Laurencia, music by Alexander Krein (Rus. Александр Крейн), choreography by Vakhtang Chabukiani (Georgian: ვახტანგ ჭაბუკიანი), revised by Mikhail Messerer (Rus. Михаил Мессерер). Shot in the Mikhailovsky Theatre on 22.7.2016.
- Ekaterina Borchenko (Rus. Екатерина Борченко) as Laurencia
- Ivan Vasiliev (Rus. Иван Васильев) as Frondoso
- Mikhail Venshchikov (Rus. Михаил Венщиков) as Grand Commander
- Tatiana Miltseva (rUS. Татьяна Мильцева) and Ella Persson as Peasant Girls
- Valeria Zapasnikova (Rus. Валерия Запасникова), Victor Lebedev (Rus. Виктор Лебедев), Deborah Davis, Julian MacKay in Pas de Six
- Kristina Makhviladze (Rus. Кристина Махвиладзе) and Alexei Malakhov (Rus. Алексей Малахов) in Castanet Dance
- Mariam Ugrekhelidze (Rus. Мариам Угрехелидзе), Andrey Kasyanenko (Rus. Андрей Касьяненко) and Mikhail Sivakov (Rus. Михаил Сиваков) in Flamenco
- Denis Morozov (Rus. Денис Морозов) as Peasant
Ekaterina Borchenko (Rus. Екатерина Борченко) is prima ballerina with Mikhailovsky Ballet. She was born in Leningrad in 1982. Graduated from the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. In 2000-2003, was principal dancer of the Moscow Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre. In 2003-2007, was principal dancer of the Bolshoi Theatre of Belorussia, Minsk. Borchenko is also honored Artist of Russia. She joined the Mikhailovsky Ballet in 2008.
Ivan Vasiliev (Rus. Иван Васильев) is a Principal with Mikhailovsky Ballet Company. He was born in Vladivostok, Russia. He studied at the Dnepropetrovsk Ballet School in Ukraine and later at the Belorussian State Choreographic College in Minsk, graduating in 2006 (class of Alexander Kolyadenko). Vasiliev danced Basil in Don Quixote and Ali in Le Corsaire with the Belorus National Ballet while still a student at the College. In 2006, he was invited to join Bolshoi Ballet as a soloist, making his debut with the company, at the age of 17, as Basil in Don Quixote. He was promoted to the rank of principal dancer in May 2010. In December 2011, he joined the Mikhailovsky Ballet Company.
Laurencia is a ballet made by Vakhtang Chabukiani to music by Alexander Krein, based on Lope de Vega’s Fuente Ovejuna. Created at a time when “choreodrama” was considered in the Soviet Union the only acceptable form of contemporary ballet, it harks back to a genuine drama, wherein movement was a vehicle for meaning, and dance could serve as divertissement as well as dramatic purpose. At the same time, the story of a peasant revolution was obviously the ideal subject for a Soviet ballet. Vakhtang Chabukiani was one of the first to create a new choreographic language by means of his own particular blend of folk dance and classical dance. He asserted once and for all the importance of male dance, furthering in particular the notion of “heroic” male dance. Laurencia was premiered on 22 March 1939 at the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre. Soliko Virsaladze designed the scenery and costumes. The leading parts were performed by Natalia Dudinskaya (Laurencia), Vakhtang Chabukiani (Frondoso), Elene Chikvaidze (Jacinta), Mikhail Dudko (Commander) and Tatiana Vecheslova (Pascuala). On 14 November 1948, it was staged at the Tbilisi Z. Paliashvili Opera and Ballet State Theatre. Georgian prima ballerina Vera Tsignadze, famous for her distinguished and unique technical style, performed the title role. In 1956 the ballet was staged at the Bolshoi Theatre. Here Vakhtang Chabukiani partnered Maya Plisetskaya.
Alexander Krein (Russian: Александр Крейн) was born in 1883 in Nizhny Novgorod – 25 April 1951 in Staraya Ruza, Moscow Oblast. He was a Soviet composer. In 1896, at the early age of 14, Alexander Krein entered the Moscow Conservatory where his studies included cello classes. His first works were published by P. Jurgenson in 1901. During the years immediately prior to the 1917 Revolution, he was on the faculty of the People’s Conservatory in Moscow. In 1917, he was appointed as director of the artistic wing of the Muzo-Narkompros, the music section of a newly formed ministry of arts and education. Throughout the 1920’s, Krein was widely regarded as the leader of a Jewish national school in Russia. Krein’s pioneering spirit had led him to incorporate the intonations and styles of both sacred and secular Jewish music into a relatively advanced idiom that was as influenced by French impressionism as it was by the music of his friend Alexander Scriabin. Krein’s own Jewish heritage was a constant source of inspiration; there are a number of instrumental works whose titles bear quite obvious witness to this, such as the Caprice Hebraique, Op. 24, and the Jewish Sketches for clarinet and string quartet. In 1921, he composed Kaddish for tenor soloist, choir, and orchestra. From the mid-’20s on, he also wrote music for plays given by Moscow’s Jewish Drama Theater. There is also a large amount of music that is either purely classical in design or Soviet in nature. In the latter category are works like the revolutionary opera Zagmuk (1930), the Threnody in Memory of Lenin (1925), and the somewhat amusingly titled U.S.S.R., Shock Brigade of the World Proletariat (1925).
Photo by Jack Devant ballet photography © with kind permission of the Mikhailovsky Theatre, special thanks to Mikhail Messerer and Darina Timofeeva.