Features May 1990
The Pasternak centennial celebration
On reading Pasternak.
Attending the Bolshoi Theatre on Sverdlov Square in Moscow is always an exciting prospect. Once the Great Imperial Theatre, built in 1824 with a statue of Phoebus in his sun chariot above its ionic portico, it promises always a wealth of music and dance in its red and gold interior. One enters the building as if stepping into the scene on a hand-painted Palekh box, ready to be part of some Russian fairy tale. Its gilded decor was completely refurbished a few years ago and its heavy red curtains rewoven; it is only on close inspection that one discovers stitched into the rich fabric the hammer-and-sickle emblem and is reminded of the real world beyond these brilliant walls. I went to the Bolshoi first in 1970 and returned a number of times since; but never have I witnessed an audience more animated than that assembled on Friday, February 9, for a special program honoring the hundredth birthday of Boris Pasternak. That such a...
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