mussel

Summer 2014 NYC & Saratoga Tour

369 posts in this topic

Does anybody know who danced the Queen of the Dryads in today's performance (Thu. 31 July) at Saratoga? The program lists Olga Smirnova, but just before the curtain rose there was a PA announcement of a change in that role. However, I didn't catch the name.

Share this post


Link to post

The ushers at Bayeriche Staatsoper in Munich are also very strict about taking pictures. They don't allow people to take pictures of the interior of the opera house during intermissions and are quite rude.

And no theatre in Japan allows taking pictures at curtain calls, they are really strict about that so no one dares to take any.

Since it's no longer necessary to hold a camera directly in front of your face to use the view finder, I've been at performances where my view of the curtain calls has been obstructed by raised arms trying to frame the perfect shot. I miss bouquet presentations and bows and all those lovely moments that can occur between the dancers. :-( Don't I have the right to see the curtain calls? They are included in the price of my ticket, no? What I get to see is a lot of smart phone/digital camera screens that look like a bunch of miniaturized jumbotrons, randomly placed throughout the audience.

Share this post


Link to post

Since it's no longer necessary to hold a camera directly in front of your face to use the view finder, I've been at performances where my view of the curtain calls has been obstructed by raised arms trying to frame the perfect shot. I miss bouquet presentations and bows and all those lovely moments that can occur between the dancers. :-( Don't I have the right to see the curtain calls? They are included in the price of my ticket, no? What I get to see is a lot of smart phone/digital camera screens that look like a bunch of miniaturized jumbotrons, randomly placed throughout the audience.

good point

Share this post


Link to post

Does anybody know who danced the Queen of the Dryads in today's performance (Thu. 31 July) at Saratoga? The program lists Olga Smirnova, but just before the curtain rose there was a PA announcement of a change in that role. However, I didn't catch the name.

Could it have been Yulia Grebenshchikova? She's a tall brunette. (I'm only guessing here.)

Share this post


Link to post

The other Queen of the Dryads at the Koch Theater performances was Anna Nikulina...I don't know if she was in Saratoga. Also a brunette--I think a little more on the petite side...

Share this post


Link to post

What I get to see is a lot of smart phone/digital camera screens that look like a bunch of miniaturized jumbotrons, randomly placed throughout the audience.

"Miniaturized jumbotrons" -- excellent!

Share this post


Link to post

Could it have been Yulia Grebenshchikova? She's a tall brunette. (I'm only guessing here.)

The other Queen of the Dryads at the Koch Theater performances was Anna Nikulina...I don't know if she was in Saratoga. Also a brunette--I think a little more on the petite side...

It was a short blonde. The hair might not have been really hers, but she was certainly quite short.

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Caesariatus,

The Queen of the Dryads was danced by Ana Turazashvili (she also danced the second variation in the Grand Pas).

Share this post


Link to post

What a lively ballet! I saw the Bolshoi dance Don Quixote at Saratoga on Thursday (31 July) and it was a lot of fun. The first act especially was full of energy; I don't think I've ever seen a more exuberant act in any ballet.

The leads were Kristina Kretova as Kitri and Mikhail Lobukhin as Basilio. I can also supply the names of the other dancers, if anyone's interested, except for the Queen of the Dryads. That role had a last minute replacement announced over the PA just before the curtain rose, and I didn't catch the name. I think Kretova and Lobukhin were well cast for the roles, in that they both had the energy and playfulness necessary to sell the characters of flirtatious lovers. Where they were weak was in the more technical moves in the third act -- Lobukhin's jumps weren't very impressive and Kretova was a bit unsteady in her balance -- but that wasn't as important as it would have been in some other ballets.

Although Don Q's mostly about festive Spain, as envisioned by Russians, there's a scene in the second act where Quixote has a dream which is used as an excuse to insert an entirely different style of ballet into the middle of it. That worked, though; it was more refined and elegant form of joy, but surprisingly appropriate.

Although no single dancer stood out for me, the whole company did a good job. The Bolshoi obviously has a lot of depth. Chinara Alizade and Daria Khokhlova, as Juanita and Piccilia (or vice-versa) were especially delightful. (These were the "friends of the lead character" roles you often see in ballets who do occasional interludes and accompany the leads.) I also really enjoyed the fan and tambourine dance the corps did in the first act.

There were several comic roles in the ballet. Denis Medvedev stood out as Gamache, the foppish nobleman.

Although I gave myself extra time to get there, I ended up arriving after the scheduled start, although thankfully before the actual start. This was because heavy traffic meant that it took a half hour to drive the final mile and a half to the theater. So be forewarned if you ever go to Saratoga.

There was a full house, very appreciative. They even gave the orchestra a standing ovation just before the start of Act 3.

Having seen the Bolshoi on DVD and in the movies I've come to expect excellent costumes and sets. The costumes were up to expectations. I especially loved the dryads'. The sets, however, were a disappointment. I know that a touring show can't be expected to have as good sets as a house production, but these were just lame, especially in Act 3.

On the whole, though, this was a very enjoyable experience. Not a lot of passion, or transcendence, but a lot of fun.

Share this post


Link to post

It was a short blonde. The hair might not have been really hers, but she was certainly quite short.

Well, that is a little puzzling, because apart from Kretova and Nikulina, who aren't blondes, I wouldn't describe the Bolshoi's dryad queens as short. Perhaps it was a debutante. I would suggest asking the Bolshoi directly. It has a bilingual Twitter account, @BolshoiOfficial, which would be a quick way to reach an English-speaker in the PR department.

Share this post


Link to post

yudi, thank you so much for the beautiful photos and your thoughts on the performances.

Thank you, too, Caesariatus. You probably haven't this post up thread, because Katenka joined Ballet Alert! after I did my morning check for new registrants, and I just made it visible:

Hi Caesariatus,

The Queen of the Dryads was danced by Ana Turazashvili (she also danced the second variation in the Grand Pas).

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Caesariatus,

The Queen of the Dryads was danced by Ana Turazashvili (she also danced the second variation in the Grand Pas).

Thanks! Any word on why Smirnova couldn't do it?

Share this post


Link to post

Not that I've heard. Hopefully nothing serious! I was quite disappointed not to see Smirnova, but Turazashvili was lovely.

Share this post


Link to post

Does anybody know who danced the Queen of the Dryads in today's performance (Thu. 31 July) at Saratoga? The program lists Olga Smirnova, but just before the curtain rose there was a PA announcement of a change in that role. However, I didn't catch the name.

I'm a little late seeing this, but for the record I can tell you it was Yulia Grebenshikova, NOT Ana Turazashvili.

For the Thursday matinee and the Friday evening performance Smirnova was replaced as Queen of the Dryads by Grebenshikova. On Thursday the switch was announced before the curtain went up, on Friday it wasn't, but it was the same both times.

Of course, someone also had to take Grebenshikova's place in the middle of the Three Dryads, and both times that was Turazashvili. It was a delight for me to see a little more of her, so I noticed particularly. smile.png

Share this post


Link to post

Shirabyoshi, thanks so much for the correction. Yes, it was a delight to see both Yulia and Ana! flowers.gif

Share this post


Link to post

In a interview recently published, Vladimir Urin was pretty frank about the tour not being an artistic success.

http://portal-kultura.ru/articles/person/59966-vladimir-urin-my-vyyasnili-vse-bolevye-voprosy-i-uslyshali-drug-druga/

The Bolshoi's own, somewhat awkward, translation of the relevant passages:

As for the ballet, we had some challenges. The productions were performed at the same Lincoln Center, but in a different building. The stage there is much smaller than at the Bolshoi; moreover, it is not nearly as deep. It was the wrong decision to perform “Swan Lake”, “Spartacus” and “Don Quixote” there. The artists had to adjust to this lack of space; the air and the atmosphere that are so crucial for these ballets disappeared.

- Why had you not chosen some different repertoire? The Bolshoi Ballet has plenty of productions to choose from.

These guest performances had been planned a long time ago; the American organizers were the ones who had the final say when it came to the repertoire. They realized that tickets to familiar and popular productions would be sold beforehand. There was one more mistake: when the company goes to New York, it should not bring only those productions that were staged a long time ago and have already been shown there. There should be some new productions as well. Of course, mass media mentioned the high professional level of the company and the bright individuals; but at the same time they also reproached us for the choice of the repertoire. However, the house was full for all performances.

Share this post


Link to post

I forget what all our comments were, but, for me, four out of five Swan Lakes that I saw were extremely successful artistically, two featuring Svetlana Zakharova and two 'revelations of greatness!' by Olga Smirnova.

Share this post


Link to post

I forget what all our comments were, but, for me, four out of five Swan Lakes that I saw were extremely successful artistically, two featuring Svetlana Zakharova and two 'revelations of greatness!' by Olga Smirnova.

Very gracious for you to note that and to recall that critical response to the Bolshoi was not monolithic among ballet goers, but perhaps it's as well that Urin, as leader of the the theater, appears not to be letting himself be complacent, especially if we hope to see more varied repertory from the Bolshoi in New York during future tours. (And, perhaps, too, if the cause of new repertory at the Bolshoi is to flourish more generally...??)

Critics and many fans (on this sight anyway) were extremely critical of Grigorovich's production of Swan Lake and, to a lesser extent, brought up the issue of whether any of the productions showed to best advantage at the Koch theater--an issue raised by Urin. And there was certainly no consensus on Zakharova in Swan Lake -- who was, additionally, slammed for that performance by the Times (which is the most prominent coverage any visiting-New-York ballet company gets). Spartacus received mixed to poor critical reception in the press and from many fans on this site as well: honestly, I myself was surprised at how poor since the criticisms seemed to me to make little in the way of concessions to the role of the ballet in the company's history and "culture" even when acknowledging that role. But whatever we may feel--a lot of different opinions get reflected on this site, thank goodness--Urin surely cares more about the NY Times and the press in general than fans on Ballet Alert or other sites.

I think that almost everyone--professional or amateur--who voiced an opinion on the repertory choices for this tour (I was one) expressed dismay at a choice of works that in no way reflected developments at the Bolshoi in ... oh...the last 12-13 years. And that's giving credit to the Swan Lake and Don Quixote for having some 'recent' revisions: but in fact, they really should hardly be given credit for being as recent as that.

Were these ballets easy to sell? Sure, and Lincoln Center Festival does need to sell tickets, but I'm not sure in what universe the Bolshoi was going to be a hard sell whatever the repertory--or, at least, almost whatever the repertory. Maybe all Mats Ek would have been a problem. (The Lincoln Center festival sold out performances of the arguably far less famous--among non-ballet fans--Mariinsky in far more off-the-beaten-track repertory at the far larger Metropolitan Opera House.) I really do blame Lincoln Center for the choices (which they have not denied having requested) and perhaps the Bolshoi staff, too, a bit for not pushing back harder against them. At the risk of simply channelling the NY TImes--look at what has been brought to London and Paris and even Washington D.C. in recent years. The Bolshoi still might have gotten criticisms and even strong criticisms with some of that repertory, but the whole tour would have carried additional excitement for critics/fans--that is, artistic excitement.

(Like Buddy, I consider that I got to see some excellent dancing by the Bolshoi, for which I'm grateful. Including Smirnova and Chudin in Swan Lake. But I don't think that counts much for what concerns Urin...)

Share this post


Link to post

I must confess I am confused by Urin's complaints about the size of the stage. Surely, the Bolshoi knew what it was getting into. In the past it had performed Swan Lake and Spartacus at the State Theater. (Not sure about Don Q.) Admittedly, Bolshoi dancers are generally taller than they were, say, 25-35 years ago, but all three of these productions have also been performed in recent years at the Royal Opera House (Swan Lake in 2013, Spartacus and Don Q in 2010), and its stage is decidedly narrower than the Koch, though having a rear-stage area, it may well be deeper. The current company also has a lot of experience performing at the Kennedy Center, which is also considerably narrower than the main Bolshoi stage, and I'm sure they have encountered plenty of similar venues on tour. How is it that the company adjusted to those stages, but had so much difficulty this time around? I have trouble swallowing this particular argument.

Share this post


Link to post