Eileen

A New Yorker at the Bolshoi Ballet

61 posts in this topic

I went a second time this evening, a few follow up comments:

First, this was a different cinema, we didn't have surround sound, and I arrived 10 minutes early to be *sure* I got to see the pre-show interviews and tour of the theater. But the projector operator cued up DirecTV and fast forwarded up to the start of the ballet - despite my loud protests! I will pick the first theater for the next trip, with surround sound and the full show.

but with absolutely NO publicity of any kind anywhere, (no ads in local/regional newspapers, or even a mention in the monthly regional "arts" magazine: Preview MA) I doubt that will happen.
We really ought to organize ourselves into a guerilla campaign for these events. I signed up for a site called MeetUp online in their Cultural Arts section, but it's really for people who are already aware of these events. Facebook, and other social networking sites are going to be the best strategy, along with old fashioned personal networking. Tonight I got my mom and sister to come with me. So that's 2 more people, and both are interested in going again! I used to do some networking at work, so let me think about which strategies could work for Ballet in Cinema.
Z's tutu too short, and camera placement a little low so ... sad.png...Where were the thorns?!!! An ivy overlay of the backdrop didn't express much passage of time, certainly not 100 years and the stationary pillars for the wings didn't convey a forest....
My mom and sister both agreed that the production lacked the Lilac and her sisters putting everyone to sleep, and later waking everyone up (covered in vines). In some productions, a net of vines rises into the rafters, signifying the awakening.
Lilac fairy danced okay, correct, but bland. She did smile, but it was a tight smile and never varied.
I didn't have problems with her performance, but I had problems with her character, which I think is Grigorovich's choice. Then again, in other SB's I never thought the Lilac was the strongest character in the story. It's hard to be dreamy and authoritative at the same time. Plus in this version, there are soooooo many fairies that Lilac doesn't really stand out.
Mom (sic) kept asking if they 'dressed up' in Russia vs. here.
Haha! Every Russian or Ukranian I've ever met dressed up to take the garbage out the house. A trip to the ballet means putting on your best jewels, furs, and sequins. smile.png
I went to see David Hallberg's historic performance--if only because now the rest of the world would see and appreciate his 'debut' with the Bolshoi. He was gracious & composed in the interview, and as usual, the perfect prince onstage. (I thought I saw Princess Florine?--wearing blue & feathers--wishing him success during the background in the pre-show backstage views)
Yes, after 2 viewings, I think I have a dancecrush on him. His lines are just so gorgeous.
I am VERY VERY grateful that the Cinemark theaters of Hadley, MA had the courage to show these broadcasts (despite the lack of publicity) when other larger towns/cities remain ignorant and mired in the gutters of pop culture.
Yes, I am thinking of writing a formal thank you letter to the manager of the theaters that showed the production (despite the projector operator). If many people send / drop off thank you cards, I think they will continue to show quality productions.

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It's been fascinating reading this thread. Thanks to all.

I confess to feeling envious of those who live near theaters participating in this program.

Then, I discovered to my shock that II DO live next to such a theater. wallbash.gif

This possibility had never occurred to me, despite the wide availability of Met HD/Live in theaters all over our area. As others have mentioned, there has been no publicity. The presenter (if that's the word) is fandango.com, which also distributes the Met HD/Live series.

On the plus side, I discovered they are also showing the NYCB Nutcracker smilie_mondieu.gif , so I was able to get those tickets.

I'll defnitely have to pay closer attention to the various HEADS UP postings here on Ballet Alert, since this locality now seems to be in the cinematic ballet loop.

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I just finished reading Jane Simpson's excellent overview/review of the London and Copenhagen seasons in the Autumn 2011 issue of Dance View in which she writes about Alban Lendorf's debut as James in "La Sylphide", and it reminded me of my reaction to Hallberg's dancing, which I've seen several times live:

[A]lthough his performance was praised by everyone, no one used adjectives like 'amazing' or 'astonishing'. We weren't even mildly surprised -- it was obvious he'd be excellent.

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If Joseph is reading, I have a big request; is it possible to play the credits slowly enough that people can read them? It's very frustrating to try to catch a name, only to have it speed by. The Met Opera does the same thing, much to my chagrin.

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I suppose it could be worse. The new Sleeping Beauty could have been some weird concept production. I am enjoying how ballet seems to be fairly immune (knock on wood) to wild, crazy productions. The opera world has lost its mind. I do enjoy some crazy productions that make me think, but things have gone too far in that direction in opera. Ballet seems to be much more traditional (as far as sets go). I'm glad. Hope that continues. I don't want a Sleeping Beauty where Aurora makes her entrance in a 60s mini-dress and the Prince is a hippie!!! LOL

Oh there have definitely been periods where it was more in vogue to give the ballet classics a "reinterpretated" set--though probably not much as extreme as some opera productions. But that (thankfully) seems to have fallen out of vogue now.

After having thought about the production some more, I'm more and more disappointed by the sets. Why did every setting look basically the same? Particularly for the "hunt" Act--whyw as the Prince and his courtiers hanging out in what looked like the courtyard of Beauty's castle already? Was it meant to be some ruin they hang out in, unaware that just a little ways away were hundreds of sleeping people under a spell?

Sleeping Beauty was created partly to be a spectacle, as much as some people hate that word. For a long, story ballet like that, that takes place over a century, I think it makes little sense to have what is basically a "unit set" with different lighting--for one thing, it starts to tire the eye.

From what I've seen, the set is very similar to the POB and Scala productions, as Natalia so well analyzed in her post--if they wanted to re-use a set, why not go all out and try to use Bakst's designs for the famous Diaghilev production, or at least something inspired by them? (I know there was discussion here: http://balletalert.i...-princess-1921/ about any chance of reviving those designs, and I have no doubt they'd be expensive, but...) They were by no means awful, but I'm even wondering now if they're all that much of an imrpovement on Virsaladze's previous designs for the Grigorovich production, even if they are dated. When you compare with the Royal Ballet's production, or, of course, with the reconstruction of the original production, you realize how important a different look for each act becomes.

Natalia said: "Team Frigerio is the 21st-C equivalent to Georgiadis, who designed nearly-identical Sleeping Beauties for various companies in the 1960s/70s/80s."

I've never seen Nureyev's production in full, just clips and photos, but in general he seemed to go through a period of using Georgiadis for all his ballet restagings, the way Grigorovich used Vrisaladze for most of his. My mother talks about the first time she ever saw Sleeping Beauty live--when the National Ballet of Canada toured it to our city in the very early '80s. She said she found it long, and heavy, and she's now convinced it was partly just because Georgiadis' designs were SOOO *heavy* in texture and feel in egenral, they weighed the entire ballet down.

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I saw the rerun this past Tuesday, and don't have much to add to what's already being said. David Hallberg was by far the best thing about this performance, and not only because of his beautifully poetic dancing, but because the rest of the performance and production was truly, truly terrible. He stuck out like a sore thumb, and I had to keep asking myself, why in the world did he go to the Bolshoi? What is he expecting to learn from them? The rest of the production was marred by a nonsensical plotline --- the fairies seemed to have forgotten all about the baby in the prologue, the knitting ladies are inexplicably persecuted by the king at the beginning of act 1, the sets seem to be some kind of commentary on global warming and rising ocean levels, and there's no rhyme or reason to the awakening in act 2. And why the heck would you give Carabosse such a long time for exposition when there had been no mime before and after to dramatically make sense of what she's doing? She looked like she was just a random angry crank who stepped off the street.

Speaking of which, where was my titanic struggle between good and evil. Almost every musical cue in the prologue, act 1, and act 2 that points to this was squandered. The Lilac Fairy and Carabosse looked like they should have been tossing chairs at each other on Jerry Springer instead of fighting for the soul of the world.

Zakharova's dancing was 1 dimensional --- I have never before seen the Rose Adagio reduced to such an undramatic plodding --- and was totally outdanced by Hallberg. Even her great gifts of beautiful feet and hyperextended legs looked like they were perfunctorily and haphazardly deployed, and never in service of the dancing. Hallberg on the other hand showed how you should properly use such gifts. A really stunning moment was the end of his act 2 solo where he came out of pirouette with a leg extended in front, and landed kneeling. It was like the perfect confluence of musicality, line, and drama.

I was also shocked by the lackadaisical use of port de bras and epaulement by the company in general. At times during the garland dance, the kids looked better prepared than they did! In general, the rest of the company, with a few exceptions, looked lethargic. The only highlights in the rest of the company for me were the yellow fairy, any time character dances were done (why do they only come alive then?), and most of the fairy tale dances at the end.

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I have also seen it now. Most things have been said, but there's a few I'd like to repeat/add.

Negatives:

- The tutus, I've hated this type of tutu since I first saw it (a POB production I think, maybe it was Raymonda). The tops were really pretty, though.

- Zakharova's port de bras in her vision scene variation. If there's one variation that needs Mariinsky port the bras, I think it's this one. From seeing her dance this SB, I would never have thought she'd danced there for several years. (Also, I was kind of expecting a different variation in this spot; in the Semizorova DVD of Grigorovich's SB you have the "Sergeyev act III Lilac Fairy variation" danced by Aurora in the vision scene, and it is like that as well in the Vikharev reconstruction. I'm starting to wonder where the variation danced in this performance/Sergeyev version came from? But that's material for another thread I think.)

Positive:

Nina Kaptsova looked like she was enjoying being on stage so incredibly much, watching her made me feel happy as well. biggrin.png Of course, she had just been promoted and had every reason to be happy, but still. All of the others on stage seemed much less enthousiastic to be there.

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- Zakharova's port de bras in her vision scene variation. If there's one variation that needs Mariinsky port the bras, I think it's this one. From seeing her dance this SB, I would never have thought she'd danced there for several years. (Also, I was kind of expecting a different variation in this spot; in the Semizorova DVD of Grigorovich's SB you have the "Sergeyev act III Lilac Fairy variation" danced by Aurora in the vision scene, and it is like that as well in the Vikharev reconstruction. I'm starting to wonder where the variation danced in this performance/Sergeyev version came from? But that's material for another thread I think.)

I completely forgot about that, but while watching tried to make a mental note about which version was used in the earlier Grigorovich. You're right--he used the Gold Fairy music version, which Petipa used in the original 1890 production--but this time they used the originally composed music--which I admit fits the scene better, but is also what the Kirov/Mariinsky uses, with them then giving the Gold variation in Act III to Lilac. LOL--confusing.

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