"The Bolshoi’s Latest Act"

 
AP Photo People watching the re-opening of the Bolshoi Theater, Moscow, October 28, 2011

The New York Times Review of Books
By Simon Morrison - November 12, 2011


On July 1, 2005, just before it closed for renovation, Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater staged a final performance of two Russian classics: Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake and Musorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov. Like the Bolshoi itself, these two works have, over the course of their long histories, accrued heavy political baggage. The ballet was shown on state television during the failed Soviet coup d’état of 1991. And the opera, which pits an illegitimate czar against a pretender to the throne, found nightmarish parallel in the struggle for control between Gorbachev and Yeltsin during the eerie final months of Soviet power...