For the first time in history, Russia’s Bolshoi Theater is going digital. On Friday, it will live stream several of its most popular opera and ballet performances, also known as the “Golden Collection,” on its official YouTube channel, allowing viewers around the world to tune in. This announcement also coincides with World Theatre Day.

A total of six performances will be live-streamed from March 27th to April 10th.  The first broadcast will be the legendary ballet Swan Lake. While all performances have been prerecorded, fans will feel the excitement and feeling of opening night by tuning in to watch each broadcast using YouTube’s Premiere feature. For fans who are unable to watch in real-time, each performance will be available on-demand for 24 hours after its initial broadcast.

“Our country, like the rest of the world, is experiencing a very difficult time,” said Vladmire Urin, General Director of the Bolshoi Theatre.“ We’ve never faced this type of situation before and since we had to close the theater we didn’t want to lose our connection with our audience. Theatre is deeply moving and is a rich experience, and although we cannot perform in front of live audiences, we’re excited to share our performances digitally. It’s been a lot of hard work on our part to make this happen, but we hope these performances will lift people’s spirits and support the well-being of all who tune into the Bolshoi.”

Each performance will premiere at 7 p.m. Moscow time. Viewers who subscribe to the channel will receive an alert and will be able to participate in a live chat for the performance. The comments section will also remain open after each performance so viewers can discuss upcoming shows. In addition, the first Premiere – Swan Lake – will be preceded by a 30 min live discussion between the Bolshoi theater artists Denis Rodkin (principal dancer) and Igor Tsvirko (leading soloist) and the audience (in Russian).

“Google and the Bolshoi Theatre are longtime partners. Millions of viewers around the world have visited the Theatre’s YouTube channel since it launched 15 years ago. We’re honored that YouTube can support the Bolshoi as they engage with fans in new ways during these challenging times.” said  Julia Solovieva, Head of Google in Russia.

“As the producer and worldwide distributor of the Bolshoi Ballet in cinema series, Pathé Live, in association with Bel Air Media, is enthusiastic about the Theatre’s initiative. These 4 ballets are some of the Bolshoi’s most emblematic productions and are among the greatest successes of our broadcasts in cinemas. We feel this is the best way to remain in touch with ballet lovers as cinemas are forced to close all over the world. We hope this opportunity will bring comfort to our audiences during these challenging times, and I look forward to meeting everyone again in cinemas once this is behind us” said Thierry Fontaine, president of Pathé Live.

“For a few years already, Mezzo is very proud to be the partner of Bolshoi Theater, one of the greatest historical institutions in the musical world. We’re presenting regularly great opera productions, mostly live, and we have the honor to share them with viewers in more than 60 countries, spreading the best of Russian culture all over the world. We deeply thank Maestro Sokhiev and Mr. Urin for their talent, loyalty, and trust. During this unprecedented crisis, we are more than ever decided to support the complete Bolshoi Theater’s team and his amazing artists. See you soon on Mezzo and Mezzo Live HD and take care!” added Herve Boissiere, CEO of Mezzo.

Among its digital partners, The Bolshoi Theatre is working with Pathe Live and Mezzo to support its online presence.

Broadcast Schedule: 7pm CET


Cover Photo: by Pavel Rychkov/Bolshoi Theatre

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