Moscow Ballet Buying tickets to the Bolshoi Theatre

Fans of the ballet understandably have great anticipation for their trip to Moscow. It is one of the most prestigious addresses for the very best ballet in the world. Among the many fine Moscow ballet venues is the premier “Bolshoi Theatre”.

It should be known that the “campus” which makes up the “Bolshoi Theatre” has 3 important, separate, buildings. They are the Ticket Office, New Hall and Main Hall.

If you are unaware that there are 2 halls which are both called the “Bolshoi” you could easily think you are to attend a performance of the Moscow ballet in the Bolshoi Theatre Main Hall and discover that the performance is offered in the New Hall.

What is the difference? The Moscow ballet company which routinely performs in the Bolshoi Main Hall also performs in the New Hall. The New Hall is “newer” and smaller. The new hall has a completely separate building from the Main hall and , indeed, the ticket office.

The Bolshoi Theatre Main Hall is the building with the huge columns on the front facing the Kremlin and so easily seen from the street. It was the object of 5 years of restoration which ended in 2012 at a cost of over 1 billion dollars. Clearly, the Bolshoi Theatre Main Hall is the plum venue if you have a choice.

So you have decided to attend a ballet or opera at the Bolshoi and you are aware that there is a difference in venues. How do you buy Bolshoi Ballet tickets?

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Most of us depend on Google or Yahoo. We would Google “Bolshoi Ballet Tickets”. That will bring up the Bolshoi Theatre Ticket Office website right? Not so fast. Crafty vendors of Moscow ballet theatre tickets have devised every way imaginable to appear on the first few pages of the Google results you requested. Most of them are not in Russia and most offer fancy web sites which look VERY legitimate.

Nina Kaptsova and Artem Ovcharenko

The 2 most common web sites presented in any Google search for Moscow Ballet are OperaandBallet.com and the mirror image for St. Petersburg Ballet, BalletandOpera.com. These sites appear to be the same company. There are 3 things you should know before purchasing tickets from these or similar online ticket resellers:

  1. They frequently charge 150% to 350% of the face value of the tickets. To be sure there is some value in being able to go to a one-stop place, in English, to buy tickets. You must decide if the premiums they charge are reasonable.
  2. They frequently are mistaken about the performances.
  3. We have had clients who bought tickets from them who were turned away from the theatre. Here is a quote from the Heikon Opera website taken 1 Oct 2012.

ATTENTION! Dear spectators! We regret to inform you that balletandopera.com website sells FALSE tickets to our performances. PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS SERVICE!!! “

We have discussed what not to do. How should one buy tickets to the Bolshoi Ballet?

Anna Tikhomirova and Artem Ovcharenko (Bolshoi Ballet)

I suggest that you ask your Moscow tour guide or Moscow tour planner to buy your tickets. They will make sure that the performance is what you want to see AND they will probably know the inside of the theatre to give you guidance on seat selection. Without firsthand knowledge of the inside of the theatre, you will not know if the seat your are selecting will be behind a pole or that the seats are have such a shallow cantilever that you will be looking at the back of someone’s head instead of the performance.

Your Moscow tour company will probably charge a premium but the local knowledge, ensuring the tickets are purchased properly and saving you from having to register at the theatre web site will probably be worth the fee.

Olga Smirnova and Vladislav Lantratov (Bolshoi Ballet)

Lastly you can navigate the theatre website (some are only in Russian), register and go through the time consuming checkout process.

Without a doubt, attend a Moscow ballet at the Bolshoi theatre, Stanislavisky theare, New Opera theatre. These performances are among the best in the world and, usually, less expensive than their counter parts in New York.

A night at the Bolshoi is a great way to end a day of your Private Moscow Tour. By the way, you can get your Moscow Tour guide to show you the way to and from your hotel to the Bolshoi theater. They can even arrange a car for your transport if you are not comfortable with the metro. Never use Moscow cabs unless arranged by your hotel or Moscow guide.

About the author
Steve Fowler is a pilot for an American airline which takes him around the world and he is also a tour planner for RussianTourGuide.com and MyRomeTourGuide.com. He has attended ballet performances in almost every major and secondary venue in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In some venues like the Bolshoi theatre, he has attended many performances.





1 Comment to “Moscow Ballet Buying tickets to the Bolshoi Theatre”

  1. Kay kim says:

    How about boxoffice.bolshoi.org?
    They seem to offer much better prices than other 3rd party sites but very little info on them on the web…

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