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Laurencia

ballet in two acts
music by AlexanderKrein

1 hour 50 minutes
one interval
12+for viewers above the age of 12
Laurencia
 
Credits

Stage version after Lope de Vegas play Fuente Ovejuna
Music revised for the Mikhailovsky Theatre
Choreography by Vakhtang Chabukiani revised by Mikhail Messerer

Stage and Costume Design: Vadim Ryndin

Staging: Mikhail Messerer
Designers of the revival: Oleg Molchanov (sets), Vyacheslav Okunev (costumes)
Lighting Designer: Mikhail Mekler
Musical Director of the production: Valery Ovsyanikov

Répétiteurs: Tatiana Legat, Evgeny Popov, Evgenia Kostyleva, Elvira Khabibullina, Anna Razenko, Natalia Tsyplakova

Sets and costumes produced at the Vozrozhdenie Theatrical Design Studios

Partner of the production

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Premiere at the Mikhailovsky Theatre: 5 June 2010

Tocelebrate the centenary ofthe birth ofchoreographer Vakhtang Chabukiani, the Mikhailovsky Theatre presents the revival ofhis masterpiece Laurencia based onthe play Fuente Ovejuna byLope deVega. Chabukiani created anew choreographic language bymeans ofhis own particular blend offolk dance and classical ballet. Inthis ballet, tothe upbeat music byAlexander Krein, Chabukiani asserts the importance ofmale dance, furthering the notion ofthe heroic style. Laurencia was premiered in1939 inthe Kirov Theatre. Leading roles were performed byNatalia Dudinskaya (Laurencia), Vakhtang Chabukiani (Frondoso) and Tatiana Vecheslova (Pascuala). In1956, the ballet was staged atthe Bolshoi Theatre where Vakhtang Chabukiani partnered Maya Plisetskaya. In2010, after decades ofabsence from the Russian stage the ballet was revived for the Mikhailovsky Theatre byMikhail Messerer.

Act I

Scene one

The harsh sound ofmilitary music isheard and the Commander appears. The people give him acautious welcome, but hedoes not pay much notice: his attention isdrawn tothe beautiful Laurencia. Ordering everyone todisperse, the Commander detains only her. Her friend Pascuala remains with her. Laurencia rejects the Commanders advances. Annoyed, the Commander orders his soldiers tobring Laurencia and Pascuala tohis castle, but the girls manage toescape.

Scene two

Inasecluded location byaforest stream, Frondoso reveals his feelings toLaurencia. But the capricious girl responds evasively. The sound ofahunting horn isheard. Itisthe Commander out hunting inthe forest. Soon heappears before Laurencia and tries tokiss her. Frondoso fearlessly throws himself atthe Commander, saving Laurencia from her hated admirer. The Commander vows revenge onboth ofthem.

Agroup ofgirls come tothe stream towash clothes. They are more occupied with chatting than laundry, especially asMengo also arrives: itisalways fun when heisthere.
Jacinta runsin, chased bysoldiers. Mengo defends Jacinta, but the soldiers knock him down. The Commander returns. Jacinta begs for his protection, but hehands her over tothe soldiers.

Laurencia, now convinced ofFrondosos faithfulness, bravery and devotion, agrees tomarry him.

Act II

Scene three

The whole village merrily celebrates Laurencia and Frondosos wedding. One dance follows another, but the merrymaking isinterrupted when the Commander appears, looking sombre. Hehas come totake his revenge. Hegives orders for Frondoso tobeimprisoned and Laurencia tobetaken tohis castle.The people are horrified.

Scene four

Atnight the men gather together inthe forest. They know they must fight the tyrant, but from fear and indecision they merely clench their fists and utter curses, they donot act. Laurencia enters unsteadily, battered and with her dress torn, but her will isstrong and she isfilled with fury. She shames the men for their inaction and calls onthem torise upand fight. Her impassioned call fills their hearts with courage. All the village women support Laurencia. The people ofFuente Ovejuna decide toenter the Commanders castle.

Scene five

Armed with knives, scythes, clubs, and sticks, the people storm inthe inner rooms ofthe castle like afearsome tidal wave. They free Frondoso from incarceration and set off toget even with the Commander. Hetries toflee, but the peasants capture him. Heoffers them gold tolet himgo, but ismet byanindignant refusal. The dead tyrants helmet set uponthe pole symbolizes the victory ofthe people ofFuente Ovejuna.

Debra Craine, The Times

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...the finale isfantastic, with peasants armed with clubs, sticks, burning torches and righteous indignation taking onthe might ofthe military. Wemay not relate toits revolutionary message asmuch asSoviet audiences did, but its colourful melodrama and resounding vanquish ofevil get the blood boiling.

Clement Crisp, Financial Times

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Messerer has refreshed the traditional Bolshoi version inareading that captures the political urgencies ofthe original and offers aconvincing portrait ofthe choreography. The production islively, the design decently Hispanic, the score byAlexander Krein be-castanetted and wallpaper-ish, and the Mikhailovsky dancers performances eager.

David Dougill, Sunday Times

...a feast ofdancing... bravura athleticism with exemplary classical style... theatrically unforgettable wonderfully uplifting.

Judith Mackrell, The Guardian

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for the Mikhailovsky company, Mikhail Messerer has revisited Chabukiani's Laurencia, first created for the Kirov in1939. ...in aninspired move hes added atransitional scene, the storming ofthe castle, using projected film. Most fascinating, though, isthe scene inwhich the ballet gears into revolutionary mode, asLaurencia incites the village torevolt. The images are jerky and blurred, asifwewere watching anold Soviet newsreel; this adds abrilliant period dimension tothe work.

Jeffery Taylor, Sunday Express

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Messerer takes the huge, heroic spread ofmovement embodied inevery bone ofChabukianis body creating the Soviet style, and filters the exuberance through anexquisitely classical language ofdance. Im sure the Soviet Red Army would have welcomed Messerers logistical skills.

Laura Thompson, The Telegraph

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Above all, Laurencia reveals the strength ofthe Mikhailovsky asacompany. The staging isshapely and intelligent... Laurencia isatotal winner...

Judith Flanders, The Arts Desk

Within this story, two separate historical narratives unfold, one dance, one political, both fascinating. The political one ismore obvious the ballet was created asthe Nazis threatened in1939, and the people risingup, only 20years after they did soinactuality inRussia, makes for fine stirring drama. (This production also uses historical bits offilm during the overture and scene drop togood effect.)


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