Russia’s Mariinsky teams up with James Cameron for worldwide 3D broadcast of ‘Swan Lake’

Russia’s Mariinsky teams up with James Cameron for worldwide 3D broadcast of ‘Swan Lake’
Russia's Mariinsky Theater plans project one of its most famous ballets, Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake,’ in 3D to cinema audiences in 50 countries worldwide. Those working on the project included the director of ‘Avatar,’ James Cameron.

To transfer the magic of ballet into cinemas eight 3D cameras will be filming the moves of the troupe in multiple close-ups. Their pirouettes will then be transmitted into cinemas in 1200 screens in different countries in quality comparable with that of Hollywood blockbusters.

Few can match Cameron’s eye for 3D production – he directed ‘Avatar,’ the highest-grossing 3D film in history. The US-based Cameron Pace Group, the company of James Cameron and Vince Pace, will produce the 3D Mariinsky event using the same Oscar-winning technology as in ‘Avatar.’

“We all know if you team up with Cameron [Pace] something exciting will happen.   All your experience helps you, so Live will not lose any part of this promised magic. When people know this is happening now it adds so much to the feeling,” Mariinsky Theater Artistic Director Valery Gergiev said.

Members of the Mariinsky theatre perform during a rehearsal for filming in St.Petersburg June 2, 2013. (Reuters / Alexander Demianchuk)

The project is also being managed by British group Glass Slipper Live Events, who worked with the late pop star Michael Jackson.

One of the project's organizers is former Royal Ballet dancer Ross MacGibbon, who danced in ‘Swan Lake’ himself and once performed with legendary Soviet dancer Rudolph Nureev. He also recently worked on a 3D version of the latest ‘Bourne’ blockbuster.

MacGibbon described the 3D version of the quintessential Russian ballet as an “exciting adventure, a great honor and even a challenge.” 

“Having already filmed a ballet in 3D, I feel up to this challenge. The shapes made in classical ballet can only be fully appreciated on screen in three dimensions, as dance is all about movement through space. The 3D will transform the cinema experience. I feel, it’s especially thrilling when allied with great dance,” MacGibbon explained.

The Mariinsky Theater, built in the 18th Century, is at the forefront of using state-of-the-art technology in its shows. The theater’s first-in-history live Internet broadcast of a performance took place in 1999. The Mariinsky was also the first Russian theater to experiment with Live 3D, with its closed-circuit experimental live broadcast to an audience in Paris and its 3D versions of ‘Giselle’ and ‘The Nutcracker.’

A cameraman films members of the Mariinsky theatre performing during a rehearsal for filming in St.Petersburg June 2, 2013.(Reuters / Alexander Demianchuk)

“Mariinsky Live 3D format is something totally new not only for us but also for the whole world. Looking at this opportunity it’s to both display the qualities of the company but to do it with the newest possible technology,” Gergiev said.

And for those who can’t make the trip to St. Petersburg, watching ‘Swan Lake’ in 3D at a cinema near you is also a way to save money and time while still getting a chance to appreciate the show. The performance will be conducted by Maestro Gergiev – who is also the London Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Conductor – in St Petersburg on Thursday, at 9:30pm local time (17:30 GMT).

A cameraman films members of the Mariinsky theatre performing during a rehearsal for filming in St.Petersburg June 2, 2013.(Reuters / Alexander Demianchuk)

Members of the Mariinsky theatre perform during a rehearsal for filming in St.Petersburg June 2, 2013.(Reuters / Alexander Demianchuk)