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Russia's Mariinsky Theater to kick off BAM's Winter Season with a rare 10-day residency

Will Gleason

Winter has most certainly arrived (hello, slushy weather), but the cold brings a silver lining: a new lineup at BAM. Most excitingly, the world-renowned Mariinsky Theater, a crown jewel of Russian culture, is set to kick off the Brooklyn institution's new season with a 10-day residency beginning January 14.

If your only knowledge of Russian culture comes from late-night screenings of Dr. Zhivago, these two weeks are the perfect time to play catch-up. (At least until the musical version of Dr. Zhivago comes to Broadway this spring)

The Mariinsky will be presenting three ballets—Swan Lake, Cinderella and Chopin: Dances for Piano—as well as Rodion Shchedrin’s opera, The Enchanted Wanderer. The rarely performed (and very Russian) Shchedrin piece combines gypsy songs, traditional Slavic instruments and Russian Orthodox choral music to tell a story based on the works of Nikolai Leskov. 

For those in need of a happy ending this winter (or at least a corrective after that disturbing Black Swan ending) Swan Lake’s uniquely uplifting finale hints at a legacy of Soviet-era heroics. Plus, Mariinsky’s production is one of the world’s finest.

“Our audience includes many people of Russian descent, as well as thousands of other dance and opera fans who have enjoyed many Russian productions in our theaters,” says Karen Brooks Hopkins, president of BAM. “We wanted to do something that was exciting and had depth.”

BAM’s 2015 winter season continues with more imports from colder climates: The Harvey Theatre will present a well-reviewed production of The Iceman Cometh from Chicago’s Goodman Theater beginning February 5, and Zhang Huan’s opera Semele, which features the cast of the Canadian Opera Company’s 2012 production, will open March 4.

That should be plenty of theater to keep us warm until it’s bearable outside again.

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