Opportunities to see live performances by the Bolshoi Ballet are rare for most lovers of ballet, but – courtesy of Pathé Live and By Experience – those of us in North America are being treated to the HD screening in cinemas of some of this great Russian company’s most fabulous performances. The cinema season – which opened last month with the Bolshoi’s production of Giselle – continues in November with Balanchine’s gorgeous ballet, Jewels, which he created for New York City Ballet in 1967.
The title is simplicity itself, but how eloquently this beautifully descriptive word conveys what Balanchine loved about jewelry – “… the color of gems, the beauty of stones”. He much admired the artistry of jewelry designer Claude Arpels – “Of course, I have always liked jewels,” Balanchine is quoted as saying, “after all, I am an Oriental, from Georgia in the Caucasus”, and it was Arpels’ creativity which inspired him to interpret in dance the characteristics of the three gems he portrays in this abstract work, each representing one of the three cities which most closely defined his style. He trained at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, joined Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in Paris, and co-founded New York City Ballet where most of his works were created.
Emeralds recalled for Balanchine the elegance of France, and for this movement for he selected extracts from Gabriel Fauré’s Pelléas et Mélisande, and Shylock. Rubies is a “crisp and witty” jazzy piece, set to Stravinsky’s Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra – Stravinsky having been a great favorite of Balanchine’s. Diamonds represents the regal grandeur of Imperial Russia, for which there could be no music more appropriate than that of Tchaikovsky. Balanchine set this movement to his Symphony No 3.
Founded in 1776, the Bolshoi is one of the world’s oldest and foremost ballet companies. It’s also the largest (“bolshoi” in Russian means “big” or “grand”) with a company of around 250 dancers, and is known for its distinctive style of performance – colorful, bold and expressive, with a widely acknowledged strength of technique and dramatic intensity.
This production of Jewels stars Vladislav Lantratov, Anastasia Stashkevich, Anna Tikhomirova and Igor Tsvirko in Emeralds; Ekaterina Krysanova, Vyacheslav Lopatin and Ekaterina Shipulina in Rubies; and Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin in Diamonds, with the Bolshoi Corps de Ballet. Biographies of all Bolshoi dancers can be found on http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/persons/ballet/all/.
The screening also includes exclusive access to the dancers – discussing their work in various roles, sharing their inspirations, and giving an insight into how it feels to dance on the legendary stage of the Bolshoi Theatre.
Interviews and video clips can also be viewed online via the Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema web series.
The Bolshoi Ballet’s production of Jewels, in collaboration with Pathé Live and By Experience, will be screened in cinemas on Sunday, November 15, at 12.55 pm local time. To find your local cinema, visit http://www.bolshoiballetincinema.com/
The 2015-16 Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema season includes The Lady of the Camellias (December 6), The Nutcracker (December 20), The Taming of the Shrew (January 24, 2016), Spartacus (March 13) and Don Quixote (April 10). All productions are screened nationally as Sunday matinees.
For further information and tickets for all performances, visit www.BolshoiBalletinCinema.com.
The George Balanchine Trust
The Bolshoi Theatre