The One-act Ballet Recital, the first premiere of the 47th season, took place on October 28 on the Main Stage of the Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theatre. The event combined two classical ballets, which had been meticulously recreated by the theatre's tutors, and a completely new performance, showcasing modern choreography.
The first part of the recital featured Chopiniana, a one-act choreographic suite and a true masterpiece, which was first staged by Michel Fokine in the early 1900s. The choreographer had been inspired by Frederic Chopin's music and by La Sylphide, a spectacular ballet starring the inimitable Maria Taglioni — and as a result, he brought the great composer's mazurkas and preludes to life with astounding subtlety and skill. The plot of this stylized performance, originally intended for Anna Pavlova, revolved around the story of a sylphide, an ethereal, faerie creature, the embodiment of hope, who fell in love with a mortal man. Fokine himself wrote, 'It was a dance in Taglioni's style — the style of that bygone age when poetry was the cornerstone of ballet; when a dancer tiptoed on her pointe shoes not to show off her endurance, but to, by barely touching the ground, give off the impression of zephyr-like flight, something not of this earth... The audience was mesmerized, and so was I'.
Chopiniana was followed by Grand pas from Paquita with choreography by Marius Petipa and music by Ludwig Minkus: a revival of the famous Grand pas, which had long since become a classic. The original Paquita, a ballet staged by Joseph Mazilier with music by Édouard Deldevez (loosely based on Cervantes' novella La Gitanilla, or The Gypsy Girl), premièred at the Grand Opéra in Paris in 1846. In 1881, after several successful runs in Europe and in Russia, Marius Petipa presented a new version of Paquita at the Mariinsky Theatre. Édouard Deldevez's score was supplemented with several additions by Ludwig Minkus: these included the children's mazurka and the Grand pas. Since then, the ballet has been revived multiple times at various music theatres across Europe and worldwide — most notably, at La Scala and the Vienna Opera, where it was staged by the renowned Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev.
And finally, the modern one-act ballet, The Rehearsal, contrasted starkly with the classical heritage of Fokine and Petipa. Loosely based on Orchestra Rehearsal, a film directed by Federico Fellini, this performance was staged by the young choreographer Konstantin Keikhel, with music by Franz Joseph Haydn and Konstantin Chistyakov, who had arranged and composed several original music pieces especially for the ballet.