Baletoman, I'm surprised no-one has to add something about these performances !
I saw both evenings and have enjoyed it in a great way !
Ok, I do understand that a lot of balletomanes are not into gala's but to me it's still a wonderful opportunity to
learn about dancers you otherwise don't see that often ! More, this evening was reasonable priced and in terms of 'entertaining' a great value for money.
I don't find RAH that bad...maybe I was just lucky with my seats ? Indeed some people in the Arena (top-price) -with flat floor ! - had problems with visability
On to the dancing now :
I quite liked "Madam Lioneli" - the new work of young choreographer Kirill Simonov.
What we saw was a sharp, flashy choreography tailormade for Nioradze on music by Adams and Bryars.
I thought the first part, the strongest (maybe due to the music ?) and you have a point concerning being 'predictable' in some way. We haven't seen a masterpiece, but an entertaining choreography and with a stellarcast like Nioradze and Kuznetsov it wasn't boring to me, even not on a second viewing !
My greatest disappointment was the absence of Daria Pavlenko. After missing her in Paris, I was really looking forward to have a taste of her moving dancing so that I could fill the gap until the summerseason ;) Instead of Pavlenko and Tarasova one had invited a Maly-theater's principal : Irina Perrin.
This poor replacement was the only real blame on the evening. I don't think it was a good decision to put such an inexperienced ballerina on the London-stage. A pity the organisation even didn't made the effort to add a cast-change note to the programme : so, I heard the French family next to me complaining about the dancing of Daria Pavlenko !!!
I must say I was intrigued by "Legend of Love", a ballet I only heard of and at first sight a bit bizar, on the second night...I hadn't enough with the Monolog and Adagio, I wanted to see more of it ! Is there any chance they'll bring this some day to London ?
The "Le Corsaire"-pdd was saved by Igor Zelensky. Great to see him back after such a long absence. Although he seemed carefull and omitted some lifts (? have I seen this right ?), I adore his commending of the stage.
Half of the venue was looking with eagles-eyes towards the excerpts from "Manon". A difficult task for Ilja Kuznetsov and Yulia Makhalina, not at least that building-up emotions along a complete ballet is so difficult to recreate in a flash. If possible, Kuznetsov is grown even more impressive as when I saw him a couple of years back in the London season, where he danced somewhat everything ! Not that he was a perfect cast as Des Grieux, but together with Makhalina they made a good couple. It was the first time I saw Makhalina and I'm not sure she convinced me totally.
Given the hype a group of fans is creating around Nikolai Tsiskaridze, I wasn't sure he could meet my expectation. He brought "Narcissus" and I agree he didn't disappoint ;-) He's a born stage-man, I must see more from him !
Irma Nioradze and Farouk Ruzimatov took us for a while into the world of Fokine's "Scheherazade".
Irma was in wonderful form and the performance of both these mature dancers was putting the Black Swan pdd - which followed - completely in the shadow !
I have never been moved by Evgeny Ivanchenko, even if he seems to be the most solid partner ever, and the combination with a insecure Perrin made me decide to forget quick about it.
Ruzimatov gave a breathtaking performance in Béjart's "Death of the Poet".
Makhalina and Kuznetsov made me longing to see - as soon as possible - "Raymonda" live !!! Why does Russian companies don't bring this to UK ?
With "Don Quixote" Nioradze and Ivanchenko warmed up the audience for a surprising ritmic finale !
Completely in-line with the atmosphere of this Gala, every dancer offered us an extra injection with great show-off dancing.
These brilliant evenings, made me look forward to see some of these dancers in full-length ballets this summer.
Ballet Stars of S. Petersburg in Albert Hall
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