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Billy Budd (Opera by Benjamin Britten)

Billy Budd (Opera by Benjamin Britten)

Benjamin Britten
Opera in two acts
Libretto by Edward Morgan Forster and Eric Crozier based on the novel of the same name by Herman Melville
Music Director: William Lacey
Stage Director: David Alden
Set Designer: Paul Stainberg
Costume Designer: Constance Hoffman
Lighting Designer: Adam Silverman
Movement Director: Maxine Braham
Fight Coordinator: Jessica Jackson-Smith
Chief Chorus Master: Valery Borisov
Co-production with English National Opera.
Will be premiered at the Bolshoi Theatre on November 25, 2016.

SYNOPSIS

Prologue
Captain Vere, an old man, is haunted by a moment in his life when he was tested and found wanting.

ACT I
Scene 1 On board HMS Indomitable, a British man-of-war, during the French wars of 1797
Parties of seamen are at work. A novice seaman collides accidentally with the Bosun and later slips on the deck; the Bosun orders him to be flogged.
A boarding party returns from a passing merchant ship, the Rights o" Man, with three men impressed for naval service. Master-at-Arms John Claggart interviews the men. Only the last, Billy Budd, pleases the officers: he is a strong and enthusiastic sailor whose one defect is an occasional stammer. He bids a joyful welcome to his new life and an impassioned farewell to the Rights o" Man. Misunderstanding his farewell for a revolutionary declaration, the officers are alarmed and order to clear the deck.
Claggart, who is responsible for discipline, is instructed to keep an eye on Billy. He sets his corporal, Squeak, to watch and harass him.
The Novice returns from the flogging. The new recruits, appalled by the sight, are assured by Donald and Dansker that no one can escape his share of punishment. They warn against Claggart while showing their devotion to Captain Vere. Billy is attracted to the goodness of Vere and, along with the other men, swears to die for him if necessary.

Scene 2 Captain Vere"s cabin, a week later
Vere is reading alone at night. He sends for two officers to share a drink with him. They discuss the recent naval mutinies at Spithead and the Nore. Vere discounts their fears about Billy"s influence on the men, who are heard singing below decks. Another officer arrives to announce that enemy land has been sighted.

Scene 3 Below decks, the same evening
The men are off-duty and singing sea shanties. Billy discovers Squeak meddling with his kit-bag and they fight until Squeak is disarmed. Claggart arrives, has Squeak arrested and congratulates Billy. The men turn in for the night.
Claggart reveals his determination to destroy Billy. He forces the Novice to try and bribe Billy into leading a mutiny.
Billy wakes from a dream of drowning to hear the Novice"s proposal. In his fury at the idea of mutiny he can only stammer; the Novice runs away. Dansker realizes that Claggart is behind it all, but Billy refuses to believe him, dreaming instead of promotion.

ACT II
Scene 1 Some days later

Mist surrounds the ship. Claggart begins telling Vere that there is a dangerous seaman aboard, when a French ship is sighted. The crew are called to action stations; a shot is fired, but the wind fails, the mist returns and the chase is abandoned.
Claggart returns to Vere; he accuses Billy of planning a mutiny. Vere, disbelieving him, orders both men to his cabin.

Scene 2 Captain"s Vere"s cabin, a few minutes later
Billy arrives expecting promotion, only to be confronted by Claggart"s false accusation of inciting mutiny. Finding himself unable to speak in his defence, Billy hits out and Claggart falls dead. Vere is horrified. Sending Billy into an adjoining room, he summons his officers to an immediate trial, knowing that the penalty for striking a superior officer is death. Billy is brought before the drumhead court martial. Aware of the injustice of the death sentence in this instance, the officers appeal to Vere for guidance; he refuses to advise them and they reluctantly resolve that Billy should be hanged at dawn. Vere knows that he could have saved Billy. He goes to tell him the verdict.

Scene 3 The next morning, shortly before dawn
Billy awaits his execution; Dansker brings him food and drink.

Scene 4 On deck, four o"clock the same morning
The crew assemble to witness the hanging. Billy"s final words are "Starry Vere, God bless you!", a shout which is echoed by the crew. But after the hanging they turn on the officers in anger and resentment. Ordered below, their rebellion subsides into sullen obedience.

Epilogue
Vere, an old man, knows he has failed Billy and himself: he could have saved him. He receives Billy"s last words as a kind of benediction, redeeming him at the last.

Carmen Suite. Etudes. Forgotten Land (One act ballets)

Carmen Suite. Etudes. Forgotten Land (One act ballets)

Carmen Suite
to music by Georges Bizet and Rodion Shchedrin
Ballet in one act
Adults only
Libretto Alberto Alonso based on the story Carmen by Prospero Merime
Choreographer: Alberto Alonso
Designer: Boris Messerer
Music Director: Pavel Sorokin
Assistant to Choreographer: Sonia Calero Alonso
Lighting designer: Alexander Rubtsov
For the first time entered the repertory of the Bolshoi Theatre on April 20, 1967.
Revived on November 18, 2005.

Running time: 50 minutes.

Etudes
to music by Carl Czerny arranged and orchestrated by Knudage Riisager
Ballet in one act
Choreography by Harald Lander
Sceneries, costumes and lighting by Harald Lander
Ballet Masters: Lise Lander, Johnny Eliasen
Music Director: Igor Dronov
Premiered on March 19, 2017.

Forgotten Land
To music of Sinfonia da requiem by Benjamin Britten
Ballet in one act
Choreography: Jiri Kylian
Set and Costume Design: John F. Macfarlane
Lighting Designer: Hans-Joachim Haas
Lighting Designer (adaptation): Kees Tjebbes
Music Director: Anton Grishanin
Will be premiered on November 2, 2017.
Will run with one-act ballets Etudes and The Cage.

The world premiere took place in Stuttgart on April 4, 1981.

Don Pasquale (Opera by Gaetano Donizetti)

Don Pasquale (Opera by Gaetano Donizetti)

Gaetano Donizetti
Opera in three acts
Libretto by Giovanni Ruffini based on Angelo Anelli"s libretto "Ser Marcantonio"
Music Director: Michal Klauza
Stage Director: Timofey Kulyabin
Set Designer: Oleg Golovko
Costume Designer: Galya Solodovnikova
Lighting Designer: Denis Solntsev
Chief Chorus Master: Valery Borisov
Dramaturge: Ilya Kukharenko
Premiered on April 19, 2016.

Synopsis
St. Jerome University, Rome, present day.

Act I
Scene One. The University

Don Pasquale, a renowned scholar and a confirmed bachelor, makes a decision to marry on the brink of his 70th birthday.
He receives Dr Malatesta, who offers him his sister Sofronia as a bride-to-be. The girl was raised in a convent and is full of virtue. Inflamed Pasquale sends Malatesta to fetch her.
The bridegroom is anxious to share the happy news with his subordinates and his nephew Ernesto. The uncle and the nephew have been in conflict for a long time. Don Pasquale threatens to cut Ernesto off and even disinherit him by marrying, if Ernesto keeps resisting the good match arranged by his uncle, but the young man remains true to his love for the penniless young widow Norina.
Knowing now that Don Pasquale"s marriage is no blind threat, Ernesto is in turmoil. In addition he learns from his uncle that his friend Malatesta betrayed him by arranging Don Pasquale"s betrothal.
Insulted by his nephew"s obstinacy and derision, Don Pasquale cuts him off and kicks him out.

Scene Two. Norina"s flat
Norina spends her morning reading romantic novels and imagining herself as a heroine, when she is delivered a message from Ernesto. He bids his farewell as he is going to leave the country. The woman"s plans to marry him are ruined.
Malatesta arrives and comforts Norina"s distress: his new plan is to wed Norina to Don Pasquale by disguising her as a meek and virtuous Sofronia. Malatesta"s cousin Carlotto is to impersonate a notary. Once the fake marriage contract is signed, Norina is to make the old man"s life insufferable, so that he comes to his senses and agrees to his nephew"s marriage with Norina.
Malatesta and Norina rehearse the behaviour of the simple and naive girl Sofronia and discuss the details of their plot.

Act II
The University

Ernesto says goodbye to his alma mater where he spent his adolescence, and composes another farewell letter to his beloved.
Don Pasquale prepares to meet his bride. Malatesta introduces Norina as the shy Sofronia. Don Pasquale is enchanted and implores Malatesta to fetch a notary without delay and conclude the marriage contract.
Carlotto arrives disguised as a notary. Rejoicing, Don Pasquale assigns half of his property to his new wife and bequeaths all his estate to be administrated by her.
As they proceed to sign the contract, Ernesto rushes in to say goodbye to his uncle. He is shocked to find out that Norina is the bride: Malatesta did not warn him beforehand thinking he was already away. Now Malatesta has to drag Ernesto in off the cuff. Eventually Malatesta makes Ernesto sign the marriage contract as the final witness.
After the formal part is completed, Norina stops pretending docile, positions herself in charge and confronts Don Pasquale, then summons his personnel and gives them absurd orders. Puzzled, the University staff has to obey. Don Pasquale is dismayed at his bride"s transformation and feels that he was betrayed, but the contract is already concluded.

Act III
Scene One. The University

Norina and Malatesta have changed the plan of the upcoming celebration of Don Pasquale"s birthday and are now preparing a new programme for the event. The whole University watches the preparations in astonishment. Don Pasquale has to pay countless bills.
He spots Sofronia/Norina leave the building dressed in an evening frock. Despite all the quarrels Don Pasquale still hopes to set things right with his young wife on their wedding night. He tries to stop her, but she mocks him and slaps him in the face. He is in despair. Sofronia/Norina goes away but secretly leaves behind a fake note from a lover about a date that night. Don Pasquale is mad with jealousy.
Don Pasquale"s employees discuss the new establishment and constant fighting between the spouses.
Malatesta sends Ernesto to the garden to impersonate Sofronia"s lover. Don Pasquale arrives. He is broken and devastated. He complains to Malatesta about Sofronia"s severity and harshness and accuses his wife of adultery. He wants to catch her in flagrante and call the police.
Malatesta consoles Don Pasquale and persuades him to keep the matter silent: if Sofronia is caught, she might quietly concede to divorce. Don Pasquale agrees with this plan and aspires for revenge and redemption.

Scene Two. The "garden"
Ernesto sings a serenade to Sofronia pretending to be her lover. Then he and Norina sing a love duet to attract Don Pasquale"s attention, and Ernesto hides away.
Don Pasquale"s hopes to catch both Sofronia/Norina and her lover are ruined as he finds her alone. She is outraged and denies all his accusations, as well as his claims for divorce. Don Pasquale is desperate to break the marriage bonds. Malatesta offers his help, provided that he is given a free hand.
In Don Pasquale"s presence Malatesta tells Sofronia that soon she will have to share her authority as a mistress with Norina, Ernesto"s future wife. Sofronia takes this ill. It is she who demands a divorce now. Pasquale is anxious to secure it by arranging his nephew"s wedding right away and even providing the couple with a substantial sum of money. He summons Ernesto to wed him to Norina at once.
Ernesto arrives. He, Norina and Malatesta confess their fraud. Don Pasquale is relieved to learn that his marriage was fake and that Sofronia is in fact Norina. He pardons everyone and gives his blessing to the loving couple.

Flames of Paris (Ballet by Boris Asafiev)

Flames of Paris (Ballet by Boris Asafiev)

Ballet in two acts
Book by Alexander Belinsky and Alexei Ratmansky
on the basis of the original libretto by Nikolai Volkov and Vladimir Dmitriev
Choreographer - Alexei Ratmansky
with use of the original choreography by Vasily Vainonen
Music Director - Pavel Sorokin
Scenographers - Ilya Utkin, Evgeny Monakhov
Costume Designer - Yelena Markovskaya
Lighting Designer - Damir Ismagilov
Music dramaturgy conception - Yuri Burlaka
Premiered on July 3, 2008.
Presented with one interval.
Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes.

SYNOPSIS

Act I
Scene 1

A suburb of Marseilles, the town which gave its name to the French National anthem. Through the forest a large group of people are on the move. This is the battalion of the Marseillais who are on their way to Paris. A cannon which they are taking with them indicates their intentions. Among the men of Marseilles is Philippe.
It is by the cannon that Philippe makes the acquaintance of the peasant girl Jeanne. He kisses her on parting. Jeanne s brother, Jerome, longs to join the Marseillais.
In the distance is the castle of the Marquis Costa de Beauregard, the local seigneur. Hunters are returning to the castle, among whom are the Marquis and his daughter, Adeline.
The noble Marquis makes advances to the pretty peasant girl, Jeanne. The latter tries to free herself from his pawing, but only manages to do so with the help of Jerome, who comes to his sister s defense.
Jerome is beaten up by the hunters from the Marquis s suite, and thrown into a prison cellar. Adeline, who has observed the scene, frees Jerome, and in their hearts a mutual feeling for each other is born. The sinister, old woman Jarcasse, who has been employed by the Marquis to keep an eye on his daughter, informs her adored master of the escape. The Marquis slaps his daughter and orders her to get into a carriage, accompanied by Jarcasse. They are going to Paris.
Jerome bids farewell to his parents. It is not safe for him to remain on the Marquis s estate. He and Jeanne go off with a detachment of the Marseillais. Their parents are inconsolable.
Volunteers are enrolling in the detachment. Together with the crowd, the men of Marseilles dance a farandola. The men put on red caps in place of their old headwear. Jerome is given a gun by the leader of the insurgents, Gilbert. Jerome and Philippe harness themselves to the cannon. The detachment moves off to Paris to the strains of the Marseillaise.

Scene 2
The sound of the Marseillaise gives way to an elegant minuet. The royal palace. The Marquis and Adeline have arrived here. The Master of Ceremonies announces the start of the ball.
Rinaldo and Armida, a court ballet, with the Paris stars Mireille de Poitiers and Antoine Mistral:
Sarabande - Armida and her friends. Armida s forces return from a campaign. Prisoners are led in. Among them is Prince Rinaldo.
Amour aims an arrow at the hearts of Armida and Rinaldo. Variation - Amour. Armida frees Rinaldo.
Pas de deux Rinaldo and Armida.
The phantom of Rinaldo s bride appears. Rinaldo abandons Armida and sails off in a boat after the phantom. Armida conjures up a storm. Waves cast Rinaldo onto the seashore, he is surrounded by furies.
Dance - Furies. Rinaldo falls dead at Armida s feet.
King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette make their entrance. Greetings, oaths of loyalty and toasts to the prosperity of the monarchy follow.
The tipsy Marquis chooses the Actress as his next victim, and starts to court her in the same way as he had Jeanne, the peasant girl. The strains of the Marseillaise are heard from the street. The courtiers and officers panic. Making use of this, Adeline escapes from the palace.

Act II
Scene 3

A square in Paris, into which the men of Marseilles march, among whom are Philippe, Jerome and Jeanne. A shot from their cannon is to give the signal for the start of the assault on the Tuileries.
Suddenly, in the square, Jerome catches sight of Adeline. He rushes over to her. The sinister, old woman Jarcasse spies on their meeting.
In the meantime, in honor of the arrival of the detachment of men from Marseilles, a barrel of wine is rolled out into the square. Dances get underway: the Auvergne dance gives way to the Marseillaise dance, then the temperamental dance of the Basques starts up, in which all the chief characters take part: Jeanne, Philippe, Adeline, Jerome and Gilbert, the captain of the Marseillais.
In the crowd, flushed with wine, petty brawls break out here and there. Stuffed dolls of Louis and Marie Antoinette are torn to pieces. Jeanne with a spear in her hands dances the carmagnole to the singing of the crowd. Philippe, who is drunk, lights the fuse, there is volley of cannon fire, after which the crowd dashes off to storm the Tuileries.
Against a background of shots being fired and the beating of drums, Adeline and Jerome declare their love for each other. They are oblivious to what is going on around them.
The Marseillais break into the palace. They are led by Jeanne, waving a flag. Fighting. The palace is taken.

Scene 4
The crowd fills the square which is decorated with lanterns. Members of the Convention and new government mount the tribune.
The crowd rejoices. The famous artists, Mireille de Poitiers and Antoine Mistral, who before had entertained the king and his courtiers, now perform the Freedom dance for the people. The new dance is little different to the old, only now, the actress holds the Republican flag in her hands. Artist David is sketching the celebration.
By the cannon, from which the first volley had been fired, the President of the Convention unites the hands of Jeanne and Philippe. These are the first young newly weds of the new Republic
The sound of Jeanne and Philippe s betrothal dance gives way to the muffled thuds of the falling knife of the guillotine.
The condemned Marquis is led in. Seeing her father, Adeline rushes over to him, but Jerome, Jeanne and Philippe beg her not to give herself away. In order to revenge the Marquis, Jarcasse betrays Adeline, revealing her true origins. Roused to fury, the crowd demands her death. Beside himself with despair, Jerome tries to save Adeline, but to no avail. She is guillotined. Frightened for their lives, Jeanne and Philippe restrain the struggling Jerome.
The celebration continues. To the strains of Ca ira, the triumphant populace moves downstage towards the audience.

Hero of Our Time (Ballet by Ilya Demutsky)

Hero of Our Time (Ballet by Ilya Demutsky)

Ballet in two acts
Composer: Ilya Demutsky
Choreographer: Yuri Possokhov
Director, Designer and Author of Libretto: Kirill Serebrennikov
Costume Designers: Elena Zaitseva, Kirill Serebrennikov
Music Durector: Anton Grishanin
The world premiere took place on 22 July 2015.
The first and the second parts are performed without intermission.
Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes.

Synopsis

Can it be that wickedness is so attractive?..
Pechorin"s diary

BELA

1.
Prologue
Pechorin alone.
When I saw Bela in my own house; when, for the first time, I held her on my knee and kissed her black locks, I, fool that I was, thought that she was an angel sent to me by sympathetic fate... Again I was mistaken; the love of a savage is little better than that of your lady of quality, the barbaric ignorance and simplicity of the one weary you as much as the coquetry of the other. I am not saying that I do not love her still; I am grateful to her for a few fairly sweet moments; I would give my life for her - only I am bored with her... Whether I am a fool or a villain I know not; but this is certain, I am also most deserving of pity - perhaps more than she...
Bela"s funerals.
Muezzin"s exequial cant and a voice of a Russian wailer are heard.
How tiresome... I went away to order a coffin. Should I have erected a cross? No, a cross would not have done!..
...After all, she was not a Christian.

2.
Celebration.
Mountaneers, Pechorin, Kazbich.

Bela appears.
"What was it she sang - do you remember?"
"It went like this, I fancy: "Handsome, they say, are our young horsemen, and the tunics they wear are garnished with silver; but handsomer still is the young Russian officer, and the lace on his tunic is wrought of gold. Like a poplar amongst them he stands, but in gardens of ours such trees will grow not nor bloom!"
"Well, now, what do you think of her?"
"Charming! What is her name?"
"Her name is Bela."
"Bela."
"It is a bad thing to interfere in other people"s quarrels. Wouldn"t it be better for us to clear off without loss of time?"
"Wait, though, and see how it will end!"
"Oh, as to that, it will be sure enough to end badly; it is always so with these Asiatics. Once let them get drunk on buza, and there"s certain to be bloodshed."
Pechorin abducts Bela.

3.
Bela at Pechorin"s.
She sits in the corner, muffled in her veil, and neither speaks nor looks up - timid as a wild chamois! I have hired the wife of our dukhan-keeper: she will look after Bela and accustom her to the idea that she belongs to me - for she shall belong to no one else!
No one!
Pechorin seduces Bela.
"Listen, my Peri, surely you know that you will have to be mine sooner or later - why, then, do you but torture me? Is it that you are in love with some Chechene? If so, I will let you go home at once. Or is it that I am utterly hateful to you? Or that your faith prohibits you from giving me a little of your love? Believe me, Allah is one and the same for all races; and, if he permits me to love you, why, then, should he prohibit you from requiting me by returning my love? Listen, my dear, good Bela! You see how I love you. I am ready to give up everything to make you cheerful once more. I want you to be happy, and, if you are going to be sad again, I shall die. Tell me, you will be more cheerful?"

Bela is happy.

Pechorin returns. He has lost interest in his abductee.
Bela"s heart is broken.

4.
Mountaneers. Kazbich. Bela"s death.
"I don"t want to die!.. It burns..."
"Where?"
"Here in my breast... Piercing... As a red-hot blade... Water, water!..
"Where is father?! Grisha... I want back to the mountains, back home...
"Grishaaa... Why don"t you love your janechka anymore?.. Is it because I am not a Christian? How terrible, Grisha... how terrible... our souls will not meet in the other world... in Paradise another woman will be your companion..."
"Do you want to be baptized?"
"No... I will die in the faith in which I was born... It is better now... Go to bed, Grisha... Kiss me, Grisha... I beg of you..."
Pechorin and the dead Bela. He is uncertain whether he should bury her as a Christian or as a Muslim.
The mountains of Caucasus are not moved by human pain.

TAMAN

1.
Pechorin arrives at Taman.
Taman is the nastiest little hole of all the seaports of Russia. I was all but starved there, to say nothing of having a narrow escape of being drowned. I arrived late at night by the post-car... The sentry, a Cossack from the Black Sea, hearing the jingle of the bell, cried out, sleepily, in his barbarous voice, "Who goes there?" An under-officer of Cossacks and a headborough came out. I explained that I was an officer bound for the active-service detachment on Government business, and I proceeded to demand official quarters. The headborough conducted us round the town. Whatever hut we drove up to we found to be occupied. The weather was cold; I had not slept for three nights; I was tired out, and I began to lose my temper.
"Take me somewhere or other, you scoundrel!" I cried; "to the devil himself, so long as there"s a place to put up at!"
"There is one other lodging," answered the headborough, scratching his head. "Only you won"t like it, sir. It is uncanny!"

2.
A mysterious house at the sea shore. The wind is blowing.
Pechorin, the Old Woman, the Blind Boy.
"You are the master"s son?"
"No."
"Who are you, then?
"An orphan - a poor boy."
"Has the mistress any children?"
"No, her daughter ran away and crossed the sea with a Tartar."
"Not a single icon to be seen on the wall - a bad sign!"
Undine appears.
Pechorin falls in love with the strange beauty.
Certainly never before had I seen a woman like her. She was by no means beautiful; but, as in other matters, I have my own prepossessions on the subject of beauty. There was a good deal of breeding in her... Breeding in women, as in horses, is a great thing...
Breeding is chiefly to be detected in the gait, in the hands and feet; the nose, in particular, is of the greatest significance. In Russia a straight nose is rarer than a small foot.
Undine disappears.
Alone, Pechorin falls asleep.

3.
Pechorin"s dream. March of uncanny creatures.
I confess that I have a violent prejudice against all blind, one-eyed, deaf, dumb, legless, armless, hunchbacked, and such-like people. I have observed that there is always a certain strange connection between a man"s exterior and his soul; as, if when the body loses a limb, the soul also loses some power of feeling.
Undine reappears. Seagulls cry.
Pechorin and Undine"s love duet.
"Tell me, my beauty, what were you doing on the roof to-day?"
"I was looking to see from what direction the wind was blowing."
"What did you want to know for?"
"Whence the wind blows comes happiness."
"Well? Were you invoking happiness with your song?"
"Where there is singing there is also happiness."
"But what if your song were to bring you sorrow?"
"Well, what then? Where things won"t be better, they will be worse; and from bad to good again is not far."
"And who taught you that song?"
"Nobody taught me; it comes into my head and I sing; whoever is to hear it, he will hear it, and whoever ought not to hear it, he will not understand it."
Undune lures Pechorin at sea.
"To-night, when everyone is asleep, go out to the shore."
"Follow me! Let us get into the boat."
"What is the meaning of this?"
"It means, it means that I love you!.."
"What do you want?.."
Undine tries to drown Pechorin. They struggle.
Pechorin manages to survive.

4.
Pechorin searches for Undine in vain.
Pechorin, the Old Woman, the Blind Boy.
"How come that you have a daughter?"
"I am deaf. I don"t hear you."
"You don"t have a daughter, do you?"
"I am deaf as a post."
"Now, then, you little blind devil. Tell me, where were you roaming with the bundle last night, eh?"
"Where did I go? I did not go anywhere... With the bundle?.. What bundle?"

5.
Seashore at night. Smugglers.
Arrival of Yanko, leader of smugglers and Undine"s lover.
Yanko, Undine, the Blind Boy.
"Yanko, all is lost! He saw us.. He will tell on us...
"Listen, you blind one... She is coming with me. It is impossible for her to remain here. Tell the old woman that it is time for her to die; she has been here a long time, and the line must be drawn somewhere. As for us, she will never see us any more."
"And I?.."
"What use have I for you?"
"Come on, Yanko..."
Undine and Yanko get away.
The Blind Boy and Pechorin remain alone.

Thank Heaven an opportunity of getting away presented itself in the morning, and I left Taman. What became of the old woman and the poor blind boy I know not. And, besides, what are the joys and sorrows of mankind to me - me, a travelling officer, and one, moreover, with an order for post-horses on Government business?

PRINCESS MARY

1.
Prologue - Pechorin"s solo
Yesterday I arrived at Pyatigorsk. I have engaged lodgings at the extreme end of the town, the highest part, at the foot of Mount Mashuk: during a storm the clouds will descend on to the roof of my dwelling. This morning at five o"clock, when I opened my window, the room was filled with the fragrance of the flowers growing in the modest little front-garden. Branches of bloom-laden bird-cherry trees peep in at my window, and now and again the breeze bestrews my writing-table with their white petals... Blithe is life in such a land! A feeling akin to rapture is diffused through all my veins. The air is pure and fresh, like the kiss of a child; the sun is bright, the sky is blue - what more could one possibly wish for? What need, in such a place as this, of passions, desires, regrets?..

2.
Watering-place society.
Medical treatment, exercises, water well.

Grushnitski arrives with the wounded soldiers.
Grushnitski and Pechorin meet.
"You are embittered against the whole human race?"
"And I have cause to be..."
"Oh, really?"

Mary"s arrival.
Pechorin understands that Grushnitski is in love with Mary.

I have never known a waist more voluptuous and supple! Her fresh breath touched my face; at times a lock of hair, becoming separated from its companions in the eddy of the waltz, glided over my burning cheek... She was out of breath, her eyes were dulled, her half-open lips were scarcely able to whisper the indispensable: "Merci, monsieur."

Vera"s appearance.

Has destiny brought us together again in the Caucasus, or has she come hither on purpose, knowing that she would meet me?.. There is not a man in the world over whom the past has acquired such a power as over me...

Pechorin and Vera.
"Vera!"
"I knew that you were here."
"We have not seen each other for a long time."
"A long time, and we have both changed in many ways."
"Consequently you love me no longer?.."
"I am married!.."
"Again? A few years ago, however, that reason also existed, but, nevertheless..."
"Perhaps you love your second husband?.. Or is he very jealous? What then? He is young, handsome and, I suppose, rich - which is the chief thing - and you are afraid?.."
"Tell me, do you find it very amusing to torture me? I ought to hate you. Since we have known each other, you have given me naught but suffering..."
"Perhaps, it is for that very reason that you have loved me; joys are forgotten, but sorrows never..."

Mary helps Grushnitski who has pretended he is wounded in order to attract her attention.
Pechorin mockers Grushnitski, and he becomes furious.

"Did you see? She is an angel, simply an angel!"
"Why?"
"Did you not see, then?"
"No. I saw her picking up your tumbler. If there had been an attendant there he would have done the same thing - and quicker too, in the hope of receiving a tip. It is quite easy, however, to understand that she pitied you; you made such a terrible grimace when you walked on the wounded foot."
"And can it be that seeing her, as you did, at that moment when her soul was shining in her eyes, you were not in the least affected?"
"No."

Pechorin and Mary remain alone with each other.
"I have heard, Princess, that although quite unacquainted with you, I have already had the misfortune to incur your displeasure... that you have considered me insolent. Can that possibly be true?"
"Would you like to confirm me in that opinion now?".
"If I had the audacity to insult you in any way, then allow me to have the still greater audacity to beg your pardon... And, indeed, I should very much like to prove to you that you are mistaken in regard to me..."

Mary falls under Pechorin"s spell.
Grushnitski is jealous.

3.
Gentlemen"s club. Grushnitski complains about Pechorin"s actions. He thinks Pechorin is going to conquer Mary for himself.

A ball commences.
Polonaise. Waltz. Polka.
Pechorin dances with Mary.
"I did not expect this from you."
"What?"
"You are going to dance the mazurka with her? She admitted it..."
"Well, what then? It is not a secret, is it?"
"Of course not... I ought to have expected such a thing from that chit - that flirt... I will have my revenge, though!"
"You should lay the blame on your cloak, or your epaulettes, but why accuse her? What fault is it of hers that she does not like you any longer?.."
"But why give me hopes?"
"Why did you hope? To desire and to strive after something - that I can understand! But who ever hopes?"
"You have won the wager, but not quite."
Quarrel between Grushnitski and Pechorin. Grushnitski challenges Pechorin.

4.
Vera"s letter.
Pechorin and Vera.

Vera (soprano):
I am writing to you in the full assurance that we shall never see each other again. A few years ago on parting with you I thought the same...
it has been Heaven"s will to try me a second time...
...I have not been able to endure the trial, my frail heart has again submitted to the well-known voice...
...you will not despise me for that - will you?
will you?
will you?
...We are parting for ever.
...you may be sure
that I shall never
love another

never

upon you
my soul has exhausted
all its treasure,
its tears
its hopes

...in your nature
there is
something peculiar
there is
something proud and mysterious...
in your voice
there is an invincible power

no one
can so constantly wish to be loved
in no one
is wickedness ever so attractive
no one"s
glance promises so much bliss...
bliss...
bliss...

no one
can better make use of his advantages
and no one
can be
so truly unhappy
so truly unhappy
so truly unhappy
as you...

5.
Pechorin and Grushnitski before the duel.
Each is contemplating his own thoughts.
Seconds appear. The duel is prepared.
Pechorin and Grushnitski swap their pistols.
The duel.
"Grushnitski! There is still time: recant your slander, and I will forgive you everything. You have not succeeded in making a fool of me; my self-esteem is satisfied. Remember - we were once friends..."
"Fire! I despise myself and I hate you. If you do not kill me I will lie in wait for you some night and cut your throat. There is not room on the earth for both of us..."
Fire.
Grushnitski is killed.

Vera appears.
Vera (soprano):
I almost fainted at the thought that you had to fight a duel to-day... it seemed to me that I should go mad...

...I am sure
that you remain alive

it is impossible
that you should die, and I not with you

it is impossible
that you should die, and I not with you

impossible...

|impossible...

impossible...

6.
Pechorin realizes that he has killed his friend.
Pangs of conscience.
Vera (soprano):
I have been sitting at the window
three hours now,
awaiting your return...
But you are alive, you cannot have died!..

Good-bye, good-bye!..
If I could be sure
that you will always remember me -
I no longer say love
- no,
only remember...
only remember...
only remember...
Mary appears.
Pechorin tells her that he doesn"t love her.
"Princess, you know that I have been making fun of you?.. You must despise me. Consequently, you cannot love me..."
"Oh, God!"
Mary is disgraced.

Pechorin, Mary, Vera.
"You do not love Mary, do you? You will not marry her? Listen, you must offer me that sacrifice. I have lost everything in the world for you..."

7.
Epilogue.
Pechorin. Pechorin. Pechorin.
And now... I often ask myself, as my thoughts wander back to the past: why did I not wish to tread that way, thrown open by destiny, where soft joys and ease of soul were awaiting me?.. No, I could never have become habituated to such a fate! I am like a sailor born and bred on the deck of a pirate brig: his soul has grown accustomed to storms and battles; but, once let him be cast upon the shore, and he chafes, he pines away, however invitingly the shady groves allure, however brightly shines the peaceful sun. The livelong day he paces the sandy shore, hearkens to the monotonous murmur of the onrushing waves, and gazes into the misty distance: lo! yonder, upon the pale line dividing the blue deep from the grey clouds, is there not glancing the longed-for sail, at first like the wing of a seagull, but little by little severing itself from the foam of the billows and, with even course, drawing nigh to the desert harbour?..

Iolanta (Symphonic suite Nutcracker is performed as part of production. Opera in two acts)

Iolanta (Symphonic suite Nutcracker is performed as part of production. Opera in two acts)

Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Symphonic Suite, Opera in one act
Libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky after "King Rene s Daughter" by Heinrich Hertz
Music Director: Vladimir Fedoseyev
Stage Director: Sergey Zhenovach
Designer: Alexander Borovsky
Lighting Designer: Damir Ismagilov
Chief Chorus Master: Valery Borisov
In commemoration of Tchaikovsky s 175th anniversary
Will be premiered on October 28, 2015.

Synopsis

Iolanta, the blind daughter of the King of Provence, is telling her nurse, Martha, that she is full of some unknown longing. Iolanta s friends, Brigitte and Laura, try to cheer her up by singing songs and bringing her flowers. Martha also tries to comfort Iolanta by singing her favorite lullaby. This sends Iolanta to sleep.

enter Almeric, King Rene s sword-bearer. He informs the castle porter, Bertrand, that very soon the King will be arriving with a famous Physician who, it is hoped, will cure Iolanta s blindness. The trumpets sound, announcing the arrival of the King. King Rene enters accompanied by the Moorish Physician, Ibn-Hakia. The King explains that Iolanta has been betrothed from infancy to Robert, Duke of Burgundy, and is soon to marry him, but the Duke does not know that his future wife is blind. Indeed, Iolanta herself is totally unaware of her misfortune. Iolanta has been brought up by her father in this remote castle. He surrounded her with loyal retainers and forbade them on pain of death to tell her the truth. Ibn-Hakia says that the only hope for Iolanta is to inform her of her disability and then, so long as she passionately wishes to recover her sight, she will do so. King Rene is full of doubts and fear for his daughter s future.

Robert, Duke of Burgundy, and his friend Count Vaudemont, appear. They are impressed to find a beautiful garden in such a wild, remote spot. They are, however, puzzled to see a notice which threatens with death anyone entering it without permission. Robert is downhearted for he is soon to be united in matrimony with some Iolanta whom he has never met, while his heart already belongs to another.

A girl appears on the terrace. Vaudemont is struck by her beauty. Hearing unfamiliar voices, the girl, who is in fact Iolanta, suggests to the strangers that they rest under the shade of the trees and hurries off to fetch them some wine. Robert does not trust the stranger and decides to leave. Vaudemont enchanted by Iolanta s beauty and stays behind. When Iolanta returns he tells her of the great impression she has made on him and asks her to pick him a red rose in memory of their meeting. Iolanta hands him a rose, but it is a white one. Vaudemont repeats his request and again he is given a white rose. He begins to suspect something is wrong with the girl. To make sure, he picks a bunch of roses and asks Iolanta to tell him how many flowers there are in the bunch. Iolanta explains that to count them she needs to touch each flower. Vaudemont realizes that Iolanta is blind and tells her so. He starts to describe to her the wonders of God s world which she is destined never to see, but Iolanta argues that eyesight is not necessary to appreciate the beauty of the world.

Voices are heard: the King enters, followed by Physician Ibn-Hakia and servants. Rene is horrified when he learns that Vaudemont has told Iolanta of her disability and finally suggests that she should try Ibn-Hakia s course of treatment. Iolanta remains indifferent to the idea which makes the Physician lose all hope. Noticing that Iolanta is very much taken by Vaudemont, King Rene tells Vaudemont that he will be executed unless his daughter recovers her sight. Iolanta then begs the Physician to cure her.

A fanfare of trumpets announces the arrival of the Duke of Burgundy who, with a group of armed knights, is hurrying to the rescue of his friend. Robert is amazed to see King Rene. Vaudemont confesses to Robert that he is in love with Iolanta, the latter s betrothed, and asks him to tell the King that he, Robert, has given his heart to someone else. Rene consents to the marriage of Iolanta and Count Vaudemont. Shouts of joy are heard, and Iolanta, who has recovered her sight, appears at the castle door. Overjoyed, King Rene hurries to embrace his daughter and then leads Vaudemont up to her. everyone gives passionate thanks to God for her recovery.?

La Fille mal Gardee (Ballet by Peter Ludwig Hertel)

La Fille mal Gardee (Ballet by Peter Ludwig Hertel)

Ballet in two acts.
Musical version and orchestration by John Lanchbery (under arrangement with Oxford University Press)
Choreography: Frederick Ashton
Designer: Osbert Lancaster
Producer: Alexander Marshall Grant
Restager and Repetiteur: Emilio Martins
Music Director: Alexander Kopylov
Premiered on November 6, 2009.
Presented with one interval.
Running time: 2 hours 03 minutes.

SYNOPSIS

Act I
Scene 1

Early morning. Colas, a young peasant, turns up by the home of the rich farmer Marcelina. He is in love with Lise, Marcelina's niece, and wants to see her. But this is not so easy! Even when she hires peasants to help with the harvesting, Marcelina does not allow Lise to go off with them to the fields, but finds her a job to do in the yard. It is therefore not surprising that the first rendez-vous between the two lovers is at the oil-press. But again Marcelina appears on the scene and chases off the unwanted suitor. But here is an eligible bridegroom - Nikez. Though he is simpleminded, his father - Michaud is very well-off, and Marcelina persuades Lise to come and be introduced to her rich guests. The only hurdle in the way of the match is Colas.

Scene 2
Harvest-time. Though busy with the harvesting, Marcelina continues to dream of a match between Lise and Nikez, for all the latter's dumbwitted escapades. But the betrothal ceremony, in the form of a game with ribbons, again ends in favor of Lise and Colas.
...The dancing is brought to an end by a storm. All run off to take shelter from the rain.

Act II
Scene 3

The storm has blown over. Marcelina and Lise return home and sit down at their spinning-wheels. Peasants deliver the hay sheaves they have managed to save from the rain. Marcelina goes off with them, leaving Lise locked up indoors. Lise dreams of her beloved. Suddenly she notices Colas who, unbeknown to her, has hidden himself in the room. An indignant Lise tells him to leave. But, the door is locked and Colas is trapped inside. Lise soon gets over her anger and, as a sign of reconciliation, she and Colas exchange kerchiefs. Hearing a noise at the door, a panic-stricken Lise hides Colas in the larder. Marcelina comes in and, noticing the new kerchief round Lise's neck, locks her into the larder as punishment, never suspecting that Colas is in there too.
...Enter Michaud, already quite at home. He is followed by a notary for the signing of the wedding contract and even by a brass orchestra, hired for the occasion. Making no effort to conceal her joy, Marcelina hands Nikez the key to the larder. The door opens and... out come a bashful Lise and Colas. Michaud is mortally off ended. The wedding contract is torn up. The lovers fall at Marcelina's feet who has no option but to give them her blessing.

Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Opera in four acts
Music Director: William Lacey
Stage Director: Evgeny Pisarev
Set Designer: Zinovy Margolin
Lighting Designer: Damir Ismagilov
Will be premiered on 25 April 2015

Synopsis

Act I

Figaro and Susanna, servants to the Count and Countess Almaviva, are preparing for their wedding. Figaro is furious when he learns from his bride that the Count has tried to seduce her. He s determined to have his revenge on his master.

Dr. Bartolo appears with his former housekeeper, Marcellina, who is equally determined to marry Figaro. She has a contract: Figaro must marry her or repay the money he borrowed. When Marcellina runs into Susanna, the two rivals exchange insults.

Susanna returns to her room and an adolescent boy, Cherubino, rushes in. Finding Susanna alone, he tells her he loves her - and every other woman in the house. The Count appears, again trying to seduce Susanna, and Cherubino hides. The Count then conceals himself as well when Basilio, the music teacher, approaches. Basilio tells Susanna that Cherubino has a crush on the Countess. This causes the Count to step forward in anger. He becomes even more enraged when he discovers Cherubino and realizes that his attempts to seduce Susanna have been overheard.

He chases Cherubino into the great hall where they are met by Figaro, who has assembled the entire household to sing the praises of their master. The Count is forced to bless the marriage of Figaro and Susanna. To spite them and to silence Cherubino, he orders the boy to join the army without delay. Figaro ironically tells Cherubino what to expect in the army - no flirting with girls, no fancy clothes, no money, just shells, cannons, bullets, marching, and mud.

Act II

In her bedroom, Rosina, the Countess, mourns the loss of love in her life. Encouraged by Figaro and Susanna, she agrees to set a trap for her husband: they will send Cherubino, disguised as Susanna, to a rendezvous with the Count that night and at the same time make him believe that the Countess is having an assignation with another man. Cherubino appears and the two women lock the door, then begin to dress him up as a girl. While Susanna steps into an adjoining room, the Count knocks and is annoyed to find the door locked. Cherubino shuts himself in the dressing room and the Countess lets her husband in. When there s a sudden noise from the dressing room, the Count skeptical of his wife s story that Susanna is in there.

Taking his wife with him, he leaves to get tools to force the door. Meanwhile, Susanna, who has re-entered the room unseen and observed everything, helps Cherubino escape through the window before taking his place in the dressing room. When the Count and Countess return, both are astonished to find Susanna in there. All seems well until the gardener, Antonio, appears, complaining that someone has jumped from the window, ruining his flowers. Figaro, who has rushed in to announce that everything is ready for the wedding, improvises quickly, feigning a limp and pretending that it was he who jumped. At that moment Bartolo, Marcellina, and Basilio arrive, putting their case to the Count and waving the contract that obliges Figaro to marry Marcellina. Delighted, the Count declares that Figaro and Susanna s wedding will be postponed.

Act III

Later in the day in the great hall, Susanna leads the Count on with promises of a rendezvous that night. He is overjoyed but then overhears Susanna conspiring with Figaro. In a rage, he declares he will have revenge.

The Countess, alone, recalls her past happiness. She s determined to go through with the conspiracy against her husband, and she and Susanna compose a letter to him confirming the rendezvous with Susanna that evening in the garden under the pine trees.

Marcellina, supported by a lawyer, Don Curzio, demands that Figaro pay his debt or marry her at once. Figaro replies that he can t without the consent of his parents for whom he s been searching for years, having been abducted as a baby. When he reveals a birthmark on his arm Marcellina realizes that he is her long-lost son, fathered by Bartolo. Seeing Figaro and Marcellina embrace, Susanna thinks her fianc? has betrayed her, but she is pacified when things are explained.

Cherubino, now dressed as a girl, appears with his girlfriend, Barbarina, the daughter of Antonio. Antonio, who has found Cherubino s cap in the garden, also arrives and unmasks the young man. The Count is furious to discover that Cherubino has disobeyed him and is still in the house. But his anger is punctured by Barbarina-who reveals that the Count, when he attempted to seduce her, promised her anything she wanted. What she wants now is to marry Cherubino. The Count is forced to agree. A march is heard and the household assembles for Figaro and Susanna s wedding. While dancing with the Count, Susanna hands him the letter, sealed with a pin.

Act IV

At night in the garden, Barbarina is in despair: she has lost the pin that the Count has asked her to take back to Susanna. When Figaro and Marcellina appear, Barbarina tells them about the planned rendezvous between the Count and Susanna. Thinking that his bride is unfaithful, Figaro rants against all women. He hides when Susanna and the Countess arrive, dressed in each other s clothes. Alone, Susanna sings of love. She knows that Figaro is listening and enjoys making him think that she s about to make love to the Count. Then she also conceals herself-in time to see Cherubino try to seduce the disguised Countess. The boy is chased away by the Count who wants to be alone with the woman he believes to be Susanna. Figaro, by now realizing what is going on, joins in the joke and declares his passion for Susanna in her Countess disguise. The Count returns. Finding Figaro with his wife, or so he thinks, he explodes with rage. At that moment, the real Countess steps forward and reveals her identity. Ashamed, the Count asks her pardon. After many moments of agonizing doubt, she forgives him and both couples are reunited.

Onegin (Ballet by John Cranko)

Onegin (Ballet by John Cranko)

To music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Ballet by John Cranko in three acts
Choreographer: John Cranko
Sets and Costumes: Jurgen Rose
Ballet Master: Reid Anderson
Lighting Designer: Steen Bjarke
Music Director: Pavel Sorokin
Assistants to Ballet Master: Agneta Valcu, Victor Valcu
Premiered at the Boldhoi Theatre on July 12, 2013.

SYNOPSIS

Act I
Scene 1

Madame Larina s Garden
Madame Larina, Olga and the nurse are finishing the party dresses and gossiping about Tatiana s upcoming birthday festivities. Madame Larina speculates on the future and reminisces about her own lost beauty and youth.
Lensky, a young poet engaged to Olga, arrives with a friend from St. Petersburg. He introduces Onegin, who, bored with the city, has come to see if the country can offer him any distraction. Tatiana, full of youthful and romantic fantasies, falls in love with the elegant stranger, so different from the country people she knows. Onegin, on the other hand, sees in Tatiana only a naive country girl who reads too many romantic novels.

Scene 2
Tatiana s Bedroom
Tatiana, her imagination aflame with impetuous first-love, dreams of Onegin and writes him a passionate love letter, which she gives to her nurse to deliver.

Act II
Scene 1
Tatiana s Birthday
The provincial gentry have come to celebrate Tatiana s birthday. They gossip about Lensky s infatuation with Olga and whisper prophecies of a dawning romance between Tatiana and the newcomer. Onegin finds the company boring. Stifling his yawns, he finds it difficult to be civil to them; furthermore he is irritated by Tatiana s letter which he regards merely as an outburst of adolescent love. In a quiet moment, he seeks out Tatiana and, telling her that he cannot love her, tears up the letter. Tatiana s distress, instead of awakening pity, merely increases his irritation.
Prince Gremin, a distant relation, appears. He is in love with Tatiana and Madame Larina hopes for a brilliant match but Tatiana, troubled with her own heart, hardly notices her kindly, older relation.
Onegin, in his boredom, decides to provoke Lensky by flirting with Olga who light-heartedly joins in his teasing. But Lensky takes the matter with passionate seriousness. He challenges Onegin to a duel.

Scene 2
The Duel
Tatiana and Olga try to reason with Lensky but his high romantic ideals are shattered by the betrayal of his friend and the fickleness of his beloved; he insists that the duel take place. Onegin kills his friend and for the first time his cold heart is moved by the horror of his deed. Tatiana realizes that her love was an illusion and that Onegin is self-centred and empty.

Act III
Scene 1
St. Petersburg
Onegin, having travelled the world for many years in an attempt to escape his own futility, returns to St. Petersburg where he is received at a ball in the palace of Prince Gremin. Gremin has recently married and Onegin is astonished to recognize in the stately and elegant young princess, Tatiana, the uninteresting little country girl whom he once turned away. The enormity of his mistake and loss engulfs him. His life now seems even more aimless and empty.

Scene 2
Tatiana s Boudoir
Tatiana reads a letter from Onegin, which reveals his love for her. Suddenly he stands before her, impatient to know her answer. Tatiana sorrowfully tells him that although she still feels her passionate girlhood love for him, she is now a woman and she could never find happiness with him or have respect for him. She orders him to leave her forever.

Requiem. In the memory of The Alexandrov Ensemble artists, the victims of the plane crash on 25 December 2016

Requiem. In the memory of The Alexandrov Ensemble artists, the victims of the plane crash on 25 December 2016

Bolshoi Theatre Chorus and Orchestra
Conductor: Tugan Sokhiev
Chorus Master: Valery Borisov

Soloists:
Irina Churilova (soprano)
Agunda Kulaeva (mezzo-soprano)
Oleg Dolgov (tenor)
Pyotr Migunov (bass)

Romeo and Juliet (Ballet by Sergei Prokofiev)

Romeo and Juliet (Ballet by Sergei Prokofiev)

Ballet in three acts
Libretto by Adrian Piotrovsky, Sergei Radlov, Sergei Prokofiev after the tragedy of the same name by William Shakespeare
Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky
Set and Costume Design: Richard Hudson
Lightning Design: Jennifer Tipton
Conductor: Pavel Klinichev
Will be premiered on November 22, 2017
The world premiere of this version of the ballet took place in Toronto.

Synopsis

Act I
Scene 1

Morning in the Italian Renaissance city of Verona. Romeo, of the Montague family, greets the awakening day. As the city comes to life, Romeo is joined by two friends, Mercutio and Benvolio, and the market square is soon filled with people. The bitter enmity between the Montague and Capulet families emerges with the arrival of Tybalt, a Capulet. Innocuous teasing escalates into swordplay as Tybalt fights with Benvolio and Mercutio.
Lord and Lady Capulet and Lord and Lady Montague enter. There is a brief lull in the fighting but soon Capulet and Montague take up swords themselves. The Duke of Verona enters with his guards and intervenes, chastening all of the combatants. The crowd parts, revealing the bodies of two dead young men.

Scene 2
In her bedroom, Juliet, the daughter of Lord and Lady Capulet, plays affectionately with her Nurse as she prepares for a ball. Her mother enters and tells her of Paris, an aristocratic suitor, whom they expect Juliet to marry. Her father enters with Paris. Juliet is uncertain about the arrangement but she receives Paris graciously.

Scene 3
A lavish ball at the Capulet home. Juliet is being displayed by her father for the assembled guests. Disguised by masks, Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio slip unannounced into the ball. When Romeo sees Juliet, he is immediately lovestruck. After Juliet dances with Paris, Romeo approaches her and professes his feelings. Juliet immediately falls in love. Tybalt, Juliet"s cousin, suspects the interloper and unmasks him, revealing his true identity. Enraged at Romeo"s effrontery, the hotheaded Tybalt demands revenge but he is stopped by Lord Capulet. As the guests depart, Tybalt warns Juliet to stay away from Romeo.

Scene 4
Later that night, Romeo waits beneath Juliet"s balcony. When she appears at her window he makes his presence known. Juliet comes down to him and, despite the danger of their situation which has now become all too clear to both, they pledge their love to each other.

Act II
Scene 1

In the market square, Romeo, delirious with love, is gently mocked by Mercutio and Benvolio. Juliet"s Nurse arrives, bearing a letter to Romeo from Juliet, agreeing to secretly marry him. Romeo is overjoyed.

Scene 2
As planned, Romeo and Juliet meet with Friar Laurence, who has offered to marry them despite the risk, in the hope that it might bring peace to the warring families. He performs the ceremony and the two young lovers are wed.

Scene 3
In the market square, Mercutio and Benvolio encounter Tybalt. Mercutio taunts Tybalt. Romeo enters. Tybalt challenges Romeo to a swordfight but Romeo refuses. Mercutio is less reluctant and, after an exchange of insults, he and Tybalt cross swords and fight. Romeo seeks to intervene and stop them but inadvertently abets Mercutio"s death. A griefstricken and guiltridden Romeo takes up a sword and fights Tybalt, killing him. Lord and Lady Capulet enter, distraught to find Tybalt dead. The Duke arrives and as his guards bear away the bodies of Tybalt and Mercutio, he angrily banishes Romeo, who flees.

Act III
Scene 1

Juliet"s bedroom at dawn. Romeo, although banished, has stayed for his wedding night with Juliet. But now, however sorrowfully, Romeo must depart, before they are discovered. After Romeo has gone, Juliet"s parents enter with Paris and tell her that she is to marry him the following day. Juliet protests but her father brutally silences her. In despair, Juliet rushes off to seek help from Friar Laurence.

Scene 2
In his cell, Friar Laurence gives Juliet a vial containing a sleeping draught that will simulate death. He will send word of the plan to Romeo, who will return to rescue her from the family vault when she has awakened.

Scene 3
Juliet returns to her bedroom, where she pretends to bow to her parents" will and marry Paris. Left alone, however, she takes the sleeping draught and falls into a death-like slumber on her bed. In the morning, Lord and Lady Capulet, Paris, the Nurse and several bridesmaids arrive to wake Juliet. The Nurse tries to rouse her but when she doesn"t respond, everyone believes she is dead.

Scene 4
In the Capulet vault, Juliet lies still in her death-like sleep. Romeo enters, but not having received Friar Laurence"s message, believes Juliet is really dead. In despair, he drinks a lethal poison to join her in death. Before he dies, though, he sees Juliet awaken and he realizes the cruel extent of what has happened. When Romeo is dead, Juliet takes his knife and kills herself. The Montagues and Lord Capulet, the Duke, Friar Laurence and others enter to discover the terrible scene. Realizing the part their enmity has played in the tragedy, the Capulets and Montague are reconciled in their sorrow.

The Bright Stream (Ballet by Dmitry Shostakovich)

The Bright Stream (Ballet by Dmitry Shostakovich)

Comic ballet in two acts
Libretto by Adrian Piotrovsky and Fyodor Lopukhov
Choreographer: Alexei Ratmansky
Designer: Boris Messerer
Music Director: Pavel Sorokin
Lighting Designer: Alexander Rubtsov
Premiered on April 18, 2003.
Presented with one interval.
Running time: 2 hours 5 minutes.

SYNOPSIS (HISTORICAL TEXT)

Act I
Scene 1

A small wayside halt, in the steppes, on one of the branch lines of the North Caucasian Railway. Early autumn. The local collective farms have completed both their harvesting and autumn sowing.
A brigade of artistes from one of the capital's theatres is due to arrive in the region to take part in the harvest festival, marking the end of the field work. Some members of the nearest collective farm, The Bright Stream, have come to the halt to welcome their guests. They include the collective farm activist, Gavrilych, who, though advanced in years, is full of the joys of life and a general favorite; the school-girl Galya, and some of her friends, with a bunch of flowers for the artistes; Pyotr, an agricultural student and his wife Zina, a local amusements' organizer. The last to arrive are two dacha dwellers: an elderly man and his anxious-to-be-younger-than-she-is wife. Both of the latter, bored to tears, have come to gawk at the visiting artistes. While waiting for the guests to arrive, the dreamy and thoughtful Zina buries her head in a book. Her husband, Pyotr, who is of a cheerful, buoyant disposition, tries to distract her, inducing the others to share in his efforts. Eventually all, except Zina, proceed to the platform. The excited crowd returns, together with the artistes - a ballet dancer, her partner and an accordion-player.
The amusements' organizer, Zina, hails the ballet dancer who stops in her tracks. They recognize each other as old friends, for they once studied togeth er at ballet school. Since then Zina has married Pyotr, the agricultural student, and has gone to work with him on the collective farm where no one has any idea that she used to be a dancer. The two friends, who have remained alone, gaze at each other with curiosity.
The ballerina asks if Zina has forgotten her dancing. But, living in the country, she has not forgotten her dancing skills and intends to prove it. The two friends, compete with each other, trying to see who can remember the most of their former lessons. Gavrilych and Pyotr now appear: they have come to fetch Zina and the ballerina. Zina introduces her husband to the ballerina. Dazzled by the ballerina, Pyotr begins to court her. The latter feels her first pang of jealousy.

Scene 2
The day is on the wane. Encamped among the golden sheaves of wheat, a field workers' brigade from The Bright Stream collective farm joyfully makes plans for tomorrow, which is to be a day of festival. The artistes' brigade arrives. Gavrilych presents them to the field workers' brigade.
The two brigades greet each other. An improvised celebration gets under way. The artistes display the presents they have brought with them for distri bution to the collective farm's best shock workers. There is a gramophone for Gavrilych, a silk dress for the best milkmaid. The prizewinners are lustily congratulated, and the jollity merges into a dance. The first to break into a dance are the grey-haired, bearded ‘inspectors of quality' and their Gavrilych.
The dacha dwellers turn up, late as usual. They are forced to trip a measure and, by way of a joke, they dance an ancient Chaconne. Then comes a number by some young girls, members of an amateur group organized by Zina. But it is the milkmaid who is the center of attention: they want to see her dance in her smart, new dress. The milkmaid dances with the tractor driver. The merriment increases. Gavrilych winds up his new gramophone and asks the guest artistes to dance.
Not wishing to disappoint the collective-farm workers, the artistes agree though they dislike the idea of dancing in their ordinary clothes. They improvise a dance among the wheat sheaves. Their dance gets a mixed reception. The farm workers watch it with pleasure, but the dacha dwellers only have eyes for the artistes themselves (the husband is taken by the classical ballerina, while his wife is attracted by the ballerina's partner). Zina is jealous of her husband. Pyotr, the young agricultural student, is more and more enchanted by the ballerina who seems so brilliant and talented by comparison to his modest, unassuming wife.
The accordionist is asked to join in the dancing with schoolgirl Galya. Now some young field workers from Kuban and the Caucasus burst into a gay, warlike dance which enthralls all present. The merriment reaches its height. Eventually, the assembled company is invited to partake of refreshment. As all make their exit, the old dacha dweller manages to whisper in the visiting ballerina's ear that he would like to see her again, his wife makes a similar proposal to the latter's partner. Meanwhile, Pyotr goes off with the ballerina. Zina is totally distraught, she even starts to cry. The young people, together with Gavrilych, try to calm her down. But now the ballerina returns and assures Zina that she has no intention of flirting with the latter's husband. She suggests that Zina tell the young people that she too used to be a dancer.
Zina agrees and again the two friends dance together. There is general astonishment. The ballerina proposes that a joke be played on Pyotr and the others: she will dress up in her partner's costume and go and meet the anxious-to-be-younger-than-she-is dacha dweller's wife. Her partner, made up as a female dancer, shall go to the rendezvous with the old dacha dweller. While Zina shall go to meet her husband in the ballerina's costume. The plan is approved.

Act II
Scene 3

A warm, southern night. A clearing, surrounded by bushes and trees. The young people have assembled. The dacha dwellers turn up too, late as usual. The accordionist has taken a fancy to Galya, the schoolgirl, who had danced with him so merrily earlier in the day. He whispers to her that he will soon be back and that she should wait for him. Galya is quite taken aback. The old dacha dweller, his wife and Pyotr remind their ‘sweethearts' of their trysts. The young people are now determined to teach them a lesson. They quickly dress up: the ballerina in her partner's clothes, the latter in female dress, Zina in one of her friend's theatrical costumes. To add to the fun, the tractor driver puts on a dogskin. All is ready. Now Galya admits that the accordionist has invited her to a rendezvous too.
This revelation threatens to ruin their carefully laid plans, but the trac tor driver comes to the rescue. He suggests to Galya that she should meet the accordionist as the latter had proposed, but that he, the tractor driver, disguised as a dog, will not allow the accordionist to approach her. His plan is agreed. Galya, attended by Kolka-‘the dog', waits for the accordionist. He appears and is much put out by the uncalled-for presence of the dog which seems very fierce and keeps on attacking him. Finally, the accordionist realizes he is being made a fool of but, taking it in good part, he joins in the main plot.
The elderly dacha dweller turns up, wheeling a bicycle. He wants to make a good impression on the ballerina and has donned sporting gear. He is festooned with a gun, ammunition belt and telescope. The thought of the forthcoming meeting excites him. His wife turns up at the same spot. She is wearing ballet shoes to surprise the male dancer. It is time to put the plan in action. Suddenly, the dacha dweller catches sight of his beautiful ballerina , his Sylphide, in the middle of a clump of trees. It is in fact the ballerina's partner, in female garb, but the old man does not notice this. His wife, who is observing him, objects to his flirting and chases off her husband. But she, in turn, is frightened by the tractor driver who, still in his dogskin, is riding the bicycle. Appearing in her partner's costume, the ballerina mocks the dacha dweller's wife. Finally, they both run off.
Enter Pyotr, the agricultural student. He is waiting for the dancer from the distant capital, but instead, he is met by his own wife, disguised as the dancer. He fails to recognize her. Joking and flirting with him, Zina disappears into the bushes. This lyrical scene gives way to slapstick. The old dacha dweller and male dancer disguised as the ballerina now come running in. ‘Romantic passions' reach an all-time high. The ballerina, dressed in male clothing, comes out from behind the bushes, and makes a scene. She demands satisfaction from the dacha dweller. There follows a comic duel. The first to fire is the disguised bal lerina. She misses. Now the old dacha dweller is handed a pistol. Though he is frightened, he takes aim. Simultaneously, Gavrilych bangs a pail, and the old man thinks he has fired. Immediately the ballerina's partner falls to the ground as though shot. The horrified dacha dweller takes to his heels. No sooner has he disappeared, than the ‘victim' comes to life and dances amid the laughter of the delighted plotters.

Scene 4
The beginning of the morning of the following day. The harvest festival. In the meadow, an improvised stage for the artistes. All the seats are taken. Pyotr, the agricultural student, is waiting on tenterhooks for the show to begin so that he can see the ballerina whom (he thinks) he met last night in the woods.
But to his great astonishment two dancers, dressed exactly alike, appear on stage, their faces hidden by masks. Their dance over, Pyotr, unable to restrain himself, rushes towards them. They raise their veils and the secret is out. Pyotr, who sees one of the ballerinas is his wife, timidly begs her forgiveness. Eventually they are reconciled. Pyotr has learnt his lesson: he now knows that his modest Zina is both a first-class worker and a marvelous ballerina. The fes tival ends with a general dance in which alt young and old take part, togeth er with the guest artistes.

The Cage. Etudes. Forgotten Land (One act ballets)

The Cage. Etudes. Forgotten Land (One act ballets)

The Cage
to music by Igor Stravinsky
Ballet in one act
Choreography by Jerome Robbins © The Robbins Rights Trust
Costume Designer: Ruth Sobotka
Sets by Jean Rosenthal
Music Director: Igor Dronov
Lighting Designer: Jennifer Tipton
Ballet Masters: Jean-Pierre Frohlich, Glenn Keenan
Sets and Lighting Technical Coordination: Perry Silvey
Costume Production Designer:Holly Hynes
Will be premiered on March 19, 2017.
Running time: 14 minutes.

Etudes
to music by Carl Czerny arranged and orchestrated by Knudage Riisager
Ballet in one act
Choreography by Harald Lander
Sceneries, costumes and lighting by Harald Lander
Ballet Masters: Lise Lander, Johnny Eliasen
Music Director: Igor Dronov
Premiered on March 19, 2017.

Forgotten Land
To music of Sinfonia da requiem by Benjamin Britten
Ballet in one act
Choreography: Jiri Kylian
Set and Costume Design: John F. Macfarlane
Lighting Designer: Hans-Joachim Haas
Lighting Designer (adaptation): Kees Tjebbes
Music Director: Anton Grishanin
Will be premiered on November 2, 2017.
Will run with one-act ballets Etudes and The Cage.
The world premiere took place in Stuttgart on April 4, 1981.

The Story of Kai and Gerda (Opera by Sergei Banevich)

The Story of Kai and Gerda (Opera by Sergei Banevich)

Romantic opera for children in two acts
Music Director: Anton Grishanin
Stage Director: Dmitry Belyanushkin
Set Designer: Valery Leventhal
Lighting Designer: Damir Ismagilov
Choreographer: Natalia Fiksel
Will be premiered on 28 November 2014
1996 music version

SYNOPSIS

Prologue
A rocky landscape.
The trolls are piecing together the shards of what they call the Mirror of Evil.


Act I
Introduction

The Lamplighter, our guide through this story, tells us that once upon a time an orphaned boy named Kai found a loving home in the good old town of Odense, where the Grandmother took care about him and little Gerda became his friend.

Scene 1.
Odense.

The townsfolk of Odense are looking forward for Spring to drive away winter s chill and snow.
Kai and Gerda are carried away with their exciting game. The Grandmother is calling them home, but they don t hear.
The trolls arrive. They can t bear the merry mood of the townsfolk, and above all they hate Kai s cheerful laughter. The trolls want to spoil the festivity, but the townsfolk drive them away. The trolls plot to revenge.

Scene 2.
Kai and Gerda s house.

Kai is daydreaming over a book. He wishes he could travel to faraway lands, for the old house has grown too small for him.
Gerda sets up the fire in the fireplace and lights the room with candles. Kai swears to her that he will ever be faithful and will never leave her alone.
The Grandmother comes. Kai jokingly tells Gerda the story of the Snow Queen. Gerda laughs, but then notices a shadow outside the window. Someone has been prying on them!
Now Kai understands that he has terrified Gerda, and he starts a game of blind Tom to make it up to her. As they play, they take no notice of a troll approaching.
The troll pricks an icy pointer at Kai s heart. Kai begins mocking Gerda and the Grandmother and sneering at them. Suddenly he sees frostwork turn into writings and hears the voice of the Snow Queen. She wants to take Kai with her, but Gerda refuses to let him go.

Intermezzo
The Lamplighter laments the human hearts in which Winter has settled.
The trolls talk over their trick and look forward to the coming of the Snow Queen.

Scene 3.
Odense town square.

A company of strolling performers entertains the townsfolk. Gerda is doing her best to make Kai smile, but he is disdainful and arrogant and insults the townsfolk and the Lamplighter.
The Snow Queen appears and summons Kai to her icy palace. Kai heeds her calling and follows her into the snow whirl.
Gerda sets out to find her beloved.


Act II

Scene 4.
A forest at dusk.

Gerda is making her way through the thicket.
Suddenly the forest gets into motion: the robbers have found the chill in the hollows of the tree trunks. The robbers are tired and hungry and not at all content with having ventured so far away.
The Old Robber-Woman returns with booty. The robbers give praises to her and to their trade.
Gerda falls into the robbers ambush. She possesses nothing that they can rob her of, so they intend to kill her, but the Old Robber-Woman orders to keep her captive until morning.
The Little Robber-Girl appears, the daughter of the Old Robber-Woman. Gerda s story about Kai touches her heart and fills her with desire to help, but she does not know how.
The Little Robber-Girl s captured Reindeer breaks in their conversation: he saw the Snow Queen taking Kai away and knows where to find him.
The Little Robber-Girl sets Gerda and the Reindeer free.
Gerda rides the Reindeer straight to Lapland.

Intermezzo
The Lamplighter contemplates about the saddest and the most wicked thing in the world, lovelessness.

Scene 5.
The Palace of the Snow Queen.

Captive children, whose hearts are frozen by the Snow Queen, are trying to compose the word Eternity with of pieces of ice.
Kai is among the children, and his efforts to compose the word are of no avail.
The Snow Queen arrives and finds that Kai s heart is beginning to thaw. She freezes him again and leaves, and he carries on with his occupation.

Gerda arrives. She sings the song that she and Kai used to sing together, and Kai s heart gets warm again. The flame of Kai and Gerda s love brings the Snow Queen down.

Epilogue
Kai and Gerda hurry to Odense, where they are met by the townsfolk, the Little Robber-Girl and their dear old Grandmother. Everyone is impatient to welcome in the long-awaited spring.

The Taming of the Shrew (Ballet by Jean-Christophe Maillot)

The Taming of the Shrew (Ballet by Jean-Christophe Maillot)

Ballet in two acts.
to music by Dmitri Shostakovich.
Libretto by Jean Rouaud based on the play by William Shakespeare.
Choreographer: Jean-Christophe Maillot.
Assistant to Choreographer: Bernice Coppieters.
Set Designer: Ernest Pignon-Ernest.
Costume Designer: Augusten Maillot.
Assistant to Costume Designer: Jean-Michel Laine.
Lighting Designer: Dominique Drillot.
Music Director: Igor Dronov.
Will be premiered on July 4, 2014.

Dramatis Jean Rouaud:

ARGUMENT
Rather than a macho handbook, The Taming of the Shrew can be construed as an encounter between two forces of nature, who recognise one another at last. If they are abrupt, obnoxious, it stems from their solitude; they are fundamentally different from the society they live in, albatrosses among sparrows, and their excesses signal that they have yet to find a man (or a woman) who can measure up to them. Their love is out of the ordinary: while Petruchio could appear to be interested only in Baptista"s fortune, once the ink is dry on their marriage certificate, he doesn"t let go of Katharina. If he is interested, it"s by this woman; the real dowry, the actual gold mine, it"s her. He still needs to put her through a series of challenges to make sure that he wasn"t mistaken, that they are right for each other - measure for measure, so to speak. He was right. So was she. If she gives in to her husband"s demands, it"s not because she has found her master, but because she has met her match. Her submissiveness is an act. It hardly matters whether or not the sun is the moon, because the two of them have their own, extra-ordinary light. Petruchio isn"t fooled by by his wife"s new attitude. For the outside world, however, the prevalent social norms are safe. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief: even the most reluctant among them have complied. In truth, Katharina and Petruchio play their parts in perfect harmony, and their singular tune sets them apart in what is a game of artifice.

THE CHARACTERS

Baptista is a rich gentleman who has two daughters: Katharina and Bianca. All would be well if the traditions of the time didn"t force him to marry his elder daughter first, when all the suitors queueing up at his door are interested solely in the agreeable Bianca. His daughters" happiness doesn"t matter much to him: what he really wants is to have sons-in-law. Based on Katharina"s behaviour, however, he despairs of it ever happening.
Katharina has a comfortable dowry which ought to attract potential husbands, but she is also endowed with an attitude that frightens them off. No one knows what her violence hides, but she despises her sister"s bland suitors. Nothing seems to be good enough for her. Is hers an acute case of misanthropy or a singularly demanding character? Unbridled, Katharina lives on the edge.
Bianca, Baptista"s younger daughter, is hostage to Katharina"s behaviour. As long as her sister keeps rejecting potential husbands, her many suitors will stay out of reach. The situation is cruel, because Bianca is as attractive as her sister is obnoxious. Hers are qualities that define the ideal woman in the society she lives in: fortune, grace, beauty and docility. Her sister will have none of it, however.
Gremio is an older gentleman, and could easily be one of the libidinous elders who spy on Susanna while she is bathing in the Book of Daniel. For him, the violent Katharina could never be Susanna, because she would have driven the voyeurs away ruthlessly. His Susanna is the chaste Bianca. Gremio"s appearance is off-putting, yet it doesn"t seem to hold him back as he attempts to woo her; he is living proof that money can distort one"s self-perception.
Hortensio, another one of Bianca"s suitors, is a dandy mainly concerned with himself and the rituals of high society. His interest is Bianca is mostly superficial, but he is the one who brings in his rude, boorish friend Petruchio, who may be able to solve the problem at hand.
Lucentio is a rich, idle youth. Well-bred and very charming, he could even fool people into believing he is well-read. He and Bianca come from the same world, they are the same age, and share the same yearning in love. As Juliette Greco once sang: "Let"s marry them, let"s marry them, I think they are very much alike".[1] Nobody would object to it - aside from Katharina.
Petruchio: There comes the monster - the one Hortensio believes to be able to accept, if not seduce, the monstrous Katharina as his wife. Hortensio thinks Petruchio will have low expectations; he is mistaken, and evidently doesn"t understand the man he calls his friend. Nobody comes close to this seemingly vulgar, shameless man, however, because he is the only one who will "see" Katharina. And he sees her as his equal, as unconcerned with etiquette and norms as himself. Monsters may be alone in their clairvoyance, after all.
Grumio, Petruccio"s servant, is cowardly and servile. That"s what"s expected of him. He may also be an accomplice to his master"s tricks and schemes.
The Widow is hardly disconsolate, and has no intention of remaining a widow. She sets her conditions, however: her second husband needs to belong to her world and to be rich. She can put up with the rest. She soon sets her sights on Hortensio.
The Housekeeper has been running the household for so long that she ought to be able to lay claim to Baptista, but he cares solely about his daughters. Since the house will soon be empty and her services no longer needed, she is wearily willing to accept Gremio"s advances. She may not love him, but it means she will be able to live comfortably and marry into the upper class, whose superiority is based on arrogance and money.

SYNOPSIS

Part I
In the spacious house of the wealthy Baptista, the servants are mocking the masters in their absence: they mimic Baptista, the father, who is struggling to marry his elder daughter - Katharina, a fury - and denying the suitors of the younger one - Bianca, a goody two-shoes - who are required to wait. Baptista returns unexpectedly, putting an abrupt end to the servants" comedy.
We meet his two daughters. The younger one, Bianca, who is the object of everyone"s attention, is as gracious as her sister Katharina is difficult and ill-tempered: nothing and no one seems to find grace in her eyes, except perhaps her father. She is the Shrew.
Attracted by Bianca"s beauty, the suitors show up at Baptista"s house. There are three of them: the libidinous Gremio, the conceited Hortensio and the charming Lucentio. They parade in front of Bianca and attempt to get her attention. Quite logically, Bianca prefers the charming Lucentio. Carried away by her budding feelings, she dances as if in a dream. Her father is intent on doing things according to custom. Daughters are to be married in the right order, starting with the eldest, and he won"t approve a proposal for Bianca as long as Katharina isn"t wed. Accordingly, he brings his elder daughter in and introduces her to the suitors in the hope that one of them will be interested in her, but Katharina is hardly encouraging. She does everything she can to repel them, and clearly prefers to stay alone with her father instead of giving in to the comedy of marriage.
Hence a pressing question for the suitors: how can they get rid of her? Hortensio suddenly remembers that he has a friend who is unlikely to be too demanding as long as the wedding brings a nice dowry, and who could help clear them by marrying Katharina. His name is Petruchio; he is as boorish as Katharina is ill-tempered, and the prospect of additional income should be enough for Katharina to appeal to him.
Their saviour arrives at last. Where is his fianc?e? She who seems to breathe fire? Right, he will make the best of it. Challenged to seduce Katharina, he pretends to woo her and takes every rebuff as encouragement to continue. The two monsters launch into a duel where Petruchio pretends to be impervious to Katharina"s attitude, while she actively tries to make herself even less attractive. At one point, however, when he kisses her, she slips into a daydream - perhaps love can be sweet after all? Lost in her thoughts, Katharina briefly lets herself go - and immediately denounces it as a meaningless moment of weakness. It"s too late, however: she has shown her sensitive side, and there is a glimmer of hope in her. Perhaps for that reason, she accepts the proposal of that strangely considerate boor, Petruchio.
Her decision opens the way for the suitors, who are finally allowed to woo the beautiful Bianca.
The first to go is Gremio. He brings a magnificent necklace as a gift for Bianca, but she isn"t interested; not even the finest jewellery could allure her where Gremio is concerned. The Housekeeper, who might soon be out of a position, is watching the scene. She sees an opportunity with Gremio and seizes it: since he doesn"t stand a chance with Bianca, she won"t let him escape.
Next up is Hortensio. He doesn"t need to bring a gift: his person is present enough. He is the gift. Bianca remains impervious to his self-assurance - he is fundamentally self-sufficient - In view of Bianca"s reticence and her lack of susceptibility to his complacency - and this time a widow, a friend of the family yearning to be back in the game, sets her sights on Hortensio.
Lucentio is last. From an affluent family, he is a worthy suitor in the eyes of Baptista, and all boyish charm in Bianca"s. As a token of his love, he presents her with a collection of poems. If all goes well, theirs will be the next wedding.
All is not well for Katharina, however, as she waits for the arrival of her fianc?, torn between rage, melancholy and despair. The wedding celebrations have started. Baptista attempts to help his elder daughter cope with her groom"s defection while the rest of the party is having fun. Grumio makes an appearance at last, and launches into an act that bodes well for his master"s offhandedness. It becomes clear that his master has more urgent matters to attend to than his wedding; he will come when he feels like it, and has drunk to his heart"s content.
When he appears at last, instead of going straight to his bride, he makes her wait yet again, and is clearly in no hurry to get married. Since that"s what he"s there for, he finally deigns to address his future wife. As everyone waits to see what gift he has brought for Katharina, he snatches the necklace meant for Bianca and puts it around Katharina"s neck. The humiliation is too cruel for the Shrew, who slaps Petruchio.
The assembly freezes in astonishment. The foolish, rebellious bride has spoiled the festivities. The vexed groom raises his hand to her, and seems on the verge on beating her. The party is over. Men like him, willing to take on such a virago, are few and far between.
Petruchio considers slapping her back and leaving on the spot, but changes his mind. This woman, he thinks to himself, this woman and her temper could have been made like me, for me. But she will need to learn a few things - first, that no one treats me like this. He drags her like a rag doll and leaves with her as the guests look on, aghast, and wonder if they haven"t pushed it a little far. It"s looking bad for the Shrew. Still, it"s over and done with. Let"s dance.

Part II
A strange honeymoon begins that takes the newlyweds to Petruchio"s house through a menacing forest. a trip that will take the newly-wed couple, through an uncanny forest, to Petruchio"s home. The exhausted Katharina can barely stand up and begs for mercy; she struggles, yearns to stop and rest, but her husband is adamant that he will leave her in the middle of nowhere if she doesn"t keep up. Katharina, who knows only the comfort of her father"s home, is so scared tha she stands up, but soon implores him again. Her husband doesn"t yield. At that point the little group (inevitably, the couple is accompanied by Grumio, who has just disappeared) is attacked by bandits, who brutalise Katharina and steal her necklace. Petruchio remains impervious to his wife"s cries for help. He seems to believe she can fend off for herself, or that it"s as good an opportunity as another to test her. He finally intervenes and scares off the attackers, among whom we see Grumio, who takes off his mask. A servant scheming is hardly surprising, but could his master be an accomplice? Did he stage the attack to put Katharina further on edge? Nothing confirms it yet.
They finally make it to Petruchio"s abode, which is far less opulent than Baptista"s. Katharina, alone, exhausted, fully aware of what life holds for her now, gives in to despair, and ultimately faints. Petruchio, who was watching her, rushes to her side and carries her tenderly to the bed; marvelling at her courage, her austere beauty, he lets his affection and desire show as she sleeps. When she regains consciousness, he promptly goes to sit on a bench and starts to act curiously. His house may not be very comfortable or its master very rich, but why is he warming himself at an imaginary fire? Intrigued, Katherina gets up and comes closer; when she sees that there is no fireplace, she wonders if her husband is mad. Then she understands that it is a game. Alright, there is a fireplace. She blows on the embers to rekindle the flames. The she offers imaginary tea to her husband. As the game continues, they discover each other. Their public masks come off. The war ends. Bewilderment of love.
In the morning, as the sun invades their bedroom, the lovers wake up peacefully, for the first time in their lives. They barely have time to enjoy the moment: Grumio brings a letter, an invitation to go back to Baptista"s house for Bianca and Lucentio"s wedding. The opportunity for Petruchio to show everyone the new Katharina.
Before they leave, Grumio returns the stolen necklace to his mistress. Petruchio acts surprised and lectures his servant. Is it just an act? Katharine grows suspicious and loses her temper again. Petruchio pretends to be offended, which leads to another confrontation - and reconciliation.
At Baptista"s, preparations are underway for the wedding of Bianca and Lucentio. Hortensio and the Widow, Gremio and the Housekeeper take the opportunity to make their relationships public. Everyone remembers the exit of the Shrew with her husband, and awaits them with curiosity.
Hence their surprise when Petruchio and Katharina show up elegantly dressed, affable, Petruchio almost friendly, Katharina seemingly submissive. The party rejoices and concludes they are an excellent influence on each other. They look every inch the well-heeled couple, and as a result, are invited to the tea ceremony.
Things soon go wrong, however. Whereas Bianca, the Widow and the Housekeeper show themselves to be meek, obedient wifes, Katharina stands up, snatches the teapot from her sister"s hands and shows her that she has no reason to behave so submissively with her husband, pouring the tea on Lucentio"s knees. Katharina then lectures the Widow, who seems to enjoy the lesson and suggests Gremio serve her. Petruchio, evidently pleased, watches his wife sow discord among the couples and teach the other women the art of rebellion. Once they have wreaked havoc in the house, the lovers depart, juggling squabbles and demonstrations of affection, leaving the guests appalled, and the women melancholy.

The Young Person s Guide to the Orchestra. Le carnaval des animaux

The Young Person s Guide to the Orchestra. Le carnaval des animaux

Camille Saint-Saens. Benjamin Britten
Music Director: Anton Grishanin
Director: Alexei Frandetti
Will be premiered on September 24, 2017

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