Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics Institute

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Recent books

Bolshoi Confidential by Simon Morrison (December 2016)

Bolshoi Confidential by Simon Morrison (December 2016)On a freezing night in January 2013, an assailant hurled acid in the face of the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Sergei Filin.  The crime, organized by a lead soloist, dragged one of Russia's most illustrious institutionns into scandal.

Under Vladimir Putin, the Bolshoi Theatre has been called on to preserve Russia's lengthy artistic legacy and to mirror its neo-imperial ambitions.  As renowned musicologist Simon Morrison shows in his tour-de-force account, the attact, and its torrid aftermath, underscored the importance of the Bolshoi in the art of ballet, to Russia, and to the world.

With exclusive access to state archives and private sources, Morrison sweeps us through the history of the Ballet, from its disreputable beginnings in 1776, through Moscow's transformation into a global capital after the revolution and, more recently a 450 million pound restoration that has returned the Bolshoi to its former glory, even as prized talent has departed.

The Theatre has been bombed, rigged with explosives and reinforced with cement.  Its dancers have suffered unimaginable physical torment to climb the ranks.  But, as Morrison reveals, the Bolshoi has transcended its own fraught history, surviving 250 years of artistic and political upheaval to define not only Russian culture but also ballet itself.
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