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Theatre Review

Theatre Review
Marina Lukanina

“Don Quixote” The Stanislavsky Music Theatre

I won’t deny that this is my favourite theatre in Moscow. I am always amazed at the wide spectrum of its repertoire and never-ending energy to stage new performances, to invite foreign directors, singers, and ballet dancers, opera singers to come and perform at its stage. The theatre has very ambitious plans for this season and you will hear more about it in upcoming issues of PASSPORT.

Don Quixote,
photographer: Vadim Lapin

Recently I got an opportunity to see a revived version of Don Quixote, the ballet. It was originally staged in four acts and eight scenes, based on an episode taken from the famous novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. It was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus and was first presented by the Ballet Company of the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow in 1869. The two chapters of the novel that the ballet is mostly based on were first adapted for the ballet in 1740 by Franz Hilverding in Vienna, Austria.

As the ballet begins, an aging nobleman named Don Quixote becomes obsessed with stories of ancient rivalry. Appearing a little silly, he uses his imagination and pretends to be a brave night. He imagines that he sets out to rescue the lady of his dreams, named Dulcinea. Don Quixote leads a charge against imaginary enemies, which he sees everywhere. He proceeds to fight invisible rivals, puppets, and windmills. Don Quixote and Sancho Pansa are

When: check the repertoire
Where: The Stanislavsky Music Theatre
17 B. Dmitrovka str.
Tel: +7 (495) 629-28-35

not heavily involved in the story-line. The ballet’s best dance is a wonderful wedding pas de deux, performed by young lovers Kitri and Basilio. These roles have the best dance of the ballet.

Even though this theatre is always famous for its beautiful set design, I was absolutely amazed at the new scenery created by Valery Levental, a well-known theatre artist.

The ballet is worth seeing both because of the music and dancing and colourful set design that brings you back into an old Spain.

“Meet the Orchestra”: education program for school children at the Stanislavsky Music Theatre

A great example of thinking about future generations and the necessity to educate children about music is this recent program at the Stanislavsky Theatre called “Meet the orchestra”. Through a music fairy-tale “Peter and the Wolf” by Sergey Prokofiev and the suite “The Animal Carnival” by the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, the theatre takes its stand in attracting the young audience.

Evgeny Redko and Felix Korobov, the Theatre conductors,
photographer: Oleg Chernous

“Peter and the Wolf” was composed in 1936 and Prokofiev himself wrote words for the narrator who helps to follow the plot of the fairy-tale. Just to give you some interesting facts about this music fairy-tale: Walt Disney created a cartoon based on this fairy-tale; the audio versions were

When: November 12th, 13th at 2pm
Where: The Stanislavsky Music Theatre
17 B. Dmitrovka str.
Tel: +7 (495) 629-28-35

recorded by John Gielgud, Peter Ustinov, Patrick Steward and Sharon Stone. In 2004 the Grammy Award in “Children’s Album with varied speech” was given to Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton and Sophie Lauren who acted as narrators of this fairy-tale. “The Animal Carnival” was created almost a century earlier. Saint-Saëns decided to depict by means of music different types of people and animals. So this interesting mix of Russian and French music traditions brings together children from age 5 and their parents to explore the beautiful world of the music theatre. Not to be missed!

“The Russian Exercise-book” Valery Gavrilin with the The Moscow State Academic Chamber Musical Theatre named after Boris Pokrovsky

The Russian Exercise-book” is an unusual performance-contemplation about the destiny of a Russian woman. This is where the synthesis of 20th century music and authentic folkloric text creates a feeling of unity between past and present, between paganism and contemporary world perception. The woman becomes not just an everyday character—rather the symbol of suffering and love. The action on stage is targeted towards a dialogue with the audience, a dialogue about her experience, her memories, loneliness, fears and hopes. Valery Gavrilin’s music is used in this performance. His music is known for Russian melodiousness and lyricism. He introduced new forms of choir music based on the synthesis of academic and popular genres.

Russian Excercise Book,
photographer: Mikhail Maizel

Young graduates from the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts worked on this performance. The leading role is played by

When: December 2
Where: The Moscow State Academic
Chamber Musical Theatre
named after Boris Pokrovsky
17 Nikolskaya str.
Tel: +7-495-606-7008

Ekaterina Bolshakova, the soloist of the Theatre.

The performance lasts 1 hour.

To be honest it was a bit boring for me to watch this performance. The whole focus is just on one actress with minimum set design and it seems a bit like a music concert at the Conservatory. However, if you plan to spend an evening at the theatre (and even if it’s a music theatre) you expect more than that. This performance is perfect for music experts and in particular for those who are familiar with Mr. Gavrilin’s music and would be able to appreciate it to the fullest.

“Gorbunov and Gorchakov” by Joseph Brodsky The Sovremennik Theatre

The latest opening night of the Sovremennik Theatre is based on the Joseph Brodsky’s drama poem “Gorbunov and Gorchakov”.

The action takes place in a mental home where our two main heroes are talking to each other or with themselves. Joseph Brodsky wrote this drama poem based on his own experience of being forced to stay in two mental homes in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Two young actors, Artur Smolyaninov and Nikita Efremov (grandson of a famous Russian director, actor Oleg Efremov), play the leading roles in this production.

There are various interpretations of this play; some see a Biblical connotation in it, some compare it with “Mozart and Salieri”. I would suggest that each of you come up with your own interpretation of a story

When: November 8th,
November 19th,
November 25th –
all shows start at 7:30pm
Where: The Sovremennik Theatre
19A Chistoprudny Boulevar
Tel: +7 (495) 628 – 7749 

as that’s usually the beauty of a brilliant work—that different people can see different allusions.

This production is not for an easy Friday night out with your family, rather is for an evening for contemplation. Both the young set designers who were invited to work on this “experimental production” and the young actors did a superb job. During the entire play I just couldn’t help wondering how such brilliant writers as Joseph Brodsky and many others were put into mental homes, prisons, camps, etc., during the Soviet times.

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