Choosing And Buying Your Bolshoi Tickets Online

The absolute first thing you need to know when buying Bloshoi tickets online, is that this, right here, is the official Bolshoi website -

See the way it's spelled and compare it letter by letter with the site you might be currently browsing. There is a metric ton of shady sites of scalpers or downright scammers out on the web that would have similar addresses but with slightly different spellings or some other words added to 'Bolshoi'.

If you've found the correct site, one can say you've just made the most significant step towards buying your tickets online or at east towards getting a realistic picture of what's still available and how much does it cost.

Finding available tickets

The first and most important page you're looking for on that site is this one:

The schedule of all theater shows on all its four different stages. Unfortunately, there's no way to sort them in any way or to exclude the stages you're not interested in. But there's a very useful box that you can check on the right side of the page that says, 'Tickets Available'. Clicking which will show you only the shows with some available tickets minus all the sold out and haven't yet started being sold days.

And checking that box should immediately make you feel good about deciding to buy those tickets in advance. Because no matter how early you try to buy them, everything always seems already sold out.

On this page you can find official timetables (in PDF) for releases of tickets for future months on sale. Normally, they are released 3 months in advance. First, they start being sold in the official physical ticket office, about 6 hours later on the website with your passport details required to buy both. And only 7 days after that, tickets go on sale everywhere without any personal information required to buy.

But apparently there are some exceptions to that 3-month general rule. Because I'm looking at their website right now in February, and all the tickets for June have already been sold out.

So to make sure you buy ticket to the exact show you want, go to the website as early as possible, find your show on one of those release timetables and return back to buy them on the exact day when first start being sold. Or just try to do that around 3 months ahead of the show.

It's not always that bad, however. Many not-so-popular or morning shows, or performances on the new, smaller stage of the theater sometimes might be available on the official website all the way up to the day of the show. So, it always make sense to check with that site first, before turning to other, more desperate means of procuring those tickets.

Choosing the right stage

As mentioned there are 4 stages offered by the Bolshoi to visitors today. Only two of which should really matter for you if you're looking forward to some classical ballet or opera. Two others are much smaller and are used mostly for some chamber orchestra performances. One is in a separate building, another is just an improvised stage made out of one of the theater's basement spaces.

So what you should be looking at is either New Stage or even better Historic Stage. The new stage was opened in 2002, and it's in a separate building some 30-40 meters away from the main one. It also runs ballet and opera shows that in quality of performances are in no way worse than those at the historic stage.

But... when you google the Bolshoi Theater, this is the picture you get:

That's the world famous building and not some new stage. That's where everyone from Tsars to Stalin to Putin used to and still occasionally watch shows. What are you going to tell people back home? That you went to the Bolshoi, but you didn't really go inside the building that everyone considers to be the Bolshoi?

So I would say that as a foreign tourist, from any possible angle, you'll be getting significantly better value and a more complete tourist experience by going to the historic stage. So make sure you look at the stage name when buying your tickets online.

But obviously, you're not the only one thinking like that. And demand for those tickets is usually much higher. Which makes them more expensive and less available.

So if you feel like you have better ways to spend your extra money, yes, the New Stage is a great alternative, especially if you see some tickets to it being available on the official website for the exact days you're visiting the city.

But if you think that watching it inside the famous building is an important thing for you, then I would even recommend looking at some scalper ticket offerings for the main stage before resorting to going to the new one.

Choosing the best seats

The best answer to all your questions and doubts about how good are the seats that you're about to buy is this page on their official website.

Those are the seating plans of all 4 available stages of the theater with all seats color coded by visibility limitations that their location can cause.

On the main, historic stage, for example, you can see the seats divided into 10 different categories, in which stage visibility can be limited anywhere between 10-50%.

It's all pretty self-explanatory there. If you base the choice of your tickets solely on that map, you are likely to choose well.

Quick note: Notice that at the New Stage, the second on that web page, the map shows you quite a bunch of tickets that are said to have 'possible visibility limitations of up to 100%' :)) My guess would be that those are just the seats that face the opposite direction from the stage. So if you're on a budget, be on the lookout for those. Because I'm not sure they should be charging too much for them.

I hope it helps you to buy the best and least overpriced Bolshoi tickets. If you see that everything is sold out on the website, you can try to catch some cancelled tickets from the theater's physical box office one hour before the show or, for a better success rate, resort directly to the services of scalpers.

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