Kennedy Center to Welcome Mariinsky Ballet in RAYMONDA This Month

For its 14th consecutive season at the Kennedy Center, Russia's legendary Mariinsky Ballet returns with Marius Petipa's RAYMONDA, widely considered the last "grand ballet" of the 19th century. George Balanchine, who began his career in the Mariinsky corps, once called Alexander Glazunov's score, filled with spirited rhythms and lilting waltzes, "some of the finest ballet music we have." Performances run February 23-28, 2016 in the Kennedy Center Opera House and will be accompanied by the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, conducted by Gavriel Heine.

Set in the medieval past, the story follows the beautiful young countess, Raymonda, on her birthday, torn between the noble crusading knight Jean de Brienne, to whom she is betrothed, and the unexpected arrival of Abderakhman, a handsome Saracen warrior. Haunted by visions of the White Lady, the ghostly protector of her family's castle, Raymonda struggles to ward off her uninvited guest's seductive powers, while desperately awaiting her fiancé's triumphant return from battle.

An extraordinary showcase not only for the Mariinsky's rich Russian heritage, but also the virtuosity of its phenomenal principals, soloists, and corps, Raymonda mesmerizes with a captivating dream sequence, a thrilling duel to the death, and a kaleidoscope of variations displaying the essence of ballet technique. But perhaps this treasured masterpiece is most famous for its grand pas classique hongrois as part of Act III's lavish wedding celebration, with the Mariinsky dancers clad radiantly in white.

For more than 200 years at its home in St. Petersburg, the Mariinsky Ballet has consistently performed in the top tiers of artistic achievement. The company was founded in 1783 and traces its heritage directly to the 1730s reign of Empress Anna, an advocate for the arts. In 1869, the position of principal ballet master was entrusted to Marius Petipa who markedly raised the professional standards of the company. The peak accomplishments of this famous choreographer were ballets staged in the period of his collaboration with the composers Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Alexander Glazunov - The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Raymonda. As one of the great Imperial Theaters of Russia, the ballet and opera companies, along with the theater itself, were renamed during the Soviet era for S. M. Kirov, a Communist party leader during that time.

Ticket prices start at $49. Tickets can be purchased online, at the Kennedy Center box office or by calling Instant Charge at (202) 467-4600 or (800) 444-1324.

DETAILS:

Mariinsky Ballet

Valery Gergiev, Artistic Director

Yuri Fateev, Deputy Director

RAYMONDA

Choreography by Marius Petipa

Revised by Konstantin Sergeyev with choreographic fragments by Fyodor Lopukhov

Music by Alexander Glazunov

Libretto by Lidia Pashkova and Marius Petipa, based on a medieval legend

Sets and Costumes by Simon Virsaladze

With the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Gavriel Heine, conductor

PRINCIPAL CASTING (subject to change):

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 28, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.
Oxana Skorik (Raymonda), Elena Bazhenova (Countess Sibilla), Timur Askerov (Jean de Brienne), Konstantin Zverev (Abderakhman), Soslan Kulaev (René de Brienne), Islom Baimuradov (Ali), Nadezhda Batoeva (Henrietta),
Kristina Shapran (Clémence)

Friday, February 26, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
Oxana Skorik (Raymonda), Elena Bazhenova (Countess Sibilla), Timur Askerov (Jean de Brienne), Konstantin Zverev (Abderakhman), Soslan Kulaev (René de Brienne), Islom Baimuradov (Ali), Nadezhda Gonchar (Henrietta), Yekaterina Chebykina (Clémence)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
Yekaterina Kondaurova (Raymonda), Elena Bazhenova (Countess Sibilla), Daniil Korsuntsev (Jean de Brienne), Yuri Smekalov (Abderakhman), Soslan Kulaev (René de Brienne), Islom Baimuradov (Ali), Nadezhda Gonchar (Henrietta), Yekaterina Chebykina (Clémence)

Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
Anastasia Kolegova (Raymonda), Elena Bazhenova (Countess Sibilla), Yevgeny Ivanchenko (Jean de Brienne), Yuri Smekalov (Abderakhman), Soslan Kulaev (René de Brienne), Islom Baimuradov (Ali), Nadezhda Batoeva (Henrietta), Kristina Shapran (Clémence)

Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.
Anastasia Kolegova (Raymonda), Elena Bazhenova (Countess Sibilla), Yevgeny Ivanchenko (Jean de Brienne), Konstantin Zverev (Abderakhman), Soslan Kulaev (René de Brienne), Islom Baimuradov (Ali), Nadezhda Batoeva (Henrietta), Kristina Shapran (Clémence)



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