Is Natalya Osipova set for a return to the Bolshoi in the new season?

The Bolshoi Theater in central Moscow.

The Bolshoi Theater in central Moscow.

Sergei Fadeichev / TASS
Four opera premieres, debuts by Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Khvorostovsky, collaboration with the English National Opera, and a series of revivals of ballets by Yuri Grigorovich are all on the agenda for the new season at the Bolshoi Theater – along with plans to lure Natalya Osipova back from Covent Garden.

Debuts by Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Khvorostovsky, the return of dancers Vasiliev and Osipova, a co-production with the English National Opera and other premieres – all of these and more await fans of the Bolshoi Theater in its 241st season.

The Bolshoi's musical director Tugan Sokhiev and the new ballet director Makharbek Vaziev, who worked in Milan's La Scala until this spring, tell us what we should expect from the theater in the new season.

Netrebko and Khvorostovsky's debut

Sokhiev made opera buffs happy when he announced four premieres and a parade of stars. In October the Bolshoi will stage Manon Lescaut directed by Adolph Shapiro with Anna Netrebko in the leading role. This is the famous diva's debut at the Bolshoi.

In November the theater will stage Billy Budd by Benjamin Britten together with the English National Opera.

Sokhiev said that the work is important both for the theater and for him personally, since the "difficult" Britten is rarely staged throughout the world.

The Bolshoi will then revive Rimsky-Korsakov's The Snow Maiden, since "we have wonderful voices that can easily take care of her." In February 2017 the theater will present the opera The Idiot by Mieczyslaw Weinberg.

Besides Netrebko there will be other stars: Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Ildar Abdrazakov, Hibla Gerzmava and Ekaterina Gubanova will appear in December's Don Carlos.

Opera singers Anna Netrebko and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Source: Sergei Karpov / TASS

The Bolshoi has also been able to bring together in one performance the world's favorite Russian voices: Olga Peretyatko and Nadya Mikhael have pledged to sing in the theater.

Bringing dancers home and reconstructions of Grigorovich

Meanwhile, the Bolshoi’s new ballet director MakharbekVazievhas publicly said that anyone who comes to the theater in the middle of the season must reconcile themselves to the plans already made.

Vaziev talked about the upcoming festival devoted to reincarnations of ballets by great Soviet and Russian choreographer Yuri Grigorovich. While the festival is scheduled to take place in January-February 2017, it will begin employing the troupe starting in 2016 when in the fall the dancers will perform The Golden Age and afterwards another 10 ballets choreographed by Grigorovich.

Vaziev admits that he has "inner human accord" with this event and "no matter what you think of Grigorovich, he did do a lot for the Bolshoi."

Besides The Golden Age there will be other ballet premieres in the season: the one-act "etudes" by Lander to Czerny's music in March, to which a couple of works are now being selected from Glen Tetley, Jiří Kylián and Jerome Robbins.

In June 2017 the Bolshoi Theater will show the world premiere of the ballet Nureyev by Ilya Demutsky with a libretto by Yuri Possokhov and Kirill Serebrennikov. The team has recently demonstrated its talents in the ballet A Hero of Our Times at the Bolshoi.

Moreover, Vazievhas promised to return Ivan Vasiliev to the stage, as well as Natalya Osipova, who currently works at Covent Garden.

“The Bolshoi ballet is the best to work with,” he said.

First published in Russian in Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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