Author: Simon Morrison
Published by: Knopf Canada on October 11, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eBook, ARC
Source: Penguin Random House Canada, NetGalley
Book Rating: 9/10
In this enthralling, definitive new history of the Bolshoi Ballet, sensational performances onstage compete with political machinations backstage.
On January 17, 2013, a hooded assailant hurled acid into the face of the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, making international headlines. A lead soloist, enraged by institutional power struggles, later confessed to masterminding the crime. The scandal, though shocking, is not an anomaly in the turbulent and tormented yet magnificent history of the Bolshoi. Renowned music historian Simon Morrison reveals the ballet as a crucible of art and politics, beginning with the disreputable inception of the theatre in 1776 and proceeding through the era of imperial rule, the chaos of revolution, the oppressive Soviet years, and the recent $680 million renovation project. Drawing on exclusive archival research, Morrison creates a richly detailed tableau of the centuries-long war between world-class art and life-threatening politics that has defined this storied institution. As Morrison makes clear, as Russia goes, so goes the Bolshoi Ballet.
This is a remarkably researched, sophisticated story of the tumultuous history of the iconic Bolshoi.
It is a journey through its 240-year history, complete with an in-depth look into the scandals, corruption, damage, destruction, violence, and restorations that it has endured over the years, as well as an introduction to the characters that have played an important role its enduring successes and failures, including Tsars, politicians, dancers, directors, composers and choreographers.
This is, ultimately, an expository story about the creation and production of one of the most beautiful art forms the world has ever known, complete with the shady and gritty underworld that plagues its backstage.
Overall, this novel is incredibly descriptive, effortlessly fluid, and highly fascinating.
This book is due to be published on October 11, 2016.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.
For more information on Simon Morrison, visit his website at: princeton.edu/~simonm
or follow him on Twitter at: @
Thank you to NetGalley, especially Penguin Random House Canada, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.