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Bolshoi at Kennedy Center- Spartacus


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#16 leonid17

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 03:22 AM

"prima ballerina" meaning foremost ballerina of this or that company - which, like it or not, she is.


The status of any dancer depends not on media hype, company publicity, or fans and company pleasing critics, but by the reasoned judgement of connoisseurs of academic classical ballet.

As I am sure you know from your wide experience of watching ballet, because a company designates a dancer as a principal dancer, does not mean they deserve the appellation.

The Kirov/Maryinsky, Bolshoi and Royal Ballet companies have too often promoted dancers to stations well above their talent and artistry and publicised them as being significant.

Zakharovova is a product of a type of schooling that may seem exemplary because of her technical attainment, but her choices made in the interpretation of roles has for me and others been uneven and disappointing. Therefore one is entitled to question not only her personal status but the judgement of those that give her such a status.

The days of significant interpreters of the academic classical repertoire sometimes seem to me to be past and that balance in a performance goes beyond striking and holding a pose on point, or the ability to turn or elevation, instead, it is reflected in their integrated technique informed by artistry that results in a "complete" performance rather than exciting or "beautiful" moments that Zakharova can certainly achieve

#17 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 02:19 AM

"prima ballerina" meaning foremost ballerina of this or that company - which, like it or not, she is.


The status of any dancer depends not on media hype, company publicity, or fans and company pleasing critics, but by the reasoned judgement of connoisseurs of academic classical ballet.

As I am sure you know from your wide experience of watching ballet, because a company designates a dancer as a principal dancer, does not mean they deserve the appellation.

The Kirov/Maryinsky, Bolshoi and Royal Ballet companies have too often promoted dancers to stations well above their talent and artistry and publicised them as being significant.

Zakharovova is a product of an type of schooling that may seem exemplary because of her technical attainment, but her choices made in the interpretation of roles has for me and others been uneven and disappointing. Therefore one is entitled to question not only her personal status but the judgement of those that give her such a status.

The days of significant interpreters of the academic classical repertoire sometimes seem to me to be past and that balance in a performance goes beyond striking and holding a pose on point, or the ability to turn or elevation, instead, it is reflected in their integrated technique informed by artistry that results in a "complete" performance rather than exciting or "beautiful" moments that Zakharova can certainly achieve



Quite so, leonid. It’s not because the bottle boasts the appélation controlée label that the wine becomes per definition vintage. Your observation does put the judgement of people like Vladimir Vasiliev, Yuri Grigorovich and Alexei Ratmansky in a totally different light.

#18 giraffe

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 01:38 PM

Has anyone gone to watch Spartacus yet? Any reviews?

#19 abatt

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 10:34 AM

I was at the Bolshoi's performances of Spartacus on Tues and Wed evenings. I thought Ivan Vasiliev was electrifying as Spartacus. His soaring jumps and leaps were breathtaking. The Wed evening Spartacus was Pavel Dmitrichenko. He was fine, but he paled in comparison to Vasiliev. The rest of the lead cast on the opening night was very good. Volchkov was impressive as Crassus, and Kaptsova was lovely as Phyrygia. (Nikulina was also marvelous as Phyrigia on Wed.) However, I didn't particularly like Maria Allash as Aegina. On Wed. evening Maria Alexandrova was considerably better than Allash as Aegina. Were any other Ballet Talkers there?

#20 nysusan

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 11:08 AM

Thanks for the report abatt. I'd love to hear about today's matinee, if any BTers are there. Particularly interested in hearing about Merkuriev's Crassus and Krysanova's Aegina. I'm going to tomorrow's matinee.

#21 cinnamonswirl

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 03:43 PM

I was there on Tuesday night. Generally I agree with abatt. The men were much more impressive than the women. Electrifying is the perfect word to describe Vasiliev. Just incredible. Volchkov was also very good. I thought Kaptsova looked very, very tight, and I was totally underwhelmed by Allash. I would have liked to see Alexandrova as Aegina.

#22 nysusan

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 07:11 AM

Anyone who's ever seen Ivan Vasiliev dance, even for an instant would expect his Spartacus to be danced in spectacular fashion. One could just imagine him attacking all those leaps and jetes. He delivered all that and more for a stunning performance on Sunday afternoon. I recall when the Bolshoi brought Spartacus to NY in 2005 that I didn't find their men to be really believable in the 2 performances I saw; in fact I was more impressed with the women (remember, it was our first sight of Osipova in a Don Q solo and here in the tiny role of a shepherdess). Not so this time. Vasiliev established a charismatic, rousingly heroic Spartacus from the minute he stepped on the stage. He won the audience over from his first entrance and swept them along on his journey till the end.

He may not be the tallest Spartacus around, but I think his brawny, muscular appearance, incredible dancing chops and impassioned reading of the role make him THE Spartacus of his generation. From the abandon with which he threw himself into all of those glorious Grigorovich leaps to the tenderness & passion in his 3rd act pdd with Phrygia, his performance was never less than riveting. In fact I agree with abatt that it was truly electrifying.

I found Kaptsova to be a lovely, lyrical Phrygia, especially beautiful in her big 3rd act adagio & pdd and that poignant final scene but I missed the sweeping line and endless extensions I recall from Antonicheva at the 2005 Met performances. Allash was fine as Aegina, cold and calculating with a very sharp attack. Volchkov was more than fine as a very tightly wound Crassus who totally unraveled when humiliated by Spartacus. He showed beautiful classical form in the first act, his leaps spiraling more out of control along with his personality as the drama barreled along to its inevitable conclusion.

This really showcases the entire male contingent of the Bolshoi, and they were impressive. I heard several people say that it was the best ballet they'd ever seen. Not sure if I'd agree with that, but it was a wonderful performance and a very entertaining afternoon.

#23 YID

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 12:51 PM

Hello, I managed to see Tuesday opening, then Saturday matinee & evening (i.e. all three casts). I agree with Nysusan, abatt & cinammonswirl.

1. Bravo to energy and much higher level of performance of the whole ballet troupe (comparing to NYC's 2005). Truly marvel of execution, stunning energy, precision and coordinated synchronization.

2. I would like to compare and rank various soloist (to my taste & IMHO) with a disclaimer that I was sick on the opening night:
A) The best Phrigia was Marianna Ryzhkina. I can only compare her to Antonicheva of 2005's NYC run. Only they made me cry, only they were genuine to me (Marianna this time, and Anna Antonicheva in 2005). Both Anna Nikulina & Nina Kaptsova were technically perfect and romantic, but I saw them acting, when Marianna LIVED on stage. And I'd agree with Nysusan that Nina Kaptsova was a bit stiff to me.

B) Aegina. I can't decide between Ekaterina Krysanova and Maria Aleksandrova, who'd be my favorite. I'd place Ekaterina Krysanova, since her body is more fluid and softer (and she's much slimmer), she was very feminine, sexy and alluring. When Maria Aleksandrova (and Allash) look much heavier (I may be getting spoiled by Mariinsky's slimness). Aleksandrova danced very reliably and steady (like a locomotive on the rails), her jumps were high in the air, but her extensions are border-line and look stiff. Baranov's lifts worried me, she looked too heavy for him (or anyone). BUT, she acted as a MEAN, VICIOUS scammer. Much meaner, like a madam. Krysanova was just lighter & sexier. And Maria Allash just didn't allure neither moved me.

C) Crassus - I'd rank them as Yury Baranov and then Alexander Volchkov with Andrey Merkuriev. Baranov just acted a bit meaner, more vicious and more genuine (to me). Andrey Merkuriev just showed a different school, when Baranov & Volchkov were more angular, Merkuriev was more elegant and fluid in movements (what is best - I don't know, it's just different).

D) Spartacus - can I not rank them. They were different (I'd let Grigorovich rank them ;-)) Vasiliev showed most of charisma. But Pavel Dmitrichenko & Ruben Muradyan are much taller and have better lines & same or better extensions. I'd describe Vasiliev as a (Pirate, rebel) fierce fighter, where Dmitrichenko danced as more aristocratic fierce fighter. And dark hair & beards suit closer the Hollywood type of Spartacus.

PS: [added later} - Spartacus lifts. Dmitrichenko's lifts were steadier & longer & Nikulina raised the second leg much straigher. Then Vasiliev, then Muradyan. I've also heard that Muradyan & Merkuriev didn't dance those roles a lot. (end)

That's why I like seeing different casts.
About casting changes, a dancer told me that since Muradyan injured/or hurt himself, he only danced once, that caused the shifts of casts. He also praised Ryzhkina "old school" and experience (I'd agree). It was the best (out of all 3) performance of Phrygia, tender, loving, caring, passionate, soft, and devastated in last act. She didn't act, she lived. Thank you Bolshoi for a wonderful experience.

PSPS: this was posted at a rusian forum - glimses of Tuesday openning are on youtube under "HD 1080P End Act 1 & 2 & 3 Bolshoi Ballet Spartacus Vasiliev Kaptsova Volchkov Allash Grigorovich". No sound, but great viewing.
And wow, they look much SLIMER and taller from grand tier or tier one than from ochestra. Enjoy

#24 Mike Gunther

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 04:03 PM

Spartacular!
(Thursday performance)

Fyi, the Tues./Sunday cast (Ivan Vasiliev, Alexander Volchkov, Nina Kaptsova, Maria Allash) also danced Thurs. Three times in a week, I don't know how they had any legs left. I feel privileged to have seen them. Such leaps, such bounds, such lifts! By both couples - it was just amazing, not only technically but dramatically too. And this rave from somebody who doesn't even like that particular ballet! To me the choreography (except for the above-mentioned leaps, bounds, and lifts) is just 3 hours of mugging. But what can I say - they made me into a believer.

#25 Mashinka

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 02:22 AM

Aleksandrova danced very reliably and steady (like a locomotive on the rails), her jumps were high in the air, but her extensions are border-line and look stiff.


What are 'border line extensions'?

BUT, she acted as a MEAN, VICIOUS scammer.


You mean as if she has a sideline in sending emails inviting people to buy worthless share certificates?

#26 YID

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 07:31 AM

What are 'border line extensions'?

BUT, she acted as a MEAN, VICIOUS scammer.

You mean as if she has a sideline in sending emails inviting people to buy worthless share certificates?

a) Consider them "not-impressive" (compared to other dancers) (I am trying to be polite). And please don't interprete that i don't like her. She's very artistic & reliable (Iron Lady comes to mind). I like them all. Just not everyone has cosmic-extensions
b) are you trying to be humorous? I meant "hard, cold, calculative character planning to lure, suduce, & use Crassus, & later plotting the revange on rebells"
Any other linguistical questions? (I am not a native speaker)


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