A Gift for the Master
In honour of the renowned music master who is now celebrating his 90th birthday, Mariinsky Theatre is holding the Shchedrin-90 festival. During this event, on 16 December, the theatre’s historical venue will host a première of Cheeky Chastushki: a theatrical gift to Rodion Shchedrin from the Leonid Yacobson Ballet, set to his eponymous music.
The show was choreographed and directed by Vyacheslav Samodurov, three-times winner of the Golden Mask and art director of Ural Ballet. ‘For me, the main part of dance is always the music,’ the ballet master confesses. ‘It resonates with me as a choreographer; and likewise, Shchedrin’s music is what appeals to me the most in Chastushki. It’s a monumental work of art, with tremendous amounts of energy; and despite the cutesy name, I’d say these chastushki songs are more vicious than cheeky. It’s a serious, brilliant creation, which needs to be treated with the respect it deserves... I have found it very interesting to work with the Yacobson troupe, these young people’s enthusiasm to try out new things is really infectious. And in fact, this production is not meant to rely on corps de ballet: everyone involved there is a soloist, which I see as a 21st-century continuation of Yacobson’s ideas. The troupe is highly skilled, each performer is charismatic, and I am finding myself inspired by our collaboration.’
It is quite notable that the ballet’s première was scheduled for 16 December specifically, as this is Rodion Shchedrin’s birthday, and the culmination of the entire music festival.