It was a packed audience for the highly anticipated production of The Joffrey Ballet’s Anna Karenina at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on the night of February 13th. It wasn’t just any opening night, but the world premiere of the classic 19th-century novel by Leo Tolstoy that told the story of love and betrayal during a politically tense time. The Joffrey’s choreographer Yuri Possokhov re-imagined the novel for the stage where guests took in beautiful choreography, as well as a commissioned full-length score by Russian award-winning composer Ilya Demutsky performed by The Chicago Philharmonic, led by Joffrey Music Director Scott Speck. And the talents behind the production didn’t end there. Tom Pye, (Gloriana, Fiddler on the Roof) an Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated costume designer created the looks for the cast, and renowned lighting designer David Finn (Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence) all helped bring this masterpiece to life.
“It’s a real rarity for any ballet company to commission a full-length score,” said Joffrey Ballet’s Music Director Scott Speck. “And it was a coup to secure Demutsky, one of the brightest lights in the world of music today. Possokhov is very careful to be true to the score, so he is using Demutsky’s musical vision as the inspiration for his choreography. Ilya is the Tchaikovsky of this ballet.”
“There are many interpretations of Anna Karenina in music, theatre, and cinematography, so it’s been an honor and a great challenge for me to create another one—a special one,” said award-winning composer Ilya Demutsky. “Tolstoy’s novel is about a storm of feelings and passions, tragedy and family happiness on the back of a massive canvas of morals and manners of Moscow and Saint Petersburg noble society. I’ve composed an extremely emotional and, at the same time, very intimate score—with ear-catching leitmotifs, harsh harmonies, and bursts of climaxes. It is my fourth ballet composed for Yuri Possokhov and every time it is a truly astonishing experience to see how my music materializes in Yuri’s stunning choreography.”
See this original masterpiece in Chicago from February 13-24th as there are only 10 performances in all. Single tickets range from $35 to $199 and can be purchased at The Joffrey Ballet’s official box office located in the lobby at Joffrey Tower at 10 E. Randolph or the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University Box Office, by phone at 312.386.8905 or online at Joffrey.org. After the world premiere in Chicago, Anna Karenina will debut in May of 2020 in Melbourne with The Australian Ballet.