'Puppet Show' at the Bolshoi!


The first première of the Bolshoi’s 240th season will break new ground in more ways than one: first, the venue is the Theatre’s Beethoven Hall, second, it takes the form of a fairy-tale and is for children, third, it will consist of two rarely performed works by Prokofiev and Stravinsky plus, what virtually amounts to the world première of a work by composer and pianist Alexander Pravednikov (he is a frequent participator in concerts at the Beethoven Hall) and, finally, fourth – incorporated into the production are opera, ballet and a puppet show.

The Bolshoi is engaged in a consistent and single-minded policy of building up its repertoire for young people. This is the fourth year in a row that productions for children have appeared on its playbills and, what is more, these range all the way from classics of the last century to specially commissioned works. All genres are represented: Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Efrem Podgayts’ ballet-fantasy Wash’em Clean, and two operas – Sergei Banevich’s The Story of Kai and Gerda and Maurice Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortilèges.

And this month the policy is continued with Tales of the Fox, the Duckling and Balda, a production combining three musical fairy tales: namely, Sergei Prokofiev’s The Ugly Duckling, Igor Stravinsky’s Tale of the Fox, the Cock, the Cat and the Ram and Alexander Pravednikov’s Tale of the Priest and his Workman Balda.

Tales of the Fox, the Duckling and Balda promises to be a spectacular production. It is not fortuitous that the action of all these fairy-tales has been ‘transferred’ to the fairground so there should be plenty of merriment and fun. Expect to see and hear: wandering minstrels-cum-clowns, the dances of ‘live’dolls, humorous catchphrases… The chamber atmosphere of the Beethoven Hall will make it possible to establish close contact with the cast and get a bird’s eye view of the musical instruments (including the exotic Hungarian cimbalons) – the instrument round which Stravinsky composed his Tale.