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drb

Spartacus @ the Met, July 22, 23, 2005

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I seem to remember that the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet had a summer residency at Lincoln Center in the summer of 1990 or 1991. I was too poor to go but the opera company did Mlada (with Nina Ananiashvili as the Ghost of Mlada), Eugene Onegin and Maid of Orleans. The Bolshoi Ballet did Ivan the Terrible, Swan Lake and one other ballet - maybe a mixed bill. Nina A. and Lyudmila Semenyaka were the ballerinas. However, Irek Mukhamedhov already had left the Bolshoi to join the Royal Ballet to the immense shock of Grigorovich.

Maybe Spartacus was performed on that tour, but it wouldn't have been with Irek since he had already left the company.

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I think bolshoi performed "Romeo and Juliette" for that season. I moved to New York in 1988. I hadn't seen any 3acts of spasrutacus until this year. But Bolshoi came probably in 1987or 1986, I haerd. I don't know what they did then.

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I think bolshoi performed "Romeo and Juliette" for that season. I moved to New York in 1988. I hadn't seen any 3acts of spasrutacus until this year. But Bolshoi came probably in 1987or 1986, I haerd. I don't know what they did then.

I checked my online resources and discovered that the Bolshoi did tour to NYC (part of a nine week four city tour) in 1987 with a "Giselle", "Raymonda" a Mixed Bill and "The Golden Age". On the mixed bill which included many Bolshoi chestnuts like "Don Q Grand Pas", "Spring Waters" "Le Corsaire" "Legend of Love" and the first act of Grigorovich's "Romeo and Juliet" also included one act (second?) of "Spartacus" with Irek Mukhamedov as Sparty and Bessmertnova as Phrygia. Mukhamedov didn't start dancing Spartacus in 1988 - he danced it within a year of joining the Bolshoi c. 1981. The Grigorovich Romeo and Juliet also was excerpted in the Mixed Bill that year and was seen complete in July 1990 at the Met. So the complete "Spartacus" wasn't seen since the 1970's.

The 1987 tour included besides Mukhamedov such dancers as Nina Ananiashvili, Maria Bylova, Lyudmila Semenyaka, Natalia Bessmertnova, Alexei Fadeyechev, Andris Liepa and Alla Mikhalchencko and Nina Semizorova. Not a shabby lineup.

I don't know if "Giselle" and "Raymonda" were done in NYC. The Mixed Bill and "Golden Age" definitely were.

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Raymonda was definitely done in NY in the 1987 tour, because I saw it. Ananiashvili and Andris Liepa, and it was gorgeous. I remember one of the mixed bills had a bit from The Fairy Doll, too, which I loved. It was a great visit.

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I was up in standing room at NY State Theater in 1979. I saw a Spartacus performance w/ Alexander Godenuv, a day or two before he defected!!!! He was a powerhouse!!!!!! Does anyone remember???? Ludmilla Semeneyka also danced that run. She and Nina are 2 of my favorites :) The Bolshoi also did the Stone Flower , I think.

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ah yes, that 1987 tour -- Semizorova did Aurora's act 3 dances, beautifully, and then ran forward to bow, like Olive Oyl -- she was so shy. Darling child.

And Bylova! What a magnificent creature. She danced Aegina in Spartacus, tore it UP! And at the bows, the huge group bows at the end, Mukhamedov kept sending everybody else forward to bow, it was wonderful to see such self-possession and modesty in a dancer on whom so much hinged. And when they gave Bylova a bouquet the size of a bath-tub, she came forward and threw it into the pit! What did that mean?!? I've wondered about it ever since, but it was the first indication I had of what a strong personal connection their dancers are accustomed to having with their audience -- like a Gospel singer's with the congregation, or a Flamenco dancer's with the public.

It made me think of the advantages of living in a country where everybody doesn't have television and feels personally grateful to someone for entertaining them.... Where people in great cities are accustomed to having live artists impinging on their consciousness..... Our dancers don't seem to believe that people are really watching them; I guess under the Soviets, people were used to hte idea that EVERYBODY was watching them, that all of life is a stage -- scary, of course, but exciting.

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I was up in standing room at NY State Theater in 1979.  I saw a Spartacus performance w/ Alexander Godenuv, a day or two before he defected!!!!  He was a powerhouse!!!!!! Does anyone remember????

Yes, I remember him. His career went down some odd paths. Early on he was in the Anna Karenina film with Plisetskaya.

Then from the mid 80s till his death in 1995 he made a lot of Hollywood films such as Witness, the Money Pit , Die Hard, etc.

He was only about 45 when he died.

Richard

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I was up in standing room at NY State Theater in 1979.  I saw a Spartacus performance w/ Alexander Godenuv, a day or two before he defected!!!!  He was a powerhouse!!!!!! Does anyone remember???? Ludmilla Semeneyka also danced that run. She and Nina are 2 of my favorites :)  The Bolshoi also did the Stone Flower , I think.

That rings a bell. Wasn't that the season that also featured the Nadezhda Pavlova/Gordeyev duo? They, of the most perfectly in-synch grandes jetes... There's no way I'd ever forget this duo--from the time when they were still happy. I remember they also had a photo signing at a wonderful little ballet shop that used to be a block from the State Theater. Ahhh! The long-lamented final days of the "ballet boom."

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Yes. Pavlova/Gordeyev were there. They were superb dancers and artists.

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My first post! Sorry to come late to this topic.

I saw Vorobiev's first Spartacus in Moscow last June with Kaptsova as his Phrygia. I would like to know if he managed the lifts better in New York than he did then: the big one-armed lift in Act III was only achieved with a second arm joining in very early on; and even then he barely lasted the distance.

Having also seen Klevtsov and Belogolovtsev (probably the strongest physically of the three) in the same role I prefer Klevtsov - very moving and so handsome! And as for Aeginas, it is a great shame you don't seem to have been given Gracheva's: a very wicked woman, though Alexandrova's is fun too.

On a more general note, I am glad you have enjoyed Shipulina: I just loved watching her, especially in the Agon pdd, which really showed off her physique - she made it her own as far as Moscow was concerned.

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Hi Liza, and welcome!

I saw Vorobiev in Spartacus at the Met & liked him a lot. I don't recall any partnering problems between him & Kaptsova. I've seen a few other things since then but I think I would still remember any problems with Spartacus since I still recall so many partnering problems in the other Bolshoi productions!

I agree with you, it is a pity that Gracheva wasn't on this tour. I saw her in Boston last year, and thought she was wonderful. It's funny, but in some ways Shipulina's Aegina reminded me of Gracheva. It seemed to me that Shipulina had the same 180 degree developee a la second as Zakharova but, of course, they didn't look like Zakharova's because Shiplulina is built very differently! They also looked very different because Zacharova's just seemed to rise up to her ear quickly & with no effort. Shipulina's unfolded beautifully, with a great deal of deliberate tension and then snapped up at the end. There was a creamy, lush quality to her dancing that reminded me of what I loved about Gracheva. Anyway, her Don Q at the Met was good but it was marred somewhat by problems in the lifts & perhaps some nervousness (after dropping her fan at the beginning of the ballet, and then having problems with the lifts) but her Aegina was awesome!

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...that’s what I thought right up until the very instant on Saturday afternoon when Shipulina took the stage in the same role. Wow. It may have been the most complete performance I’ve seen from a Bolshoi dancer yet. Allash was very, very good - evil & scheming. But Shipulina just oozed sex. She was imperious and scheming - in some ways she really overpowered her Crassus - she seemed to be the protagonist, always pushing him and spurring him on. Despite some of the extremely inventive lifts for Spartacus & Phrygia, Aegina really has the best dancing, or at least the most bravura dancing. Shipulia managed to invest those 180 degree splits and jetes, and those ear scraping devlopees with a creaminess and lasciviousness that was just amazing. Nina Kaptsova danced Phrygia at the matinee. She was lovely, but she is a small woman, and her Phrygia was danced on a much smaller scale than Antonicheva’s.
Your observations correspond precisely with what I saw in Orange County a couple of weeks later during the same tour.

I was hoping to see Shipulina while in Moscow in May, but alas, she was not in any of the casts while I was there (though I still hoped for a last-minute Mirtha substitution).

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