It actually happened: after years of talking about it, they actually did it – the Bolshoi is now closed for repairs, and the Bolshoi Ballet is on holiday. The season starts again in September on the new Small Stage of the Bolshoi.
Don’t despair, if you’ve come to Moscow and Russian ballet is high on your agenda; if you can’t do without your Swan Lake and Giselle, you can see the highly-regarded Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre performing on the Small Stage of the Bolshoi, throughout the summer. See What’s On in Moscow in July, and August. The season includes both opera and ballet, so be sure to check in advance what is on for the evening that you want to go. One classical ballet to look out for is La Esmeralda (music by Cesare Pugni), which is now not very often performed, but was very popular before the 1917 Revolution (it was the favourite role of Mathilde Kschessinskaya, the lover of the Tsarevitch Nicholas, later Nicholas II).
There is also the Summer Ballet Festival, from July 2 to August 25, performing at the Russian Academic Youth Theatre, which is located exactly opposite the Bolshoi. In Moscow you might think that all roads lead to the Bolshoi.
This year two companies will alternate in performing on the stage – the Russian National Ballet, and the ballet company of the Sats State Academic Musical Children’s Theatre. All performances are accompanied by the Russian Symphony Orchestra.
The festival is the one for you if you like your ballet very classical; the repertoire includes Tchaikovsky’s three ballets – Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker (which in Russia is not a ballet performed only at Christmas) – and also La bayadere, Don Quixote, and Giselle.
Sergei Diaghilev, founder of the Ballets Russes, said that you had to see all of the above ballets to understand what Russian ballet is about. You might be such a die-hard fan that you will take him at his word; but if not, we don’t think that you will be disappointed whichever one you go to see.
K. S. Stanislavsky and Vl. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko
Moscow Academic Music Theatre
July 2 through July 31
New Stage of the Bolshoi Theatre
1 Theatre Square, M. Teatralnaya,
Tel.: (095) 229 8388
Summer Ballet Festival
July 2 through August 25
Russian Academic Youth Theatre
2 Theatre Square, M Teatralnaya,
Tel.: (095) 105 5853