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…)

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Another wonderful opportunity coming up at the Phoenix Picturehouse on Sunday 23rd November to see Russian ballet repertoire rarely seen in the West; this time a performance of The Pharaoh’s Daughter first broadcast in 2012 by the Bolshoi Ballet.  Young Englishman Lord Wilson is travelling through Egypt when a powerful storm breaks out. He is forced to take shelter in the nearest pyramid, where the daughter of one of Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs lies entombed. Lord Wilson falls asleep and begins to dream that the princess has come to life…

The plot of this lavish production is loosely based on Théophile Gauthier’s novel Le Roman de la Momie. French choreographer Pierre Lacotte was exclusively commissioned in 2000 by the Bolshoi Theatre to resurrect Marius Petipa’s mighty Egyptian fresco, and he succeeded brilliantly in giving new life to this forgotten masterpiece.

With its exotic setting, impressive parades, spectacular variations and crowd scenes, this grand 19th-century Orientalist fantasy is one of the most remarkable productions in the Bolshoi’s repertoire. The main roles are here danced by Bolshoi principals Svetlana Zakharova, Nina Kaptsova and Ruslan Skvorstov.

Performance:  Sunday 23rd November 2014, 3.00pm

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

Book online here

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A Christmas treat for ballet-lovers – and in the wake of the recent court case convicting the attackers of director Sergei Filin, a welcome chance to be reminded of the on-stage presence of one of the world’s great ballet companies.  Oxford’s Phoenix Picturehouse will be retransmitting a 2011 performance by the Bolshoi Ballet of the  The Sleeping Beauty.

Cursed at birth by the evil fairy Carabosse, Princess Aurora descends into a deep slumber on the day of her 16th birthday. Only the kiss of a prince will awaken her.  Based on Charles Perrault’s classic fairy tale, The Sleeping Beauty has been hugely successful since its premiere in 1890. Marius Petipa’s masterpiece set to Tchaikovsky’s majestic score is one of the most popular and accomplished choreographic works in the classical repertoire. This recent version by veteran choreographer Yuri Grigorovich will captivate fairy-tale lovers and the whole family during the Christmas season, and features two of the company’s top principal dancers. (more…)

Bolshoi Ballet: La Bayadère, transmitted live to the Phoenix Cinema, Oxford. 27 January 2013

Glamorous and spectacular, the Bolshoi Ballet’s La Bayadère is both exciting and emotive. On Sunday, the easy and graceful style of Vladislav Lantratov (Solor) was elegant and sometimes thrilling. Maria Alexandrova, a very fine dancer, made Gamzatti’s jealousy of Nikia understandable and dramatically logical, and Svetlana Zakharova conveyed the full range of emotions, from love and happiness through revulsion at the Brahmin’s advances to despair at betrayal. Zakharova was exceptionally lyrical in the third act, although she seemed just a little tense in the variation with the shawl, which might have gone better for her. The corps de ballet dancers were impeccably correct, if perhaps a little rigid, as the Shades, gleaming in the blackness that made them seem to float on air as they glided down the ramp.

The “elephant in the room”, of course was the acid attack on Sergei Filin less than a fortnight ago. (more…)

Booking is opening for the new season of transmissions from the Bolshoi in Moscow, which includes classic productions and choreographers and dancers Svetlana Zakharova, Maria Alexandrova, Ruslan Skvortsov, David Hallberg and Wayne McGregor… (more…)