Buying Your Bolshoi Theater Tickets In The Official Ticket Office

As a person living in our digital age and realizing that many brick and mortar stores and facilities these days will inevitably face some struggle or demise, you should keep your expectations tamed about the incredible utility that the Bolshoi ticket office can provide. Basically, the only two reasons why you should be choosing this way of buying your tickets is that you want to test your stamina in a jostling match against a bunch of scalpers for the chance of grabbing a few cancelled tickets one hour before each show, or that you have some extreme prejudice against using bank cards. Otherwise, go straight online or to said scalpers.

It's not the easiest office in the world to spot to begin with. It's in a separate building, about 50 meters away from the main Bolshoi's entrance:

The ticket selection offered there is exactly the same for every day and show as online. So if you're looking for some special edge that visiting the physical office will give you while buying your tickets, it won't.

Instead, expect the ticket office to just say that everything is sold out as it is on their website. There are some rare shows that have tickets still available through official means right up to the day of the show. So it won't be a complete waste of time to try to visit it, especially if you're some sort of physical box office enthusiast. Just don't expect some additional tickets to suddenly unlock for you there and take at least a quick glimpse at the official website to see whether there's at least something, even the most unpopular show you never wanted to go to, available. So that, eventually, you'd feel like you have at least some kind options when you get there.

Also, try to avoid visiting it from 6-7 PM if you're coming there just too take a look around. Because 6:00 PM is when usually the main action around that area is happening on the days of shows at the main Historic Stage of the theater.

This is when the theater releases on sale all the previously sold but cancelled or returned tickets. Expect a horde of hungry scalpers to be there much in advance.

If you feel like you're not making it in time to get to the top of the line, it's all fine. The scalpers will kindly sell those tickets to you for 3 times the price once they get out.

You can also try to beat that line by being a smiling tourist pretending to have no idea what he's being told. Like the legendary character from one of the best comedy movies ever made just keep saying, 'Mi scusi, mi scusi...' and try to smile your way through it to the entrance door.

But unfortunately, those are savvy Russian scalpers that sustain themselves by ripping people off every day. They will likely crack your plan pretty quick.

One exceptional case

There's one particular case, however, in which this ticket office can really save your day and find you some coveted bonus tickets.

One summer I was finishing a tour next to the Bolshoi with a group of 3 people from Hong Kong. It was about 30 minutes to 7:00 PM, the time when the main evening show starts at the Historic Stage. So, without much expectations, we decided to try our luck and check the box office. And... like by magic, there was no one inside, tickets were available for, what we thought were laughably low prices. And as a bonus, they were even allowed to go the show in shorts that day since they didn't have time to change.

Thinking about it later, I figured that what happened was that we arrived just at the time when that 7:00 PM craze at the office has already dissolved. You see, scalpers are sneaky and quick, it doesn't take them long to swipe away all the limited supply the theater is providing. But they're also trying to be shrewd and make it so that they eventually re-sell all the tickets they buy. So they often leave the most expensive tickets there. As it is unlikely that someone would try to buy tickets to the front row through some shady people outside the theater.

And that's exactly what the lady in the ticket window told us right away, 'Only the most expensive tickets are left!' But when we heard prices, we couldn't believe it. The tickets we eventually bought were on the ground floor, almost in the front row right in front of the stage. And they cost only 6500-7000 RUB a piece. The same ones through scalpers would've been 20000-25000 RUB each. Maybe 18000 RUB if they pull that 'special price only for you, brother' trick.

So yes, there is a chance for you buy some tickets in the office that are not available anywhere else. And if it happens, it will be absolutely the best, most lucrative deal that you could get anywhere on the day of the show. But there has to be a very particular star alignment that day for this to... proc.

Someone has to cancel or return their previously bought expensive tickets. The show shouldn't be too popular, otherwise, scalpers could swipe away even the most expensive ones. And you have to be ready to go to the theater immediately after buying them.

So if you feel like a particular day or show meets all the conditions, you might want to pay that box office a visit around 40-45 minutes before the show. Don't put all your expectations in this method, the odds leave lot to be desired. But if it works, it'll 100% leave you extremely happy with how well you just spent your money.

On the other hand, if there isn't anything on that day, don't get too upset. As I mentioned, tickets are always available through the scalpers next to the theater's main entrance. It's just for the same 7000 RUB you'll only get a side balcony seat instead of the front row.

Hope it helps. Thanks for reading!