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Bolt, Avant-Garde and Kitsch

Shostakovich's forbidden ballet

Bolt, Avant-Garde and Kitsch Shostakovich's forbidden ballet


A documentary on the second ballet by Shostakovich, Bolt, commissioned by the Soviet State and banned the day after its première...

This is the story of the unbelievable fate of a ballet by Shostakovich, commissioned in 1931 for the Moscow Art Theatre, and now forgotten. At the time, the young Shostakovich, aged just twenty-five, was already seen as a national hero. After his First Symphony, which was said to be a revelation, then the success of his Second symphony and finally his ballet The Golden Age, Shostakovich was commissioned to write a ballet which would aim at depicting – and glorifying – the industrial world.

However, BOLT was not the success the government had hoped for. Instead, it irritated the high commissioners of culture in the USSR, and it would be censored and banned the day after its first performance. Humorous and deeply rooted in the avant-gardes of the 1920s, the score by Shostakovich in fact had nothing to do with the standards of "Socialist Realism," which was meant to be the dominant trend in art at the time...


  • Directed by:
    • Edgardo Cozarinsky
  • Production date: 2006
  • Duration: 12 min
  • Production: © AIR MEDIA / ARTE France / BBC
  • Available version(s): EN

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