seats in the stalls in the raised seating area at the back - and although at first we were disappointed we were so far back, in fact we had the best seats. As the theatre is so small we had a great view of the stage - across the heads of everyone - so an uninterrupted view!

The dancing particularly of the principal ballerina and the fool was as good as any i've seen at Covent Garden, in fact better than some. And the sets were luscious. I can't comment about the Marinsky - but for an intimate and quality performance you could do no better than this.

We had drinks in the interval from the balcony overlooking the square and gardens - sublime.

One quick moan - why do tourists have to film bits of the production on their i-pads??!!

1  Thank Cheshirehardy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2013

A Russian performance of Swan Lake performed in a beautiful historic theater in St. Petersburg. What more is there to say? The evening would have been perfect if not for the inconsiderate boors in the audience who, despite being told not to, took flash photos of every iconic scene. Fortunately, the dancers remained impossibly graceful and performed as the true artists they are. A magnificent event.

1  Thank metwrt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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