CULTURE & ARTS

Prima Ballerina Svetlana Zakharova On Which Epic Ballet Romance Makes Her Cry Onstage

This gut-wrenching ballet may just put Adele to shame.

"This performance speaks of two people, two personalities, who truly loved one another," dancer Vlad Lantratov explains in the video below, "who lose each other, knowing that life goes on, everything goes on."

Lantratov is describing the epic three-hour ballet "The Lady of the Camellias," which illustrates the tragic romance between young lovers Marguerite Gautier and Armand Duval, a courtesan and a bourgeois, whose love defies the norms upheld by the world around them. "The ballet is the relationship between two people, the only way they can be, "Lantratov continues. 

"This performance speaks of two people, two personalities, who truly loved one another," dancer Vlad Lantratov explains in the video above, "who lose each other, knowing that life goes on, everything goes on."

Lantratov is describing the epic three-hour ballet "The Lady of the Camellias," which illustrates the tragic romance between young lovers Marguerite Gautier and Armand Duval, a courtesan and a bourgeois, whose love defies the norms upheld by the world around them. "The ballet is the relationship between two people, the only way they can be, "Lantratov continues. 

A contemporary rendition of "The Lady of the Camellias," choreographed by John Neumeier and starring the members of Moscow's iconic Bolshoi Ballet will premiere throughout U.S. cinemas on Dec. 6. 

The piece, originally choreographed in 1978 for the Stuttgart Ballet, is based off Alexandre Dumas' novel of the same name. Both novel and ballet tell the tale of Marguerite, a young courtesan suffering from tuberculosis who falls in love with upper-class Armand, who in turn loves her wholly and completely. The ill and fragile Marguerite is dubbed the Lady of the Camellias because she wears a white camellia when she is available to her lovers, and a red one when her illness prevents her from making love.

The young couple lives wildly in love until Armand's father, worried about the scandalous nature of the relationship, convinces Marguerite to leave Armand, using the excuse that she loves another man. Despite the intensity of her love, Marguerite is compelled to conform to the values and codes of the time. (If the plot sounds familiar, you may be familiar with Baz Luhrmann's pop culture-infused film adaptation "Moulin Rouge.")

The ballet concludes with her death, which, in John Neumeier’s contemporary rendition, is performed with a smile. "She knows that in her life she loved, and that she was truly loved in return, as a woman, so she dies happy," prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova explains in the video.

The ballet, featuring Chopin's music, chronicles the agony of regret, the joy of love and the strength of youth. In Zakharova's words: "You’re not thinking of technique in this show. You’re just living life on stage ... There are moments when I cry on stage because I get so deep into the story and become implanted into my character’s state of mind."

In the video, Bolshoi dancers Evgenia Obraztsova, Olga Smirnova and Artem Ovcharenko further discuss their experience with the performance, bringing you behind the curtain in the Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema web series. Locate a showing near you on Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema's website. For information on international screenings visit Path Live International. For previous looks at Bolshoi in Cinema, check out their behind-the-scenes looks at "Giselle" and "Jewels."

 

  • Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema
  • Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema

 

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