Happy New Year! We start with a high kick this Saturday, January 3, at Siri Fort at 6 pm, with a performance of the ballet classic, Don Quixote by the Navoi Opera and Ballet Grand Academic Theatre of Tashkent. This is grand old Russian ballet and the Navoi is one of the only three theatres that was given the status of Bolshoi (meaning ‘big’) in the erstwhile Soviet Union.
The artists of the Navoi Theatre Company have graced the great stages of the West like La Scala in Milan, the Paris Opera, Covent Garden in London, and the Bolshoi and Maryinsky theatres in Russia. Their repertoire ranges from classical favourites such as Swan Lake and Don Quixote, to new creations inspired by old Uzbek folk tales.
These are some of the best dancers in the world and they are performing in India thanks to the persistent N Ramji, who owns a Chennai-based travel agency. Last heard of he was organising Aishwarya Rai’s shoot in Brazil and in his other persona, he’s the Secretary of the Most Venerable Music Academy, Madras.
Such a grand ballet (by a troupe of 50 dancers and a 50-member philharmonic orchestra) is happening here after 40 years. Hurray for the Uzbeks, who bring Asian fire to the steely and expressive ‘Russian back’ in ballet.
The 11th Bharat Rang Mahotsav (January 7-19) begins at Kamani at 5:30 pm on January 7 with Awagha Rang Ekachi Zaala directed by Ashok Samuel (Marathi, 145 minutes). The schedule has plays in Bengali, Assamese, Malayalam and other bhashas plus, as always, a glimpse of world theatre.
Some highlights: January 8: Main Istanbul Hoon directed by Mohan Maharishi at Kamani, 7.30 pm and Layla-Majnu by Ramgopal Bajaj, Hindi, 140 minutes at Abhimanch at 9.30 pm.January 12: Water Lilies directed by Gowri Ramnarayan, English, 90 mins at Sanmukh, at 2.30 and 6 pm. January 13: The Days of Adel, by Isaac Benabu, Hebrew, 80 mins. Plus plays from Pakistan, Poland, Czechslovakia!
On January 6 at the India International Centre, 6.30 pm, catch western classical music by Nobuyoki Mizuno (horn), Mie Matsuoka (piano) and Kyoko Saburi (violin), three musicians of note from Japan.