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The Bolshoi and Culture Wars

Cultural discussion show. Tom Sutcliffe discusses the history of the Bolshoi Ballet and the collision between art and politics with Simon Morrison, Ismene Brown and Nigel Cliff.

Tom Sutcliffe talks to the academic Simon Morrison about the remarkable story of the Bolshoi ballet: a 250 year history that encompasses being the pride of Tsarist Russia to state control by Stalin to the scandal of acid attacks in the 21st century. Ismene Brown explores the different styles which set apart the Russian corps de ballet from its British counterpart. Art and politics are also at the forefront of Nigel Cliff's story of the Texan pianist Van Cliburn, who for a short time bridged the divide between the two superpowers during the Cold War, and the curator Edith Devaney explains how the CIA used Abstract Expressionism to promote the US.
Producer: Katy Hickman

Photo: The Bolshoi Ballet perform for Prince Charles & the Duchess of Cornwall on a royal tour of Bahrain on 11th November, 2016
Credit: Chris Jackson/ Getty Images.

Available now

43 minutes

Simon Morrison

Simon Morrison is a historian and a professor of music at Princeton University.

Bolshoi Confidential: Secrets of the Russian Ballet from the Rule of the Tsars to Today is published by 4th Estate.

Ismene Brown

Ismene Brown is the former dance critic of The Spectator and The Daily Telegraph.

Nigel Cliff

Nigel Cliff is a historian, biographer, critic and translator.

Moscow Nights: The Van Cliburn Story - How One Man and His Piano Transformed the Cold War is published by Harper.

Edith Devaney

Edith Devaney is a curator at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Abstract Expressionism is on at the Royal Academy of Arts in London until 2 January.


Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Sutcliffe
Interviewed Guest Simon Morrison
Interviewed Guest Ismene Brown
Interviewed Guest Nigel Cliff
Interviewed Guest Edith Devaney
Producer Katy Hickman