leonid17

Bolshoi in London 2010

60 posts in this topic

I'll be in London to see some Bolshoi performances, so if any of you Bolshoi-holics -I'm partial to Osipova- want to meet, please PM me. I PM-ed some people already, but I see that there would be more than a handful of posters attending Bolshoi performances.

Note to Moderators: If the request is inappropriate, or this is the wrong thread, then please delete.

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Bolshoi 28 July 2010 Royal Opera House London

Giselle

Music Adolph Adam

Choreography Marius Petipa after Jean Coralli and Jules Perot

Production Yuri Grigorovich

Designs Simon Virsaladze

Giselle Nina Kaptsova

Albrecht Ruslan Skvortsov

Hilarion Ruslan Pronin

Berthe Elena Bukanova

Bathilde Kristina Karaseva

Duke

of Courland Alexei Loparevich

Wilfred Vladislav Lantrantov

Peasant

pas de deux Anastasia Sashkevich, Viacheslav Lopatin

Myrtha Maria Allash

Two Wilis Viktoria Osipova, Anna Leonova

Tonight's Giselle featured a dancer I have liked very much in other roles (Phrygia -this season-

and Aurora -some seasons back at the Bolshoi-).

My expectations for her performance were positive, without knowing anything of her performance record of Giselle.

What I did know is that Nina Kaptsova is listed as a Leading Soloist (below principal and above first soloist)

and that her coach is Marina Kondratieva.

Whatever expectations I had, she exceeded them.

Ms Kaptsova was simply wonderful as Giselle, particularly successful as a newly-anointed Wili in the second act.

The first act showed her in fine form in all the dance passages, with wide and buoyant jumps,

a finely honed musicality, and with delicate and fine lines;

her pairing with the gifted Ruslan Skvortsov as Albrecht was extremely successful as well.

At one point she stopped in her tracks while dancing to establish for us the

fact that Giselle was suffering from some sort of frailty, one that impinged on her love of dancing.

It was a clear moment of story telling -one that I don't remember ever seeing stated so clearly.

But there it was: a particular bit of mime, if you will, in a production that avoided mime on principle.

The first act Peasant pas de deux had choreography that looked like it came from somewhere else and hardly suggested village dancing.

Anastasia Stashkevich and Viacheslav Lopatin danced it well.

Ruslan Pronin gave a thought-out interpretation of Hilarion as the local suitor of Giselle.

The sketchy style of Virsaladze's sets suited neither the music nor the libretto of Giselle.

The costumes were a mixed lot. The court costumes were lavish.

The costumes of the corps looked too sophisticated for peasant costumes.

They, too, looked like they came in from somewhere else.

Wilfred, Albrecht's 'sword-bearer', had the most elegant outfit and hat for someone 'in service'.

Kaptsova, in the second act, impersonated the 'weeping spirit', of the neophyte Wili trying to save the life of her beloved;

with it she created a profoundly moving portrait. The intensity and focus and musicality of her performance were simply magical.

Kaptsova's Giselle will long remain in my memory as an extraordinary performance.

From the passion of her grand pirouettes en arabesque when she first dances,

to the sustained arabesques at her exits, every step in between added to the integrity of the portrait.

The partnering of Skvortsov was excellent and his overhead lifts breathtaking.

His variation and acting skills as Albrecht were first-rate.

Maria Allash was an imperious leader of the Wilis, implacable, stern.

She danced beautifully.

The audience responded enthusiastically with two curtain calls and

appearances in front of the curtain following.

Pavel Sorokin conducted the Bolshoi orchestra.

Serenade

Ballet in four parts

Music Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Choreography George Balanchine

Staged by Sandra Jennings

Waltz Ekaterina Krysanova

Russian Anastasia Yatsenko

Elegy Anna Leonova

Serenade preceded Giselle.

The work was well-performed by the ensemble, as would be expected.

Krysanova, probably my favorite dancer at the Bolshoi, gave what looked to me like

an ineloquent performance as the Waltz girl, nothing wrong with it technically,

but not the kind you feel takes wings.

The apotheosis with her was, nevertheless, eloquent.

Anastasia Yatsenko, was the most impressive of the three soloists, buoyant and soaring with abandon.

Anna Leonova had elegant articulated movements and a clarity of phrasing

but kept herself expressionless, as if it were a virtue to erase all facial expression.

She is, notwithstanding, a lovely dancer.

My companion and I both decided, when thinking about the performance,

that a major problem may have been with the lighting design, which was rather clinical.

It lacked the kind of luminosity one associates with Serenade productions.

The lighting failed to help us see a balanchinean world, a world filled with creatures somewhat like ourselves,

but transformed through the prisms of art, into dancers, aspirants of form and meaning.

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Paquita/Russian Seasons/Petrushka -- Triple Bill, Bolshoi in London

30-07-10 Royal Opera House 7:30

Petrushka

Ballet-burlesque in four scenes

Music Igor Stravinsky

Ballet production Mikhail Fokine (1911)

Bolshoi premiere 6 February 1921

Revival version Sergei Vikharev (2010)

Libretto Igor Stravinsky and Alexandre Benois

Set design Alexandre Benois (1921)

Reproduced by Boris Kaminsky

Costumes Alexandre Benois (1921)

Reproduced by Elena Zaitseva

Lighting design Damir Ismagilov

Archive research Pavel Gershenzon

Petrushka Ivan Vasiliev

Ballerina Anastasia Stashkevich

Moor Igor Tsvirko

Charlatan Gennady Yanin

I no longer remember whether I've seen any earlier performances of this ballet,

or whether what I have seen, has been on tv and dvds.

This seems to me like a mime show, with the music and sets and costumes

the principal components.

My companion wondered why 'waste' Vasiliev in it,

But it was a very successful part for Nijinsky in his time. Times change.

Still, I think this revival is extremely useful for our times.

It helps us understand where we've already been in ballet explorations.

The early Stravinsky music is gorgeous; I heard sounds in the theatre I'd never heard on recordings.

The reconstruction is vivacious and entertaining. This work still stands,

in its story telling and ambiance, as a distant branch in the lineage of classical dance.

I liked it a lot.

Vasiliev created a poignant portrait of Petrushka, Anastasia Stashkevich was delightfully expressive

as the Ballerina and the Moor, of Igor Tsvirko, was very entertaining in the worship of his coconut.

The costumes looked pristine.

Thanks are due to Sergei Vikharev for this lovely revival.

The orchestra was led by Igor Dronov.

Russian Seasons

Music Leonid Desyatnikov

Choreography Alexei Ratmansky

Costume design Galina Solovyeva

Lighting design Mark Stanley

Adaptation of

lighting design Sergei Shevchenko

Premiere NYCB 8 June 2006

Premiere Bolshoi 15 November 2008

Couple in orange and in white Ekaterina Krysanova, Andrei Merkuriev

Couple in red Anastasia Meskova, Denis Savin

Couple in green Yulia Gebenshikova, Alexaner Vodopetov

Couple in blue Anna Okuneva, Vladislav Lantratov

Couple in purple Anna Yatsenko, Igor Tsvirko

Couple in magenta Anna Nikulina, Viacheslav Lopatin

Violin Irina Blank

Soprano Yanna Ivanilova

This is a work that requires repeated viewings.

The costumes, empire style strap dresses for the women,

and loose shirts and pants with boots for the men, were flattering

and gave good lines for dancing as well as a feeling of (Russian) folk costumes.

Particularly the pillbox hats with chin-straps worn by the women in the

opening and closing scenes.

I was glad they took them off for the greater part of the work,

because they remained too metaphorically 'folksy'.

The music is a twelve-part composition for string orchestra, violin and mezzo-soprano.

Mark Stanley's lighting had the cyclorama lit in strong colors of a wide range,

but not the balanchinean sky-blue.

The dancing throughout this performance was admirable.

The leading couple, Krysanova and Merkuriev were simply stunning

in the clarity of their dancing, alone and together.

I couldn't take my eyes off Anastasia Meskova whenever she appeared.

An angular dancer with the rank of soloist,

she has a strong projection and a phenomenally propulsive sense of movement.

I wish I could recall the many contributions of the excellent dancers

in this performance. But jet lag is winning. (I'm writing this from home).

This is a very strong work. I particularly liked the sections with the songs.

I hope to see it again.

Igor Dronov conducted the fine orchestra of the Bolshoi.

Grand Pas from Paquita

Music Ludwig Minkus

Choreography Marius Petipa

Staging and new version Yuri Burlaka

Set design Alyona Pikalova

Costume design Elena Zaitseva

Lighting design Damir Ismagilov

Original premiere Bolshoi Theatre, St Petersburg, 8 January 1882

New version premiere Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, 15 November 2008

Choregraphic notation and

original score Harvard University Theatre Collection

Score restoration Alexander Troitsky

Paquita Maria Alexandrova

Lucien Nikolai Tsiskaridze

Pas de Trois Anna Tikhomirova, Anastasia Stashkevich, Andrey Bolotin

Six soloists Maria Vinogradova, Anna Okuneva, Olga Stebletsova,

Victoria Osipova, Svetlana Pavlova, Yulia Lunkina

Eight coryphées Yanina Parienko, Victoria Litvinova, Sofia Lubimova,

Ilona Matsiy, Anastasia Shilova, Galina Potdykova,

Olga Barishka, Angelina Vlashinets

Variations: music of Ricardo Drigo save for Trilby: music of Yuli Gerber

1 (from the ballet King Candaules) Maria Allash

2 (from the ballet La Source) Ekaterina Krysanova

3 (from the ballet Camargo) Nina Kaptsova

4 (from the ballet Trilby) Natalia Osipova

5 (from the ballet La Sylphide) Maria Alexandrova

6 (from the ballet La Source) Nikolai Tsiskaridze

The program for this performance lists the timings for the ballets:

Petrushka: 40 mins. , Russian Seasons: 40 mins.,

Grand Pas from Paquita: 45 minutes.

Of all the ballets, Grand Pas was the one I didn't want to end.

When we think of all the original remnants of classical dance, the Grand

Pas is probably the most iconic example of Petipa's classicism.

As the Bolshoi program states: …..

"An extended classical dance ensemble, marvelously structured, which provides

an opportunity for nearly all the leading soloists to display their virtuosity -

and to riotously compete with each other."

And what a competition it was! The first gem to be presented was the pas de trois.

Bolotin (first soloist) was a great match and partner to Tikhomirova and Stashkevich.

All three shone; their synchronous held landings were splendid.

The groups of two or four, with the six soloists and the eight coryphées were a joy:

buoyant jumps, lovely beats, impeccable pirouettes, elegant finishes.

One gets a strong impression that this choreography

"is beloved by dancers and public alike", as the program notes state.

Alexandrova presented herself with consummate assurance, danced impressively,

and completed her series of elegant single fouettés with a serenely authoritative finish.

Tsiskaridze comported himself with his usual idiomatic expressiveness, this time

sporting sideburns and a moustache. His variations were well-danced, both of them

showing an adherence to aristocratic demeanor

(except for one jumped split movement that seemed to come out of nowhere).

Other gems of this work are the variations from defunct ballets

(some of these variations appear in other works), danced by principals

(Allash, Osipova) or leading soloists (Krysanova and Kaptsova).

These are treasures. To see Allash with her correct classical comportment,

followed by Krysanova's expansive movement and joy for dancing,

and then the elegant, understated passion of Kaptsova's mesmerizing style,

and this followed by the literally explosive aerial dancing of Osipova,

followed by……Alexandrova.

It doesn't get better than this.

The Bolshoi orchestra was in the capable hands of Pavel Klinichev.

This is the last London performance I'll see before returning home.

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Now I am back in the United States, I thought I would add a little bit to my earlier comments about the Bolshoi in London. I was partly inspired by my strong agreement with the comment in yesterday's NY Times review that the company appears to be in full flower. Chiapuris's reviews have registered and celebrated the same thing, but I was so dazzled and made so happy by the performances I saw I want to celebrate it a little more!

In the heydey of Grigorovitch's directorship of the company I saw Ivan the Terrible, The Golden Age, and (his) Romeo and Juliet--but somehow never Spartacus. I almost took a pass in London but am glad I decided not to do so. With the company giving a seemingly enthralled and certainly enthralling performance, it was just terrific. I will add that I do not find it deeply memorable--and by the middle of the the third act it is rather too obviously repetitive in its effects--but moment by moment at the Bolshoi's opening night in London, I was kept (metaphorically) on the edge of my seat with excitement.

As I think many readers of this forum know, the ballet sets massed, heroically posed groupings into wildly athletic sequences highlighted by the four principles who at different points lead the various groups charging across the stage with a vitality and sensuality that I doubt any other ballet company in the world can muster. It alternates these scenes with individual 'monologues' for the leads in which they dance with much the same athleticism, though sometimes a little more slowly, in scenes meant to express their motives and character and--if 'expression' be understood as offering the very broadest emotional strokes imaginable ('arrogance,' 'suffering,' etc.)--they do express them.

I said above I had never seen Spartacus--I had in fact twice seen excerpts and the most recent occasion (some years ago, perhaps when V. Vasiliev or Fadayechev was directing?) the company looked drab and uninterested in the ballet, with the predictable result that the potentially entertaining became simply embarassing--a Cecil B De Mill flop. Not so in London. Those who remember the ballet from its heydey may be able to criticize: what I saw was passion and energy let loose so as to bring the hokiest of the ballet's sentiments and all its athleticism to brilliant, joyous, believable life. There was one moment--I'm no longer sure exactly when but I think women were running around the stage in some sort of orgy--when I thought THIS is simply sensational; THIS is what people mean by the Bolshoi.

Of course, without good principals the whole thing would fall flat. I agree with many of the critics who said the Crassus, Volchkov, got better as the night went along--the signature 'fish' jump initially seemed a bit low and unimpressive--but he definitely built up steam effectively. Several London critics were mad for Maria Allash as Aegina--I thought she did a fine job but she was the one dancer on stage all evening whom one could see occasionally 'adjusting' her positions whereas everyone else just flung themselves into the choreography and managed nonetheless fully to convey control as well as power. (The role is so leg-centric--that I confess I would be curious what Zakharova would make of it.) That said, Allash had a wonderful sensuality particularly in her upper body and if it were not for the very high standard of everyone around her on stage I might not even have noticed the little adjustments.

Kaptsova was a delicate and fragile-appearing Phrygia--lovely in every way. Personally, I felt she did not quite have the full emotional weight called for in the final scene of mourning over Spartacus's body, but her dancing in every other portion of the ballet was exquisite. Of course, the "event" of this performance was the young Ivan Vasiliev's Spartacus--he brings the role intensity, brilliance, power, and control. This is not just evident in, say, huge leaps but also in beautifully articulated turns with an arched torso that seemed as if they were a pure embodiment of emotions (longing and desperation). He also has the kind of presence that holds your attention when he is standing still--not that he stands still much in this ballet. I had thought his (relatively) small size would be undermining in this ballet. Not a bit of it to my eyes. Indeed, he was the one person on stage who seemed to me easily to be able to take his place next to the Bolshoi dancers of Grigorovitch's own era in this kind of work.

I will say that as days passed, Spartacus in no way "grew" in my memory--rather it faded. I think this speaks to the fact that (for my taste) the ballet itself is more guilty pleasure than great art, 'sensational' rather than 'spiritual'. I'm not even sure I would want to see it a second time, unless perhaps it were my only chance to see Vasiliev again. But I also would not want to sell short the tremendous impact it has--at least on a first viewing of a strong and committed performance. The ballet definitely "lives" in this company's performances and lives in a way that proves it does deserve to live. (Something that was not so evident when I saw the excerpt so drably performed years ago.)

I will try to write a little later today about Coppelia -- a production of the ballet that HAS grown in my memory -- and Natalia Osipova's brilliant Swanilda and indeed the whole company which, in a ballet that is (to say the least) rather different from Spartacus, indeed appears to be "in full flower."

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I'm not a big "Spartacus" fan, but that performance sounds is one I would have loved to have seen.

I can't wait to read your impressions of "Coppelia".

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Edited to add: This came out really long--even for me. I wanted to pay tribute to what I saw because I simply loved it, but apologise still for going over the top.

I have been ill--and my computer, as if in hysterical sympathy, is actually in a coma (I am on a borrowed and rather ancient laptop). But I will try to say something about Coppelia which I saw three times in London, twice in a cast led by Osipova and Skvortsov and once led by Stashkevich and Lopatin (I had the name wrong and Bella12 corrected me below). The production as has been noted already is a Vikhaerev reconstruction of the Petipa/Ceccheti one of 1895--with fine traditional backdrops and gorgeous picture-book bright costumes.

The production is altogether joyful and beautifully, even lovingly danced. There is a touch of 'grandeur' that I don't remember from other Coppelia's I have seen (going back to Frederic Franklin's for the National Ballet and including the Royal Danish Ballet's and Balanchine-Danilova's)--a Lord of the Manor turns up in the final act; he sends a minion to pay off the distraught Coppelius whom we never see join in the final celebrations. Coppelius himself looks a bit of a gentleman (however eccentric) and lives in a rather grand home with huge paintings of (I think) mythological subjects on his wall. The Czardas in particular is done by a largish ensemble in costumes that are more Act III Swan Lake national celebration than ballet-villagers and the Act III finale dedicating the town bell is a clearly an elaborate allegory of time--with a large clock in the back, an ancient bearded figure sitting atop it, and small children surrounding it, moving the hours. Yet none of this grandeur is at all pompous or heavy-handed--rather it's light, joyful, vivid.

What is particularly remarkable about this production though is that the whole company, at all three performances I saw, managed to hit exactly the right balance of being true to the nineteenth-century spirit of the production (at least to an amateur's eye) while bringing it alive with the kind of immediacy and brilliance one would expect from a masterwork created yesterday. It looked traditional and yet utterly fresh.

This is a joyful Coppelia not a 'dark' one--it could hardly be otherwise with the wonderful Natalia Osipova as Swanilda. At the first performance I saw I was especially struck with the utter softness and lyricism of her upper body throughout, the lacey delicacy and lightness of her dancing in Act I, the ease and joy of her movements in the finale. One felt the romantic sources of the production even as one enjoyed the sunnily articulated splendor of every step. I have seen Osipova in four ballets now and, writing about her, I think one should emphasize not her powerhouse technique, but her absolute dedication to whatever ballet she is dancing even as she has her own distinctive and charismatic presence. She appears to give herself over completely to the spirit of the choreography. (Who that saw her Juliet at ABT in July can forget how utterly spent and even dazed she looked the first few curtain calls?)

As a matter of fact, this Swanilda is not a powerhouse performance: I have seen more amazing fouettes, balances etc. and she was too respectful of the choreography to push where it called for simplicity--this is a ballerina role in which she dazzles with single pirouettes paused at the end with arms opening to show the audience her position or even simple pas de bourree. That said, Act II was simply extraordinary, brilliantly danced (I have never seen it more brilliantly danced) AND brilliantly characterized (perhaps Fracci or Kirkland characterized it with similar intensity--I'm not sure). Indeed the second time I saw Osipova's Swanilda I was sitting in the front row--a surprisingly good seat at Covent Garden as one only loses a bit of the feet--and even at that distance she was uncannily doll like. And from doll like she lets it rip, while somehow remaining her sunny, confident Swanilda-self, determined to teach this rather goofy Coppelius a lesson (as I said it's not a dark production). Whether in the expansive yet sharp-edged Spanish dance or unbelievably quick footwork and soaring, soaring, soaring changements de pieds of her Scottish dance or the little details between these set pieces when she and Coppelius are, at it were, arguing over what she should do or dance next--or the wonderful verve with which she chases him with a sword siezed from one of the dolls--the whole scene unfolds with unbelievable intensity and speed. It's wonderful and then, alas, it's over. And the whole is MORE than helped along by the wonderful Gennadi Yanin who manages to make Coppelius a sympathetic and believable eccentric -- less crazed artist than lonely provincial gentleman with the pretensions of an amateur inventor stirred by loneliness into daydreams of magus-like powers. The simple childlike dignity with which he assumes his magician's cloak as he begins (as he thinks) to bring Coppelia to life perfectly suggests the humanity and tenderness of this portrayal. When he and the rather smaller, yet still boxer-fierce Osipova stand literally nose to nose staring each other down--it is adorable and funny and unforgettable.

Osipova is ballerina beautiful in Act III. From the front row, I found her facial expressions perhaps a bit too ballerina-ish--but I make allowance due to my peculiar seat...and honestly because this is someone for whom I will make allowance because of all that her commitment as an artist has given me. Chiapuris has mentioned the backward hops on pointe the ballerina does in the coda to the pas de deux. I can remember a lot of ballerinas hopping across the stage in various ballets but never any going backwards -- even with Osipova I have to say it does not look like the easiest trick in the world!

As for the company: during the finale, perhaps dazed by the Delibes (which I love) and the wonderfully energized quality of every single soloist, I thought to myself, "they must be the best ballet company in the world today." In fact, I don't believe in "best ballet companies"--different companies have different repertories, good nights, bad nights, good productions, bad productions. But certainly--I will say, a very successful production of Coppelia.

A few more words about the company as a company. I have become ruthless about throwing out programs, but I believe the Swanilda has eight friends and over the course of three performances I saw two casts: the quality of both casts was excellent. Every one of the women seemed as she could have been a leading soloist--the security, the largesse, the clarity, the (forgive the repetition) joy. Basically all the classical dancing in the Act I divertissement for Swanida and her friends was a highlight at least as exciting in its way as any orgy in Spartacus. The Mazurka and Czardas were, too, simply amazing. Indeed watching the Mazurka I thought 'character dancing can't get any better than this' and then the splendid Czardas came along to prove me wrong. The dancers seem to live inside the energetic rhythms and music: and every change, every alternation--from the slow dignified, to the fast and sharp is so bright, so vibrant--one wishes they would just repeat it all again.

I loved the last act allegory-divertissement...Though I still think Balanchine manages to make a more exciting finale out of it all, the difference is largely made up for by the quality of the Bolshoi dancers. That said, if only to prove that I have not drunk Bolshoi cool-aid I will offer a few minor reservations about some of the soloists (not all). It was luxury casting for London (I'm guessing Krysanova does not dance every performance of Dawn when the company is not on a major tour--indeed the company program had a picture of Chinara Alizade in the role, a corps dancer I remember from several years ago and was hoping to see again.). ALL of the Act III soloists at every performance of the ballet I saw had luxuriant and gorgeous upper bodies--head, arms, shoulders all looked like ballerinas. Krysanova was excellent (particularly at the last two performances) but neither Anna Nikulina nor Victoria Osipova as Prayer were able to get a secure position in arabesque penche (please imagine accent) -- a signature moment in that solo. I will note Nikulina's exquisite, liquid bourrees. Anna Leonova had an attacking, staccato style in her big jumping solo (Folly)--I was not altogether crazy about this in the solo as I often prefer more streamlined dancing, but in the coda-finale when all the soloists join in she was simply brilliant. Indeed in the finale all the performers danced with such expansiveness, authority, and ease they really carried the music and/or were carried by it to new heights. (Yatsenko led the allegory of work--she had a heavier style than the others to my eyes, but also impressed in the coda.)

Stashkevich danced Swanilda at the second performance I saw. (Mashinka has already commented that Stashkevich seemed much improved to her from earlier performances.) I had never seen her before and I thought her dancing was excellent throughout--really top notch--and I enjoyed her portrayal though I found her dancing a bit harder edged than Osipova in Act I and less secure in the lengthy promenade of the Act III adagio. (I think "promenade" is the word I want...) If Stashkevich had been the only Swanilda I saw I would still be raving about this production--and I think she makes a very fine Swanilda.

Readers who have made it this far may notice I have not mentioned the men. They don't do much in this production but even allowing for the little they do I have to say I was a touch underwhelmed. Both Skvortsov and Lopatin (Stashkevich's Franz, as Bella12 reminded me below as I had misremembered the name) seemed to underplay the goofy comedy involved in this role--say, asking Swanilda to marry you one moment and flirting with the strange girl in the window the next. The quite good looking and even rather charming Skvortsov seemed to pick it up a little the second time I saw him--but as I was in the first row I could not help wondering if he simply does not project the comedy as much as he could/should: and one thing I remember about Bolshoi dancers of the 70's -- they PROJECTED. His dancing was pleasant and easy but not otherwise distinguished; Lopatin perhaps a little sharper in the articulation of his feet and little more elevation in his jumps--but even lower-key in his characterization which on the whole made me prefer Skvortsov. (On other threads I have expressed concern about the waning male strenght at ABT but either of the two Romeos I saw in July (Halberg and Gomez) would, I believe, far outshine these men in their variations and characterizations even in this production where the men do so little.)

I don't mean to end on a down note--the Franz's were fine and both had a pleasing lightness to their dancing, but they were not the reason to see this production. The production itself is a wonder: true to the past, yet living in the present; offering both classical and character dancing at their most vibrant, beautiful, and engaging as well as offering a showcase for great individual performances (such as Yannin's and Osipova's--performances that will go down among the best I have been fortunate enough to see) AND offering a showcase for the whole company. Mind you, it's Coppelia--I'm raving, yes, but it's not razzle-dazzle, just great classical ballet. Hope they bring it to the United States.

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No need to apologize -- I avidly read every word, and I share your hope that they bring this to the US (or Canada). I'd travel for it in a NY minute.

In the US ballets and operas seem to take life from other productions -- no Macbeth or Elektra or Ballo for a while, and then all of a sudden, the opera is everywhere -- and it would have been great if the Bolshoi would have followed Royal Danish Ballet in Berkeley with it's "Coppelia", especially since San Francisco Ballet will have danced in the joint Pacific Northwest Ballet/San Francisco Ballet Danilova/Balanchine "Coppelia" a few months before.

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"Bolotin (Stashkevich's Franz)"

A lovely review, Drew, and I am reluctant to question anything but I think your memory might be a little faulty. If you still had your cast sheet I think you'd find that Stashkevich's Franz was Lopatin.

Edited to add that I saw the Friday night performance. Although Lopatin was scheduled to do the Saturday afternoon performance with Stashkevich, maybe he was replaced?

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"Bolotin (Stashkevich's Franz)"

A lovely review, Drew, and I am reluctant to question anything but I think your memory might be a little faulty. If you still had your cast sheet I think you'd find that Stashkevich's Franz was Lopatin.

Edited to add that I saw the Friday night performance. Although Lopatin was scheduled to do the Saturday afternoon performance with Stashkevich, maybe he was replaced?

Bella12--I'm sure you are right as I was writing from middle-aged memory. I am just mortified. Thank you and apologies to Lopatin.

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He also has the kind of presence that holds your attention when he is standing still--not that he stands still much in this ballet. I had thought his (relatively) small size would be undermining in this ballet. Not a bit of it to my eyes.

I had the same thought after seeing Vasiliev in photographs - his size didn't look imposing enough for Spartacus. I'm glad to be wrong. :) Your review brings to mind Croce's line about the Bolshoi being the only company able to dance Spartacus and the only company that would wish to. Thanks for your reviews (and the others on this thread). Sounds like a thrilling experience.

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Your review brings to mind Croce's line about the Bolshoi being the only company able to dance Spartacus and the only company that would wish to. Thanks for your reviews (and the others on this thread). Sounds like a thrilling experience.

I did not know that line from Croce; it sounds exactly right. In the meanwhile, I have been vaguely wondering if the fact that I see so little ballet in recent years--usually just a handful of performances a year--has made me lose my critical edge (or eye)--and I accept that Osipova may not be for everyone however smitten I happen to be. But reading Clement Crisp, Ismene Brown and other London critics--or indeed Chiapuris on this thread--I don't think my reactions were totally unmoored from reality and EVEN Osipova (with Halberg!) could not make me change my opinion of Macmillan's Romeo and Juliet, so perhaps I still have some critical faculties....

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Went to see Don Q sunday matinee on 8 August at ROH. Following suggestions I wanted to see Osipova but could only get tickets for Zakharova. As it happened Z. was injured so O. took on Kitri.

I was also trebly fortunate that not only did I get front row seats but Vasiliev danced Basil. Outstanding! It was the most appreciative audience I've seen at the ROH and the pair got an 8 minute standing ovation - never seen that before.The soloists were very good also and the corps de ballet were extremely disiplined.Add that the costumes were outstanding and it was one of ,if not the best, ballet performances I've seen. The grand pas was worth the ticket price alone.

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I agree. It was truly a performance to remember. I lost count of the number of curtain calls*- the audience just did not want to let them leave! Spartacus got a standing ovation but this was even better, possibly because it was the last performance of the Bolshoi season at Covent Garden.

Osipova and Vasiliev were absolutely perfect. When they were on stage, I couldn't take my eyes off them; they just commanded your attention with their virtuostic dancing that all the other dancers, as talented as they are, just paled in comparison. So many times did the audience gasped as Vasiliev flew into the air and his jumps just seemed to hang in mid-air. I had seen the grand pas de deux on youtube many times and so for me, it did not seem as special as I already had high expectations. What I found particularly entertaining was the acting and dancing in Act 1- the chemistry between the 2 dancers could not have been better :I know that they are a real-life couple but even so, their cute, flirty grins just captured the heart of everyone in the auditorium. Vasiliev was also impressive in his 'death' scene in Act 2, although it was very similar to Baryshnikov's version (but maybe they are all like that?).

There are those who say that Osipova and Vasiliev are not 'classically' trained enough and only 'show off' their high jumps and turns but for me, they were the true stars in London. I believe they are setting the new standard in ballet- I also saw Maria Alexandrova in Le Corsaire and despite her mature and majestic style of dancing, I would still prefer Osipova. The huge crowd of people standing at the stage door after the performance just shows how much they are loved at Covent Garden. I really hope they return soon.

*I would like to ask for the definition of curtain calls- how exactly do you count them? From Wikipedia, it says that the record is over a hundred by Pavarotti and I remember reading somewhere that in ballet, Fonteyn and Nureyev received over 60? At the end of the performance, the curtain rises and the characters comes out and take their bows- so it that just one curtain call? In larger opera houses like ROH, the curtain then closes and usually only the main character comes out to take a bow in front of the curtain. Do you count how many times they come out? Thanks

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I saw the last performance of Don Q with Osipova and Vasiliev- it was truly a performance to remember. I lost count of the number of curtain calls*- the audience just did not want to let them leave! Spartacus got a standing ovation but this was even better, possibly because it was the last performance of the Bolshoi season at Covent Garden.

Osipova and Vasiliev were absolutely perfect. When they were on stage, I couldn't take my eyes off them; they just commanded your attention with their virtuostic dancing that all the other dancers, as talented as they are, just paled in comparison. So many times did the audience gasped as Vasiliev flew into the air and his jumps just seemed to hang in mid-air. I had seen the grand pas de deux on youtube many times and so for me, it did not seem as special as I already had high expectations. What I found particularly entertaining was the acting and dancing in Act 1- the chemistry between the 2 dancers could not have been better :I know that they are a real-life couple but even so, their cute, flirty grins just captured the heart of everyone in the auditorium. Vasiliev was also impressive in his 'death' scene in Act 2, although it was very similar to Baryshnikov's version (but maybe they are all like that?).

There are those who say that Osipova and Vasiliev are not 'classically' trained enough and only 'show off' their high jumps and turns but for me, they were the true stars in London. I believe they are setting the new standard in ballet- I also saw Maria Alexandrova in Le Corsaire and despite her mature and majestic style of dancing, I would still prefer Osipova. The huge crowd of people standing at the stage door after the performance just shows how much they are loved at Covent Garden. I really hope they return soon.

*I would like to ask for the definition of curtain calls- how exactly do you count them? From Wikipedia, it says that the record is over a hundred by Pavarotti and I remember reading somewhere that in ballet, Fonteyn and Nureyev received over 60? At the end of the performance, the curtain rises and the characters comes out and take their bows- so it that just one curtain call? In larger opera houses like ROH, the curtain then closes and usually only the main character comes out to take a bow in front of the curtain. Do you count how many times they come out? Thanks

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Me too.

Seat C6 in orchestra stalls. That crazy Spaniard who was teaching by example how to properly pronounce "¡Bravo!" to out strong-"r"-impaired-Northern neighbors. Several times. Went also to the Stage Entrance after the performance, and waited couple hours until O&V set shop in the stage counter to sign things. I got my big program signed. V in a pic of Spartacus, O in a jumpin' Kitri.

Happiness. Bliss.

I went also to the Friday performance, and I think there were more curtain calls then. Also got autographs of O&V in the ticket, and one of Anna Nikulina in the hand program. Did not find Nikulina on Sunday to congratulate her for her Queen of Dryads. A notoriously humble Soloist, that young lady.

BTW, I discovered that a no so uncommon Spanish surname has a certain weight among the staff of the Royal Opera House. Hint: Translate Sunday to Spanish. :wink:

Just arrived home from the airport.

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The performance sounds very exciting (Dwil also wrote about it briefly on another thread)-- wish I had been there.

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Me, too. I had thought about making the trip and decided against it and now I'll be kicking myself indefinitely. It's so great to read and hear about this kind of excitement and these performers. Thank heaven for our correspondents, and the ample news space afforded the British reviewers. :)

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Wow Sunday, I'm so jealous that you got their autographs! Just wondering, how long did you have to wait for them to come out? Did you have to wait outside the stage door or do you go inside? Did they sign everyone's program or did they have to leave quickly in their car? I would love to wait for the dancers next time.

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Wow Sunday, I'm so jealous that you got their autographs! Just wondering, how long did you have to wait for them to come out? Did you have to wait outside the stage door or do you go inside? Did they sign everyone's program or did they have to leave quickly in their car? I would love to wait for the dancers next time.

You may say it was a long wait. Staff came to said the principals were in a party followed by dinner, as the Sunday one was the last Ballet performance. Staff also said that they could come outside using the stage door, but that they may also not. As I had enough cigarettes to pass the time, was leaning in a kinda comfy car (at least in the outside), and there was any London museum open, I had nothing better to do.

Also I was expecting to see Nikulina, again, to express my congratulations for her Queen of Dryads. Even tried to extract an autograph from Sir Victor Hochhauser himself, but he kept directing the glory to the dancers. A really humble gentleman, I think. Also I think I was not very polite using the "Sir" bit. Well, it was my first occasion of treating a Commander of British Empire, after all.

So, I spent time discussing with a Japanese lady what Alina Somova has got to attract Nipponese, asking a understanding British lady about the names of the dancers she was taking autographs from (after the third mistake of asking people if they were Nikulina...) and generally trying to improve my spoken English.

Past 7 p.m. staff came out to announce Osipova and Vasiliev were waiting inside for us fans to get signatures, but we have to be quick, as they were going to a dinner afterwards. And so my season program got signed, and I got to get escorted part of the way back to my hotel by a nice, blonde couple of mother and daughter that were next to me in the autographs queue.

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Thank you for your reply, Sunday. Apart from Osipova and Vasiliev, which other dancers did you manage to see?

I too wanted to wait for them at the Stage Door but my friend did not want to stand outside for more than an hour. Also we were not sure if they were even going to come out or sneak away through another door- after all, I have only seen evening performances at Covent Garden and those usually finish past 10.30pm which is too late to wait for them to come out.

The next time I see a matinee performance, I would most definitely like to get their autographs. I hope the dancers are usually nice and that they stop for a photograph also!

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The performance sounds very exciting (Dwil also wrote about it briefly on another thread)-- wish I had been there.

So do I! Thanks everyone who attended the Bolshoi's season for your wonderful and descriptive reports!

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Thank you for your reply, Sunday. Apart from Osipova and Vasiliev, which other dancers did you manage to see?

I too wanted to wait for them at the Stage Door but my friend did not want to stand outside for more than an hour. Also we were not sure if they were even going to come out or sneak away through another door- after all, I have only seen evening performances at Covent Garden and those usually finish past 10.30pm which is too late to wait for them to come out.

The next time I see a matinee performance, I would most definitely like to get their autographs. I hope the dancers are usually nice and that they stop for a photograph also!

Managed to see some, but recognized too few. Olga Stebletsova was very celebrated as one of Kitri's friends. Alexei Loparevitch (Don Quixote himself!) exited a couple of times, made a few hilarious bows, signed autographs, and went back into the building. I also waited for the soloist of the Gypsy Dance, Anna Antropova, but did not see her. Recognized Denis Savin (Gamache on Fri and Sun), who was introduced to the fans waiting at the stage door in Friday. Yulia Grebenshchikova was also seen teaching a fan how to spell her surname (no surprise here).

Also, after seeing some quite beautiful, young Spanish balletomanes getting all over Vasiliev* in front of a not really amused looking Osipova (who may have thought that Don Quixote, the ballet, really did finish before) on Friday, probably one could have musings about the reluctance to come out of the building and preferring to sign autographs with a solid countertop between dancers and fans. But that is only my evil imp writing. :wink:

BTW, if you were near the door itself, i.e. between the door and the car parked in front, we could have even talked a little.

Also, working in my reviews.

* There is photographic, non-public proof of that

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I did not realise you also went to Friday's performance- I wonder- how did the two performances compare? On Sunday, the two dancers had plenty of energy, although I realise they must be very tired after such a long tour!

As I was leaving, I did notice a car outside the Stage Door- my friends and I thought that was the car which would take Osipova and Vasiliev away!

PS. Oh what I would give to see that photo! :wub:

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