In March, the Bolshoi Theatre performs two iconic ballets at once - Etudes by Harald Lander (1948) and The Cage by Jerome Robbins (1951). Despite such a small “age gap” these ballets are almost the exact antipodes.
This will be the second time in its entire history that the Bolshoi is turning to a Britten opera and its first ever production of Benjamin Britten’s BILLY BUDD. In days gone by, Billy Budd used to be a rare visitor to world stages but, in recent times, it is being produced increasingly often. The Bolshoi is presenting a co-production together with Deutsche Oper (Berlin) and The English National Opera – a company with which it cooperated with spectacular success last season. But whereas its first experience of doing a joint production with the ENO was in the field of 18th century baroque opera (Handel’s Rodelinda) for which it garnered six Golden Mask nominations and eight Golden Mask nominees, this time round it has chosen a 20th century English music classic.
The opera by Mieczysław Weinberg first appeared on the Bolshoi theatre’s repertoire. The Bolshoi starts to acquaint the public with the heritage of this remarkable composer with his last (but not the least!) opera (it was originally composed in1986) - “The Idiot” based on the novel of the same name by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
The Bolshoi Theatre is mounting a production of Manon Lescaut, the opera which was Giacomo Puccini’s first triumph in theatre. It is a work which has always enjoyed a happy performance history but this will be its first ever performance at the Bolshoi, just as opera diva, Anna Netrebko, who is singing the title role, will be making her first ever appearance in a Bolshoi production.
The Bolshoi’s 240th season winds up with the première of the dramatic legend La Damnation de Faust. This is the Company’s first ever staging of a work by Berlioz.
The first and, to-date the only, baroque opera produced at the Bolshoi (1979) was George Frideric Handel’s Giulio Cesare, and now, making amends for the ‘baroque’ hiatus in its repertoire, the Bolshoi turns again to Handel’s music – for just the second time in its history. The choice of Rodelinda is symbolical: for in the 20th century it was this opera that marked Handel’s return to popularity in theatre.
The flames of Seville will soon be blazing alongside those of Paris (viz., Alexei Ratmansky’s ballet-reconstruction The Flames of Paris) at the Bolshoi Theatre: for on July 15th, Bizet’s opera Carmen will be returning to the repertoire in a new production by Alexei Borodin.
In the year of the 175th Tchaikovsky anniversary, the Bolshoi Theatre presents to its audiences Lev Dodin’s The Queen of Spades — a production which has already been shown at three of the world’s leading opera-houses. But in Russia, in addition to being the première of a notable Dodin production, it will also mark his debut as one of the world’s great directors of dramatic opera — in which capacity he has long been known abroad.