Reviews of Russian Seasons of the 21st Century.
Liepa's worst offences against Diaghilev are musical. The impresario commissioned some of the great scores of the 20th century, and to use bad recordings, which make even the scintillating colours of Stravinsky's Firebird sound murky, is plain vandalism. Almost as damaging, though, is the apparent lack of rehearsal for this London season. With guest principals jetted in to augment dancers from Liepa's Kremlin Ballet, there's very little sense of collective style and drama.
The Financial Times
It was Xander Parish as Scheherazade’s Golden Slave, but improbably costumed as the Spirit of the Rose, who gave the evening its value. He is revealed as a prince in exile, a true premier danseur, ideal in physique, elegant in manner, resourceful in drama – or such drama as was offered in these dim circumstances – his technique well-rounded, his line eloquent. He seemed unfussed by the nonsense in which he was trapped and showed rare dignity when a vampish Scheherazade forced her quaint attentions on him. Parish, a fine artist, justified a desperate evening.
Some shows just seem to be doomed. On opening night, the Russian Seasons of XXI Century dropped one production due to injury, then added an unscheduled interval while they tried to fix the lighting. Technical hitches aside, it was a ramshackle night of dubious revivals and recorded music. The bright spot was British-born guest star Xander Parish, dancing with bold conviction.