Eifman Honors Blockade Survivors
Published: January 29, 2014 (Issue # 1795)
World War II veterans and survivors from the Siege of Leningrad were among the first to be invited to preview Boris Eifman’s ballet, "Requiem," which premiered at the Alexandrinsky Theater Monday night.
Dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the final lifting of the Siege of Leningrad, the performance was based on a poem by Anna Akhmatova’s set to music by Shostakovich and Mozart. Supporting the modern ballet performance was the Moscow Virtuosi chamber orchestra, led by renowned conductor Vladimir Spivakov and joined by the chorus and soloists from the Masters of Choral Singing.
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President Vladimir Putin, who was in the city Monday to pay tribute to the victims of the siege, also made a brief appearance, attending the first act along with former St. Petersburg Governor and current Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko. Current St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko was also in the audience along with other city officials.
Performing to a full house, Eifman’s dramatic interpretation began with a one minute silence before then being presented in two acts — each exploring the themes of loss, love and triumph during the 872-day siege. True to form, the evening was a display of technical bravura that drew on all the elements for which Eifman is celebrated — lighting, sets and costumes, all of which explore psychological dimensions.
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“I have never been so sincere, so spiritually naked as in Mozart’s Requiem,” said Eifman. “It is my past, present and future, whether you accept it or reject it. This is my memory, which brings an unprotected youth into the world, resurrects the ordeals of maturity, the wisdom and weakness of old age. How much viciousness, defamation, jealousy and violence my memory holds, how many never-fading touches of happiness, love… This is all inside me, inside each of us.”
The event, in addition to being dedicated to survivors of the siege, provided local residents the opportunity to remember and pay respect to the sacrifices made by those who perished while defending the city.
'Requiem' will be performed again at the Alexandrinsky Theatre on Feb. 10 and 11.