BY BILLY SUTER
THE Cinema Nouveau group in South Africa has a feast of films of acclaimed Bolshoi Ballet productions headed for cinemas in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg in coming months, first up being Don Quixote, which opened this weekend.
Other productions lined up until March next year are the romantic masterpiece La Sylphide, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, La Bayadere, Carmen Suite, Petrushka and The Golden Age.
Don Quixote launches the Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema 2018/2019 season with a journey to find true love, a tale of Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful servant Sancho Panza setting off to meet Don Quixote’s ideal woman, Dulcinea.
Cervantes’s hero comes to life in this critically acclaimed staging of this intensifying performance. The panache and sparkling technique is evident as principal dancers Ekaterina Krysanova and Semyon Chudin lead the spectacular cast of toreadors, flamenco dancers, gypsies and dryads in Bolshoi style.
The film, which runs for five minutes shy of three hours (including a 15-minute interval) is scheduled for final Cinema Nouveau screenings at 2.30pm today (Sunday, November 25) and 7.45pm on Wednesday and Thursday, November 28 and 29.
Next up on the bill will be a new production of the festive season favourite, The Nutcracker, scheduled for screenings from December 8.
The ballet, set to music by Tchaikovsky, is set It on Christmas Eve when the clock strikes midnight. The magic begins when Marie’s wooden nutcracker doll comes to life and transforms into a prince. Soon her other toys come alive, and Marie and her prince embark on a dreamy, unforgettable adventure.
A new production of La Sylphide will be shown from January 5. One of the world’s oldest surviving ballets, and a treasure in the Danish Bournonville style, it is a whimsical tale of an ethereal winged creature called a Sylph.
The story tells of a young Scotsman, James, who, on his wedding day, is awoken by a kiss from the mystical and graceful creature. Entranced by her beauty, James risks everything to pursue an unattainable love.
Restaged for the Bolshoi by Bournonville expert Johan Kobborg, this production is said to be the ultimate romantic masterpiece.
A new production of La Bayadere reaches Cinema Nouveau screens from March 23.
This work is one of the greatest in classical ballet history – a story of love, death and vengeful judgement set in India. Dazzling sets and costumes, and one of the most iconic scenes in ballet, the “Kingdom of the Shades”, illuminate the tragic tale of a temple dancer and warrior’s doomed love, and their ultimate redemption.
From April 13, Cinema Nouveau will present The Sleeping Beauty in which doom replaces celebration when Princess Aurora falls under the curse of the Evil Fairy Carabosse on her 16th birthday, falling into a deep sleep for 100 years. Only the kiss of a prince can break the spell.
A resplendent fairy tale ballet performed by the Bolshoi, The Sleeping Beauty features scores of magical characters including fairies, the Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, and a beautiful young Princess Aurora performed by Olga Smirnova.
The choice for screening from May 25 is The Golden Age, in which beautiful tangos of men in love in the roaring 1920s take a spotlight.
The Golden Age cabaret is a favourite night-time venue and during the merriment, a young fisherman, Boris, falls in love with Rita. He follows her to the cabaret and realises that she is the beautiful dancer “Mademoiselle Margot,”, but also the love interest of the local gangster, Yashka.
With its jazzy score by Shostakovich and its music-hall atmosphere, The Golden Age is an historic ballet that runs for two hours and 20 minutes with an interval of 15 minutes.
Carmen Suite/Petrushka is a double bill that runs from June 22.
Carmen tells of a passionate and free-spirited woman caught in a love triangle. The passionate one-act ballet, by Cuban choreographer Alberto Alonso, was originally conceived for legendary Bolshoi prima ballerina Maya Plisetskaya.
Petrushka is a new creation for the Bolshoi by contemporary choreographer Edward Clug.