06 June 2007
Alexei Ratmansky gets the Yuri Bashmet Foundation prize
On June 6, at 17.00 hours there will be a press conference devoted to this event in the Bolshoi Theatre auditorium. This will be followed at 19.15 hours by the prize-giving ceremony itself, after which there will be a performance of Ratmansky's production of Dmitri Shostakovich’s ballet The Bright Stream.
For accreditation members of the press should ring: 911-85-32, 911-84-41, 911-53-01 (Yuri Bashmet Int. Char. Foundation - ICF)
The founders of the Yuri Bashmet International Charitable Foundation - it was set up in 1994 - were the eminent musician himself who gave it his name, Alexander Mitroshenkov, president of the Transcontinental MediaCompany, and Sergey Vasiliev, director general of the Video International Companies Group.
For over ten years now the Foundation has been promoting innovative projects in the field of culture and the arts and providing help to talented, young musicians. One of the most impressive of its actions is the annual presentation of the Dmitri Shostakovich prize (US $25.000) to world famous figures in the arts, for the most part musicians. Recipients of the prize have included: Gidon Kremer, Thomas Quastoff, Valery Gergiev, Viktor Tretiakov, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Olga Borodina, Irina Antonova, Natalia Gutman, Evgeny Kisin, Maxim Vengerov.
The Foundation has announced that the winner of the Dmitri Shostakovich prize for 2006 - the hundredth anniversary of the composer's birth - is Alexei Ratmansky, Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet Company. He is the first choreographer to have been awarded this prize. Ratmansky has produced two out of Dmitri Shostakovich’s three ballets: The Bright Stream and Bolt, a DVD of the latter production was recently released in France.
Bright Stream News
In 2004, this production won four Golden Masks for the Bolshoi Theatre - Ratmansky was named best choreographer of the 2002/3 season, two Masks went to the interpreters of the lead male and female roles, and one to the best character dancer of a secondary role.
In 2007, Alexei Ratmansky garnered the prestigious English National Dance Awards Critics' Circle prize for The Bright Stream.
"The first time in 67 years, that Dmitri Shostakovich's superb music resounded from the pit (conductor Pavel Sorokin). The first time choreographer Ratmansky has succeeded in creating such a well-proportioned, full-length ballet. The first time in my memory that Bolshoi soloists danced in such a joyful, united fashion. The first time since 1949 - when Mirandolina was premiered at the Bolshoi - that an original, comic ballet has been produced at the country's main theatre. The first time a Moscow audience split its sides laughing at a classical ballet, a genre which, until now, has been associated mainly with putsches and the funerals of the country's political leaders. And so, with a laugh, the Bolshoi Theatre has at long last parted from its Soviet past".
"The third program revealed to us a quite different and totally unexpected side to the Bolshoi Ballet: it is a Company of superlative actors who selflessly and with obvious joy give this satirical farce all they have got! The Bright Stream shocked several members of the audience who considered that such unrestrained fantasy is out of place at the Paris Opera (is Jerome Robbins's The Concert any more serious-minded?), failing to understand the (biting) humor in the work and seeing in it only the heavy-handed clumsiness typical of a Soviet creation. But, happily, the majority gave Alexei Ratmansky a triumphant ovation - for his dynamic and inspired choreography and his brilliant work with the dancers".
"The contrast with Bright Stream couldn't be more telling. All that's left of this 1935 ballet is its Shostakovich score and some detailed notes written by its original choreographer, Fedor Lopukhov. Yet while Ratmansky shows a sharp sense of historical irony in its reconstruction, he adroitly avoids crushing or distorting the ballet's spirit. When a formation of model tractors and Soviet planes whisk across Boris Messerer's deliciously surreal, pastoral sky, we hoot happily, but we're never invited to patronise. On the contrary: as Ratmansky unfolds the story of farm workers being thrown into a romantic tizzy by a pair of visiting ballet dancers, he succeeds in giving us a weirdly vivid taste of what might once have counted as populist Soviet ballet - a recipe of madcap pranks (a man in a dog suit riding a bicycle); beguilingly innocent flirtations; and a riot of dancing in every folk, classical and popular style you can list".
"At a time when most classical choreographers construct such sleek sequences of steps that character has almost nothing to attach itself to, Ratmansky's pebbled " Stream " provides bright relief."Apollinaire Scherr
Submitted on 06 June 2007, Wednesday