Première of the Ballet “Anna Karenina” of Rodion Shchedrin Produced by Alexey Ratmansky in Finland

In February 2007 the ballet “Anna Karenina” composed by Rodion Shchedrin on the basis of the famous novel by Leo Tolstoy, was performed for the first time in a production by Alexey Ratmansky at the Finnish National Opera

 The Première found in attendance the composer and his wife the Russian prima ballerina and first Anna Karenina performer Maya Plisetskaya, who achieved success with her first choreographic debut of this ballet in the 1970is. The competent audience at the opera in Helsinki gave a warm welcome to the famous artist couple with standing ovations.

The brilliant first night performance of “Anna Karenina” took place at the Bolshoy Theatre in Moscow in 1972. Since then various productions have been put on stage. The Helsinki performance of “Anna Karenina” is already in a short time the 3rd production of the renowned Russian choreographer and art director of the Bolshoy Theatre Alexey Ratmansky (born 1968). Ratmansky is brought in connection with a new era of ballet at the Bolshoy Theatre. His first production of this ballet in February 2004 at the Royal Danish Ballet/Copenhagen was received with great enthusiasm by the experts and took him the award “benois de la danse”. The second production in Vilnius/Lithuania by Ratmansky again showed his striking talent for the realization of this stage play and set up high standards. The attendance of the audience never dropped. According to an interview with Maya Plisetskaya in the “Rossiyskaya gazeta” dated 20.12.2007 all performances took place to “sold out” houses and realized such a profit that through this money all artists at the theatre were paid.

In the Helsinki ballet version of the Tolstoy novel Ratmansky directed the attention (as he already did in his former choreographies) to the relationship between Anna, her lover Vronsky and her husband Karenin. Meanwhile he gives special emphasis to the personal drama of the main performers. Anna Karenina who is unhappily married to the older Karenin and of noble descent risks her whole existence for passion and love to Vronsky. Because of this, she puts all moral and social conventions behind her and gets into a conflict which leads her into tragic ruin. In the new production Karenin´s figure gets a completely new character. Ratmansky shows him as a broken compassionate man who still loves his wife despite her unfaithfulness.
Ratmansky´s choreographic shows through his elegance and easiness of movement as well as his enormous expressiveness of the many pas de deux an exceptional melange between the highly acclaimed stage setting (Mikael Melbye) and the impressive video projections (Wedall K. Harrington). Accompanied by the fast scene changes these effects visualized a reality of atmosphere of an IMAX in 3-D by the audience.

The performance of the ballet was conducted by the American Paul Connely and was greatly appreciated by Rodion Shchedrin. Maya Plisetskaya was very satisfied with the artistic meaningful expression of the main performer Minna Tervamäkis (Anna Karenina) and the youthfully power of Jani Talo who performed as Vronsky.