U.S.-Soviet ‘Swan Lake’ Is Huge Hit
Before Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost policy thawed Soviet relationswith the West, the idea of Americans and Russians working and dancing together in the world’s most beloved ballet would have been a fantasy.
The dream came true Thursday as the curtain rose on a stunning and lavish collaborative version of “Swan Lake,” staged by the Boston Ballet with help from Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet and Leningrad’s Kirov Ballet.
Each of the 18 performances, winding up May 20, will pair an American and a Soviet dancer in the lead roles, which have seven different casting combinations.
The spotlight Thursday was on Nina Ananiashvili, stunning young prima ballerina from the Bolshoi, in the white swan-black swan dual lead role, and Boston’s international star Fernando Bujones as the swan queen’s princely lover, Siegfried.
The audience rose up with a 10-minute cheering ovation after the stunning world premiere of this version.
During a rehearsal earlier in the week, Ananiashvili said the Soviet-American collaborative aspect of the production was very exciting for her.
“Never has an American company shown such respect to this ballet,” she said in a conversation translated by her husband, Gregory Vashadze.
Ananiashvili said she relishes her new-found freedom to dance anywhere in the world.
“Such freedom is essential to our profession,” she said.
It cost $640,000 to stage the production, which will tour the Soviet Union in the spring of 1992 under sponsorship of Sheraton Hotels.