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Don Quixote at Wolf Trap


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#1 Hans

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 07:16 AM

I must make a point to see the Bolshoi more often--Don Quixote was delightful! And I got to meet a fellow Ballet Talker to boot!

The production is rather old-fashioned in a 1970's kind of way--not much mime, some truly hideous costumes for the corps, and rather worn-looking sets. However, the dancing was very good, not sloppy at all, although not obsessive-Kirov perfect (had it been perfect, I would have been disappointed) and done with a great deal of flair and energy throughout.

My only real complaints were the relatively bare stage during the dream sequence (no tiny cupids running about, as in the Kirov's version, and the sets seemed to have been inspired by a Monet painting under a magnifying glass) and the spindly Basilio (none of the ushers seemed to have programs, so I don't know his name). He was quite a good dancer, but looked like a very tall and lanky sixteen-year-old.

Special mention goes to the Toreador (he really knows how to use a cape!) and Street Dancer, who in Act II appeared in an enormous red dress and put her head on her behind so many times I thought she'd slip a disc!

I didn't find the gypsy dancer passionate enough. At UBA, my teacher told us that when doing a gypsy dance, we should dance as if we don't care who might be watching or what it looks like--it's pure emotion. The fast sections were good, but I felt that the slow parts lacked intensity.

Slight problems with one-handed lifts in Act I, but they were fine by Act III, and Kitri did some blazing fouettés--very fast, traveling slightly at the beginning, but the rest on a dime. I could have asked for some more "fire" between Kitri and Basilio, as things got a bit bland after Act I, but all in all it was very well done and beautifully danced.

#2 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 10:03 AM

Sounds like you had the touring version (surprise!). Back home they have plenty of tiny cupids, and even have a special number for them in the final act.

#3 Hans

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 10:15 AM

Oh--I'd love to see the Dance of the Tiny Cupids. :blink: I'll bet it's adorable. To clarify, I didn't seriously expect them to bring along the Bolshoi Academy students, but the corps did seem rather small (only 16 or 24 dancers).

Forgot to add a note about the unsurprising but still amazing rudeness of the audience. The very moment the fringe of the curtain brushed the stage at the end of Act II, half the Loge had vanished within a fraction of a second. I was at the end of a row and it was extremely irritating to have people pushing by as I was standing to applaud the dancers who had just performed beautifully for three hours--much of the audience it seemed couldn't be bothered to give them five minutes of appreciation.

#4 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 10:31 AM

Oh--I'd love to see the Dance of the Tiny Cupids. :blink:  I'll bet it's adorable.  To clarify, I didn't seriously expect them to bring along the Bolshoi Academy students, but the corps did seem rather small (only 16 or 24 dancers).

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They could have used some local students, though, as the Mariinsky sometimes does on tour.

#5 art076

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 11:05 AM

They could have used some local students, though, as the Mariinsky sometimes does on tour.

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I suppose it wouldn't have been quite as feasible for this tour, though, since they were only at Wolf Trap for two days, after performing in Philadelphia earlier that week. Also Wolf Trap is in the middle of a national park, instead of being in the city like the Met or another "fully enclosed" theatre.

Too bad, though, it would have been fun to see the children!

#6 Natalia

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 11:31 AM

Hans -

The Dance of the Little Cupids has never been performed on tour, as far as I know. It's danced to a march that is found on the CD of the complete version that is currently available in the US (not the Bonynge/Lanchberry...the other one).

I totally agree on the Gypsy Dance at Wolf Trap. It was 'weak tea' compared to the rendition by the Bolshoi's premiere character dancer, Yuliana Malkhasiants, who danced in last autumn's US tour (and also in DC, when this production came to the Kennedy Center).

Did anyone else notice that, on Saturday night, Natalia Osipova did NOT dance the first bridesmaid's variation in Act III? I was sooooo disappointed! Osipova danced that variation in NYC but apparently did not make the trip to Wolf Trap. Osipova is an absolute angel (face & everything else) & has the most incredibly floating jetes. Whoever danced the solo this past Saturday -- I did not recognize her -- is 'third rate' compared with Osipova.

On the other hand, Nelli Kobakhidze indeed danced the 2nd bridesmaid variation at Wolf Trap...gloriously so! That young lady never fails to amaze me. Elegant. Proper. Queenly.

Like you, Hans, I LOVED the Matador, Lavrenchuk. What a cape twirler! His Street Dancer, the lovely Anastasia Yatsenko, was also first rate.

And what about Ekaterina Schipulina's Kitri? WOW! She's a lovely contrast to Alexandrova, who is more 'moderne' in her approach. Schipulina is the traditional 'ultra beauty' who dances with a more old-fashioned classical -- almost old-style Kirovian -- manner. Both wonderful Kitris but oh-so-different. Two nights - two very different approaches.

Neporozhni's Basil, on the other hand, seemed a bit tired & not quite with-it on Saturday. He's a 'looker,' though. (wink)

Edited by Natalia, 08 August 2005 - 11:49 AM.


#7 Hans

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 11:53 AM

Natalia, I did notice that those jetés in the first bridesmaid variation were...subpar. I agree re: Schipulina--beautiful! I actually thought that in some ways, the whole company looked more "Kirov" than the Kirov (except the corps, of course) although that may have been due to seeing the Bolshoi-like Terioshkina in Le Corsaire earlier this summer.

#8 nysusan

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 03:35 PM

I didn't find the gypsy dancer passionate enough.  At UBA, my teacher told us that when doing a gypsy dance, we should dance as if we don't care who might be watching or what it looks like--it's pure emotion.  The fast sections were good, but I felt that the slow parts lacked intensity. 

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I totally agree on the Gypsy Dance at Wolf Trap.  It was 'weak tea' compared to the rendition by the Bolshoi's premiere character dancer, Yuliana Malkhasiants, who danced in last autumn's US tour (and also in DC, when this production came to the Kennedy Center).

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Hans, Natalia - you are so right. My husband and I saw Malkhasiants in the gypsy dance when the Bolshoi did Don Q in Boston, and just saw Anna Antropova here in NY. We both agreed that Antropova was more "dancey" - she probably deliniated the steps better - she may have been the better dancer in a technical sense, but with Malkhasiants the dance was just a torrent of shifting emotions. It was much more powerful in Boston, and I was bitterly dissapointed not to see Malkhasiants cast on this tour. Still, it is a beautiful character dance, the type we don't really get to see much of here (certainly something that we don't get to see done very well here) and the bulk of the audience who never saw Malkhasiants loved Antropova's performance. I thought she was pretty good, too - but when you've seen a great performance "good" just isn't good enough.

#9 akimova

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 02:21 AM

I was also fascinated with Yuliana Malkhasyants' dancing in Don O. with the Boshoi at Covent Garden last summer. She is by the way Anna Antropova's coach.

There is an interview with Yuliana where she talks at length about the training of character dancers: "The models remained and the programs have been expanded. However, success depends on personality."

http://www.ballet.co...alkhasyants.htm

#10 akimova

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 01:26 AM

The Bolshoi, I think, has the most exciting Don Q., especially when it is danced by such dancers as Maria Alexandrova and Sergei Filin – see the pictures of the most recent performance in Moscow on the Bolshoi’s new stage (the historic Bolshoi Theatre is closed for renovation):

http://www.livejourn...751.html#cutid1


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