Thu | Jan 18, 2018

'The Golden Age' at Palace Cineplex this Sunday

Published:Friday | November 4, 2016 | 12:00 AM
The duets of Rita and Boris are featured in 'The Golden Age'.
Choreography takes centrestage in 'The Golden Age' which features an explosion of dance, from classical and folk, to free form and modern.

The Bolshoi Ballet's 2016-17 season in cinemas opens with The Golden Age, a company signature and treasured classic, on Sunday at 11:30 a.m., at Palace Cineplex in the Sovereign Centre, Liguanea.

A satirical take on the political and cultural change in 1920s Europe the ballet, composed by Dmitri Shostakovich to a libretto by Alexander Ivanovsky, premiered at the Kirov Theatre in 1930. The story featured a Soviet football team in a Western city, where the members come in contact with despicable characters and fall victim to match rigging, police harassment and unjust imprisonment by the evil bourgeoisie.

In the end, the team is freed when the local workers overthrow their capitalist overlords and the ballet ends with a dance of solidarity between the workers and the football team.

Shostakovich was very keen on football and is said to have coined the expression 'Football is the ballet of the masses'.

Despite the politically correct theme of the period - triumph of the proletariat over the evil bourgeoisie - the work was censored because of its score and inclusion of modern European dance styles. As a result, it had only 18 performances. The work remained in virtual obscurity until some 50 years later, when the composer's widow,

Irina, asked choreographer Yuri Grigorovich, then director of the Bolshoi Ballet, to restage it.

In a revival for the new era, Grigorovich, along with Isaak Glikman, a theatre critic, historian and close friend of Shostakovich, successfully revived the ballet with a new libretto. Grigorovich also chose to integrate other works of Shostakovich into the score. In 1983 he created The Golden Age for dancer Irek Mukhamedov, who defined the role of Boris, the young workers' leader, for successive generations of Bolshoi dancers.

The reimagined setting was the 1920s, when the New Economic Policy (NEP) was introduced to facilitate private enterprise and trade. The story unfolds at a restaurant called The Golden Age in a seaside town in the south of Russia.




The premiere took place on November 4, 1982, at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre.

Rita (Nina Kaptsova) meets Boris (Ruslan Skvortsov) in a town square, where he is participating in a political theatre performance by young fishermen. He sets out in search of her after she leaves abruptly and eventually finds her at The Golden Age restaurant, a hangout for Nepmen (businessmen under the short-lived NEP.

Jacques (Mikhail Lobukhin) and Margot are cabaret dancers performing at this restaurant, and Boris is surprised to find that Margot is the same Rita that he has just met. After the performance, Rita and Boris reconnect happily, observed by a jealous Jacques. Unbeknown to Rita, Jacques is in fact Yashka, the leader of a criminal gang. His friend Lyuska (Ekaterina Krysanova) lures two drunken Nepmen to an ambush, where the gang robs both and murders one.

Upon Yashka's return to the restaurant, dressed as Jacques, he sees Boris and Rita dancing and picks a quarrel with Boris, but Rita intervenes and Jacques leaves. Boris and Rita declare their love to each other. Later, Yashka tries to win Rita's affections, but she rejects him and leaves. Yashka and his gang follow her and, when they find her with Boris, they attack him. Boris's co-workers and friends come to his rescue and the bandits are chased away.

Eventually, Rita decides to abandon her life as a cabaret dancer and join Boris, but a jealous Yashka will have not allow it. Lyuska overhears him and, in a jealous rage, attacks Yashka with a knife and in the ensuing struggle, he kills her. Taking Rita as a hostage Yashka tries to escape, but is caught by Boris and his friends. Rita is now free and, leaving the restaurant forever, she goes off with her beloved Boris to start a new life.

They dance together before joining their friends for a celebration in the town square.

Encore performances of The Bolshoi Ballet's new 2016-2017 season, captured live from Moscow, will only be shown at Palace Cineplex in Kingston. The line-up includes The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, as well as The Bright Stream, A Hero Of Our Time and an evening dedicated to modern choreography, 'A Contemporary Evening'.

Tickets are on sale at participating box offices and via the web at with a Palace Card.