Birmingham, England, March 30-April 1, 2006
Although it was a week ago, this could still be a guide to their future performances in England this year.
The casts for the performances that I saw.
Maria Alexandrova-Sergei Filin
Anna Antonicheva-Dmitri Gudanov
Maria Allash-Vladimir Neporozhany
Svetlana Lunkina-Alexander Volchko
"A Loveable Odile!"
Maria Alexandrova. She seemed exactly that. She was to me a ravishing women saying to herself, "I really hope that I can make *Him* fall in love with me." Her characterization ranged from Cleopatra to Giselle and it was brilliant. Each expression was flawless! I couldn't imagine a better example of the so-called Bolshoi ability to act.
I consider Maria Alexandrova to be one of ballet's "Sunshine" personalities. Nikolai Tsiskaridse could be another. They both seem to have a positive, radiant presence both on stage and off. Her Odette characterization was deeply emotional. Her dancing was fine. Some of her highlight moves--wonderful! She has one relaxed pose standing straight with her hands together in front that that always suggests--"Great things to come". She never fails to surprise me at each performance with some new aspect of excellence. But she isn't the only one.
Each ballerina had a different interpretation of Odile and each was very well danced and very well acted. It was an outward expression for Odile and an intensely inward expression for Odette.
Svetlana Lunkina. She has a beautiful fineness to her dancing. Very much like Svetlana Zakharova in her wonderful adagios. In the Odette adagio, which I think of as the "Mozart of Ballet" piece, she is enchanting. She has a riveting presence in her Odette/Odile. I give her a "Video Quality" rating. This means that when the videos of the all-time greats are playing through my head during a live performance, I can see her peformance as being of the same quality as theirs. She moves as beautifully as they do.
Also she displayed another endearing characteristic. She would occasionally go for the big vituouso effects, as if to say, "I am a Bolshoi dancer and I can wow too!". I give her an A-plus for trying. A triple fouette was one example.
Anna Antonicheva. I read once, "Watch her wrists." They did indeed move beautifully, but I found that her entire dance assimilated all her special elements into one unified and very satisfying presentation.
Maria Allash. She danced delicately and beautifully and seemed to be putting everything she had into her performance. It was lovely.
Natalia Osipova. I would really like to discuss her for a moment. She danced a solo as one of the Five Princesses, Act II. She was the Spanish Princess. She seems to be a small woman, but her abilility to jump is breathtaking. She exploded on stage with a double jump and then returned with one more jump. These were huge buoyant jumps that she did equally well each night. I was amazed. One night I mentioned to a man sitting next to me, "Watch her entrance." The man 'gasped' after he saw what she had done.
What I found extremely interesting is that after these enormous spacial moves, she settled into her size. Her limbs aren't long and in the rest of her dancing her expansion or reaching out was quite restrained--but the expression in her moves was absolutely beautiful!
I watched her dance alongside Ekaterina Shipulina (Polish Princess-- very good) who has longer limbs and reaches out more. It was a beautiful contrast. I hope to see a lot more of Natalia Osipova.
The other three Princesses were very good as well--Nelly Kobakhidze, Olga Suvorova and Anastasia Yatsenko.
The two "Prince's Friends" in Act I were very fine--Anastasia Yatsenko (again) and Ekaterina Krysanova.
Audience response was very enthusiastic throughout as were the news reviews that I've read.
Birmingham by the way has a very nice modernized downtown center with a pedestrian only mainstreet and lots of large departments stores. The Hippodrome (home to the Birmingham Ballet?) where the Bolshoi performed has a lovely restored 150 year-old classical interior. Birmingham is about 1 1/2 hours from London on the fast train.
If I can I would like to mention the men and the corps de ballet in a future posting. All were very good .
Wonderful, wonderful performances!
Edited by Buddy, 09 April 2006 - 04:13 PM.