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THE BRIGHT STREAM Begins at Bolshoi Theatre This Month

Performances begin February 23.

THE BRIGHT STREAM Begins at Bolshoi Theatre This Month

The Bolshoi Ballet will present the Shostakovich ballet The Bright Stream, February 23- 25.

The premiere of The Bright Stream took place in Leningrad Minor Opera and Ballet Theatre on April 4, 1935. Both audience and critics accepted the ballet eagerly so it was decided to be staged on the country's main stage.

On November 30, same year, The Bright Stream was presented at the Bolshoi, adding to the leading soloists' repertoire. The cast for the main parts included Asaf and Sulamith Messerer, Sofia Golovkina, Aleksei Yermolaev, Zinaida Vasilieva and Pyotr Gusev - one of the future artistic directors of the Bolshoi Ballet... Audience enjoyed the merry performance, and its choreographer Fyodor Lopukhov looked forward to become the artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet company. All the more unexpected was the denouement which destroyed The Bright Stream. Stalin had forbidden it. A smasher appeared in the country's main communist party newspaper Pravda on February 6, 1936. They thought the comedy with traditional nice balletic extravagance to be a parody on happy Soviet life like it was customary to picture it then.

The idea to revive the ballet by Shostakovich belongs to Alexei Ratmansky. He was enchanted by the music and, as he himself confessed, saw and heard all libretto twists and turns in it. The premiere took place on April 18, 2003. For Ratmansky, the main quality of The Stream music was its balletability as if it was Minkus yet a genius one. They used to stage full-scale classical ballets to music by Minkus. And Ratmansky complied the cannon, even paying tribute to traditional balletic pantomime. It may be postmodernism yet a light-breathing or rather light-pacing one.

The one to dive gladly into kitch-parody element was the set designer Boris Messerer, whose father and aunt danced, of course, in quite different setting back in 1930s. "Restored" slogans and posters of the Soviet era are pointedly smiling to taglines and bumpers of our time.

Learn more here.

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