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drb

The Bright Stream

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At the end of tonight's performance of his ballet, The Bright Stream, Artistic Director Alexei Ratmansky addressed the audience in English, then turned and addressed the Company in Russian. The collective's Morale Officer Svetlana Lunkina was promoted to the company's first rank, Principal.

Thank you Mr. Ratmansky for honoring New York with this presentation. And thanks, also, for a pretty cool ballet as well!

And most of all, congratulations to this wonderful ballerina!

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I didn't want any comments about the performance to get in the way of announcing Svetlana's promotion, but I found the ballet to be quite a change of pace, a comedy that never flagged.

Masha Alexandrova was fabulous in this, her Golden Mask-winning performance as the ballerina. Magnificent jetes, and such personality and presence! Her partner Yan Godovsky was, in Act 2, worthy of HIS partner (I'm not sure I should give away the joke--but it is in the program notes...). Svetlana Lunkina looks very Giselle-like, especially when sitting on that bench.... Suggesting an obvious wish-list entry for the next Bolshoi visit.

Just reading the cast-of-characters list is fun, and Ratmansky does not let us down.

This company is loaded with dancers who not only can act, but each projects an individual persona as well. Thus, even with so many parts, the action is easy to follow: once you've met a character, you don't lose track of who's who. Bravi!, to the Bolshoi Collective!

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Those wonderful individuals, the cast of The Bright Stream:

Svetlana Lunkina, Zina, the Bright Stream Collective's morale officer

Vladimir Neporozhny, Z's husband

Maria Alexandrova, The Ballerina (listed for Tuesday; what an apt role title for Masha!)

Yan Godovsky. her partner (listed for Wednesday, Tsiskaridze for Tuesday)

Gennady Yanin, Accordian Player

Ksenia Pchelkina, Galya (a pure delight)

Alexey Loparevitch, Old Dacha Dweller (what a great character dancer, the best Don Q I've ever seen, save Mr. B)

Irina Zibrova, His-anxious-to-appear-younger-than-she-is wife (don't trust her with a rifle)

Anna Antropova, The Milkmaid (what a season she is having!)

Alexander Petukhov, The Tractor Driver (and Dog! Also a fabulous Sancho Panza)

Egor Simachev, Old Farmer

Alexander Vorobiev (with Tselishchev, Savin, Simachev, Savichev), Men from Caucasus

Batyr Annadurdyev (with Baranov, Minakov, Rybakov, Kuznetsov), Men from Kuban

and Zina's friends, Sorokina, Rebetskaya, V. Osipova, Gurevitch, Krysanova, I. Yatsenko

Bravi!!!

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John Rockwell's review, from the Times.

Monday's cast (the principals will be shuffled for the last two performances) was lovely. Svetlana Lunkina, promoted to principal in a short ceremony during the curtain calls, made a sweet Zina, with a pure classical line and plenty of self-effacing charm. Even better - more commanding, funnier, more buoyant in her jumps - was Maria Alexandrova as the visiting ballerina. She and her partner, Yan Godovsky, were also delightful in their travesty passages; the Trocaderos have stiff competition from Mr. Godovsky when it comes to male toe dancing.

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John Rockwell's review, from the Times.
Monday's cast (the principals will be shuffled for the last two performances) was lovely. Svetlana Lunkina, promoted to principal in a short ceremony during the curtain calls, made a sweet Zina, with a pure classical line and plenty of self-effacing charm. Even better - more commanding, funnier, more buoyant in her jumps - was Maria Alexandrova as the visiting ballerina. She and her partner, Yan Godovsky, were also delightful in their travesty passages; the Trocaderos have stiff competition from Mr. Godovsky when it comes to male toe dancing.

Didn't anyone see Tsiskaridze Tuesday night? Please post something: it isn't fair, being stuck in this thread with only the august New York Times Ballet Historian as company...

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Didn't anyone see Tsiskaridze Tuesday night?  Please post something: it isn't fair, being stuck in this thread with only the august New York Times Ballet Historian as company...

drb - sorry to have deserted you but that darn job of mine is consuming way too much of my time. I do wish the Bolshoi was going to be here longer, with the performances more spread out... all these new productions and dancers (new to me) are a lot to process over such a short time.

Tsiskaridze was brilliant as the ballerina's partner, but it's such a specialized role, with most of his dancing done en point and in a romantic length tutu so it hardly seems fair to try to assess his talents based on that one performance. I was planning to hold my comments until after I saw him in Pharaoh's Daughter, but I know what it's like to wait for people to post about a performance you wanted to see, so...

His was a charming, forceful presence in this very sunny,feel-good production. I also enjoyed Godovsky on Monday night - it's a funny role with the laughs underlined by the fact that both dancers are actually quite good on point, but Tsiskaridze really made you gasp on occasion - punctuating the joke by throwing in a 180 degree split jete here, and some marvelous musical phrasing there. Anastasia Yatsenko was also very good as Zina. She was completely different form Lunkina but I liked them both. Lunkina's characterization was very meek, a dutiful, good girl but Yatsenko's had a lot of spunk, you could see why she and the ballerina had been such good friends - her style of dancing mirrored Alexandrova's much more than Lunkina's had. Lunkina had a beautiful lyricism to her dancing, Yatsenko was more in the big Bolshoi tradition (she wasn't big but her dancing was). I liked both Klevtsov and Neporozhny as Pyotr, and of course all the secondary roles were wonderfully done. There were a few changes to the secondary cast on Tuesday - Andrey Melanin danced the Old Dacha Dweller and Andrey Bolotin took over the role of the Tractor Driver. I absolutely loved Ksenia Pchelkina's schoolgirl both nights- what a gem of a performance, beautifully danced and perfectly realized.

Despite all the wonderful performances,I think that ultimately both nights belonged to Alexandrova. She is really a very rare & unique dancer. She has all the skills you'd expect plus the most buoyant jumps I've ever seen from a ballerina, and the warmth & humor of her personality make her a pleasure to watch, especially in this role that seems tailor made for her.

In case anyone is contemplating buying tickets for tonight - JUST DO IT! It's a very charming production, great music and great fun. Not necessarily one where you'll want to see each different cast 3 times - but lot's of fun for one viewing.

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I enjoyed The Bright Stream. Now I know that it is not the version that premiered in front of Stalin. But the ballet I saw, and especially the giant rolling veggies and fruit had me busting a gut. It was hilarious!!! But, that choreographer in 1935, had some major nerves of steel!!!!!! Those farming communes never worked out at all. More like dismal failures, if I got my 20th century U.S.S.R. history right!!!!!

I am surprised that Stalin did not purge the whole company!!!! :)

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The Bright Stream is now in Orange County, California. On Thurs. night Alexandrova was The Ballerina and I agree that she is simply gorgeous. Jumps that are suspended in the air, plus all her other attributes. Pchelkina was Galya and a joy to watch; a look, style and technique all her own. I can't see her as Odette/Odile but I can see her as Kitri.

An interesting evening for me. The ballet starts with a prelude (Shostakovich, says the program) to die for; lovely. I watched the drummer. Have you ever closely watched a drummer? Each hand is doing a different rhythm. This man was playing Boom....Boom....Boom with his left hand while his right hand played Bam diddle dum bum Bam Bam dum de dum. Amazing.

The description of the ballet's plot was the most complicated thing I've ever read, and it went on for 3 full pages. Luckily the ballet was simpler to follow than that reading assignment. The first act was lots of fun; at that point I considered the ballet an excellent choice for someone's first experience at a ballet. The dancers are wonderful; my reason for liking one better than the other was determined by choreography. Except for Alexandrova who was excellent just standing there. The second act turned into slapstick and my enthusiasm waned. Yes, The Ballerina's Partner in drag was a riot (Godovsky: nice technique and great feet!) and I'm glad the audience got such a bang out of it.

Haven't seen Bolshoi for a long time and it's nice to have them back.

Giannina

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The description of the ballet's plot was the most complicated thing I've ever read, and it went on for 3 full pages. Luckily the ballet was simpler to follow than that reading assignment.

Sounds as if this is a case of "dance can express what words cannot!"

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On Wed. night, it was Shipulina that starred in "Bright Stream" at OCPAC. The house was nicely filled with a loud cheering section in the balconies!

I agree with Giannina that the program notes for the libretto went on and on until I was lost and decided to not worry about the plot , but relax and enjoy. Enjoy I did! It is definitely a period piece. Much of the comedy was wonderful and knowing a little about the Russian history made it even better. The company danced well but I was expecting more. I found the Bolshoi dancing very flambuoyant and loose as compared to the Kirov. The Act II prank with swapping identities was hilarious and I loved the choreography. All in all, an enjoyable night at the ballet. The orchestra was a definite plus! Now....on to Sparticus on Sunday!

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Quoting Joan Acocella in the New Yorker:

"That Ratmansky revived this piece and memorialized its luckless creators would be almost enough: an act of justice. That the ballet, in addition, is so very good makes it something like a miracle, and a beacon."

The full article may be found, courtesy of Ballet Talk's Links:

http://www.newyorker.com/critics/dancing/?050822crda_dancing

She also seemed impressed by some of Ballet Talk's favorites from the Met run:

"Apart from Alexandrova, however, the supreme pleasure of the season was the junior dancers: among them Ekaterina Shipulina, Natalia Osipova, Andrey Bolotin, and Gennady Yanin. One after another, they scooped the music out of the air and turned it into riveting, this-is-my-moment dancing. They will be the company's next stars."

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