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Modern Ballet Tours of Boris Eifman ballet theatre "Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA" (Ballet in Two Acts)
World famous Bolshoi Ballet and Opera theatre (established 1776) - Small Stage

Schedule for Tours of Boris Eifman ballet theatre "Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA" (Ballet in Two Acts) 2020

Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Boris Eifman
Set Designer: Vyacheslav Okunev

Orchestra: Bolshoi Theatre Symphony Orchestra

Modern Ballet in 2 acts

Premiere of this production: 24 May 2016

Choreography by Boris Eifman
Music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Set and Costumes by Vyacheslav Okunev
The premiere was held on 12 September 1993

Pyotr Tchaikovsky is one of Boris Eifman’s favourite composers. When he looked into the biography of Tchaikovsky and learned about the latter’s agonies of soul, which was responsible for much of the tragedy of his music, this music sounded to him in quite another way. In his ballet, Eifman wants to tell us about the hellfire that was flaming in the soul and mind of Tchaikovsky. Clear consciousness of his inner break-up and personality dissociation were the reasons for the composer’s suffering.

Boris Eifman’s ballet is by no means a biography of the great composer; we can rather call it an embodiment of Tchaikovsky’s music, a symphony of passion enacted in dance.

“How great artist creates his masterpieces is always a mystery. It is just as difficult to understand this as it is to fathom his private life. First of all, where lies the dividing line between commonplace trivialities and the artist's creative work? In his destiny these two components are intertwined. Joy and suffering, victory and defeat, the heights of ratio and storms of passion – all is to be laid upon the altar of great achievements in art. This is the destiny of any artist; he is constantly surrounded by both enthusiastic admirers and detractors. Tchaikovsky’s life is a non-stop dialogue with himself; his music is a confession, full of pain and anger.”

Boris Eifman


Act I
The great composer is dying.

Images that have tormented him in his entire life rise up in his fading consciousness: the Fairy Karabos rampages, the mad wife pursues him, and the exhausting dialogue with his Double continues. There is no peace for the tormented soul.

Close friends and relatives try to alleviate the pain of the final farewell. But there is no stopping the wave of images from the past. The young composer is lonely in the cold miasma of St. Petersburg rain. The kindness and care of Nadezhda von Meck help only for brief moments. It is torturous to live in the world of creative dreams. A return to reality brings an introduction to Antonina Milyukova. She is flattered by Tchaikovsky's attentions.

But this momentary attraction turns into a spiritual breakdown. He wants to be like all the men who surround Milyukova. But no one can deceive himself. The attempt turns into violence. Birds of Black Thoughts torment him, bringing inner emptiness. His salvation is in art, in his creations - the White Swans. They instill hope of peace and harmony in Tchaikovsky's soul. But escape from the real world, changing what is deeply hidden and private, is not possible even for a music genius. Milyukova ruthlessly invades the world of sounds.

But more terrible is the one who is always with him - his fate, his multi-faced alter-ego, which cruelly exposes his inner torment. It is Rothbart, Drosselmayer, the good and the evil, the exhausted and the happy part of the composer's soul.

The Black Birds sweep away the White Swans. He imagines rats in familiar female faces. Everything is trampled. Harmony is an illusion. The composer defends his most precious creation, the Prince. Tchaikovsky does not fear the rampaging black passions, his pain comes from elsewhere: Beauty is haughty and ungrateful. She besmirches his naked soul. The Prince, created by reason and passion, has his own life, his own path. The composer is left with pain and a pitiless conversation with himself. He is unable to lift his hands and lead music away.

He is on the verge of madness. Von Meck's letters save him, returning him to creativity - he is needed and understood, his talent is revered. He savors the precious moments of recognition.

Yet brief and spectral are the minutes of harmony with oneself and the people around one. Milyukova's increasing advances makes it harder to flee from inner temptation, the attraction of the forbidden, scorned by all.

The attempt to be like everyone else turns into torture, where death seems a coveted release. But he does not have the strength to take that step. Either von Meck's kind hand or his future creations lead him away from the abyss of death, plunging him perhaps into something worse. The wedding fate ensnares him, ties the body, depersonalizes the soul. Will music ever sound again?

Act II
Music sounds again. It is the waltz of revelations: meeting, attraction, passion. Couples whirl. Each one has its own life, its own fate.

In his thoughts Tchaikovsky is where he can savor beauty. In real life, he is an outcast. The flesh is in conflict with prevailing morality. But even fear of exposure does not keep him from yearning for youth and beauty. Baring your soul and frankly admitting your passion does not mean finding understanding, and the ideal Youth, like the Prince, abandons his creator. The girl's sensuality is flattering and does not threaten disillusionment.

They have their own path. They are deaf to the suffering of the emptied and humiliated Tchaikovsky. His lot is loneliness. Von Meck's moral and material support helps him live, but it is humiliating to depend on the whims of wealth. What a price he pays for those alms!

Madness envelopes the pathetic Milyukova, who becomes a slave to her vile passions. Tchaikovsky wants to get away from the abyss from which there is no return, yet he does not have the right to his own life, even if it leads to destruction.

The world of cards holds a mysterious attraction. Cards enrich and impoverish, bringing minutes of joy and suffering. The world narrows to the size of a card table. Passion is one-dimensional: winning is everything. A moment of oblivion is followed by another spin of the wheel of fortune, and the winner, as always, is the Queen of Spades.

The dialogues by correspondence have ended and Tchaikovsky sends letters of revelation to von Meck. The soul is torn into pieces that scatter like a deck of cards.

Salvation is death - a STEP INTO THE IMMORTALITY.

from St.-Petersburg State Academic Ballet Theatre of Boris Eifman

Schedule for Tours of Boris Eifman ballet theatre "Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA" (Ballet in Two Acts) 2020

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