St Petersburg, Mariinsky II

The Great Gatsby

ballet in two acts

Fourth performance of the seventeenth subscription


Daisy Buchanan: Anastasia Matvienko
Jay Gatsby: Denis Matvienko
Tom Buchanan: Maxim Zyuzin
Myrtle Wilson: Daria Pavlenko
Nick Carraway: Alexander Sergeyev
George Wilson: Sergei Sidorsky (Ukrainian National Opera)
Jordan Baker: Ekaterina Kalchenko (Odessa National Opera and Ballet Theatre)
Meyer Wolfsheim: Clifford Williams (Complexions Contemporary Ballet)

Age category 12+


Stage Director, Choreographer and Librettist: Dwight Rhoden
Composers: Konstantin Meladze, Yuri Shepeta
Art Director: Denis Matvienko
Production Deigner: Vyacheslav Okunev
Costume Designer: Dmitry Paradizov
Lighting Designer: Michael Korsch
Video Designers: Alexander and Igor Stekolenko (BURO studio)
Project Producer: Alyona Matvienko


The principal topics described in the novel The Great Gatsby can relate to people whatever the time frame: vanity and betrayal, love and jealousy, dreams and... loneliness.

Thus the ballet The Great Gatsby is not tied to any particular time or space, though it does maintain a hint of the “Jazz era”.

The underground backroom of some bootleggers – illegal alcohol sellers – is filled with mafiosi, strippers, fraudulent money and illicit alcohol. Meyer Wolfsheim closes shady deals easily, fooling his partners. Gatsby joins him and introduces him to Nick, who is in awe of this dark side of big money making. Gatsby meets Tom – the husband of his beloved Daisy whom he had to part with some years ago. Memories of her have never left Gatsby all this time and the feelings captivate him with new power. He throws lavish parties, hoping that his long-lost love will wander into one of them. Nick receives an invitation to one such party.
Meanwhile, Daisy enjoys a luxurious but unhappy life with Tom, who even during a dinner with friends constantly leaves the table to take calls from his mistress. Nick, having found out from Jordan – Daisy’s friend – about his cousin’s former affair with Gatsby, agrees to arrange an “accidental” meeting of the two lovers at his house. Their love is rekindled during clandestine trysts at Gatsby’s villa.

The Valley of Ashes is a gloomy place filled with despair and inhabited by poor and simple-minded workers. Tom, accompanied by Nick, pays a visit to George, a car mechanic. Tom sets a date in the city with his mistress Myrtle, George’s wife. The date then evolves into a wild party with a large number of guests and complete disregard for any social or ethical norms.
Meanwhile, at Gatsby’s mansion Daisy and Gatsby’s secret “honeymoon” continues as they get ready to come clean before Tom and be together officially. Tom, Nick, Jordan, Gatsby and Daisy take two cars to entertain themselves in the city. Tom, Jordan and Nick drive by the Valley of Ashes, where they meet George and Myrtle who are on a verge of a big row. Once in the city, a dramatic confrontation between Gatsby, Daisy and Tom takes place; Gatsby presses a confession from his beloved Daisy that she never really loved her husband. Daisy, completely astounded by Tom’s words about Gatsby’s dishonestly gained wealth, doesn’t have the heart to split up with her husband forever. Tom orders his wife to go home, and Gatsby goes with her. Passing through the Valley of Ashes, they fail to notice Myrtle, who has jumped out towards them – she is running away from George, who had just found out about her cheating. Myrtle dies. George, crushed by his grief, heads to Tom who sets Gatsby up as the murderer of his wife in the widower’s eyes. Nick finds out that Daisy was the one driving the car, but Gatsby is willing to take the blame.
Commonly shared horror brings Daisy and Tom closer and the spouses prepare for a long trip. Gatsby in his mansion awaits to hear from his beloved in vain. Meanwhile, the bewildered George cooks up a terrible revenge. When the phone rings, and Gatsby hopes that it is Daisy calling him, George shoots him dead in the back.
“They’re a rotten crowd, you’re worth the whole damn bunch put together!” Those were the last words spoken by Nick to Gatsby when they met for the final time.

World premiere: 28 October 2014, Kiev (Ukraine)

Running time 2 hours
The performance has one interval

“The dance movements crafted by Dwight Rhoden are utterly enchanting thanks to the justification for and the beauty of each gesture, even in the eyes of those who just yesterday considered Marius Petipa’s Giselle a choreographic ideal. It forces the dancers to have a thorough knowledge of the possibilities of their each and every muscle and use them to the max...”


“The first thing that surprises us in The Great Gatsby is the European quality of the ‘scene’. Brothers Igor and Alexander Stekolenko have produced a series of projections on a screen at the back of the stage in which the image comments on an event, argues with it and debunks it. Costume designer Dmitry Paradizov opted not to adorn the ‘age of jazz’ in garish colours, preferring black and white graphics (against the background of which a claret-coloured dress looks just like an explosion). The restraint in the colour palette and the furious tempo of the performance are ideally suited for one another: this ballet – in line with the plot of the novel – is a recollection somewhat effaced by the passage of time, yet it is also a memory about life lived at hellish speeds...”

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