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Soviet Identity: Socialist Realism and Imperial Traditions Cadra Peterson McDaniel

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Soviet Identity: Socialist Realism and Imperial Traditions Cadra Peterson McDaniel
Soviet Identity: Socialist Realism and Imperial Traditions
Cadra Peterson McDaniel
Russian Translations and Citations
Russian works are transliterated using the Library of Congress system and cited
according to The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition. The only exceptions include
common English spellings of Russian surnames such as Tchaikovsky, Lunacharsky, and
Slonimsky.
With the October Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks’ commitment to transform
Russian society not only encompassed the political arena, but cultural life, as well.
During the Revolution’s initial decade, Soviet officials permitted a wide variety of new
artistic experimentation. Yet, while artists generally remained unhindered by state
restrictions, officials disagreed over the role of pre-revolutionary artistic creations within
the new society. Regarding the ballet, some officials believed it necessary to ban all
ballets produced during the repressive Imperial era. These pre-revolutionary ballets’
themes as well as the emphasis upon the fantastic and the individual did not reflect the
new Communist society’s values. Other Communist leaders maintained that these ballets
constituted a valuable aspect of Russian culture and argued for the ballets’ continued
performances. Thus, throughout the 1920s, the debate concerning the Imperial ballets’
value and role largely remained unresolved, and the theaters performed a varied
repertoire of classical as well as avant-garde ballets.
Beginning in the 1930s, however, and into the succeeding decades, the Soviet
government decreed that artists create works easily understood by ordinary people.
Basing Soviet cultural development upon this premise, the government no longer
supported the more abstract endeavors of avant-garde artists. Rather, the government
promoted a new artistic movement, Socialist Realism, which clearly and unequivocally
portrayed the Soviet Union’s, and therefore the people’s, revolutionary development.
The government’s belief in Socialist Realism’s superiority resulted in this artistic
movement’s domination of the arts, including the ballet. Inspired by Socialist Realism,
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev composed his ballet masterpiece, Romeo and Juliet, which
captured society’s struggle for freedom. Concurrently, Soviet leaders and theater critics
concluded that Imperial ballets, including Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake,
embodied democratic and therefore Communist ideals. With the appreciation of
Prokofiev’s tribute to the class struggle and the broad interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s
ballets, Soviet critics determined that citizens could comprehend easily both works and
that these ballets glorified the Revolution’s ideals. As a result, critics praised Prokofiev’s
Romeo and Juliet and interpreted Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake as integral to the formation
of Soviet cultural identity. Both ballets stressed the Soviet Union’s official ideology with
a focus upon the struggle to create a just society, which ultimately portrayed history’s
progression toward a freer society. This varied repertoire of Socialist Realist and Imperial
ballets indicates that the Soviet Union’s cultural identity did not constitute a complete
negation of the tsarist era, but instead rested upon a combination of pre- and postrevolutionary traditions.
Following the Bolsheviks’ seizure of power, many of Russia’s new leaders sought
to develop a proletarian culture reflective of the new governmental and societal order.
Russia’s new leaders understood their role as artists who endeavored to build a beautiful
Marxist society. In accordance with the Bolsheviks’ desire to refashion society, visual,
literary, and performing artists assumed a pivotal role in Soviet society. As the prominent
music critic Nicolas Slonimsky stated, Soviet leaders praised new artistic styles that
reflected the new politics. During the 1920s, the political objective of abolishing
traditional authority found expression in the new experimental arts forms, such as the
conductorless orchestra. Other composers praised the proletarians by including factory
sounds, such as the steam engine, into ballets and symphonies. This abolition of
traditional political and artistic standards would allow for the growth of the new
proletarian political and cultural creations. Soviet leaders appeared poised to establish a
truly new order.
However, the country’s new leader V. I. Lenin expressed a desire for a more
cautious approach. Though Lenin called for a new governmental and societal order, he
realized the necessity for compromise with the pre-revolutionary bourgeois intelligentsia.
Lenin stated that the continued need for senior governmental and technical specialists
mandated that the Bolsheviks should work with the existing bourgeois intelligentsia.
Moreover, Lenin’s attempts to convince bourgeois artists to utilize their abilities for the
new state laid the foundation for Soviet cultural policy in the 1920s. The Bolshevik
leader desired that the country’s musicians and performers join with the new authorities
and use their talents to support the new regime. This appreciation for Russia’s existing
artistic traditions meant that during the Revolution’s initial years, Soviet leaders began
the construction of a new cultural identity, which utilized pre-revolutionary artists and
which sought to incorporate Bolshevik ideals.
Lenin’s conception of Soviet culture and his reliance upon the established elites
also rested upon more pragmatic concerns. Closer cooperation with the bourgeois
intelligentsia sought to forge closer links between these authorities and the Bolsheviks.
This tie would isolate the proletarian cultural movement, Proletkult, which Lenin
identified as the locus of political rivals. Assessing Proletkult’s political threat, Lenin
recognized this cultural movement as the basis for the growth of workers’ associations
opposed to the Bolsheviks. More specifically, Lenin realized that a former political
challenger, Alexander Bogdanov, could utilize the Proletkult movement to rally support
and to develop a strong oppositional organization. Consequently, political considerations
motivated Lenin to disavow the Proletkult movement and instead focus on promoting
Russia’s established cultural legacy.
Coupled with Lenin’s desire to isolate political rivals, the Bolshevik leader
profoundly disliked modernist art. Lenin’s artistic sentiments remained reminiscent of
the nineteenth-century intelligentsia. Thus, Lenin understood the Revolution as not
creating a new proletarian culture, but as producing a working class appreciative of the
established elitist culture. As Lenin asked, “‘[w]hy must we turn away from the truly
beautiful just because it is “old”? Why must we bow low in front of the new, as if it were
God, only because it is “new”?’” Lenin’s artistic taste mirrored his decision to employ
the existing bourgeois elites in the government and universities. As a result, although
Lenin called for a Soviet identity founded upon the abolition of the old order, he relied
upon this old order to facilitate political and cultural transformation.
Recognizing the integral role of culture within the new society, Lenin
concentrated upon cultural development and announced his artistic objectives during the
Revolution’s early years. In October 1920, Lenin asserted the necessity of preserving
Russia’s cultural heritage and officially advocated that rather than attempting the creation
of a new proletarian culture, artists should focus on developing the traditions of the
existing culture within a Marxist framework. Similarly, the People’s Commissar of
Enlightenment (Narkompros), Anatoly Lunacharsky, argued that artists, through their
works, must demonstrate a commitment to the Revolution. At the same time,
Lunacharsky withdrew his earlier criticism of Tchaikovsky’s works as “‘too perfumed’”
and supported the Imperial era’s artistic accomplishments by noting that these works
constituted a vital component of the cultural legacy inherited by the workers. Clearly,
some Bolsheviks acknowledged the pre-revolutionary arts as a significant component of
Russian and then Soviet identity.
As Lunacharsky accepted and strove to preserve Imperial Russia’s artistic legacy,
other Soviet leaders criticized the arts’ financial costs, particularly the monies needed to
maintain the former Imperial theaters. In late 1921, members of the Communist Party’s
Central Committee argued that the government’s fiscal support for the Bolshoi in
Moscow as well as of the Mariinsky in Petrograd strained the state’s meager financial
resources. Responding to the Central Committee, in January 1922, Lunacharsky
attempted to convince his colleagues that the theaters’ closure would not reduce the
government’s expenditures. The government would need to compensate monetarily the
former dancers, and to prevent looters, the government should employ guards at the
theaters. Nevertheless, the issue officially remained unresolved until late December 1922.
Recognizing some officials’ reluctance to allocate funds, the Bolshoi’s and Mariinsky’s
managers assumed responsibility for the theaters’ financial resources. With this financial
decision, the managers ensured the theaters’ significance as an integral aspect of
Communist Russia’s cultural development.
Though the former Imperial theaters remained open, Soviet leaders continually
disagreed regarding the suitability of pre-revolutionary ballets. Generally, the country’s
new leaders maintained that the nobility’s admiration for the ballet demanded the
removal of this art from the new society. Specifically, in 1921-1922, various theater
critics questioned whether the new society benefited from retaining Imperial relics,
including the Bolshoi Theater. Nevertheless, throughout the 1920s, the Mariinsky’s and
Bolshoi’s managers regularly staged pre-revolutionary composers’ works. This debate
concerning the ambiguous state of the Imperial theaters and ballets erupted again in the
late 1920s. Some Soviets maintained that the pre-revolutionary arts did not raise the
workers’ cultural level. For example, in 1927, the Leningrad Association for
Contemporary Music published the brochure, October and New Music, in which the
authors contended that Tchaikovsky’s melancholy compositions did not fulfill the
workers’ musical needs. Many of the politically radical officials called for the new
cultural officials to purge the ballet of its bourgeois character and to modernize the ballet
with the inclusion of leftist political themes. As with politics, these Soviet leaders sought
a new direction for the arts. In response, as late as 1929, Lunacharsky offered the
pragmatic argument that insufficient funds prohibited the development of a fully codified
revolutionary repertoire and therefore justified the theaters’ performances of pre-
revolutionary ballets. This unresolved dispute found expression in the belief that both
pre- and post-revolutionary arts acted as the servant of the Revolution, a main pillar of
the Soviet Union’s political and artistic ideology.
This combination of the arts and politics stimulated the innovative ballet
techniques of the 1920s. For example, in his 1922 production of Ever Fresh Flowers,
Alexander Gorsky retained the fairytale storyline but also included revolutionary
symbols, the hammer and the sickle, and concluded with the Internationale. Moreover,
the Constructivist musicians attempted to modernize the ballet with athletic and
acrobatic feats as well as “‘machine dances,’” which mimed the movements of industrial
tools. Other artists relied on the nineteenth-century ballet as the foundation for
contemporary works. For example, in The Ice Maiden, Fyodor Lopukhov added more
intricate movements to the classical ballet and emphasized the plot through dance. This
new emphasis on the importance of dance reappeared in the ballets of the 1930s and
1940s. Like Lopukhov, Vassily Tikhomirov added new elements to the nineteenthcentury tradition. In particular, in the ballet, The Red Poppy, Tikhomirov stressed the
revolutionary ideas of heroism and optimism and easily conveyed the plot through
pantomime. The ballet’s modernization symbolized the new society’s reconstruction of
Russian culture, including the most sacred traditions of the pre-revolutionary era. Thus,
Soviet cultural identity consisted of pre-revolutionary formats and techniques overlaid
with revolutionary themes.
With Joseph Stalin’s assumption of power, however, Soviet society coalesced
around a new perception of the future, Socialist Realism. Stalin’s solidification of power
involved subordinating all sectors of life to state planning. Similar to the small number of
bureaucrats, who planned the Soviet Union’s economic policies, a select group of cultural
officials, including Stalin, formulated the Soviet Union’s official artistic doctrine,
Socialist Realism. Within the country, which supposedly heralded the workers’ leading
role, the elite devised the artistic policy enjoyed by the masses. Elaborating upon this
policy, in 1934, Stalin noted that Socialist Realism “‘demands of the artist a truthful,
historically concrete depiction of reality in its revolutionary development.’” Moreover,
as the prominent Soviet historian Sheila Fitzpatrick observed, Socialist Realism
examined “‘life as it is’” and “‘life as it is becoming.’” Amid the scarcity of consumer
goods and the state’s desire to produce a cultured society, the new doctrine emphasized
the plentiful and cultured future. As Fitzpatrick noted, Socialist Realism’s emphasis upon
the coming future provided the citizens with euphoric optimism concerning the
inequalities and struggles of the present era. Not only did this doctrine lessen the focus
upon societal inequalities with the promise of a just and happy future, but the doctrine
also caused the Soviet people to concentrate upon building this new society. The Soviet
people so deeply adopted this perception of reality that Fitzpatrick argued that Socialist
Realism represented “the Stalin period and the Stalinist mentalité.” With Socialist
Realism’s guidance of the Soviet peoples’ thoughts and actions, all sectors of Soviet
society arduously strove for the new Communist order.
A decade after Stalin’s death, Nikita Khrushchev proclaimed that Socialist
Realism remained the Soviet Union’s official artistic policy. In a March 8, 1963 speech,
Khrushchev stated, that “‘…we are for melodic music, rich in content, which stirs the
souls of men, generally strong feelings. We are against cacophonic music….We need
music that inspires, that calls for heroic deeds and constructive labor.’” Furthermore, not
only Khrushchev but successive Soviet leaders declared that Socialist Realism remained
the main cultural pillar for all Soviet lands.
This enduring acceptance of Socialist
Realism as the official cultural policy of the Soviet Union affected Soviet musicologists’
and theater critics’ perception of Soviet and tsarist ballets.
With Socialist Realism’s dominance, Soviet artists and critics praised works that
expressed an optimistic future. Unlike Stalin’s emphasis upon sacrifice and a strong, new
society, his successors, Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, stressed the main goal
as the attainment of a successful life. Soviet ballet critics expressed this prevailing desire
with their continued interpretation of the arts as extolling the prosperous future. As a
result, Socialist Realism permeated the artistic sphere and resembled Pierre Bourdieu’s
concept of habitus. Bourdieu explained that habitus “‘orients practice without producing
it’” and is responsible for an individual’s actions and thoughts. Evidence of habitus
appeared in the writings of Soviet as well as Western critics in the 1950s-1970s, such as
Yuri Slonimsky, Selma Jean Cohen, and Natalia Roslavleva, who examined the Soviet
ballets from a Socialist Realist perspective. Especially for the Soviet critics, the Socialist
Realist doctrine formed their conception of the arts, and thus, these critics perpetuated the
idea that the ballets were representations of the herald future and evidence of the success
of the Soviet ballet. For the Western critics, the acceptance of the Soviets’ reliance on
Socialist Realism prompted these critics to assess the ballets’ poignant depiction of
societal tensions.
The state directed enforcement of Socialist Realism’s all-encompassing doctrine
forced artists to devise innovative techniques that personified the coming future. Thus,
Stalin’s original focus on Socialist Realism destroyed the artists’ creative independence
and denied them the ability to employ freely the use of modernist and abstract artistic
elements. As during the 1920s, the artists retained the primary role of fostering the
establishment of a democratic society. Unlike the clear instructions afforded to literary
artists, however, musicians received no concrete requirements except to produce works,
which educated the members of the new society and which focused on the heroes, who
laboriously created this new society. Yet, all artists needed to adhere to Socialist
Realism’s four major characteristics: typical, a depiction of ordinary events and
circumstances; proletarian, an enthusiastic championing of the workers’ actions; realistic,
a clear understandable and recognizable portrayal; and partisan, supportive of the
Communist Party’s ideology. Therefore, this absence of definitive guidelines coupled
with these four tenets allowed Soviet composers and choreographers to conceive new
dance forms and meaningful expressive movements.
In particular, Soviet composers and choreographers, like their pre-revolutionary
predecessors, used music and dance to develop the ballet’s characters. In accordance with
this objective, Soviet composers wrote music easily grasped by the audience, and
disavowed atonal compositions as formalistic deviations not reflective of true reality or
the state’s objectives. Composers labored to create works that followed the Socialist
Realist tenets of an emphasis on the plot and human emotions. Similarly, the prerevolutionary Russian choreographer Mikhail Fokine had argued that the ballet’s dances
equaled the importance of the music and scenery and that dance should reflect the ballet’s
music and plot. Later, famous Soviet ballet critic, Yuri Slonimsky, noted that Socialist
Realism best enabled composers and choreographers to express the characters’ emotions
and to reveal the pressing concerns of the contemporary era. This emphasis upon music
and dance illustrated the continuance of pre-revolutionary traditions in the Soviet ballet.
Unlike the pre-revolutionary emphasis upon complex dances to convey the plot,
Soviet choreographers favored simple movements to fashion realistic characters and to
express understandably complicated emotions. Particularly, ballet historian, Natalia
Roslavleva contended that these Soviet choreographers conveyed easily the ideas of
noble emotions, romantic love, and heroic actions. So successfully did Soviet
choreographers impart these emotions and deeds as well as reflect life’s meaning, that
Slonimsky hailed this accomplishment as illustrative of the Soviet ballet’s “novelty of
principle, its entirely new mission.” The prima ballerina Galina Ulanova elaborated upon
Slonimsky’s comment and noted that this new development stood in marked contrast to
the old Imperial theater’s intricate choreography. With Socialist Realism, dances
expressed feelings and ideas that glorified concrete individuals and concerns as compared
to the pre-revolutionary portrayal of mystical, fantastical worlds. Consequently, Socialist
Realism’s straightforward and direct manner reflected the new societal order, predicated
upon the ordinary Soviet citizens’ hard work and dedication.
Moreover, Soviet ballet critics endeavored to explain Socialist Realism’s
superiority as compared to modernist artistic movements and bourgeois realism.
Slonimsky stated that unlike Expressionism or other abstract trends, Socialist Realism
most convincingly depicted psychologically complex heroic characters. This ability to
portray complex characters and to relate these characters to the broader society
distinguished Socialist Realism from bourgeois realism, which described suffering and
failed to stress the collective’s redeeming ability. Seeking new methods to exalt true
achievements, Soviet choreographers incorporated strong, powerful leaps to signify the
hero’s or heroine’s high ideals and spirit. The dancers evolved into expressive artists who
reflected optimism and whose characters overflowed with action. To achieve this effect,
Soviet composers relied on drama as the model for their works, and the choreographers’
uncomplicated dances led to the production of the drama-ballet. The Soviet composers’
and choreographers’ new techniques produced ballet masterpieces, which inspired the
people and hailed Soviet society’s ideals.
Exemplary of Soviet ideology’s and Socialism Realism’s overt power to influence
composers, Sergei Prokofiev wrote his Romeo and Juliet as a demonstration of his loyalty
to the Soviet Union and Socialist Realism. With his decision to return permanently to the
Soviet Union in the mid-1930s, Prokofiev consciously strove to compose works that
would bolster his reputation as a loyal Soviet composer. These efforts, coupled with his
desire to create a large scenic work, prompted Prokofiev to accept Adrian Piotrovsky’s, a
theater and cinema expert, proposal of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Prokofiev
responded enthusiastically as he appreciated Shakespeare’s portrayal of realistic and
complicated individuals. Prokofiev’s decision to begin work on Romeo and Juliet
underscored his determination to exalt the people and the Revolution.
Prokofiev realized the fulfillment of his ambition with the critics’ approval and
enthusiastic reception of his ballet. At the ballet’s Leningrad premiere on January 11,
1940, the reviewers in Soviet Art lauded the ballet as evidence of the monumental
developments in Soviet choreography’s “‘creative and ideological growth.’” Excitedly,
Prokofiev wrote to his American friend, Vernon Duke (Vladimir Dukelsky), that the
Leningrad ballet performed Romeo and Juliet “with great pomp and our best dancers”
and that the audience responded enthusiastically causing the cast to take fifteen curtain
calls. A few months later, Romeo and Juliet débuted in Moscow, and again critics
warmly received Prokofiev’s work. With Prokofiev’s innovative accomplishments that
enhanced his image as a loyal Soviet citizen, his work gained preeminence within the
Soviet ballet repertoire.
Widely extolled as a superb model of a Socialist Realist ballet, Prokofiev’s
Romeo and Juliet, illustrated the Revolution’s objectives as well as history’s progression
toward a freer society. Slonimsky noted that Romeo and Juliet brilliantly embodied the
conflict between the rising generation and the old world. Romeo and Juliet did not tell
merely a story of love but captured the era’s emotions and morals. Other ballet
historians, such as Roslavleva, stressed that the choreographer, Leonid Lavrovsky,
believed that Romeo’s and Juliet’s rebellion against their parents, the Montagues and
Capulets, symbolized the struggle of the Renaissance against the old medieval world.
This understanding of the ballet’s plot corresponded with the Marxist interpretation of
history. According to Marx, history moved through six stages, Primitive Communism,
Slavery, Feudalism, Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism. The ballet marked the
historical transition from Feudalism to the early development of Capitalism during the
Renaissance. This interpretation prompted Lavrovsky to create a choreographic score
representative of this historical transition.
Specifically, Lavrovsky’s choreography, fused with his Marxist understanding of
history, expresses the disparity between the medieval world and the new society of
Romeo and Juliet. Lavrovsky, like his pre-revolutionary predecessor, Fokine, believed
that the characters’ dances proved essential to comprehend their emotions. For example,
at the Capulets’ ball, the acquaintances of Juliet’s mother and father dance a very stylized
and affected courtly dance similar to a gavotte. The guests move in a stiff, regimented
pattern to the accompaniment of harsh and threatening music. Meanwhile, Juliet, the
symbol of the new society, remains seated and looks uninterestedly at the dancers. Juliet
only enters the old world’s festivities as she reluctantly dances with Paris. Juliet’s and
Paris’ duet reflects the rigid and stylized gavotte performed to a variation of the same
musical theme.
In contrast to this restraining medieval world, the young people’s dance
encompasses airy leaps accompanied by light-hearted music. This more inspiring melody
continues as Romeo and Juliet first meet. During this scene and the dance, Romeo
repeatedly lifts Juliet into the air. Coupled with these dance movements, Juliet performs
several arabesques, symbolic of the pure love between Romeo and herself. These
movements indicate the lofty ideal of their love serving as a force to break the medieval
world’s restrictions. As a result, Lavrovsky’s vastly different dance movements and
Prokofiev’s varied musical styles vividly indicate the gulf separating the emerging world
of Romeo and Juliet, the Soviet people, from the existing world of the Montagues and the
Capulets, the repressive past.
Prokofiev’s association of Romeo and Juliet with lighter melodies and carefree
dances causes the audience to recognize Romeo and Juliet as the historical forces of
progress. As the ballet reviewer, Nina Militsyna, explained, the Soviet ballet’s popularity
stemmed from the masses’ appreciation of realistic and modern works that conveyed their
aspirations. This identification of Romeo and Juliet with the progressive forces yearning
to escape Feudalism recalled the Bolsheviks’ recent struggle against the feudalist tsarist
society. Lavrovsky’s use of Fokine’s theories as well as post-revolutionary techniques, a
key aspect of Soviet cultural identity, proved vital for the expression of Soviet ideals.
Not only do the choreographic and musical styles highlight the people’s efforts to
overcome arbitrary restrictions, but the inclusion of the mass scenes also illustrates
society’s struggle against the old world. Though Shakespeare never referenced the larger
society, Slonimsky argued that Romeo and Juliet affords the masses the important role of
demonstrating society’s rebellion against medieval restraints. During the market scene,
Romeo’s friend, Mercutio, freely interacts with the townspeople, and the townspeople
warmly welcome Mercutio’s participation in their festivities. Conversely, Tybalt, clearly
representative of the medieval world, does not enter into these celebrations. Instead,
Tybalt sits in the tavern and sulks. Moreover, during the sword fight between Mercutio
and Tybalt, the crowd strongly favors Mercutio. The crowd laughs as Mercutio jests and
forces Tybalt to try to catch him. As Tybalt fatally stabs Mercutio and as Mercutio dies,
the crowd bows their heads in respect to him. After Romeo has avenged Mercutio’s
death, and mortally wounded Tybalt, the crowd chooses to become part of the procession
that removes Mercutio’s body from the marketplace. In contrast, only the Capulet family
and their retainers follow Tybalt’s body. The participation of the masses within the ballet
expresses the people’s unity with Romeo and his friends, the progressive elements in
society. Similar to Romeo and Juliet, the masses’ sympathy for Mercutio illustrates
society’s desire to break from the feudal world’s oppressive life and outmoded ideas.
The emphasis upon the masses within the ballet demonstrates Socialist Realism’s
focus on the typical and on the proletarians. Specifically, this addition of the masses
clearly illustrates Bourdieu’s contention that habitus caused individuals to formulate
thoughts and ideas in agreement with societal values. With the prevailing political
ideology extolling the virtue of the worker-masses and the desire of all oppressed peoples
to seek freedom, Slonimsky’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s unstated support for the
common people conformed to the Soviet Union’s as well as his political ideology.
Slonimsky’s political understanding of history influenced his artistic interpretation of
Romeo and Juliet. Thus, the inclusion of the masses provided the opportunity to
showcase the people’s collective yearning for freedom and bolstered the Soviet argument
that the oppressed strove for freedom in everyday occurrences.
The battle between freedom and oppression reappears in the characters’ costumes
and the ballet’s scenery. Attired in dark, heavy medieval brocades, the Montagues and
Capulets, specifically, Juliet’s mother’s and father’s black dress, foster a feeling of
oppression. In contrast, Juliet appears in a light, airy whitish gown, and Romeo wears a
lighter colored tunic. Though Juliet’s costume design permits her flexibility to execute
her movements, the choice of color and texture reinforces her separation from her
parents’ repressive world. Furthermore, the staging of the scenes intensely distinguishes
between the old order and the new generation. Reflective of medieval society’s
restrictiveness, the Capulet ball occurs in a windowless banquet hall. Opposingly, the
young people’s dance and Juliet’s meeting with Romeo occurs in the castle’s arched
portico. This setting exudes the freedom cherished by the young people and symbolizes
Romeo’s and Juliet’s love. The choice of costumes as well as the settings magnifies the
Soviets’ political interpretation of the exploitive Imperial past.
Coupled with the costumes and scenery, Prokofiev’s music deeply portrays the
characters’ inner thoughts and emotions. Prokofiev explained that he endeavored to write
melodic, simple, and easily comprehensible music, and Ulanova maintained that
Prokofiev’s creation of visual music enhanced the characters’ actions. Examining the
music of the ballet, the Prokofiev biographer, Natalia Pavlovna Savkina, stated that
Mercutio’s music characterizes his witty nature whereas more hostile melodies
accompany the appearance of the Montagues and the Capulets. Moreover, Prokofiev’s
official Soviet biographer, Israel V. Nestyev, explained that as the people watch the
performances and hear the music, they link Mercutio with happiness. Contrastingly, the
audience associate despair and oppression with the heavier melodies of Tybalt. Thus,
emotionally, Prokofiev’s music transports the audience to be the heroic, positive
characters, who defy the repressive feudal order.
The development of Juliet’s character underscores her role as the heroine battling
the feudal authorities. Specifically, Ulanova, who frequently portrayed Juliet, noted that
at the beginning of the ballet, Juliet is a high spirited and unrestrained young girl, and that
by the ballet’s conclusion, Juliet has transformed into a more mature individual who
triumphed over her fear of death. The unfolding of Juliet’s character becomes evident
with a comparison of her actions as she prepares for the ball in Act I, as she takes her
marriage vows in Act II, and as she decides to commit suicide in Act III. In Act I, Juliet
excitedly anticipates the ball, and her enthusiasm appears as she good naturedly chases
her nurse around the room. Juliet jumps and leaps behind furniture as she runs from her
nurse. Later, as Juliet resolves to marry Romeo, she approaches marriage with a more
mature countenance, and her dance movements become more purposeful. Instead of the
carefree young girl, the audience sees Juliet as now very determined and fully cognizant
of the seriousness of the situation.
Continuing her analysis of Juliet, Ulanova compared Juliet’s maturity and
determination not to marry Paris as the same source of strength that caused citizens to
accomplishment patriotic feats. Not only did Ulanova identify Juliet’s actions with the
Soviet people’s resistance against Fascism, but Juliet and Romeo also symbolize the
historical struggle against all oppressive systems. As Ulanova commented, following the
Nazi attack and the Great Patriotic War, she understood Juliet as a highly resolute
individual, and she realized the ability of an individual to die for happiness. The ballerina
commented that “‘[i]n Juliet I now found those spiritual qualities that could have led this
Shakespearean heroine to exploits for the sake of the people under other circumstances.’”
Continuing her understanding of Juliet, Ulanova compared the young heroine’s actions to
the Soviet people’s ability to perform heroic deeds. As with Juliet’s defiance, the
unyielding Soviet people withstood the onslaught of the Nazi attack and through
individual sacrifices triumphed over tyrannical forces.
With Romeo’s suicide, Juliet knows that she would remain trapped in medieval
society, and therefore, she conquers her fear of death. This resolve leads not only to selfliberation, but Juliet’s refusal to submit to medieval norms also forces society to the next
level of development, the Renaissance. Juliet’s maturation mirrors societal progression
toward freedom. As with Juliet, the collective matures from an unconscious naivety to a
resilient society able to withstand seemingly impossible hardships and sufferings. Juliet
overcame her individualistic and selfish impulses to free herself from societal restraints,
and thus, Juliet’s heroic decision thrusts humanity toward attaining the Communist
society.
Simultaneously, as Socialist Realism stressed the creation of a new ballet form,
the state officials lauded and accepted Tchaikovsky’s creations and thus permitted the
theaters’ continued performances of the composer’s works. Coupled with Socialist
Realism’s focus on new optimistic works, this doctrine included the recognition of
Russia’s classical heritage. Moreover, Stalin’s inclusion of works from the Russian past
culturally acted as a stabilizing force during the tumultuous 1930s, and Stalin’s
appreciation for Tchaikovsky greatly enhanced the composer’s credibility. Thus, though
the Soviet Union officially disavowed the tsarist heritage, pre-revolutionary ballets
formed an integral part of the Soviets’ cultural identity.
Coupled with the state’s reasons for permitting these performances, Western
scholars advanced their theories regarding the state’s acceptance of Tchaikovsky.
Assessing Tchaikovsky’s stylistic legacy, James Bakst maintained that because of
Tchaikovsky’s ability to compose ballets with realistic depictions of individuals’
triumphs and sufferings, the Soviet composers relied on Tchaikovsky as a model for their
creations. Specifically, Bakst argued that Tchaikovsky’s use of music to convey emotions
and his realistic portrayal of individuals greatly inspired Soviet artists. This continued
reliance on the classics as a source of inspiration for Soviet composers caused Lionel
Cannaugh to note that Soviet music grew from the classical roots of Russian music and
that this music always stressed a democratic nature. As a result, the continuation between
Tchaikovsky’s musical styles and Socialist Realism ensured the composer’s high
reputation within the Soviet Union.
Very similar to Bakst’s writings, Slonimsky, writing in the mid to late 1950s,
offered the Soviet explanation for the people’s love of Tchaikovsky’s works. Slonimsky
explained that the Soviet people’s appreciation of Tchaikovsky’s work persisted because
of the composer’s ability to appeal to individuals’ democratic sentiments. Not only did
Tchaikovsky’s creations embody democratic ideas, but also Slonimsky contended that the
composer’s excellent development of psychological realism should serve as a model for
Soviet composers. Moreover, Slonimsky maintained that the pre-revolutionary
choreographer Marius Petipa, responsible for Act I and Act III, demonstrated his
imaginative abilities in Swan Lake. Additionally, another Soviet critic, Boris Asafiev,
praised the ballet’s other choreographer, Lev Ivanov, for his work in Acts II and IV.
Slonimsky explained that Asafiev hailed Ivanov’s choreography as “‘lyrico-symphonic,’”
the greatest acclaim for a choreographer.
The Soviet ballet world’s esteem for
Tchaikovsky prompted ballet reviewer, Nicolas Volkov, to argue that Tchaikovsky’s
works remained “the crowing glory of almost all Soviet ballet theatres and opera houses.”
Thus, Tchaikovsky’s incorporation of democratic principles and realism ensured that
society firmly continued to accept his masterpieces.
As with Socialist Realist works, Soviet critics and scholars viewed Tchaikovsky’s
ballet as a reflection of the class struggle as well as an embodiment of the Soviet Union’s
ideals. For example, Vladimir Potapov explained that the evil owl-magician Rothbart’s
menacing nature effectively accentuates the class conflict inherent in the ballet, and
Soviet ballerinas understood the ballet as a struggle between the forces of good and evil.
Additionally, other critics contended that Tchaikovsky portrays how konkretno
istoricheskoi pochve stalkivalis deklassirovannye printsy-intelligenty, Sigfridy, s
sumrachnymi khraniteliami feodalnogo zasilia-baronami, podobnymi Rotbartu. on “the
concrete historical basis clashed between the declassed intelligentsia- princes, Siegfrieds,
with the gloomy keepers of feudal dominance- barons, like Rothbart.” By incorporating
this tension into his work, Tchaikovsky captures the conflict of his era. With the Soviets’
interpretation of Swan Lake as representative of the class struggle, these critics labeled
the ballet as conforming to the Socialist Realist tenet of being proletarian. For the arts,
the term proletarian reflected any creation that conformed to a Marxist interpretation. In
particular, Rothbart endeavored to halt societal progress by keeping apart Odette and
Siegfried, symbols of the new order. Therefore, through the ballet’s interpretative
portrayal of historical tension, Soviet critics understood the feudal world’s capability to
prevent forcibly individuals from achieving their objectives.
Class conflict also readily appears within the ballet’s opening act. For example,
in Act I, the music and dances understandably portray the prince’s coming of age
celebration. Swan Lake begins with the villagers enjoying a stately yet carefree waltz.
Siegfried readily enters into the festivities, and only when his mother, the queen, and her
retinue appear does the music become softer, and the dancers stop their merrymaking to
offer her flowers.
As the queen reminds her son of his duty to select a wife at the forthcoming ball,
the music assumes a softer tone. To this subdued music, Siegfried shakes his head in
dismay while his mother smiles reassuringly at her son and then withdraws. With the
queen’s departure, the villagers and Siegfried once again resume their celebrations. After
the villagers retire, Siegfried sits alone, dejectedly recalling his mother’s orders.
Tchaikovsky heightens this despair with the haunting oboe’s melodic motive. Thus,
during Act I, Tchaikovsky and Petipa convincingly portray Siegfried’s emotions through
music and dance. The audience recognizes a young prince excited at his coming of age
and yet hesitant upon entering adulthood. Siegfried’s uncertainty resonates with the
audience as the ballet realistically captures these emotions.
Additionally, during the first act, the ballet’s conflict readily appears between the
existing world and the new emerging order. Siegfried’s mother represents the feudal
structures, which assigned individuals their place and duties within society regardless of
the individuals’ true aspirations. This feudal society contrasted markedly with
Siegfried’s desire for independent action and with the Soviet Union’s purported objective
of permitting all individuals the freedom to attain their potential. Thus, during the
ballet’s opening act, the historical class struggle appears as the tension between the
younger generation and their parents, the established order.
After the clear introduction of Siegfried and his unresolved concern, the ballet’s
choreographers’ use of specific movements introduce and develop the main female
character, Odette. Some ballet critics noted that Ivanov tried to instill in the individual an
understanding of the music through the dances. Thus, through Ivanov’s choreography,
the audience empathizes with Odette’s hesitant acceptance of Prince Siegfried. At
Odette’s first encounter with Siegfried, she expresses her timid nature. Odette performs a
series of movements, which denote her nervously backing away from Siegfried, and later,
upon realizing her true love for Siegfried, tenderly embraces him as she performs an
arabesque, representative of their love and triumph throughout the ballet. In Act IV,
however, Odette becomes distraught upon witnessing Siegfried’s betrayal, and her
anxiety dissipates as she realizes Siegfried’s innocent error. With the death of the evil
owl magician, Rothbart, Odette and Siegfried rejoice, and Odette embraces Siegfried in a
noble arabesque, reminiscent of her first declaration of love. Thus, from the freighted
Swan Princess’ initial meeting with Siegfried, to her realization of Siegfried’s betrayal by
Odile, and to the victorious finale, Odette’s movements define her complex character.
Moreover, Tchaikovsky’s use of repetitive musical themes defines Odette. The
Soviet ballet critic D. Zhitomirskii maintained that accompanying all of Odette’s scenes
are delicate lyrics and yet Tchaikovsky does not paint Odette as a mystical character.
Instead, Zhitomirskii stated that Tchaikovsky’s music creates <<realnyi, konkretno
chelovecheski>>“real, concrete individuals”. Echoing this contention, other Soviet
critics contended that Tchaikovsky creates a realistic young woman whose concerns
resonate with the common individual. This musical association with Odette pervades the
entire ballet and merges with her dances in a complete understanding of her personality.
For example, as Odette expresses her ever-present dread of Rothbart, the music becomes
more melancholy and subdued. As Odette’s and Siegfried’s love grows, the music
reflects their joy. Tchaikovsky’s hauntingly sweet music coupled with the expressive
choreography effortlessly but realistically depicts these psychologically complex
characters. The ballet’s music and choreography portray Odette’s emergence from a timid
swan princess to a mature and resolute young woman. Tchaikovsky’s use of distinctive
melodies to introduce his characters’ fears and happiness appealed to the Soviet critics,
who following Socialist Realist tenets, desired works easily understood by the masses. As
with Juliet, Odette and Siegfried appear as believable characters who conquer their fears
and defeat the feudal powers, which allows for the birth of a new society and historical
progress.
Not only did Tchaikovsky, Petipa, and Ivanov give life to Odette, but the swan
corps also plays a vital role in the ballet. Slonimsky argued that the plot needs the swan
corps to express Siegfried’s and Odette’s emotions. For example, in Act II after Siegfried
and Odette meet and realize their love for each other, Odette again falls under the spell of
Rothbart, who forces her to leave. Though Odette has fallen under Rothbart’s control, the
swan corps displays her true emotions. The swans perform a stately waltz set to a
delicate melody. Mirroring Odette’s and Siegfried’s happiness, the swan corps expresses
the hope embodied by this pure love. Later, at the beginning of Act IV, the swans
express their sadness at the prince’s betrayal of Odette through a solemn, funerary dance.
The swans’ dances become very deliberate and mournful as they await Odette’s arrival.
These dancers evoke Odette’s sadness and hopelessness. Thus, the swan corps’ dances
express Odette’s and Siegfried’s triumphs and hesitations.
A deeper musical and choreographic understanding of Swan Lake develops with
an analysis of Tchaikovsky’s brilliant portrayal of Rothbart’s motives and character.
Specifically, Soviet critics stated that Tchaikovsky marked Rothbart’s appearances with
either <<voinstvennye fanfary, libo vlastno marshevye intonatsii> “militant fanfares or
powerful marching tunes”. With his first appearance, Rothbart leaps onto the stage
forcefully commanding the swan maidens’ obedience. As Siegfried approaches, the
music becomes more depressing and subdued as Rothbart slinks into the gloomy
darkness. Thus, using psychological realism, Tchaikovsky produces an easily
identifiable evil magician without<<<muzykalnomu feierverku>>> “‘musical
fireworks’” or common stock themes used by other Romantic composers. For Soviet
critics, this highly convincing portrayal of Rothbart accorded with Socialist Realism’s
notion that choreography and music must form the characters’ personalities.
The close association between music, dance, and emotions reappears in the
cunning Odile’s dance with Siegfried. Desiring to keep Odette from Siegfried, Rothbart
transforms his daughter to resemble Odette. When Rothbart and Odile arrive at the ball,
Odile’s close resemblance to Odette captivates Siegfried who naively believes that he is
dancing with Odette. Unlike the movements performed by Odette, Odile’s dances appear
more deceitful and sly, reflective of her efforts to trick Siegfried into declaring his love
for her and thus forsaking Odette. Odile brilliantly reveals her desires with emotional and
exaggerated movements that emphasize the music’s foreboding nature. Tchaikovsky’s
music mirrors Siegfried succumbing to Odile’s and Rothbart’s scheme. Moreover, the
music’s unsettled rhythms correspond to Odile’s sharp and pointed gestures, and Odile’s
fiendish dance vividly distinguishes her from Odette. Odile’s faster movements at the
conclusion of the pas de deux with Siegfried indicate her evil success of luring Siegfried
into her trap. Odile’s association with Rothbart makes her an extension of feudal society,
and her actions reflect the feudal society’s efforts to restrict individual freedom and
action. Odile’s motives and movements underscore her separation from the forces of
progress and thus Soviet objectives.
Mesmerized by the calculating Odile, Siegfried naively succumbs to her spell.
Siegfried performs a series of grands jetes en avant preceded by running steps, which
demonstrate his excitement and love. Accompanying Siegfried’s jubilance,
Tchaikovsky’s music assumes richer tones that reinforce Siegfried’s feelings of triumph
and joy. Through these grand leaps facing the audience, the people perceive the prince’s
exuberance upon supposedly dancing with Odette. Siegfried’s dance with Odile, the pas
de deux, as well as Siegfried’s highly expressive movements underscores Tchaikovsky’s
ability to compose believable works.
In accordance with Socialist Realism, leading Soviet cultural officials directed
that Swan Lake required a triumphal ending. The Soviet’s victorious ending allowed for a
more complete explanation of the ballet as symbolic of the intelligentsia’s triumph over
the feudal authorities Unlike the original 1877 version or the 1895 version, in which
Odette and Siegfried died, in 1945, the Soviets advocated that the ballet end victoriously.
The revised finale exalts the just cause over the diabolical forces.
Specifically, in 1945, Fyodor Lopukhov staged an ending with Siegfried defeating
Rothbart. The adoption of Lopukhov’s ending hailed the triumph of progressive societal
forces. As Siegfried and Odette refuse to submit to Rothbart, the evil owl-magician’s
feudal castle crumbles into the red abyss. This act of defiance infuriates Rothbart who
strives to annihilate his enemies. Heroically, Siegfried rips off Rothbart’s wing, and with
this action, Rothbart vainly attempts to regain his strength and attack the prince.
Siegfried’s act kills Rothbart and frees Odette and the other swan maidens from his
sinister spell. No longer subject to Rothbart’s spell, Odette and Siegfried embrace, and
the music evokes a new day breaking. With the exalted finale, the ballet captures
Socialist Realism’s message of future happiness and society’s advancement toward
Communism.
With Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and Peter Ilyich
Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, Soviet critics praised these ballets’ hopeful messages as
integral to the formation of a true Soviet cultural identity. With the ballets’ stress upon
the struggle for a just society and as ultimate portrayals of history’s progression toward a
freer society, critics and audiences recognized the beauty and sincerity of Prokofiev’s and
Tchaikovsky’s ballets. The Soviets’ decision to permit the Imperial ballets’ continued
performances and to reinterpret these ballets as extolling socialist and democratic ideas as
well as their decision to support Socialist Realist works indicate the eclectic nature of
Soviet arts during the twentieth-century. Since the Soviet elites determined the ballet’s
repertoire, the arts became a main avenue through which the Soviets expressed their
ideology. Thus, Imperial and revolutionary traditions created the foundation for the
Soviet Union’s artistic immortalization of the ideological mandate for the ultimate
struggle against tyranny.
Endnotes
PAGE
PAGE 33
Boris Groys, The Total Art of Stalinism: Avant-Garde, Aesthetic Dictatorship, and Beyond, trans. Charles
Rougle (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1992), 3.
Orlando Figes, Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia (New York: Picador, 2002), 446, 447.
Nicolas Slonimsky, “The Changing Styles of Soviet Music,” in American Musicological Society, Vol. 3,
no. 3 (1950): 236.
Ibid., 237.
Ibid., 236.
Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Cultural Front: Power and Culture in Revolutionary Russia (Ithaca: Cornell UP,
1992), 9, 91-92.
Ibid., 91-92, 22.
Ibid., 91-92, 22.
Ibid., 22, 43, 22.
Orlando Figes, Natasha’s Dance, 450.
Orlando Figes, Orlando Figes, Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia (New York: Picador, 2002),
451.
V.I. Lenin, “Nabrosok rezoliutsii o proletarskoi kulture,” [Draft Resolution on Proletariat Culture] in O
Literature i Iskusstve [About Literature and Art] (Moskva: Gosudarstvennoe Izdatelstvo Khudozhestvennoi
Literatury, 1957), 395.
Stanley D. Krebs, Soviet Composers and the Development of Soviet Music (New York: W.W. Norton &
Company, Inc., 1970), 37.
Anna Ferenc, “Music in the Socialist State,” in Soviet Music and Society under Lenin and Stalin, ed. Neil
Edmunds (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004); 9.
The Bolsheviks continued to refer to the former Imperial capital as Petrograd until after Lenin’s death in
1924, when the government decided to rename the city in Lenin’s honor.
Elizabeth Souritz, Soviet Choreographers in the 1920s, trans. Lynn Visson and ed. with additional
translations by Sally Banes (Durham, NC:Duke UP, 1990), 46.
Ibid., 47.
Serge Lifar, A History of the Russian Ballet From its Origins to the Present Day, trans. Arnold Haskell
(New York: Roy Publishers, n.d.), 292.
Elizabeth Souritz, Soviet Choreographers in the 1920s, 48.
Ibid., 25, 28-29.
Ibid., 52-53.
Serge Lifar, A History of the Russian Ballet From its Origins to the Present Day, 294.
Boris Schwarz, Music and Musical Life in the Soviet Union, 1917-1970, (New York: W.
W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1973), 29.
Paul André, Ed. Dir., The Great History of Russian Ballet: Its Art and Choreography, trans. V. Arkadyev,
I. Bershadsky, and F. Kreynin. (Parkstone Publishers, Bournemouth, England, 1998), 95, 96-97.
Paul André, Ed. Dir., The Great History of Russian Ballet: Its Art and Choreography,
99.
Ibid., 99, 104.
Natalia Roslavleva, Era of the Russian Ballet, foreword by Dame Ninette de Valois (New York: Da Capo
Press, 1979) 319, 219; Paul André, Ed. Dir., The Great History of Russian Ballet: Its Art and
Choreography, 104.
Boris Groys, The Total Art of Stalinism, 3.
Ibid., 9.
Ibid., 9.
Solomon Volkov, The Magical Chorus: A History of Russian Culture from Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn, trans.
Antonia W. Bouis (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008), 125.
Sheila Fitzpartick, The Cultural Front: Power and Culture in Revolutionary Russia (Ithaca: Cornell UP,
1992), 236.
Ibid,. 236.
Ibid., 216-218.
Sheila Fitzpartick, The Cultural Front: Power and Culture in Revolutionary Russia (Ithaca: Cornell UP,
1992), 217.
Nikita Khrushchev “Declaration Made by Nikita Khrushchev on 8 March 1963 Stating His Views on
Music in Soviet Society,” in Music Since 1900, 6th ed., ed. Laura Kuhn, Nicolas Slonimsky, Editor
Emeritus (New York: Schirmer Reference, 2001)
Solomon Volkov, The Magical Chorus, 125.
Pierre Bourdieu, “Outline of the Theory of Practice: Structure and the habitus,” In Practicing History: New
Directions in Historical Writing and the Linguistic Turn, ed. Garbrielle M. Spiegel (New York: Routledge,
2005), 179.
Ibid., 179.
David Elliott. New Worlds: Russian Art and Society 1900-1937, picture research by Alla Weaver (New
York: Rizzoli, 1986), 23.
Christopher Norris, “Socialist Realism,” Vol. 23, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians 2nd
edition, ed. Stanley Sadie (New York: Macmillan Publishers, Limited, 2001), 599.
Karen Bennett, “Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and Socialist Realism: A Case Study in Intersemiotic
Translation,” in Shakespeare and European Politics eds. Dirk Delabastita, Jozef De Vos, and Paul
Franssen, foreword Ton Hoenselaars (Newark,: University of Delaware Press, 2008), 318.
Rosamund Bartlett, “The 20th Century, ii. Political Background to the Soviet Period,” in “Russian
Federation,” Marina Frolova-Walker, Jonathan Powell, Rosamund Bartlett, in The New Grove Dictionary
of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed. Vol. 21, ed. Stanley Sadie (New York: Macmillan Publishers, Limited,
2001), 932.
Lionel Cannaugh Soviet Musical Policy and Its Effect on Soviet Music, Morris Moore Series in
Musicology, 8 (Silver Springs, MD: Shazco, 1998), 12, 11-12.
Clive Barnes, “Fifty Years of Soviet Ballet,” in The Soviet Union: The Fifty Years, ed. Harrison E.
Salisbury (New York: A New York Times Book, Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1967), 206; Evan Jaffe,
Illustrated Ballet Dictionary, illustrated by Phyllis Lerner (New York: Harvey House, 1979), 14..
Yuri Slonimsky, The Bolshoi Ballet Notes, 2nd rev. and enlarged ed. (Moscow: Foreign Language
Publishing House, n.d.) 119.
Natalia Roslavleva, Era of the Russian Ballet, 219, 226.
Yuri Slonimsky, The Bolshoi Ballet Notes, 2nd rev. and enlarged ed. (Moscow: Foreign Language
Publishing House, No copyright given), 119.
Galina Ulanova, Autobiographical Notes and Commentary on Soviet Ballet, with an
appreciation by B. Lvov-Anokhin (London: Soviet News, October 1956), 20
Yuri Slonimsky, The Bolshoi Ballet Notes, 119.
Christopher Norris, “Socialist Realism,” 599.
Natalia Roslavleva, Era of the Russian Ballet, 226.
Alexander Demidov, The Russian Ballet: Past and Present, trans. Guy Daniels (Prepared by the Novosti
Press Agency Publishing House, Moscow; Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1977), 104.
Paul André, Ed. Dir., The Great History of Russian Ballet: Its Art and Choreography,
115.
Natalia Pavlovna Savkina, Prokofiev (New Jersey, Paganiniana Publications, 1984), 138; Harlow
Robinson, Sergei Prokofiev: A Biography (n.p.: Viking Penguin Inc.,1987; Boston: Northeastern UP,
2002), 300. Citations are to the Northeastern UP edition.
Natalia Pavlovna Savkina, Prokofiev, 118-119.
Harlow Robinson, Sergei Prokofiev: A Biography (Boston: Northeastern UP, 2002), 373-374. First
published in 1987 by Viking Penguin, Inc. Citations are to the Northeastern UP edition.
Sergei Prokofiev to Vernon Duke, Moscow, 5 April 1940, in Selected Letters of Sergei Prokofiev, trans.
ed. and intro. Harlow Robison (Boston, Northeastern UP, 1998), 158; Harlow Robinson ed., trans., and
intro., “Introduction to Chapter Six: Letters to Vernon Duke,” in Selected Letters of Sergei
Prokofiev(Boston, Northeastern UP, 1998), 141.
Sergei Prokofiev to Vernon Duke, Moscow, 5 April 1940, in Selected Letters of Sergei Prokofiev, trans.
ed. and intro. Harlow Robison (Boston, Northeastern UP, 1998), 158.
Ibid., 158.
Ibid., 374.
Yuri Slonimsky, The Bolshoi Ballet Notes, 86.
Ibid., 86.
Natalia Roslavleva, Era of the Russian Ballet, 249, 313, 251.
A.J. Cox, “The Aims of Soviet Choreography,” in Dance and Dances (October 1956), 14.
Sergei Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet, 1954, DVD, Act I, Scene 8: “The Ball at the Capulets,” directed by L.
Arnstam, and Leonid Lavrovsky, choreographed by Leonid Lavrovsky, conducted by Gennady
Rozhdestvensky (Pleasantville, NY: Video Artist International, 2003).
Romeo and Juliet, 1954, DVD, Act I, Scene 9: “Juliet and Paris.”
Romeo and Juliet, 1954, DVD, Act I, Scene 11: “Romeo and Juliet”; Leo Kersley and Janet Sinclair, A
Dictionary of Ballet Terms, drawings by Peter Revitt, 2nd edition enlarged, (1952; repr. 1953; London:
Adams & Charles Black, 1964), 8. Citations are to the Adams & Charles Black 1964 edition.
Nina Militsyna, “Soviet Ballet To-Day,” in Dancing Times, Vol. not given, no. not given (May 1949): 435.
Yuri Slonimsky, The Bolshoi Ballet Notes, 87.
Romeo and Juliet, 1954, DVD, Act II, Scene 14: “Revelers in the Marketplace.”
Romeo and Juliet, 1954, DVD, Act II, Scene 16: “Fateful Battle between Tybalt and Mercutio” and Scene
17: Mercutio Dies.”
Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene 18: “Romeo Avenges Mercutio’s Death” and Scene 19: “Death of Tybalt
and Cortège.”
Pierre Bourdieu, “Outline of the Theory of Practice: Structure and the habitus,” 180.
Romeo and Juliet, 1954, DVD, Act I, Scene 8: “The Ball at the Capulets” and Act III, Scene 25: “Morning
Serenade.”
Romeo and Juliet, 1954, DVD, Act I, Scene 8: “The Ball at the Capulets and Scene 13: Balcony Scene.”
Romeo and Juliet, 1954, DVD, Act I, Scene 8: “The Ball at the Capulets and Scene 11: Romeo and Juliet.”
Sergei Prokofiev, “The Path of Soviet Music,” in S. Prokofiev: Autobiography, Articles, and
Reminiscences, comp. S. Shlifstein, trans. Rosa Prokofieva (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing
House, n.d.), 99-100.
Galina Ulanova, “The Author of My Favorite Ballets,” in S. Prokofiev: Autobiography, Articles, and
Reminiscences, comp. S. Shlifstein, trans. Rosa Prokofieva (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing
House, n.d.), 224.
Natalia Pavlovna Savkina, Prokofiev, 122, 303.
Israel V. Nestyev, Prokofiev, trans. Florence Jonas, foreward by Nicolas Slonimsky (Stanford: Stanford
UP, 1960, 270.
Galina Ulanova, Autobiographical Notes and Commentary on Soviet Ballet, 23.
Romeo and Juliet, 1954, DVD, Act I, Scene 7: “Juliet.”
Romeo and Juliet, 1954, DVD, Act II, Scene 15: “Betrothal of Romeo and Juliet.”
Ibid., 23.
Anna Ilupina, Ballerina: The Life and Work of Galina Ulanova (Philadelphia, Provident Publishing Co.,
1965), 79.
Anna Ilupina, Ballerina: The Life and Work of Galina Ulanova (Philadelphia, Provident Publishing Co.,
1965) 79-80.
Galina Ulanova, Autobiographical Notes and Commentary on Soviet Ballet, 23.
Sheila Fiztpatrick, The Cultural Front, 205.
Orlando Figes, Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia, 481.
James Bakst, A History of Russian-Soviet Music (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1977), 341,
342. First published 1966 by Dodd, Mead & Company. Citations are to the Greenwood Press edition. 341,
342.
Ibid., 481.
Lionel Cannaugh Soviet Musical Policy and Its Effect on Soviet Music, 6.
There is no copyright given for Slonimsky’s The Bolshoi Ballet Notes. However, in the foreword to the 2nd
edition, dated February-March 1960, Slonimsky states that he prepared this work in conjunction with the
Bolshoi’s London tour. The tour occurred in the 1956.
Yuri Slonimsky, The Bolshoi Ballet Notes, 92.
Ibid., 63.
Ibid., 92.
Jaffe, Illustrated Ballet Dictionary, 14.
Yuri Slonimsky, The Bolshoi Ballet Notes, 92.
Yuri Slonimsky, Writings on Lev Ivanov, with a biography of Lev Ivanov in excerpts from M.
Borisoglebsky, ed. trans. and annotated by Anatole Chujoy, Dance Perspectives 2 (Brooklyn: Dance
Perspectives, Inc., Spring 1959): 28.
Yuri Slonimsky, Writings on Lev Ivanov, with a biography of Lev Ivanov in excerpts from M.
Borisoglebsky, ed. trans. and annotated by Anatole Chujoy, Dance Perspectives 2 (Brooklyn: Dance
Perspectives, Inc., Spring 1959): 28.
Ibid., 28.
Nicolas Volklov, “The Soviet Ballet,” in World Theatre, Vol. 4, no. 2 (Spring 1955): 82.
Vladimir Potapov, “Galina Ulanova,” in The Soviet Ballet, Yuri Slonimsky and others (New York:
Philosophical Library, 1947), 82.
V. S. Bukhshteii, otv. red., S. E. Radlov, and B. V. Asafev, redkollegiia, “Lebedinoe Ozero,” [Swan Lake]
(n.p.: Izdanie, 1934), 32.
Ibid., 32.
Nicholas V. Riasanovsky and Mark D. Steinberg, A History of Russia, 7th ed. (Oxford, Oxford UP, 2005),
572.
Tchaikovsky, Peter, Swan Lake, 1957, DVD, Act I, Scene 2: “Siegfried’s Celebration,” directed by Z.
Tulubyeva, choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, conducted by Yuri Faier (West Long Beach,
NJ: Corinth Films, Inc., 1984).
Swan Lake, Act I, Scene 3: “The Prince and the Queen.”
Swan Lake Act I, Scene 5: “Villagers’ Dance,” and Scene 6: “The Prince Goes Hunting.”
Yuri Slonimsky, Writings on Lev Ivanov, 25.
Swan Lake, Act II, Scene 12: “Siegfried and Odette.”
Swan Lake, Act I, Scene 10: “Siegfried Meets Odette”; Leo Kersley and Janet Sinclair, A Dictionary of
Ballet Terms, 2nd edition, drawings by Peter Revitt (London: Adams & Charles Black, 1964), 8.
Swan Lake, Act IV, Scene 31: “Siegfried and Odette.”
Swan Lake, Act IV, Scene 31: “Siegfried and Odette” and Scene 32: Finale.”
D. Zhitomirskii, “Balety Chaikovskogo” [Ballets of Tchaikovsky] (Moskva: Gosudarstvennoe
Muzykalnoe Izdatelstvo, 1957), 39.
D. Zhitomirskii, “Balety Chaikovskogo” [Ballets of Tchaikovsky] (Moskva: Gosudarstvennoe
Muzykalnoe Izdatelstvo, 1957), 39.
V. S. Bukhshteii, otv. red., S. E. Radlov, and B. V. Asafev, redkollegiia, “Lebedinoe Ozero,” [Swan
Lake], 33.
Ibid., Swan Lake, Act II, Scene 12: “Siegfried and Odette.”
Yuri Slonimsky, The Bolshoi Ballet Notes, 121.
Swan Lake, Act II, Scene 10: “Siegfried Meets Odette,” and Scene 11: “Waltz.”
Swan Lake, Act IV, Scene 30: “Swans-Corps de Ballet.”
V. S. Bukhshteii, otv. red., S. E. Radlov, and B. V. Asafev, redkollegiia, “Lebedinoe Ozero,” [Swan Lake],
32.
Swan Lake, Act I, Scene 8: “Rothbart and the Swans.”
V. S. Bukhshteii, otv. red., S. E. Radlov, and B. V. Asafev, redkollegiia, “Lebedinoe Ozero,” [Swan
Lake], 32-33
Ibid., 32-33.
Swan Lake, Act II, Scene 23: “Spanish Dance and Scene 24: Pas de Deux-Siegfried and Odile.”
Swan Lake, Act II, Scene 24: “Pas de Deux-Siegfried and Odile.”
Swan Lake, Act II, Scene 24: “Pas de Deux-Siegfried and Odile.”
Leo Kersley and Janet Sinclair, A Dictionary of Ballet Terms, 2nd edition, drawings by Peter Revitt
(London: Adams & Charles Black, 1964), 72; Swan Lake, Act III, Scene 24: “Pas de Deux: Siegfried and
Odette.”
Leo Kersley and Janet Sinclair, A Dictionary of Ballet Terms, 72; Swan Lake, Act III, Scene 27: “Coda.”
Leo Kersley and Janet Sinclair, A Dictionary of Ballet Terms, 72.
David Brown, Tchaikovsky: A Biographical and Critical Study: To the Crisis, 1840-1878, vol. 1 (London:
Victor Gollancz, 1991), 119-120.
David Brown, Tchaikovsky: A Biographical and Critical Study: To the Crisis, 1840-1878, vol. 1 (London:
Victor Gollancz, 1991), 120.
Selma Jeanne Cohen, Next Week, Swan Lake: Reflections on Dance and Dances, 8.
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