“Paquita”, Ural Opera Ballet
On November 23, at Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theater, Yekaterinburg State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre performed “Paquita” in a version by Sergei Vikharev and Vyacheslav Samodurov. Utilising notation preserved in the Harvard Library Theatre Collection, the creators of this version restored the original choreography of 1881, but have placed it inside a new scenario: the collision of the old ‘script’ is offered to the viewer from the perspective of the diverse cultural experience of the 20th century.
The original Paquita was premièred in 1846 at the Paris Opéra. A year later Marius Petipa made his debut in St Petersburg in it, when he acted both as director of the production and dancer in principal male role. In 1881 Petipa, by then Ballet Master and principal choreographer of the Imperial Theaters revived Paquita for the great ballerina Ekaterina Vazem, adding several new solos and ensembles to the existing production. But during the Soviet period only its final dance ensemble – the famous Grand Pas Classique – remained in performance and throughout the 20th century it was by this spectacular divertissment that Paquita was generally known..
Petipa’s 1881 choreography was restored to the staging and all the political and social conflicts of the original libretto were preserved, but each of the three acts is viewed through the prism of XX century’s own socio-political experience. An arrangement of the original score by Deldevez and Minkus was also commissioned from the famous Russian composer Yuri Krasavin.
Paquita continues the way of working with old ballets that the company began in Vain Precautions (La fille mal gardée (premièred in Yekaterinburg in 2015). A single team worked on both productions. The initial idea for Paquita came from Pavel Gershenzon. Then Sergei Vikharev and choreographer Vyacheslav Samodurov, who continued work on the piece after Sergei Vikharev’s sudden death, turned to original choreographic notation held in the Harvard University Theatere Collection. New sets and costumes were created by Bolshoi Theatre artists Alyona Pikalova and Elena Zaitseva and Alexander Naumov designed the lighting.
The Theatre dedicates its staging of Pquita to the memory of Sergei Vikharev.
Photos © Irina Tuminene
Photos © Mark Olic
Photos © Mikhail Logvinov
Photos © Evgeny Pronin