At not quite 37, Alexei Ratmansky has danced on three continents, choreographed “something like 30 ballets,” married, and had a son. Now he’s running Moscow’s 228-year-old Bolshoi, which has 220 dancers; 130 are coming on the American tour that opens Monday at the Met. Maybe he’s accomplished so much because he doesn’t talk a lot.
The Met season begins with Don Quixote, continues with Spartacus, and concludes with two ballets new to New York: Petipa’s 1869
Pharoah’s Daughter and The Bright Stream, a work—choreographed by Fyodor Lopukhov to music by Shostakovich—that met a sad fate just after its 1935 premiere in Leningrad.
“It was such a great success that it was called to the Bolshoi,” says Ratmansky. “Stalin didn’t like it at all. The next day all the newspapers that had praised it published terrible reviews, Shostakovich never wrote another ballet, Lopukhov was dismissed, and the librettist was killed in the gulag. It has one of the greatest ballet scores, absolutely beautiful music, never performed anywhere after 1935.” The score had not been heard until three years ago, when Ratmansky reconstructed the comic ballet for the Bolshoi; his work on the project landed him a contract to run the company.