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Ratmansky leaving Bolshoi helmand new premieres

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#61 drb


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Posted 23 December 2008 - 10:07 AM

Alexei Ratmansky's Gala is this Sunday, 28 December. Details of the Gala and of his plans have been appearing in the Russian press. New Izvestiya's December 23 interview covers his experiences at the Bolshoi and goes into some detail of his current artistic projects.

Probably the biggest news comes at the end of the piece, and concerns his next work for the Bolshoi. Due in two years, it will be Balzac's Lost Illusions, to a newly composed score by Leonid Desyatnikov [the composer of his Russian Seasons]. When asked by interviewer Maya Krylova "Why Balzac, do you want to respond to the old Soviet ballet of the same name that starred Galina Ulyanova?" Ratmansky answered:

I want to work with Desyatnikov on a new ballet. This is important. There will be no connection to the ballet of Asefiev--it does not exist and cannot be restored. The Balzac--a wonderful read!

The article begins with Ratmansky asked about his feelings leaving the Bolshoi and what he achieved and did not achieve:

I must take some time to assess my work here. So far can only say I am grateful for the experience of the Bolshoi, and to those who have supported me here. In terms of emotion there is devastation, the five years were tense and full of responsibility.
When I came to the theater, many performances (of course not all) seemed a perfect facade, it was unclear whether there was life or not, all was hidden behind pristine, graceful dances. I tried to pull out this life, help artists be themselves, not to be afraid to be alive in the scene, even in high classics. If you look at my performances at the Bolshoi--Bright Spring, Bolt, Le Corsaire, Flames of Paris--they show the direction of our work. Every dancer, even the newest in the corps de ballet, is important to me, even though the performances of some are very fragile, with mistakes...

He was asked whether Gergiev of the Mariinsky was ready to "give him paradise", free from administrative functions, so that he could implement only artistic leadership. Ratmansky said there was no conversation on this topic.

The choreographer listed his forthcoming projects. January: Shchedrin's Humpbacked Horse for the Mariinsky, April: Russian Seasons for the San Francisco Ballet, June: ABT's On the Dnieper, end of summer: in Australia Carlo Goldoni's Scuola di Ballo, story of an 18th C. ballet troupe with a Prima, wealthy patrons, talented new debutante etc. He is also in negotiations with Sergei Filin's Moscow Musical Theater, nothing yet finalized.

After some talk on the shortage of choreographers for the classical vocabulary and on his ABT contract, Ms. Krylova asked him "Is it true that Natalia Osipova goes to ABT on your recommendation?"

The truth is that she was invited, but not [merely] because of my recommendation. She is already world famous. Starting in 2009, Osipova will "guest star" during New York City seasons at the Metropolitan Opera House with the same status as Nina Ananiashvili and Diana Vishneva.

The Bolshoi's site now lists the dancers and choreographers for the December 28 Gala. Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall will represent America, presumably dancing the PdD from After the Rain. Ratmansky's Leah will be danced by Nina Ananiashvili probably with Uvarov as partner. Diana Vishneva will dance (perhaps in his Mariinsky Cinderella). Recently retired Sergei Filin is also on the schedule. Svetlana Zakharova is one of very few principals who will perform, having danced his work at the Mariinsky and elsewhere, and recently having scored a sensation in Russian Seasons at the Bolshoi. The young stars Mr. Ratmansky has developed will otherwise dominate at the event.

For those wondering about the lack of principals, his difficulties will senior Bolshoi stars is somewhat covered in his Ismene Brown interview that can be found under her thread in Writings on Ballet, or directly at:
http://web.me.com/ci..., In Flames.pdf

This latter article also includes his commentary on why he was not allowed to produce a new Sleepinig Beauty to replace Grigorovich's production at the Bolshoi this year. May be interesting news to ABT fans...

#62 Helene



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Posted 23 December 2008 - 10:44 AM

Many thanks, drb!

One question though: "After the Rain" is Wheeldon. Would Whelan and Hall not be dancing Ratmansky's choreography, from "Russian Seasons", which was choroegrapher for her, Evans, Sylve, and Ringer?

It's great to hear about the beginning of what may another choreographer/composer team: Ratmansky and Desyatnikov.

#63 drb


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Posted 29 December 2008 - 10:20 AM

Already a few reviews of the Ratmansky Gala have been published, and it seem that those who were announced did perform. I found the first video of the event on Russian YouTube:
Vishneva/Merkuriev in Cinderella.

#64 drb


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Posted 31 December 2008 - 12:14 PM

Here is TV-5's coverage of the Gala, including dance footage and a short interview with Nina Ananiashvili, who brought many to tears dancing Ratmansky's Leah, in which she says "He is a talented person who sees in his own way, hears in his own way. Someone says, 'Alexei, it can't be done.' And he rises to do it." She also praises his 'plastic.' Text in Russian is given on the video's page ('tho you can increase picture size to full screen) that you can have google translate:
Russia's YouTube has a collection of videos. So far the Vishneva Cinderella, Ananiashvili Leah and the final curtain calls, in which one may see NYCB's Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall, who had danced Wheeldon's After the Rain PdD (praise given to their plastic and the perfection with which he managed many difficult partnering maneuvers):

Too many reviews to recount. In general, considered a brilliantly produced gala--it would seem that during his reign Ratmansky has revolutionarily improved the quality of Russian Galas.

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