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A hundred years anniversary of Mikhail Satunovsky the Ballet Master

April 28, 2017

Today, 28 April 2017 is a hundred year anniversary of Mikhail Lvovich Satunovsky, who was a ballet master, a director, a tutor (1917 - 2000). A RSFSR Honored Artist, National Honored Man of Art, Mikhail Satunovsky was a chief ballet master of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre since 1952 till 1958. During that period a USSR National Artist Lidia Ivanovna Krupenina, a legendary ballerina has been reigning on the stage.

"Satunovsky was a perfect ballet master, a good actor, who could play all the characters - recalls Lidia Krupenina - he had a special gift of projecting himself into a character - he could impersonate anyone life-like."

Mikhail Satunovsky was born on 14 April 1917 (old calendar) in Ekaterinoslav town (now Dnepropetrovsk). He studied in the ballet studio at the Dnepropetrovsk Opera and Ballet Theatre and then at the Kiev Choreographic College (1934 - 1938), then since 1932 he worked at Dnepropetrovsk and Kiev theatres, performing classical, signature and grotesque characters.

Mikhail Satunovsky participated in the Great Patriotic War. It is known, that being called to arms in 1939 as a military paramedic he managed to bring ninety seven soldiers out of the war zone. At the same time he was wounded himself and then discharged of army.

In 1942 Mikhail Satunovsky returned to his theatre career becoming a soloist and a ballet master at the Kiev Opera and Ballet Theatre, which had been evacuated to Irkutsk at that time. In 1950, after RUTA's ballet-master faculty he staged his graduating performance - "Sleeping Beauty" ballet at the Kharkov Opera and Ballet Theatre. Later on he worked as a ballet master, director and tutor in Vilnius, Sverdlovsk, Tashkent, Kharkov and Alma-Ata, and in 1953 he became a chief of the ballet company at the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre.

During his Novosibirsk period, he paid a lot of attention to the dramatic part of a ballet performance, directing "Don Quixote" (1954), "Swan Lake" (1955), "Giselle" (1957) and "Sleeping Beauty" (1958). Also he worked as a ballet master and a producer of the operas "Carmen" and "Tosca". A significant thing - some of the ballets he staged in the Novosibirsk theatre such as "The Bronze Horseman" (1953) and "Esmeralda" (1953), were categorized as choreodrama.

"The theatre toured across the whole country with "Esmeralda" ballet, and it had been staged for 25 years with Satunovsky's choreography - recalls Lidia Krupenina - it was very interesting to practice with Mikhail Lvovich. He never stopped searching for the best solution for an artist, he was constantly changing something, adding, complicating the parts according to the dancer's experience.