What to Expect at the Russian Ballet

by Emeri Callahan

Nov 8, 2018

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Tips / Destination

The Bolshoi Theater in the heart of Moscow, Russia, is one of the most stunning and historic sites in the city. The theater is widely recognized as one of the oldest and greatest ballet and opera houses in the world. Just walking through the white marble columns into the lavish interior will bring you back to the time of the Romanov rule and imperial grandeur. The theater originally opened in 1856 and, after extensive renovations in the early 2000s, remains a jewel of the capital city.


The opulence is magnificent and overwhelming: Red silk tapestries hang from the walls, the ceiling is gilded with gold and a two-ton crystal chandelier sparkles in the center of the theater. Prepare to dust off your best evening attire to blend in with your surroundings. While dress code isn’t strictly black tie, it’s a rare excuse to get fancy and you’ll see many people wear full evening dress.


It’s a worthwhile cultural experience to see ballet or opera at the theater during your time in Moscow. No matter what show you see, don’t expect there to be any English subtitles. I recommend reading through the plotline in advance so you aren’t completely lost for three hours and left to make up your own version of what is happening onstage.


Just a three-minute walk from the Bolshoi is the Metropole Hotel, seized by Vladimir Lenin after the Bolshevik Revolution. Opt for a nightcap in the lobby bar after the ballet and thumb through an extensive menu of artfully prepared craft cocktails.



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