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  1. It was not in vain that Vasiliev talked about his wish to dance "Ivan the Terrible". As far as I know the main goal of reviving this ballet was to broaden Vasiliev's repertoire, taking into account that his big, broad manner of dancing and acting is most suitable for Grigorovich ballets. And his fans were impatient to see him in this rather cartoonish, but superemotional role. Alas... The preparotary work on the revival was in already in progress, when all oa a sudden Vasiliev left Bolshoi "in search of artistic freedom", as was declared in the most of the interviews. Now , when Vasiliev is only partially back to the Bolshoi and still has a lot of obligations elsewhere, it's not so easy to find enough time to prepare this role, as well as the role of Farhad in the "Legend of Love", which also theoretically may suit him. "Ivan the Terrtible" had a huge success with public, but got very critical reviews from most of ballet writers (which it mostly deserves from my point of view).
  2. The wedding party in this version occurs in the Duke's palace, so there are no guests from the street scene . That's why Espada is absent, as well as Kitri's friends. So there is no reason to worry about Rod'kin. Hope he'll be convincing as Spartacus , despite the lack of experience in this role. Lobukhin was quite impressive in the performance shown in the cinemas last autumn. Enjoy!
  3. Sorry, but it seems to me there is some misunderstanding with the new Bolshoi “Esmeralda”. First of all Vikharev has nothing to do with it – the production is prepared by Yuri Burlaka in cooperation with Vasili Medvedev. I guess that Burlaka is responsive for the revival of the old choreography, while Medvedev created new dances instead the lost ones (or to fit the synopsis which looks as a combination of different versions). Since the premier was on the 25- th of December when most of Russian newspapers go on long holidays only a couple of critical reviews were published. The one in The Moscow Times is about entirely different “Esmeralda”, by Burmeister, which was also brought back to life this season , but in the Stanislavsky Theatre, where it was “born” more than 50 years ago. It’s a really good ballet with strong dramaturgy and mostly original choreography. The Bolshoi “Esmeralda” seems to me to be sort of excessive in dances ,stylistically not fit for an "old" ballet. Many details of the first performances (in Russian) together with photographs and TV-reports may be found here .
  4. My impressions are just the opposite: the applause was not at all enthusiastic, though there was much of special "premier" public in the theatre. As far as I remember even no curtain calls. In the intermission I've heard a lot of harsh remarks on the choreography as well as anxious questions about current repertoir policy of the company ( after Ratmansky's retirement). As to the reviews, they were mostly negative - both from critics and from balletomanes (just have a look at forum.balletfriends.ru). So my view is that the ballet has no chance even to be nominated for the Golden Mask. And IMHO it has little in common with Vishneva's project, which may be disputable, but not helpless.
  5. She is really eager to try herself in new roles most of the times, especially famous classical ones. Hope she succeds in this experiment she was long looking forward to. We are folloing her career with great interest here in Moscow and feel a bit jealous that this debut will happen overseas.
  6. Your complaints make me envious, since in the Bolshoi there is no practice of changing tickets at all. One can return the ticket in case the title of the performance is changed, but not the cast. Taking into account that the prices are VERY high nowadays early booking becomes rather risky financially. It's a great pity that Osipova's guesting caused troubles to devoted balletgoers. My guess is that the wind blows from the Bolshoi, just because I've faced their way of planning more than once.
  7. It seems very possible that "La Sylphide" of June 19 may be cancelled. But since ABT is on tour in London the information is just being late.
  8. There are many in Moscow who sincerely regret Ratmansky's decision to leave Bolshoi, at the same time understanding the reasons.
  9. No, you are not alone. The core conception of this festival didn't meet any enthusiasm among Moscow balletomanes. As a result I for example am skipping this event - the first time in past 8 years. But balletomanes are not numerous, while for most of the tourists Russian ballet=Swan Lake. So this may be a very wise marketing approach of the organizers. Never mind serious creativity goals and other crap of the sort.
  10. I'm sure this is the case when KGB has nothing to do with. In general it was rarely an initiative of KGB to be after somebody. The "bright idea" mostly came to them from the personal environment, mostly colleagues. My guess is that administrative duties in such a star-ish company as Bolshoi may be worse than any KGB, at least for a person with an orientation for creativity mostly. Our Moscow balletfriends club had a meeting with Mr. Iksanov about two months ago and he said that for the moment he sees nobody who could replace Ratmansky. At the same time he gave us a clear message that Ratmansky is not willing to continue to be both balletmaster and administrator. Here in Moscow we are also rather concerned who is going to follow Ratmansky as an art-director. To me personally his period brought a lot of exciting moments. He had rather distinct repertory strategy, which I would rather be followed. But this is seldom (if ever!) the case in our theatre. I do not think that Grigorovich will be (and should be) back at his age. His post-Bolshoi period showed, IMHO, that his creativity is already in the past. And I would prefer if the next art director does not sweep out all that was done before him – just for the sake of traditions which here, in Russia, we are more enthusiastic to speak about, than to preserve. Actually not a single ballet in the former Bolshoi repertory (say by Gorsky, Goleizovsky, Zakharov) has survived the Grigorovich era. Still I am not at all sure that Bolshoi ballet company should be a company of mostly one author ( as is Hamburg ballet, for example ). Well, the future seems rather vague for the moment, though we have a whole bunch of rumours as to who is eager to rule the Bolshoi ballet. But our nearest expectations and concerns are connected with Ratmansky's “Flames of Paris” – a rather challenging, but risky enterprise from my point of view.
  11. Surely Bolshoi is not sleeping and developing very different projects. As to the 21st century policy I think one of it's trends is to return some of the things which were carelessly lost. Not only in ballet. It doesn't mean that "THe Flames" should be returned. This decision is really arguable. But... I would rather have Vainonen than Eifman, who to my humble opinion should never be placed near Balanchine's name. Especially after his "hommage" to Mr. B named "Musaget", which was quite a risky and unworthy experiment for NYCB on the centenary of Balanchine.
  12. I would say that all three casts, which were shown in the first run, are remarkable in their own way. Svetlana Zakharova is a shining beauty, this role suits her perfectly. Svetlana Lunkina is both delicate and playful. Maria Alexandrova demonstrates her vitality and character not less than the pirates themselves, along with strong technique in jumps and turns. Conrads can also suit different tastes: Denis Matvienko with his bravura dancing; Nikolai Tsiskaridze being the most picturesque and emotional; Yuri Klevtsov full of noble manliness which we do not see often nowadays. Between Gulnaras – another role with a lot of dancing – I would rather prefer Marianna Ryzhkina to Ekaterina Shipulina, whose technique is brilliant, but her style of dancing a bit too modern for this staging. I watched Anastassia Yatsenko only at the rehearsal so I have no right to comment. In autumn we are promised to be introduced to a new cast formed with young dancers – Natalia Osipova, Ekaterina Krysanova, et al. There are a lot of other parts in this ballet – with dancing (as in Pas des esclaves or the newly composed Pas des eventails) or mime. I would rather point out Andrey Merkuriev as Birbanto (brilliant character dancing and acting) and Gennady Yanin as Lankedem (you would hardly recognize this good looking dancer in the old Jewish merchant!). Beautiful Anna Rebetskaya who partnered Merkuriev in two corsaires’ dances also should be mentioned. Of course this ballet is a vehicle for a ballerina since the female dancing prevails, especially in the harem scenes with the famous Jardin Animee, but this is how it is supposed to be in Marius Petipa times. I would also like to attract special attention of future watchers to the dances of six girls in Pas des eventails – it is pure Ratmansky, but very much in style of the Petipa ballet. To the best of my knowledge only variations of Gulnara and Medora could be attributed as original in this lost and "found" Pas. There are lots of interesting details to enjoy in the scenery, costumes, etc. I do hope that ballet-lovers will enjoy this staging – a sumptuous feast of classical dancing. I consider Le Corsaire at the Bolshoi to be a great success due to the efforts of the whole staging team under Yuri Burlaka and Alexei Ratmansky.
  13. I doubt that Riga’s “Gayane” is the one by Anisimova. Another version of Khachaturyan’s ballet was mounted there in 1976 by Boris Eiffman. It was one of his first choreographic works and as far as I know it was filmed. I also read before that Khachaturyan liked this interpretation of his music.
  14. Wonderful news! On Valentine's Day, the 14th of February, Nina succesfully brought a daughter Elena. Many heartful congrats to her and her husband
  15. Yesterday's "Raymonda" was dedicated to Golikova to celebrate her tripple(!) jubilee: 60th birthday on October 14, 40 years since joining the Bolshoi and 10 years of coaching at the Bolshoi. By no means it can be considered as the end of her carreer. She works now with Maria Alexandrova, Maria Allash, Anna Rebetskaya...
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