NEW YORK CITY--Summer dance offerings in New York City tend to be dreary--but not this year. The Kirov Ballet, in all its opulent glory, will extend the ballet season at the Metropolitan Opera House by two weeks (June 28 through July 10). Not seen in New York since 1995, the Kirov presents four programs, including a new production of The Sleeping Beauty and a "Balanchine Evening," marking the first time the company has performed a complete program by the Russian-born master in New York. The Kirov Orchestra joins the complete, 205-member dance company in all sixteen performances.
The new Sleeping Beauty actually looks to the past. Using Marius Petipa's notes (ballet master Nicholas Sergeyev smuggled them out of Russia during the revolution; they ended up at Harvard University Library), researchers at the Kirov have restored the ballet to its original 1890 form. Costume and stage designs are modeled on original sketches. The grand production opens the Kirov season, with an opening night cast starring the dashing former New York City Ballet principal dancer Igor Zelensky and the equally breathtaking, statuesque Svetlana Zakharova.
Along with performances of Giselle, danced by, among others, Zelensky, Zakharova, Diana Vishneva, and Igor Kolb, the Kirov presents the North American premiere of The Fountain of Bakhchisarai. Based on a fable by Alexander Pushkin, The Fountain dates from 1934 and serves as a survivor of Soviet dramaballet. …