UK premiere for six Bolshoi Ballet's performances, re-mastered exclusively for Sky Arts

An accompanying documentary on the discovery of the recordings also commissioned 

Six classic Bolshoi Ballet performances discovered in the Russian state archive will receive their UK TV premiere on Sky Arts. The recordings from one of the world’s most prestigious ballet companies have been re-mastered exclusively for Sky Arts, and never before been broadcast outside of Russia. Bolshoi Unseen: Swan Lake will be the first performance to be broadcast on Sky Arts 2 on 11th August to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Bolshoi Ballet’s first visit to Britain.

Discovered in the giant state archive, the Gosteleradiofond, the performances of Swan Lake, Adam And Eve, Don Quixote, The Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet date from the 1970s and 80s. The recordings have been in the Moscow vaults ever since their original airing on USSR state television. Sky Arts has commissioned an accompanying documentary telling the intriguing story of their discovery. Presented by Deborah Bull, former principal dancer at the Royal Ballet, the programme will be broadcast at a later date on Sky Arts along with the five other re-mastered ballets.  

Swan Lake was filmed during the 1976 production which marked the 100th anniversary of the first performance of Tchaikovsky’s most famous ballet by the artists of the state academic Bolshoi Theatre. Directed by current Bolshoi Ballet Master Yuri Grigorovich, the ballet features legendary dancers including Maya Plisetskaya and Alexander Bogatyrev, with the Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre conducted by Algis Zhuraitis. Deborah Bull will also introduce the performance, with an interview with impresario Lilian Hochhauser, who first brought the Bolshoi to London in 1963.

The ballets have been digitally re-mastered for Sky by RTRWorldwide and the programmes produced by Unique.

The name Bolshoi is synonymous with excellence; it’s one of the most iconic ballet powerhouses in the world, so when I heard that there were unseen classic performances, and that Unique and RTR could use technology to restore them to their life-like glory, I just had to pinch-myself,” comments James Hunt, Director of Sky Arts. Performance is at the heart of Sky Arts and ballet is one of the genres our customers are most passionate about. Being the first arts broadcaster to transmit this rare collection of Bolshoi Ballets outside of Russia is not only a privilege but an honour.

Simon Cole, Executive Producer for Unique adds: "From the moment I first saw these rare recordings, despite the original quality, I knew that there were some amazing performances that deserved to be restored and brought to a new audience.  Working with RTRWorldwide and Sky Arts, we have been able to bring new life to 40 year old video tape and film, enabling ballet fans of today to enjoy watching some of the world's greatest dancers."

Bolshoi Unseen marks a further development for Sky Arts which champions innovative and original art programming, underlining Sky’s promise to deliver high-quality, exclusive content to customers, supported by a commitment to increase investment in home-grown programming to £600 million by 2014.

Bolshoi Unseen: Swan Lake - Sunday 11th August 8pm on Sky Arts 2, on the move with Sky Go and On Demand


Dominic Collett Sky Arts Publicist, Sky Press Office
T: 0207 032 4892


About Sky Arts

Sky Arts offers an eclectic mix of the best music, arts, biographies, chat shows, film, drama and comedy. Sky is the only broadcaster in the UK and Ireland with channels dedicated solely to the arts, with 48 hours of the best arts content from around the world across Sky Arts 1 and Sky Arts 2 daily. Sky Arts now reaches more than 6 million viewers every month.

Recent highlights include Playhouse Presents… a series of one-off comedies and dramas starring renowned talent including Jon Hamm, Daniel Radcliffe, Kylie Minogue, Anna Friel, Idriss Elba and Matt Smith. The channel was also responsible for resurrecting the much-loved South Bank Show and The South Bank Show Awards. Sky Arts also encourages new formats and methods for accessing the arts, working with the ENO and National Gallery to beam the world’s first live opera and first live opening night of an exhibition in 3D to cinemas across the UK and Ireland.

Sky Arts also seeks to connect with culture on the ground; creating and collaborating with the best of the arts in the UK and Ireland to bring new experiences to life. Sky Arts has collaborated with a number of arts organisations including the English National Ballet and has supported the Hay Festival as broadcast partner since 2006. The Sky Arts Ignition Series launched in in 2011 to invest in the arts landscape of the UK. The Series will seek to collaborate with six arts organisations over the next three years in the creation of brand new works; Sky Arts Ignition Series: Futures Fund will support five young artists with a bursary of £30,000 each, enabling Sky Arts to back the creation of new works of art as well as nurture emerging talent.

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About Unique

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