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In this issue | Short summary
  4 [146]  July-August 2007 
The BALLET THEME column in this issue features Vladimir Urin, General Manager of the K. S. Stanislavsky and V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater of Moscow. In his dialogue with Dmitry Abaulin, he touches upon the most important problems of the contemporary ballet scene in Russia, such as different ways of organizing the ballet business, different models of contemporary ballet theater, and specifics of a ballet groups work. While talking of peculiarities of the K. S. Stanislavsky and V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater Vladimir Urin claims that the Theater is being integrated into the worldwide ballet process. To prove his point, he analyzes its repertoire in three dimensions: the world classics (Giselle, The Nutcracker, Chopiniane), the original heritage of the Theater (ballets staged by Vladimir Burmeister, Alexei Chichinadze, and Dmitry Briantsev), and the productions by guest choreographers (Vladimir Vasiliev, Oleg Vinogradov, and John Neumeier). Vladimir Urin goes on to discuss interrelations between collectivity and artistic leadership and the differences between the motions of chief choreographer and artistic director. Among the subjects of the dialogue were the Theaters recent productions: The See Gall by John Neumeier, their first experience with a foreign troupe in many years, and a premiere performance of two one-act ballets on the Lesser Stage, The Phantasmal Ball and The Hues of White. 

A SEASON IN BALLET is a column where reviews of Russian premiere productions and reports from different ballet groups are gathered:
The article Bells over Russia by Irina Belova presents the premiere of the ballet Ivan the Terrible at Krasnodar Ballet. It has been eleven years in a row that Krasnodar audiences have taken almost for granted each new production by Yuri Grigorovich: the city ballet goers have got used to what in fact is a miracle. Within a decade, the great choreographer has staged in the city on the Kuban river fourteen ballets and thus established Krasnodar as a new point on the world choreography map. Grigorovich has created the Krasnodar ballet in the fullest and universal sense of the notion: a troupe of European-class excellence, an impressive repertoire, and ballet stars of its own. All the masterpieces have been created in cooperation with Simon Virsaladze, a genius of ballet stage design, whose stage sets and costumes orchestrate the dance born of music. The world of ballet has probably never known a creative tandem more sublime or more happily successful. Ivan the Terrible opened on the eve of the great choreographers anniversary and proved yet another confirmation of this plain truth, that Grigorovich in his art can master anything. The ballet is impeccable in its psychological truthfulness and raging passions, being at the same time integral, concrete and clear.  

I.Liepa Roman Volodchenkov in his sketch A Voyage Around Kremlin reports of major events at the Kremiln Ballet Theater under Andrei Petrov, such as the troupes comeback to its permanent rehearsal base at the State Kremlin Palace after a long time of renovations of the ballet auditoriums; a premiere production of Esmeralda; fruitful cooperation of the group with Andris Liepa, the creator of the project  Russian Seasons, the 21st Century.  The Kremlin Ballet has been on the road a lot: it showed A Blue God and The Firebird in Kiev; visited Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, bringing along one of its exclusive productions, that of Ruslan and Lyudmila staged by Andrei Petrov; performed suites from Don Quixote and Corsair in the United Arab Emirates. The Greek capital enjoyed the Kremlin troupes performance of The Sleeping Beauty which later was shown with great success in Sicily too. In the spring, they took a performing trip over the cities of the Ural region. Probably not a single major jubilee in the ballet life of Moscow went by without the Kremlin Ballet participating. The Theater celebrated the 80-th anniversary of Yuri Grigorovich and the 30th anniversary of the artistic activities of Nina Semizorova, the Bolshoys ballerina and ballet repetiteur. The writer also describes the past seasons most significant debut performances.   
Shadow-Boxing is an article by Natalia Novikova covering the premiere production of the ballet Peer Gynt staged by Theaters chief choreographer Lyudmila Tsvetkova after the play by H. Ibsen at the N. M. Zagursky Musical Theater of Irkutsk. The production marked the 100th anniversary of Edvard Griegs death. Peer Gynt is the only musical piece that the composer wrote specially for the theater. Grieg referred to the Ibsen play as the most unmusical of all his plots and did not like it at all. However, this music, which he composed on a commission just for money, has proved one of his best creations and earned him a worldwide renown. Tsvetkova refused to recreate a detailed narrative of the origin, retaining only what makes the play a sort of Norwegian version of the parable of the Prodigal Son. Griegs music made it possible to highlight a romantic collision, and Peer Gynt became the main character (as opposed to Solvejg, whom many a stage director has preferred).   Shortly before his death, Grieg wrote in his diary, What is the most important in art is truth, truth of feelings. This is yet another plain truth, which one realizes again with joy while watching the spectacle at the Irkutsk Theater.   

Valeri Ivanov, our reporter from Samara, in his sketch The Voice of Fortune acquaints the readers with the performing itinerary of the Samara Ballet, which does not have too many performances abroad to its credit. This time the troupe performed in five cities in China, showing The Nutcracker to friendly yet demanding audiences. The auditoriums were filled up to capacity, and the audiences met the artists with rapt attention. In the spring, the troupe visited Sochi where it showed three ballets: Beatles Forever staged by the Theaters chief choreographer Nadezhda Malygina and two Tchaikovsky ballets The Nutcracker staged by Igor Chernyshov and the classical Swan Lake. Certain German ballet agents came to Sochi specially on the occasion and after seeing the performances invited the Samara Ballet to a performing tour in Germany. 
In the early spring, yet another ballet premiere took place in Samara. Choreographer Georgi Kovtun of St. Petersburg staged the miracle-ballet O, Fortune, whose first part is performed to the music of the symphonic fantasia Francesca da Rimini by Tchaikovsky and the second, to the music of Orffs cantata Carmina Burana.

Roman Volodchenkovs review The Pirates of a Faraway Sea covers the premiere performance of one of the most sought after works of classical heritage, Corsair by Adolph Adan, which took place on stage of the Opera and Ballet Theater of Yekaterinburg. The renowned French choreographer and dancer Jean-Guillaume Barr of the Paris Opera (since 2000, of Etoile) staged the show. To compose an original theatrical act was not one of his tasks. Rather, a staging of a spectacle that is integral, well built dramaturgically and close stylistically to its original version, is what was the aim of the choreographer, who aspires to preserve the traditions of the French school of classical dance and who venerates the Russian ballet. Corsair proved one of those productions that serve to improve the ballet troupes artistic skills and professional growth of its principal dancers and corps-de-ballet.

Tatiana Volfovich, a reporter from Ural, in her review Goya as a World and a Conception acquaints the readers with the recent premiere of the ballet El Mundo de Goya at the Opera and Ballet Theater of Cheliabinsk. The production team consisting of composer Valeria Besedina, staging choreographer Constantin Uralsky, staging conductor Anton Grishanin, stage designer Victor Gerasimenko, costume designer Yelena Slastnikova, and illuminator Lloyd Sobyl produced a work of authorship and a contemporary spectacle.  For many long years, even minimally interesting works of authorship had not appeared at the Cheliabinsk ballet, but since 2006, when K. Uralsky joined the Theater, the situation changed and a new era in the Theaters life began. First he staged a profound and innovative spectacle Romeo and Juliet, and now, Goya, which is totally different. The contemporaneity of the production shows through even on the level of libretto. It is not the painters life or events of his biography but rather a whole world of Goya, a space of his internal experiences that the choreographer saw and then presented with a significant degree of generalization. Reincarnating in different characters, the choreographer vividly structures a complex theatrical act. All three premiere performances were sold out. The audiences, it would seem, have readied themselves to novelty already, and the Theater, as we have seen, is prepared to be in line with it.

The A. S. Pushkin Opera and Ballet Theater of Nizhniy Novgorod marked the end of the season with a premiere performance of the spectacle The Flame of Passion and Love. It is a ballet based on a fairy tale to the music of Charles Gounod, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Maurice Ravel and Spanish folk melodies, created by choreographer Nina Diachenko. The work deals with interrelations between man and woman, their feelings and emotional experiences. The choreographer, though, interprets this eternal subject in a very original manner. The spectacle is made with a consideration for such strengths and abilities as the troupe possesses, and such a serious and original attempt could not but be noticed, is the conclusion to which the writers of this material Christina Khandlos and Olga Shkarpetkina come.  

 The BALLET GALLERY column consists of two articles dedicated to photographers.
Leonid Zhdanov is known not only as a ballet dancer at the Bolshoy Theater, not only as a talented ballet-master who has for forty years taught male dance at the Moscow Choreography Academy and trained several generations of artists, but also as a photographer who has accumulated a unique collection of tens of thousands pictures. During many years, he has been creating a photographic chronicle of the Bolshoy Ballet, capturing images of dancers, choreographers, and repetiteurs of the famous troupe at performances, rehearsals, and classes. He has had several books of photographs published based on his collection. An exhibition of his works took place in Moscow this spring, which Victor Vanslov reviews in his article A Collector of Instance presented here. 

The other report, Legends and Biographies by Olga Goncharova, covers an exhibition at the Restavratsia Club in Moscow where works of Dmitry Kulikov and Yuri Barykin were presented. Each one of them for over thirty years now has been snatching away from time the escaping objects. The idea of the event belongs to Anna Plisetskaya, a ballerina, actress and producer, and also the famous Maya Plisetskayas niece, who also organized the show. The club, which many theatrical personalities frequent, was a most appropriate place for such an event. They hung tutus and pointes under the ceiling and photographs all over the walls, where different generations of dancers appear in a collected image of Her Majesty Ballet. Each of the photographers is a separate element. Dmitry Kulikov and Yuri Barykin relate the same things, but their works are so dissimilar that they might have omitted their names from the captions because it is impossible to confuse their artistic styles.
-- The BALLET-PARADE column opens with Victor Vanslovs sketch The Season of Diaghilev about the third international festival The Diaghilev Seasons in the city of Perm. The writer relates of many events of that forum, such as the unveiling of the monument to Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev by sculptor Ernest Neizvestny; the seminar Diaghilev Readings; and a round table on problems of musical theater. The local Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theater showed its new productions: Dvo??ks Rusalka and Massenets Cinderella under the talented direction of Georgi Isaakian, as well as operas by our contemporaries N. Sidelnikov and L. Desiatnikov. Besides, they showed ballets by G. Robbins and the spectacle Balda to the music of D. Shostakovich, both almost unknown in this country, works of the troupe Yevgeni Pamfilovs Ballet and much more.  The Perm Art Gallery housed an exhibition of works by Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova, the Russian Vanguard painters. 

         The second Yuri Grigorovich Agon Competition of Young Choreographers was dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the eminent master and to the 60th anniversary of his creative career. The article by Arkadi Sokolov-Kaminsky relates of its results, winners, and participants and of the closing concert. To my opinion, the competition has finally acquired quite a real shape. It seems that the first competition was a reconnaissance and a study for this one. This time we saw important names in the jury, the great theatrical auditorium at the Conservatory The next competition is to take place two years from now and to be dedicated, as rumor goes, to the creative work of Leonid Yakobson.  

           The Rudolf Nureyev International Festival of Classical Ballet, which had occupied the playbill of the Musa Djalil Opera and Ballet Theater of Tatarstan for as long as ten days in May, proved one of the main events of the past theatrical season in Kazan. These days theatrical festivals on the theatrical map of Russia, including ballet ones, are innumerable. The Nureyev Festival in Kazan, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, is one of the oldest ones, and such that attract many eminent personalities. These stars not just performed single numbers or ballet parts, but offered their own interpretations of the roles that Nureev had danced. Don Quixote and La Bayad?re stood above the rest in a quite significant repertoire. Sergei Korobkovs material covers the festival, its guests and the spectacles presented there. 
 The fifteenth annual award ceremony of the Benois de la Dance Prize took place at the Bolshoy Theater. Several years ago it turned into a festival: to the traditional concert of nominees a gala concert was appended, in which different years Benois winners took part. For two nights in a row, the audiences had had an opportunity to watch a parade of the best achievements in dance at least, such were aspirations of the organizers. The most impressive were the artists from Paris Opera. Olga Goncharova presents here that theaters principal dancers as well as other participants in the concert, winners of this year and the past, including the Mariinsky Theaters prima ballerina Uliana Lopatkina. 

Yelena Troitskaya presents a story about the Mari ballet, The Team of Our Youth. The Honoring Galina Ulanova festivities took place for the fifth time in the Republic of Mari El on stage of Eric Spavayev Opera and Ballet Theater. The young ballet and its leader Constantine Ivanov are taking upon themselves a grand task to achieve such a level of mastery that would earn the group a renown as an all-sufficient and highly professional team even outside the festival movement.  The enthusiasts of the Mari ballet, the writer opines, have succeeded in that. 

  A Sunny Rainbow of Hopes is Tamara Purtovas report covering the eighth All-Russian Festivities of Russian Dance for the famous Tatiana Ustinovas prize, which took place recently in the ancient city of Vladimir. Ustinova liked to say about her art form, We are not a fashion, we are a tradition. The Festivities celebrated its 20th anniversary, and it showed again the todays level of Russian stage dance as performed by amateur ensembles. This time the level proved very uneven. Some groups were technically strong and others weak, while the in-between was almost unnoticeable. That is why the competition among the strong groups had excited genuine interest. The jury, whose leader since Tatiana Ustinovas departure has traditionally been Mira Koltsova, artistic director of the Beriozka Ensemble, had a very difficult task to determine the best among the equals.   
The last material under this vast column is dedicated to the ballet of Chuvashia. The writer Svetlana Naborshchikova writes, Those were sunny spring days in the Chuvash capitol city. It seemed as if the nature itself rejoiced in the beautiful event the International Ballet Festival. It was taking place for the eleventh time and this time it was especially festive, because the Chuvash ballet was celebrating its jubilee. Forty years ago, a group of the Vaganova Schools alumni came back from St. Petersburg to their home town of Cheboksary and started a national ballet troupe. Their first production was Giselle, where the charming Galina Vasilieva, now artistic director of the Chuvash Ballet, danced the title role. In the Festivals Giselle, which was presented in honor of that legendary one, dancers from St. Petersburg performed alongside the Chuvash ones, while the guests from Samara led by the Samara Theaters chief choreographer Nadezhda Malygina showed excerpts from their spectacles as their birthday present to their fellow Volgans. The main event of the forum on the Volga was the premiere performance of the ballet The Light of the Nightfall. Choreographer Boris Miagkov staged that dance-legend specially for the Festival.
The TIME OF BALLET column presents Olga Rozanovas biographical sketch Bringing up a Person about Boris Bregvadze, whose name in the ballet world is shrouded in legend. Feodor Lopukhov used to say, Of all male dancers I can only name two who became crowd pullers at once Nijinsky and Chabukiani. Boris Bregvadze is the third. The audiences adored him. Books and articles were written about him, where they tried to solve the riddle of his striking talent, to preserve that theatrical miracle in words. The artist himself revealed the secret of his creative work in his usual, simple way. It is just entering the stage and dancing with heart. Thats the main thing with heart. Today Boris Bregvadze is a veteran professor at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. All his students know his mercilessness towards the lazy, his exactingness towards the talented, and his generosity, both professional and human, towards those for whom dance is the essence of life, who can proudly say, I am a pupil of Bregvadze. The reporter from St. Petersburg goes on to describe how the Northern metropolis celebrated the Teachers jubilee.    
Fragments of a concert of the Moscow Academy of the Choreography