After the long standing collaboration as a conductor with Nacho Duato and the Compañía Nacional de Danza (CND) came the first premiere of Duato with his new dance company in Saint Petersburg. I was invited by the Mikhailovsky Theatre to conduct the first representations and help that way as a bridge between the past and the new era. The programme presented three ballets. Without Words and Duende, previously produced by the CND, were being performed in Russia for the first time. The third ballet, Nunc Dimittis, created specifically for the new company and its dancers, received its world premiere.

The programme involved all manner of combinations of the theatre’s musical cast: orchestra, soloists, chamber music, soloists with orchestra, choir, a cappella vocal soloists and even a curious set of bells that have belonged to the theatre for over one hundred years. In the run up to the opening night, there was a coming and going of rehearsals with each of the groups, all casts duplicated in order to address the future running in the theatre’s repertoire. The experience was exhausting but hugely gratifying. With a classical ballet company embracing its transformation to a new style of dance, the sacred texts of Arvo Pärt’s compositions in the last ballet gave the premiere the scent and atmosphere of a sacrament, something akin to a baptism.


Conductor: Pedro Alcalde
Orchestra: The Mikhailovsky Orchestra and Chorus
Soloists: Vadim Messerman (cello), Marianna Domnikova (piano and organ), Igor Rodionov (flute), Boris Barinov (viola), Elena Arkhipova (harp), Alexander Smirnov (bells), Dmitry Sverbikhin (percussion)
Vocal soloists: Mikhail Ivanov, Anna Startseva, Alexandra Kalinina, Sergey Yavushkin
Chorus master: Vladimir Stolpovskikh

Venue: Mikhailovsky Theatre Saint Petersburg Russia
Date: 15th March 2011


Without Words
Choreography: Nacho Duato
Music: Franz Schubert

Der Müller und der Bach, D 795 No.19; An die Musik, D 547; Lied der Mignon: “Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt”; D 877 No.4; Heidenröslein, D 257; Litanei auf das Fest Allerseelen, D 343; Du bist die Ruh’, D 776 (Violoncello and Piano)

Set and Costumes: Nacho Duato
Lighting: Brad Fields (based on an original idea by Nacho Duato)

World premiere: American Ballet Theater at the City Center in New York, 29th October 1998
Russian premiere: Mikhailovsky Theatre, 15th March 2011

Choreography: Nacho Duato
Music: Claude Debussy

Pastorale and Final from the Sonate pour Flûte, Alto et Harpe; Syrinx, Danse Sacrée et Danse Profane

Set: Walter Nobbe
Costumes: Susan Unger
Lighting: Nicolás Fischtel

World premiere: Nederlands Dans Theater at the AT&T Danstheater, The Hague, 21st November 1991
Russian premiere: Mikhailovsky Theatre, 15th March 2011

Nunc Dimittis
Choreography: Nacho Duato
Music: Arvo Pärt, David Azagra

Agnus Dei – Berliner Messe, Littlemore Tractus, Nunc Dimittis

Da lontano

Set and Costumes: Nacho Duato
Lighting: Brad Fields

World premiere: Mikhailovsky Theatre, 15 March 2011