Travels to Reims (Il viaggio a Reims) is a 19th century classic opera with a very weak story line about preparations for a trip to Reims, France for the coronation of King Charles the X.
In this particular production the director, Damiano Michieletto, has added a modern twist and invoked a fantasy element in which the Inn where the arrangements are being made has become a museum and the Duchess in charge of the preparations is a museum curator.
Things really get weird when the art work comes to life and participates in the production. For a first time opera goer it was quite the surprise and kept us engaged for the 3 hour performance.
Moscow’s Bolshoi versus St. Petersburg’s Mariinskiy
Like the Mariinskiy Theater in St Petersburg, a show at the Bolshoi is an event to be experienced. The two theaters are similar in their layout and both offer great performances, the most famous being the ballet Swan Lake.
I should add that the orchestra seating at the Bolshoi is better than that at the Mariinskiy as the floor has a better slope and you can generally see over the person in front of you.
Dressing for the Performance
Locals dress for the performance. Travels to Reims being a less popular opera drew fewer tourists and more locals. As such it was great fun watching the spectacle of the audience as well as the show. Don’t worry if you don’t have your Sunday best with you. Do the best that you can and they’ll let you in.
October 13, 2019
For links to all the posts in this series see the Russia page.