Misguided quest for Nijinsky's genius is a travesty
I am not seriously prepared to judge Nijinsky's genius - or the Kirov's performance - on the basis of this sort of thing. It is a travesty and it makes you believe that Nijinksy was a fraud, who parachuted on greater talents to create the work that sealed his reputation. The Kirov's acquisition of this contaminated object is a cardinal mistake, and they must dump it like a stone.
The costumes are certainly eye-watering; a community of Uzbek carpet-nomads, with long intricate braids, embroidered tunics and thick socks, set amid surprisingly gentle hills in Nicholas Roerich's original designs.
But these capers and skips in circles, these demure glove-puppet hands and pigeon toes, that crone bent double like a Grimm witch, those men shuffling in acrylic bear costumes, all this damn docility - is this the infamous Nijinsky revolution? If it is, then Fokine could have claimed plagiarism of his choreography, and Nijinska would be considered a greater dance-maker than her brother.
But these didn't happen, so this feeble, faux-naif stuff cannot be what Nijinsky wrote. With all due credit to the terrific Maryinsky music-making, no amount of celebrity ambulance-chasing can bring back something lost 85 years ago.
Actually, I think Nijinska is a greater choreographer than her brother, but that's another story But I love the phrase "celebrity ambulance-chasing." That could sum up our age!