Minsk Ballet Theatre
The National Opera and Ballet Theatre was opened on May 25 1933. But its history began in 1920s on the stage of the National Drama theatre, that had the opera soloists, choral and ballet troupe and a small symphonic orchestra in its structure. Already then musical-drama performances, parts of operas and ballets were created and national music was played.
In 1920s future stars of belarussian opera and ballet were trained in Minsk, Vitebsk, Gomel technical schools. And also in National Studio of opera and ballet, created in 1930, that was headed by a famous singer by Anton Bonachich, who was formerly Shalyapins partner in performances in Mariinsky Theatre. For 3 working years professional actors were prepared and operas “Golden Cockerel”, “Carmen”, “Eugeny Onegin”, “Tsar’s Bride” were staged.
In 1933 in Minsk the National Opera and Ballet Theatre was opened with the performance “Carmen”. Belarus found its highly professional centre of musical-drama creativity and performing art, joined a European opera inheritance, and joined a world cultural progress.
Fist performances – ” Carmen”, “Eugeny Onegin”, “the Queen of Spades”, “the Red Poppy” were in 1933. The first theatre figures were Gitgartz ( creative direcor), Petrov (a conductor), Borisovich ( a director), Kramarevsky (a choreographer); singers: Aleksandrovskaya, Mlodek, Druker, Bolotin, Denisov; ballet soloists: Nikolaeva, Usunova, Herasko, Drechin and other.
The ballet studio was working at the theatre, where the most talented children and the participants of amateur group from all over the republic were studying.
The production of the first national ballet “Nightingale” (from a book written by Źmitrok Biadula, the ballet was choreographed by A. Jermolajev, set to music by M. Kroshner, and the art director was Matrunin, 1940) was a meaningful event for the theatre. The success of the theatre depended on a successful integration of a classical dance and a national belarussian choreography, embodiment of an actual image of the nation, the expressiveness of lyrical lines of main heroes of Zoska and Symon (Nikolaeva and Drechin). The ballet performance of “the Prince Lake” was a noticeable event in the history of the national ballet. The advantages of the music of Zolotorev, the through symphonic progress, the successful decision of the mass, ensemble and solo dances made by the choreographer Muller, the enrichment of the dances with the folk elements, the skills and the temperament of the actors playing leading roles ( Nikolaeva and Drechina), graphic scenery by Nikolaev defined thye success of the performance.
During World War II (1941-1945) Belarus was occupied by the fascists. Minsk has undergone to the most severe bombardments in which result the city has been ruined. Many actors of theatre have left on front or have joined guerrilla movement. The theatre was evacuated in the Volga region Russia. Actors of different genres created front concert brigades and acted on a front line before soldiers of the Soviet Army. Right after the liberation of the capital the crew has returned to Minsk and in December, 1944 has opened a season a premiere of an opera of Evgenie Tikotskogo “Alesya”.
This event has marked the revival of the National theatre of an opera of Belarus. After the renovation and reconstruction of a building of the theatre damaged by bombardment, theatre activity has renewed. Soon after that Opera and Ballet Theatre of Belarus was included into the number of recognized leaders on cultural space of the USSR.
In the former Soviet Union the theatre had steady reputation of one of the brightest and creatively viable opera collectives. Such known conductors, as Onisim Bron, Vladimir Piradov, Lev Ljubimov, Tatyana Kolomijtseva, Yaroslav Voshchak, Vladimir Moshensky, Gennady Provatorov, Alexander Anisimov defined; directors Oleg Moralev, Dmitry Smolich, Jury Juzhentsev, Simeon Shtejn, Vyacheslav Tsjupa, Margarita Izvorska-Elizareva; artists Sergey Nikolaev, Evgenie Chemodurov, Ernest Gejdebreht, Evgenie Zhdan, Vyacheslav Okunev defined its high artistic level in different times.
The theatre repeatedly went on tour on the most prestigious stage of the former USSR — in the Bolshoi theatre in Moscow. Successful tours of 1940 have brought to theatre an honorary title “Big”, 1964 — “academic”.
In 50th years considerable achievements of the Belarussian ballet are connected, basically, with an embodiment of ballet classics — performances “Esmeralda” on Caesar Puni, “Giselle” and “Corsair” music by Adolf Adana’s, “La Bayadere” by Ludwig Minkus. All ballets by Peter Tchaikovsky (“Swan lake”, “the Sleeping beauty”, “Nutcracker”) have been staged.
The development of national tendencies in ballet are connected with creativity of composer Evgenie Glebov. On a theatre scene three ballets by him have been staged: “Dream”, “the Alpine ballad” and “the Chosen one”.
The peculiarities of a plot of the ballet on a modern theme “Dream” (ballet master A.Andreev) have demanded from founders of the performance the development of a new intonational sources and layers of dancing lexicon (performance was under construction on figurative contrast between scenes of the Latin American and Belarus validity). In its scenic embodiment the big role was played by actors A.Korzenkova, I.Savelyev, V.Krikova, V.Davidov, M.Krasovsky. The ballet “Alpine ballad” (under the story of V.Bykova with the same name, the choreographer O.Dadishkiliani) opened a drama of heroes by the means of modern symphonic dramatic art, that basis on the collision of opposite intonational spheres where one embodies images of humanity, and another the world of violence and harm. In a role of Dzhulii with the big success K.Malysheva has acted.
The activity of the ballet troupe in 80-90th is characterised by continuous enrichment of the repertoire by classics masterpieces, the further development of lexicon of a modern choreography. Productions by Valentine Elizarev— “Carmen-suite”, “the World Creation”, “Til Ulenshpigel”, “Spartacus”, “Nutcracker”, “the Snow-storm Carmine”, “Bolero”, “Romeo and Juliette”, “Passions”, “Firebird”, “Spring sacred” became the collective card, both in the homeland, and abroad.
The production of the ballet “Til Ulenshpigel” (E.Glebov’s music, E.Lysika’s scenography) became the big art achievement of ballet troupe. The performance has expanded representation about creative possibilities of executors of the main parties (L.Brzhozovskoj, J.Trojana, T.Ershovoj, V.Ivanov, S.Pestehina, V.Sarkisjana, V.Komkova, etc.). The history and the present have found the reflexion in ballet of S.Prokofiev’s music of “Romeo and Juliette”. For the first time in the territory of the former Soviet Union K.Orfa’s well-known scenic cantata “Carmina Burana” was embodied in theatrical action.
The ballet “Passions (Rogneda)” became the event which has received wide public publicity. It is devoted to the destiny of Polotsk princess Rogneda and covers a wide range of events of ancient Slavic history, up to a christening of Russia at prince Vladimir in beginning of the tenth century.
For the last 15 years the theatre collective has visited more than 30 countries of the world, and in many countries went on tour repeatedly. Probably, on a map soon there will be very few states where at least the Belarus ballet once did not act: from Portugal and Spain to Japan and China, from Norway and Great Britain to Turkey and Thailand — everywhere the theatre has found the hot admirers.