Jump to content
mnacenani

Discovering "Real" Ballet ..... in Russia

Recommended Posts

Dear Members : sorry for not being able to live up to my promises after posting my impressions on "Legenda o Lyubvi" at the Balshoy in December last year, which is somewhere below in this section. However, in the meantime I have been to Russia a few times and have seen classical ballet mainly at the Balshoy but also at Mariinskiy and Mikhailovskiy in "Piter". I have made up a pdf file of what I have seen so far from July 2014 onwards, being addicted to Russian classical ballet after seeing Vishnova and Shklyarov live at the ROH London. I will shortly send this file (my CV, if you will) to our admin and ask them to kindly attach it to this post for your perusal. If any members are interested in discussing anything related I will try to oblige amap. But please note : I see classical ballet only and take a dim view of "contemporary", and after discovering in Russia what ballet can be at my ripe old age, a dim view of "ballet" in Western Europe !

 

Page 1.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

page 2.GIF

Share this post


Link to post

You certainly seem to have seen a lot of great stuff...I wish I could have been at many of these performances. I'm noticing you got to see the Bolshoi Bayadere and with Alexandrova...I think that is something I would have liked to see especially.  Even more I would have loved to see the Lopatkina Bayadere at Mariinsky! 

 

Perhaps, if you have time, you could talk about one or two performances you found especially memorable?

Share this post


Link to post

Wasn't it Arnold Haskell who said something to the effect of: There are three kinds of people in this world: Russian ballet dancers; ballet dancers; and very ordinary people. Sigh. He didn't sigh. The sigh is mine.

Edited by angelica
clarification

Share this post


Link to post

Haskell certainly wrote those words but I think that he did so in 1934 so perhaps his statement needs to be put into context. In 1934 the company which became ABT had not been established, that had to wait until 1936. The SAB  was set up in 1934 but  it would be another fourteen years before NYCB would be founded.Meanwhile in Britain the Vic Wells company which eventually became the Royal Ballet was barely three years old but Sergeyev had already staged Coppelia for it in 1933 and went on to stage both Nutcracker and Swan Lake for it in 1934.

 

While Danilova may not have had a completely unbiased, independent view on the subject of the development of ballet in Russia after the Revolution her views on what had happened there are.worth considering. In her autobiography she says that while ballet had once been a means of creating a mood and telling stories in Russia after the Revolution it had become a display of dance. In her opinion it was in the West that the appropriate approach to dance had been preserved and developed.

 

At the end of the day what we like is a question of aesthetics and taste. It is all purely subjective as far as our preferences for dancers, schools and choreographers are concerned. But I don't subscribe to the idea that only the Russians can dance or that Grigorovich's reworkings of the classics bear repeated viewing while I can happily see works by the likes of Ashton, Balanchine, Robbins,Tudor, Fokine, Nijinska and Cranko and some MacMillan with great regularity.

Edited by Ashton Fan

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you Ashton Fan for bringing a historical perspective to that quote. Ballet, like any art form is a matter individual taste.  Russian dancers/ballet have never been to my taste and I'm not a Vishneva fan.  Never-the-less I read with relish reports of performances seen in other places and go to see as many companies as I can when they visit NYC.   The way a company dances demonstrates priorities.  NYCB, my favorite company, prioritizes musicality, clarity in speed, a particular type of energy and attack, and a certain look.  Other companies have different priorities.  That's not to say there are not shared values, just that some things are valued more in different companies.  As an audience member it's a matter of taste but alway interesting to see the differences between approaches.

Share this post


Link to post

The Soviet Ballet story seems to me very complex and interesting especially vis-à-vis certain developments outside the Soviet Union. I only know a very little about it, but I'm under the impression that the early Soviet artistic and intellectual Avant-garde -- before Balanchine left -- already was thinking about the implications of Petipa's approach as having a strong formal dimension that played with and developed those forms in relation to the music and in relation to its own conventions. (I don't consider this mere "display" of dancing, but experiments in form.) I'm thinking of the Russian formalist Shklovsky who wrote an essay on ballet as well as the choreographer Lopukhov, at least as Balanchine describes his "symphonic" work. When Lopukhov said, as he is supposed to have done, "forward to Petipa" I don't think he was thinking merely of Petipa as story-teller or dramatist ... On the other hand, that avant-garde was soon largely destroyed and the dramballets that developed in the 30's and 40's seem to have really minimized a lot of classical display in any new works as merely formalist. I'm thinking of Christine Ezrahi's book Swans of the Kremlin:  she argues that Grigorovich's new ballets, for all their faults (I'm adding the reference to faults; Ezrahi seems to admire him straightforwardly) in some ways helped restore the centrality of dance and musical form to what was fast losing touch with the those qualities.  On the other hand both openly "pure dance" choreographers and choreographers who dealt with non-approved subject matter quickly fell out of favor and lost opportunities to work. Mime was stripped from productions of the older classics etc. It seems to me a very complicated, troubling, and yet intriguing picture. But not all one of loss.

 

I admire tradition as a way of things being passed down and conserved, but not exactly fixed in place. In a general way, the Soviet/Russian emphasis on beautiful formal qualities of the older classics and more athletic and acrobatic approaches to classical pas de deux especially in 20th-century choreography seems to me not simply to have been against the grain of the earlier tradition but, on the contrary, drawing something out of it that was part of its genetic code.  I believe this view is more contested now and will be more and more contested in coming years because of the important work of Ratmansky, Fullington, etc. Still, for my present taste, the great Russian companies at their best bring a grandeur and beauty to nineteenth-century choreography that does bring something out in it both unique and uniquely beautiful. It's not always just some wrong-headed take on what they inherited. It's always a different understanding than, say, Ratmanksy's but I'm not sure I think that makes it always a misunderstanding.

 

I'm a rather eclectic ballet fan--over the years have loved a number of companies and I suppose NYCB is my "desert island" company ('if I had to pick one company to take with me...'). And when I used to hear people say that for them it's "Russian Ballet" or bust...well, I found it inexplicable -- Grigorovich...horrors! Swan Lake without the redemptive suicide...Boo!  etc. etc. Even now I think I would be bored if restricted to a diet of Mariinsky and Bolshoi due to the repetitive character of the repertory. But I can't deny that I have increasingly come to understand why there are people who love Russian ballet above all other ballet. I certainly do love many Russian dancers and can't help but feel the seduction of the Vaganova upper body and also thrill at watching character dancing by people for whom character dancing appears a native language. And I certainly don't think the best Russian ballet is always just display or display for display's sake -- it can be a really profound vision of a certain kind of beauty or, on what is usually considered the Moscow side of things, an intensity and, indeed, drama that is unforgettable in its spirit (Vladimir Vasiliev or more recently Gennadi Yanin).  Even when it comes to display...well, there is display and there is display. When it's full of life, charm, personality--that's very different from sheer gymnastics. When it's not, yes--that's dreary. In all ballet traditions.

Edited by Drew

Share this post


Link to post

When considering Arnold Haskell's views on the outstanding merits of "Russian dancers"  we should ask what he meant by those words? At a time when it is so easy to see dancers from virtually any country you care to name it is easy to forget that after the Revolution it became increasingly difficult for dancers to leave Russia even on a temporary basis and once Stalin came to power it was well nigh impossible.When Haskell wrote those words he did so in a world in which it was no longer possible for a dancer from the Mariinsky/Kirov to hop on a train to fulfill contracts in the West and then hop on another one to get back to her home theatre in time to appear in her scheduled performances.   

 

So  who were Haskell's "Russian dancers" ? It is unrealistic to think that in 1934 he meant dancers of Russian origin trained in Russia as the supply had dried up. He knew that even before the First World War not all the dancers in Diaghilev's company were Russian in origin or in training,He would have known that.Lydia Sokolova had entered the company pre war as Hilda Munnings and had been known as Munningsova before she became Sokolova. Other British dancers who subsequently underwent this transformation included Alice Marks who became Alicia Markova  and Patrick-Healey-Kay who became first Patrikieff, and then Anton Dolin. It seems me that when he wrote about "Russian dancers" Haskell simply meant dancers appearing in one or other of the Ballet Russes companies.

 

If Diaghilev had problems in recruiting Russian dancers the problem was even more pressing for the various Ballet Russes companies which succeeded Diaghilev's.Of course the later Ballet Russes companies were able to employ the children of Russian emigres trained by White Russian teachers but those companies employed dancers from further afield.As to what made the dancers in those companies so special in Haskell's opinion  I strongly suspect that Haskell was praising the "Russian dancers" as much for the ballets they danced as for their schooling and technique. After all at one time or another nearly all of the greatest choreographic talent that Russia had produced was working with one or other of those companies.

Edited by Ashton Fan

Share this post


Link to post

Oh yes...Though I suspect Pavlova, Karsavina and other Russian dancers Haskell saw when younger remained a touchstone. Anyway, I hope it was clear that I was thinking about the larger issue that had been raised regarding Russian ballet in Russia after the revolution.  Haskell wrote about that too--as a kind of dialogue of Vaganova and Petipa.

 

As far as the more famous Haskell quote goes--"It is my firm belief that human society is divided into three distinct castes: Russian dancers, dancers, and very ordinary people"--it's charmingly epigrammatic and, probably for that very reason, lives on beyond its context, which is, I suppose, why it still serves as shorthand for some to express their love of Russian ballet in altogether different contexts. A good epigram has unexpected uses.

 

Edited by Drew

Share this post


Link to post

I am sure that you are right about Pavlova and Karsavina remaining a touchstone for Haskell and anyone else fortunate enough to see them. They were outstanding dancers made even more extraordinary by the fact that their technique and the ballets that they danced were so very different from what audiences in the West expected of ballet. A progrmme which included Fokine's Petrushka,Balanchine's Apollo and Nijinska's Les Noces would make the point about the extraordinary nature of the company's repertory very succinctly. Of course we should never overlook the part that Diaghilev played in the creation of the company's repertory. As far as the dancers are concerned  I don't think that Ashton ever really got over seeing Pavlova in his youth. I am sure that you could make a strong case that Fonteyn was in large part a Pavlova substitute and that at one level for much of his career in choreographing for her he was choreographing for Pavlova. 

 

 I don't disagree that there are some wonderful Russian dancers today but the versions of the nineteenth century ballets in which they appear are not always that  interesting while their mannerisms in performance moving and posing are irritating and often  distort the music. I prefer dance as movement rather than freeze framing.

 

Edited by Ashton Fan

Share this post


Link to post

"Perhaps, if you have time, you could talk about one or two performances you found especially memorable?"

 

Dear Drew sorry for late reply - I thought I would be notified of any replies to my post. The two most memorable performances of Russian classical ballet I have seen are the R&J I saw at the ROH London with Vishnova and Shklyarov (which got me instantly addicted) and the first performance ever I saw in Russia, namely Lebedinoye Ozero (S.L.) at the Balshoy with Nikulina-Chudin-Belyakov. I had been flying out from Istanbul from 1988 onwards to see opera which was my main interest, and only casually saw classical ballet if and when I could book something which fit in. Thus I and my wife saw ballet mainly at the ROH London in the Nineties, and even though we were not seasoned ballet goers were disenchanted with the ragged sync and symmetry of the RB at the time. We did some fact finding and learned that the place for ballet was Paris not really London so we defected to Paris at the turn of the century. Thus I was not really aware of what Russian classical ballet was until I saw a live telecast of R&J from the Mariinsky with Vishnova-Shklyarov in 2013. I sat watching open-mouthed :  the precision and beauty of movement, the characterisation was incomparable with anything I had seen previously in London or Paris. So when I discovered in 2014 that Mariinsky would be touring in London and the opening performance was R&J with the same cast and by sheer luck was able to find two good seats at an agency we flew over and saw it live, and that was it for me. I have read above that some members don't like Vishnova and I respect their opinion as this is a very personal and subjective thing, but for me Vishnova is the Juliet for all time. I was introduced to her backstage after a performance of Bayaderka at Mariinsky this summer which will be one of the high points of my "ballet education" trips. Vishnova's characterisation of Juliet imho cannot be superseded, I cannot imagine anyone doing it "better" or more realistic.

 

Now my first ever trip to Russia to see "Swan Lake" (not exact translation of real name Lebedinoye Ozero) at the Balshoy :  I had seen quite a few S.L. live and telecast and on dvd, but the current Grigarovich staging really opened my eyes to what it could be ! No winged feathered and caped sorcerers I had been accustomed to in this one ..... but a "Zloy Geniy" (Evil Genius) the first act choreo for whom vs Siegfried mind-blowing imho. The character parts, eg "Shut" (Fool) acted and danced to perfection .... athletic and artistic level up there, never have seen anything comparable in London or Paris. The CdB :  obviously and visibly the result of meticulous and continuous selection and training, the look, sync and symmetry of which is still not matched in London. The enthusiasm and response of the watching public ....... a really seismic experience for me. It was an overnight trip and I flew back to Istanbul lamenting not discovering Russian classical ballet much earlier in my life, and time wasted in London and Paris. Once again, have read above that some members do not like this staging, and again it's a case of "chacun a son gout" but this staging was a most memorable experience for me.

Edited by mnacenani
refinement

Share this post


Link to post

"the best Russian ballet ...... can be a really profound vision of a certain kind of beauty or ...... on ...... an intensity and, indeed, drama that is unforgettable in its spirit"

 

Dear Drew :  ballet could be the most "contentious" art form there is ..... or one thereof. For me ballet is or should be high drama told by mime and movement, and with music to match and whip up emotions it can really be "gesamtkunstwerk" ! For me ballet is Romeo & Juliet, Bayadere, Giselle ..... universal and timeless stories told via mime, movement and music, to which anyone of any culture or race can instantly relate to. In opera Tosca and Butterfly also tell universal and timeless stories of human behaviour but the first time viewer cannot make out anything without reading the synopsis. Would a primary school kid anywhere need to read the synopsis to be able to understand what is going on in R&J or Bayadere or Gisellle ? I think not, one can make out what the story is and be affected by it even the first time round. Who am I to postulate or pontificate but I will stick my neck out and say ballet is not just movement synced to music, that can be called dance. Ballet for me is something much more, something that will touch my heart, and in this respect for me at least Russian classical ballet is matchless. No dancer born and bred in England or France can have this "spirit" and do such characterisation, it simply is not in their blood, in their genes. It may be due to my Central Asian (Uzbek) ancestry but I can feel it, it beckons me. I have been fortunate enough to see a number of ballets at both Balshoy and Mariinsky over the last 21 months, those in the know say that Mariinsky has more refined and elegant, more "pure classical" style but I have identi- fied with the Balshoy - there is something here I find more "spiritual" for lack of a better word. Again this must be something very personal and subjective .......

 

On the other hand, ballet can be excellent and exhilarating comedy too ...... my favourite is Don Kixot. Again a schoolkid imho probably would not have to read the synopsis to figure out the story and enjoy the show. Anything staged should, must have a story which viewers can relate to, this is my firm belief. I hope what I have written on this post will make some sense to some members.

Edited by mnacenani

Share this post


Link to post

I seem to recall that Balanchine was of the opinion that ballet was the creation of the French or Italians and that  Russians had no greater affinity with ballet than the people of any other country. He attributed the success of  Russian dancers to the fact that the Russian emperors had been prepared to spend a great deal of money securing the services of the best European dancers and teachers and that the Russians had learned their lessons extremely well. When he returned to Russia with his own company Balanchine's response to being welcomed to "Russia the home of ballet" was, I believe, to assert that the home of ballet was America.

Share this post


Link to post

Dear Ashton Fan as I have not seen live ballet in the US I cannot express any firm opinion. From what I have seen on TV and Youtube ABT obviously has had and has excellent dancers. If you will excuse me for saying so Balanchine is not my forte as I do not accept movement synced to music without a story as "ballet" .... chacun a son gout !  After discovering Russian classical ballet I really cannot bring myself to spend money on seeing "ballet" in London or Paris. Two weeks ago I saw Bayaderka at the Balshoy with Zaharova-Alexandrova-Rodkin ....... pure bliss ! Was hoping to post my take soon after under "Bolshoi" but got distracted.

Share this post


Link to post
On 11/17/2016 at 11:28 PM, mnacenani said:

If you will excuse me for saying so Balanchine is not my forte as I do not accept movement synced to music without a story as "ballet" .... chacun a son gout !  After discovering Russian classical ballet I really cannot bring myself to spend money on seeing "ballet" in London or Paris. T

 

I'm so sorry that you're limiting yourself in this way -- you are missing a lot of wonderful work.

Share this post


Link to post
18 hours ago, sandik said:

 

I'm so sorry that you're limiting yourself in this way -- you are missing a lot of wonderful work.

 

hear hear

Share this post


Link to post

I like to enjoy several different ballet traditions too and Balanchine is pretty much my favorite choreographer--but If I had only ever seen Balanchine danced the way the Royal danced it ca a decade ago, then I probably wouldn't be much of a fan either.  (I only saw POB dance Balanchine live in the 80's. I kind of liked it in spite of myself, but it surely was nothing like what NYCB was doing.)  That said, for me, movement to music is probably the essence not just of ballet but even of story ballets.

Edited by Drew

Share this post


Link to post

Dear Drew maybe "we Orientals" have a different temperament and are looking for or are affected by a different (emotional ?) experience in "ballet". I understand ballet can mean different things to different people. My tutor in Moscow who is a well known ballet historian and lecturer was in NY earlier this year for MG Workshop and was not impressed by the NYCB - she said "one can figure out why ABT performances are always sold out while you can find tix easily for NYCB". On the other hand one of my friends in Istanbul who is also a ballet writer and sees ballet all over Europe and in NYC regularly was in Paris recently to see ABT and on her return said "ABT as usual - all pomp and circumstance". I am not trying to stir up controversy, only trying to explain that we may be looking for different experiences. No ballet I had ever seen in London and Paris from the 80's onwards had captivated me the way Romeo&Juliet with Vishnova&Shklyarov did - that was a "spiritual" experience !

Share this post


Link to post

For sure, people look for different things and take different kinds of pleasures from their experiences with art!  Lots of Western fans also prefer story ballets and many would list "Romeo and Juliet" as their favorite ballet (though they might mean the Macmillan version). And different countries have different traditions as well.

 

As a side note: I doubt that it's factually true that ABT sells out very often at the Met these days in New York. It is a large theater seating nearly 4,000. In my experience they are only rarely sold out even when superstars are dancing (Vishneva--whom I like a lot too!--etc.). I can't say what happens on tour. Though I am very confident VIshneva's ABT performances in New York this spring--which have been billed as her 'farewell' to dancing regularly with ABT--will indeed be sold out.

 

Ratmansky's Sleeping Beauty, which is what your friend would have seen ABT dance in Paris, is based on a careful attempt to recreate the original Petipa choreography danced (as best can be judged today) in the original manner. I find it rather less "pomp and circumstance" than some other traditional Sleeping Beauty productions. For example, there is more intimacy to the mime some of which is even integrated into the grand pas de deux, and the 'original' faster tempos in the music are respected so one gets less languorous grandeur and more quicksilver wit.  (But a lot of one's reactions to this production may depend on what one thinks of Sleeping Beauty to begin with...which is a fairy tale ballet but also a celebration of a certain kind of aristocratic, hierarchical culture.)

Edited by Drew

Share this post


Link to post

So nice to get a prompt response - thank you ! Sleeping Beauty has no "drama" and as such does not touch my heart, have never clicked with this really. OK I know Nureyev termed it the "ballet des ballets" and it has been called "the encyclopaedia of

classical choreography" but for me it has never been more than a "grand spectacle" or "divertissement". Lastly I saw it live in Paris two years ago and at the Balshoy this year, not moved. What was most interesting for me at the Balshoy was the character dancers in the last act, the Puss-in-Boots, Bluebird, Wolf etc you know : I think Russian dancers really excel in these bit roles which adds considerably to the overall enjoyment of the performance. However I would like to see it once at the Mariinsky : I recently watched a lecture on Youtube by an American academic on the Ratmansky reconstruction of SB in which he said Marii has this moving panorama at the back of the stage when the Lilac Fairy is taking Desirée to see Aurora and I would like to see this historic contraption ! Plus, the Marii score has this incredible "violin concerto" between acts 2 and 3 (hope I remember correctly) which I would like to hear live once.

Share this post


Link to post

mnacenani, like you I love the Russian companies, although I also enjoy NYCB lately. I think if you go to performances of different styles you stop expecting, for example, Jewels to look like Swan Lake. But I will always love what Drew describes as the "languorous grandeur" of the Russians (assuming Drew was referring to them).

 

The Mariinsky used to have the moving panorama during Sleeping Beauty, but not anymore. I think it goes for a few seconds (maybe not even that). For the full panorama you have to go to the old Kirov videos. Not sure when they cut it out from performances, but I wish they would restore it. However, they still perform the beautiful violin solo like you say. Everything stops, the lights go down except on the orchestra, and the orchestra pit is raised up to showcase the violinist and then lowered back down when it is finished. I love that they include this, because it is so moving to me.

 

Unfortunately, Sleeping Beauty seems to have been moved permanently to the M-2 theatre. I have noticed it is always programmed at the new theatre and never at the historical theatre. Not sure why it seems to only get performed there.

 

I was lucky enough to see it at the historic theatre back in 2013 (and shortly after it was transferred to the M-2) and seeing the fairies come out to the Lilac Fairy's music brought tears to my eyes. Such a beautiful sight to behold (that gorgeous theatre with the warm glow and the fairies coming onto the stage)......and seeing the Vaganova children dancing with the same style as the adult dancers later during the waltz........so amazing......

Edited by Birdsall

Share this post


Link to post

Dear Birdsall thanks for the heads up : just checked Marii "playbill" and you are right : all SB performances are at M2. So I will never get to see the historic panorama .... sigh !

What's more, SB is on tonight and tomorrow and tomorrow Aksana Skorik is Aurora !! Am dying to see her live and there are still tix available but I can't go : I had planned to

see Spartak at Balshoy (Rodkin/Zaharova/Nikulina) end of this month and my visa is valid from 29th Nov .... sooo annoying !

 

I think come the new year I will not do advance booking at the Balshoy which is such a hassle : as you would know advance booking at Balshoy opens three months

ahead of performance date while casting is posted 2-3 weeks ahead, so one either has to buy tix blind or be prepared to spend a fortune after casting is posted.

Over the last two years I have noticed that one can get tix online for Mariinsky a couple of weeks ahead and can usually pick and choose casting, and the best seats

are half the price at the Balshoy. Due to the current state of affairs between RF and TR flights are half full so I could really go see Skorik tomorrow if I had a visa.

 

Picking and choosing casting :  as a latecomer I am naturally interested in seeing the "absolute best" eg Zaharova, Krysanova, Vishnova, Lapatkina etc but lately

I have been having doubts about this approach. I would perhaps never have "discovered" Shakirova last year if I had not got tix blind for Don Kixot at Marii, and same

for Shreiner if I had not got tix blind for the ballet gala at Balshoy this season. I have been thrown into doubt, as I attach great importance to characterisation, as much

as tech if not more. Maybe one should book blind and see what comes along ..... ?

Share this post


Link to post

Swan Lake gets performed in both the historic and M-2 theatres. Same with other classical ballets, but for some unknown reason Sleeping Beauty seems to be permanently moved to M-2. I think it was sometime in late 2013 when they started performing Sleeping Beauty at M-2, and it has never returned to the historic theatre ever since.

 

At the Mariinsky the non-principals are often the most exciting dancers to see, in my opinion. Also, three First Soloists who I think should be Principals are used as fill-ins, it seems. They are Novikova, Osmolkina, and Kolegova. They have plenty of dancing opportunities but seem to be treated like people to use when the stars are not available but all three are gorgeous dancers and all three have the beautiful Vaganova upper body and arms......I think Novikova's arms are the most flowing in the entire company. To me they are the real deal. I could watch them every night.

 

And there are great dancers below them as well. So I have always bought tickets without knowing the casting and just gone to everything I bought for even if I wasn't fond of the dancer. Yes, Mariinsky tickets are much cheaper than Bolshoi, and I tend to prefer the Mariinsky (Vaganova style) dancers.

 

Seeing the "best" is subjective. Often it is true that the famous "names" are dancing at a certain level that you are usually guaranteed a "good" performance. However, dancers you are unfamiliar with can be amazing too, and the famous dancers are sometimes guilty of phoning in a performance (doing all the steps but not really present in the mind).

 

I was a long time opera lover, and this is true of opera too. Some of the best performances I have seen were by singers who were not famous. Some famous opera stars I saw gave very mediocre performances. Stars draw in audiences and start to ride on their famous reputations and some of them stop working on their interpretations of roles because they are adored and worshipped whenever they appear, so there is no longer an inner drive to perfect your interpretation.

 

I saw a soloist at ABT Cassandra Trenary in Ratmansky's Sleeping Beauty last summer, and she was a complete delight even though I did not know anything about her dancing until then. She has since gotten lots of buzz due to that performance. She was better than the more seasoned stars in that same run. So don't think you have to go see the most famous stars. They are human and can disappoint like anyone.

Share this post


Link to post

Good to hear that I am not the only one who has defected to classical ballet after chasing opera for 30 years.

My wife hasn't, and is of the opinion that my defection to ballet is a sure sign of declining mental capacity, if

not anything worse ! :D:D

Share this post


Link to post
20 hours ago, Birdsall said:

At the Mariinsky the non-principals are often the most exciting dancers to see, in my opinion. Also, three First Soloists who I think should be Principals are used as fill-ins, it seems. They are Novikova, Osmolkina, and Kolegova. They have plenty of dancing opportunities but seem to be treated like people to use when the stars are not available but all three are gorgeous dancers and all three have the beautiful Vaganova upper body and arms......I think Novikova's arms are the most flowing in the entire company. To me they are the real deal. I could watch them every night.

 

 

 

Those three should indeed be principals, they are the neglected Three Graces of the company.

Share this post


Link to post
13 hours ago, mnacenani said:

Good to hear that I am not the only one who has defected to classical ballet after chasing opera for 30 years.

My wife hasn't, and is of the opinion that my defection to ballet is a sure sign of declining mental capacity, if

not anything worse ! :D:D

 

I spent about 25 years going all over seeing operas after my sister died. It was my crazy meds. When I was jobless for 3 years ballet became my new crazy meds. I have mostly gone cold turkey on opera, although I saw Nina Stemme's Isolde in NY this season. My last big opera trip had been the SF Opera's Ring Cycle in 2011 with Nina Stemme, and so when I saw she was doing Isolde at the Met I had to go. She's one of the few that would make me take a trip. It didn't hurt that NYCBallet was also doing Jewels at the same time, so I also saw some ballet.

 

So, yes, a big ex-opera fan (and keep trying to get enthused by it again).....the one good thing is that ballet tends to be cheaper and it is much easier to buy great seats to ballets after paying opera prices for years. It feels like a bargain. Even Parterre Box at the Met is a bargain when it is ballet. Forget it when it comes to opera!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×