The Ballet of the Mariinskij Theatre of St Petersburg

The best of classical dance inaugurates the Season

Teatro Regio, from 14 October to 6 November 2011

For the first time in the recent history of the Theatre, on 14 October, dance will be inaugurating the Regio Season. The Ballet of the Teatro Mariinsky of St Petersburg will present all of six titles of great classical dance for a total of 22 performances which are expected to sell out. It all begins with an Homage to Fokin – from 14 to 18  October – that includes the best of the Russian choreographer’s production: the Polovetsian Dances from Prince Igor by Alexander Borodin, Le Spectre de la rose by Carl Maria von Weber, The Dying Swan by Camille Saint-Saëns and Shéhérazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. This is followed by two ballets created by Marius Petipa: from 21 to 25 October La Bayadère by Ludwig Minkus, never before performed at the Teatro Regio, and, finally, the most classical of all classical ballets, Swan Lake, on stage from 28 October to 6 November. Among the stars of the Mariinsky on stage in Torino there will be: Ekaterina Kondaurova, Uljana Lopatkina, Alina Somova, Viktorija Tereškina, Evgenij Ivančenko, Igor Kolb, Danila Korsuncev and Vladimir Škljarov. The music will be performed live by the Orchestra of the Teatro Regio; in the Polovetsian Dances, the Chorus of the Regio will also participate.

It’s a grande bouffe for lovers of classical ballet that the Teatro Regio offers in 2011, proclaimed the “Year of Italian culture and language in Russia and Russian culture and language in Italy”; a series of appointments not to be missed that revolve metaphorically around the theme of love, the underlying theme also in the programming of the operas.

This will be a magnificent occasion for admiring the legendary dance company, an example of extraordinary technique and unparalleled discipline, established in 1738 by Empress Anna Johannovna. At first a school, the historic Imperial Theatrical Institute – today the Vaganova Academy – it then became a professional company in whose ranks, in almost 300 years of history, all of the great Russian dancers, including Anna Pavlova, Vaclav Nijinsky, Rudolf Nureyev, Natalija Makarova and Michail Baryshnikov, grew up and worked.

The four ballets making up the Homage to Fokin (14-18/10), almost all of them created for   Diagilev’s Ballets Russes, are undoubtedly the four greatest successes of dancer and choreographer Michail Fokin, the revolutionary creator of ballets inspired by a real desire for innovation towards a more realistic dance. The Polovetsian Dances, with sets and costumes by Nikolaj Roerich, was a triumph right from its debut at the Théâtre Châtelet of Paris in 1909 where, with the impetuous dance of the warriors and the sensuous movements of the slaves, a portrait of a wild, pagan Russia was staged. The piece is based on the opera Prince Igor by Alexander Borodin, with the story set in the XII century when Russia was invaded by the Polovtsian Mongol tribe, and the dances are those dances offered by Khan Končak to Prince Igor, his noble prisoner. Le spectre de la rose, on music by Carl Maria von Weber, orchestrated by Berlioz, with sets and costumes by Léon Bakst, had its debut at the Opéra de Montecarlo in 1911 on the occasion of the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of the poet Théophile Gautier, whose verses the story is based on: the dream of a girl, who, arriving home after a ball, falls asleep exhausted in an armchair with a rose in her hands; in her dream, the spirit of the flower becomes a handsome young man who dances with her until she awakes. The Dying Swan, staged for the first time in St Petersburg in 1907, choreographed to Camille Saint-Saëns’ music from Carnaval des animaux, is undoubtably linked to its first female interpreter Anna Pavlova and her delicate, ethereal and fragile style. Based on Tales of the Thousand and One Nights, Shéhérazade, on music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, had its debut at the Opéra de Paris in 1910. On stage was a stunning pair of dancers: Ida Rubinstein as the splendid Sultana Zobeide and Vaclav Nijinsky as the slave who, with his sensual, aggressive and feline dancing, makes the sultana lose her head in the story, while in real life shocking the Parisian public with the absolute novelty of his gestures.

Named Principal Ballet Master in 1869, Marius Petipa, dancer and grand choreographer, managed to raise the quality of the company by skillfully mixing the grace of the French school with the virtuosity of the Italian school and moulding the great dancers of the generation straddling the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Kšesinskaja, Preobraženskaja, Egorova); but above all, he created unforgettable choreographies like Don Quixote, Bayadère, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. Exoticism, broken promises of love, sentimentalism, romanticism, sensuality; all of this and much more, like the magic of the ballet blanc, the dance of the dead bayadere, can be found in the three intense acts of La Bayadère (21-25/10) to music by Ludwig Minkus.

The Ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre will conclude its stay in Torino (28/10-6/11) with the most classical of the classics: Swan Lake with the choreography of Petipa and Ivanov to music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. This is one of the most well-known, acclaimed, loved and even parodied ballets of the nineteenth century. A world-famous success that incarnates all the ideals of late-Romanticism: a Prince torn between the ideal of pure love and carnal passion, with two female characters who are poles part: the pure Odette and the wicked Odille, and while the first brings to the stage a dance that’s ethereal and refined, the second astonishes with the most extreme virtuosity.

The performances of the Ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre of St Petersburg will be presented to the public by Marinella Guatterini in the Incontro con il Balletto to take place at the Piccolo Regio Puccini on Wednesday 12 October at 5.30 pm.

Until 22 September it will be possible to purchase the special subscription to the three ballets: Homage to Fokin (15 October at 3 pm), La Bayadère (22 October at 8.30 pm) and Swan Lake (29 October at 8.30 pm). Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office of the Teatro Regio, piazza Castello 215 - Tel. 011.8815.241/242 - biglietteria@teatroregio.torino.it, at the Infopiemonte-Torinocultura at the corner of via Garibaldi and piazza Castello (every day from 10 to 18); toll-free number: 800 329329 and on line at www.vivaticket.it and www.ticket.it.
For further information: tel. 011.8815.557 and www.teatroregio.torino.it

Torino, 2 September 2011