Sacred Stage

Watch Sacred Stage

  • NR
  • 2005
  • 1 hr 1 min
  • 8.8  (18)

Sacred Stage is a remarkable documentary film that explores the notable transformation of Russia's Mariinsky Theater during the late 20th century under the leadership of legendary conductor and artistic director, Valery Gergiev. This movie was released in the year 2005, and it features interviews with many key artists who helped shape the renowned opera company into its modern incarnation.

The movie is directed by Joshua Waletzky, with Valery Gergiev, Yulia Makhalina, and Richard Thomas playing the lead characters. Gergiev is one of the most influential conductors of our time and is famous for his work with the Mariinsky Theatre. Makhalina is a principal ballerina at the Mariinsky Theatre, and Thomas is an Emmy Award-winning actor and television director.

Sacred Stage documents the history of the Mariinsky Theatre, formerly known as the Kirov Ballet, from its roots in imperial Russia to its modern-day status as a world-class opera company. The film uses archive footage and interviews with former and current Mariinsky dancers, musicians, conductors, and administrators to draw a compelling historical portrait of the theatre.

The movie begins by demonstrating how the theatre struggled to maintain its high artistic standards during the Soviet era. The authorities often used the theatre for propaganda purposes, eroding its artistry by imposing ill-conceived political directives. But despite these pressures, the Kirov Ballet's dancers continued to perform their artistry with dedication and devotion, earning international acclaim.

In the 1980s, the Mariinsky underwent a dramatic transformation as Gergiev assumed control and began implementing a visionary artistic plan. He assembled a world-class team of musicians, conductors, ballet masters, and stage designers, all focused on creating a unique and elegant form of artistic expression. The movie shows how Gergiev's leadership style, discipline, and infinite attention to detail re-established the artistic vision of Mariinsky and won the hearts of ballet lovers and critics worldwide.

As the film progresses, we see how the Mariinsky Theatre reinvented itself as an international company, with directors and choreographers from all over the world contributing to its repertoire. Additionally, we see how Gergiev nurtured young talent within the organisation, fostering the development of promising musicians and dancers who would take the company forward.

Sacred Stage highlights the daily life and work of the performers within the theatre, revealing the dedication, discipline, and commitment necessary to maintain the highest standards of artistry. The film's climax comes when the theatre travels to America and takes part in a festival of Russian cultural events. The Mariinsky delights the crowds at the festival with its exceptional artistry and breath-taking performances, cementing its reputation as one of the world's leading opera companies.

In essence, Sacred Stage is an essential movie for anyone interested in classical music or ballet. It showcases the evolution of Mariinsky Theatre, from its origins as an imperial theatre to its modern-day status as a globally-renowned opera company. But most importantly, the film reveals the commitment, devotion, and struggle of the artists who made the Mariinsky what it is today.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 1 min
  • IMDB Rating
    8.8  (18)