Petipa's grand spectacle restored
By Clement Crisp for The Financial Times
Tsar Peter's city celebrates its tercentenary this year, most notably at the moment by shrouding its buildings in scaffolding and nets as much-needed restoration and decoration takes place. Even so, the palaces and churches gleam, and the panorama of almond, green, red and gilded architecture gives this ravishing city its ageless splendour.
The Mariinsky Theatre facade is under wraps, but inside, a 10-day festival of ballet is being staged. I arrived for what I supposed was the opening fanfare, a reconstruction of the Romantic-era charmer, Ondine, by Pierre Lacotte. But the production has been postponed until the summer and a new Bayade`re was given in its place. This is, like the proposed Ondine, an exercise in time travel. Sergei Vikharev has adopted the same procedures as those he used a few years ago in restoring the "original" Sleeping Beauty from early notations and production records. Bayadere, unlike Beauty, has had a vexed stage history in Petersburg. First given in 1877, it was revised by Petipa (its choreographer), most notably in 1900, and then subjected to editing, excision, repositionings and the addition of dances during the Soviet era. After a few days, this link will only be available to FT subscribers click for more
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