My ballet is not Tolstoy’s novel,
but what I feel about it*


Non-trivial love triangle, deep passions, several pairs absolutely different in their happiness and misfortune, hidden and obvious ill-will of the society that affected the main character’s tragedy. Anna Karenina’s fate might have been different even at the time the novel unfolds. And at the same time, moving to our days, this story still can remain its tragic.

Thomas Mann once named Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina "the greatest social novel of world literature." For all times, present and future. Neumeier reminds and quotes this statement. BA in English literature, he loves to read and then to adapt his favorite books for dance. Among his ballets (the number has exceeded a hundred) there are many literary productions, based on the works of Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, Thomas Mann, Pushkin…

When reading the novel, John Neumeier was deeply fascinated by its characters and the life of various social groups. Realizing that it is impossible to choreograph the entire novel, Neumeier reproduces primarily those feelings that he reads. The story is transposed in the present day. Karenin holds a political rally; Vronsky plays lacrosse. A train becomes a toy in the hands of Seryozha. Anna dies, falling into the underworld, which is the logically justified end for the hell in Anna's soul. Life of secular society goes on. A wealthy landowner Levin finds the strength to feel sorry for Anna and to console her despairing son.

In the second run of shows (premiere took place in March leading soloists of the Bolshoi Ballet are engaged. On opening night the title part was performed by Svetlana Zakharova. She danced Titania in Noymayer's Midsummer Night’s Dream and became an outstanding interpreter of Marguerite Gautier’s part in Lady of the Camellias. Thanks to her enthusiasm and interest in the Neumeier’s works, the idea to put Anna Karenina at the Bolshoi emerged.

The costumes for the main character were created by a fashion house A-K-R-I-S. All the other characters were dressed by the maestro himself. He also acted as a set and lightning designer and creator of the filigree score of the ballet, assembled from the music of Tchaikovsky, Alfred Schnittke, and the country music singer Cat Stevens / Yusuf Islam.