Setting a high barre: Famed Russian ballet company comes to BAM

Setting a high barre: Famed Russian ballet company comes to BAM
N. Razina

They’re from Russia, with love for our multipurpose concert halls.

The 275-year-old Russian ballet company that was once home to Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyevm, and Anna Pavlova will dance into the Brooklyn Academy of Music this month, where it will perform several different ballets as part of a two-week residency. The director of St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre chose the venue for its latest New York trip because it has the capacity to host performances from the theater’s opera company as well as its ballet outfit, according to a spokesperson for the Fort Greene arts institution.

“Valery Gergiev was looking for a way to present both his artistic homes — the Mariinsky Ballet and Opera — in New York City under one roof and BAM quickly became his top priority,” said Brooklyn Academy of Music executive producer Joseph V. Melillo.

The 12-day stint will kick off with a performance of the Rodion Shschedrin opera “The Enchanted Wanderer” — which has not been performed in New York since its world premiere with the New York Philharmonic in 2002 — followed by three ballets, “Swan Lake,” “Cinderella,” and a trio of dances set to music by Chopin.

The Mariinsky take on “Swan Lake” hails from the 1950s, and — spoiler — features a uncommon happy ending to the typically tragic tale of Odette and Prince Siegfried, a plot change dictated by the Soviet regime of the time. The company’s “Cinderella” is a more modern ballet, devised by famed choreographer Alexei Ratmansky in 2002.

Melillo said the residency will be a landmark event for the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

“It is indeed a rare accomplishment and honor to present two companies with such dynamic and distinct artistic qualities and provide this special opportunity for our audience,” he said. “We’re privileged to make this historic visit a reality here at BAM.”

The Mariinsky Theatre at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene, (718) 636–4100, www.bam.org]. Jan. 14–25 at various times. Tickets start at $45.