Bolshoi Ballet Performs ‘Swan Lake,’ ‘Don Quixote’ and ‘Spartacus’ at Lincoln Center Festival

By Louise Burton on Jul 16, 2014 01:06 AM EDT

Lincoln Center is currently hosting the Bolshoi Ballet for a two-week residency, during which the company will perform three famous ballets: Don Quixote, Spartacus and Swan Lake, one of the company's defining works.

The Bolshoi opera, orchestra and chorus recently presented The Tsar's Bride at Lincoln Center as part of this two-week engagement. These performances mark the first time that all four ensembles of the Bolshoi--ballet, opera, orchestra and chorus--will perform together at the Lincoln Center Festival.

Their unprecedented two-week engagement will continue through July 27, and will involve at least 340 artists and support personnel.

This is an extremely ambitious undertaking for any arts organization, and is particularly impressive given the scandals and upheaval the Bolshoi has experienced over the past two years. The scandals were related to a 2013 acid attack against Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi's artistic director.

The 238-year-old company has a long association with the ballet Swan Lake. The Bolshoi premiered the Tchaikovsky ballet in Moscow in 1877.

The Bolshoi's current production of Swan Lake (July 15-20) has choreography and book by Yuri Grigorovich (the 2001 version) with story elements by Vladimir Begichev and Vasily Geltser. The production incorporates choreography by Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov, and Alexander Gorsky.

Don Quixote (July 22 and 23) is a ballet in three acts with a libretto by Marius Petipa, who also created the original choreography, after the novel of the same name by Miguel de Cervantes. The music is by Ludwig Minkus, who composed over twenty ballets and was the official ballet composer of the Bolshoi Theatre from 1864-1871.

Spartacus (July 25-27) has been one of the Bolshoi's signature works for 45 years. With stirring music by 20th century Soviet-Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian, and choreography by Yuri Grigorovich, artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet from 1964 to 1995, this ballet in three acts tells the tragic story of Spartacus, a Thracian gladiator who unsuccessfully led a slave revolt against the Roman Empire in the first century BC. recently presented an excerpt of a ballet film series from Pathé Live, the French company responsible for broadcasting Bolshoi performances to movie theaters. This preview features the Bolshoi's leading soloist Olga Smirnova and principal David Hallberg and is directed by Performa TV founder Pierce Jackson and Dianna Mesion.

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TagsBolshoi Ballet, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Spartacus, Lincoln Center, Lincoln Center Festival

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