Vladimir Vasiliev is not only one the all-time greatest Russian dancers, the former Bolshoi star has also proven a choreographer of real distinction. VAI re-releases his two-act ballet "Anyuta" as it was initially created in 1982 as a dance film with his wife Ekaterina Maximova in the title role. Adapted for the stage four years later, it remains one of his most complete and convincing works. Based upon Anton Chekhov's short story "Anna on the neck", satirizing life in a small provincial town, Anyuta concerns a woman who after marrying upon the social ladder discovers the power of beauty and sexual attraction, yet at the expense of all those dear to her. Set to an irresistible melodious score by Valery Gavrilin, Vasiliev's choreography, even if firmly rooted in the classical idiom and reviving the tradition of Russian literary ballets, is contemporary and adroitely portrays the characters, blending sentiment with the element of grotesque.
Ekaterina Maximova is magnificent as Anyuta, conveying a breathtaking range of emotions while Vladimir Vasiliev himself, cast against type as her hapless drinking father, gives one of his most subtle and moving portrayals. Supporting roles include Gali Abaidulov as Anyuta's wealthy and powerful, but stingy and boring bureaucrat-husband, John Markovsky as the rich and spoiled Don Juan Artynov, and Marat Daukaev as the student (a character introduced by Vasiliev) whom Anyuta is genuinely in love with
VAI provides a fair DVD transfer from this 1982 film, with only a few blemishes in the print.