Ballet in one act to the music of a symphonic suite “Scheherazade” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
The ballet was inspired by the life of one of the most amazing women of the 20th century — the last Empress of Iran Farah Pahlavi.
Her life journey is as remarkable as a fairy tale. The only daughter of an officer whose family, once affluent, was in a difficult financial state, she, nevertheless, had been highly educated and moved to study in France. Like many Iranian young people who were studying abroad at this time she was on scholarship established by the Shah. During his official visits to foreign countries, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi met with most accomplished local Iranian students, and it was on one such occasion that he noticed Farah Diba, a student of the École Spéciale d'Architecture, and was completely charmed by her. Several months later she became his wife. Farah Pahlavi placed the heavy weight of being responsible for cultural and social life in the country on her shoulders. She was building hospitals, schools, kindergartens, she was fighting for women’s rights, and organized communes for lepers where they could live life more fully. She supported both traditional culture and modern art, through her patronage, dozens of artifacts from foreign collections were returned to Iranian museums. Farah had grown immensely popular among people of Iran, and in 1967 the Shah made an unprecedented decision — Farah was crowned, and became the first and only crowned Empress (Shahbanu) in the history of the country. It was not just the title that she received, but she was named to be the regent should anything happen to the Shah before the Crown Prince's 21st birthday. During the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Farah Pahlavi, together with the Shah, was forced to leave Iran. Time took her husband and two of her four children away from her, but she herself is now in good health.
This is the second performance by choreographer Alexey Miroshnichenko that was inspired by non-artistic historical facts (created in 2016, his "Cinderella", a reflection on the realities of the Soviet ballet world, has received the "Golden Mask" Award). And it is the first ballet he has done where choreography does not involve pointe work.
Alexey Miroshnichenko has worked on this ballet together with the team of artists, with whom they very often create in collaboration. Set designer Alyona Pikalova has masterfully placed artifacts and Items of Persian art into a symbolic world of the performance. Tatiana Noginova’s ballet costumes design reflects a true spirit of that historic period. Stage lighting set by Alexey Khoroshev has built an imaginary world that is on the borderline between reality and a fairy tale. And finally, the musical director of the premiere Artyom Abashev is playing with our perception of time and space, making the symphonic suite of Rimsky-Korsakov shine with all the shades one can imagine.
Ballet premieres in Perm are always a must-see. In 2016 the Perm ballet was named best company ― and its head Alexey Miroshnichenko, as best ballet master ― by the magazine Dance Europe. Perm ballet stands for magnificent technique, artistry and unique repertoire.
The 145th season will end with a special treat that will delight all dance connoisseurs: three one-act ballets, choreographed to the music of Igor Stravinsky by three leading Russian choreographers, performed by the Perm ballet company. Viacheslav Samodurov will choreograph Le baiser de la fée (The Fairy's Kiss), Vladimir Varnava — Petrushka, and Alexey Miroshnichenko — The Firebird. The premiere will be the closing event of the 2017 International Diaghilev Festival.
Working with the character of Petrushka, Vladimir Varnava (the youngest dancer to win the Golden Mask award in 2010 and who already holds two national awards) focuses on two topics: the opposition to creative individuality of the aggressive crowd and the free will of the artist in the context of a lifelike scenario. He defines the genre of his performance as "devil's clowning". The visual concept, developed by Galya Solodovnikova, is constructed using the device of “a theatre within a theatre”: the staging of the puppet show is inserted into the real space of the stage. Here, now going out into the light, now hiding in the shade, is the Creator who could be seen to resemble Igor Stravinsky.