California

Macaulay on 2014 Bolshoi in NYC

37 posts in this topic

It was not in vain that Vasiliev talked about his wish to dance "Ivan the Terrible". As far as I know the main goal of reviving this ballet was to broaden Vasiliev's repertoire, taking into account that his big, broad manner of dancing and acting is most suitable for Grigorovich ballets. And his fans were impatient to see him in this rather cartoonish, but superemotional role. Alas... The preparotary work on the revival was in already in progress, when all oa a sudden Vasiliev left Bolshoi "in search of artistic freedom", as was declared in the most of the interviews. Now , when Vasiliev is only partially back to the Bolshoi and still has a lot of obligations elsewhere, it's not so easy to find enough time to prepare this role, as well as the role of Farhad in the "Legend of Love", which also theoretically may suit him.

"Ivan the Terrtible" had a huge success with public, but got very critical reviews from most of ballet writers (which it mostly deserves from my point of view).

Share this post


Link to post

First, the Khatchaturian score. Some critics dismiss it as mere movie music, but that’s not fair to movie music. No, the problem is that it’s terrible movie music.

The only time I ever enjoyed the music from Spartacus--and Gayaneh--was when the Coen brothers used it for parody in The Hudsucker Proxy.

...the vulgarity of her dancing is exactly appropriate to the part

I remember using a nearly identical phrase to describe Zakharova's Aegina. Nice to have the critical backup.

With regard to your comment about the music from Spartacus, I am absolutely astonished to read this. I love the score for Spartacus. How can anyone hear the wonderful, atmospheric swelling up theme of the great adagio and not be moved? It is powerful music as befits the wide canvas of this ballet of huge emotions. I find the music for the massed ranks of soldiers thrilling and blood stirring. I love the spectacular lifts, the whole staging, the sheer theatre of this ballet. It is one of a kind. It is rightly a great treasure of the Bolshoi.

Share this post


Link to post

Tiara, I'm afraid I find the whole thing, especially the music, so excessive that it inspires only uncontrolled giggling in me. The Coen brothers obviously had a similar response to the music.

Having been brought up on the counterpoint of George Balanchine and Frederick Ashton, I’ve always viewed Grigorovich’s work incredulously: loud, hyper-acrobatic, devoid of any subtlety. To me it's a series of virtually interchangeable duets and an excess of thumping around in unison, and when I’d peer at his ballets on a TV set, I’d think to myself, “You can’t be serious.” But I’ve also seen this stuff live, so I know from experience that the sight of that many people thumping around to really loud music does have an effect on the viewer. Nevertheless, I'm in complete agreement with Macaulay and Gottlieb in their assessment of the ballet's quality.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm with Gottlieb (linked above) on the music:

First, the Khatchaturian score. Some critics dismiss it as mere movie music, but that’s not fair to movie music. No, the problem is that it’s terrible movie music.

Share this post


Link to post

Tiara, I'm afraid I find the whole thing, especially the music, so excessive that it inspires only uncontrolled giggling in me. The Coen brothers obviously had a similar response to the music.

Having been brought up on the counterpoint of George Balanchine and Frederick Ashton, I’ve always viewed Grigorovich’s work incredulously: loud, hyper-acrobatic, devoid of any subtlety. To me it's a series of virtually interchangeable duets and an excess of thumping around in unison, and when I’d peer at his ballets on a TV set, I’d think to myself, “You can’t be serious.” But I’ve also seen this stuff live, so I know from experience that the sight of that many people thumping around to really loud music does have an effect on the viewer. Nevertheless, I'm in complete agreement with Macaulay and Gottlieb in their assessment of the ballet's quality.

Tiara, I'm afraid I find the whole thing, especially the music, so excessive that it inspires only uncontrolled giggling in me. The Coen brothers obviously had a similar response to the music.

Having been brought up on the counterpoint of George Balanchine and Frederick Ashton, I’ve always viewed Grigorovich’s work incredulously: loud, hyper-acrobatic, devoid of any subtlety. To me it's a series of virtually interchangeable duets and an excess of thumping around in unison, and when I’d peer at his ballets on a TV set, I’d think to myself, “You can’t be serious.” But I’ve also seen this stuff live, so I know from experience that the sight of that many people thumping around to really loud music does have an effect on the viewer. Nevertheless, I'm in complete agreement with Macaulay and Gottlieb in their assessment of the ballet's quality.

Well, I also have "seen this stuff live" and cannot agree with you at all. I have seen the Grigorovich Bolshoi version in London and the Yacobson Mariinsky version in St Petersburg and numerous videos and filmings of both versions, and all I ever felt was awe at the majestic sweep of the ballet and the emotions it conveys. I think most Russians also would be insulted and incredulous that some people actually considered this great ballet worthy of "giggling". Very many world renowned dancers have performed the roles of Spartacus and Phrygia, and I consider it to be a Great ballet and well served by its beautiful score.

Share this post


Link to post

I think the music is sort of bombastic but that's just me ...

Share this post


Link to post

Spartacus needs an outstanding cast to convert the naysayers. I am an admirer of the ballet, but then I did see Vladimir Vasiliev and Maris Liepa in the leading roles.

Share this post


Link to post

Spartacus needs an outstanding cast to convert the naysayers. I am an admirer of the ballet, but then I did see Vladimir Vasiliev and Maris Liepa in the leading roles.

I love this ballet also, and think it has a wonderful, dramatic, score. Some of the instrumentation is just so atmospheric and emotionally appealing. I truly think the great adagio is one of my favourite pieces of music, and when I watch the great Bolshoi dancers in this adagio, I can't help but cry. That very colourful and broadly sweeping music was felt to the depths of his heart by Grigorovich and translated into choreography that fits the heroic style of the Bolshoi dancers. So many great dancers have been proud to dance in this ballet. As you say - Vasiliev and Liepa! How fortunate you were to have seen them! I have seen Lobukhin and Ivan Vasiliev dance it - also both magnetic and transmitting the intention of the choreographer with great emotional intensity and honesty to the audience. I have also seen many others on film. It truly is a GREAT Bolshoi and Russian ballet - and one clearly they take to their international audiences with pride. Spartacus truly is one of a kind. A GREAT ballet.

Share this post


Link to post

There's little doubt that performances of Spartacus have been growing progressively weaker over the years, but this was not the first time the ballet was performed in New York. I think it's quite likely that Gottlieb--and Macaulay, in London--had seen the ballet before with stronger casts, but they remain unpersuaded.

Share this post


Link to post

Vasiliev only spoke about how much he wanted to dance Ivan the Terrible in the interview I read--it was his new "dream" after having danced Spartacus;

Owing to an apparent raft of injuries among the Bolshoi's Grigorovich dancers (Nikulina, Volchkov, Lantratov, Rodkin), Vasiliev will now make his debut as Ivan the Terrible on April 14 opposite his real-life girlfriend Maria Vinogradova. They're scheduled to do it two days in a row, which would be pretty darn taxing.

Mikhail Lobukhin is healthy and still scheduled for the cinema broadcast. For that matter, Nikulina and Rodkin are still scheduled for that performance as well, even though they have been withdrawn from this weekend's Legend of Love, for which the Bolshoi has been forced to borrow a couple of Ferkhads from the Mariinsky.

Share this post


Link to post