All-star team joins up for ‘The Great Gatsby’
Three artistic geniuses are coming together to create and produce a premier, feature-length ballet version of Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic The Great Gatsby. Set to premiere in Russia in October 2014, the production has plans to soon thereafter embark on a world tour.
The choreographic show plans on uniting classical ballet and contemporary dance with cinematography, with Complexions Contemporary Ballet Co-Artistic Director Dwight Rhoden bringing his creative eye to the team. Rhoden, who has choreographed for Cirque du Soleil and worked with such high-profile artists as Prince, U2 and Lenny Kravitz, is also one of the most sought-after contemporary ballet choreographers in the world. [See an article looking back at Rhoden’s career here.]
Joining Rhoden will be composer Konstantin Meladze, the most demanded pop composer in the post-soviet territory, and project star and art director Denis Matvienko, the only holder of four grand prix awards at international ballet contests.
Matvienko, performer of the Jay Gatsby role, underwent a major surgery on his leg in April and just officially announced his return to performing. His injury was the result of a previous surgery, during which doctors failed to notice a microcrack in his bone. The recent surgery, which was kept out of the public eye, took place at a clinic in Tübingen, Germany that specializes in sports injuries and is known for taking care of famous professional athletes, such as the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt.
In a recent press release posted June 12, Matvienko said, “Only the closest people knew about this operation. Not to say I’m superstitious, but didn’t want to speak about it at every turn… Until yesterday, the doctors still could not guarantee that I would be able to get back on stage.”
Now, Matvienko is almost fully recovered and is ready to get back to work on The Great Gatsby and perform on stage of the Mariinsky Theatre in Don Quixote this July.
Also on board the project is producer Alyona Matvienko, the sister of the “King of Dance” himself. Having worked as her brother’s agent for many years and known for bringing great ballet to the Ukraine, she was part of the conception of The Great Gatsby.
Originally, Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray was also considered for this project. But when Rhoden came on board and his interest in Gatsby was clear, it was decided. Since then, he’s selected the quotes from the book that will be the most essential for the understanding of the performance.
Alyona Matvienko said, “I want Gatsby to last, and be equally in demand here and in Western Europe and the United States. I want it to look natural on the stage of the Mariinsky, as well as in Las Vegas in the format of the tour. To achieve this, we have involved successful people from various spheres.”
She continued, “The dream aspiration is for our performances to be attended by people who love going to see the movies, Madonna and Bolshoi Theater. By the way, especially for television an advertising music video was filmed.” [See the music video/trailer below.]
The first official auditions for The Great Gatsby ballet were held at the Mariinsky Theatre last month. It has still not been announced who will couple Denis Matvienko and play the role of Daisy Buchanan. In the flashy trailer, Ukrainian National Opera’s Elizaveta Cheprasova partners Denis Matvienko.
By the look of things, the production may borrow a bit of drama from Baz Luhrmann’s recent film adaptation of The Great Gatsby. For more information, visit gatsbyballet.com.
Photo: A still of Denis Matvienko for The Great Gatsby.