BalletPrice: - Lt.
A ballet in 2 acts after Lev Tolstoy's novel
Choreographer: Alexey Ratmansky (Russia)
Conductors: Valerij Ovsyanikov (Russia), Alvydas Šulčys
Designer: Mikael Melbye (Denmark)
Projection designed by Wendall K. Harrington (USA)
Premiere: 4 November 2005
Rodion Shchedrin composed "Anna Karenina" in 1972 and dedicated it to his wife, Maya Plisetskaya, who choreographed the first production of the ballet for the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre. Whatever visions of the producers, Anna Karenina is first of all, a work by Lev Tolstoy. The ballet deals solely with the main theme of Tolstoy's epic novel - the love question, Anna Karenina's existential dilemma. She is emotionally torn between her husband, the civil servant Karenin, and her love, the charming Vronsky. With her husband she lives a proper and ethical life, a life where she enjoys the highest social regard, and a life - most importantly - with her dearest infant son. But it is also a life without any passion, a life where she is hardly more than a piece of furniture to her husband. Passion is the domain of Vronsky, but while her emotions may circumvent the social conventions - a rather daring proposition at the time - the question is whether her passionate love of Vronsky can circumvent her being a mother. Shchedrin's score is penetrating in a dramatic expression of feelings. For Tolstoy's characters do not only act out; they contemplate, question and reflect as much… The score which ideally taps into the dramatic atmosphere, renders brilliant musical characterizations and manifests emotional intensity has proved an excellent score and guide of inspiration for the creative team.
In 1975, the ballet was first seen in Lithuania. The Bolshoi's production was put on at the LNOBT stage by the same creative team including choreographers Maya Plisetskaya, Natalia Ryzhenko and Viktor Smirnov-Golovanov and designer Valery Levental. The cast was led by a Lithuanian conductor, Jonas Aleksa. One of the most innovative productions of the day, "Anna Karenina" fascinated the audiences with the dance of Maya Plisetskaya and Lithuanian ballet stars such like Nina Antonova and Svetlana Masaniova (Anna), Vytautas Kudzma and Raimundas Minderis (Vronsky), Voldemaras Chlebinskas and Jonas Katakinas (Karenin).
"Anna Karenina" returned to the LNOBT in a version created for the Royal Danish Ballet by a young choreographer Alexei Ratmansky and designer Mikael Melbye.
Running time: 2.15 hrs