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  2. The Bolshoi under Vaziev

    And are you saying ballet goers unless sufficiently well-heeled to sit in the front stalls should simply pack up and go home?
  3. Romeo & Juliet Live Cinecast of 21st January

    This was my first live cinecast, I'm very glad I went. I was also perplexed by the lack of reaction to Juliet regarding Tybalt's death. At first I thought perhaps she didn't know he had died, and would find out after Romeo fled the scene, but no... just left in the air. One touch I can't stop thinking about is when Juliet first refuses to marry Paris and her mother ends up crying on Juliet's bed. Juliet puts her head to her mother's dress and her mother reaches out to comfort her--only to take her hand back, pull her dress away and resume the distant persona of a noble woman again. I was mesmerized by the scene where Juliet "submits" to her father's demand to marry Paris and all four dance together, with Juliet as a heartbroken, stunned and almost puppet-like while being manipulated in a dance. I've been searching all night for any filmed productions that went a similar route but nothing comes close.
  4. Romeo & Juliet Live Cinecast of 21st January

    I loved how admiring of Paris Juliet's handmaidens are... there were many nice dramatic touches...
  5. Bolshoi uses two stages. The New Stage was built for use while the historic stage was being renovated, but continues to be used, mostly for contemporary works. The historic stage is reserved for the Swan Lakes and Raymondas.
  6. I'm sorry, I was hurrying to the cinema and neglected to cue the relevant section of the video. I was just summarizing what Ratmansky said. If you remember, Novikova said during the transmission intermission (in a long mixture of French and a little English) that while previous versions had more stylized costumes/decor, the costumes in Ratmanksy's production, at least for the townfolk, are fairly simple, what "normal" people would've worn during the period. I think this is what he was trying to get at. My takeaway is that Ratmansky chose Krysanova over Obratzsova because the latter is too "ballerina-ish" for his taste and the former more down to earth.
  7. "Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan"

    Wendy Whelan is coming to Olympia, Washington next weekend, January 27-28, to teach master classes and to do a Q&A following a screening of "Restless Creature." The screening is at 6:30pm on Saturday, January 27. According to this article, she is appearing through a collaboration among Ballet Northwest (BNW), Studio West Dance Academy, and the Olympic Film Society. https://www.thurstontalk.com/2018/01/21/weekend-wendy-whelan-world-class-dance-opportunities-come-olympia/
  8. Romeo & Juliet Live Cinecast of 21st January

    I've always loved the film of the Lavrovsky version, but that's not what Ratmansky's is playing against: the Grigorovich version, still playing on the main stage, dates from 1979 and will be 40 next year. I love the score and the orchestra was divine. I don't love score as a ballet: for me it's too long and no choreographer has filled it up in a completely satisfying way, which is probably why the film version is my favorite. I also loved Kent Stowell's "The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet," primarily because of the pastiche Tchaikovsky score that Stowell put together with Music Director Stewart Kershaw. For me, nothing will top the simplicity of the mimed wedding scene to the Preghiera from Tchaikovsky's Fourth Orchestra Suite, especially when Flemming Halby portrayed Friar Lawrence. That said, there are many parts I really loved about the Ratmansky version: the crowd scenes, Tybalt's death -- the highlight for me -- the sequence where Friar Lawrence describes the fake poison scene to Juliet, the ending scene where Romeo and Juliet reunite for a moment after she wakes and until she dies -- may not be in the play, but all the operas do it, and for much longer -- the Giselle-like reconciliation between the families at the end, and the militaristic Dance of the Capulets. I also liked that Ratmansky gave Paris a little dance, and while difficult to watch, how Lord Capulet was so vicious towards his daughter. And the swordplay was spectacular, and not just between the main characters and the fathers: the first sword brawl including the corps was amazing. I preferred the wedding night pas de deux to the balcony pas de deux, but I was really disappointed not to see the recognition that Romeo had just killed Juliet's kin and mixed and heightened emotions that caused. That, to me, is the real strength of Maillot's version -- that and the puppet show, which is such good, acute theater -- and here it was ignored. The big plot-related confusions/missed opportunities I saw were during the ball scene, when Juliet, who was told by her parents that she's going to be married, meets Paris, and there's nothing wrong with him. Like Aurora, who would have gladly married any of the four Princes had the kingdom not been put to sleep for a century, she likes him fine. What I didn't understand was, that since she had been prepared for marriage, much like Aurora, and Paris was presented as their choice -- not just some random guy who asked her to dance at the ball -- why, after she and Romeo had their moment, and then she went back to dancing with Paris, there was no change in character: she was just as happy to dance with him, even though it meant having to pass up her newfound love. A small one is when Juliet is nowhere to be found the morning her parents expect her to marry Paris, and she runs in with a shawl. Given how abusively Lord Capulet treats her, I would have expected some major repercussions for her being out on her own in her night clothes in the early morning hours, but, uncharacteristically, nada. I thought Krysanova was lovely, and I especially loved her final scene, where she looked like she was being shredded from the inside. Lantratov is a beautiful dancer, but a little too princely for what I prefer in a Romeo. I kept seeing Cote in the choreography. I would watch Igor Tsvirko, the Mercutio, in anything. He even resembled Cote a bit. The amazing Ekaterina Novikov interviewed Tsvirko and Lantratov and translated during first and second intermissions, respectively. Before the show, she was featured. She must be so relieved that Vaziev is running the company: I suspect the level of chaos has gone down considerably, and the attack on Filin must have taken a lot out of her.
  9. One thing I did not understand... they said several times that this was the New Stage... which I see from Wikipedia was built in 2002 to the left of the historic theater... but weren't all the sudience shots and the talk of the chandelier from the historic stage? Isn,t the Bolshoi stage actually a rather large stage (or is this a misunderstanding of mine?) and was it simpler to remount the Canadian production onto a smaller stage? i would like to add that I wasn't crazy about the lighting design. I did not like the dancers moving forward out of their light and I didn't like the sudden darkness on Juliet after she was introduced to Paris (perhaps this was to mask a scene change?)
  10. I did feel Ratmansky made characters beyond Romeo/Juliet, Tybalt/Mercutio more vibrant than in other productions.... Lady Capulet is given some serious acting, the friar too... there were recognizable characters among the townspeople... they did not just all blend into each other.
  11. But he can't be. Is an audience supposed to abandon the play after the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt? Or suffer as Juliet snuffs out her life for the sake of a weakling? To be clear, I didn't think Lantratov came across as weak. But I did find his rendition of the choreography unconvincing and uninteresting. Looking back at some of the Romeos Ramtansky originally worked with in Toronto, such as Aleksandar Antonijevic, Naoya Ebe and Guillaume Côté, they danced with a grounded fluency and grasp of suspension and falling, no doubt cultivated by extensive experience with contemporary ballet, that Lantratov lacks. They also dance with a lot more finesse, although whether that is essential for Romeo is up for debate.
  12. You mean like when he gives Paris an entrechat six-soutenu sequence that repeats over and over and over again? Perhaps this is Ratmansky's attempt to convey Paris as a boring character, but unfortunately it's extremely boring for the audience, too. He lacks Shakespeare's genius for giving dull windbags unforgettable material to perform.
  13. Maria Alexandrova. May be why he seemed a bit distracted at times.
  14. Yesterday
  15. The Bolshoi under Vaziev

    "Strongly disagree" with what? With saying that "you have no chance observing all the nuances and details of their performance" if you decide to sit far from the stage?
  16. The Bolshoi under Vaziev

    Strongly disagree, if an artist is unable to project they're not much of an artist. The beauty of the ballet is the choreography that can be seen from every part of the theatre.
  17. I too didn't like this version as well as the Cranko and MacMillan. I felt for R and J's choreography, there was just too much- too fast, too many showy lifts, and I didn't think a lot of it was musical. I actually liked both Krysanova and Lantratov. He has a boyish face and I was surprised when I looked up his age. I did like to see the closeups of the acting. In the 1970's, I was a super for the Stuttgart Ballet in Philly and NYC, so I definitely favor the Cranko version.
  18. Thank you for the Ratmansky interview... I missed that. I understand what he is saying but I felt several times during the production that Lantratov's stage make-up was underdone and that he would have read better if we could see his eyes... the rest was ok, make-up wise but we need to see the lover's eyes more...
  19. I liked the psychological vignettes where the thoughts of Juliet and Romeo are acted out. There were definitely a lot more difficult steps for the leads in this version as compared to the MacMillan and Cranko versions. Some aspects of the play were completely lost. In the Mercutio death scene, the change of the music is related to the idea of a plague on both your houses. This is completely lost in the Ratmansky version.
  20. There were parts where Ratmansky's genius shone through and parts I found tiresome. I think part of the trouble is that we all fall in love with our first production. I went with some ballet fans some of whom had never seen a Romeo and Juliet (it is a big production to mount) , and others who had actually danced in productions of it. I missed Cranko's market scenes. I wished he had done something with Commedia della Arte characters for the buffons, but if he did, I didn't get it. i kept wanting to see a predecessor to an Entree Grave and a Saltarello, but the knights did not carry for me and there was somehow too much tossing of jumping women for me... but I know nothing reallly of these things... it just did not satisfy my imagination. There were ideas in it that I liked but it just did not come together. Almost as if the sound of the swords clashing was not formal enough... though I did like the kissing of the lady's hem finish. On the other hand, the part where Romeo & Juliet meet was the best I've ever seen. The balcony scene felt like too much, as if Ratmansky worked on the honeymoon scene first and coming up with too, used leftover material in the Balcony scene... it was too much too soon. Tybalt was wonderfully rendered, as was Mercutio. Benvolio... I would like to see more of this dancer, lovely float to his leaps. i felt Lantratov was better in some sections thsn others... the bits with the three friends sometimes looked more rehearsed than playful, but he was wonderful with Juliet... distinct steps dissolved into emotions... Kysanova was beautiful.. I liked her more here than in the Corsaire streaming. She left several in the audience here in tears. Never did I become distracted by her technique. The fractional moment of her run made me wish to see her do the run of other productions. i wonder what early ABT fans would have made of all the interior landscape acted out. I thought the Friar was a good actor and I liked the explanation behind the scrim. I also missed the lowering of Juliet into the crypt. Now I,d like to watch all the National Ballet Canada footage to compare. Who was that who came by & kissed Lantratov during the intermission interview? He seemed quite struck by it.
  21. For me, Lantratov was fine as Romeo. I’ve always seen Romeo as a weak character and he actually looked believable as a 16 year old madly in love,not a man who is pushing 30. Like the play, where Mercutio had the best lines, here he had the most interesting choreography and Tsvirko is , if nothing else, an excellent actor. My problem is, I felt the production was bereft of any grandeur and we’re left with something that looked low budget. The costumes were boring, Paris’ wig was absolutely awful, and the ball scene was dull.
  22. Potential Strike By ABT Dancers

    Just out of curiosity. Does anyone remember what the post said?
  23. Kuznetsova's comments at the time plus a few words I posted regarding her views : http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/43146-ratmansky-romeojuliet-premiere-wed-22-nov/?do=findComment&comment=389965
  24. In this interesting (and subtitled) interview with Katya Novikova in the green room, Ratmansky explains that he prefers his characters to move more like real people than like classical dancers, and chooses dancers for his productions on that basis.
  25. Dear Volcanohunter and Fleurdelis : could you please spare a couple of minutes and read the report I posted after I saw the premiere of this staging at the Bolshoy last November. I would really like to hear whether I got it somewhat right or wrong - link to report below : http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/43146-ratmansky-romeojuliet-premiere-wed-22-nov/
  26. I’ve been watching video clips of Anna Pavlova and Galina Ulanova. All I can say is Wow ! What a World Apart they inhabited on the stage. Why mention this here. Because of the several performances that I’ve seen that might come close, almost all happened here. Also, it’s from this place that both these great artists began. And it’s also the place where the following four artists began and in two cases remained. I feel that I’m entering into artistically ‘sacred’ territory, one that only ‘a poet or an observer’ of their magnitude could begin to describe, and I’m not that person. Still it certainly seems worth thinking about and appreciating. If there’s a lineage from Anna Pavlova to Galina Ulanova I would put Anna Pavlova as the Goddess, an Ideal, not necessarily forever, but perhaps for now. Galina Ulanova would be The Celestial Poet. What did both these great artists have that makes them this special. They went beyond themselves and did it with an artistry that has been perhaps unequaled. Probably my two favorite performances would be Ulyana Lopatkina’s “Swan Lake” and Alina Somova’s “Swan” (Fokine). Ulyana Lopatkina essentially finished her career on this stage and it’s where Alina Somova continues her’s. Ulyana Lopatkina may have taken Galina Ulanova’s ’Spirit’ and translated it into pure beauty of motion. This is a realm more characteristic of the current generation of ballet artists. Alina Somova in one brief performance came possibly the closest to ‘This Other Realm.’ (I do have to say that there is a video clip, but to me it only hints at the greatness that I saw, as does one of Ulyana Lopatkina performing “Swan Lake” at another occasion). I would then add Olga Smirnova’s “La Bayadere” from last year. She has both the magnificence of expression and the immense beauty of motion that brings her closer to this world. I would also include one of Veronika Part’s many remarkable “Swan Lake”s. It wasn’t performed here, but she’s another that does come from here. So how to try to describe what made Anna Pavlova and Galina Ulanova so special ? What makes their Artistry a culminating something to strive for ? For the moment I could suggest this. They didn’t see themselves while performing. They didn’t try to convey themselves.They conveyed something wonderfully beautiful, perhaps from beyond, but that came from within. And they did it in a manner so Wonderfully Special that it might define what to strive for in the Art.
  27. The costumes might have been reminiscent of Perugino, but the background sets were anything but Renaissance, painters back then used more than one color, and their colors were not so "chemical". Krysanova really surprised me by setting aside her usual edginess and presenting a tender youthful Juliet, I did not think her capable of pulling of this role, but she did admirably. And Lantratov left a very favorable impression, managing to make sense of the choreography and channeling it into expressions of his character. But the overall production screams of mediocrity, the Bolshoi deserved something a lot grander. I fully understand and share the plan to scrap the awful Grigorovich version, but the theater should have replaced it with something more fitting. Ideally the Lavrovski version, which is not only more grand and powerful than its subsequent imitators, but is also well-preserved, so should not need a lot of restoration work, and this would be more in line with keeping up the country's ballet heritage than importing what is essentially a Russian ballet from Canada.
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