Baryshnikov to bring «Letter to a Man» to Rīga

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From August 3 to August 7 the Latvian National Opera will see guest performances by Riga-born ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov who'll be playing Vaslav Nijinsky in his "Letter to a Man", reported LSM's Latvian-language service Wednesday.

"Letter to a Man" was first performed in Italy last July to great acclaim. This year it continues its world tour, stopping in Rīga as well.

The play is a collaboration between Baryshnikov and American avant-garde playwright Robert Wilson. It is based on Nijinsky's 1919 diaries documenting the young man’s descent into madness.

Nijinsky died in 1950 after spending more than 30 years in a mental institution.

"I'm playing Nijinsky in a white mask with white make-up. There are many voices sounding in the performance, 90% of them recorded. They're not mine, but my voice is there too," Baryshnikov said at a Rīga press conference held Wednesday.

Modern theater goers haven't had the chance to see Nijinsky dance as no records of his performances exist.

However, Nijinsky and Baryshnikov are widely believed to be one of the best ballet dancers of the 20th century, and "Letter to a Man" sees them, in a way, meeting eye to eye.

Organizer Andrejs Žagars said tickets will go on sale next week.

Last year Baryshnikov performed at New Riga Theatre's "Brodsky/Baryshnikov".

The play sparked a veritable Baryshnikov mania in the Latvian capital, with people setting up tents before the box office for a chance to score a ticket. 

Here's an interview Baryshnikov gave to LSM's Masha Nasardinova last fall.

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