The Bolshoi performs on through politics and pandemic

The jewel in Russia’s artistic crown is no stranger to turmoil, but Covid-19 has inflicted a new type of challenge

07 March 2021 - 19:19 By Henry Foy

It begins with the innocent tinkle of a child’s musical box and ends with the brutal beheading of a prophet. But the real story of Richard Strauss’s opera, Salome, on the Bolshoi Theatre’s stage in Moscow is a statement of intent from this Russian cultural totem that the show will go on, come what may, as it has for almost 250 years.

Political tumult, social tension and global crises are no strangers to Russia’s most illustrious stage and one of the country’s few truly exceptional brands. And as it opens its 245th season while the doors to most of the world’s great opera houses, ballet theatres and philharmonic halls remain shut, it is revelling in its role as a global leader, even as Moscow and the West continue to turn their backs on each other...

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