Regular price: $15.45

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Buy Now for $15.45

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Add to Library for $0.00

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

On a freezing night in January 2013, an assailant hurled acid in the face of the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Sergei Filin. The crime, organised by a lead soloist, dragged one of Russia's most illustrious institutions into scandal.
Under Vladimir Putin, the Bolshoi Theatre has been called on to preserve Russia's lengthy artistic legacy and to mirror its neo-imperial ambitions. As renowned musicologist Simon Morrison shows in his tour de force account, the attack and its torrid aftermath underscored the importance of the Bolshoi to the art of ballet, to Russia, and to the world.
With exclusive access to state archives and private sources, Morrison sweeps us through the history of the ballet, tracing the political ties that bind the institution to the varying Russian regimes and detailing the birth of some of the best-loved ballets in the repertoire.
From its disreputable beginnings in 1776, the Bolshoi became a point of pride for the tsarist empire after the defeat of Napoleon in 1812. After the revolution Moscow was transformed into a global capital; meetings of the Communist Party were hosted at the Bolshoi, and the Soviet Union was signed into existence on its stage.
Recently, a £450 million restoration has returned the Bolshoi to its former glory, even as prized talent has departed. The theatre has been bombed, rigged with explosives and reinforced with cement. Its dancers have suffered unimaginable physical torment to climb the ranks. But, as Morrison reveals, the Bolshoi has transcended its own fraught history, surviving 250 years of artistic and political upheaval to define not only Russian culture but also ballet itself.
©2016 Simon Morrison (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
Show More Show Less

Critic Reviews

"The title means what it says. There's plenty of scandal here: arson, double suicide, dead cats flung at curtain calls. At the same time, the book is energetically researched, beautifully written - fun, relaxed, sophisticated - and full of serious ideas, boldly stated." (Joan Acocella, The New Yorker)
"Another marvelously informative book from Simon Morrison, dishing this time on Russia's great musical theater, onstage and off. It is a wonderful read, full of intriguing spectacle and spectacular intrigue." (Richard Taruskin, author of The Oxford History of Western Music)
"Simon Morrison has written an engrossing history of one of Russia's most enduring cultural institutions. Bolshoi Confidential deftly shatters the distinctions between high-brow and low-brow, art and politics, authority and violence." (Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana and A World on Fire)
"A colorful and erudite view on Russia through the tumultuous history of the sumptuous Bolshoi." (Peter Pomerantsev, author of Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible)
"Simon Morrison's Bolshoi Confidential is a magisterial portrait of the art, intrigue and politics buffeting Russia's great cultural institution, the Bolshoi Ballet. From its birth in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars to the corrosive intrigues of the 21st century, ballet was the heart of Soviet compliance and attempted resistance. A chilling cautionary tale about the perils of art pressed into the service of dogma and subdued into a servant of the state, Bolshoi Confidential offers fresh details about how deeply and indelibly Stalinist censorship bruised culture, artists and audiences in the USSR." (Janice Ross, author of Like a Bomb Going Off: Leonid Yakobson and Ballet as Resistance in Soviet Russia)
Show More Show Less

No Reviews are Available

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By First Impressions on 04-08-17

Much enjoyed, thou prob for ballet enthusiasts

Would you consider the audio edition of Bolshoi Confidential to be better than the print version?

I have never seen or read the print version, but I imagine this may have been even better. Brought to life by a quality narrator. I cannot tell you if any of the names/words were mispronounced, I don't speak Russian, but it made the story sound more atmospheric to me.

What did you like best about this story?

The variety. The strange beginning, the long history, arson, double suicide, dead cats being thrown, the Soviet Union springing into existence on the Bolshoi stage, the tales of dancers, unshaved armpits, a fine joke about the Soviet culture minister. Bring it on!

What about Dugald Bruce-Lockhart’s performance did you like?

Interesting, strong voice - kept up a nice pace. I'd listen to him narrate something else.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The extraordinary dedication of those involved with the Bolshoi despite astonishing events and horrors outside (and sometimes inside). It seems "The Show Must Go On".

Any additional comments?

This audiobook is probably something for ballet or theatre enthusiasts, althought I might be wrong - quite a story.

Read More Hide me

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

See all Reviews