chapter  16
2 Pages

Russian classical opera and ballet in the cinema of the '50s: new attempts at relationships.

In 1953, in the Lenfilm Studio, director Sidelev completed the film-opera Aleko to music by Rakhmaninov, and soon after that Lapoknysh in the Kiev studio released his screen version of the opera by Gulak-Artemovsky The Zaporozhets beyond the Danube. Another screen adaptation was the film-opera Boris Godunov after Mussorgsky (1955, directed by V. Stroyeva). Parallel to the film-opera, screen versions of ballets already staged were created, Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky (1958, directed by Tulubayeva) and Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev (1955, directed by Arnshtam and Lavrovsky). As mentioned above, their appearance was connected with the interest excited by films about composers. Particularly impressive had been the celebrated scene 'By Kromy', excellently directed and brilliantly screened by Roshal' in his film Mussorgsky. The thoroughly worked action of the groups playing the participants in the spontaneous popular revolt, and a dynamic montage rhythm of visual representation made up for the seemingly static character of the scene. This opened up promising vistas for the creation of good and original films, if the artistic principles offered were developed. However, in her variant of Boris Godunov, Vera Stroyeva did not carry on Roshal's experiment but preferred to film the performance by the Bolshoi Theatre. As for the screen version of Swan Lake, the director Z. Tulubayeva's 'innovation' did not go farther than introducing an off-screen announcer's text, without cinematic interpretation of the stage performance.