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I like to book a special long weekend or midweek trip each year for our wedding anniversary, and include either ballet or opera. We had a fantastic trip to New York and saw La Boheme one year (feeling flush that time). Last year we went to Oslo and saw 'Nutcracker' which was not so impressive. In between we have treated ourselves in London. We do go to the ballet and opera a fair bit, not tyros though not super experts.

 

The anniversary is in December so it's good to go somewhere that is worth visiting in the winter. Next year I am thinking maybe Prague, or Vienna. But I dont know those cities at all, or the theatres there. One of the great things at the Met is the restaurant, very grand and a real treat. The restaurant in Oslo Opera House was not so impressive. I think ROH is great - I know it is pricey but it does feel special.

 

I would love to hear ideas or suggestions, any guidance at all.

 

Thank you

Graham

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I love both Copenhagen for the RDB and Paris for POB.

 

The Royal Theatre in Copenhagen is a delight and there are some super restaurants on nearby Nyhavn and some decent hotels within a couple of minutes walk of the theatre. I love the RDB.

 

The Garnier is an amazing theatre to visit. I'm not so keen on the Bastille. POB are always worth seeing.

 

I fell in love with the theatre in Munich when I was there last April, but that was to see BRB. The home company does an interesting rep and Munich was gorgeous.

 

I also travelled to Hong Kong to see BRB but there is a company, The Hong Kong Ballet, based there. The weather was not good last time we visited - I didn't realise it could get cold in HK and it was dull most of the time we were there. We still had a fantastic time though!

 

There are other people who post on this board who may like to chip in too! Do let us know what you decide and what you thought when you have been.

 

Of course in this country, BRB have a season in Birmingham in December and Northern Ballet are doing a brand new production of Cinderella in Leeds in December 2013. Both cities are great for short breaks too. Or Scottish Ballet in wonderful Glasgow?

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Dear Graham

First of all, I organize ballet trips, so if you want to be added to my mailing list, please get in touch!

But you can also check out the page on my website called "Travel tips for ballet lovers" where I provide suggestions about various cities where I've seen ballet (including Vienna, which I love, and would be romantic for an anniversary):

http://toursenlair.blogspot.ca/p/travel-tips-for-ballet-lovers.html

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Vienna, the opera house is wonderful. The city is small enough to be very accessible.

 

Munich, both the National Theatre and The Prinzregenten are lovely. The Prinzregenten is the smaller of the 2. Munich again is a small city. Very easy transport links and a fab ballet company. ( For sake of honesty I should say I'm biased as my son dances there. He also was an apprentice in Vienna).

 

Brtaislava. A lovely little city. I have never seen the company dance but I believe it is good. Indeed many British graduates have contracts there. There are also wonderful castles to see.

 

Both Vienna and Munich have Christmas markets.

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Let’s see, December....

 

Prague is okay in December. City center has a high concentration of tourists. The Christmas market is nice. I saw Giselle at the State Opera House, a nice, relatively small, older theater. I’ve never been to the National Theatre. I haven’t fallen in love with any particular restaurant yet.

 

Paris is nice in December. So is Palais Garnier. Post-performance dinner at Café de la Paix is fun (In December 2011, I sat at a table next to the producers of Onegin, which I saw on opening night).

 

Amsterdam is nice in December. The Amsterdam Music Theatre is modern and really nice. The Dutch National Ballet is great. One of my favorite restaurants is fairly close to the theater – Greetje. Be sure to make a reservation.

 

Zurich is nice in December. The Zurich Opera House is nice, and the ballet company is very good. The city is nicely decorated in December. Day trips to the mountains are easy by train. I always enjoy a post-performance bratwurst and beer at Sternen Grill, which is about 100 meters from the Opera House.

 

Next time in NYC, consider a pre- or post-performance meal at Bar Boulud, which is across from the MetOpera on Broadway. Very nice restaurant. Celebrities are known to dine there.

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Yes there are 21 of us! We arrive in Munich on the afternoon of Thurs 25 and leave the morning of Tuesday the 30th. We have a pretty busy schedule but it would be fun to get together (ie just you and me, not all 21 of us!) for some Kaffee and Kuchen!

Sorry, Graham, I've wandered off your topic.

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I haven't visited Vienna in Christmas time (it was April when I visited) but the opera house there is classic, gorgeous and worth visiting, and the ballet company there, under the direction of Manuel Legris has become of very high standards and with exciting programming. The city itself is very attractive with plenty of historic museums of many masterpieces, palaces to see and many cafes, restaurants too. And they have a Christmas market too. The city is not too large equipped with public transport so it is very convenient. It would be a good choice.

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Thank you very much everyone. Katherine, I have subscribed to your email, thank you for that.

 

Lots of good ideas, and plenty of time to plan. Next I am going to see the Canadian National Ballet in London, 'Romeo and Juliet'. But I'm going to watch the ticket board here for some late opportunities too.

 

I like this forum

 

Graham

Edited by gdallas
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If you choose Vienna, you can't get tickets until a month before the performance, but I have found that if you get on the website as soon as the tickets are released you can get good stalls seats (they don't come cheap in Vienna though, but at least ballet is less expensive than the opera there). If you like to sit close to the stage, it is better to be off to the side a bit rather than in the middle, because otherwise the conductor blocks your view.

If the repertoire is a deciding factor, you'll have to wait till the end of May to see what ALL the companies are doing (Stuttgart is the latest to announce its season) but Vienna usually announces theirs in April. Also on my website you will find a master performance calendar for all the major companies both European and North American, so that you can zero in on the time around your anniversary and see who's doing what where.

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Interesting discussion. I lived in Bratislava some years back and apart from the city centre it's not very high on charm.

If I may ask a related question, does anyone have experience with booking for the Stuttgart Opera House?

I was looking at the Stuttgart Ballet site for Onegin, and it appears that you can't choose your seats other than selecting the price band. While this is also the case for the Paris Opera, at least there you get to see the seat being offered and the view from it before you commit to your purchase, here it seems to be that your allotted tickets are mailed to you and that's it. I am very hesitant to buy blind especially in a theatre I've never been to, but I'm also very keen to see Onegin. Am I doing something wrong or is there another website where it's possible to pick your seat?

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Interesting discussion. I lived in Bratislava some years back and apart from the city centre it's not very high on charm.

If I may ask a related question, does anyone have experience with booking for the Stuttgart Opera House?

I was looking at the Stuttgart Ballet site for Onegin, and it appears that you can't choose your seats other than selecting the price band. While this is also the case for the Paris Opera, at least there you get to see the seat being offered and the view from it before you commit to your purchase, here it seems to be that your allotted tickets are mailed to you and that's it. I am very hesitant to buy blind especially in a theatre I've never been to, but I'm also very keen to see Onegin. Am I doing something wrong or is there another website where it's possible to pick your seat?

 

That is unfortunately the way it is in Stuttgart but on the other hand the price bands are a good indication of how good the sightlines are from your seat. If you go for the highest price band you will get a good seat. There is a spot in the form where you can put notes, ie if you prefer to sit closer to the front, or first row of balcony etc. You should definitely go to Stuttgart!

I agree about Bratislava, but the city centre is very charming indeed. It makes an easy day trip from Vienna. I'm not so sure about the state of the ballet company in Bratislava at the moment as there have been upheavals in the artistic direction.

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Berlin is very good and I can certainly vouch for the many wonderful restaurants too and Berlin is a very reasonably priced city compared to many others in Europe. The ballet company - Staats Ballett Berlin is pretty good too - one of my favourites and if you go at the very end of November and December you do get lots of wonderful Christmas Markets into the bargain. If you like history as well then Berlin has a lot to offer.

I'd agree with Paris and Amsterdam and also Venice is fabulous IF there is any ballet on at La Fenice - I have only managed that once when the Mikhailovsky toured there - it was one of the most amazing places to see a ballet.

Edited by Don Q Fan
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Yes I'd love to go to La Fenice....

Tours en l'air's calendar is brilliant, thank you.

 

Our anniversary is 11 December, so quite good for getting all the Christmas stuff . . . .though it can also sometimes be an expensive time of year for hotels!

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Just to add twopennorth - Tallinn is well worth a visit - nice ballet company run by long time ENB star Thomas Edur. In Karlsruhe Birgit Keil - another shining star formerly in Stuttgart - directs a medium sized company. I have always booked my Stuttgart tickets by telephone - no problem speaking English and extremely helpful booking staff

 

PS Alina Cojocaru dances quite a lot with Hamburg Ballett - great if you want to see "home" stars guesting abroad.

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We always used to go to Paris for our wedding anniversary, also in December, it's such a romantic city and the white fairy lights everywhere are magical. It's also one of the best times of the year to catch the Paris Opera Ballet as they always have two productions, one at the over the top baroque Garnier, the other at the soul-less Bastille. Hotel prices are reduced at many hotels in December. A wonderful restaurant for a special occasion is the Train Bleu, at the Gare de Lyon, just a few minutes away from the Bastille theatre. And it has ballet connections! Nijinska choreographed a ballet of that name in 1924, called after the famous train that took the wealthy to the Cote d'Azur, many of whom would have gone to performances there by the Ballets Russes. Like the Garnier, the decor is outrageously gilt and baroque, making it a memorable experience and the food is good. There is also a much cheaper bistro/bar attached to the restaurant.

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a warning about Paris though. In my experience, ballets can sell out quite rapidly as soon as the tickets go on sale, (sometimes performances are sold out to subscribers before individual sale even starts!) so you have to be vigilant about knowing when the on-sale dates are (listed on their website) and be on the case the minute they go on sale (easier for you in the UK than for me in Toronto, where I have to get up at 3 in the morning!). Also the POB website is enough to drive one mad.

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It was the famous solo variation from Nijinska's Train Bleu (Anton Dolin via Stephen Beagley) that the matchless Vadim Muntagirov stole the show with in the Ballets Russes programmes of ENB last spring - magnificent cartwheels, look Mum - no hands!!!

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Well, I sent in the form, and have been told that at the moment orders are being collected but ticket sales open two months ahead so no confirmation can be given now that there will actually be a ticket for me...

There's just the one performance of Onegin, no indication whether it's some special occasion or not, but obviously this means there would be less tickets available than if there were multiple performances. 4 anxious months to go.

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