One Night, Two Premières of The Season
On 13 July, the St. Petersburg public will get a chance to see not one, but two premières: this season’s additions to the repertoire of the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre. The historical venue of Alexandrinsky Theatre will host a showing of Brilliant Divertissement, a collection of choreographic miniatures by the troupe’s founder; and Cheeky Chastushki, a one-act ballet staged by Vyacheslav Samodurov — all in one night!
Both premières are news-worthy events not just for St. Petersburg’s ballet community, but for the whole country’s cultural life.
Cheeky Chastushki are set to music by Rodion Shchedrin, and were first presented in December 2022 as a gift for his 90th birthday. The Izvestia newspaper reported on the ballet: ‘Vyacheslav Samodurov, the choreographer of today’s première, is not using any explicit references to folklore, but his show is still quintessentially Russian in spirit. As the troupe partakes in this endless whirlwind of dancing, none of them grow tired, or lose their drive, or let their spirits drop. Everything is ramped up to the max, full throttle ahead. The sky is the limit. With each new leap, the bar for what is possible is raised ever higher: just like Shchedrin, Samodurov is inexhaustible in his creative enthusiasm. The themes, the tempo changes, the dancers, the musicians — everything and everyone tries to outdo each other. This is a parade of ambition, in all its glory, where classics become one with ethnic motifs, and ethnic motifs become one with jazz.’
In late April 2023, several of Leonid Yacobson’s miniatures were returned to the Theatre’s repertoire: The Swan, Cachucha, Medieval Dance with Kisses, and the Brilliant Divertissement one-act ballet, set to music by Mikhail Glinka.
‘Here, Yacobson’s amazing intellect and broad outlook on the world meet his excellent knowledge of his homeland’s culture: as the score for his one-act Brilliant Divertissement, he uses the music of Glinka, who was inspired by Milan, La Scala, and Italian opera,’ a Fontanka journalist remarks. ‘The ballet that the programme is named after solidifies Yacobson’s recognisable style, with its attention to detail and focus on the individual. Yacobson worked with a small troupe, which, of course, allowed him to take the time honing the talent of each of his dancers. So in this day and age, it is all the more precious when modern performers have the same spark.’