Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina
© Anna-Maria Löffelberger

Anna Karenina

Reginaldo Oliveira

Based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy

World premiere 05/01/2021 / Salzburg State Theatre


“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” This now famous sentence marks the beginning of Tolstoy’s novel “Anna Karenina”. Anna Karenina finds unhappiness in the form of Count Vronsky, who at first seems to constitute her personal happiness. Anna Karenina’s marriage is rather loveless but secures her financial and social standing. When she begins a tempestuous affair with Vronsky, her husband presents her with the choice of either ending the relationship or leaving town and never seeing her child again. Anna Karenina elopes with Vronsky. While Vronsky is still accepted in Russian society, Anna is more and more ostracised. Their once boundless love does not withstand this pressure. Anna becomes increasingly lonely and caught up in jealous fantasies. Eventually, she sees only one way out and takes her own life.

Anchored in a great love story, Tolstoy created a grim portrait of Russian society in his novel “Anna Karenina”, which examined Russia’s pressing social questions and the rise of reformism in the country in an almost incidental manner. Reginaldo Oliveira, head of the ballet division, presents a new full-length narrative ballet that is inspired by Tolstoy’s novel and takes the audience on a journey into the heart of Russia and all its political turmoil to revisit one of the most important female characters in world literature.

The Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) rose to fame with his epic novels “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina” before he began to disseminate his utopian goals of a simple life lived in equality, shared work and freedom from possessions and from excessive desires. His rigorous teachings became the basis of the Tolstoyan movement, which soon spread far beyond Russia.

After “Othello”, a gloomy drama about jealousy, and their celebrated interpretation of “Romeo and Juliet”, a tragedy about young love, head of the ballet division Reginaldo Oliveira and his trusted team of stage designer Sebastian Hannak and costume designer Judith Adam now present their latest creation, which centres on the fictional life of a great and complex female character.