The Bolt: Shostakovich’s controversial ballet

Dmitri Shostakovich wrote The Bolt in 1931. It was a piece of musical experimentation, a ballet of unruly satire, populated by a host of comical characters. The Bolt is based on a true story that follows the exploits of Lyonka Gulba (Gulba in Russian means idler), an indolent worker who persuades a young man to throw a bolt into the factory machinery, sabotaging the production of his workplace in revenge for being sacked. The production featured... Read More

Russian Avant-Garde Theatre, War, Revolution, Design

It was a time of change. It was a time of hope. In those first thirty years or so of the twentieth-century the artistic world moved in tandem, and at times with the same pulse as the political movements that fought for radical change. In painting Cézanne and then Picasso and Braque changed the way we looked at surfaces, Vlaminck and Signac, in the footsteps of Van Gogh and Gauguin revolutionised, in their own individual way, our perception of... Read More

Music as design: Kafka Fragments

Less is plenty. With some clever lighting, a single trapezoid block of blue-grey wood as both background and foreground around which Elizabeth Watts (soprano) and Alexander Janiczek (on violin) dressed in simple black, moved, sang, acted, and performed only meters away from the audience, they were able to take us through an emotional range that seemed to span the entire experience – humour, fear, pathos, angst, being tong tied, boredom,... Read More