UPDATE: The Australian Ballet’s ‘Anna Karenina’

State Theatre, Arts Center Melbourne
Last viewed on February 25th

After some problems caused by Covid, and a short time in Adelaide in July 2021, Yuri Possokhov’s. Anna Karenina It opened in Melbourne to a full house. The dancers rose to the occasion and gave a performance of the highest quality, receiving the joy and bravos of the Covid-masked audience.

Possokhov’s vision, vision and choreography create an avant-garde 21St the imagination of the century while retaining the heart and soul of Tolstoy’s 1878 epic novel. In an organized, concise, re-telling with a modern relevance, Anna Karenina a joint production by the Joffrey Ballet and the Australian Ballet and premièred in Chicago in 2019.

Tolstoy’s version of the ballet has been adapted many times. Maya Plisetskaya, a famous Anna, performed for the Bolshoi Ballet, performed in Australia in 1976. Anna Karenina, choreographed by Andre Prokovsky, opened in 1979 at The Palais Theater in Melbourne, with Marilyn Rowe in the title role and Gary Norman as her lover Vronsky.

In two 50-minute works, Possokhov manages to break down Tolstoy’s nearly a thousand pages and more into ten main scenes, two prologues and an epilogue, controlling the stories and provide storytelling. And he successfully draws on a wide choreographic language to express the inner feelings of the main characters.

Possokhov’s choreography shows the main idea of ​​the work. He borrows from traditional, modern, folk and dance styles to bring the story to life, and arranges the dance sequences as if they flow separately from the story with infinity and beginning. Fast is continuous, hard and busy with activities. The classically based pas de deux shows Anna and Vronsky’s warm and happy relationship, and Kitty and Levi’s developing love story. Anna’s illusions become a serious trio with Vronsky and Karenin, the ebbs and flows and the heart.

The minimalist installations inspired by the British architect Tom Pye include translucent panels that float over the upper corridors, open for free-standing groups and also create interior rooms. . His beautiful clothing designs show historical accuracy in details and colors, and immediately evoke the end of the 19th century.th century arrangement.

The producer uses the new technology to the best effect, and among them, the lighting designer David Finn and the projection designer Finn Ross – through many projections and lighting states – create smoke, steam, snow, scudding clouds, and a train station. , Kitty’s family home, a music room, a race track and horses, Karenin’s house, a parliament and an oncoming train.

The Australian Ballet’s Music Director and Chief Conductor Nicolette Fraillon led the Victoria Orchestra (in style) through composer Ilya Demutsky’s commissioned score, which included leitmotifs “connected with words or ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​a​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ takes out that it communicates difficult information to the public”. The songs were well played on stage by the mezzo-soprano Jacqueline Dark.

Marcus Morelli (Station guard) entertains the crowd in the wind and snow before falling into the path of an oncoming train, an event that Anna and Vronsky witness as a team for the first time and also related.

Robyn Hendricks (Anna Karenina) shows strength and sadness with ease and control in the performance, even as Anna’s hope and life are gone.

Adam Bull (Karenin) gives an excellent portrayal of a cold-hearted and proud man who loves his son but prevents Anna from visiting him. Callum Linnane (Vronsky) gives a stellar performance, dancing with lyricism and power, portraying Vronsky’s reckless pride and genuine remorse. . Brett Chynoweth (Levin) plays the technician, and gives a good portrayal of a tough young man. Nicola Curry’s (Countess Nordston/Betsy Tverskay) fun scenes caught the eye. And group dances with complex patterns and constant changes are created and integrated into the story.

The ballet ends, like the end of Tolstoy’s novel, not after the dramatic and dramatic images of Anna’s tragic death, but in a lighter place at the time of the harvest. under the blue sky, while Levin thought he felt comfortable.

And in an unexpected moment during the last calls, Artistic Director David Hallberg moved to the front of the stage and announced the promotion of Callum Linnane to the Head Artist, while the audience applauded to him standing up.


All photos by Jeff Busby.

‘Anna Karenina’ continues at the State Theater until March 9, then moves to the Sydney Opera House from April 5 to 23.

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