On the West Coast we get the Bolshoi broadcasts on tape delay. This afternoon was "Jewels." The full cast is listed here:
Originally Evgenia Obraztsova was cast in the Violette Verdy role in "Emeralds" but this was updated on the Bolshoi website and through a press release posted by volcanohunter and rg on a Bolshoi HD update thread.
Spokesperson Katerina Novikova mentioned in her intro to "Emeralds" that Anastasia Stashkevich and Vladislav Lantranov would perform.
Stashkevich (in the Violette Verdy role) was partnered by Ivan Alexeyev, and Ivan Alexeyev* Lantranov partnered Anna Tikhomirova (in the Mimi Paul role). The Pas de Trois was performed by Yanina Parienko (lighter hair) , Igor Tsivirko, and Ana Turazashvili (darker hair). The original trio was Suki Shorer, Sara Leland, and John Prinz; I'm not sure which woman danced which variation. In the "Choreography by George Balanchine" program, Heather Watts danced the role Parienko did today, and Bonita Borne danced the role Turazashvili did. In "Rubies" Ekaterina Krysanova and Vyacheslav Lopatin danced the central couple, and Ekaterina Shipulina danced Tall Girl. In Diamonds, Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin led the ensemble. (Turazashvili was one of the two demis in the first movement and one of the four demis in the third and fourth movements.)
The camera work, for much of it at medium range and level with the dancers, made it difficult to see the patterns of the corps whenever there were soloists in front of them. There were some overhead and long shots of the corps in action that gave glimpses of the geometry. Still, if this were released on DVD, I would buy it for a few key performances.
It seems that there are two steps in learning to dance Balanchine: the first is to be able to handle the speed, and the second is to be able to hide the work that goes in and give the steps breath. My overall impression is that while many parts were beautifully danced, far fewer dancers got to step two, and that made the choreography look busier than usual. I've really liked Krysanova in the past, and it's not that she danced badly, but 45 years ago, while most of the current crop of Bolshoi dancers' mothers were children, Balanchine created a devil of arole for Patricia McBride, who tossed it off as if it were play, riffing on the music, and Krysanova didn't have that luxury. Lopatin projected more ease in the man's role. Stashkevich was regal, especially in the main PDD, but the wasn't much luxuriousness or perfume in her solo, which looked rushed.
Anna Tikhomirova's first entrance is her solo, immediately following Stashkevich's, and almost immediately, she created a world and atmosphere by breathing with and responding to the arc and character of the music. She has the remarkable ability to move her feet and arms at two different temps, but in complete harmony. She never looked rushed, and her phrasing breathed. It was as fine a performance of the solo as I've seen in many decades of watching the ballet, and her walking PDD with Lantratov was a highlight.
Ekaterina Shipulina did not dance the Tall Girl I am used to, but she commanded the stage and was the center of the ballet. She could go from energized pose to full movement without showing any preparation whatsoever. She got it.
I think Olga Smirnova is a beautiful dancer, but the central PDD of "Diamonds" is not "Swan Lake," and Smirnova, like Lopatkina in the Mariinsky DVD and Letestu in the POB DVD, danced it as if she was dancing Odette. To her credit, she was dancing the Balanchine one-act "Swan Lake," and not distorting the tempo, line, or phrasing to do it. I much preferred her in the Scherzo and Finale: her allegro dancing was sensational. Chudin's variations were terrific: he does double tours and pirouettes as if they are a piece of cake. Neither distorted line or traded elegance for virtuosity.
I hope other people saw it and post about it. I already know from Links that there's at least one critic who has opposite opinions , and I'm sure others here have different impressions.
Edited: *See volcanohunter's correction below. The notes handed out at the theater had the wrong pairings.