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mnacenani

Svetlana Zaharova "Amore" Coliseum London

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This show premiered in in Italy (Palermo ?) last year and I saw the Bolshoy premiere on 24th May. Currently on a three day run in London ending tonight. I had posted a report after seeing it at the Bolshoy which now seems to be deleted. Would have liked to post a link to it here, because the "doyen of British ballet critics" Clement Crisp has written a review for the FT two days ago which almost completely matches what I had posted last year :

"Amore is a rather peculiar evening. Its purpose is to display the gifts of the Bolshoi Ballet’s lustrous Svetlana Zakharova, cheerily identified by Tuesday night’s programme as “the world’s greatest ballet superstar” and, unhappily by your critic, as “the world’s worst picker of repertory”. The event offers three choreographies which range from the eagerly illustrative (Yuri Possokhov’s Francesca da Rimini) by way of the ill-advised (Patrick de Bana’s Rain Before it Falls) to an unforgivable assault on Mozart’s 40th Symphony from Marguerite Donlon, who imposes a sequence of tired physical jokes on five fine male dancers while Zakharova picks her elegant way through. “When in doubt, fall to the floor” is the piece’s motto. The evening makes plain that a grand ballerina, in quest of choreographies to explore her gifts in the later years of her career, should tread with care. I recall wonderful creations by Roland Petit whose wit and chic showed Zizi Jeanmaire as a supreme theatrical artist; and such small, potent ballets as Lichine’s Oedipe et le Sphinx, where drama blazed in performance by Jean Babilée and Leslie Caron. Amore’s earnest Francesca da Rimini, though, serves to clog Zakharova’s art, as Tchaikovsky rampages from the pit (the ENO orchestra under Pavel Sorokin’s baton is very fine), splendid dancers — Denis Rodkin, Mikhail Lobukhin — surge around the titular heroine’s anguishings, and attendant figures register despair and looming migraines. Rain Before It Falls is another trap for the unwary assoluta, burdened with meaning — “A room. A woman. Two men. Love” notes the programme — while clichés take their toll. The redeeming feature in these earnest steppings is, of course, Zakharova’s physical presence, denied at times by dance that clouds her gifts. But watch the felicities of her line as it opens out in exquisite phrases; see how an emotional clarity will illuminate some banality, and how the deployment of her body in the dance tells of rare artistry, and even tosh acquires an unlikely dignity".

To recap :  at the time I thought that only Francesca da Rimini was worth seeing - I did not know the story (shame on me) and the program was in Russian only but I was able to make out and follow the story from the action on stage, this is what I call ballet. The other two pieces Crisp has in reality complimented by characterising as "tosh" - the 2nd and 19th letters of the English alphabet, in capitals, would have been more fitting !!

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