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2017-18 Bolshoi cinema season

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Bolshoi's Le Corsaire of course is totally politically incorrect in today's terms.  According to the Bolshoi website, Medora's essential characteristic is that she is "beautiful".  The production features slavery, mocks age and physical disabilities, exaggerates gender differences and on and on.  Some have argued that Le Corsaire is so objectionable that it should be taken out of the repertoire.   Others see Le Corsaire as a museum piece reflecting the values of Petipa's time, not ours.  If we accept this as a museum piece, there should be no problem favoring a beautiful Medora over one who is average looking (other things being equal), because back then, heroines were expected to be beautiful. If we apply modern standards and argue it's not fair or just that Medora should have to be beautiful, it seems to me we have to dump the whole thing or change the story entirely -- no Greek pirates, no slaves, no limping merchants, no old ugly wives, no sneaky courtesans, etc. etc.  

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Apparently there is so much that can be considered "politically incorrect" or offensive these days,  to the extent that many think  it should not be seen on stage, that very soon there will be little left to see ...  

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1 hour ago, Quinten said:

.  If we accept this as a museum piece, there should be no problem favoring a beautiful Medora over one who is average looking (other things being equal), because back then, heroines were expected to be beautiful. 

 

If we’ve gone this long accepting blonde haired, blue eyed, pasty white Europeans as Indians, Persians, Egyptians, or whatever culture the ballet is portraying, it should take no effort to accept Krysanova as Medora. 

 

And btw, would Maria Surovshchikova, who was Petipa’s wife and danced Medora in one of his revivals, meet today’s beauty standards?  

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1 hour ago, MadameP said:

Apparently there is so much that can be considered "politically incorrect" or offensive these days,  to the extent that many think  it should not be seen on stage, that very soon there will be little left to see .

 

If you mean in the West, then you're probably right :D. No such issues is Russia ..... I love it there !

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1 minute ago, mnacenani said:

 

If you mean in the West, then you're probably right :D. No such issues is Russia ..... I love it there !

 

Yes!

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4 hours ago, mnacenani said:

 

If you mean in the West, then you're probably right :D. No such issues is Russia ..... I love it there !

Uh....Nureyev? :angel_not:

 

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2 hours ago, Quinten said:

Uh....Nureyev? :angel_not:

 

I personally am still hoping it will get the axe when the date approaches. I would like to

see state-funded Balshoy preserve and carry on the classics to the next generation, not

put on "contemporary" rubbish loads of which are available in London and Paris. I don't

hear Strapless being talked about in Moscow and hope Nureyev will go the same way.

No problem if "brilliant ideas" like Nureyev are staged in experimental or avant-garde

theatre ! :devil:

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On 10/14/2017 at 2:05 PM, Mashinka said:

If so I'm disgusted that the Bolshoi used London as a try-out, the company gave us a number of sub standard performances last year including Smirnova's below par Kitri on opening night, but Stapanova's dreary mistake ridden Medora was the absolute nadir. 

 

(Between you and me, so as not to enrage our Stipanova fans)  She also couldn't do the fouetté properly

at her Medora debut at the Balshoy this year !  And much as I admire Smirnova I can't visualise her as Kitri,

somehow doesn't fit.

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8 hours ago, Deflope said:

 

If we’ve gone this long accepting blonde haired, blue eyed, pasty white Europeans as Indians, Persians, Egyptians, or whatever culture the ballet is portraying, it should take no effort to accept Krysanova as Medora. 

 

And btw, would Maria Surovshchikova, who was Petipa’s wife and danced Medora in one of his revivals, meet today’s beauty standards?  

I can accept Krysanova as Medora but in that role I prefer an elegant adagio ballerina, preferably Vaganova trained.  I like Zakharova in the role because she excels at both adagio and allegro and thus easily met the requirements of  both aspects of  the role.  Krysanova was very good in the allegro sections (although she got ahead of her music at times) but was not in my opinion very successful in the adagio sections, lacking elegance and the refined quality of movement of Vaganova ballerinas.  There are other Bolshoi ballerinas who are better at adagio but who can't match Krysanova's allegro.  Medora is a tall order for any ballerina.

 

I have no knowledge of Petipa's wife Maria.  I would not want to apply modern standards of beauty to people of the past knowing that those standards change over time. 

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4 minutes ago, Quinten said:

I like Zakharova in the role because she excels at both adagio and allegro

 

Corsaire not being my top ballet, I would still dearly like to see Zaharova and Krysanova consecutively as

Medora some day, hopefully on same day at matinee and evening, which is possible once in a blue moon

at the Balshoy when the stars match up. I am not too analytical re technique, for me the "drama", the cha-

racterisation is most important : whether the dancer is the character or trying to pass him/herself as the

character. Last week Stipanova did not make me feel she was Medora, was too hesitant, but Krysanova did.

 

Technique wise Zaharova is my most beloved dancer but she is not my top eg Giselle in Russia. All this is quite

subjective and personal anyway - as I tried to reason in an earlier post we all maybe seeing what we want or

would like to see.

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Fouettes of Yulia Stepanova in the role of Medora in The Corsaire at the Bolshoi on 18th October 2017.

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, MadameP said:

Fouettes of Yulia Stepanova in the role of Medora in The Corsaire at the Bolshoi on 18th October 2017.

 

Fouetté was fine at this performance, no issue here.

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16 hours ago, mnacenani said:

 

I personally am still hoping it will get the axe when the date approaches. I would like to

see state-funded Balshoy preserve and carry on the classics to the next generation, not

put on "contemporary" rubbish loads of which are available in London and Paris. I don't

hear Strapless being talked about in Moscow and hope Nureyev will go the same way.

No problem if "brilliant ideas" like Nureyev are staged in experimental or avant-garde

theatre ! :devil:

My point was that the sudden cancellation of Nureyev this summer looked like an example of Russian style "political correctness" so your comment that it happens only in the west is perhaps inaccurate. 

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56 minutes ago, MadameP said:

Fouettes of Yulia Stepanova in the role of Medora in The Corsaire at the Bolshoi on 18th October 2017.

 

 

 

Was this her "Balshoy debut this year"?

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Re Nureyev you do have a point. Medora debut of Stipanova at Balshoy was earlier this year, in April I think.

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My impressions from the broadcast are virtually the same as Quinten's. Krysanova was highly confident and competent, especially in the last act, where she effortlessly wove her dance steps together with vibrant, lighthearted comedic acting. But as Medora she lacked that special type of feminine beauty and charm that can make one believe that all these male characters would go crazy over her, the irresistible appeal that Julie Kent or Svetlana Zakharova possessed in that role, or someone like Olga Smirnova could have brought to the character. I am surprised that people did not find Stepanova as convincing a Medora, I thought she would fit the role pretty well, but I never saw her, so cannot tell.

 

I was really disappointed by the odalisques. Turazashvili was totally out of synch with every single musical accent, Ibraimova displayed a ton of sloppy, unsightly movements and poses, and only Zhiganshina won me over with her radiant countenance, though I feel that doing lengthy preparations before her pirouettes was not really how that piece should have been danced as they were breaking the continuity of the sequence of movements.

 

Very pleasantly impressed by Artem Belyakov: such elegance, composure, nobility!

 

Overall, despite the claims to authenticity, I could not help but being jarred by some pretty ugly movements that popped here and there in the choreography, something I do not normally notice in tried and true Petipa classics such as Swan Lake or La Bayadere. I get the feeling this is a lot more Burlaka-Ratmansky than genuine Petipa.

 

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6 hours ago, mnacenani said:

 

Fouetté was fine at this performance, no issue here.

 

The fouettés at "Stipanova's Balshoy debut" were fine too, done at a very fast speed, with a little travel sideway, but totally acceptable by all standards, your information is inaccurate, mildly speaking. That performance you admitted you did not see. I did. It was terrific, the best "Corsaire" since Asylmuratova, perhaps.

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7 hours ago, Fleurdelis said:

Very pleasantly impressed by Artem Belyakov: such elegance, composure, nobility!

 

Have you seen Belyakov as the "Evil Genius" ?? If you haven't you probably would find

it hard to believe it was the same person if you somehow missed the casting for role.

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4 hours ago, Laurent said:

That performance you admitted you did not see

 

That's true but I reported what a diehard Stipanova fan mailed me after that performance.

I fully support admin policy that hearsay should not be posted and will take care going forward.

And to make up for my indiscretion I will now try to get the video from a source and come back

to this issue after I have seen it.

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17 hours ago, Fleurdelis said:

My impressions from the broadcast are virtually the same as Quinten's.

But you said it much better! Thanks.

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15 hours ago, Laurent said:

It was terrific, the best "Corsaire" since Asylmuratova, perhaps.

Thanks for mentioning the Asylmuratova Le Corsaire, which I just went to look at on YouTube, and which epitomizes the sweet and elegant Medora I prefer.  I then compared it to the Crisinova peformance from April of this year.  Polar opposites, really. Here are links to both for purposes of discussion:

 

 

The pas de deux starts at 6:39.

 

 

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On ‎10‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 9:54 AM, yudi said:

 

Sorry for confusing you. I didn’t mean that. :unsure:

 

As discussed in this forum the casting of Medora, the first option is Smirnova, then second Krysanova. And you mentioned Stepanova, so I thought the final choice of Medora(dancer) may get input from the choreographer Ratmansky.

 

 

The choreographers of course have a deciding say in casting. These "Corsaire" casting changes have nothing to do with this, however. Stepanova and Rodkin were the first choice (her debut in April was magnificent) but Rodkin couldn't dance, while Stepanova danced it only twice, both times with him. Medora's part in Burlaka/Ratmansky's production is extremely challenging, Smirnova for example decided it was too much for her to prepare it on a short notice, hence withdrew, and we've got Krysanova and Tsvirko. Krysanova, an excellent dancer, fast, acrobatic tricks, etc, and, compared to, for example, Stepanova, she is very, very experienced. Unfortunately her dance is often mechanical, dry, lacking nuance, no singing lines, and, like in the broadcast -- not filled with meaning. All of this was very noticeable in the broadcast.

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18 hours ago, Laurent said:

 

The choreographers of course have a deciding say in casting. These "Corsaire" casting changes have nothing to do with this, however. Stepanova and Rodkin were the first choice (her debut in April was magnificent) but Rodkin couldn't dance, while Stepanova danced it only twice, both times with him. Medora's part in Burlaka/Ratmansky's production is extremely challenging, Smirnova for example decided it was too much for her to prepare it on a short notice, hence withdrew, and we've got Krysanova and Tsvirko. Krysanova, an excellent dancer, fast, acrobatic tricks, etc, and, compared to, for example, Stepanova, she is very, very experienced. Unfortunately her dance is often mechanical, dry, lacking nuance, no singing lines, and, like in the broadcast -- not filled with meaning. All of this was very noticeable in the broadcast.

 

 

Moreover, I have seen Krysanova dancing live in Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Spartacus, Etudes, The Bright Stream, Carmen Suite, Giselle, Jewels, La Sylphide, The Flames of Paris. But, I have never got the impression that she is "mechanical, dry, lacking nuance, no singing lines, and, like in the broadcast -- not filled with meaning."

 

I think her performances are always with clear musical rhythm, full of inspiration. Her classical ballet technique is super.  Although she is not that LADY-type of beauty, her body language can completely express the theatrical idea and sensibility of traditional and modern ballets. She is very beautiful on ballet stage.

 

BTW, when I select a seat to watch ballet in a theater, I like to have one in front raw on the 2nd or 3rd floor, the view angle is between +/-60° from the center line. Maybe, you like to take a seat and watch differently? :P

 

If Radmansky did choose Krysanova to dance as Medora, I could totally understand that. Krysanova is one of the best Radmansky dancers in the world, no doubt.

 

Plus, I saw Stepanova dancing live in Etudes. She was hesitant and unsure, made some obvious missteps in fouette turns and the trio with Chino and Tissi, which cannot convince me that Stepanova could be a better Medora than Krysanova was.

 

 

 

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mnacenani,

      Every great artist ends up getting very divided opinions, because everyone's tastes are different. I spent years following opera, before I started following ballet, and all the great singers have their fans and their detractors. Maria Callas divided people and she still does due to her importance in opera history (so people continue to listen to learn why she is so great). Her artistry changed opera for good but people who want beautiful singing are dumbfounded by her squally high notes and wobbles (although her early 50s bootlegs show beauty). Her voice acting will probably never be improved upon in any of her famous roles like Norma and Violetta. In complete contrast, the amazing technical Dame Joan Sutherland has always been criticized for her mushy diction and poor acting. However, I don't think anyone sings coloratura the way she does in this day and age with such roundness of tone and absolutely no sound of strain. Today we have Radvanovsky, and I am flabbergasted at anyone finding that voice beautiful or finding her adequate in the role of Norma. But I am outnumbered by her many fans. Personally, I think Bellini is rolling over in his grave.

      My point is that all great artists divide people's opinions. Mediocre singers or dancers tend to not get anyone arguing or excited enough to argue. But the singers and dancers who stand out as unique always divide people and create vehement reactions.

      My love of Stepanova's dancing comes from the way she uses her upper body and arms and her natural acting. I hate stiff upper bodies and arms. I do not judge dancers by the pony tricks like fouettes because even the best can have a bad night and the worst can master a technical feat. To bring it back to opera, Radvanovsky can sing a great high note or pianissimo (she can do the "wow" technical feats) but it is the overall artistry that I do not like in her singing. I find Radvanovsky's acting laughable and the actual sound of her voice annoying.

      So that is why.

    

     

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