BOLSHOI THEATRE OF BELARUS
The Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus was opened on 25 May 1933 with the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet starring the legendary Belarusian opera diva Larissa Alexandrovskaya in the leading role.
Thus, a professional centre of music, drama and other performing arts was founded in Belarus, making it join the world cultural process and its people familiarize themselves with European opera heritage. In the former Soviet Union, the theatre had a strong reputation as one of the brightest and most talented companies.
Modern history of the theatre began in 2009 when its doors opened again after the large-scale reconstruction of its building had been completed. As a result of the renovation and reconstruction, the stage of the theatre turned into a complex with modern technology and equipment that allow directors to fulfil the most daring ideas.
Among the premieres marking the new epoch in the theatre’s history, one can find opera productions, such as Il trovatore, Un ballo in maschera, Nabucco, Aida, Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi; Tosca, La bohème and Turandot by Giacomo Puccini; The Snow Maiden by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov; Il barbiere di Siviglia by Gioachino Rossini; Der fliegende Holländer by Richard Wagner; The Queen of Spades by Pyotr Tchaikovsky; Georges Bizet’s Carmen; The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Salome by Richard Strauss; and ballet productions, including Cinderella by Sergey Prokofiev, La Sylphide by Herman Løvenskiold, Scheherazade to the music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Anyuta to the music by Valery Gavrilin, Giselle, ou les Wilis by Adolphe Adam, Serenade and The Nutcracker, or Another Christmas Story to the music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Sechs Tänze and Petite Mort to the music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Petrushka and The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky, Le Petit Prince by Eugene Glebov, Vitaut by Vyacheslav Kuznetsov, etc.
Today the repertoire of the Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus comprises over 90 opera and ballet titles, and each is unique in respect of its message, interpretation of music score, designs, vocal and dramatic execution.
The highlights of the theatre’s modern history include new large-scale projects, such as the Minsk International Christmas Opera Forum, the Minsk International Christmas Singing Competition, the Youth Opera Forum of the CIS Countries, the open-air opera and ballet festival “Evenings of the Bolshoi Theatre at the Radziwill Castle”, the Big New Year’s Ball at the Bolshoi Theatre, and the Ballet Summer at the Bolshoi, etc.
The Belarusian artists are in demand internationally, as evidenced by numerous engagements with renowned companies from different continents, as well as extensive touring.
In 2014, the Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus was awarded UNESCO’s commemorative medal, the Five Continents Medal, in recognition of its considerable contribution to world culture and on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Belarus’ membership in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
VALENTIN ELIZARIEV (Artistic Director, Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus)
People’s Artist of the USSR
Laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus
Valentin Elizariev’s artistic career began at the Vaganova Leningrad Academic Choreographic School (graduated in 1967) and Rimsky-Korsakov Leningrad State Conservatory (graduated in 1973). In 1970 he won the all-union ballet competition in Moscow. In 1973 he was invited to the State Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of Belarus as the principal choreographer.
In his first works he announced himself as an artist, whose creativity and talent go hand in hand with the eternal problems of concern to mankind. In Belarus he staged productions, which became an epoch in the development of the national choreographic art. Among them: Carmen Suite (1974), The Creation of the World (1976), Till Eulenspiegel (1978,2004), Spartacus(1980), The Nutcracker (1982), Carmina Burana (1983), Bolero (1984), The Rite of Spring (1986, 1997), Romeo and Juliet (1988), Don Quixote (1989), Passions (Rogneda) (1995), The Firebird (1998), The Sleeping Beauty (2001). Elizariev’s productions had been professionally acclaimed by the musical and theatrical community as a phenomenon, whose importance goes far beyond the national art. They made him one of the most interesting figures of the European ballet theatre of the twentieth century and became a classic of the modern choreography.
From 1992 to 1996 Valentin Elizariev held the position of the artistic director of the ballet company of the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus. From 1996 to 2009 he occupied the post of the director and artistic director of the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre. Since September 2018 he is artistic director of the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus.
In 1993 Valentin Elizariev was awarded the special prize for the best choreography at the 7th International Ballet Competition in Moscow.
In 1996 he was awarded the title “Best choreographer of the year” and prize “Benois de la Danse” in Paris. This event caused a global public attention.
Twice he was awarded the Special Prize of the President of the Republic of Belarus for the achievements in the sphere of choreographic art and the contribution in the development of the foreign relations of the Republic of Belarus (1998, 2001). In 2001 he received the Letter of Official Thanks of the President of the Republic of Belarus for the participation of the theatre in the Days of the Republic of Belarus Culture in the Russian Federation. Elizariev is a recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal (1997) and Orders of Fatherland III and II degree (2003, 2007).
From 2003 he is a member of the Council of Europe in the sphere of culture.
Among his awards: the title “Honourary Citizen of the City of Minsk” (2007), National Theatre Award (2011), main prize of the Union of the Theatre Workers of Belarus “Crystal Paulinka” (2012), UNESCO’s Five Continents Medal (2016), title “The Person of the Year” (2017). Valentin Elizariev is also a winner of the Union State Literature and Art Award 2017-2018.
Valentin Elizariev also staged productions in Leningrad (Till Eulenspiegel at the Kirov Leningrad Opera and Ballet Theatre), Moscow (Moods at the Bolshoi Theater of the USSR, Classical Symphony and Poem for the State Concert and Choreographic Ensemble ‘Classical Ballet’), Ljubljana (Giselle at the Opera and Ballet Theatre), Istanbul (Don Quixote at the Opera and Ballet Theatre), Warsaw (choreographic triptych Valentin Elizariev’s Ballets at the Warsaw Bolshoi Theatre), Tokyo (Esmeralda, Swan Lake and Don Quixote for the NBA Theatre Ballet Company), Ankara (Spartacus at the Opera and Ballet Theatre), Cairo (Spartacus at the Cairo Opera House), etc.
During 2017-2019, at the Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus Valentin Elizariev created new versions of Spartacus by Aram Khachaturian, Romeo and Juliet by Sergey Prokofiev, The Creation of the World by Andrey Petrov and renewed Georges Bizet and Rodion Shchedrin’s Carmen Suite.
Valentin Elizariev was elected Academician of the International Slavic Academy (1996) and Academician of the Petr I Academy of Science and Arts (1997). He is a Professor of the Belarusian State Academy of Music. He has been the head of the Belarusian choreographic training school for more than four decades.
Valentin Elizariev is the chairman of the jury of the International Festival of Modern Choreography in Vitebsk for many years. Also he is a member of the jury of the major international ballet competitions in Moscow, St.Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Novosibirsk, (Russia); Kiev (Ukraine); Jackson (USA), Varna (Bulgaria), Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya (Japan); Beijing, Shanghai (China), etc.
People’s Artist of Belarus (2019)
Irina Eromkina graduated from the Belarusian State Choreographic College. She joined the ballet company of the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus in 1997.
The dancer has outstanding artistic individuality. She is a master of classical dance technique. Elegance and sense of style, purity of performance, legerity, graceful dance harmony, and musicality are her inherent features. Irina Eromkina’s interpretations of roles from classical and modern ballets are considered significant achievements of national choreographic art, and demonstrate the diversity of talent and the variety of the dancer’s artistic character.
Her repertoire includes the title role in Anastasia by Vyacheslav Kuznetsov; Aurora and the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake by Pyotr Tchaikovsky; Phrygia in Aram Khachaturian’s Spartacus; the Beloved in Carmina Burana by Carl Orff; Rogneda in Passions by Andrei Mdivani; Nikia in La Bayadère by Ludwig Minkus; Medora in Le Corsaire by Adolphe Adam; Juliet in Romeo and Juliet by Sergei Prokofiev; the title role in Giselle, ou les Wilis by Adolphe Adam; Maria in The Fountain of Bakhchisarai by Boris Asafiev; the title role in Anyuta by Valery Gavrilin; Aysha in Seven Beauties by Kara Karaev; Anna in Vitaut by Vyacheslav Kuznetsov; the Girl in Boléro by Maurice Ravel; the title role in Cinderella by Sergey Prokofiev; the title role in The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky; Kitri in Don Quixote by Ludwig Minkus; Pascuala in Alexander Krein’s Laurencia; Baijan in Love and Death by Polad Bülbüloğlu; the Beloved in Le Petit Prince by Eugene Glebov; the Soloist in Petite Mort to the music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; the Woman in Mikhail Krylov’s Orr and Ora; the title role in La Sylphide by Herman Løvenskiold; Dream in Sonnets to the music by Peter Warlock and Ralph Vaughan Williams; Eve in The Creation of the World by Andrey Petrov, etc.
Francysk Skaryna Medal (2014)
Gold medal in the category ‘Academic Dance’ at the 6th Open Youth Delphic Games of the CIS Member States (Armenia, 2010)
Grand prize of the Special Fund of the President of the Republic of Belarus for Support of Talented Youth (2010)
Igor Onoshko is a graduate of the Belarusian State Choreographic College. Since 2007, he has danced with the ballet company of the Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus.
Igor Onoshko is a soloist of versatile talent, who is equally masterful at both tragedy and romance, classical and contemporary repertoire. The outstanding culture of his dance makes it possible for him to grasp the very core of the choreographic thought and the undertones of sentiment. His spirituality, intellect and exceptional professional consistency make the soloist one of the central characters in each performance.
His repertoire includes Simeon in Anastasia by Vyacheslav Kuznetsov; Basilio, the Slave and pas d’action in Don Quixote and La Bayadère by Ludwig Minkus; Albert in Giselle by Adolphe Adam; Siegfried and pas de trois, the Prince and Spanish Dance in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, or Another Christmas Story by Pyotr Tchaikovsky; the Young Man in The Fountain of Bakhchisarai by Boris Asafiev; Romeo, Tybalt, Paris in Romeo and Juliet by Sergey Prokofiev; the Goliard in Carmina Burana to the music by Carl Orff; God in The Creation of the World by Andrey Petrov; the Young Man in Thamar to the music by Mily Balakirev; the Golden Slave in Scheherazade to the music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov; Artynov and the Student in Anyuta by Valery Gavrilin; Waltz in Serenade to the music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky; Torero in Carmen Suite by Georges Bizet – Rodion Shchedrin; the title role in Vitaut by Vyacheslav Kuznetsov; Shah Bahram in Seven Beauties by Kara Karaev; the Soloist in Flower Festival in Genzano by Edvard Helsted; Ivan in The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky; Frondoso in Laurencia by Alexander Krein; the Pilot in Le Petit Prince by Eugene Glebov, etc.