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Eifman Ballet of St Petersburg returns in June

The world-renowned Eifman Ballet of St Petersburg will return to Hong Kong after sell-out performances in 2004.

Featuring "Russian Hamlet" on June 9 and 10 and "Don Juan & Moliere" on June 11, the performances will take place at 7.30pm at the Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

"Russian Hamlet" is a true tragic story of Tsarevich Paul, the son of Catherine the Great in the 18th century. The fate of Paul, so reminiscent of Hamlet's (Paul in his lifetime was known as "The Russian Hamlet"), is shrouded in mystery and mystical omens. At the age of eight he saw his father murdered with his mother's approval. After that, his mother's inability to love him – she was afraid of her son and heir – and being subject to constant surveillance, intrigue, fear and humiliation, the young prince began to suffer from hallucinations, persecution mania and spiritual loneliness. Paul had met his father's ghost and had a foreboding of his own tragic death, and was therefore in a hurry to ascend to power in order to bring about progressive reform in Russia. Misunderstood, he was murdered and cursed.

The ballet deals with his early, ambitious hopes and the first tragic catastrophes - the time of his search for the answer to Hamlet's eternal question: "To be or not to be". Eifman gives a grand-scale pictorial splendor with performances of emotionally aggressive and savagely sexual, displaying the burning passion intensely.

Moliere (1622-1673), France's most legendary dramatist, had always been despised by the commoners and persecuted by the Church for his confrontation against the noble society. He turns his young wife into a great actress. In return, he has to endure her love affairs. With his deteriorating health, he died after a performance. Moliere struggles throughout his whole life for the success of his theatre. Despite the many difficulties he faces, Moliere uses humour to convey the imperfections of human nature and to depict some of the most dramatic collisions of everyday life and the society he lived in.

A seductive and audacious Spanish nobleman who always tempts women, Don Juan is the lead character in one of Moliere's best plays. Don Juan's countless victories rid him of the sensation of love while nothing affects his soul. He is ultimately punished by being dragged by spirits into Hell.

Eifman beautifully masters the "in" and "out" of the portals of time, illusion and reality. The tragic contrast of the inner torments of Moliere and the adventures life of his hero Don Juan, is the basis of his ballet. But the destinies of the fictional hero and his creator are different.

Founded by Boris Eifman in 1977 as the New Ballet of Leningrad, Eifman Ballet has revolutionised the concept of classical dance in Russia by taking the art of ballet to its highest level of expressiveness. Eifman created a new type of dance artist who uses classical ballet training as a launching pad for innovative, modern choreography. The company's unique style fuses ballet with contemporary theatre and film, using all aspects of a theatrical production to create a rich and multi-dimensional theatre experience.

In 1998, Eifman Ballet was awarded the title of "Academic Theatre" - the highest level of distinction for a Russian theatre company, an honour shared by such world-renowned companies as the Kirov Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet.

Tickets priced at $360, $280, $200 and $120 are available at URBTIX outlets, while senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients can have 50% off (limited quotas for students and CSSA recipients on a first-come, first-served basis). A 10% discount applies to Friends of LCSD performing venues. A 5% discount will be available for a single purchase of tickets for both performances.

For programme enquiries and details of associated events - a ballet workshop and a post-performance talk (conducted in English) - call 2268 7323 or visit . Ticketing enquiries and reservations can be made on 2734 9009 and credit card telephone bookings on 2111 5999. Tickets can also be booked online at .

Ends/Thursday, April 20, 2006

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