Monday, July 21, 2014

The Grand New Opera and Ballet Theatre of Astana, Kazakhstan

October 2013

Link to the Ballet & Opera Theatre web site in English

Last year it was being built – this magnificent structure, reminiscent of European opulence and elegance. The old opera and ballet theatre was nice, although small, and located near the train station – about an hour or so by bus. This new theatre is located near Khan Shatyr, and near my house. I was so excited for it to be finished.

It was finished last summer, right before I left for the US.

This year I learned how quickly the new theatre sells out! It is much larger than the old one, with much more expensive tickets, yet several times I went to the ticket booth only to be told they were sold out. Once, I was told they weren't selling the tickets yet, come back in a week. I came back in a week and they were sold out!

At the former theatre, tickets usually ranged from 1000 to 1500 tenge ($7 to $10). At the new theatre, you can get seats for that cheap or even cheaper (500 tenge even!) but they are very far away. Far away and up high. Just like you're going to the opera/ballet in Germany (I've been to a lot of those, where you can get cheap tickets last minute but have pretty horrible seats.)

The 1000 tenge seats here aren't too bad. You can watch and enjoy the ballet. First or second row, near the center, would be best, and the 500 tenge seats are on the side (so not worth it, I think). My British friend's parents thought the 1000 tenge seats were very good.

I went to Sleeping Beauty with a large group and we sat in the 1000 tenge seats. I brought my daughter's binoculars, and it was amazing how clearly you could see the dancers with those!

Later in the year, I went to see Swan Lake; this time, the tickets were a present, and the seats were “par-terre” (on the main floor). These seats were so much better!! But at about $50 or $60 a seat, somewhat expensive (in my view).

The new theatre features the same dancers as before (the lead ballerina is one we met several years ago when we walked backstage after a show). But the special effects were amazing. How it made it seem as if there was real water, real waves crashing into the evil guy and drowning him, I don't know. It was spectacular.

The theatre itself is magnificent, worthy of many photo opportunities. It's definitely worth a 1000 tenge ticket; even if the seats aren't great, the experience still it.
front entrance

At night, around New Years time

View from 1000 tenge seats

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