A report this week from the London-based entertainment news agency BANG International stated that the Bolshoi Ballet was itself planning to present the work. However, the company denied any knowledge of such plans. The Itar-Tass news agency quoted a Bolshoi spokeswoman as saying, "The news from London has surprised Bolshoi managers. The Bolshoi is not aware of any ballet titled The Princess of the People being staged to music composed by some British composer. Naturally, any debut presentation in Moscow and then in London is out of the question."
A report in the Moscow newspaper Pravda cleared up the matter. The title role will be danced by Bolshoi prima ballerina Ilse Liepa at the premiere, which is expected to take place in October at the Stanislavsky Theatre in Moscow. Choreography is set to be by Gillian Lynne, a former ballerina who has gone on to be a major presence in London's West End theater world; the music will be performed by members of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra under conductor Sergei Kondrashov. The ballet will then go on an international tour.
"It was important for Keith Hearne to stage the production with the Russian ballet as he considers the Russian ballet school to be the best in the world," Pravda quotes Olga Lyakina, the director of Moscow concert company Premiere, the project's official agent, as saying.
On the project's website (www.princessofthepeople.co.uk), Hearne states, "I'm really delighted that such a star as Ilse Liepa wants to dance the main role in my ballet. After the Moscow premire, it would be wonderful if she and the Bolshoi troupe could also come to London this summer for a performance, especially to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Diana, who inspired me to write the work." The Princess of Wales was killed in an automobile accident in Paris in 1997.
Hearne is a psychologist and principal of the European College of Hypnotherapy. He studied piano and violin as a child and has composed several classical works, including a guitar concerto. He began working on the score seven years ago, according to Pravda, and has reportedly received an official letter of approval from Diana's sons, the Princes William and Harry.