A scene from Giselle, one of three ballet pieces that the Russian National Ballet Theatre will perform at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. (Photo © Alexander Daev and courtesy Michigan Technological University)
HOUGHTON -- Michigan Technological University’s Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts presents two magical nights of incomparable Russian ballet! Direct from Moscow, the Russian National Ballet Theatre, featuring fifty of Russia’s finest dancers, will perform three timeless ballet pieces, Romeo and Juliet, and Carmen on Tuesday, Jan. 24, and Giselle, on Wednesday, Jan. 25, with shows starting at 7:30 p.m. each evening.
According to Rozsa Center Director of Programming Mary Jennings, "…the Russian National Ballet Theatre is an institution in Russian Ballet. Legendary Bolshoi principal dancer Elena Radchenko, the founder of the Russian National Ballet Theatre, has focused the company on upholding the grand, national tradition of the major Russian ballet works."
On the first of two nights, Jan. 24, they will perform the full-length Romeo and Juliet, a ballet by Sergei Prokofiev based on William Shakespeare's tragic play Romeo and Juliet. Performed in one act, this is the story of Romeo and Juliet, the quintessential star-crossed lovers. The music is composed by the incomparable Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovski, with original choreography by Marius Petipa, the "godfather of Russian ballet." In the second act they will perform Carmen, a full-length ballet also in one act: Music by Rodion Shchedrin based on the classic opera by Georges Bizet with choreography by Alberto Alonso. Carmen, a passionate, free-spirited woman, is caught in a love triangle between Don José and a bullfighter. The impetus and cause for the creation of the ballet Carmen was the cherished dream of the celebrated Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya to depict the highly strung and riveting character of Carmen in a ballet.
On the second evening, Jan. 25, the Russian National Ballet Theatre performs the full-length, tragic ballet Giselle, about a peasant girl who dies of a broken heart after discovering her lover is betrothed to another. Composed by Adolphe Adam, Giselle is a romantic jewel of the preeminent choreographer Marius Pepita. Giselle was first seen in Moscow in 1843, just two years after its creation in Paris and a year after it was staged in St. Petersburg. The ballet's history in Russia since that time has shown a continuous sequence of performances, with Jules Perrot -- one of the great originators of the choreography -- providing a basic text which has been illuminated by the care and genius of generations of ballerinas and producers. When Giselle was forgotten everywhere else in Europe -- it was dropped from the Paris Opera repertory in 1868 -- Russian dancers and ballet-masters preserved and honored it. The Moscow Festival Ballet's production maintains the Russian tradition of scrupulous production and loving concern for this gem of the Romantic ballet.
The Russian National Ballet Theatre was founded in Moscow during the transitional period of Perestroika in the late 1980s, when many of the great dancers and choreographers of the Soviet Union's ballet institutions were exercising their new-found creative freedom by starting new, vibrant companies dedicated to following the timeless tradition of classical Russian Ballet while invigorating this tradition as the Russians began to accept new developments in the dance from around the world. Today, the Russian National Ballet Theatre is its own institution, with over 50 dancers of singular instruction and vast experience, many of whom have been with the company since its inception.
Tickets to the ballet performances each evening are $28 for adults; $50 for Family Packs (2 adults and 2 youth each night); $45 Ballet Package (one adult for both nights); $10 for youth; and no additional cost to students with the Experience Tech Fee. To purchase tickets, please call (906) 487-2073, go online at rozsa.mtu.edu, or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex (SDC), 600 MacInnes Drive, in Houghton. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday, and noon - 8 p.m. on Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours and will only open two hours prior to show times.