on June 25, 2001
I love to wander through old buildings, and the Opera House was no exception. Anyone who was anyone in opera or dance performed there: Caruso, Nijinsky and Pavlova, among dozens more. Regular tours take you through the lobby and theater areas, with their gilded wood, plush carpets, and monumental statuary. The construction was overseen by three different architects, each fond of a different style – French, Italian, and Baroque (I think were the styles) but it all works. There are six tiers of balconies in the main theatre and a chandelier sturdy enough for members of the orchestra to sit up there and provide "celestial" music, when required. Along the side on the ground floor is an ornate grill. Since widows were not to be seen in public during their period of mourning, they would sit behind this grill and see without being seen.
The tour also goes beneath the theater into the several levels of dressing rooms, practice rooms (which were being used by a Russian Ballet Troupe practicing Le Corsaire for the evening performance I would have loved to have seen); a set building area that is the exact dimensions of the stage, where sets are built, broken down, and hauled up the freight elevator to the stage, and reassembled. They also have costumes on display.
I understand seats for the performances are hard to come by since most are held by season ticket holders.
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