On 17–19 November, the Mikhailovsky Ballet Company will present two ballet masterpieces, Giselle and The Flames of Paris, at the China International Ballet Season festival in Beijing.
The performances will take place at the Tianqiao Theatre, the first theatre established after the foundation of the People’s Republic of China. Beijing’s only professional opera and ballet theatre complex features the luxury Swan Lake Hotel, providing added convenience for ballet aficionados visiting the city for the festival.
The centrepiece of the tour will be The Flames of Paris. Mikhail Messerer’s version of this masterpiece of Stalinist Classicism will be performed three times. The epic fresco will present the Soviet interpretation of the events of the French Revolution to the Chinese audience. The authors of the ballet, composer Boris Asafiev and choreographer Vasily Vaynonen, approached Les Rouges du Midi, a novel by Felix Gras which served as the basis for the libretto, from the position of the rebels’ unquestionable righteousness.
The tour will conclude with the legendary ballet Giselle that premiered in Paris in 1841. The ballet was then revived and perfected by Marius Petipa. The Mikhailovsky Theatre’s version of the ballet was staged by Nikita Dolgushin.
Both of these ballets have a successful touring history. Giselle has been performed in London several times with great success and received high praise from European critics. This ballet opened the first Mikhailovsky Theatre tours in the US, has been applauded in Venice, and is a constant fixture of tours in Japan, where it has become a firm audience favourite. The Flames of Paris was first shown to a Western audience by the Mikhailovsky Ballet Company in 2014 during their major US tour. The ballet received a rapturous reception from spectators and critics, many of whom praised the technical skill of the Russian ballet dancers.
Every year, the China International Ballet Season draws ballet fans to Beijing from all over China. In previous years, guest companies have included the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theatres, as well as major European and American ballet companies. Ballet Theatre Mikhailovsky.