The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Season continues this weekend with a screening of the Company’s production of The Taming of the Shrew – a work commissioned in 2014 from the Choreographer-Director of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Jean-Christophe Maillot.
Rarely does the Bolshoi commission works from foreign choreographers, but Maillot and Sergei Filin – at that time Ballet Director of the Bolshoi Theatre, and now Director of the Young Artists Ballet Program – share a close friendship, having previously worked together on a number of artistic projects. This occasion was also the first, since Maillot’s appointment in 1993, that he had choreographed a ballet for a company other than his own.
With The Taming of the Shrew, Maillot wanted to create a ballet for the artists of the Bolshoi which would highlight their theatrical skills, as well as the brilliant dancing for which this company is renowned. This, he realised, would require a work with a strong narrative theme, so he turned to the greatest playwright in the English language, William Shakespeare, for his inspiration – selecting the battle of wills between the flamboyant Petruchio and the quarrelsome Katharina on which to base his creation.
Starring Ekaterina Krysanova as Katharina – in what The Guardian called a “particularly mesmerising” performance – and Vladislav Lantratov as Petruchio, this production of Shakespeare’s boisterous comedy tells how Katharina’s father, Baptista, tries to find a husband for his tempestuous daughter who is adamant that no man could possibly be her match. She has, however, reckoned without the equally truculent temperament of Petruchio, who finally succeeds in taming this particular shrew, resulting in a very surprising love match.
The cast also includes Olga Smirnova as Bianca, Semyon Chudin as Lucentio, Anna Tikhomirova as The Housekeeper, Artemy Belyakov as Baptista, Igor Tsvirko as Hortensio, Vyacheslav Lopatin as Gremio and Georgy Gusevas as Grumio.
The score is taken from a selection of works by Dmitri Shostakovich – mainly those written for the cinema – and the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra is directed by Igor Dronov, Professor of Conducting at the Moscow Conservatory, conductor of the Russian Philharmonia, and guest conductor for a number of Russian and international orchestras.
Jean-Chrisophe Maillot put together a production team drawn from a group of artists with whom he has developed a relationship built on trust and experience. Dramatisation is by author, Jean Rouaud, set design by Ernest Pignon-Ernest, and lighting by Dominique Drillot, with Bernice Coppieters, Prima Ballerina of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, as Assistant Choreographer.
In 2015, Jean-Christophe Maillot won a Golden Mask Award for his choreography, and Ekaterina Krysanova and Vladislav Lantratov each received a Golden Mask for Best Dancer in their respective categories. The Golden Mask is a National Theatre Award in Russia given for excellence in productions in all genres of theatre art. Golden Mask is also an all-Russian Performing Arts Festival that takes place in Moscow in the spring of each year, presenting the most significant performances from all over Russia.
Presented by BY Experience and Pathé Live, the Bolshoi Ballet’s production of The Taming of the Shrew, captured live from Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, will be screened in over 400 cinemas in the US and Canada on Sunday, November 19 at 12.55 pm local time. For a complete list of theatre locations, visit the Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema website, where tickets can be purchased. Tickets are also available at the box offices of participating theatres.
Sources of information:
Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema
Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo