You Can Pay Online  
234th Season

Evening of one-act ballets: "Leningrad Symphony", "The Young Lady and the Hooligan", "Concerto DSCH"

Choreography by Igor Belsky (revisions)
Choreography by Konstantin Boyarsky (revisions)

Leningrad Symphony

Music by Dmitry Shostakovich
Libretto and Choreography by Igor Belsky
Design by Mikhail Gordon
Lighting Adaptation for the Mariinsky II by Andrei Ponizovsky and Yegor Kartashov

By the early 1960s a widely-developed mythology had sprung up around Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony: starting work on it in Leningrad when it was being bombed, the delivery of the score by plane to the besieged city (see Anna Akhmatova's Poem without a Hero), the live broadcast to the vanguard from the besieged city on the day it was supposed to be taken and so on. The composer himself – living and working – became in part a mythological character. In Zakhar Agranenko's fictional account Leningrad Symphony, which appeared on screen in 1958 and which is actually dedicated to the Leningrad premiere of the opus, Shostakovich was the only character who had a real name – and he never appeared on-screen, remaining a superhero of the myth. It is important to know all of this in order to comprehend the onus of the work undertaken by the choreographer Igor Belsky when working on the production of the ballet set to the music of the first movement of the symphony.
At the premiere, the ballet was called Seventh Symphony – a title drily generic in type and sterile. Perhaps thus Belsky hoped to distance himself from the ponderous and commital myth of this opus: there are many "Seventh Symphonies", but there is only one Leningrad. To begin with, the choreographer resolved the formal tasks. First this was to create an abstractly metaphoric and pure dance system – unlike the "realist", long-title-loving choreo-dramas of the 1930s-50s with props and antique furniture that were almost undanceable. Secondly, there was the creation of the dance structure, similar to the structure of the music, which subsequently was given the appellation of "dance symphonism".
Belsky had attemped to resolve these tasks earlier in the three-act ballet Shore of Hope (1959). In the twenty-five-minute-long Seventh Symphony this principle was taken to the very edge. The ballet's characters are the Youth, the Girl and the Traitor. The powers of evil are represented by conditional Barbarians, their roots suggested only by certain gestures and the brown colour of their costumes. The specific place of the plot is hinted at by the silhouette of a tower with a spire, given in several strokes on the white back-screen. The stage is generally empty, with only capacious rear-stage posters changing one after the other; the ballet was designed not by a major set-designer but by the graphic poster designer Mikhail Gordon. There are no destroyed Leningrad façades, anti-tank barbed wire, prop weapons, swastikas or real uniforms, as it could have been in a ballet about the siege even ten years ago.
The ballet was rehearsed "outside the plan", in non-working hours and to a tape recording (an innovation at the time). The Seventh Symphony – together with Grigorovich's Stone Flower – brought a new generation of young dancers to the stage, whose names today are associated with "The Thaw". Ballet's symbol of "The Thaw" was Yuri Soloviev's jump and leap as the Youth, the leap of "cosmic Yuri" as the dancer later came to be known (it was curiously fortunate that the premiere of Belsky's ballet took place two days after Gagarin's flight into space). The role of the Youth was also performed by Anatoly Nisnevich, Oleg Sokolov and Alexander Gribov; the role of the Girl was performed by Alla Sizova, Kaleria Fedicheva, Gabriela Komleva and Natalia Makarova.
Starting from the sixth performance (6 June 1962) the ballet was called Leningrad Symphony. Having won success with the audience and Communist Party approval, the production was spread out to other theatres in the Soviet Union. At its home theatre the production was revived in 1991 and reconstructed in 2001. In line with tradition, it is performed twice each season, on dates that are vitally important for the people of St Petersburg: the Day of the Lifting of the Siege of Leningrad and Victory Day.
Belsky's Leningrad Symphony was almost immediately named a turning point in the history of Soviet ballet and a direct descendant of Magnificence of the Universe, the legendary production of Fyodor Lopukhov to the music of Beethoven's Fourth Symphony, performed just once in 1923 leaving the audience completely perplexed. Belsky later developed his idea of the ballet-symphony in the immense Eleventh Symphony, set to the music of Shostakovich's eponymous work, at Leningrad's Maly Opera Theatre (1966). The experience was not so successful, and Belsky never staged a symphony again, though choreographic symphonism as a structural model and as an artistic ideology would for long be an idée fixe of Soviet ballet theoreticians.
Bogdan Korolyok

Premiere: 14 April 1961, Kirov Theatre of Opera and Ballet (Mariinsky)
Premiere of the reconstructed version: 30 May, 2001, Mariinsky Theatre

Running time: 30 minutes

Age category 6+

The Young Lady and the Hooligan

Music by Dmitry Shostakovich
Choreography by Konstantin Boyarsky (1962)
Libretto by Alexander Belinsky based on the play of Vladimir Mayakovsky
Set design by Vyacheslav Okunev after Valery Dorrer
Costume design by Tatiana Noginova
Lighting design by Vladimir Lukasevich
Lighting Adaptation for the Mariinsky II by Andrei Ponizovsky and Yegor Kartashov

Episode 1. A workers’ district. The street is ruled by the young Hooligan.
The Young Lady makes a tremendous impression on him.

Episode 2. At school. The Hooligan recognises the new pupil as the Young Lady.
She stops the «unbridled» Hooligan.

Episode 3. A park. The Hooligan wishes to tell the Young Lady of his love.
She runs away.

Episode 4. The Hooligan is in a restaurant.
The Young Lady appears to him as a vision. He runs to her.
The Leader tries to restrain him.

Episode 5. The Hooligan at the Young Lady’s house.

Episode 6. A park. Drunken youths are scaring the people walking there.
The Hooligan defends the Young Lady and her friends.
The Hooligan’s former friends take their revenge.
Fatally wounded, he heads for the Young Lady’s house.

Episode 7. The street. The Hooligan dies in the Young Lady’s arms.

This ballet is something of an "adopted child" at the Mariinsky Theatre: created in 1962 at Leningrad's Maly Opera and Ballet Theatre and having been performed at numerous theatres in the Soviet Union, it was only in 2001 that it entered the Mariinsky Theatre's repertoire. The pre-history of this once incredibly popular production about post-revolutionary hard times is as follows; in 1918 Russian cinemas screened the art film The Young Lady and the Hooligan, staged after a scenario by Vladimir Mayakovsky. The plot was based on Italian writer Edmondo De Amicis' story La maestrina degli operai (The Workers' Young Schoolmistress). The protagonist is the Hooligan as depicted by Mayakovsky, who sees the new schoolmistress on the street and falls in love with her at first sight. Soon he begins to attend her class. One day, however, when protecting the teacher (the Young Lady), the Hooligan is fatally wounded in a brawl and dies before his beloved's eyes. In the early 1960s after motifs of the film, Alexander Belinsky produced the libretto for the eponymous ballet, while the choreographer of the Maly Theatre Konstantin Boyarsky created the choreography. The music was taken from three unfortunate ballets by Dmitry Shostakovich – The Bolt, The Golden Age and The Limpid Brook, the score also featuring highlights from Shostakovich's music for films. The premiere of the ballet The Young Lady and the Hooligan took place in 1962. Soviet audiences, who over the years of the reign of "drama-ballet" on the stage had become used to ballet plays, were transfixed by the story-in-dance about the Hooligan's moral transformation under the influence of the emotion of love which he had not known before. The ballet remained in the repertoire of the Maly Theatre as late as 1987. One of the last Hooligans there, Yevgeny Myasishchev – together with his theatre colleague Yekaterina Pavlova and Sergei Savkov who dazzled as the Hooligan at the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre – brought Boyarsky's ballet back to life at the Mariinsky Theatre in 2001.
Olga Makarova

Premiere: 28 December 1962, Maly Opera Theatre, Leningrad
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 30 May 2001

Running time: 45 minutes

Sponsored by JT International

Age category 12+

Concerto DSCH

Music by Dmitry Shostakovich
Choreographer: Alexei Ratmansky
Assistant Choreographer: Tatiana Ratmanskaya
Lighting Designer: Mark Stanley
Costume Designer: Holly Hynes
Adaptation of the Lighting Design for the historic Mariinsky Theatre by Igor Karmanov

Concerto DSCH to the music of Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto is Alexei Ratmansky’s seventh ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre. Today the theatre’s repertoire includes three of his “plot” ballets – the witty and ironic Cinderella and The Little Humpbacked Horse and the laconic Anna Karenina. The company also has experience of performing Ratmansky’s plot-less ballets – fifteen years ago he staged the strikingly emotional and stylishly refined Middle Duet and the flowing and heartfelt Le Poème de l'extase. Concerto DSCH , which has no literary plot, is different – joyful, witty and totally filled with movement. It is as if Ratmansky is almost afraid of permitting a musical motif that is suitable for dance. Such miserliness in the movements, such concentration of the choreographic text is beguiling for both the dancers and the audience. Ratmansky is an inarguable master of plot-less dance who can create, with virtuoso ease, forms of virtuoso solos, duets, trios and crowd scenes and, with impeccable taste, fill them with amazing dance combinations. Concerto DSCH is just one such example. Solving the puzzle of his incredibly musical combinations has proved an engaging task for the Mariinsky Ballet.
This ballet was created in 2008 for the New York City Ballet, and it is ideal for a company that is focussed on the instrumentalism of dance and ensemble-performance. Moreover, Ratmansky refers to it as a “portrait of that company”. On the other hand, the text of Concerto DSCH and the style of the scenes it contains are full of references to Soviet realities that cannot be fully understood by American performers, while for Russian dancers and audiences it brings a whole bag of associations and raises an emotional response on more than just the choreographic content. For those unfamiliar with Soviet sculpture and have no idea of the athletics displays and well-loved-techniques of Soviet cinema from the 1920s–50s, many of Ratmansky’s high supports are simply conjured-up poses, and the gestures mere original ideas of a ballet-master. To feel and convey the energetic purposefulness of an adagio one has to see at least a few Soviet films that celebrate the sincere simplicity of meetings in the evening between loves who live next door, where a shyly stolen kiss was the limit of what was allowed. And in the energetic drive of the final crowd scene, breathing with its life-giving optimism, one can recognise the generally-accepted Soviet concept about doubts of a happy future.
Ratmansky is obviously captivated by Shostakovich’s music and the spirit of his time, and in his ballet he tenderly revives this. In the title of his ballet the choreographer uses the composer’s musical autograph (D.Sch in the German musical notation), which has no direct link to the Second Concerto but which does identify with the ballet’s style. Just like Balanchine, paying tribute to the Imperial Russian Stage, named his own ballet to piano the music Ballet Imperial by Tchaikovsky.
Concerto DSCH is Ratmansky’s second “Russian” ballet, staged abroad and brought to a Russian theatre in which much can only be fully felt and understood by Russian performers. The first was the Russian Seasons (also created with NYCB) that featured motifs of Russian folklore. Apparently paradoxically to westerns critics, the choreographer’s journey across the ocean in search of his cultural roots allowed him to distance himself from the strong traditions of the stage presence of those cultural roots and has helped him present them in a new light. With Concerto DSCH it was the same story. The production for NYCB demonstrated Ratmansky’s talent in creating varied and engaging combinations, yet always logical compositional constructions and drawings, enchanting with the free nature of his dance. The same production for the Mariinsky Theatre also brought to light a subtle stylist who can put an entire history of the Soviet era into a one-act ballet.
Olga Makarova

Premiere – 29 May 2008, New York City Ballet, New York State Theater
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 4 July 2013

Running time: 20 minutes

Dmitri Shostakovich was a fan of ballet and composed numerous dance scores in the 1930s, including The Bolt and The Bright Stream. Alexei Ratmansky has choreographed both of those works for the Bolshoi Ballet, and for New York City Ballet's 2008 spring season, Ratmansky created another work to a score by Shostakovich, this time the Piano Concerto No. 2. Shostakovich wrote the concerto in 1957 as a birthday gift for his 19-year-old son Maxim, and it displays the composer's optimistic energy after the repressions of the Stalinist era. The opening allegro evokes a brisk military march with the piano referencing the British melody Drunken Sailor. By contrast, the andante movement basks in Russian soulfulness for the strings, piano, and solo horn. The brief, invigorating allegro finale takes on a 7/8 meter as the entire orchestra sprints to the finish. The ballet's title refers to a musical motif used by Shostakovich to represent himself, with four notes that, when written in German notation, stand in for his initials in the German spelling (D. Sch.).

Age category 12+

Mariinsky Theatre:
1 Theatre Square
St. Petersburg
Mariinsky-2 (New Theatre):
34 Dekabristov Street
St. Petersburg
Mariinsky Concert Hall:
20 Pisareva street
St. Petersburg

To make an order, please use mobile version of our website - buy tickets from any smartphone

Enter now for your chance to win a Mariinsky Backstage Tour for 2 !
An error occured. Please, try again.
You're In!
Now you are participating in the drawing of amazing Mariinsky Backstage Tour for 2!