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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Saint Petersburg has covered the flood and ghosts

The city devouring giant waves, rickety with its domes and crosses Isaac, and half sticking out of the water, the spire of Peter and Paul Cathedral — tombs of all the Russian emperors, — such was the astounding picture of the apocalyptic flood and the sinking of the St. Petersburg drawing in his new play “I Love you, Peter’s creation…” on motives of the novel of A. S. Pushkin “the bronze horseman”, the famous American choreographer Lar Ljubovic and production designer George Tsypin (artistic Director and choreographer of the opening ceremony of the Olympic games in Sochi). Premiere just took place at the Mikhailovsky theatre.

photo: Sergei Tyagin

The theme of the Apocalypse, the end of history, dying in the depths of the beautiful waters of the Ghost town — well-established the Petersburg myth, the ancestor of which was not Pushkin. “Empty be this place” — the spell and the prophecy of tsarina Avdotya Lopukhina, imprisoned in the convent Peter’s wife, became a motto of the history of this amazing city. New premiere two-act ballet theatre’s gift to the birthday of the city. After the Mariinsky theatre, the Mikhailovsky refers to the theme of Pushkin’s “the bronze horseman”, not only revives the myth has already become a spectacle Rostislav Zakharov born in 1949 on a specially written for him the music of Reinhold glière (composer, add the author and other Soviet superhits, ballet “the Red poppy”). There is a brand new ballet, a modern telling of Pushkin’s story in the language of modern dance, using the music of the same composer, but not the score for the ballet, and his “Third Symphony”.

The sight of Lara Ljubovic — American from Chicago with the Russians (even more so, St. Petersburg) roots in Russian history — pure and simple. Besides Ljubovic choreographer is very musical: he hears in music, and puts… And “Russian theme”, of course, abundantly present in his “Third Symphony” — also known under the name epic “Ilya Muromets” — is expressed in the austere dance: arms akimbo, good fellows come in orange jackets and red girl in the same color dresses, as they fell into the Russian dance Scene… that the ballet begins and ends, made in the spirit of a La Russe…

In ljubovic ballet of Saint Petersburg in front of us is not so much historical, how many “tourist”: all four of the major attractions of the city are seen here at hand: besides the bronze (not copper) monument Falcone is the Winter Palace — a Royal Palace with the Alexander column in the center of the Palace square, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Peter and Paul fortress and Rostral columns… (In the play there are stone lions, which were saved from the flood by the main character.)

photo: Sergei Tyagin

— I think it turned out a ballet about St. Petersburg, where all-in-one: guided tour, ballet, music, tells me after the show Premier theatre Leonid Sarafanov, perfectly embodied in the ballet the way his main character, Eugene.

Indeed, it’s the St. Petersburg myth. And it does not matter that, for example, St. Isaac’s Cathedral is built in a different era, for a myth such details have no meaning. More importantly, there are two major components of this cultural mythology is the image of the flood and the image of the poet. Alexander the ballet revealed himself with impressive authenticity: in curls and side-whiskers, leading with a pen and paper, he wrote “the bronze horseman”, and the lines of his poem as if come to life on stage…

The role of the “sun of Russian poetry” selected Russian American — Mario Labrador, he graduated from the Moscow Academy of choreography and already several years lives and works in Saint-Petersburg. The image of Pushkin, he realized without pressure, and of bombast, not allowing (despite the risk of showing “all of our” dancing on a ballet stage) no vulgarity, in all the contradictory complexity of a real person, at the same time holding up together with the choreographer and the issue of cruelty of the Creator in relation to his characters.

— The fact that the choreographer put Pushkin in such a position that he is in control, ” explains Mario. — The poet in the ballet can be imaged irritated, and this music is very much felt. Because when Eugene and Parasha what happens is that they don’t like, they try to intervene somehow in the poem, in her writing. And the more Eugene intervenes in the writing of the poem, the more heating up of the event, the more unfortunate events happening to Eugene.

Water painting of the Apocalypse, built with the help of trendy video projections and 3D special effects, becomes Central in the play and really impressive. If the old classical ballets, as was the case with “Le Corsaire”, which premiered at the Mikhailovsky theatre in the beginning of the season, such cutting-edge technology is not good enough (rumor has it that the fall ballet show in a more proper design), phantasmagorical paintings of the dying city in modern ballet they serve more realistic, in the spirit of movies-horror. Done in this spirit, for example, has set the stage phenomenon of the bronze horseman, Eugene carrying his victim — Parasha (Anna Kuligin danced impressively and enthusiastically): dangerously proliferating and increasing in size, with the solar disk on the viewer rushes, as the image of the biblical Apocalypse, the rider, disintegrating into a flock of black birds that are already on the stage surrounded by Eugene, causing in memory of Association with the Evil Genius single from “Swan lake”.

A lot contributes to this startling effect, deftly applied in a ballet, and choreography by Ljubovic. We must pay tribute, experienced choreographer can create dances of their capacious impressive images. Well-trained corps de ballet (here we must pay tribute to the excellent work of the Tutors) in this scene, depicting the wrath of nature, and then raises the main characters to the surface, showing them wallowing bugs who are trying to resist the inevitable, thus successfully realizing ambitious generalizing the image-symbol, conceived by the choreographer:

“My ballet is more of a metaphor,” says Lahr Ljubovic. In our case, we want to show little fear of man, which is surrounded by a giant phenomena, which presses enormous power. We are all little men, and all around us a large and complex world. Through his poem Pushkin showed how powerless people can be in this stream floods historical disasters”.

“They say a drowning at the last minute, forget the fear, it ceases to choke. He suddenly becomes easy, freely and blissfully. And, losing consciousness, he goes to the bottom, smiling” — these words of George Ivanov on “blissfully sinking” Saint-Petersburg, with which the Creator of one of the most poetic myths of St. Petersburg begins its “St. Petersburg winter”, and asks to become the epigraph of the new production. The death of St. Petersburg in this ballet really kind of blessed… and not the death of it at all. Element curbed and defeated, the city revived, and the ballet ends on Soviet-style or American-style (in this case not so important — despite all the power of confrontation in the field of culture, both ideologies something meshed) happily-optimistic, with the inevitable happy ending — a total dance amid the triumphant fireworks and sparkling Golden halo of the bronze horseman — the monument to the founder of the city Peter the Great, who, as we all remember from Pushkin’s poem, “Russia reared”.

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