wed 29/05/2024

Bolshoi summer season announced, with prodigals returned | reviews, news & interviews

Bolshoi summer season announced, with prodigals returned

Bolshoi summer season announced, with prodigals returned

Wayne McGregor's Rite of Spring breaks mould of an all-classics menu

Russian Revolution: Ratmansky's The Flames of Paris will have its UK premiereBolshoi Ballet

Despite the horror of the acid attack on their director Sergei Filin last week, the Bolshoi Ballet has confirmed its programme for its three-week Royal Opera House season from 29 July to 17 August. Filin's name remains at the head of the page as artistic director, though it is not yet known whether he will be able to come.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the Moscow company's first Covent Garden tour with the veteran promoter Victor Hochhauser, the season is as conventional as usual, with brief glimpses of two shows that will have ballet aficionados scrambling for tickets.

One will be the triple bill showing the UK premiere of a new Rite of Spring by the Royal Ballet's resident choreographer Wayne McGregor which is still in preparation for its Moscow unveiling on 28 March - commissioned to mark the centenary of the original scandalous Rite of Spring of Nijinsky and Stravinsky.

The other will be Britain's first sight of Alexei Ratmansky's full-length Flames of Paris, a fascinating part-restoration of a rampant 1932 Soviet story ballet about the French Revolution, with its original stars, the blistering young couple Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev.

The appearance of Osipova and Vasiliev, who raised the roof on the Bolshoi's last London visit in 2010, has been achieved with high-wire negotiation since they spectacularly quit the company two years ago to join St Petersburg's Mikhailovsky Ballet. Followers of the pair will also see them leading the attractions of the Mikhailovsky Ballet itself on its spring tour to the London Coliseum in late March.

While the Bolshoi's familiar stars will be there in strength, new names to note are the rising young ballerina Olga Smirnova and David Hallberg, an American Ballet Theatre star who joined the Bolshoi in late 2011 as its first-ever foreign principal dancer, to amazement on both sides of the world.

The spine of the tour will be the trademark Russian classics in former Bolshoi Ballet director Yuri Grigorovich's personalised productions: Swan Lake, La Bayadère and The Sleeping Beauty, the show with which the Bolshoi's reconstructed grand theatre reopened in October 2011.


Full programme


  • Swan Lake (8 performances): 29, 30, 31 July and 1, 10, 14, 15 August at 7.30pm, and 10 August 2pm
  • La Bayadère (3 pfs): 2, 3, August at 7.30pm, 3 August at 2pm
  • The Sleeping Beauty (5 pfs): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 August at 7.30pm
  • Triple Bill (2 pfs): Classical Symphony (Yuri Possokhov) / The Rite of Spring (Wayne McGregor) / Diamonds (George Balanchine) 12, 13 August at 7.30pm
  • The Flames of Paris (3 pfs): 16, 17 August at 7.30pm, 17 August at 2pm

The principal artists listed for London are (female) Maria Alexandrova, Maria Allash, Nina Kaptsova, Svetlana Lunkina, Anna Nikulina, Evgenia Obraztsova, Natalia Osipova, Ekaterina Shipulina, Anastasia Stashkevich, Olga Smirnova and Svetlana Zakharova; (male) Semyon Chudin, David Hallberg, Mikhail Lobukhin, Vyacheslav Lopatin, Artem Ovcharenko, Ruslan Skvortsov, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, Ivan Vasiliev and Alexander Volchkov.

General booking opens 9 April at the Royal Opera House

  • McGregor's Rite of Spring is due to be relayed live to cinemas in the UK and worldwide on Sunday 31 March

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