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Three is the magic number

PUBLISHED: 18:26 12 June 2008 | UPDATED: 17:13 16 August 2010

AFTER spending more than a decade as the principal dancer for the world famous Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, Sergei Bobrov retired from dancing to become a

AFTER spending more than a decade as the principal dancer for the world famous Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, Sergei Bobrov retired from dancing to become a choreographer winning a gold medal at the All-Russia Ballet Competition of Choreographers in the process.

The 45-year-old has now turned his attentions to opera and is looking to repeat his success as artistic director of The Russian State Opera of Siberia.

The company are currently in the UK with a triple bill of classic operas, including two Puccini classics - his tragic romance La Boheme and elegy to wasted love Madam Butterfly - as well as Verdi's tale of a fallen woman, La Traviata. The three productions will be staged on consecutive days and will involve a 60-string cast made up of some of the top names in Russian opera, but despite the amount of work involved, Bobrov is confident that his crew are more than up to the task.

"I just wanted the audience to see everything we do and all of the types of performances we have, so I thought it would be very nice to show them all three productions," he said. "It takes much more effort than a single production, but the company is used to this kind of job and when we perform a lot of opera they can express themselves better. If someone wants to see everything they can come to all three shows.

"We have a very good cast, they change with each other so they don't sing all of the shows in sequence. They are all very good singers and have very strong voices."

Bobrov began his training as a dancer in 1975 at the age 10 and joined the Bolshoi after graduating from the Moscow State Choreographic Academy eight years later. He rose through the ranks to become principal dancer and has performed many classic roles including Von Rothbart in Swan Lake, Compère in The Golden Age, Signor Lemon in Cipollino, Bolero in Don Quixote and Wolf in The Sleeping Beauty.

He later graduated from the Moscow State Choreographic Academy and is widely regarded as one of the most talented young Russian choreographers today. He has staged numerous acclaimed productions and has won a host of awards including a Gold Medal at the All-Russia Ballet Competition of Choreographers in 1992.

"I always wanted to do choreography and I wanted to be a producer of the shows," he continued. "I started from ballet because I knew ballet more than anything else and later I decided to try opera and I like it very much.

"I like directing because I can communicate with a lot of people and do things as I want them to be. Sometimes it seems to me that I like directing more than dancing because at my age I can't dance as well as I could before, but I can still direct."

Although he comes from a ballet background, the director says that the skills he learnt as a dancer and choreographer can be transferred to opera.

"Opera and ballet have a lot in common," he explained. "When you create something it doesn't really matter what field it is in, you just have to put everything in the right place."

Bobrov toured the UK extensively as a dancer and says he has always had a good reaction from British audiences.

"They are very warm," he added. "I really like the fact that the people who come to our shows really want to see them and really seem to enjoy them."

* The Russian State Opera of Siberia will be performing at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley over the next three days. They will be performing Madam Butterfly at 7.45pm tonight (June 12), La Traviata tomorrow (June 13) at 7.45pm and La Boheme at 2.30pm and 7.45pm on Saturday (June 14). Call the box office on 0871 297 5473 for tickets.

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