Posted 24 February 2003 - 01:52 PM
It was on PBS a few nights ago in some regions, and I wondered what everyone thought of it. I loved it, although there were a few parts in which the choreography was rather hyperactive, but that's Nureyev for you. One thing that surprised me was the energy throughout the entire production--every last member of the corps de ballet seemed to radiate it throughout the ballet. Highlights for me were Mercedes, Lucette Aldous as Kitri (although her Dream Sequence variation was rather too slow and overcareful), and seeing Nureyev in his prime. The grand pas de deux in the last act was especially thrilling--Nureyev and Aldous delivered much more than the standard technical blaze without making it seem over-the-top--no ear-mutilating extensions, pirouettes/balances that continued long past the music, or jumps that rightfully belong to the circus. The gypsy dances, too, were very good; the dancers actually appeared to have some real character dance training. They were wild, which is what gypsy dancing demands. Surprisingly, the weakest part was the Dream Sequence, in which the dancing was mannered and slow (thought I did love Cupid's costume). Also, there wasn't much differentiation between Dulcinea and the Dryad Queen. If I hadn't already known whose variation was whose, I would have been quite confused. It was nice to see the Dryad's Queen variation danced by the Dryad Queen in Don quixote, instead of being danced by Medora in Le Corsaire! I also enjoyed seeing the original Kitri variation from the grand pas de deux instead of that strange Gorsky thing that usually shows up. However, I rather missed the flower girls during the Grand Pas de Deux; they're nice variations, whether they're original or not.
I should mention that before the credits at the end, I honestly thought I was watching the Paris Opera Ballet, not remembering that they were in a slump at that time and didn't improve until later, when Nureyev was the director. Congratulations to the Australian Ballet on a very impressive performance!