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Theatre Review

Dancing in the Dark Season
Marina Lukanina
Photos of “Figaro’s Marriage” by Alexandre Stepin

December is a holiday month that is usually associated with plenty of performing arts event for adults and children. New Year is the biggest holiday in Russia, and which also coincides with the school winter vacations. So the festive atmosphere encourages avid theatre-goers who are in for holiday entertainment. So check out the latest productions!

The big highlight of the past month was the opening of the Bolshoi Theatre’s Main Stage after a long-term reconstruction process. The Bolshoi has always attracted both Russian and foreign citizens to its performances. The interest is even more marked due to the many speculations about its reconstruction work and alleged money mismanagement. Nonetheless the theatre has opened its doors to the visitors (if you are lucky to get a ticket) and offers a variety of ballets and operas.

The most Christmas-associated ballet is The Nutcracker by Peter Tchaikovsky. This is a beautiful ballet based on a holiday fairy-tale happening right around

Where: The Bolshoi Theatre
When: December 24, 25, 29, 30, 31; January 2

Christmas time. The libretto is by Yuri Grigorovich, the Russian dancer and choreographer who dominated the Russian ballet for 30 years. He worked at the Bolshoi as artistic director from 1964 until 1995. In 2008, he was asked to return as a ballet master and choreographer. His version of The Nutcracker is considered to be one of the classics of the 20th century by many ballet professionals.

The Stanislavsky Musical Theatre will also offer its version of The Nutcracker on December 30 and 31st. In case you fail to get tickets to the Bolshoi, this theatre is a great alternative (and in my eyes, better). Marius Petipa, the French ballet dancer, teacher and choreographer, is the author of the libretto.

The theatre also has some nice performances for the children planned for the first week of January. The opera, The Fairy Tale about Tsar Saltan, based on Alexander Pushkin’s work and with the wonderful music of the Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov, is in repertoire on January 2nd and 3rd. It is a beautiful opera that takes you into a magical world of tsars and princes, and tells a story about love and loyalty. The set design and costumes are very impressive, as always. I am confident this production will be equally interesting for both adults and children.

The ballet, the “Snow Maiden, was created by the outstanding choreographer Vladimir Burmeister at the request of the London Festival Ballet. It was first staged at the theatre in 1963. Various Tchaikovsky pieces are used in this ballet. In 2001 a new version was created, and ever since it has been in the theatre repertoire and has remained quite popular among the audience. The story is a fairy-tale about the Snow Maiden in a setting of the Ukrainian winter. The ballet is filled with folk atmosphere. The ending is quite sad, however, since the beautiful Snow Maiden melts as spring comes so probably it is not a good production for little kids.

You can see this ballet on January 3rd and 4th.

“Cinderella” ballet tells a well-known fairy-tale accompanied by a touching music of Sergey Prokofiev. Many critics consider this ballet to be one of the real classics of the 20th century. It was staged in a lot of theatres worldwide.

Sergey Levental,

Where: The Stanislavsky Music Theatre  

a long-term partner of the theatre, created the set design for this production and it is simply impossible to take your eyes away from the beauty of the dancing and the stage decorations.

This ballet is at the theatre repertoire is on January 6th and 7th.

A festive holiday performance, Adventure During Christmas Time, will be held at the Christ the Saviour Church Hall. The fairty-tale tells a story of two siblings who set out on a journey to find a book called “The History of Christmas” that was stolen from them by evil forces—Laziness, Anger and Greed. This Christmas performance, usually held every year, is famous for its beautiful set design, costumes and special effects. Of course Grandfather Frost and his granddaughter, the Snow Maiden, will congratulate the audience with New Year and Christmas at the end.

Prior to this

Address: Volkhonka str, 15

performance, children will be entertained by the folk dancers, Skomorokhi, so make sure you come over 45 minutes before the show starts.

The performances will be held from December 24th till January 8th at 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 9pm. On December 31st: at noon and 3pm and on January 1st: 3pm and 6pm.

If you are up to an evening filled with fireworks and extravaganza, check out the Marriage of Figaro at the Lenkom Theatre. This production is devoted to Andrey Mironov, a very famous Russian actor and the most well-known one who played the role of Figaro. He actually died

Where: The Lenkom Theatre,
When: December 19, 29

while performing this role in 1987 in Riga. Currently, Dmitry Pevtsov plays Figaro. If you haven’t seen this performance with Mironov, then you will be equally impressed. The story is written by Pierre Beaumarchais and takes place just before the French Revolution. This performance has a great cast of actors, including Alexander Lazarev, Alexandra Zakharova, Natalia Shukina. You will be definitely impressed by their acting and the beautiful costumes of the 18th century.

The Igor Moiseev Ballet comes on tour to Moscow again in December. The State Academy Ensemble of the Folk Dance named after Igor Moiseev is the first professional choreographic company which aims to promote world folkloric dance and to interpret it as an art form. Igor Moiseyev has been widely acclaimed as the greatest 20th century choreographer of character dance, a dance style similar to folk dance but with more professionalism and theatrics. Moiseyev graduated from the Bolshoi Theatre ballet school in 1924 and danced in the theatre until 1939. Since the early 1930s, he staged acrobatic parades on Red Square and finally came up with the idea of establishing the Theatre of Folk Art. In 1937 he was put in charge of a new dance company, which has since become known as the Moiseyev Ballet. In 2001, he was awarded the UNESCO Mozart Medal for outstanding contribution to world music culture.

On December 7th and 9th you

Where: The Chaikovsky Concert Hall
When: December 7th and 9th

will get a chance to see by far the best example of the Moiseev Ballet’s performances, called The Dances of the World. It is an incredible show that allows you to travel to Egypt, Argentina, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, etc. without leaving the theatre. If you are a fan of the folkloric dancing or would like to have a better exposure to this genre, this theatre company should not be missed!

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