Sun | Dec 11, 2016

The Legend of Love shows Sunday

Published:Friday | December 12, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Contributed A scene from the Bolshoi Ballet's La Bayadère.

The Legend of Love will be on screen at the Palace Cineplex in Kingston and Palace Multiplex in Montego Bay on Sunday.

It is choreographed by Russian master Yuri Grigorovich. It is one of his earliest ballets (preceded by The Stone Flower), enabling his status as a world-famous choreographer and a 30-year career as artistic director of the internationally acclaimed Bolshoi Ballet company.

Born January 2, 1927, in Leningrad, into a family connected with the Imperial Russian Ballet, Grigorovich graduated from the Leningrad Choreographic School in 1946 and danced as a soloist of the Kirov Ballet until 1962. His staging of Sergey Prokofiev's The Stone Flower (1957) and The Legend of Love (1961) brought him wide acclaim as a choreographer.

In 1964, he moved to the Bolshoi Theatre, where he would work as an artistic director until 1995. His most famous productions at the Bolshoi are The Nutcracker (1966), Spartacus (1967) and Ivan the Terrible (1975). He controversially reworked Swan Lake to produce a happy end for the story in 1984.

In 1995, Grigorovich was accused of having allowed the theatre to stagnate and was ousted from office. He went on to choreograph for various Russian companies and eventually settled in Krasnodar, where he set up his own company.

Grigorovich has presided over juries of numerous international competitions in classical ballet. After the death of his wife, the renowned ballerina Natalia Bessmertnova, in 2008, he was offered the opportunity to return to the Bolshoi in the capacity of ballet master and choreographer.

The Story

The palace of Queen Mekhmene Banu is plunged into mourning as her young sister, Shyrin, is dying. The Vizier and the courtiers are full of anxiety. Mekhmene Banu is in despair.

A Stranger, who appears out of the blue, says he will cure the Princess but, in return, Mekhmene Banu must sacrifice her beauty. In order to save the life of her sister whom she loves deeply, Mekhmene Banu accepts the Stranger's cruel terms.

Shyrin is brought back to life.

This encore broadcast stars prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova as Queen Mekhmene Banu and soloists Anna Nikulina (as Shyrin) and Denis Rodkin (as Ferkhad).

The overriding theme of The Legend of Love is self-sacrifice. In the story, each character sacrifices something. This seems fitting, as the piece symbolises harmony for the Bolshoi and Russian history, as it brings several nationalities from the former Soviet Union together in one collaborative work in an unspoken declaration of unity.

Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet's story of Queen Mekhmene Banu, who sacrifices her beauty for her sister and then suffers, unable to attract the man she and her sister both love, was set to music by Azeri composer Arif Melikov. Georgian stage designer Simon Virsaladze, one of Grigorovich's most frequent and favourite collaborators, created the set design.

Encore performances of the spectacular new 2014-2015 season of the Bolshoi Ballet from Moscow will grace the big screens at Palace Cineplex in Kingston and Palace Multiplex in Montego Bay.

During the season, five magnificent classics, including The Nutcracker and Swan Lake and the previously unreleased ballet Ivan the Terrible, will be captured live and made available to cinemas. These outstanding performances will showcase the talent of the Bolshoi principals, soloists and corps de ballet in vivid and captivating HD.

Each programme will be preceded by a 20-minute 'pre-show', to include scenes of Moscow, views of the Bolshoi Theatre, and the season trailer.

Tickets are on sale at participating cinema box offices and via the web at www.palaceamusement.com, with a Palace Card.