A Ballet by Boris Tishchenko

Libretto and choreography: Alexey Miroshnichenko
Musical director and conductor: Artyom Abashev
Art director: Alyona Pikalova
Costume designer: Tatiana Noginova
Lighting designer: Alexey Khoroshev


9 April 2024

”Boris Tishchenko’s score is a truly unique work. The only word for it is an epiphany – the extent to which he has understood, felt, and found musical analogies for the text of The Tale of Igor’s Campaign! Everything is carefully structured, the music is imaginative, sensual, but also extremely complex for the orchestra and the ballet. We have before us a composer of great talent, depth, culture, and learning. His music is highly intelligent, and I can’t imagine any other score for this work of literature, any more than I could imagine Swan Lake or The Nutcracker sounding different.”


“The music of Yaroslavna encompasses prayer and sacred episodes, while the cumulative – and mystical – point of the score is, of course, the eclipse. That’s why, in my interpretation of the ballet, I approach it as ritual. Rituality is of great importance in general in our production. But nonetheless, the main element is probably the chorus. One could easily mount a concert performance of this ballet. Overall, it’s written as an oratorio, a genre in which the chorus plays an active part. The chorus performs the text – quotes from The Tale of Igor’s Campaign – around which the dramatic composition of the ballet is assembled. The chorus is a narrator that leads the storytelling, and in our production it moves us from action to action. The chorus is an absolutely essential part of the ballet."


The ballet Yaroslavna was written by the composer Boris Tishchenko (1939–2010) based on the twelfth-century epos The Tales of Igor’s Campaign. Tishchenko in his composition provides an interpretation of the source that was unusual for his time and reimagines the genre. In the score of Yaroslavna, the epic is combined with the dramatic, and key parts of the text of The Tales of Igor’s Campaign are performed by the chorus, which recounts historic events, comments on the action, and transforms into the cast of a play or the voices of nature.

The ballet had its world premiere in 1974 at the Small Leningrad Sate Opera Theatre (now the Mikhailovsky Theatre), directed by Yuriy Lyubimov, with libretto, choreography and set designs by Oleg Vinogradov. At the Perm Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Yaroslavna has been revived with choreography by Alexey Miroshnichenko, who is also the author of a new version of the libretto.

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