—by Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 10/17/16 – On Sunday, October 16th, 2016 this reporter and her husband settled down after a hectic week with their favorite forms of recreation: football for him and ballet for her. He watched the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Galaxy triumph on the small television screen while she watched Dmitri Shostakovich’s THE GOLDEN AGE triumph on the big movie screen!
The AMC Theater at the Westfield Mall in Century City occasionally presents truly great global performances
on its IMAX screen. For this one day only beginning at 12:55 p.m. Los Angeles audiences could view the Moscow-based Bolshoi Ballet’s phenomenal version of THE GOLDEN AGE for the nominal cost of $18.
Shostakovch once said, “Football is the ballet of the masses,” so perhaps the Wilhelms passed a rather similar afternoon! THE GOLDEN AGE satirically follows a Soviet football team during the 1920s as it comes into contact with many politically incorrect characters and faces threats from the evil bourgeoisie.
The team members are freed from jail when the local workers overthrow their capitalist overlords. The two-act ballet ends with a dance of solidarity between the work team and the football team!
Characters Rita, Yashka, and Boris form the love triangle at the center of this story taking place in a small seaside town in the south of Russia. These roles are expertly danced by Nina Kaptsova, Mikhail Lobukhin, and Ruslan Skvortsov. Prima ballerina Kaptsova sent greetings around the world on her birthday during the intermission.
THE GOLDEN AGE refers literally to the restaurant where the ballet’s action takes place and figuratively to the exciting time during which it is set right after the Russian Revolution of 1917 under the New Economic Policy (NEP), which briefly allowed private commerce and trade to flourish in Russia. Not surprisingly, this controversial piece has undergone many reworkings after a period of state censorship. The 2016 version is a revival of the 1982 production with Yuri Grigorovich and Isaak Glickman as the librettists.
THE GOLDEN AGE was choreographed by Artistic Director Yuri Grigorovich and hosted by Katya Novikova. Music Director Pavel Klimichev conducted the Bolshoi Theater Symphony Orchestra and Simon Virsaladze designed the magnificent sets and costumes.
Much as this reporter has always loved ballet, she must admit that these technically enhanced IMAX images are even better than live performances thanks to the onscreen translations in many major languages; the additional interview material during the interstices; and, most importantly, the chance to see some of the world’s greatest dancers execute their craft in closeup. Indeed, these ballet afternoons have become one of her very favorite entertainments. She cannot wait to expand into world opera at AMC!
The Bolshoi Ballet was founded in 1776 just like America itself. THE GOLDEN AGE presents a rarely seen picture of Russia during the Roaring 20s, a time also being recaptured during endless Gatsby events in the USA.
THE NEW YORK TIMES called THE GOLDEN AGE “brilliantly inventive.” Watch it yourself if at all possible and see!