The XII International Ballet Festival MARIINSKY will run from 22 March to 1 April 2012. The festival opens with a premiere – the revival of Roland Petit’s ballet Le Jeune homme et la mort, an early masterpiece from 1946 which established his name as a choreographer. Many cult names in ballet are connected with this work, among them Jean Cocteau who inspired the choreographer, Diaghilev who gave Cocteau the story and performers of the role of the Youth over the years including Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov... At the Mariinsky Theatre the ballet was first staged for Farukh Ruzimatov and Ulyana Lopatkina in the late 90s. The next dancer to perform the role of the Youth, in accordance with all the standards of Petit’s choreography which are scrupulously guarded by his heirs, will be Vladimir Shklyarov.
The same evening will see a performance of George Balanchine’s ballet Prodigal Son to music by Sergei Prokofiev, created for Diaghilev’s Saisons russes in 1929, featuring Teresa Reichlen and Daniel Ulbricht, soloists with the New York City Ballet, the guardian and protector of the great choreographer’s style and technique.
In line with tradition, the great classical ballets in the Mariinsky Theatre’s repertoire will be performed by international guest soloists. In Swan Lake Alina Somova will be partnered by Het Nationale Ballet soloist Matthew Golding (23 March). Representing the Bolshoi Theatre, Svetlana Zakharova and Alexander Volchkov together with Anastasia Matvienko will form the love triangle in La Bayadère (24 March), the performance marking sixty-five years of the stage career of Olga Nikolaevna Moiseyeva, an outstanding ballerina and coach. Old friends of the Mariinsky Theatre – regular participants at the festival and darlings of St Petersburg audiences – London’s Royal Ballet soloists Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg will perform the lead roles in the ballet La Sylphide (25 March).
The culmination of the festival will come with touring performances by the company of legendary 20th century choreographer Maurice Béjart. Four years after the choreographer’s death the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, now directed by Gil Roman, will be bringing four of the ballet-master’s works to St Petersburg – Boléro, Ce que l’amour me dit, Cantate 51 and the pas de deux Hélène et Euphorion (from the ballet Notre Faust) as well as Roman’s ballet Là où sont les oiseaux (27 and 28 March).
On 29 March, to mark the fifty-fifth anniversary of the career of the great dancer and renowned teacher Gennady Selyutsky, his pupils will all come together, among them Danila Korsuntsev, Yevgeny Ivanchenko, Igor Kolb, Alexander Sergeyev and Andrei Yermakov, with guest soloists including Wiener Staatsballett ballerina Olga Yesina in the pas de deux from Petit’s ballet Leda and the Swan, Vera Arbuzova and Andrei Kasianenko in a highlight from Eifman’s ballet Red Giselle and Béjart Ballet Lausanne soloists in the pas de deux Hélène et Euphorion.
Fans of the Mariinsky Ballet Company will see performances by their favourite stars in premieres from recent seasons, among them Viktoria Tereshkina and Alexander Sergeyev in Angelin Preljocaj’s ballet Le Parc (26 March), Diana Vishneva in the ballet evening Errand into the Maze by Martha Graham, Subject to Change by Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, Pierrot Lunaire by Alexei Ratmansky (30 March) and Ulyana Lopatkina and Andrei Yermakov in Alexei Ratmansky’s ballet Anna Karenina (31 March).
The festival closes on 1 April with a grand Gala Concert with all of the festival’s guests.
The visit by the Béjart Ballet Lausanne will be accompanied by an exhibition of unique photographs by Valentin Baranovsky featuring Maurice Béjart, dancer Jorge Donn and artists of the Kirov Ballet Company when the choreographer first visited Leningrad in the late 1980s.
In line with festival tradition, there will also be master-classes by teachers from various schools. This year’s festival will be attended by Michaël Denard, formerly an étoile and current coach with the Opéra de Paris.
During his visit the great dancer will give a master-class for students at the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet and grant-recipients of the Mariinsky Theatre.