In 2018–2019, the St.Petersburg State Academic Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre, headed by Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation Andrian Fadeev, is entering its 50th season.
This season coincides with an important anniversary: 115 years since the birth of the ballet company's founder, Leonid Yacobson, which we will celebrate in January.
In preparation for this commemorative event, the Theatre is starting off the new season by designing a programme for a one-act ballet recital, which will feature the restored and renewed versions of the great ballet master's choreographic miniatures. These versions will have updated visuals: the set is being designed by Alyona Pikalova and Tatiana Vyushinskaya, while Tatiana Noginova is working on the costumes. In the meanwhile, British choreographer Douglas Lee has already set out to rehearse for the premiere that will form the second act of the anniversary performance. Lee, winner of the Golden Mask National Theatre Award, is collaborating with our ballet company to stage Firebird, set to music by Igor Stravinsky.
St. Petersburg Playbill
In the first half of the 50th season, the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre will give several performances at the historical venue of the Mariinsky Theatre.
On October 22 and December 3, we will showcase last season's premiere, the Don Quixote production by choreographer and world ballet star Johan Kobborg, former principal of the Royal Ballet in London. Don Quixote at the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre was Kobborg's first large-scale project in St. Petersburg. The scenery for the premiere has been provided by Jérôme Kaplan, a renowned French set designer with Russian roots, already familiar to the Russian public thanks to his artistic contributions to the Illusions Perdues ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre (music by Leonid Desyatnikov), which he worked on in tandem with the choreographer Aleksey Ratmansky. The show's production crew also included Vincent Millet, a lighting designer who had previously collaborated with Kaplan at the Bolshoi Theatre. Russian and international press was very complimentary of the performance, calling Kobborg's version of Don Quixote refreshing and inventive, and noting the creative mastery of the young dancers.
On November 19 and December 10, our team will make another appearance at the Mariinsky venue with The Sleeping Beauty, staged by Jean-Guillaume Bart, a renowned French choreographer, danseur, and teacher, with set and costumes by the incredibly talented designer Olga Shaishmelashvili. The press has unanimously lauded the Frenchman Jean-Guillaume Bart for walking in the footsteps of his predecessor and fellow Frenchman (albeit a 'Russian' one), Marius Petipa, and for 'restoring and renewing the great choreographer's masterpiece on the St. Petersburg stage'.
On October 31, our Theatre will make an appearance at the Lensoviet Palace of Culture with The Nutcracker (choreography by Vasili Vainonen).
On November 30, while performing at the Alexandrinsky Theatre, we will introduce a premiere programme celebrating the 115th birth anniversary of our company's founder, the talented experimental choreographer Leonid Yacobson. The first half of the programme will be dedicated to a one-act ballet recital, and will include restored and revived choreographic masterpieces by Leonid Yacobson. The show is being prepared by our company's tutors, who once personally collaborated with Yacobson, as well as by a number of notable set designers, such as Alyona Pikalova and Tatiana Vyushinskaya (scenery), Tatiana Noginova (costumes), and Kamil Kutyev (lighting). The second half will be dedicated to the premiere performance of the Firebird ballet, set to music by Igor Stravinsky and restored in its original rendition, which differs from the legendary work of Michel Fokine, commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev for his Russian Seasons. Firebird is being produced by Douglas Lee, whose creative work is based on neoclassic principles. Having tied his danseur's career to Stuttgart Ballet, Lee has also made successful contributions to that company as a choreographer, earning a name for himself in the world of ballet. In Russia, Douglas Lee is known for his work at the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre, which got special mentions in several nominations of the Golden Mask National Theatre Award. In 2016, Lee won the same award in the Modern Dance Ballet/Ballet Master's Work nomination for his ballet When the Snow Was Falling. The scenery and costumes for the show are being created by the famous set designer Eva Adler, while Sakis Birbilis is responsible for the lighting. The premiere performance will be accompanied by the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Titov, Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation.
By inviting the young choreographer Douglas Lee to join the collaborative project, our Theatre's art director, Andrian Fadeev, has shown his continued commitment to his self-declared mission: to enrich and expand the dancers' creative opportunities, as well as discover new stars, by engaging with young choreographers. It bears noting that, over the past few years, the Theatre has worked with such talented young ballet masters as Vladimir Varnava, Anton Pimonov, and Konstantin Keikhel, who have matured to become prominent figures of Russian ballet theatre.
The premiere will be part of the Events Under Auspices cultural programme during the 7th St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum.
As per tradition, the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre will be touring actively during the 2018–2019 season. We plan to travel to Georgia, Japan, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Belgium.
The troupe will open its tour series by performing in another Russian city: our milestone concerts will take place in Vladikavkaz, during the 2nd International Caucasus Festival The Mariinsky – Vladikavkaz. On October 5 and 6, our dancers will appear at the National State Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, under the auspices of Mariinsky's branch in Vladikavkaz, and showcase choreographic miniatures by Leonid Yacobson. The show will be preceded by a brief overview of the great ballet master's achievements and of his theatre's history. One of our shows will be universally accessible, with the target audience being the local school and college students.
On November 10, the Yacobson Theatre will contribute to the Days of St. Petersburg in Tbilisi cultural event by playing Johan Kobborg's Don Quixote at the Tbilisi Griboedov Theatre.
From December 14 to December 30, we will travel on tour to Japan: audiences from Tokyo, Kyoto, Kanagawa, Osaka, Chiba, Aichi, Nagano, and Mie will see the Nutcracker and Swan Lake ballets, along with a gala programme.
From January 4 through February 19, 2019, we will embark on a grand tour across several French cities. Our itinerary will include: Aix-en-Provence, Saint Etienne, Massy, Blagnac, Arcachon, Créteil, Neuilly, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Noisy le Grand, Hyères, Garges-lès-Gonesse, and Reims, with a brief visit to the small Swiss town of Winterthur. We will be performing Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and Chopiniana.
In late February, our Theatre will move on to Italy, where our tour with Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake will last until March 18.
From May 9 to May 12, 2019, the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre will represent the world of Russian art in the largest Flemish city. Performances by our creative team will be part of the Days of St. Petersburg in Antwerp, a cultural event celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between St. Petersburg and Belgium's second most prominent city. We will play Sleeping Beauty at the Stadsschouwburg Antwerp (the Antwerp City Theatre).
From June 27 to June 30, we will also be taking Sleeping Beauty to the Grand Théâtre de Genève in Geneva, Switzerland.