Things still are not as they should be at the shiny new Bolshoi, says Reuters.
Back stage, dancers grumble that practice rooms have become cramped and the Bolshoi has lost the charm that can only exist with the patina of a bygone era. Much the same criticism levelled at the Royal Opera House renovation and that of Milan’s La Scala. Then there are those who still prefer the smoke-stained sepia look of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel before the restoration.
Marianna Ryzhkina, a Bolshoi prima ballerina, with the company for 22 years, says,
The theatre’s spirit has completely deteriorated. The rehearsal space has been taken apart and replaced with office-like rooms with low ceilings and other defects.”
She added that two dance studios have sloping ceilings so low that dancers risk bumping their heads during high lifts.
Many of the theatre’s long-serving staff say they are nostalgic for the creaking parquet floors and squeaky wooden doors, now replaced with bland beige tiles and plastic. A staff member said,
It is sad to see the theatre’s creative air go.”
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.