Ballet in Bishkek

Bishkek Travel Blog

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Antique and temporarily broken-down trolleybus on Sovetskaya: although you cannot see this, the driver is fiddling about with some electrical connections, and eventually managed to get going again
Today's main event did not occur until evening - a visit to the Bishkek Opera House to see the Ukrainian National Ballet. The Opera House dates from the mid-1950s, and has changed little since then. The interior is impressive, and redolent of Soviet ancestry: acres of bright red carpet, grand staircases, and everywhere the glint of gilt, but unfortunately I forgot to take my camera, so this entry is adorned with some random pictures of Bishkek that I took at about this time. The performance itself consisted of a number of short pieces from the UNB's repetoire, and the major surprise for me was the lack of an orchestra. Obviously I have been spoiled, living in London and seeing my ballet at Covent Garden and Sadler's Wells, for it had never occured to me that ballet dancers would dance to recorded music.
One of my favourite pictures of Irina, on the bridge on Prospekt Mira (Peace Avenue) over the Ala-Archa river
This in fact caused some problems, for the sound system was terrible, and the music had a degree of wow, flutter and tinniness that one normally associates with ancient open-reel tape recorders. However, the dancers coped well - they are probably used to it - and we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Most evenings, after dinner at the house, I made my way back to the apartment, about fifteen minutes' walk away, although on a couple of occasions, when it was considered too late to make the journey safely, Andrey kindly offered to sleep in the garden (he was used to it!) so that I could stay over. But even at a safe hour - say, before 10 pm - what appeared in daylight to be the obvious route was somewhat perilous because of the pitch dark, such as I had never experienced living in London.
Me, with my constant companion - not, unhappily, the blonde, but the Legenda bottled water, copious supplies of which are absolutely essential
The apartment was in a block on the far side of some waste ground which was surrounded by other very similar buildings, with footpaths between them, so there was no street lighting - indeed no lighting of any kind; and several paths criss-crossed and surrounded the ground. I knew the way perfectly well in daylight, but got lost returning at night. On one occasion, in particular, I found myself totally enclosed by velvety blackness, with no idea which direction to take, unable even to thread my way back to start again, when out of the silence I heard a sudden click and saw the red glow of a cigarette being lit and, momentarily, a man's face; he had been standing, totally invisible and completely silent, only a few feet away from me. It literally made the hairs stand on the back of my neck, and I blundered off in the opposite direction - any direction - as rapidly as I dared. In the end, of course, I found the apartment, more by luck than anything else, and the next day carefully learned a new and less exciting route!
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Antique and temporarily broken-dow…
Antique and temporarily broken-do…
One of my favourite pictures of Ir…
One of my favourite pictures of I…
Me, with my constant companion - n…
Me, with my constant companion - …
Although the winters in Bishkek ar…
Although the winters in Bishkek a…
Dismal Soviet-era block of apartme…
Dismal Soviet-era block of apartm…
A cheerful front-garden on Sovetsk…
A cheerful front-garden on Sovets…
River Ala-Archa at Ahumbaev Ul
River Ala-Archa at Ahumbaev Ul
Irina outside the Institute of Vin…
Irina outside the Institute of Vi…
Bishkek
photo by: londonstudent