Posted 09 October 2011 - 12:28 PM
Maria Alexandrova was very good. Such good balance! Yekaterina Krysanova was also outstanding as Fleur de Lys. So was Ruslan Skvortsov. I don't know who danced Acteon in the "Diane and Acteon" pas de deux in Act 2, but he knocked your socks off with his dancing and looks.
What did others think? Did anyone else see it?
Posted 09 October 2011 - 02:07 PM
Agree that Krysanova a very good and here I have to make a confession: like even minimally knowledgeable ballet lovers, I try hard not to be impressed with fouettes, which I prefer to think of as nothing but a parlor trick. But Krysanova's -- holy cow. Alternate single/double, very, very fast, then a quad which looked like it would be the scratch spin, but no, she kept right on going. They nearly fell apart at the end, though she managed to hold on; pretty spectacular. But really, not impressed -- honestly.
Also loved Alexandrova and liked Skvortsov, although he seemed a little underpowered at times. My favorite, though, had to be Denis Savin as Gringoire. I don't know how the character is usually played, but it must be easy to make him into the village idiot. In Savin's hands, he was unworldly but certainly not dumb; just a dreamy, good-hearted fellow in a weird situation.
Speaking of weird situations: did I miss the explanation for Phoebus' miraculous return to life, complete with glam new costume?
Only real problem for me was the music, which was no more than serviceable, if that. Made me appreciate Delibes, Tchaikovsky, et al, even more.
Posted 09 October 2011 - 04:28 PM
Posted 09 October 2011 - 04:47 PM
Stashkevitch looked dangerously beautiful, wearing a bright red short gauzy dress embellished with gold as a complement to Lopatin's gold-embellished white 'boots' and micro-mini-skirted gauzy over-the-left-shoulder drape.
Her variation was spot on and exciting. His, ditto. I was very impressed with both dancers and consider their PDD a - or, maybe, the - highlight of the whole ballet.
Re: Esmeralda's "kick the tambourine" variation, here is some info from rg (Robert Greskovic, author of Ballet 101 and member of BT and BT4D) posted a few years ago on our sister forum, Ballet Talk for Dancers:
Esmeralda tambourine variation
for those of you who are my FB friends, I've posted some pictures of the production on my wall
Posted 09 October 2011 - 05:25 PM
Posted 09 October 2011 - 05:34 PM
Happily, the Bolshoi site lists a complete cast list for today's performance, which had "Live" text in the corner of the screen a few times, although it was after midnight when the performance started in Pacific Time:
I was especially impressed with Maria Vinogradova, Beranger, who was the slightly taller and slightly more muscular of Krysanova's/Fleur de Lis' two demi-soloist friends, and their partners, Artem Ovcharenko and Vladislav Lantratov. And it was Yuliana Malkhasyants as the gypsy Mergera. She had way too little to do.
PeggyR, I didn't miss the explanation of how Phoebus recovers. There's no mime that explains this, as far as I could see.
Maria Alexandrova was stupendous; seamless technique without appearing technical, and her characterization was fantastic. I would love to see her Nikiya again now.
Savin was sweet and endearing, with a pinch of Alain. I didn't know the story, and was hoping that he'd come forward to die with her, then she'd be saved, and then she'd fall for him. However, marriage to a poet, a hapless one at that, would have ended badly.
I loved Svortsov's dancing; it was pure and strong. I thought he was very virile in his first entrance, oh, that walk!. In Act II, at the court, he looked deflated, not in his dancing, but in his characterization: he had a polite smile on his face, as if his mind was elsewhere and he was going through the motions, which is quite in character.
The orchestra sounded great.
And , while it retained the Vaganova addition of the "Diana and Acteon" scene, there was no holding tambourines overhead and kicking them with a toe shoe.
for a DVD of this.
Posted 09 October 2011 - 05:44 PM
I have seen a clip of the tambourine kick too and kept waiting for that dance. I am still new to ballet, and I know that many variations were scrapped or replaced or switched at premieres or when re-choreographed. So it is interesting that the "famous" tambourine kick" variation is actually composed by Drigo, instead of Pugni according to the link you provided. That must be why they decided not to include it. It must have been an interpolation at some point.
Peggy, I did not see when the goat or lamb was running around backstage. Not sure how I missed it. I did run to the bathroom before it started and during intermissions though. That must have been cute, and, yes, he/she probably thought they wanted dinner! LOL
I have watched the Pharaoh's Daughter and thought Pugni was a mediocre composer b/c of that, and so today I expected mediocre music as well, but I quite enjoyed a lot of the music. It surprised me. I guess it all depends on expectations. I went in with low expectations of the music, so I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it. You are right that it isn't Tchaikovsky or Delibes though. I went in with high expectations of the dancing and was quite satisfied!!! It is a shame this ballet is not done more often in the U.S. The story is familiar to people here: Victor Hugo's book, many movie versions, etc. so I wonder why it is not really done here except for excerpted variations.
It has been YEARS since I read the book. I think Phoebus survives and actually thinks that Esmeralda stabbed him in the book. Maybe someone else remembers more clearly. Since the book is so long it had to be glossed over. I guess, in the ballet, we are just supposed to understand that he healed up quickly and came back to save her! LOL LOL I did think it was funny how you described it.....new outfit and everything! LOL
I was surprised that Fleur de Lys did 32 fouettes (or however many she actually did do) by the way. I am surprised how many ballets include that. I thought it was mainly a Swan Lake tradition, but I have seen it in Don Quichotte, Paquita, etc. I do think it does give a circus-like atmosphere to the finales and I do not mean that as a derogatory comment.
Posted 09 October 2011 - 05:50 PM
Brings up something I forgot to mention: how much I enjoyed the entensive mime scenes, even though I didn't always understand what was being said. It occurs to me that well-done mime can be as enjoyable as good dancing.
Posted 09 October 2011 - 05:58 PM
I felt sorry for Novakova/Novikova doing all that translating and having to often rush at the end. I lived in Germany and Austria for a year each, and so I would sometimes have a friend visiting and had to translate back and forth to different people, and it drove me nuts!!! At the very beginning I think she greeted people in Russian, French, English, and German, but for some reason she continued with just English and French. It is one thing to do announcing like this, but then she actually conducted interviews and had to translate them in two languages (French and English) after conducting them in Russian! Poor woman! LOL She probably loves it though. Some people do.
Thanks for the full cast list from the Bolshoi.
I wonder if they will release this as a dvd as you are praying. It seems like a shame to do these in theaters and tape them for encore presentations but then not release them on dvd, so I hope, like you, that they will. The Metropolitan Opera has released some of their HD presentations but not all. I think it is an issue of getting all the artists to sign off on release or something. Still waiting desperately for a dvd of Boris Godunov with Rene Pape from last season!
Posted 09 October 2011 - 06:08 PM
Posted 09 October 2011 - 06:15 PM
I can't wait to see the whole thing.
"Jardin Anime" as a stand-alone would be worth the price of the ticket.
This version does not have the slave Ali, and the hero is fully clothed in the big Pas de Deux.
(I'm really hoping Andrei Merkuriev, the Birbanto in DC, reprises the role for the HD. I have a massive crush on his Birbanto, even if he is the villain of the piece.)
Posted 09 October 2011 - 06:31 PM
Posted 09 October 2011 - 06:48 PM
Victor Hugo's book is much darker than the ballet. I remember it being super descriptive of each scene. It described every place in such detail that you felt you were there, and there were descriptions of how the poor lived, etc. I think the irony was that Quasimodo was so ugly and physically gross, so people were scared of him. Meanwhile, Frollo was so evil on the inside despite being in such a "pure" position. Frollo was the one to be scared of, not Quasimodo.
I imagine a ballet that is as dark as the book would probably turn a lot of people off. It is a great book, but it has been so long since I read it. It took me FOREVER to read it (had to read it for a class in college). It is not really pleasure reading, b/c it is so deep, intricate, and dark, but once you are done with the book you are amazed at how Victor Hugo made you feel like you were there. However, his descriptions were so long winded that I sometimes got so bored as ignorant as that sounds. Like I said, hard reading, but once I was done I was very impressed with the book. I think the cathedral itself becomes like a character in the book b/c all the characters are somehow connected to it. But I remember it being such a hard read that I never read it again. Maybe I will put it on my list to reread, since I have forgotten so much. The ballet is much more light hearted and fun! LOL I don't want to dissuade anyone from reading the book though. It really is a masterpiece!
Posted 12 October 2011 - 06:40 AM
Macaulay admire's Maria Alexandrova's "panache" in the title role, but complains about the way she performs in the Pas de Six in the final act.
I have never seen the complete work , at least as far as I remember. I have seen bits and pieces, often intended to highlight the star ballerina's bravura qualities. The Pas de Six is actually like an opera scena in that it has its own beginning and conclusion and is capable of standing alone. These 12 or so minutes consist mostly of an alternation of a dramatic pas de deux with conventional ensemble work by 4 anonymous women.
Reading the review, I got curious as to how this actually looks on stage nowadays. YouTube has a full version of the Pas de Six from the Mikhailovsky Theatre, with Tatiana Fasenko in the title role. The big surprise to me was how moving this piece is, as a piece of dance story-telling. Fasenko is in no sense a bravura technician, something most evident in the coda. But she can use her face, port de bras, and the line in arabesque from fingertip to foot to make you believe completely in the character and care about what she is feeling. This is no simple feat. The choreography calls on Esmeralda to alternate deep sadness with her conventional job as an entertainer. The "mood swings" are fast and frequent. But the music supports them, and Fasenko made me love her Esmeralda. It helped to have such a wonderful Gringoire. I wish I knew his name. (Macaulay singles out the Bolshoi's Gringoire, Denis Savin, for praise. It's a role with no actual "dancing," but it must be hard to convey that you care so much for a loved one who loves some else, without looking like a sap.)
In case others reading this thread don't know this work, here are the links to the Mikhailovsky Pas de Six:
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