Tag Archive: Alexandr Merkushev

A Farewell and a Fresh Start

“Pavilion of Armids” / “Hungarian Dances” / “Sextus Propertius”
Ural Opera Ballet
Yekaterinburg State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre
Yekaterinburg, Russia
April 14, 2023 (video)

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2023 by Ilona Landgraf

1. A.Lazarev (Museum attendant), “Pavilion of Armids” by M.Petrov, Ural Opera Ballet 2023 © I.Mohnatkin / Ural Opera BalletPerseverance pays off. A few weeks after the premiere of the Ural Opera Ballet’s new triple bill in mid-April I finally got access to its recording. Three Russian choreographers contributed to the program: the Maryinsky Ballet’s dancer-choreographer Maxim Petrov, the artistic director of the Perm Opera Ballet Anton Pimonov, and the Yekaterinburg company’s own artistic director Vyacheslav Samodurov.

Petrov chose to reinterpret Michel Fokine’s “Le Pavillon d’Armide” – one of the ballets that manifested the Ballet Russes’ legendary tour to Paris in May 1909. Its libretto by Alexandre Benois (which is based on Théophile Gauthier’s novel “Omphale”) tells of the sorceress Armida who descends at night from a magic tapestry in a marquis’s garden pavilion to bewitch an aristocrat. Petrov relocated the action to a modern-day museum and swapped the tapestry for a wall-sized modern field painting, evoking the work of Mark Rothko (set design by Aliona Pikalova). Instead of an aristocrat, Armida (Anna Domke) beguiles (or rather befools) a young, bored museum attendant (Alexandr Merkushev). Petrov didn’t stint on satire when portraying Armida’s maneuvers, reinstating the humor Benois had deleted when adapting Gautier’s “Omphale”. (more…)