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La Bayadere in BerkeleyJune 4-7


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#1 Helene

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 01:59 PM

The principal casting for the Bolshoi's "La Bayadere" performaces in Berekeley has been posted to the Cal Performances website:

Casting* :

Nikia
Svetlana Zakharova (Jun 4 & Jun 6 E)
Nadezhda Gracheva (Jun 5 & 7)
Maria Alexandrova (Jun 6 M)

Solor
Nikolai Tsiskaridze (Jun 4 & Jun 6 E)
Andrei Uvarov (Jun 5 & 7)
Alexander Volchkov (Jun 6 M)

Gamzatti
Maria Alexandrova (Jun 4)
Yekaterina Krysanova (Jun 5, 6 & 7)

* All casting subject to change without notice


http://www.calperfs....08/dance/bb.php

To reformat that by performance:

Thursday, June 4:
Nikia: Svetlana Zakharova
Solor: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
Gamzatti: Maria Alexandrova

Friday, June 5:
Nikia: Nadezhda Gracheva
Solor: Andrei Uvarov
Gamzatti: Yekaterina Krysanova

Saturday, June 6 matinee:
Nikia: Maria Alexandrova
Solor: Alexander Volchkov
Gamzatti: Yekaterina Krysanova

Saturday, June 6 evening:
Nikia: Svetlana Zakharova
Solor: Nikolai Tsiskaridze
Gamzatti: Yekaterina Krysanova

Sunday, June 7 matinee:
Nikia: Nadezhda Gracheva
Solor: Andrei Uvarov
Gamzatti: Yekaterina Krysanova

#2 Chaconne

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 08:55 AM

The principal casting for the Bolshoi's "La Bayadere" performaces in Berekeley has been posted to the Cal Performances website:


Saturday, June 6 matinee:
Nikia: Maria Alexandrova
Solor: Alexander Volchkov
Gamzatti: Yekaterina Krysanova


:wallbash: That's a rare one. It felt very much like the times when Terekhova was dancing Giselle. I love Alexandrova but I have heard criticisms about her upper body being too stiff and her style too forceful. Is she just being a good trooper for the company (e.g., filling in for the matinee performance) or does she want to try something new?

#3 Helene

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 10:31 AM

I'm not sure, but I'll be thrilled to find out, if the casting holds. I would have loved to see her Gamzatti, but I can't go until Saturday.

#4 ina

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 02:53 AM

:thumbsup: That's a rare one. It felt very much like the times when Terekhova was dancing Giselle. I love Alexandrova but I have heard criticisms about her upper body being too stiff and her style too forceful. Is she just being a good trooper for the company (e.g., filling in for the matinee performance) or does she want to try something new?

She is really eager to try herself in new roles most of the times, especially famous classical ones. Hope she succeds in this experiment she was long looking forward to. We are folloing her career with great interest here in Moscow and feel a bit jealous that this debut will happen overseas.

#5 Sacto1654

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 03:33 AM

She is really eager to try herself in new roles most of the times, especially famous classical ones. Hope she succeds in this experiment she was long looking forward to. We are folloing her career with great interest here in Moscow and feel a bit jealous that this debut will happen overseas.


I just got tickets to see the June 6th Saturday matinee performance. :thanks:

By the way, I noticed that Alexandrova really cut her hair quite short within the past year. She's no longer the Sandra Bullock impersonator when she had longer hair. :thumbsup:

#6 PeggyR

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 06:09 AM

'Sacto1654' date='Apr 13 2009, 04:33 AM' post='245677'
I just got tickets to see the June 6th Saturday matinee performance. :thanks:

Me too! This is my first time seeing the Bolshoi live since I was a teenager in the early 60s, so I'm very excited.

Even more exciting is the prospect of seeing Alexandrova; I've been checking out her YouTube clips and she certainly looks interesting; let's hope she doesn't get moved to an evening performance. Somebody have pity on us poor matinee goers :thumbsup:

BTW, is it safe to assume that ZA doesn't have room for a ramp for the Shades scene?

#7 Chaconne

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 11:26 PM

BTW, is it safe to assume that ZA doesn't have room for a ramp for the Shades scene?


I am afraid not. Kirov already ran into this problem when it performed at Zellerbach last fall. What is it with American venues and no ramps? Kirov also didn't have one in NYC--eeek!

I am really glad to hear that Masha A. keeps pushing the limits. With the exception of Russian Seasons, she has danced in almost all of Bolshoi's premiere productions: from Jeanne to Paquita then to Coppelia--that's quite a trajectory! She always comes across as open-minded (e.g., YouTube has video of her working with Wheeldon) but not too extreme. It keeps her dancing young!

Being used to the willowier Nikiyas of Lopatkina, Gracheva and Guerin, I still can't form a picture of her as Nikiya in my head with her athletic build and boyish haircut. The closest I can think of is Aurelie Dupont's Nikiya, who somehow can maintain statuesque stillness even in motion.

#8 carbro

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 03:05 PM

Being used to the willowier Nikiyas of Lopatkina, Gracheva and Guerin, I still can't form a picture of her as Nikiya in my head with her athletic build ...

Guerin willowy? Guerin was a beautiful dancer, but she definitely had feminine curves and not very long legs.

....and boyish haircut.

I'm sure Alexandrova's hair will look ballerina-conventional. If tons of gel and a pin-on bun won't do the trick, there's the age-old trick of wigs to ensure an appropriate style.

#9 Paul Parish

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 05:31 PM

Re the ramp --
The Berkeley stage is not really big.

I wonder what it can have been like in the first production, which was staged before the Mariinsky was built, in the old "Stone" theater, which was twice as deep as the Mariinsky -- the Mariinsky was built where the hippodrome had been and backs up onto a canal, which prevented them making the stage as big as in the other theater, which had NINE wings -- I attended a lecture by Tim Scholl who said there were SIXTY-FOUR shades in that production

#10 PeggyR

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 06:09 PM

Bolshoi Ballet, La Bayadere, Saturday, June 6, matinee, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley

Wonderful performance. Gorgeous sets and costumes (according to the program notes, they are based on sketches of the 1877 originals). Please, somebody, buy Peter Martins a ticket so he can see what an evening-length story ballet is supposed to look like!

Ekaterina Shipulina made a nicely flamboyant Gamzatti, all hard edges and nasty looks, although flappy hands (widely spread fingers and broken wrists) tended to mar her otherwise fine performance.

Alexander Volchkov's ardent and wonderfully danced Solor stood out for beautiful lines, huge jumps and dazzling turns. He's a dancer I'd go out of my way to see again.

As the temple dancer Nikiya, Maria Alexandrova in the first two acts wasn't as flexibly sinuous as the Nikiya's I've seen on DVD performances of this ballet, and her third act shade had more physical presence than you might expect of a wraith. Although she seemed to be having an off day for pirouettes, she was quietly stunning is so many other ways: the silkiest bourrees; a line of the quickest, most perfect chaines I've ever seen done on pointe; an emotional vulnerability that was appealingly at odds with her obvious physical strength. There's an interesting BT thread about her here.

The corps de ballet acquitted themselves well in the shades scene, and yes, we had a ramp. However, after all 32 dancers entered and finished their dance, when they split in half and moved to the sides, 16 of them left the stage and, as far as I could tell, for the rest of the scene there were only the 16 on stage. Is this usual? I'm guessing it was due to the stage's fairly small size.

And then there was the earthquake: about 10 minutes into the second act, we had a 3.2 earthquake. No one on stage seemed to notice anything, though the audience went into a momentary tizzy; but when the balcony showed no inclination to fall into the orchestra, we settled down and got on with the show.

#11 Drew

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 10:03 PM

Much better have the earthquake during the third act...

#12 Helene

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 04:33 PM

Any time Alexandrova is in the cast, here as Nikiya, my expectations are very high, but I was sadly disappointed.

Alexandrova is lovely in poses -- tall and regal -- like when she appears at the top of the ramp during Solor's vision, her arms in second arabesque. For the most part, though, she gave a very "leggy" lower body performance, whipping her long legs into positions, which were beautiful in themselves, but without a sense of fullness or intent, except in the Act III coda entrance, during the huge supported jumps, in which her entire body was engaged and spectacular. There was almost no shading in her upper body -- epaulement was practically non-existent -- or roundness in her arms and her head was relatively immobile on her neck. The logic of most of her variations -- why the change of speed and character -- was missing, and while she is far too great to ever just be a dancer doing the steps, her performance was missing dramatic impulse.

The exception was the Act II solo. Although she didn't have (or show) the flexibility in her back in some of the big sweeping choreography, the entire solo from end to end, through its three or four dramatic shifts, including a ravishing adagio opening, showed a dance logic that was a story in itself. She's not a shrinking violet Nikiya -- her other great moment was when she pulled out the dagger and threw herself towards Gamzatti -- and she showed drama by darkening the expression on her face, not wild emoting: what her Nikiya thinks are Solor's flowers may be reassuring to her, but the hurt is too deep for her to recover quickly. Temperamentally, she is my type, but the overall performance wasn't fully realized the way this solo was. In the future when it is, watch out.

In the evening performance, Svetlana Zakharova danced Nikiya. On video her extensions can dominate; seeing her live gave a different sense of proportion. She was a more feminine, traditional Nikiya, and her upper body was extraordinarily rich and varied. If it weren't for her beautiful feet, apart from some jarring extreme extensions to the side, it would have been as much an above-the-waist performance as Alexandrova's was below-the-waist. Her allegro work looked a bit forced, while her adagio phrasing was lovely. Why, why, why the hyper-extended jetes (constant) and the hit-the-ear extensions (however occasional)? She doesn't need them to make an impact, because she can tell a story and make an audience care about her character.

In the matinee Alexander Volchkov, who danced Solor, had beautiful, light, airy jumps and jumping turns, with soft supple landings and beautiful stretch, and whipping fast chaine turns out of nowhere, but dramatically, for the first two Acts at least, he was a stick in the mud. He was a bit like Ashley in "Gone with the Wind": why were these women fighting over him? In Act III he perked up quite a bit, and his variation was a dream itself. Nikolay Tsiskaridze danced in the evening and portrayed an arrogant warrior. (I'm wondering whether Zakharova's back leg in jetes, which wasn't quite bent and wasn't quite straight, was meant to mimic Tsiskaridze's.) There's a Dugmanta in his future; Tsiskaridze's Solor was already the junior version of him. Although he had more verve than Volchkov, Volchkov's line more than compensated.

Ekaterina Shipulina danced Gamzatti to Alexandrova's Nikiya. She had a great set of Madonna-like (singer, not saint) expressions, which were fun, but she was another leggy performer, leading a lot from the chin, and while in absolute terms, her dancing didn't turn crude the more the choreography demanded virtuosity, in relative terms it did. Her expressions were smug and one-note -- this was an Amneris-like Gamzatti, all spoiled rich girl with a huge sense of entitlement -- and she rivaled NYCB dancers at their most broken-wristed. Alexandrova knows where 90 degrees is, even if she doesn't always use it. If Shipulina does, she didn't much show it.

The drop-dead knockout performance of the two I saw was Ekaterina Krysanova's Gamzatti. Dramatically she was far and away the most rich and complex character. When her father came to tell her that he was marrying her off to the equivalent of Prince William, she showed a touchingly modest surprise -- "Really, I'm going to marry the guy I've had a crush on since I was 12?!" -- and finding out that he was in love with Nikiya shattered her dream much more than her sense of birthright. She showed a sense of desperation that would drive her to kill her rival, and was, if not exactly sympathetic, part of a tragedy, not a segment of Maury Povich.

Her dancing was clear, luminous, balanced, and mostly modern classical in proportion. She was equally adept in adagio and allegro, and a master of speed change with imperceptible preparation, all used to build the dramatic arc. The Zellerbach stage usually amplifies the sound of landings, yet I could not hear her toe shoes. It was a triumph, itself worth the entire trip.

(From here on, I'm going by the program, and if there were any substitutions, I wouldn't have recognized them.)

I very much enjoyed Viacheslav Lopatin's Golden Idol, which used every inch of the stage, dancing with buoyancy and lovely form. (He was also the first featured dancer that I didn't want to force feed.) I always thought that Ivan Vasiliev was a slender man, much like Daniil Simkin, but he was all differentiated, plated/plaited muscle and danced with beautiful ballon.

In the afternoon, Anastasia Stashkevich's Manu was delightful in tone and accent, and she really knows how to keep the jug on her head. Chinara Alizade in the evening was less risk-taking with the jug, but she had extra charm and delicacy. Both drum trios were a maelstrom of energy, danced by Ksenia Sorokina (a flaming redhead), Pavel Dmitrichenko, and Alexander Vodopetrov in the matinee and Anna Antropova, Vitaly Bitimirov, and Denis Medvedev in the evening. Since they seem to be listed alphabetically, it was the shorter dancer with the drum in the evening, who gave the drum tosses even extra pizazz with his shoulder shimmies. Anton Savichev was terrific asMagedaveya, the fakir, who has all of the messenger stage business when he's not leading rituals or leaping across the stage. He would make a wonderful Puck; he kept his energy and concentration through long stretches onstage when he wasn't part of the central action.

Should I assume that the High Brahmin is a cartoonish role, since it was danced similarly by Alexander Fadeechev (matinee) and Andrey Sitnikov (evening)? It looked different in person than in the videos I have. This takes away from the power of the confrontation with Dugmanta, especially when compared to Alexei Loparevich's proud, aristocratic rajah, which was right out of Indian historical cinema. His was a great character performance, perfectly sustained. Perhaps Taranda could have been a worthy opponent.

The costumes for the men were great; I don't think there's anything more flattering than a choice between formal Indian men's dress and bare midriffs with narrow harem pants.

Among the soloists, the highlights for me were two of the shades. In the matinee Anna Tikhomirova as Second Shade used her arms and hands so beautifully down to her fingertips, I was so transfixed by her upper body that I'm not sure what her lower body was doing. Nelli Kobakhidze as the Third Shade was softness incarnate; hers were full-bodied, stellar performances in the matinee and evening.

The corps had great energy in the first two acts, and were a joy to watch. The Act II earthquake came with a crowded stage of dancers in full swing; there were shock and murmurs in my section, too -- at the back of the orchestra, we looked up to see whether the mezzanine that extended above us was going to collapse on our heads, and then decided, "Nah." It sounded like stage thunder, and I suspect the dancers did know that something was up from the odd sound.

In the Shades scene, though, they had not agreed beforehand how high they were going to raise the working leg in the entrance, and each dancer had a different alignment in her back to achieve the individual leg height, which broke the trance. Once onstage in lines, though, the corps redeemed itself.

Every Russian-speaker in the Bay Area must have been there, and the standing ovation at the matinee was immediate.

#13 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 10:03 PM

Many thanks for this brilliant review, Helene - apt descriptions, great analogies - I had much fun reading it!


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