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Munich: Manon with Vishneva/Bottaini

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Due to injury of one of Munich's principals, we saw an interesting cast last Saturday!

Diana Vishneva was brilliant - brilliant technique like Svetlana Zakharova who we saw earlier this year, but quite different. Her Manon was alive. She's a real beauty (and knows this) - well, sometimes I felt it was Vishneva dancing and flirting around, not Manon - but she was stunning. Her variation in Madame's etablissement was different from what I have seen before - not sure of what changes she made to the choreography (especially head, shoulders and movements of the arms - or if that is simply Kirov version), but it looked great. Only thing I missed was that she developped her character. I love the scene when Lescaut leads Monsieur GM into her bedroom first time and Manon discovers luxury. Well, this Manon did not seem too much overwhelmed by it, so she probably was used to it before?

Alen Bottaini is not the tallest of dancers, so I was worried about the pdd - but it was amazing how well he partnered her. Understandably, at first he seemed a bit nervous - but he got over that quite quickly. Middle of the first bedroom pdd they were a real pair, having fun on stage. Another scene I love is the second bedroom pdd when he tries to pack things and she keeps on distracting him, so finally he unwinds from her embrace, seeming to say: "Love, I have to pack this bag!" Final pdd did not touch me in a way that she was broken - but it was a great show. And his grief at the end was still moving.

It also paid off that he watched so closely the masterclass Sir Anthony Dowell gave to another Munich principal - I felt as if he had "soaked in" some comments. His variations were much more fluently than before, and for the first time, he really expressed feelings by the steps! Sometimes it were just little details - one I recall were the pirouettes after he murdered the gaoler: He used to finish them with arms in second position - nicely looking, but quite academic. On Saturday, arms were also to the side, but he opened his hands and looked to the ceiling, expressing: "Oh my God, how could this happen? What have I done?"

So - a very enjoyable evening - just a pity audience was a bit strange and gave them only one curtain call. After all, it was Saturday, so why on earth was everybody rushing off so quickly? They would have deserved a bit more!!

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