One utterly romantic Friday evening… I went to see the ballet “Romeo and Juliet”. I could end the story here and leave you an impression that it was an extremely fancy and romantic piece (you are already feeling jealous right? :D) but okay, I will tell you the truth.
I was baking a cake in the (Bishkek) kitchen, when my flatmate Alice entered the room coughing and saying that her cold is killing her (softly, lol). She said she has a ticket… but she is not able to go anywhere tonight. I checked the time, no wonder it was just 30 minutes until the ballet, but I do not like letting things go to waste. So I abandoned the pots and spoons, got dressed (it was easy, I only have one dress anyway :D) and told them to eat the cake (yes, I managed to get a piece when I returned… or rather some crumbs :D). Then I ran out to the main street in the hope of finding a taxi, lucky me – there was one waiting just in front of the house. The price I was given felt like I am going to get a lift with The Golden Carriage, at least I was able to bargain a bit. Of course after arriving to the Opera the driver was SO interested in hearing my life story, while trying to find the change as slowly as possible 😀 Apologizing in English that suddenly I REALLY can’t speak ANY Russian at all got me off the hook and I entered the Opera five minutes before the curtains went up (okay, the whole thing was also late for 20 minutes :D).
Very nice! Antique chairs, private boxes, columns. I quickly found my seat and as the start was delayed I just spent my time observing others (haha, I can imagine that one day I will be one of those “know-it-all” old ladies, because everyone else’s business is just SO interesting :D). Especially attention worthy between all the glammed up locals were travellers similar to me who looked like they just have come for another hike.
People were gathering and lights were getting dimmer. Red curtains opened and it seemed that during the whole first dance act people had trouble to acknowledge that the show had started… I guess loud music and dancers on the stage were not enough to put all the pieces together 😀 Lady next to me was scrolling through the pictures of her grandchildren while her friends tried to act interested: “aww”, “woah”, “uuh”, “such a fatty cutiepie”… Girl behind me answeing her phone: “Sorry, I can’t talk at the moment, but how was the dinner last night?”. I was just puzzled, but after the romance was turned on a bit on the stage it captured also the attention of proud grandmothers and chatty girls.
Ballet piece itself was still the classical love story, but with the Kyrgyz touch. I mainly remember 3 things:
- You know that romantic scene where Juliet is standing on the balcony and Romeo is expressing his everlasting love towards her? Well, in the middle of the stage there was a decoration of a white statue of a Greek goddess. Now, during the change of the scene, it was forgotten behind the stage. So, music was playing quietly and Romeo was still expressing his love for Juliet… until some worker tried to set up the white Greek goddess again, hoping not to be seen, but oh well :D. At some point the whole audience was breathing in one rythym to show support, not for Romeo, but for the worker who had managed to get the Greek goddess almost to stand. It was like we were able to hear the prayers of the worker on the stage on his crusade. Finally he removed his hands from the statue, started backing off the stage slowly, seemingly happy that he managed to reach his goal, THEN of course the whole thing fell down and audience just bursted out laughing. I can’t really blame them, it really was amusing.
- These sincere emotions on the faces of the ballerinas… Ahh, I was just melting. And how they high-fived when a great dance was completed! All this environment the young ballerinas were able to create, was just heart-warming. And by the way, they were not dancing in these classical tight ballerina outfits, but they were wearing dresses and vintage trousers – I don’t have a clue how it was possible to dance in those!
- During one scene change everything went dark, for 5 minutes… and we just waited, waited and waited, completely in the dark.
I really do recommend to visit a ballet or a play in Bishkek if you happen to be around. Experiences and emotions matter and it is not so easy to find this kind of personal feeling somewhere else.