Libretto by Fyodor Lopukhov and Adrian Piotrovsky
Stage version of the libretto: Alexander Omar
Choreography: Alexander Omar
Stage and Costume Designer: Vyacheslav Okunev
Lighting Designer: Valentin Bakoyan
Videocontent: Vadim Dulenko
Musical Director: Pavel Sorokin
Choreographer’s Assistant: Roman Petukhov
Lighting Designer’s Assistant: Tatiana Chumicheva
The Bright Stream Premiere
ballet in three acts
music by Dmitry Shostakovich
Premiere of the production: 13 October 2023
Dmitri Shostakovich’s ballet The Bright Stream is a special production for the Mikhailovsky Theatre. It’s associated with both the troupe’s first significant success, under the direction of Fyodor Lopukhov, and the sensational story of its removal from the playbill following the publication of an article entitled Ballet Farce.
In honour of the ballet troupe’s 90th anniversary, the Theatre is returning this legendary title to its repertoire. However, audiences can anticipate an entirely new ballet.
Choreographer Alexander Omar has altered the plot to make it more lyrical. In the finale, after a series of amusing adventures, all the main characters find their happiness. And yet, this new production of The Bright Stream retains all the essential elements: colourful characters, plot twists, and a comic story with disguises. The breathtaking choreography elegantly complements Shostakovich’s youthful, fresh, and exceptionally beautiful music.
Early autumn. The dwellers of a southern village are preparing to welcome dancers from one of the capital’s theatres, who will take part in the harvest festival. The young agriculturist Pyotr and Zina, his starry-eyed wife, are hanging a welcome banner, the chairman of the collective farm and his wife are carrying a loaf of bread, their daughter Galya is rehearsing the greeting with pioneers, the tractor driver is responsible for the flowers.
At last, the guests have arrived! The tractor driver is carrying the numerous suitcases of the ballerina, Pyotr is showing her around, and the dancer is surrounded by the attention of the chairman’s wife. She believes that the tractor driver, who is in love with Galya, is no match for her daughter and tries to bring her closer to the dancer from the capital.
In the turmoil, Zina is left alone with the loaf of bread in her hands. She hesitantly hands it to the ballerina and is surprised to recognize her childhood friend in the local girl: they once studied ballet together. Zina sadly realizes that she misses the stage, the audience, the performances... The ballerina gives Zina her pointe shoes and they recall their dancing lessons, competing with each other. Even the classical dancer admires Zina’s skill, and Pyotr, surprised that he knows so little about his wife, gets jealous.
Grain, turnips and potatoes are harvested in the field. The foremen remind the brigades that many hands make light work. The artists arrive accompanied by the chairman who awards the best brigades. An improvised harvest festival begins. The chairman and his wife perform an ancient dance named chaconne. The man is trying to insert some folk movements, but his wife does not approve of it and, as always, extinguishes his ardour.
The milkmaids offer some milk to the guests, and the dancer surprises the public with his talent. The ballerina is no less amazing. Their dance makes a great impression on the audience, and only Pyotr finds the guests’ art artificial and inappropriate. He schools them how to dance. Zina is offended by his rudeness and inhospitality. The tractor driver tries to reconcile everyone and performs a dashing dance. Galya joins in gladly, but her mother stops the fun. The chairman proposes to organize an evening of dancing, and in the meantime to have some rest.
The dancer doesn’t know where to get away from the chairman’s pushy wife. He seeks help from Pyotr and the tractor driver, but they don’t trust the newcomer and are not ready to help him. The offended dancer is about to leave, but finally the men find common ground. The dancer promises his new friends to resolve all the misunderstandings. Meanwhile, Zina and the ballerina are conceiving a plan to surprise everyone.
A park of culture and leisure. The dancers begin a common dance, during which friends and lovers agree to meet in secret.
Zina and a classical dancer rehearse a surprise number. The sudden appearance of the chairman disturbs their seclusion, but the girls fool the intrusive companion and escape.
Galya and the tractor driver are alone for the first time thanks to a classical dancer. While he himself disguised in a dress teaches Pyotr the duet dancing. They are caught off guard by Zina and the ballerina. Failing to recognize the dancer, they decide that Pyotr is courting some girl. But soon all the confusion is cleared up.
The chairman’s wife is worried about the rift with her husband, and other people’s mutual love only saddens her. But she soon discovers that her happiness has always been by her side.
The festivities are in full swing: visiting artists, young and old people of the village are dancing. Now that everyone is happy, it is time to think about the future...