Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Arts update on the Bolshoi… oh, and something new on Tartarstan

I have finally caught up with the sadly inevitable news that the Bolshoi’s main stage – under restoration since 2005 – will have its opening delayed yet again. At least, though, I shall still (just) be here to enjoy the old girl again. Before it closed, I only went there about a dozen times and, in retrospect, it is kind of worrying that the cracks in the building were so bad we were all, in fact, just one overly-resonant top ‘C’ from the great chandelier coming crashing down on us all in the Stalls.

And to think much of the real damage was done to the old girl from the ground-crackingly deep extension being built next door at Tsum. I hope someone has sent Tsum the appropriate bill…

Bolshoi snobs decry the ‘New Stage’, where the Bolshoi hangs out these days. Actually I quite like it. Sight-lines and acoustics are fine. Well I usually sit Stalls’ rows 1-5 for ballet; 5-10 for opera, so from there it’ll always look and sound superb.

There hasn’t been a huge amount on this month to grab my fancy; but in the last week of February I have booked:

The Mariinsky (formerly known as the Kirov - the naming of it is a tale in itself), on tour at the Bolshoi. Thusly to reignite that old debate, ‘which is the better ballet troupe? Bolshoi or Kirov?

I have also scored, from my usual dealer, a night of three one act ballets – including the Twyla Tharp (about which I have written here, here and here). I am conceivably hooked on this piece.

In between I am going to the Stanislavski-Nemirovich-Danchenko to see (fourth time?) them dance Chaika.

Tartarstan - a quick shout out: spin-merchant, Mmd, has published a regional guide to Tartarstan. Fascinating place: and to think at one time its secession was considered much greater a threat to the survival of the Russian Federation than Chechnya’s. Much redistribution of assets there right now and plenty of investors piling in. My humble advice? You need brass balls to invest there. Potentially very high returns 'tis true; potentially, also, huge political risk 2009 onwards: ‘velvet-reprivatisation’ definitely a risk.

Trivia: it seems that Barak Obama and the Tartastani share nearly the same catch motto (Buldırabız! - We can!), or so it seems

Nerd that I am, I am staying up until the small hours to watch the exit polls come through from the USA.

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