“The genius of the Russian ballet, its elusive soul, its inspired poetry” – this is how Galina Ulanova was described by Sergei Prokofiev, whose Cinderella and Juliet would have never come alive on stage without her. For Maurice Béjart, she was a ballerina who “grasped the profoundest secrets of art… united feelings and their outer expression into an indivisible whole.” John Neumeier said that Ulanova’s art and the characters she created still inspired his creative activity. When in 1956 the Bolshoi Theater ballet crossed the Iron Curtain for the first time to perform in Covent Garden, the triumph of the 46-year-old ballerina compared to that of Anna Pavlova. It was a true victory for Russian art, which preserved the great traditions of classical ballet.
People’s Artist of the USSR, twice Hero of Socialist Labor, laureate of Lenin and four Stalin prizes, holder of four Orders of Lenin, Galina Ulanova remains the most awarded ballerina in Russia. Two monuments were erected to her already in her lifetime. All these awards are yet small in comparison to her gift to people. “How shall we hold this miracle on earth?” wondered Alexandr Vertinsky. “How shall we keep this Gospel for future generations of the centuries to come, so that they could learn from her this highest, divine art?
This night, through the efforts of Nikolai Tsiskaridze and his students, the characters created by the ballerina will come alive on stage again. The spectators will see fragments from classical productions of The Sleeping Beauty with choreography by M. Petipa, The Nutcracker by V. Vainonen, Les Sylphides by M. Fokine, excerpts from the 20th century ballets inspired by Ulanova’s art (The Fountain of Bakhchisarai, Romeo and Juliet ), as well as choreographic miniatures, which are the pearls of her repertoire. Dance of the Hours to the music by Ponchielli, Dove of Peace to the music by Schumann, and Adagio with Four Companions from Glier’s ballet The Red Poppy have been restored especially for this night.
The evening in the memory of Galina Ulanova will feature principal dancer of the Mariinsky theatre, Honored Artist of Russia Evgenii Ivanchenko, soloists of the Mariinsky theatre ballet Nadezhda Gonchar, Ivan Oskorbin, Aleksei Timofeev, two-time winner of the Golden Sofit theatre prize Aleksandr Sergeev, principal dancer of the Bolshoi theatre, Presidential prize laureate Denis Rodkin, and soloist of the Bolshoi theatre ballet Eleonora Sevenard.
The evening will also feature dancers from other countries, trainees of the Vaganova Ballet Academy. Maurizio Manganiello from Italy will perform a variation from Bournonville’s ballet The Flower Festival in Genzano, winner of the VII International Ballet Competition Pinja Rissanen – Diana’s variation from the divertissement Diana and Actaeon to the music by Pugni, and Heath Voy from the United States – Franz’s variation from the classical production of Coppélia by Delibes.