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ISLAMABAD: Bolshoi Theatre spellbinds audience

February 12, 2004

ISLAMABAD, Feb 11: The first-ever performance by the legendary Bolshoi Theatre of Russia at the Russian embassy in Islamabad was an enchanting experience for the diplomatic community and the local audience.

The ballet dancers, seen by many only in the pictures in the past, took to the stage in a business-like manner amidst deafening silence as the performance began and P. Tchaikovsky and E. Zhukova (Swan Lake) ended up with a hearty round of applause.

The performance seemed to be floating on the stage with lightning speed and at times they seemed to be hardly touching the floor. The actions were flowing with limbs flying out in most fluid movements and many of those, for whom it was the first experience, were simply awe-struck. It was a memorable treat. The artists took to the stage one after the other, solo and in couples, to the delight of a highly appreciative audience.

Performance by G. Borisova, the people's artist of Russia, took the audience by surprise, as most had no exposure to such artistic executions and needed a little time to get adjusted. The artist concluded her performance amidst total silence that broke up into a befitting round of applause as the audience came out of the trance.

A Western diplomat, however, created quite a scene when he started demanding loudly for 'something in English' and was joined by a few other guests who found his outburst worth a round of laughter.

His wife, who seemed to understand the ballet and opera much better, tried to get things under control but ultimately decided to enjoy the evening at her own.

The performance was divided into two parts with half-an-hour break in between. In the first part after the 'Swan Lake' dance, A. Ivanova and S. Dorenskiy presented (Silfida) followed by a dance by N. Rimski-Korasakov, O. Larikova and O. Orlov presenting Don Kihot, the ballet 'Esmeralda', opera by Z. Somov, P Tchaikovsky presenting 'Serenade of Don Guan' and the Russian folk song (Troika) by people's artist of Russia V. Osipov. After the break, O. Larikova and O. Orlov presented 'Scheherazade' to set the second part rolling and it ended by a ballet 'Don Kihot' by A. Ivanova and S. Dorenskiy.

The guests profusely thanked the Russian ambassador, Eduard S. Shevchenko, his wife and Ms Sameena Pirzada of the Volunteer Women's Organisation (VWO) for organising such a memorable evening.

The theatre presented their second performance on Wednesday evening and they will now move on to Lahore where they are scheduled to present two performances. The Lahore performances will coincide with the traditional 'Basant' festival activities.

On the last leg, the theatre will move to Karachi where again they are scheduled to present two performances before winding up their first-ever visit to Pakistan.