Posted 16 June 2009 - 01:40 PM
Sorry about that, carbro! You'll surely get reports not only from me but also at least three other BTers who I saw this afternoon at the rehearsal, incl. YID, Jack Reed and new member Karen, who I just met.
Bingham, that's the subject for a thesis and I have about 5 minutes to write a report on this afternoon's dress reh, so it will come later. Promise.
Dress Rehearsal -
We were treated to a complete (3 acts, all scenes) rehearsal with all dancers from the 2nd cast ('my' Ekaterina Schipulina as Medora and tall Ruslan Skortsov as Conrad), all sets, full orchestra, partial costumes but no wigs and make-up. Most of the main numbers were danced fully, with some marking from the male soloists. Yuri Burlaka called-out orders through a mike. A female coach could be heard directing the female corps, during the Jardin Anime. Alexander Petukhov corralled the extras and assisted Burlaka, all the while miming the role of the chief eunuch.
I've seen this production live in London/2007 and the KennCen stage's dimensions are comparable to the London Coliseum and, in fact, the New Bolshoi stage. In other words: Cramped! Nonetheless, the big set pieces were very impressive, including a 'tight' Jardin Anime with at least 75 people and foliage on the stage. Local kids did a great job in the Jardin and other scenes that call for children.
We all knew that there would be cuts but Burlaka has done major surgery on Act III, deleting Ratmansky's masterful Pas d'Eventails in its entirety!!! (That's the Pas of the Fans to Drigo music, for Medora, Gulnare, a cavalier and a corps of ladies. In London, only the male variation was deleted.) What's more, as in London, the Act I Pas d'Esclave is missing the adagio that usually precedes the variations. Even with the 20-25 minutes worth of cuts, the production runs about three hours, counting two 20-minute intermissions.
Schipulina was fine, if off-axis on her pirouettes. To be fair, I love her 1st arabesques -- like classical sculpture! She danced a delightful 'petit corsaire' variation en travestie, during the cave scene; this is a gem of a varietion that is cut from almost all other versions, e.g., Mariinsky, ABT, etc. Skvortsov had problems with the slow tempo, making him seem very tired at the end of his variations. I am sure it will be fixed by performance time. We had two Gulnares this afternoon -- a brunette with blue eyes and bangs (maybe Anastasia Meskova?)* in most scenes BUT a divine Nina Kaptsova in the Jardin Anime. The Pas d'Esclave was nicely performed by blonde Anastasia Stashkevich and bravura soloist Dennis Medvedev. The three Odalisques included Olga Stebletsova in the 1st variation; the other two not readily recognizable although I will guess Anna Tikhomirova in #2 and Anna Leonova in #3. Kudos to Andrei Merkuriev as Birbanto, with tall blonde Anna Antropova as his lady. Gennadi Yanin is precious as Lankedem, the old merchant and keeper of Medora.
It was a wonderful dress rehearsal...much more than I had expected. In the past, we sometimes got to see just two acts of a ballet in such rehearsals. Here we saw it all, including the impressive storm and ship-sinking finale.
Edited to add: In the playbill obtained at tonight's program, only two Gulnares are listed for this run -- Kaptsova and Krysanova...but the lady who danced at most of the dress rehearsal did not look at all like Ekaterina Krysanova. Krysanova DID dance 2nd Odalisque tonight, though...looking like herself. So who was the mystery Gulnare at the rehearsal?