News / Objavljeno: 3/14/2024

Laurencia, Forgotten Classical Ballet Master-Piece for the First Time in Croatia

Laurencia, Forgotten Classical Ballet Master-Piece for the First Time in Croatia

"Laurencia," a ballet in two acts by choreographer Vakhtang Chabukiani to the music of Aleksandr Krein, will premiere at the Croatian National Theatre Split on Friday, March 22nd, on the stage of the Split National Theatre. For the first time, Croatian audiences will witness this classic ballet by the great ballet reformer Chabukiani, based on motifs from Lope de Vega's play "Fuente Ovejuna." The new choreographic version of Chabukiani's choreography with the Split ensemble is being prepared by Nina Ananiashvili, a Georgian ballerina and director of the Georgian State Ballet, once hailed as one of the 12 best ballerinas in the world, named the best ballerina in the world by US Dance Magazine in 2002. Maestro Leon Jagaev will conduct the HNK Split Orchestra.

The protagonists will be performed by soloists and members of the Split Ballet ensemble. In the title role of Laurencia, Josephine Mansfield, Valerie Lin, and Irina Chaban Bilandžić will alternate, while her partner Frodoso will be interpreted by Valery Ljubenko, Danil Podruško, and Emanuele Sardo. "The strength of the Split ballet ensemble is evident in the fact that we have three different casts in all the main roles of this demanding title of classical ballet, which, besides requiring demanding dance technique from the dancers, also demands acting skills," said Nina Ananiashvili at a media conference at the Split theater. "Chabukiani is not well known in the West, but he completely revolutionized classical ballet. He emphasized the role of male dancers, making them equal to ballerinas," emphasized Nina Ananiashvili. Chabukiani is one of the most influential ballet dancers of the 20th century and is known for choreographing several of the most famous male variations in the classical ballet repertoire, such as in "Le Corsaire," "La Bayadère," and "Swan Lake." He created a new choreographic language by combining folk and classical dance. He confirmed the importance of male dance, particularly by advancing the idea of "heroic" male dance, which has remained a lasting legacy of classical ballet as we know it today.

The plot of "Laurencia" takes place in the 15th century, in the Spanish village of Fuente Ovejuna, which belongs to the commander Fernando Gomez de Guzman. Young Frondoso is in love with the village girl Laurencia, whom Guzman tries to win over for himself. When Gomez tries to take revenge for Laurencia's rejection, she courageously incites the villagers to rebel against his tyranny. Despite the commander's efforts to separate Laurencia and Frondoso, the lovers decide to marry, provoking Gomez's anger. Laurencia encourages the villagers to resist the tyrannical authority. Led by Frondoso, the rebels defeat the commander, pledging to defend their freedom and dignity.

"Laurencia" premiered on March 22, 1939, at the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theater. For a long time, the ballet was part of the mandatory corpus of classical ballet titles, but over time, it fell into oblivion. Upon taking the helm of the Georgian State Ballet, Nina Ananiashvili brought "Laurencia" back to the stage, followed by productions at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, and Nina Ananiashvili also directed a performance of "Laurencia" at the Bolshoi Theatre in Minsk, Belarus.

"It is a great honor for me that Nina Ananiashvili, a great name in the world of ballet, has come to the HNK Split to set up this masterpiece of classical ballet, which has not yet been performed in Croatia, and to share her great knowledge and experience with our ensemble. The performance is part of the K-HNK project, in collaboration with the HNK Ivan pl. Zajc in Rijeka, which means that our ensemble will perform in Rijeka in the autumn accompanied by the Rijeka orchestra and present this valuable title to the local audience," emphasized the intendant of HNK Split, Vicko Bilandžić.

"The rich orchestration, music of exceptional energy, with a pronounced Spanish color, is what characterizes Aleksandr Krein's music, which he created in close collaboration with Chabukiani," highlighted conductor Leon Jagaev.