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Saturday, March 7, 2015


(Sleeping Beauty pas de deux)

South African audiences will be given a window into the world of fine Russian culture when Crown of the Russian Ballet’s 175th Tchaikovsky Anniversary Celebrations grace South African stages.

Featuring the esteemed Crown of the Russian Ballet Company, the South African tour comes to the Playhouse Opera in Durban for performances on April 28 and 29.

The programme has been specially prepared for South African audiences by the company’s artistic director Anatoly Emelianov and is certain to thrill classical ballet enthusiasts of all ages.

The programme opens with the world premiere of Emelianov’s new production of one of Tchaikovsky’s undoubted masterpieces, the one-act ballet, Manfred. The narrative for this work of deep remorse and moral anguish comes from Lord Byron’s Poem of the same name.

Manfred is a romantic hero of epic and Faustian proportions. In his idealistic dilemma he is doomed to destroy the very ones he loves. Imbued with supernatural elements, the metaphysical torment of Manfred is given the choreographic distinction that international audiences have come to associate with Emelianov’s work.

The second half features two evergreen favourites - a suite from The Sleeping Beauty featuring the original Marius Petipa choreography and the one-act Romeo and Juliet choreographed by Emelianov.

The tale of Princess Aurora and her tragic 16th birthday party holds a place in every child’s heart. Based on the Brothers Grimm version of the famous Charles Perrault fairy story, The Sleeping Beauty is quintessential classical ballet straight out of the golden age of Russian ballet. Ever appealing it has proved to be Petipa’s most enduring work and certainly one of his ultimate masterpieces of choreography. The Sleeping Beauty Suite will feature Act 2.

Tchaikovsky was only 29 years old when he composed his one act Romeo and Juliet. Based on Shakespeare’s tragic love story it is considered to be Tchaikovsky’s first masterpiece. Love and loss were emotions that were not foreign to Tchaikovsky. They would become all too familiar in his lifetime fuelling his passion to create and infusing his compositions with extraordinary passion.

Edward Downes, the former programme annotator for the New York Philharmonic, commented that many composers have been inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet but that “Tchaikovsky is one of the very few who speaks with the elemental passion and strife that grips us as do the words of Shakespeare”.

Crown of the Russian Ballet is proudly presented by impresario Edouard Miasnikov who specialises in sharing Russian culture with South African audiences in the interests of widening cultural exchange and dialogue.

Performances take place in the Playhouse Opera on April 28 and 29 at 19h30. Tickets are priced from R150 to R280. Booking is Computicket and early booking is advised to avoid disappointment.