An exciting opportunity to see the Bolshoi Ballet in a new full-length work in live transmission at Oxford’s Phoenix Picturehouse. Pechorin, a young officer, embarks on a journey across the majestic mountains of the Caucasus, on a path set by his passions. Disillusioned and careless, he inflicts pain upon himself and the women around him…

“Give me everything, it is still not enough.” This story based on the larger-than-life hero Pechorin is adapted from Mikhail Lermontov’s literary masterpiece, A Hero Of Our Time, three separate tales recounting Pechorin’s heartbreaking betrayals. Is he a real hero? Or is he just a man like any other? This brand new production by choreographer Yuri Possokhov is a tragic poetic journey that can only be seen at the Bolshoi.

Music: Ilya Demutsky
Choreography: Yuri Possokhov
Libretto: Kirill Serebrennikov
Cast: The Bolshoi Principals, Soloists and Corps De Ballet

Cinema rating 12A

Performance:  Sunday 9th April 4.00pm

Venue:  Phoenix Picturehouse, 57 Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6AE

Tickets:  Adults £22, Child £10, Student & Retired £17.50, Family x4 £64

Available online here

For one evening, the Bolshoi takes on a bold new challenge performing  Hans Van Manen’s Frank Bridge’s Variations, Sol León and Paul Lightfoot’s Short Time Together and Alexei Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons. This encounter between some of the best dancers in the world and the masters of contemporary choreography results in an outstanding synthesis, raising Van Manen’s formal beauty, León and Lightfoot’s intensity, and Ratmansky’s witty brilliance to a new level.

Music: Benjamin Britten, Max Richter, Ludwig van Beethoven, Leonid Desyatnikov
Choreography: Hans Van Manen, Sol León, Paul Lightfoot, Alexei Ratmansky
Cast: The Bolshoi Principals, Soloists and Corps De Ballet

Performance:  Sunday 19th March, 3.00pm

Venue:  Phoenix Picturehouse, 57 Walton Street, Oxford OX OX2 6AE

Tickets:  Book online here or call 0871 902 5736

Another transmission of The Nutcracker offered by Oxford’s Phoenix Picturehouse for the festive season, this time a live recorded performance by the Bolshoi Ballet from 2014.  Christmas would not be complete without the enchanting tale of young Marie and her nutcracker prince! Danced by the Bolshoi’s principals, Russian ballet master Yuri Grigorovich’s staging of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s fairy tale will transport children and adults alike to a world of magic and wonder for the holiday season.
On Christmas Eve, Marie’s wooden nutcracker doll is transformed into a beautiful prince who takes her on a magical journey. Before they leave, they must confront the Mouse King, whose army is threatening Marie…

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Yuri Grigorovich
Libretto: Yuri Grigorovich (after E. T. A. Hoffmann and Marius Petipa)

Cast: Denis Rodkin (the Nutcracker Prince), Anna Nikulina (Marie), Andrei Merkuriev (Drosselmeyer), Vitaly Biktimirov (the Mouse King) and the Bolshoi Corps De Ballet

Date:  Sunday 18th December, 3.00pm

Venue:  Phoenix Picturehouse, 57 Walton St, Oxford OX2 6AE

Tickets:  Book online here or call 0871 902 5736

The Bolshoi.  Symbol of Russia, a national treasure – mystical and intriguing. Recently, however, the theatre has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons: intrigue, personal attacks and management changes have created lurid headlines.  Now, for the first time, the theatre directors have allowed a film crew access backstage. They saw it as a chance to open a new chapter, and were ready to allow the 2013 -14 season to be recorded as a unique cinematic experience. This groundbreaking documentary will be screened at the Phoenix Picturehouse on Sunday 10th January.

From the two-time Academy Award-winning Producer of Man on Wire and Searching for Sugar Man, BOLSHOI BABYLON gives a voice to artists and company members who are not usually in the limelight in irreverent and candid terms. Combining epic themes with intimate portraits, historic dramas are counterpointed with the untold personal stories of agony and ecstasy that lie behind every acclaimed performance. With unparalleled behind the scenes access, the film pays tribute to the dancers’ extraordinary artistic and athletic talents, their abiding fear of injury and the ruthless ambition needed to survive in the world’s most famous ballet company.  Directed by Nick Read and Mark Franchetti, the film features Maria Alexandrova, Maria Allash, Sergei Filin, Anatoliy Iksanov, Anastasia Meskova and Vladimir Urin.

You can read an account of the compelling story told by the documentary here

Date:  Sunday 10th January, 3.00pm

Venue:  Phoenix Picturehouse, 57 Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6AE

Tickets:  Adults £10.50, children £6, students and retired £9.50, family ticket £28

On Sunday 10 January Bolshoi principal dancer Anastasia Meskova will be joining the filmmakers and historian Simon Sebag Montefiore for a Q&A live via satellite after the film.

You can book tickets online here or call the Phoenix on 0871 902 5736

The Bolshoi Ballet’s production of The Lady of the Camellias was transmitted live on Sunday 7th December at the Phoenix Picturehouse in Oxford. At nearly three hours in length the ballet recounts Alexandre Dumas’ well known tale which forms the basis as well for Verdi’s La Traviata and Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand. The latter short ballet was created especially for Fonteyn and Nureyev and – when they performed it – gently reflected that late blooming relationship between the newly arrived Russian dancer and the more mature woman nearing the end of her sophisticated career. Sunday’s transmission of John Neumeier’s The Lady of the Camellias was startling in the scope of its dramatic enterprise. This was neither short, nor gentle, nor a mere showcase for two star dancers. It was a full-length novelistic narrative. (more…)

A pre-Christmas treat in the form of an opportunity to see the Bolshoi Ballet at the Phoenix Picturehouse  in a live transmission of John Neumeier‘s ballet The Lady of the Camellias.  Set to music by Frédéric Chopin, John Neumeier presents his vision of the novel by Alexandre Dumas fils, written in 1848.  Premiered by the Stuttgart Ballet on 4 November 1978, with Marcia Haydée in the title role, the work entered the repertoire of the Hamburg Ballet on 31 January 1981. The choreographer, who often seeks inspiration in literature, had long been fascinated by “The Lady of the Camellias”, an account of Dumas fils’s own unhappy affair with Rose-Alphonsine Duplessis, a Parisian courtesan, who died of consumption at the age of 22.

A young bourgeois, Armand Duval, falls madly in love with Marguerite Gautier, a gorgeous courtesan celebrated by Parisian high society. Despite her infidelity, Armand will do all he can to win the beautiful woman’s heart and convince her to leave her indulgent life.  The Bolshoi breathes new life into Neumeier’s tragic masterpiece,  this production assuming a new emotional and dramatic texture that only the Bolshoi’s dancers can deliver.

“Neumeier’s character-rich ballet has found a company that is equal to its challenges.” – Financial Times.

Date:  Sunday 6th December 2015, 3.00pm

Venue:  Phoenix Picturehouse, 57 Walton St, Oxford OX2 6AE

Book tickets online here or phone 0871 902 5736

An interesting mix of performances in the flesh and on the screen last week with two cinema visits for 20th century classics and new works transmitted by the Bolshoi and the Royal Ballet framing live performance of German contemporary dance from Sasha Waltz and Guests at Sadler’s Wells. If I dislike the cinema transmissions’ overhyped introductory promos and some excessively effusive commentary, I do enjoy seeing the interiors of other theatres, and some of the informative interview and documentary material provided. Close-ups highlight intriguing details of the dance, although sometimes at a price of losing their relationship with the wider stage environment; differing camera angles risk obscuring spatial design and choreographic architecture.

The Royal Ballet’s first transmission of a mixed bill marked the final farewell of much loved Carlos Acosta from the Covent Garden main stage starring as Don Jose in his own new version of Carmen. (more…)