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    MOSCOW/PARIS, JANUARY 7, 2004, /RIA-NOVOSTI CORESPONDENT/ -- The Bolshoi theater's famed ballet troupe is to perform its "Swan Lake" (a Yury Grigorovich production) at the monumental Opera Garnier building in Paris already today; the ballet troupe's guest performances are to last until January 24.

    The 185-strong Bolshoi troupe has never conducted such a lengthy tour before. The Russian ballet troupe went to Paris after a 13-year interval, Bolshoi general director Anatoly Iksanov told RIA-NOVOSTI.

    Apart from "Swan Lake", Paris audiences will see "Pharaoh's Daughter", which was created especially for the Bolshoi troupe by famous French choreographer Pierre Lacotte, as well as "Bright Brook". The latter was staged by young Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, who has already won a reputation for himself.

    The Bolshoi troupe was to have performed "Queen Of Spades", which was staged at the Bolshoi theater by French choreographer Rolland Petit especially for the theater's lead dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze. However, Tsiskaridze's leg was seriously injured during preparations for the Paris tour; consequently, it was decided to perform "Bright Brook" instead.

    According to Ratmansky, this is one of Shostakovich's best ballet scores. The Bolshoi used to show "Bright Brook" virtually each day for two months in a row. However, this performance was eventually stopped on orders from Josef Stalin, who believed that the ballet, which glorified collective farmers, was too merry.

    Meanwhile no other theater, except the Bolshoi, offers "Pharaoh's Daughter", whose music was written by Caesar Pugny.

    The director of the Paris Opera is sure that the Bolshoi guest performance will thrill French audiences. The Bolshoi troupe no longer has such superstars as Galina Ulanova and Maya Plesetskaya; nonetheless, he believes that quite a few outstanding ballet performers are still around. The director especially mentioned Svetlana Zakharova, who became popular with Paris audiences a long time ago.

    A reception will be held January 13 in honor of the Bolshoi troupe at the Versailles palace. This highlights the great interest and respect of Paris residents with regard to Russian performers, Bolshoi director Anatoly Iksanov noted in conclusion.

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