The recently reconstructed building of the theatre is glittering with crystal and marble. The scene is decorated with hundreds of gilded hammers and sickles. Coffee in the theatre bar tastes like dishwater, dried cakes are dangerous for your teeth. You will shed a few tears at Verdi’s Aida, classically strict movements of ballet dancers in Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker will catch your breath, crowd scenes in Khachaturian’s Spartacus definitely will fascinate you. The troupe of the theatre is successfully touring around Europe, Japan, China, and Latin America. World-celebrated prima donna Maria Guleghina started her professional career at this stage. Moreover, the budget of the theatre is supported by the state, so the cost of tickets is lower than that in cinemas. By-effect: tickets are usually sold a month before a performance.
Minsk is a pretty little city, much nicer than one might expect. The best time to go is in the summer when the weather is inviting and the streets, parks and shops are lively. Prices are good and tourists are few. It is a safe country to visit. With the exception of taxi drivers, who can be very greedy, most residents are very courteous and polite to tourists.
I have written a guide to Belarus which can be found at: www.travelswise.com/belarus.htm
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