Dmitry Shostakovich
THE BRIGHT STREAM
A comic ballet in 2 acts
by F.Lopukhov and A.Piotrovsky
Balletmaster-co-producer -
Alexey Ratmansky
Designer-Co-Producer -
Boris Messerer
Conductor-Co-Producer -
Pavel Sorokin
Assistant of balletmaster-co-producer -
Alexandr Petukhov
   

"It takes a lot of effort and responsibility to create a full-fledged ballet about Soviet life themes. But difficulties do not scare me. Although it’s easier and safer to go along the beaten path, it is a drag, it's not challenging, it's good for nothing."

 
Dmitry Shostakovich
  

... A group of Soviet actors sets out for Kuban, to meet some Kuban kolkhozniks (collective farmers). It's their first meeting. The collective farmers take the actors for people belonging to a strange unfamiliar society and do not know how to approach them. For the actors it's also problematic to find a common language with the collective farmers.

But soon, however, the ice is broken and both parties find that they have a lot in common: they are both involved in building the Soviet life with the only difference that the former do it in the fields and sheds while the latter do it in the field of art. The romance and love affairs, which emerge on the Kuban picturesque landscape, make the two teams feel friendly.

The plot of the ballet is very simple and trivial.

The music, to my way of thinking, is light, cheerful, easy, entertaining and, which is the main point, danceable. I intently did my best to find clear, simple in design tunes equally understandable both for the public and performers. It's not only difficult but also absolutely impossible to dance to rhythmically and melodically indistinct shapeless music.

To tell the truth every time I see the so-called "pure pantomime”; I cannot get rid of a feeling that I witness to deaf and dumb people communicating. There is some desperate unnaturalness in this seeming realism.

The opera can't do without singing and in the same way I can't do without people dancing in the ballet. You shouldn't try to fight it; you'd better try to justify it.

“The Bright Stream” comes third on the list of my ballets based on Soviet themes. I do consider both my first and second ballets - “The Golden Age” and “The Screw” a complete flop in terms of drama. As I see it the main error lies in the fact that librettists in their attempt to show our reality in a ballet performance failed to take into consideration the very nature of ballet. Reflecting the Soviet Socialist reality in a ballet should be taken seriously. It cannot be approached superfluously. And such episodes as “The Dance of Enthusiasm” or pantomime imitation of the work of a blacksmith (hammering) reveal some mistakes in the approach to the problem of social realistic ballet performance inspired by the Soviet themes.

I am far from being sure that my third try (work) will meet the high cultural standards of the Soviet Ballet but even if it doesn't I'll never stop trying.

From the booklet “ The Bright Stream”, Moscow, edited by the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of the USSR. 1935

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