The Three Bolshoi Graces
Posted 25 May 2001 - 10:20 AM
Posted 25 May 2001 - 02:28 PM
I saw Bessmertova dance Spartacus and Giselle and the best I can say is that she is a good company ballerina.
I only saw Maximova on tape and I have always been favorably impressed with her work.
Posted 25 May 2001 - 07:45 PM
I only saw Pavlova dance once, in the Legend of Love, and my memories are not terribly vivid, but people absolutely LOVED her. She had gorgeous hyperextended legs -- with extraordinary feet. Croce wrote (again, as best I recall) that her positions really did fulfill all the curves/diagonals of the old classical ballet handbooks. I can't express an opinion on that, but they were just stunning. She also had a rather fetching stage personality. One can see these qualities a bit in the photos.
Maximova was another ballerina people just LOVED. I only saw her live very late in her career, but I was quite impressed. Although I am a video skeptic -- actually I'm often quite bored by dance on video -- I had become a bit of a fan watching her dance with Vasiliev in a video of Act I of Grigorivitch's Nutcracker. (In that video, Pavlova and Gordeyev take over in Act II.) Although this was also towards the end of Maximova's career, she really captured Clara, or so I thought. I saw her live, about ten years ago, with some Vasiliev directed pick-up troop. She must have been close to fifty (?) Both she and Vasiliev were extremely shrewd about how they presented themselves. They didn't try anything they couldn't still do rather strikingly, and they paced the whole evening, so that when they appeared and did their rather limited numbers, they still came across as the evening's big stars. I do not say this critically; on the contrary, I greatly admired the professionalism. In that regard, he deserves credit, since he was the choreographer.
Anyway, at this performance Maximova did very little dancing that was unsupported by Vasiliev; he partnered her in a series of lifts and carries etc. All that said, and given the admitedly limited context, I thought she was marvelous. Not just a star, but still a great DANCER. Her movements were just beautiful -- youthful and spirited with everything taut, flowing, classical. She was being held in lifts the whole time and she looked fearless besides. (I guess she and Vasiliev had been dancing together long enough!)
For this performance, I was with a friend who was not a particular ballet fan and was, therefore, without my pre-disposed respect and sympathy for older legends -- but my friend was dazzled too! To my mind, it was a great example of 'once a ballerina, always a ballerina.'
Posted 25 May 2001 - 09:33 PM
1.Nadezhda Pavlova was a virtousa ballerina
2.Natalia Bessmertnova a lyrical ballerina
3.Yekaterina Maximova a soubrette ballerina
Does anyone disagree?
Posted 25 May 2001 - 10:33 PM
Wasn't Pavlova also considered a great Giselle? That would make her more a lyrical ballerina, I think.
There's a video of Maximova doing "Walpurgisnacht" that is phenomenal -- can't remember which collection of Russian goodies it's on, but maybe someone else reading this will. I agree with you that Maximova is a soubrette (and I'm glad to find someone who makes distinctions among types of dancers but she was also a fine technician. Not primarily a virtuoso ancer, but certainly could put over the virtuoso roles. While I think Bessmertnova was always more the Giselle and Juliet type.
Posted 25 May 2001 - 11:59 PM
The Blue Bird Based on a famous classic fairy tale "The Bluebird of Happiness". Dog, Cat, Light, Fire and Bread lead children on their quest for true happiness. Directed by George Cukor. Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Ava Gardner, Cicely Tyson, Patsy Kensit, Will Geer, Robert Morley, Pavlova.
1976/G/99 min. Being Redigitized and available for DVD.
[ 05-26-2001: Message edited by: Mme. Hermine ]
Posted 26 May 2001 - 09:00 AM
Both Maximova and Pavlova are soubrettes, the former more comical, the latter more lyrical. Both were in fact in the wrong place in the Bolshoi once dominated by Yuri Grigorovich, although I guess that Pavlova’s career suffered more from this than Maximova’s, who had already made a name for herself before Grigorovich took over. Maximova was the ideal Kitri. She is arguably also a more flexible personality and found in the later stages of her career an outlet for her comical talent with other choreographers like Briantsev. She formed with her husband Vladimir Vasiliev one of the most legendary partnerships in the history of Soviet ballet.
There was no repertoire in the Bolshoi that honored Pavlova’s particular gifts and that she still left a mark in the company (and on the international stages on tours) was mainly thanks to the fact she was supported by Bolshoi legend, Marina Semyonova, who prepared all the great classical roles with her. She was an excellent Giselle, Juliet and Nikiya, but she would have been an even greater Coppélia or Lise.
While Bessmertnova, married to Grigorovich or not, she is still one of the greatest Russian Romantic ballerinas ever (I'm just being personal when I say that I rank her much higher than Makarova). A tremendous Giselle. However, Grigorovich cast her in almost everything he did, which probably caused more harm than good although it should in no way detract from her real achievements and qualities. Fact is also that the existing (late) videos (with the exception maybe of Bessmertnova’s Giselle with Lavrovsky) convey any of the magic of her live appearances.
Posted 26 May 2001 - 12:10 PM
Posted 26 May 2001 - 12:39 PM
Posted 26 May 2001 - 12:56 PM
Originally posted by Lovebird:
.. that sort of suffering and dramatic acting was not suited to her..
That may have been true of Maximova when she was younger, but I saw her do Tatiana in Cranko's Onegin late in her career and she was wonderful, up there with Makarova and other great ones I've seen. The only other thing I saw her in was Paganini, back in 1963, and I don't remember much about her except a general impression of youth.
I saw Bessmertnova in the same season as one of 3 swans in Swan Lake (Plisetskaya/Fadeyechev) and that I do remember, very clearly - she looked young, beautiful, serious and intelligent and as if she'd been touched by the finger of God. Seeing her nearly 30 years later as Odette was a terrible disappointment.
Posted 26 May 2001 - 01:33 PM
[ 05-26-2001: Message edited by: Lovebird ]
Posted 26 May 2001 - 09:37 PM
I am not sure if Maximova ever guested with the Stuttgart Ballet. I also saw Maximova in Cranko's Onegin when she guested with the English National Ballet in 1990. She was sublime. I am also lucky to have seen Bessmertnova and Pavlova during the Bolshoi seasons in London in the late 1980s.
[ 05-26-2001: Message edited by: Kevin Ng ]
Posted 27 May 2001 - 05:11 AM
Posted 27 May 2001 - 12:03 PM
Posted 28 May 2001 - 12:01 AM
I have never seen Pavlova in anything; is she related to Anna? (My ballet history goes back about five minutes and that's about it.)
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