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Bolshoi Ballet to begin new year with guest performances in Paris

January 03, 2014, 3:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The bill of the guest tour is featuring only one title - Lost Illusions
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© ITAR-TASS/Anton Novoderezhkin

MOSCOW, January 03, 2:22 /ITAR-TASS/. The ballet troupe of Russia's Bolshoi Theatre begins the new year with guest performances in Paris. The renowned Moscow-based company leaves for the French capital on Friday to give performances on the stage of the legendary Grande Opera within a period from January 4 to 10.

The two famous performing companies are brought together by long-standing artistic and friendly contacts which have become particularly lively in the past decade. Within the past ten years alone, Grande Opera de Paris visited Moscow twice - in 2010 and 2013, while the Bolshoi Ballet performed in Paris three times - in 2004, 2008, and 2011. The present tour will be a fourth one in the 21st century.

The bill of the guest tour is featuring only one title - Lost Illusions. The ballet version after the motifs of the novel of the same name by Honore de Balzac was staged specially for the Bolhois Theater in 2011 by prominent choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. Music for the three-act performance was written by Petersburg-based composer Leonid Desyatnikov.

It is appropriate to recall that a similar ballet was already in existence in Soviet times. In 1936, the Lost Illusions, to Boris Asafyev's music, was staged by choreographer Rostislav Zakharov on the then Leningrad's stage of the Kirov Theatre (Maryinsky Theatre now). One of the main roles was danced by Galina Ulanova.

When creating a new ballet, its makers turned to the old libretto written by Vladimir Dmitriyev for the previous production of the Lost Illusions. By contents, it considerably differs from Balzac's novel, in which the main character - Lucien - was a poet and journalist, whereas in the theatre adaptation he turns into a composer. In Balzac's novel women characters are actresses, whereas in the ballet they are dancers.

The large-scale historical stage scenery, resembling ancient and slightly yellowed postcards, was designed by Jerome Caplan, a French set designer of Russian descent. He clothed the cast not in ballet-skirts and tights but in tail-coats, pantaloons, and dresses with crinoline. It was precisely in such garb that the dancers performed their roled which were highly elaborate from the viewpoint of both technique and acting.

It has become known to Itar-Tass that the ballet "Lost Illusions" was invited to Paris for guest performances on the initiative of Brigitte Lefevre, Paris Opera Ballet Company Director, who liked the Bolshoi's performance very much and decided to show to national audiences how young Russian performers "set Great Frenchman Honore de Balzac on points".

In Paris, the main roles in the "Lost Illusions" production will be danced by invited stars Diana Vishnev and American ballet dancer David Hallberg, as well as Bolshoi's leading ballet dancers Vladislav Lantratov, Vyacheslav Lopatin, Yevgenia Obraztsova, Anastasia Stashkevich, Yekaterina Shipulina, Yekaterina Krysanova, Artyom Ovcharenko and others. Six performances are to be given. The programme for the guest tour also includes a concert of works by Leonid Desyatnikov on January 5.

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