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Sleeping Beauty at the Bolshoi

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June 12


King Florestan XIV Alexander Fadeechev

Queen Maria Volodina

Princess Aurora Nadezhda Gracheva

Prince Desire Andrey Uvarov

Catalabutte Alexey Loparevich

Aurora's Suitors: Maxim Valukin, Ilia Ryzhakov, Dmitry Rykhlov, Georgi Geraskin

Peasant Dance Lubov Fillipova, Maxim Valukin

Lilac Fairy Maria Alexandrova

Tenderness (Candide) Nelli Kobakidze

Tranquility (Farine) Olga Suvorova

Generosity (Bread Crumbs) Anna Rebetskaya

Frisky (Canary) Darya Gurevich

Courage (Violent) Ekaterina Krysanova

Diamonds Elena Andrieko

Sapphires Maria Zharkova

Gold Olga Stebletsova

Silver Irina Semirechenskaya

Princess Florina Marianna Ryzhkina

Blue Bird Andrey Bolotin

White Cat Anastasia Yatzenko

Puss in Boots Vasily Zhidkov

Red Riding Hood Xenia Pchelkina

Gray Wolf Vladimir Moiseev

Cinderella Xenia Tsareva

Prince Viktor Kleyn

Any dance lover is grateful for an institution like the Bolshoi company and school,which is

dedicated to the continuing existence of the danse d'ecole and the art it nurtures.

Secondly, any dance lover is thankful to every performing company that presents the seminal ballets, such as The Sleeping Beauty of M. Petipa and P. Tchaikovsky, works that continue to

give pleasure, educate, and serve as landmarks for what's to come.

The Sleeping Beauty, besides being a veritable encyclopedia of classical dance, has, from its inception, a scenario that deals with the mythic cycle of development of beings, specifically with the four rites of passage, of birth, age of majority, marriage, and death.

Death is dealt with through the evil fairy Carabosse, whose curse, is not really vanquished, but delayed; first, through the intervention of the Lilac Fairy who bestows a hundred-year sleep, to stave off Aurora's death at 16, and secondly, by ignoring death at the end of the ballet and having in its place an apotheosis dedicated to the glory of Apollo, or, alternately, to the 18th c. French political system, or, probably most accurately, to the classical dance canon itself, which was nurtured by the court of Louis XIV.

This brings us to Grigorovich's Sleeping Beauty, a production dating to 1973, the current version of the Bolshoi Ballet.

In the program notes Violetta Mainietse writes that the Bolshoi first received The Sleeping Beauty in A. Gorsky's 1899 version. Two radical revisions were made in 1936 and 1952 to bring it in line with the then current political thought and with its consonant aesthetic expression in choreodrama.

Grigorovich presented a new version in 1963, which went against the principles of choreodrama.

The 1973 amendments of the current version were seen at the time as a return to the original sources.

Mainietse argues in the program notes that, especially since the 1999 Mariinsky reconstruction,

Grigorovich may be closer, not to the style of the original sources, but to Tchaikovsky's music.

Grigorovich, she writes, as a romantic artist is closer to Tchaikovsky's romantic theme that 'love is stronger than death' "than to any abstract metaphysical reflections on pure art."

The aside on history helped, at least me, understand the focus of the production.

Physically the production is over thirty years old and it shows. Given economic conditions everywhere, I'll do no griping about sets and costumes.

Casting, when we accept that this is a romantic ballet, seems problematic. While Ms. Gracheva is by her very position an accomplished artist, she does not seem right for the role of Aurora.

I saw Ms Gracheva in the 2002 US winter tour (Detroit) in Swan Lake. I had thought she was convincing as Odile, and technically refined but too emotionally distant for Odette.

Aurora calls for a simplicity of manner and an open approach typical of youth [like Margot Fonteyn, looking directly at each one of her partners and smiling, as if she were happy to see every one of them]. If Aurora isn't there as a character who grows with each rite of passage,

there's a hole in the middle of the ballet.

Now for the happy stuff.

The corps de ballet, from fairies to court ladies were splendid.

The fairies of gifts were all outstanding. My personal favorite was Ekaterina Krysanova as Courage (Violent). Beyond technique she projected joy in moving.

The ballet found a center in the Lilac Fairy of Maria Alexandrova.

Ms Alexandrova has a range and phrasing that engages the viewer immediately and keeps the viewer's attention. Her movements gain expression from their variety. She offers movement like a conversation: states a fact, explains a problem, answers a question; then you know clearly why the Lilac Fairy is there.

The highlight was a series of bourees across a darkened stage wing to wing, bridging the end of the panorama and finding the abode of the sleeping Aurora. The bourees were so fast I was looking for some other motive force to explain her movement. Absolutely breathtaking.

Tomorrow another Sleeping Beauty.

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The Sleeping Beauty at June 12

Nadezhda Gracheva in the main part impressed me by her academic style but she nave nothing more for Aurora. Maria Alexandrova danced as high class ballerina, she have her technique and her stage presence, but I think she didn’t show her full abilities. I liked very much Andrei Uvarov, who looked fresh and quick with his lightning-like jumps.

I also like Ekaterina Krisanova as Violant Fairy. She is very young, just a first year in the Bolshoi, but already danced several small roles and looks very promising.

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Thank you for the Beauty reviews, chiapuris and Inga!

The way they justify the Grigorovich adaptations in the program notes is really in a class of its own :wink: .

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