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Bolshoi's "Raymonda" live in cinemas


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#16 Helene

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 02:36 PM

Many thanks for the link, Lidewij!

#17 Birdsall

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:22 PM

I saw this Raymonda live in cinema transmission today. Quite enjoyed it, but I had forgotten some things about the Bolshoi's Raymonda. Raymonda does not pick up flowers at her entrance like in the Mariinsky's version or the La Scala version. I miss that in this version. Also, in the 1980s video Raymondas from the Bolshoi Mukhamedov and Vasyuchenko (both as Jean de Brienne) leap for joy at the impending entrance of Raymonda. It is something Grigorovich added, but I actually liked that touch and felt it actually fit the music and helped to build excitement in the audience for Raymonda's entrance.

Today Skvortsov did one jete that I remember and Alexandrova entered almost as an after thought. In fact, the entrance timing was so off, in my personal opinion, that you actually thought Clemence or Henriette was entering and nobody really cared! LOL

But once Alexandrova began dancing, she more than made up for the entrance. She was wonderful in all three acts, in my opinion. I love this ballerina. Her facial features do create a sort of stern look to her in any role she plays, but her dancing itself is a dream. She is the first Raymonda I have seen who truly looks scared and unnerved by Abderakham. She ended her famous Hungarian variation in Act 3 with a very loud clap. I like that.

Skvortsov warmed up and got better as the ballet progressed. He is also very handsome.

I do miss Raymonda picking up flowers though.

The other thing I do not like about the Bolshoi's version that I had forgotten about (long time since I watched the videos) is that Raymonda falls asleep standing up against a column. This is the dumbest idea that Grigorovich had. Nobody falls asleep standing up! In fact, I think if someone were seeing this for the first time he/she would think she is just resting and have no clue that what is about to follow is her dream. The Mariinsky version has her fall asleep in a chair. La Scala has her lie down and the White Lady guides her outside during her dream. The Bolshoi's 1980s videos (Semenyaka and Bessmertnova) has the White Lady come along, but today's version omitted the White Lady for some reason.

During the intermission the conductor was interviewed about Glazunov's wonderful score, and he also said that he thought Grigorovich's version was the best version of Raymonda. I disagree. I think there are good things about this version, but it is far from the best.

Also, the Bolshoi's version really needs a new production. Today's sets looked like the 1980s version just slightly changed, but overall, very ugly and dated sets. The costumes look VERY dated too. Half the time Jean de Brienne looks like he is wearing Michael Jackson's hand-me-downs (big shoulders on capes, for example). I did like the black and gold costumes for some of the corps in the Hungarian last act, but those are about the only costumes I liked. The Bolshoi has so many beautiful productions, and Raymonda is mainly done (regularly) in Russia, so the Bolshoi really should do a new production of this ballet.

Abderakham's choreography is nice in the Bolshoi's production, but today I felt Pavel Dmitrichenko was a pale version of Gedeminas Taranda who is featured on both commercially available 80s videos. I will have to go back and rematch Taranda's dancing, but I remember much more acrobatics. It looked simplified today. Maybe I am wrong. I will have to re-watch my old videos. Dmitrichenko wasn't bad at all. I just have a memory of Taranda being INCREDIBLE in the videos.

During intermissions I noticed that the Bolshoi has the same problem that the U.S. has with audiences. I saw people in the lobby (they showed the lobby of the state academic theatre....this was not performed in the renovated Bolshoi theatre, by the way) wearing jeans and even hooker type dresses. I really don't care how people dress. I rather they show up than not, but at the same time there are so few reasons to dress up anymore. I think it is nice and fun to dress up to go to the theater. But I say this as I sat in the movie theater in my cargo shorts and tshirt! LOL But when I enter a real theatre I always have a sport coat even in the heat of Florida, although sometimes I am just carrying it.

Did anyone else see this today? What did you think? Overall, it was worth it to see Alexandrova. Loved her. The two men were not bad either, but they are competing against my memory of Mukhamedov as Jean de Brienne and Taranda as Abderakham.

But, please, Bolshoi, invest in a new production of this ballet!!! It is such a gorgeous ballet and should not look so dated like the 1980s!!!!!

#18 atm711

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 02:05 PM

I saw it today, too---and I am wondering what happened to the Lady in White?? Loved seeing Alexandrova---and were the girlfriends really Nikulina and Shipulina? (the program cast was way off) The second one of this pair to dance was must impressive --was it Shipulina? That said, I did not like the production---especially the scenery--oh, that awful drapery......the Grigorovichj choreography was not far behind. David Hallberg, what have you gotten yourself into??

#19 MakarovaFan

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 03:24 PM

Thank you, Birdsall, for your Raymonda review. I'm so envious and badly wanted to see it today. I love Alexandrova and imagine she must have been marvelous. And, yes, Taranda was incredible as Abderrakham! Posted Image

#20 emilienne

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 04:55 PM

For anyone interested, the complete HD presentation is on Youtube at Bolshoi's channel. The actual ballet starts approximately 30 minutes into the video.



#21 duffster

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 06:56 PM

I was fortunate to see this today in a small theatre just outside of Philadelphia( BRYN MAWR film institute). This was my first experience with the live transmisson- I enjoyed it- especially the backstage view before the performance started. Alexandrova was absolutely outstanding, she has a serene quality about her even when she is doing very difficult passages. Being a former dancer, I can appreciate the high quality of the dancing throughout this production. The handsome Skvortsov( after almost falling out of his first series of turns) did redeem himself as the ballet progressed. Nikulina and Shipulina were indeed Raymonda's girlfriends, their variations approached with their individual qualities but when dancing together were perfectly in sync( especially during some brutally quick tempi) . I also enjoyed Chinara Alizade and especially Anna Tikhomirova in their variations. ( Before the broadcast backstage, you can see Anna running through her variation about 5 times!). I thought that Abderakhman (Dmitrichenko) was convincing but I keep comparing him to Taranda. I thought that at times the stage looked too small for the amount of people in the national dances. The corps looked beautiful especially during the dream sequence. For some reason I was dissapointed with Stashkevich's variation in the last act. The ending of her solo looked to me unfinished- especially for the Bolshoi standard- ( too quick tempi?). This production is long and you may not like the costumes, scenery etc. etc., but it is well worth watching for the outstanding level of dancing.

#22 Birdsall

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:00 PM

Emiliene, thanks for posting! I am glad I can watch it again at a later date. Loved Alexandrova!

Duffster, I agree it is worth watching. I'm glad I saw it. I was looking forward to it since they announced it as one of this season's transmissions almost a year ago. I didn't know Alexandrova would be the Raymonda though. Very pleased with her!

#23 Birdsall

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:01 PM

Thank you, Birdsall, for your Raymonda review. I'm so envious and badly wanted to see it today. I love Alexandrova and imagine she must have been marvelous. And, yes, Taranda was incredible as Abderrakham! Posted Image



I'm sure you'll see Emiliene's posting! You can now watch it at your leisure!!!!!

#24 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 08:07 PM

Believe it or not, all Raymondas I've seen never look to me up to the wonderful level of artistry and regal demeanor that the late Mme. Bessmertnova put into the character. That said, I sort of avoided watching this...mea culpa, I know, but since i don't think i will be seeing any Raymonda live any time soon, I much prefer to rewatch my favorite performer in the role over and over.

#25 MakarovaFan

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 04:17 AM

Emiliene, thanks for posting! I am glad I can watch it again at a later date. Loved Alexandrova!

Duffster, I agree it is worth watching. I'm glad I saw it. I was looking forward to it since they announced it as one of this season's transmissions almost a year ago. I didn't know Alexandrova would be the Raymonda though. Very pleased with her!


Birdsall, do I understand correctly that Alexandrova's Raymonda will be shown again? I'd gladly jump in my car and drive into Manhattan to see it.

#26 MakarovaFan

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 04:20 AM

Believe it or not, all Raymondas I've seen never look to me up to the wonderful level of artistry and regal demeanor that the late Mme. Bessmertnova put into the character. That said, I sort of avoided watching this...mea culpa, I know, but since i don't think i will be seeing any Raymonda live any time soon, I much prefer to rewatch my favorite performer in the role over and over.


Cristian, you know that we feel the same way about Bessmertova's sublime Raymonda. I could literally watch it on a loop all day and not be bored.

#27 Birdsall

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 04:23 AM


Emiliene, thanks for posting! I am glad I can watch it again at a later date. Loved Alexandrova!

Duffster, I agree it is worth watching. I'm glad I saw it. I was looking forward to it since they announced it as one of this season's transmissions almost a year ago. I didn't know Alexandrova would be the Raymonda though. Very pleased with her!


Birdsall, do I understand correctly that Alexandrova's Raymonda will be shown again? I'd gladly jump in my car and drive into Manhattan to see it.



Read above. There is a posting of the entire Raymonda that played yesterday that you can watch on YouTube!

#28 abatt

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 04:53 AM

MakarovaFan, I believe there is another showing of the Raymonda next Sunday, July 1 at Big Cinemas Manhattan at 11 AM, in case you're interested. I saw it yesterday at that theater and thought it was wonderful.

#29 bart

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 10:11 AM

I agree with Cristian about Bessmertova's Raymonda. An unforgettable performance. Unless you bring an inner light to the part, you end up with dull and cold. Which is what I felt about Alexandrova's performance. As seen on video, Bessmertnova, Kolpakova, Semenyaka, Guillem, even Gilot have soul, duende, whatever you want to call it. Alexandrova lacks this quality, for me at least.

I usually don't like to comment on dancers' appearances, but this Raymonda's hairdo and facial expressions reminded me more of a rather ill-tempered Soviet apparatchik than a Hungarian princess who has had to go through an awful lot of misfortune before her triumph. A beautiful body and excellent technique do not a ballet heroine make.

The production is sumptuous and beautifully lighted. I usually love long shots in ballet videos, but much of the Act III choreography -- those long, long, long formal Hungarian court dances -- might have benefited from some closer shots to let us see the dancers as persons. I adored Raymonda's two friends and was moved by the women in slow, ritualistic court dance that opens the ballet.

Was interested to hear from the commentator that the galope was choreographed by Lavrovsky. It's long one of my favorite parts of the ballet -- a little bit of 19th-century Parisian fun on the Hungarian plains. (Nureyev's version for Paris really stresses this, as do the stage-filling red tulle dresses the girls wear.)

#30 Birdsall

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 10:31 AM

I agree with Cristian about Bessmertova's Raymonda. An unforgettable performance. Unless you bring an inner light to the part, you end up with dull and cold. That is what I felt about Alexandrovna's performance. I usually don't like to comment on dancers' appearances, but this Raymonda's hairdo and facial expressions reminded me more of a rather ill-tempered Soviet apparatchik than a Hungarian princess who has to go through an awful lot of misfortune before her triumph at the end. A beautiful body and excellent technique do not a ballet heroine make.

The production is sumptuous and beautifully lighted. I usually love long shots in ballet videos, but much of the Act III choreography -- those long, long, long formal Hungarian court dances -- might have benefited from some closer shots to let us see the dancers as persons. I adored Raymonda's two friends and was moved by the women in slow, ritualistic court dance that opens the ballet.

Was interested to hear from the commentator that the galope was choreographed by Lavrovsky. It's long one of my favorite parts of the ballet -- a little bit of 19th-century Parisian fun on the Hungarian plains. (Nureyev's version for Paris really stresses this, as do the stage-filling red tulle dresses the girls wear.)



I mentioned above how Alexandrova's knitted brows (I didn't specify but mentioned her facial features) are an issue. In this performance I felt it was less stark (maybe new make up) than in La Esmeralda. She has a stern look on her face simply because I think her eyebrows are close to her eyes or something about her face's structure makes her look strict or stern. She would be great cast as a Catholic nun, for example, if she were an actress. I don't mean to be negative about her looks. I think she has a beauty unique to her, but it is a stern look to me. So I understand how her look might not do it for people, but I thought she acted the part well and danced wonderfully. For me she has a Carol Vaness-type face (opera singer). They both have a very stern face that they can't really change even when smiling.

I have to say that the Bolshoi's actual production makes me want to gag. I don't like it at all. I think the sets look very cheap and ugly and the costumes look like something from a 1980s music video. Such a shame the Bolshoi doesn't invest in a new production. They can keep Grigorovich's choreography. I am okay with that, but the costumes and sets have GOT TO GO!!! Ultra dated!!! It screams 1980s to me. I'm surprised they don't stick the Olivia Newton John headbands on the women's foreheads also!

And, like I said, Grigorovich needs to get rid of the whole Raymonda falling asleep against the column. That is the worst part about this staging besides the sets and costumes.


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