leonid17

Bolshoi in London 2010

60 posts in this topic

I was surprised to hear both well known teachers and members of the audience declaring after the final performance of Don Quixote, that the Bolshoi ballet of today is, "the new Kirov." This is a perhaps a reflection of the opinions held on recent Kirov(Mariinsky)performances.

Certainly the company is much more of a refined academic classical ballet company than in the past. The corps de ballet now has uniformly slim physiques and dance with beautifully clean lines and that goes for both the women and the men. This is quite a transformation from the past old style Bolshoi which did have perhaps a more physical vigour and more broadly characterful performance style. As they say, time changes many things.

For me, only the absence of Yuliana Malkhasyants was a real negative of the performance. I did however particularly notice the pleasing Maria Vinogradova in the Grand pas lst variation.

Natalia Ospipova and Ivan Vasiliev did exactly what we expected of them and then, something more.

Do not think the following photographs from the Bolshoi Website were previously posted.

http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/season/press-office/photos/

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Last year I was very disappointed by the Kirov season and wondered if the almost indifferent applause at their performances meant that London was falling out of love with Russian ballet or whether like me the audience still remembered keenly the glories of the past. This year the Bolshoi earned a very different response with clamorous applause at the dozen or so performances I attended, even those without the big star names. Having a glamour couple like Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev meant they get the kind of publicity the Kirov can only dream of, but the company wasn't riding on the back of their fame as there was just as much enthusiasm for the other dancers. Personally I think there is a great deal wrong at the Kirov, perhaps illustrated by the fact that Kirov 'defectors' Loboukin and Mercuriev so obviously thrive at the Bolshoi after being underused in St Petersburg. Bear in mind that Alina Somova opened and closed last year's Kirov season and Ivan Vasiliev opened and closed the Bolshoi's this year and you start to understand the inevitability of the Bolshoi speeding ahead in the ballet-goers’ affections.

I've always loved both companies for their different qualities and it saddens me that the Kirov is now in some sort of decline. Perhaps it is time to find a new director: FAST!

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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:

Friday's had a premium trio in the Dryads scene: Allash as Queen, Osipova as Dulcinea, and Kaptsova as Cupid. Also Yatsenko as street dancer. Yatsenko was a discovery for me - Thursday as Gulnare, Friday as street dancer.

Gypsy dancers were the same, so I was treated to a double, outstanding, emotive performance by Antropova.

The second variation of the third act was danced by Nikulina on Friday and by V Osipova on Sunday.

Vasiliev was more showy in the one-hand lifts, going twice in one foot while supporting Osipova in one hand. Second time he went into a slow battement tendu jeté - I recall perfectly his leg, rigidly elevating until it formed a 20 degree angle with the supporting leg. Sunday he went in one foot only once, but scratching in a humorous manner the back of the lower supporting leg with the raised foot. Also I think I saw V kissing O on the neck from behind during the GPDD on Sunday. Don't think the choreography calls for that, but it was quite tender. :)

There were more curtain calls on Friday, and Vasiliev made the last two by jumping from the rear of the curtain to the front, to much delight of the audience.

I'm afraid that pic must remain private as those fans are still teens, and the rules of the board don't allow to post such material.

Still working in the reviews. Almost finished the one on Le Corsaire, but I'm trying to give a abridged version of the argument and, well, we are talking about one of the most convoluted arguments in ballet.

Edited by sunday

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Mashinka, Leonid, I totally concur with your posts. I have my own thoughts to add to your comments. The Bolshoi's and the Mikhailovsky's imaginative programming was that 'something extra' that contributed to their successful summer seasons. Both ensembles brought works that were novel: Ballets that hadn't been seen in London for a number of years, or not at all. For example, the reconstructed "Coppelia," the mixed-bill "Serenade"/"Giselle" combo, and the Mikhailovsky's "Laurencia" and "Cippolino." The producers and the Mariinsky management failed to do that last year. Also, unlike the Mariinsky, neither the Bolshoi nor the Mikhailovsky gave any incapable debutantes the opening and closing nights of their engagements. There was no salvage operation that had to be mounted by the other ballerinas after opening night. From curtain up to curtain down, matinee to evening, both companies strove to put their best feet forward. Moreover, the stars were real stars and needed no chatting up by their Director, nor manufactured media hype.

I don't think that it would be prudent for the Hochhausers to engage the Mariinsky Ballet in the UK again until at least two (sic)". . . more Summers have withered in their pride." Why? For a number of reasons. Just before they closed their season, the Mariinsky revived Leonid Jakobsen's "Spartacus." Assuming the producers have this on their tentative short list of ballets, after the tremendous Bolshoi reception, (and the Mikhailovsky's production from a recent visit), there's no way that London would tolerate it.

Secondly, Messerer's revival of the historic pre-Grigorovich Bolshoi "Swan Lake" went over extremely well. This happened thanks to his superlative training of the Mikhailovsky’s corps de ballet. This prompted one of my friends to PM me and declare that, ". . . the Mikhailovsky can dance the Mariinsky into the ground now." What? St. Pete's "#2" out swanning The Swans? In my friend's opinion, apparently so.

Third, re the Jakobsen "Spartacus," it's a relic of it's time as a 1950s Soviet dram-ballet/experiment. It's historical value is that it’s the first production on the subject and it's danced turned-in, with sandals. Imagine a mute stage performance of Kirk Douglas' movie, with Aram's score blaring in the pit. That's the Jakobsen "Spartacus." Compared to the Bolshoi's production and Ivan Vasiliev's reportedly devastating interpretation, it wouldn't be wise for the Mariinsky to follow up with this version. This was the major revival at the Mariinsky this year - besides, the acquisition of Ratmansky's "Anna Karenina." "Shuraleh" is another old Jakobsen revival from June 2009 that hasn't been toured. It's based on a Georgian fairy tale and is the domain of Obrastzova who danced the premiere revival performance as Syuimbike. Maya Dumchenko and Irina Golub have also danced this role in subsequent casts; which means it won't be toured. On the other hand, Ratmansky's latest new creation for the company is "The Little Humpbacked Horse" and that ballet is now exclusively Alina Somova's ballet at home and when it tours. They've only taken it to Japan and Scandinavia. Next, it will be Paris' turn to share the joy this November for a one night stand at the Theatre du Chatelet. I wouldn't dare wager who Fateev will choose to showcase in Paris, but I don't need to guess.

Fourth, 1st and 2nd soloist females are freelancing. Talented but neglected men like Mekuriev and Lobukhin have left and become Principals at the Bolshoi. Osmolkina was injured last summer, but after her two successful Odette/Odiles at Covent Garden in Winter 2009, she's been absent. These two performances were her second and third performances after her debut at home in January 2009 - after serving a decade in the company. Osmolkina hasn't returned to O/O since then. Obrastzova began guesting as a Principal with Moscow's Stanislavsky Nemironovich-Danchenko Ballet last season and will do so again this season. Tatiana Tkachenko now divides her time between the Hermitage Ballet as a Principal, and the Mariinsky as a 2nd soloist (still a 2nd soloist). Even Katya Kondaurova is not immune to the Alina glass ceiling. Katya will dance what is technically the first O/O of the new season in September - but it's the matinee. The honor of the season's first evening performance of "Swan Lake" on the same date goes to you know who.

Fateev is making a statement. In his glass booth with his remote control in hand, Fateev in lab coat, is driving the ballet audience like test drive automatons. He's ramming his point repeatedly into the crash wall; and we are without the benefit of seat belts or airbags. What the management is "saying" is that they believe to the end of the age that Alina Somova is "superior" to Kondaurova, Obrastzova, Tereshkina -and anyone else you can name on the roster.

Unfortunately, there will be no new Artistic Director of the Ballet until and unless Maestro Gergiev appoints one, and if he does, there's no guarantee that person will be effective. Fateev's title is Deputy Director of the Ballet. With the recent appointment of Nacho Duato as AD of the Mikhailovsky, who knows what's next?

Finally, the Maestro will not replace his "yes" man with someone who will be a question mark as far as submission to his absolute authority is concerned. So, unfortunately we can expect more of the same. For myself, I'll be looking at the Bolshoi for the forseeable future.

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I don't think that it would be prudent for the Hochhausers to engage the Mariinsky Ballet in the UK again until at least two (sic)". . . more Summers have withered in their pride."

I've heard that the Kirov will in fact return to London next summer, I'm not exactly counting the days.

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I found this film of Ivan Vasiliev in a rehearsal studio on the Hochhauser website advertising the recent London season.

I have searched and only hope that it hasn't already been posted.

http://www.victorhochhauser.co.uk/bolshoi_ballet.php

Thank you Leonid--I had not seen that bit of video before.

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I found this film of Ivan Vasiliev in a rehearsal studio on the Hochhauser website advertising the recent London season.

I have searched and only hope that it hasn't already been posted.

http://www.victorhochhauser.co.uk/bolshoi_ballet.php

Than you for posting it Leonid. The angle of the videographer made the execution of the choreography particularly interesting.

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I found a review of Le Corsaire by the Bolshoi, written by a young Spanish ballerina, also fellow BTer, that left me wondering about the futility of finishing my review.

See the google translation here

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