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Sleeping Beauty


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#1 Inga

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 09:09 AM

"Sleeping Beauty" February 13

Princess Aurora - Nadezhda Gracheva
Prince Desire - Vladimir Neporozhny (debut)
Lilac Fairy - Maria Allash
Candid Fairy - Nelly Kobakhizde (debut)
Fleur-de-FarineFairy - Olga Suvorova
Dropping Crumbs Fairy - Anna Rebetskaya
Canary Fairy - Olga Zhurba
Violant Fairy - Maria Alexandrova
Diamond Fairy - Elena Andrienko
Sapphires Fairy - Maria Zharkova
Gold Fairy - Yulia Efimova
Silver Fairy - Irina Semirechenskaya
Princess Florina - Nina Kaptsova (debut)
Blue Bird - Andrei Bolotin
White Cat - Anastasia Yatsenko
Puss in Boots - Alexander Petukhov
Red Cap - Ksenia Pchelkina
Grey Wolf - Georgy Geraskin
Cinderella - Ksenia Tsareva
Prince - Andrei Evdokimov

This February Bolshoi scheduled 3 performances of Sleeping Beauty. This ballet was not shown in Moscow for at least two seasons (however in the Fall of 2002 it was taken on a tour to Japan). This performances promise many debuts - partly because the time goes on, partly because leading males of the Bolshoi now are abroad with Nina Ananiashvili and Alexei Fadeechev Dance Theatre.
This first performance gave me doubtful impressions - many soloists in smaller roles were good, but the leading ballerinas were not fit, so the performance was rather dull.
Nadezhda Gracheva apparently is not Aurora - she is not youthful and not aristocratic. Her stage image is rather a servant girl, Cinderella, who never will became a Princess. Her dancing was of very high quality, I enjoyed her beautiful movements, but for Aurora it's not enough. Maria Allash as Lilac Fairy was a real sleeping beauty - she doesn't look interested in what's going on, and almost never awakened. Her only variation I like was when she and Desire come to the sleeping palace.
Vladimir Neporozhny is not a dancer of great personality but he did his best, his Désiré looked young and excited. He is a very handsome dancer, tall, long-legged, and has no problems with technique, so that Désiré was much more convincing than his two ladies.
Maria Alexandrova as the Violent Fairy was exactly what you can see when a big star does a small role - she attracts all the attention to herself, even when she stands in line with other fairies I cannot look at anything but her. So hot, so bright, so clean! I also like Anna Rebetskaya as Dropping Crumbs Fairy, she danced with passion, as if hungry for dancing.
Nelly Kobahidze was rather a disappointment. She is a young dancer, now 3 years with the company, very gifted - musicality, plastique, artistry, charm, beautiful body, thin and long-limbed... When she did her first big part, the main role in Les Sylphides, many people were charmed and predicted her a great future. But alas! As many thin long-legged dancers, she is not very strong technically. When she began to dance other solo parts, it became apparent, and her charm diminished. In the Candid Fiary variation she apparently was not at her ease with technique, so never showed her artistic qualities. I really hope that she will overcome those problems, or it will be too sad. There is no perfection in this world.
In the third act divertissement I like the aristocratic and merry Kaptsova (Florina), and her partner Bolotin, who looked like fantastic creature and danced with ease. The puss-in-boots pas de deux also was exciting, especially with a charming Yatsenko, who noticeably improved last year. Pchelkina was playful Red Riding Hood. Andrienko as Diamond Fairy was not convincing, she is not a dancer for the old classics I think.

#2 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 09:49 AM

Many thanks for your review, Inga. (Apparently their "Sleeping Beauty" was danced mostly on tours, as they also brought it to Torino, Italy in December 2001).

#3 Inga

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 09:29 AM

Marc, that policy of Bolshoi to get on tour ballets that was rarely performed at home is real wonder. Some people think it very bad because the dancers was not ready for the tours. I hope it change. Before last tour in Paris, all three “touring” ballets was danced in Moscow for several times, so the company was familiar with it. And there is now many performances of Romeo & Juliet and Bright Stream, those ballets will be shown abroad in the near future.

#4 Inga

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 10:08 AM

"Sleeping Beauty" February 18

Princess Aurora - Svetlana Zakharova (debut)
Prince Desire - Alexander Volchkov (debut)
Lilac Fairy - Maria Alexandrova (debut)
Candid Fairy - Olga Stebletsova (debut)
Fleur-de-Farine Fairy - Irina Semirechenskaya
Dropping Crumbs Fairy - Anna Rebetskaya
Canary Fairy - Daria Gurevich (debut)
Violant Fairy - Elena Andrienko
Diamond Fairy - Anastasia Goriacheva
Sapphires Fairy - Maria Zharkova
Gold Fairy - Yulia Efimova
Silver Fairy - Irina Semirechenskaya
Princess Florina - Elena Andrienko
Blue Bird - Vladimir Neporozhny
White Cat - Olga Zhurba
Puss in Boots - Ruslan Pronin
Red Riding Hood - Anna Ivanova
Grey Wolf - Vladimir Moisseev
Cinderella - Olga Suvorova
Prince - Ruslan Skvortsov

The performance with participation of the two queens of the Paris season promised to be interesting. It was.

Maria Alexandrova shined like lilac diamond. In the Prologue she wanted to stress a lyrical side of her role, and was successful, but the effort was noticeable. Later she behaved more natural, I think it was better. This Fairy was real queen of the situation, everything go as she want, and she know it. She looks at other personages friendly but with feeling of her own superiority. When Aurora fall asleep, Lilac Fairy's dancing was so emotional, that you see that the sleep for Aurora is a happiness, it's her way to new beautiful world... Masha' s famous stage presence make her the center of the ballet, and her dancing was real joy to see.
Svetlana Zakharova have many qualities necessary for Aurora, but emotionally she was too monotonous to bring her heroine to life. Her beautiful body, graceful movements and youthful charm was described many times already. It was very pleasant to see her, but as actress she was not convincing. Her first act was more inspired than the rest of the performance.I was impressed by her strong balances in the adagio with suitors; her six o'clocks was out of places, especially in the third act pas de deux.
Young Alexander Volchkov is growing into real prince. His angelic Desire was charming and apparently in love.

In the Prologue all the fairies danced good, I especially like young Olga Stebletsova, inspired and romantic (she already danced several small roles and some people think her a rising star), joyful Rebetskaya, and Daria Gurevich. To talk about the latter, I was amazed that French balletomanes have such a good eyes and recognise the talented dancer even in the corps! Gurevich was more easy and natural that some principal dancers. I hope to see more of her.
In the third act divertissment I liked beautiful Anastasia Goriacheva as Diamond Fairy, the rest of Aurora's guests was rather dull.

#5 Viviane

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 12:13 PM

Inga, I'm amazed to read that a great dancer as Alexandrova is dancing the Lilac Fairy ! In a lot of companies around us here this is unthinkable. Seems they have too much talent at the Bolshoi :)

#6 Inga

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 07:39 AM

Viviane, Lilac Fairy is not so bad - in Grigorovitch production it's big dance role, good ballerina can show herself here. But on the previous performance Alexandrova danced Violant Fairy! It's really uncomprehensible! Ballerina with such a talent should not waste herself on small roles like that! Sometimes I think that the management is afraid of talented people.

#7 Thalictum

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Posted 06 March 2004 - 11:32 PM

At the Kirov, Lilac was once danced frequently by Alla Osipenko and Inna Zubkovskaya -- you cannot get starrier than that.


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