Russia passion for music
"Bewitched swan" in German theatre
from Malve Gradinger

Finding a way to move from ballet dancer career to a new, relatively artistic professional life is very hard. Kirill Melnikov - known in Munich among other as expressive Onegin Petrucchio is thinking about his and his wife's Yelena Pankova future, with whom in 199293 he moved from St. Petersburg Kirov-Ensemble Bavarian state ballet. It was his first time to try himself as a producer (together with Davies and Woolnough, London) in ballet "Bewitched swan" to the fairy-tale by Pushkin about tzar Saltan for kids and their families (Munich German theatre). Escape of the audience during the intermission. Storm of applause from those eho stayed. Both reactions can be explained. But what is univocal in life?
The choice of Pushkin for libretto, the idea is clear (see operas "Queen of spades", "Boris Godunov", "Evgeniy Onegin" and ballet "Onegin" Kranko). Because of the palace intrigues the son of tzar Saltan and his mother were thrown in a barrel into the open sea. Nevertheless, they manage to escape. At the end the tzar family experiences reunification, of course with the help of the bewitched swan. And the swan in its turn, due to the love of the young tsar, breaks the spell and gets married right away.
On a small fairground stage used for stages in a hotels or for shadow plays, surrounded by the sun, moon, innocently crisply clouds (distantly reminds of ballet by Fokin "Petrushka" from Dyagilev era) The story though opens up in its entirety. Noticeable that it is the first full-size ballet by choreographer Dmitriy Katunin, who has been a teacher at Munich Heinz-Bosl fund. And his vocabulary, neo-classical, mixed with character dance steps, seems in its modesty more a material for a ballet insert.
And it is unfortunately not so pearly danced, as the name of "Classical ballet of St. Petersburg" implies, in spite of 14 ballet dancers in bright costumes of tzar period of time showing passion to dance. This undertaking of course required great effort. But after rehearsals during the breaks in the main work, ballet gets dusted with rush work of a travelling theatre. And celebrated Pankova and Melnikov - unforgettable, for example, in "Giselle" - playing here a role of a young lady in a swan-costume and young tzar, risk loosing memories about their brilliance. But still it could become a beginning of something better.
St. Petersburg ensemble "Art-Contrast", playing on stage did fulfill the promise to show "Russian Soul", "Russian culture". Six young musicians played Rimskiy-Korsakow, Mussorgskiy and Tschaikovsky in a special way: on domra, balalaika, bass-balalaika and harmonica. And this gave the whole evening a delicate folklore sounding. Therefore it is worth seeing.

Malve Gradinger
"Münchner Merkur",