Season of discoveries

[b]The new theatrical season has been launched in the capital, bringing theatre goers a whole palette of feelings, without which we can’t imagine theatre life, full of bright impressions and revelations. Alongside a selection of premieres, Minsk is to host an awards ceremony for the new National Theatre Award, in addition to the Panorama International Theatre Festival[/b]The National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre has begun its new, 79th, theatre season with its Aida premiere. A powerful schedule is ahead, involving seven premieres, several unexpected innovations and some foreign tours. Like a huge ocean cruiser, the theatre has selected its own course, with no fear of storms.
The new theatrical season has been launched in the capital, bringing theatre goers a whole palette of feelings, without which we can’t imagine theatre life, full of bright impressions and revelations. Alongside a selection of premieres, Minsk is to host an awards ceremony for the new National Theatre Award, in addition to the Panorama International Theatre Festival

The National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre has begun its new, 79th, theatre season with its Aida premiere. A powerful schedule is ahead, involving seven premieres, several unexpected innovations and some foreign tours. Like a huge ocean cruiser, the theatre has selected its own course, with no fear of storms.
On September 9th and 12th, the theatre hosted its premiere of Gioachino Rossini’s Barber of Seville, staged by chief director Mikhail Pandzhavidze. Famous Italian maestro Gianluca Marcianт conducted and stage managed the performance. He is also the musical leader and chief conductor of Tbilisi’s Paliashvili State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Sergey Dyagilev’s Russian Seasons’ Scheherazade and Tamar ballets, staged by People’s Artist of Russia Andris Liepa, are next in line, while the Italian opera Lucia di Lammermoor is to be premiered in December. Early 2012 will see Adolphe Adam’s Giselle ballet premiered, staged by Nikita Dolgushin, People’s Artist of the USSR; he distinguished himself with his staging of romantic La Sylphide last season. People’s Artist of the USSR Vladimir Vasiliev offers his interpretation of Valery Gavrilin’s Anyuta and a new version of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot opera will grace the stage, directed by the great Mikhail Pandzhavidze. Eternal favourite Eugene Onegin is also being given a new interpretation.
From December 17th-22nd, Minsk’s International Christmas Opera Forum is being organised, with Nesvizh hosting its Nights of the Bolshoi Theatre at Radziwill Castle — a new tradition. The theatre company is also to tour Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Egypt.
The 80th theatre season will involve major work on two national projects: Dmitry Smolsky’s Grey Legend, staged by Mikhail Pandzhavidze, and Vyacheslav Kuznetsov’s Duke Vitovt, staged by Yuri Troyan.
The Yanka Kupala Theatre is also guided by national and classical materials in its new season. Artistic Leader Nikolay Pinigin is preparing his Night before Christmas premiere, based on Nikolai Gogol’s Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka. Stage director Alexander Gartsuev has used Ivan Melezh’s works for his version of People of the Marshes.
From September 1st-8th, the Belarusian State Puppet Theatre hosted a festival of Polish puppet performances, called Puppets are Human Too, and animated films for adults from the Se-ma-for and Serafiński studios. The Other Room and Toporland, by the Unia Teatr Niemożliwy (Impossible Theatre Union) Association, were also presented. Acquaintance with Polish traditions should inspire the further development of Minsk’s Puppet Theatre. After staging The Wedding, based on Witold Gombrowicz’s existential work, premieres of Magic Gifts and Path to the Sky are scheduled.
The Alfa Concert Agency is premiering Leading Ladies this season, based on American playwright Ken Ludwig’s work. The play has proven a success at Moscow’s Art Theatre but Mr. Ludwig is a new author for Minsk. The eccentric story takes place in the 1950s America, echoing Shakespeare in its theme of tortured love. Two unemployed English actors come to America in search of their fortune, dressing as women to pretend to be heiresses of a rich aunt. Prominent Russian director Yuri Pakhomov, well known for his brilliant works with the Yakub Kolas Theatre in Vitebsk, is staging the performance.
Leading Ladies features actors admired for their performances in Valentina Yerenkova’s Ladies’ Night: Sergey Chekeres, Ruslan Chernetsky, Alena Kozyreva, Andrey Krivetsky, Mikhail Yesman, Konstantin Voronov and Vasily Kozlov. In fact, a new and independent theatre company could soon be born, since these actors clearly have a unique bond, delivering comedic material with perfect sincerity. They represent all that acting should be about. Konstantin Voronov, who recently left the Republican Theatre of Belarusian Drama, manages to forge a wonderful bond with the audience, while maintaining true professionalism.
The Belarusian Army Drama Theatre is to premiere Vladimir Sollogub’s Tender Heart’s Trouble — a vaudeville, alongside Alexey Dudarev’s The Princess and the Soldier, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story. The theatre has recently gained a great reputation and could soon enter a whole new level.
The popular Belarusian State Academic Musical Theatre is giving us the ever-loved Twelve Chairs ballet, based on the eternal novel by Ilf and Petrov, accompanied by Gennady Gladkov’s score. Husband and wife team Dmitry Yakubovich and Anastasia Grinenko will be staging the performance.
Undoubtedly, the International Panorama Theatre Festival, whose programme is soon to be announced, will be making its contribution. Twelve performances — eight by Minsk theatres and four by regional theatres — are competing for the new National Theatre Award. The results are sure to be a surprise. Nominees include Nabucco, by the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre, Not Mine by the Yanka Kupala National Academic Theatre, Ronald Harwood’s Quartet drama by the Yakub Kolas Theatre, Esfir by the Russian Theatre and #13 by the Theatre-Studio of Film Actors.
The final stage of the National Theatre Award is to be hosted by Minsk, from October 4th-10th. Of course, regardless of its results, our theatres will continue to search for new ways to delight audiences, who are ever in love with whatever is novel, seeking new performances, directors and actors. Our theatres do not rest on their laurels; diversity of repertoire and image is vital. We should also remember that three theatres are currently undergoing reconstruction, using stages on loan. Nevertheless, they continue to play an active role in the theatre world, combining popular performances with high art, to ensure that theatre generates its own revenue.

By Valentin Petrov
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