Bolshoi versus Kirov -- once more ?
Posted 23 April 2001 - 04:50 PM
It’s fine with me that the British press is trying very hard to present this whole thing as a duel between the Russian companies, but what I find less plausible is that between (or in) the lines one can perceive a certain tendency against the Bolshoi.
OK, a program 'Stars of'-style with highlights and pas de deux may not be the best way to appreciate a company like the Bolshoi, but is it really necessary to emphasize the negative sides in such a way? Do we need to remind again that under Fadeyechev and Vasiliev the Bolshoi was restoring its classics, was dancing among others "Agon", "Symphony in C" and "Mozartiana", was acquiring contemporary works, was in other words 'broadening its vision' as much as the Kirov? Vasiliev’s "Swan Lake" was a costly mistake, but I really fail to see what 'this critical hostility' during the Bolshoi’s 1999 London stint was about? Aren’t we forgetting that we were seeing a company again in glowing form, full of good spirit and with (old and new) talent aplenty?
The Bolshoi has been going through unwelcome and regrettable times, but is that a reason to blame the company for this or to forget about its (near) past? If (heaven forbid!!) similar events should occur at the Mariinsky, Jewels or Manons notwithstanding, the result would be the same: they, too, would be in deep....
[ 04-23-2001: Message edited by: Marc Haegeman ]
Posted 23 April 2001 - 06:10 PM
I would think that they would be pleased that London got a chance to see so much. Anyway, if they go in with a grudge against the Bolshoi, they will miss some fine dancers--I was absolutely charmed by Goriacheva in Symphony in C, and would love to see much more of her.
But I guess winning and losing makes for better copy and snappier headlines.
Posted 23 April 2001 - 06:27 PM
It's no contest, I fear, but I expect that, like me, the real balletomanes will be seeing both these great Russian companies.
Posted 23 April 2001 - 07:37 PM
What Bolshoi needs to do is to hire a law firm specializing in trademark law to restrict the use of the name "Bolshoi" in the West. There'd be no more "the Stars of...."
Posted 24 April 2001 - 01:13 PM
This is the real Bolshoi Ballet appearing at Drury Lane Theatre, soloists, corps and orchestra (they even have backdrops). I fail to see why they should be stopped from using the name Bolshoi, simply because they don’t bring full length ballets, and I don't understand what the British press is trying to prove by opposing the two companies (or the tour organizers for that matter) to such extent. The Bolshoi soloists now appearing at Drury Lane are the same they were raving about in 1999: Lunkina, Alexandrova, Antonicheva, Filin, Uvarov... And they are as least as worthwile as those untouchable Kirov favourites. But you are right, Mary, winning and losing makes for better copy and snappier headlines.
Posted 24 April 2001 - 04:14 PM
I'm afraid I can't understand the attitudes of some of the English ballet-goers, all they ever do is moan. The Kirov price are too high but they are bringing large sets and a huge company for full length works, the Bolshoi are bring less dancers, less scenery, presenting short works and charging lower prices but still they moan, you can't have it both ways. I also cannot understand this obsession with full length works being 'proper ballet' and short works and divertissements being 'rubbish', nearly all the programs presented by Diaghilev contained short works and a good share of 'fun' pieces such as the Polovtsian Dances, the same goes for many of the programmes performed by Fonteyn and Nureyev, a typical one being 'Diversions, Divertissement from Napoli, Pas de deux from Flower Festival at Genzano and Le Corsaire, and The Firebird, 3 April 1963. If we look at the forthcoming Bolshoi season what do we see but Chopiniana, Flower Festival at Genzano and Le Corsaire, and with some of the worlds finest dancers. Do you really consider Narcissus and Spectre de la Rose to be 'tired' and 'old'?
Posted 24 April 2001 - 04:52 PM
I assume you are referring to my posting in your final para. so I'd have to say I have never actually seen 'Narcissus' and I actually love 'Spectre' so maybe I was a bit unfair in saying what I did, but I hope you understood what I meant; that obviously the Kirov's programme of full-length ballets is more asttractive than the Bolshoi's programme of short pieces. The important thing was my final point; that like every serious ballet lover I would be seeing both companies.
I can't explain the British media's obssession with creating a 'feud' between the two companies' promoters; I think it's some sort of journalistic laziness - a useful tie-up between the two companies which saves the necessity to write separately about each company, perhaps?
Posted 24 April 2001 - 07:33 PM
Ann, I think you nailed it when you wrote: "I can't explain the British media's obssession with creating a 'feud' between the two companies' promoters; I think it's some sort of journalistic laziness - a useful tie-up between the two companies which saves the necessity to write separately about each company, perhaps?"
When I first saw this story, my instincts said "this was the editor," or a writer trying to guess what an editor wants (this is a total guess on my part, of course, and I may well be wrong). Newspaper editors, even arts editors, love controversy, and the chances of getting "what a lovely company is coming to town" in print is low to nil.
I also agree with those who've pointed out that comparing the Kirov with a Stars of the Bolshoi group is apples-to-oranges. On the positive side, it's an article about dance and will let people know it exists.
Posted 25 April 2001 - 03:10 PM
I too would probably much rather see the Bolshoi perform some full length works but financially I don’t think this would currently be possible for them in London. I’d much rather see the ‘Stars of the Bolshoi’ perform a few bits and pieces rather that see no Bolshoi at all! ;)
I would also rather they perform a more assessable programme at relatively reasonable prices and sell out, rather than bring full-length works with full scenery, be forced to charge higher prices due to the extra cost that entails and lose money. They are having a troubled time, but hopefully once (or if) they are back on their feet again we will see some works that are new to them.
Someone may also be interested in this sensible and balanced article by Clement Crisp about the Kirov and Bolshoi
Clement Crisp Ariticle
[ 04-25-2001: Message edited by: Salome ]
Posted 28 April 2001 - 07:56 AM
Posted 29 April 2001 - 05:04 PM
Having seen the first night of 'Stars of Bolshoi', all I could think of was how lucky we were to have a chance to see this outstanding company in such a great form. Already by the end of the opening piece (Act II of 'Swan Lake') all the off-stage noise evaporated - Exquisite line of the Corps simply made me sigh; sincere acting and secure dancing by Antonicheva and Filin impressed (especially Filin; he was great in Giselle pdd too). As the evening proceeded, I found myself in an utter joy - convinced that what we were seeing was a bunch of the exceptionally talented dancers truly devoted to their art.
For this very reason I found the programme rather weak and frustrating. I mean, after having seen what Lunkina did to Giselle pdd, is it a crime to ask for more - wish to see the entire production? Another disadvantage may be the fact that in general the same dancers are supposed to appear in the same piece every day for a 7 consecutive days (OK Sunday is off!). Repetition can kill the artistry - I won't be surprised if opinions/impressions for Lunkina will differ between myself and someone who will have seen her on the 5th/6th/7th night. I may be a bit too greedy, but cannot help but wish if they could bring one/two full length ballet...
Anyway this is unmissable; what struck me on that evening was the fact that whatever the chaos/ordeals they have gone through, their artistry has survived; intact. I'd say this is a truly amazing achievement. What a paradox this is, but this experience endorsed unpublished views of mine - that chaos and hardship may be the ingredient absolutely necessary to keep this particular form of art alive...! I'm not being ironical, no way political, but just feel the general fact that the companies/dancers from economy-stricken countries do much more to me than their affluent counterparts must dictate something. (You may call it a simple difference in taste. Maybe true - I still to find an answer myself.)
Posted 30 April 2001 - 06:35 AM
[ 04-30-2001: Message edited by: Kevin Ng ]
Posted 01 May 2001 - 07:54 AM
Posted 01 May 2001 - 04:32 PM
I gather that the Bolshoi proposed the programmes currently being given at Dury Lane. I enjoyed the first one enormously and I'm looking forward to seeing the others, just as much as I'm looking forward to the Kirov performances. And how often do you get to see even a pas de deux from Flames of Paris, or the Gorsky Fille Mal Gardee?
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