The Australian Ballet

5 Reasons you need to see Anna Karenina

Passion, scandal, not one but two love triangles, ecstasy, grief, hallucinations, tragedy: Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is a rich subject for ballet, and Yuri Possokhov's new production does justice to the grand ambition of the novel. Here are five reasons why this is the must-see production of 2022.

600 x 700 Alberto Velazquez and Victoria Jaiani Photo by Cheryl Mann min

Passion to move you

The story of Anna, whose life-destroying desire for the handsome and faithless Vronsky is palpable through a series of rapturous pas de deux.

600 x 800 Nicole Ciapponi and Yoshihisa Arai Anna Karenina Photo by Cheryl Mann 4 min

Glamour and Grandeur

The costumes by veteran theatre designer Tom Pye capture the elegance of Imperial Russian society with luxurious fabrics and jewel tones.

600 x 800 Yoshihisa Arai Photo by Cheryl Mann min

A ballet like a movie

Chicago's PBS station, WWTW, called Possokhov's Anna Karenina "A magnificent classical ballet in the guise of a great work of modern cinema." Pye's opulent yet minimal sets and projections by Finn Ross (Harry Potter and The Cursed Child) - which include footage of the dancers taken backstage in real time - conjure ballrooms, bedrooms, a race track and that fateful train station, lending a filmic scale and atmosphere to this immersive piece of theatre.

600 x 800 Alberto Velazquez Victoria Jaiani Photo by Cheryl Mann 2 min

The role of a lifetime

A very human heroine, Anna holds our sympathy even as she flounders into disaster. She adores, she suffers, she is torn between her life and the love of her life - no wonder actors from Greta Garbo to Vivien Leigh to Keira Knightly have been attracted to the role. We can't wait to see our brilliant dancers embody Anna.

600 x 800 Victoria Jaiani Fabrice Calmels ensemble Anna Karenina Photo by Cheryl Mann 1 min

The Music

Teaming up with the Joffrey Ballet to co-produce Anna Karenina meant that the ballet could have specially commissioned music by multi-award-winning composer Ilya Demutsky. Inspired by Tolstoy, Demutsky has created a sweeping, textured score with all the scale and grandeur of his countrymen Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. A mezzo soprano will appear at key moments to amplify Anna's emotion through song.

600 x 800 Alberto Velazquez Victoria Jaiani Photo by Cheryl Mann