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Don Pasquale (Opera by Gaetano Donizetti)

Don Pasquale (Opera by Gaetano Donizetti)

Gaetano Donizetti
Opera in three acts
Libretto by Giovanni Ruffini based on Angelo Anelli"s libretto "Ser Marcantonio"
Music Director: Michal Klauza
Stage Director: Timofey Kulyabin
Set Designer: Oleg Golovko
Costume Designer: Galya Solodovnikova
Lighting Designer: Denis Solntsev
Chief Chorus Master: Valery Borisov
Dramaturge: Ilya Kukharenko
Premiered on April 19, 2016.

Synopsis
St. Jerome University, Rome, present day.

Act I
Scene One. The University

Don Pasquale, a renowned scholar and a confirmed bachelor, makes a decision to marry on the brink of his 70th birthday.
He receives Dr Malatesta, who offers him his sister Sofronia as a bride-to-be. The girl was raised in a convent and is full of virtue. Inflamed Pasquale sends Malatesta to fetch her.
The bridegroom is anxious to share the happy news with his subordinates and his nephew Ernesto. The uncle and the nephew have been in conflict for a long time. Don Pasquale threatens to cut Ernesto off and even disinherit him by marrying, if Ernesto keeps resisting the good match arranged by his uncle, but the young man remains true to his love for the penniless young widow Norina.
Knowing now that Don Pasquale"s marriage is no blind threat, Ernesto is in turmoil. In addition he learns from his uncle that his friend Malatesta betrayed him by arranging Don Pasquale"s betrothal.
Insulted by his nephew"s obstinacy and derision, Don Pasquale cuts him off and kicks him out.

Scene Two. Norina"s flat
Norina spends her morning reading romantic novels and imagining herself as a heroine, when she is delivered a message from Ernesto. He bids his farewell as he is going to leave the country. The woman"s plans to marry him are ruined.
Malatesta arrives and comforts Norina"s distress: his new plan is to wed Norina to Don Pasquale by disguising her as a meek and virtuous Sofronia. Malatesta"s cousin Carlotto is to impersonate a notary. Once the fake marriage contract is signed, Norina is to make the old man"s life insufferable, so that he comes to his senses and agrees to his nephew"s marriage with Norina.
Malatesta and Norina rehearse the behaviour of the simple and naive girl Sofronia and discuss the details of their plot.

Act II
The University

Ernesto says goodbye to his alma mater where he spent his adolescence, and composes another farewell letter to his beloved.
Don Pasquale prepares to meet his bride. Malatesta introduces Norina as the shy Sofronia. Don Pasquale is enchanted and implores Malatesta to fetch a notary without delay and conclude the marriage contract.
Carlotto arrives disguised as a notary. Rejoicing, Don Pasquale assigns half of his property to his new wife and bequeaths all his estate to be administrated by her.
As they proceed to sign the contract, Ernesto rushes in to say goodbye to his uncle. He is shocked to find out that Norina is the bride: Malatesta did not warn him beforehand thinking he was already away. Now Malatesta has to drag Ernesto in off the cuff. Eventually Malatesta makes Ernesto sign the marriage contract as the final witness.
After the formal part is completed, Norina stops pretending docile, positions herself in charge and confronts Don Pasquale, then summons his personnel and gives them absurd orders. Puzzled, the University staff has to obey. Don Pasquale is dismayed at his bride"s transformation and feels that he was betrayed, but the contract is already concluded.

Act III
Scene One. The University

Norina and Malatesta have changed the plan of the upcoming celebration of Don Pasquale"s birthday and are now preparing a new programme for the event. The whole University watches the preparations in astonishment. Don Pasquale has to pay countless bills.
He spots Sofronia/Norina leave the building dressed in an evening frock. Despite all the quarrels Don Pasquale still hopes to set things right with his young wife on their wedding night. He tries to stop her, but she mocks him and slaps him in the face. He is in despair. Sofronia/Norina goes away but secretly leaves behind a fake note from a lover about a date that night. Don Pasquale is mad with jealousy.
Don Pasquale"s employees discuss the new establishment and constant fighting between the spouses.
Malatesta sends Ernesto to the garden to impersonate Sofronia"s lover. Don Pasquale arrives. He is broken and devastated. He complains to Malatesta about Sofronia"s severity and harshness and accuses his wife of adultery. He wants to catch her in flagrante and call the police.
Malatesta consoles Don Pasquale and persuades him to keep the matter silent: if Sofronia is caught, she might quietly concede to divorce. Don Pasquale agrees with this plan and aspires for revenge and redemption.

Scene Two. The "garden"
Ernesto sings a serenade to Sofronia pretending to be her lover. Then he and Norina sing a love duet to attract Don Pasquale"s attention, and Ernesto hides away.
Don Pasquale"s hopes to catch both Sofronia/Norina and her lover are ruined as he finds her alone. She is outraged and denies all his accusations, as well as his claims for divorce. Don Pasquale is desperate to break the marriage bonds. Malatesta offers his help, provided that he is given a free hand.
In Don Pasquale"s presence Malatesta tells Sofronia that soon she will have to share her authority as a mistress with Norina, Ernesto"s future wife. Sofronia takes this ill. It is she who demands a divorce now. Pasquale is anxious to secure it by arranging his nephew"s wedding right away and even providing the couple with a substantial sum of money. He summons Ernesto to wed him to Norina at once.
Ernesto arrives. He, Norina and Malatesta confess their fraud. Don Pasquale is relieved to learn that his marriage was fake and that Sofronia is in fact Norina. He pardons everyone and gives his blessing to the loving couple.

Iolanta (Symphonic suite Nutcracker is performed as part of production. Opera in two acts)

Iolanta (Symphonic suite Nutcracker is performed as part of production. Opera in two acts)

Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Symphonic Suite, Opera in one act
Libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky after "King Rene s Daughter" by Heinrich Hertz
Music Director: Vladimir Fedoseyev
Stage Director: Sergey Zhenovach
Designer: Alexander Borovsky
Lighting Designer: Damir Ismagilov
Chief Chorus Master: Valery Borisov
In commemoration of Tchaikovsky s 175th anniversary
Will be premiered on October 28, 2015.

Synopsis

Iolanta, the blind daughter of the King of Provence, is telling her nurse, Martha, that she is full of some unknown longing. Iolanta s friends, Brigitte and Laura, try to cheer her up by singing songs and bringing her flowers. Martha also tries to comfort Iolanta by singing her favorite lullaby. This sends Iolanta to sleep.

enter Almeric, King Rene s sword-bearer. He informs the castle porter, Bertrand, that very soon the King will be arriving with a famous Physician who, it is hoped, will cure Iolanta s blindness. The trumpets sound, announcing the arrival of the King. King Rene enters accompanied by the Moorish Physician, Ibn-Hakia. The King explains that Iolanta has been betrothed from infancy to Robert, Duke of Burgundy, and is soon to marry him, but the Duke does not know that his future wife is blind. Indeed, Iolanta herself is totally unaware of her misfortune. Iolanta has been brought up by her father in this remote castle. He surrounded her with loyal retainers and forbade them on pain of death to tell her the truth. Ibn-Hakia says that the only hope for Iolanta is to inform her of her disability and then, so long as she passionately wishes to recover her sight, she will do so. King Rene is full of doubts and fear for his daughter s future.

Robert, Duke of Burgundy, and his friend Count Vaudemont, appear. They are impressed to find a beautiful garden in such a wild, remote spot. They are, however, puzzled to see a notice which threatens with death anyone entering it without permission. Robert is downhearted for he is soon to be united in matrimony with some Iolanta whom he has never met, while his heart already belongs to another.

A girl appears on the terrace. Vaudemont is struck by her beauty. Hearing unfamiliar voices, the girl, who is in fact Iolanta, suggests to the strangers that they rest under the shade of the trees and hurries off to fetch them some wine. Robert does not trust the stranger and decides to leave. Vaudemont enchanted by Iolanta s beauty and stays behind. When Iolanta returns he tells her of the great impression she has made on him and asks her to pick him a red rose in memory of their meeting. Iolanta hands him a rose, but it is a white one. Vaudemont repeats his request and again he is given a white rose. He begins to suspect something is wrong with the girl. To make sure, he picks a bunch of roses and asks Iolanta to tell him how many flowers there are in the bunch. Iolanta explains that to count them she needs to touch each flower. Vaudemont realizes that Iolanta is blind and tells her so. He starts to describe to her the wonders of God s world which she is destined never to see, but Iolanta argues that eyesight is not necessary to appreciate the beauty of the world.

Voices are heard: the King enters, followed by Physician Ibn-Hakia and servants. Rene is horrified when he learns that Vaudemont has told Iolanta of her disability and finally suggests that she should try Ibn-Hakia s course of treatment. Iolanta remains indifferent to the idea which makes the Physician lose all hope. Noticing that Iolanta is very much taken by Vaudemont, King Rene tells Vaudemont that he will be executed unless his daughter recovers her sight. Iolanta then begs the Physician to cure her.

A fanfare of trumpets announces the arrival of the Duke of Burgundy who, with a group of armed knights, is hurrying to the rescue of his friend. Robert is amazed to see King Rene. Vaudemont confesses to Robert that he is in love with Iolanta, the latter s betrothed, and asks him to tell the King that he, Robert, has given his heart to someone else. Rene consents to the marriage of Iolanta and Count Vaudemont. Shouts of joy are heard, and Iolanta, who has recovered her sight, appears at the castle door. Overjoyed, King Rene hurries to embrace his daughter and then leads Vaudemont up to her. everyone gives passionate thanks to God for her recovery.

Romeo and Juliet (Ballet by Sergei Prokofiev)

Romeo and Juliet (Ballet by Sergei Prokofiev)

Ballet in three acts
Libretto by Adrian Piotrovsky, Sergei Radlov, Sergei Prokofiev after the tragedy of the same name by William Shakespeare
Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky
Set and Costume Design: Richard Hudson
Lightning Design: Jennifer Tipton
Conductor: Pavel Klinichev
Premiered on November 22, 2017
The world premiere of this version of the ballet took place in Toronto.

Synopsis

Act I
Scene 1

Morning in the Italian Renaissance city of Verona. Romeo, of the Montague family, greets the awakening day. As the city comes to life, Romeo is joined by two friends, Mercutio and Benvolio, and the market square is soon filled with people. The bitter enmity between the Montague and Capulet families emerges with the arrival of Tybalt, a Capulet. Innocuous teasing escalates into swordplay as Tybalt fights with Benvolio and Mercutio.
Lord and Lady Capulet and Lord and Lady Montague enter. There is a brief lull in the fighting but soon Capulet and Montague take up swords themselves. The Duke of Verona enters with his guards and intervenes, chastening all of the combatants. The crowd parts, revealing the bodies of two dead young men.

Scene 2
In her bedroom, Juliet, the daughter of Lord and Lady Capulet, plays affectionately with her Nurse as she prepares for a ball. Her mother enters and tells her of Paris, an aristocratic suitor, whom they expect Juliet to marry. Her father enters with Paris. Juliet is uncertain about the arrangement but she receives Paris graciously.

Scene 3
A lavish ball at the Capulet home. Juliet is being displayed by her father for the assembled guests. Disguised by masks, Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio slip unannounced into the ball. When Romeo sees Juliet, he is immediately lovestruck. After Juliet dances with Paris, Romeo approaches her and professes his feelings. Juliet immediately falls in love. Tybalt, Juliet"s cousin, suspects the interloper and unmasks him, revealing his true identity. Enraged at Romeo"s effrontery, the hotheaded Tybalt demands revenge but he is stopped by Lord Capulet. As the guests depart, Tybalt warns Juliet to stay away from Romeo.

Scene 4
Later that night, Romeo waits beneath Juliet"s balcony. When she appears at her window he makes his presence known. Juliet comes down to him and, despite the danger of their situation which has now become all too clear to both, they pledge their love to each other.

Act II
Scene 1

In the market square, Romeo, delirious with love, is gently mocked by Mercutio and Benvolio. Juliet"s Nurse arrives, bearing a letter to Romeo from Juliet, agreeing to secretly marry him. Romeo is overjoyed.

Scene 2
As planned, Romeo and Juliet meet with Friar Laurence, who has offered to marry them despite the risk, in the hope that it might bring peace to the warring families. He performs the ceremony and the two young lovers are wed.

Scene 3
In the market square, Mercutio and Benvolio encounter Tybalt. Mercutio taunts Tybalt. Romeo enters. Tybalt challenges Romeo to a swordfight but Romeo refuses. Mercutio is less reluctant and, after an exchange of insults, he and Tybalt cross swords and fight. Romeo seeks to intervene and stop them but inadvertently abets Mercutio"s death. A griefstricken and guiltridden Romeo takes up a sword and fights Tybalt, killing him. Lord and Lady Capulet enter, distraught to find Tybalt dead. The Duke arrives and as his guards bear away the bodies of Tybalt and Mercutio, he angrily banishes Romeo, who flees.

Act III
Scene 1

Juliet"s bedroom at dawn. Romeo, although banished, has stayed for his wedding night with Juliet. But now, however sorrowfully, Romeo must depart, before they are discovered. After Romeo has gone, Juliet"s parents enter with Paris and tell her that she is to marry him the following day. Juliet protests but her father brutally silences her. In despair, Juliet rushes off to seek help from Friar Laurence.

Scene 2
In his cell, Friar Laurence gives Juliet a vial containing a sleeping draught that will simulate death. He will send word of the plan to Romeo, who will return to rescue her from the family vault when she has awakened.

Scene 3
Juliet returns to her bedroom, where she pretends to bow to her parents" will and marry Paris. Left alone, however, she takes the sleeping draught and falls into a death-like slumber on her bed. In the morning, Lord and Lady Capulet, Paris, the Nurse and several bridesmaids arrive to wake Juliet. The Nurse tries to rouse her but when she doesn"t respond, everyone believes she is dead.

Scene 4
In the Capulet vault, Juliet lies still in her death-like sleep. Romeo enters, but not having received Friar Laurence"s message, believes Juliet is really dead. In despair, he drinks a lethal poison to join her in death. Before he dies, though, he sees Juliet awaken and he realizes the cruel extent of what has happened. When Romeo is dead, Juliet takes his knife and kills herself. The Montagues and Lord Capulet, the Duke, Friar Laurence and others enter to discover the terrible scene. Realizing the part their enmity has played in the tragedy, the Capulets and Montague are reconciled in their sorrow.

The Story of Kai and Gerda (Opera by Sergei Banevich)

The Story of Kai and Gerda (Opera by Sergei Banevich)

Romantic opera for children in two acts
Music Director: Anton Grishanin
Stage Director: Dmitry Belyanushkin
Set Designer: Valery Leventhal
Lighting Designer: Damir Ismagilov
Choreographer: Natalia Fiksel
Premiered on 28 November 2014
1996 music version

SYNOPSIS

Prologue
A rocky landscape.
The trolls are piecing together the shards of what they call the Mirror of Evil.


Act I
Introduction

The Lamplighter, our guide through this story, tells us that once upon a time an orphaned boy named Kai found a loving home in the good old town of Odense, where the Grandmother took care about him and little Gerda became his friend.

Scene 1.
Odense.

The townsfolk of Odense are looking forward for Spring to drive away winter s chill and snow.
Kai and Gerda are carried away with their exciting game. The Grandmother is calling them home, but they don t hear.
The trolls arrive. They can t bear the merry mood of the townsfolk, and above all they hate Kai s cheerful laughter. The trolls want to spoil the festivity, but the townsfolk drive them away. The trolls plot to revenge.

Scene 2.
Kai and Gerda s house.

Kai is daydreaming over a book. He wishes he could travel to faraway lands, for the old house has grown too small for him.
Gerda sets up the fire in the fireplace and lights the room with candles. Kai swears to her that he will ever be faithful and will never leave her alone.
The Grandmother comes. Kai jokingly tells Gerda the story of the Snow Queen. Gerda laughs, but then notices a shadow outside the window. Someone has been prying on them!
Now Kai understands that he has terrified Gerda, and he starts a game of blind Tom to make it up to her. As they play, they take no notice of a troll approaching.
The troll pricks an icy pointer at Kai s heart. Kai begins mocking Gerda and the Grandmother and sneering at them. Suddenly he sees frostwork turn into writings and hears the voice of the Snow Queen. She wants to take Kai with her, but Gerda refuses to let him go.

Intermezzo
The Lamplighter laments the human hearts in which Winter has settled.
The trolls talk over their trick and look forward to the coming of the Snow Queen.

Scene 3.
Odense town square.

A company of strolling performers entertains the townsfolk. Gerda is doing her best to make Kai smile, but he is disdainful and arrogant and insults the townsfolk and the Lamplighter.
The Snow Queen appears and summons Kai to her icy palace. Kai heeds her calling and follows her into the snow whirl.
Gerda sets out to find her beloved.


Act II

Scene 4.
A forest at dusk.

Gerda is making her way through the thicket.
Suddenly the forest gets into motion: the robbers have found the chill in the hollows of the tree trunks. The robbers are tired and hungry and not at all content with having ventured so far away.
The Old Robber-Woman returns with booty. The robbers give praises to her and to their trade.
Gerda falls into the robbers ambush. She possesses nothing that they can rob her of, so they intend to kill her, but the Old Robber-Woman orders to keep her captive until morning.
The Little Robber-Girl appears, the daughter of the Old Robber-Woman. Gerda s story about Kai touches her heart and fills her with desire to help, but she does not know how.
The Little Robber-Girl s captured Reindeer breaks in their conversation: he saw the Snow Queen taking Kai away and knows where to find him.
The Little Robber-Girl sets Gerda and the Reindeer free.
Gerda rides the Reindeer straight to Lapland.

Intermezzo
The Lamplighter contemplates about the saddest and the most wicked thing in the world, lovelessness.

Scene 5.
The Palace of the Snow Queen.

Captive children, whose hearts are frozen by the Snow Queen, are trying to compose the word Eternity with of pieces of ice.
Kai is among the children, and his efforts to compose the word are of no avail.
The Snow Queen arrives and finds that Kai s heart is beginning to thaw. She freezes him again and leaves, and he carries on with his occupation.

Gerda arrives. She sings the song that she and Kai used to sing together, and Kai s heart gets warm again. The flame of Kai and Gerda s love brings the Snow Queen down.

Epilogue
Kai and Gerda hurry to Odense, where they are met by the townsfolk, the Little Robber-Girl and their dear old Grandmother. Everyone is impatient to welcome in the long-awaited spring.

The Young Person s Guide to the Orchestra. Le carnaval des animaux

The Young Person s Guide to the Orchestra. Le carnaval des animaux

Camille Saint-Saens. Benjamin Britten
Music Director: Anton Grishanin
Director: Alexei Frandetti
Premiered on September 24, 2017

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