From Bolshoi to Belfast

27 Oct — 13 Dec 2014 at Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast, United Kingdom

Belfast ballerina Jane Maguire pictured at the opening of the premiere. Photo by: Kevin Boyes
Belfast ballerina Jane Maguire pictured at the opening of the premiere. Photo by: Kevin Boyes
4 NOV 2014

A stunning exhibition featuring 50 costumes from the famous Bolshoi theatre and Russian Museum of Ethnography will on Monday 27th October at Crumlin Road Gaol.

Entitled From Bolshoi to Belfast: the Theatre of Costume, this world-class exhibition includes a magnificent collection of ethnographic and opera costumes as well as pieces from the world-renowned Bolshoi, many of which have never toured outside of Russia.

Part of UK Russia Year of Culture 2014, the exhibition tells the story of the rise of the Bolshoi and how the traditional costumes of the Russian people are reimagined in the famous 20th century ballet and opera designs. The designs trace the evolution of these magnificent costumes from their Russian peasant origin.

From Bolshoi to Belfast: the Theatre of Costume combines costumes never seen before outside of Russia with designs which have been showcased in Rome, Paris and Milan. It will also capture the drama of the Bolshoi through images and music which will surround the costumes.

As well as instantly recognisable ballet styles from Swan Lake, the exhibition features costumes from the early 19th century and the famous designs from The Golden Cockerel by Rimsky-Korsakov in 1988.

The exhibition is funded by Belfast City Council. Lord Mayor, Nichola Mallon, said the exhibition is a major coup for Belfast and reflects the city’s reputation as a cultural hub; “It is very exciting to see such a wonderful exhibition coming to Belfast and to know that we are seeing something that has never been outside of Russia before.

“It should prove attractive to so many people not just those interested in dance but opera, history, and politics. Not many of us have had the chance to travel to Russia so to find a little bit in our city and to be able to learn about it and see it first-hand is amazing.

“I want to congratulate everyone involved and I am sure the people of Belfast and beyond will really enjoy this fascinating exhibition and the fact that it is being held in one of our most popular tourist attractions, Crumlin Road Gaol, just adds to the mystique,” Councillor Mallon added.

Lidya Kharina, Director of the Bolshoi Theatre Museum and joint curator of the exhibition, said; “We are very proud of From Bolshoi to Belfast. Not only is it visually stunning but, importantly, it charts the fascinating journey of the world’s most famous theatre and shows how the rich history of Russian peasant life and the beauty and intrigue of Russian culture have influenced the Bolshoi designs. We are excited that this exhibition is premiering in Belfast. The city’s obvious passion for arts and culture makes this a very fitting venue for us and the curatorial team have been impressed by the diversity of Belfast’s cultural offering.”

This is not the first time Belfast has been home to a Russian costume exhibition. In 1895 Russian designs were displayed in the Belfast Art and Industrial exhibition – the last major event held in the White Linen Hall before it was demolished to make way for the City Hall.

From Bolshoi to Belfast: the Theatre of Costume will be accompanied by a full programme of activities including a film season, public talks, debates and workshops.