Libretto: Alexander Belinsky and Vladimir Vasiliev, based on Anton Chekhov's short novel Anna on the Neck
Choreography and staging: Vladimir Vasiliev
Scenery and Costume Designer: Viktor Volsky
Music Director and Conductor: Pavel Sorokin
Lighting and Video Designer: Alexey Khoroshev
Assistants to Staging Choreographer: Andrey Melanyin, Marina Panfilovich
2 hours 10 minutes
The ballet Anyuta is almost the only one in history, the production of which was originally conceived for television, and only after that it was adapted for the theatre stage. The ballet film was made in the creative collaboration of two famous masters Alexander Belinsky and Vladimir Vasiliev in 1982. The plot was based on the famous story Anna on the Neck by Anton Chekhov. The idea of the ballet film belongs to the Leningrad stage director Alexander Belinsky, who proposed to implement this idea to the legendary dancer and choreographer Vladimir Vasiliev with Ekaterina Maximova in the title role. At first, Vasiliev refused this offer, but as soon as he heard Valery Gavrilin's waltz, the recording of which Belinsky brought him, he realized how close this music would be to Chekhov, and he eagerly set about this production. The directors jointly found the most suitable music for the ballet among Gavrilin's various musical works. Moreover, it was the selected music that also dictated the course of the plot, its stage images to the choreographer. The orchestration of these different works of the composer into a single ballet score was carried out by the conductor Stanislav Gorkovenko under the direction of Gavrilin, who gave him his advice and instructions.
The success of the ballet film exceeded the expectations of the creators – it received many prizes and awards at several international festivals. But the choreographer did not even think about the stage version of the ballet, until one day the general director of the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples called him with a proposal to stage Anyuta in their theatre. So, on January 21, 1986, the ballet Anyuta premiered in Italy. In order to make a full-scale ballet, new scenes appeared in the stage version, music was added. The premiere was an event – Anyuta was named the best musical performance of the year in Italy.
And less than six months later, on May 31, the premiere of Anyuta took place on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre.
Chekhov's plot, which served as the basis for the ballet, is a story about a young girl Anna (Anyuta, as her father calls her) from a provincial town; her mother has died, and her father is drunk from grief. Out of desperation, Anyuta is forced to accept the offer of an elderly, nasty to her, but wealthy officer Modest Alekseyevich.
In addition to the Chekhov’s plot in the performance the choreographer came up with the story of Anyuta's first love for a poor student, with whom, due to an unequal marriage, she was forced to part. At first, Anyuta is afraid of her husband, she is timid; but the very first appearance at the ball, where she enjoys the attention of gentlemen, infatuates her. She forgets about her past, completely giving herself up to carefree fun. Her husband only encourages his wife's love affairs, hoping for the patronage of her high-ranking suitors. Reveling in her success in society, Anna does not notice that her unhappy father and little brothers remain homeless on the street on a frosty night.
On the NOVAT stage, the ballet Anyuta, staged by the legendary dancer and outstanding choreographer, People's Artist of the USSR Vladimir Vasiliev, will appear in the design of the Moscow artist Viktor Volsky. The ballet story of Chekhov’s Anna will become a bright jewel of the repertoire of the Novosibirsk stage.
Following his wife’s untimely death, Pyotr Leontievich, a school teacher in a provincial town, is left caring for their three children – a grown-up daughter, Anna (Anyuta) and two younger sons, Petya and Andryusha.
Pining for his dearly loved wife, Pyotr Leontievich takes to drowning his sorrows in vodka.
An elderly civil servant, Modest Alekseyevich, woos Anyuta. She accepts his proposal hoping that, by marrying him, she will break free from her miserable, uneventful life, on the brink of starvation, and save her family from poverty.
Anyuta ends the relationship with her first love, a poor student and, after the wedding, moves into Modest Alekseyevich’s house. Very soon she realizes that everything she hoped for will never come to pass. Her husband is stingy, cold and pragmatic, and has no intention of helping his wife’s family.
The Christmas holidays are approaching and at a ball, which is part of the festive celebrations, Anyuta’s youthfulness, intelligence and beauty win the hearts of all the men in the room.
They all compete for the attention and affection of Modest Alekseyevich’s young wife. A wealthy landowner Artynov, army officers and, finally, His Excellency himself, are infatuated with Anyuta. They are willing to do whatever it takes to please her. Anyuta’s head is spinning from such an unexpected, sudden success.
The attentions and love from the male members of the high society in the provincial town help Anna to forget all her troubles – her much-hated and detested husband, her father losing himself to drink, her poor starving brothers and even her once much loved student.
Modest Alekseyevich immediately realizes he stands to gain from his wife’s popularity and encourages her love affairs. His career and social status come first for him. In a short while, he is awarded the Order of Saint Anna and is looking forward to new favours from his wife’s suitor.
Pyotr Leontievich is declared bankrupt. The few possessions he has left are confiscated. On a frosty night, Pyotr Leontievich and his children are thrown out on the street…
On the town skating rink, carefree Anyuta, surrounded by enraptured suitors, is enjoying herself. Led by her admirers, she sweeps past her father and brothers, failing to notice them. Homeless Pyotr Leontievich and his children silently watch her go by.