• Find us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Follow us on Instagram
  • View Our YouTube Channel
  • Listen on Spotify
  • View our scores on nkoda


Abbreviations (PDF)



This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes / Sikorski for the UK, British Commonwealth (excluding Canada), Republic of Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Israel.


World Premiere
Bolshoi Hall, Leningrad
Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra / Alexander Gauk
Repertoire Note

Shostakovich’s second ballet, The Bolt, is a caustic and colourful tale of skulduggery and counter-revolutionary wickedness in a Soviet factory. The drunken and lazy Lyonka hates his work. Encouraged by a dangerous and subversive anti-Soviet schemer and also by the appalling example of the (equally drunken) local priest and his lazy and ignorant congregation, Lyonka is drawn into a plot to sabotage his factory by dropping a large bolt into a piece of machinery. Only the noble intervention of a group of brave Young Communists succeeds in saving the workplace and protecting the revolutionary future from the reactionary forces of darkness and conservatism.

The original choreography was by the outstanding Fyodor Lopukhov, later famous for his restagings of the ballet-classics, but at this period best known for his avant-garde work. In ‘The Bolt’ he made much play with dancers imitating the workings of machinery. Tatyana Bruni’s gaudy designs of a factory interior added to this effect.

‘The Bolt’ was not a success at its first performance and was immediately taken off. Shostakovich immediately began recycling the work in other pieces and compiled the lively and entertaining Ballet Suite No.5.

Note by Gerard McBurney


Stay updated on the latest composer news and publications