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Marc Haegeman

Editorial Advisor
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Everything posted by Marc Haegeman

  1. Here is a photo gallery of the Bolshoi's new staging of The Sleeping Beauty. http://www.for-ballet-lovers-only.com/bolshoi-sleepingbeauty-2011.html Sets were designed by Ezio Frigerio, costumes by Franca Squarciapino. Light design by Vinicio Cheli. Music direction by Vasili Sinaisky. The premiere took place on 18 November 2011 and featured Svetlana Zakharova and David Hallberg in the main roles. A second cast was headed by Nina Kaptsova and Alexander Volchkov. At the issue of the performance on 19 November Kaptsova was promoted to principal ballerina by director Sergei Filin.
  2. Some photos of Obraztsova's debut in "Swan Lake" with the Stanislavsky Ballet in Moscow, April 23, 2011. Obraztsova in Swan Lake
  3. Me, too. But it's 624 pages in my paperback edition (Flammarion). The synopsis as printed by the Bolshoi omits a lot. But it leaves IN an incredible amount as well.. It would be fascinating to see whether Ratmansky can convey a sense of the story to the audience without swamping them in plots, subplots, multiple characters and settings, turbulent ups and downs of fortune, and Balzacian social commentary.. P.S. Thank you, Marc, for the wonderful photos. Thanks also to ksk04 for the video links. Welcome, Bart. Let's not forget the basis of this 2011 ballet is Vladimir Dmitriev's libretto from the mid-thirties, rather than the novel by Honoré de Balzac. Of course, Dmitriev's plot was sourcing Balzac, but his main purpose was no less: "While keeping within the limits of the romantic genre, my goal was to lay bare and, thereby, expose its hollowness." Ratmansky and team used this libretto and edited it again for their own purpose. Ratmansky is a born storyteller who moreover knows his classics. What I liked in this production is how he managed to show us glimpses of Marie Taglioni's world versus Fanny Ellsler's, by giving the two main female characters (Coralie and Florine) their own defining ballet - "La Sylphide" and in stylized form "La Fille du Bandit" (here called "In the mountains of Bohemia"), all against the background of the main plot.
  4. A photo gallery of the new Ratmansky ballet "Lost Illusions" at the Bolshoi Theatre. Premiere on 24 April 2011. Lost Illusions.
  5. Interesting question, Amy. There will be an intendant for both troupes, as well as artistic directors for both. A crisis manager will have to solve the financial problems the ballet company is still facing in spite of Kathryn Bennetts' laudable efforts. This is a ballet board, reactions are justifiably emotional to all this. Within its local context, it is far less so. In the papers here you can read reactions like: "Why pay 6 million euros for an institution that nobody goes to see?!" That may be hard to swallow, but that's the reality. In Flanders (or Belgium) there is basically no interest in ballet, there is no tradition, and there never will be, no matter the level of the shows on offer, no matter how good the dancers may be. There is no interest from the press, we don't have proper ballet critics or at least the papers don't find it worthwile the pay any and cover a performance. The Royal Ballet of Flanders won more critical success abroad then in Belgium. There is even less willingness to pay money for it. We have come a long way in the last decades, after years of struggle we even got our own independent ballet company, with its own theatre - at least for the time being. But sadly this seems to be the limit where tax-paying Flanders is willing to let it go. Ms. Bennetts is right to retort that it is for a large part about how and on what the available money is spent, but she has to face the fact that the majority here doesn't care about ballet. None of our politicians is concerned about what happens to it, and neither is the majority of the cultural-minded population: give them trendy contemporary dance and they will flock to it, any performance featuring a dog in heat with a bonnet on created by Jan Fabre or any other of the local geniuses, but "ballet"... nah.
  6. Cool that you finally made it, Bart. A visit to the Palais Garnier is by all means always something of a memorable event - no matter how many times you may have been there.
  7. Her page on the Bolshoi site: http://www.bolshoi.ru/ru/theatre/people/de...fo&id26=436 Her biography by Geoff Whitlock on For Ballet Lovers Only
  8. According to our Russian friends from http://forum.balletfriends.ru/ Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev were promoted to principal dancers after the performance of Don Quixote, May 3 in China. Congratulations to both.
  9. Please check out this exhibition of Bolshoi Ballet photography of mine organized by Ave Maria University, FL, March 27-May 9: http://www.avemaria.edu/balletphotography. Anyone in the area might want to have a look
  10. Marc, somone hawked your site, both this link and the link from my favorites goes to some dating site ;-(( Yep, sorry guys, it's the fault of the hosting service (Thanks Hostingmatters!) - they promised "it will be resolving again very shortly".... :-(
  11. Photos of Giselle in Rome, featuring Evgenia Obraztsova/David Makhateli and Ashley Bouder/Robert Tewsley posted on For Ballet Lovers Only. Enjoy!
  12. The status of any dancer depends not on media hype, company publicity, or fans and company pleasing critics, but by the reasoned judgement of connoisseurs of academic classical ballet. As I am sure you know from your wide experience of watching ballet, because a company designates a dancer as a principal dancer, does not mean they deserve the appellation. The Kirov/Maryinsky, Bolshoi and Royal Ballet companies have too often promoted dancers to stations well above their talent and artistry and publicised them as being significant. Zakharovova is a product of an type of schooling that may seem exemplary because of her technical attainment, but her choices made in the interpretation of roles has for me and others been uneven and disappointing. Therefore one is entitled to question not only her personal status but the judgement of those that give her such a status. The days of significant interpreters of the academic classical repertoire sometimes seem to me to be past and that balance in a performance goes beyond striking and holding a pose on point, or the ability to turn or elevation, instead, it is reflected in their integrated technique informed by artistry that results in a "complete" performance rather than exciting or "beautiful" moments that Zakharova can certainly achieve Quite so, leonid. It’s not because the bottle boasts the appélation controlée label that the wine becomes per definition vintage. Your observation does put the judgement of people like Vladimir Vasiliev, Yuri Grigorovich and Alexei Ratmansky in a totally different light.
  13. It offends me because the title was never applied to a number of much greater greater artists of the Kirov/Maryinsky ballet or indeed the Bolshoi Ballet. Of course there are moments in Zakharova performances that one cannot help but recognise her physical/technical achievements. However it is my experience that Zakharova attracts fans and not balletomanes. Well well, you are easily offended then . With both your experience as veteran balletgoers you should be able to understand that this is nothing more than newspaper hype, "prima ballerina" meaning foremost ballerina of this or that company - which, like it or not, she is. And yes, all the American appearances have been cancelled, according to Svetlana Zakharova's website.
  14. For the UK readers or those having a subscription to The Dancing Times, I have a review of the new Bolshoi "La Esmeralda" in the February issue.
  15. Interesting to note that up till now Natalia Osipova hasn't danced either Aurora or Juliet.
  16. It's the touring version. It has always been truncated, more or less. Every time they came they cut something else. In Amsterdam, last month, we were served a severely mutilated Beauty, nothing to do with the original anymore. Makes it hard to judge the production this way.
  17. Thank you, Alexandra, for this heads up! Basically, the site will be focusing more on dance photography and dance writing instead of attempting to cover Bolshoi and Mariinsky, which is now largely done by the theatres' own websites. The historical biographies of Russian dancers from the past which aren't that easily found elsewhere will be kept. Completely new is the (more or less complete) list of my dance writings from the last ten years or so. Many are linked and can be read online, so to all those brave enough to face that, enjoy! Thanks to all for your now ten-year long support!
  18. I'm looking forward to hearing from BT'rs who were there. Can it really have been so ... what's the word I'm looking for? ... bizarre? What else is new? When they opened their London season in 1993 with the same ballet (and Ananiashvili was dancing Juliet as guest), they got nothing but bad reviews.
  19. I would say based solely on her sunday afternoon performance, that Shipulina is mediocre, but I am sure that she would have danced much better had it not been her 5th or 6th Medora in a week. This might sound harsh, but I feel obligated to hold the Bolshoi to an extremely high standard. She had trouble with virtually every double pirouette, never completing two full rotations. She had some of the least attractive feet I've seen. And although she has a beautiful arabesque, she simply does not have the star-quality one comes to expect from a Bolshoi leading lady. I agree with other reviewers that she is far better suited as a soloist, and was completely out-shined by Kaptsova as Gulnare, who showed no signs of exhaustion after dancing in EVERY performance. Kaptsova was exquisite! When I think back, Shipulina's Medora was the most "blah" starring role I've seen from a Russian ballerina. I would prefer Osipova, Alexandrova, Zakharova, Tereshkina, Lopatkina, Vishneva, even Somova! Having said all the negatives, I truly am thankful that she was willing to step up and fill in for Osipova on Sunday. Like others, I do not fault Shipulina for the lack-luster situation. I wish the Bolshoi would have made wiser decisions. That the Bolshoi was short on Medora's for Washington is a regrettable thing. It isn't the first time this happens in touring situations, and it won't be the last time either. As mentioned here Zakharova is busy in Milan, Lunkina is on maternity leave, the scheduled Nikulina was injured, Alexandrova left after opening night, and it was undoubtedly a mistake to cast Osipova so soon after her New York/ABT outing. Some posters here make it sound as if audiences in Washington DC were victim of some special treatment. Really they were not! Moreover, one doesn't judge a dancer on a sole sunday afternoon performance, as you know quite well, mariinskyfan. How anybody can call a ballerina "mediocre" when she has the bad luck to appear in successive performances of a ballet of this scale is beyond me. If she was really mediocre then she wouldn't even have been able to tackle them all. We had a similar situation in Paris last year also with the Bolshoi's Corsaire when Svetlana Lunkina danced three successive performances of Medora. Of course the third effort wasn't as sharp as the first and showed severe signs of fatigue - how could it be? But is that a reason to condemn her as a "mediocre" ballerina ? Shipulina has always proven an extremely reliable artist, regardless of the number of times she had to perform, the shape of her feet, or of the pointes she is wearing. Natalia, I find it completely gratuitous to link her to Alina Somova (and the fact that they are both wearing pointes of a certain label is really of no further consequence here). We all know by now that you don't like this artist, and it is your good right to do so, but with all respect you do sound like a broken record with your ad nauseam derogatory remarks against her.
  20. The "big deal" this reviewer is making, is summarized in these two sentences: "It's rare even at the upper reaches of the field to find an entire ballet company that can transfer such unmuzzled electricity to its audience, but that is the Bolshoi's distinction. We've seen the same deeply held investment in what it's been doing on earlier tours here." No company could have wished for a more positive review.
  21. They're not in the DC-KennedyCenter tour roster; I was referring to that, not the US tour in general. Glad that other parts of the country got more principals than did DC! Lunkina is on maternity leave. Surely you are not complaining about the level of the Bolshoi "soloists", Natalia. Several of them could be principal in any company ;-) Thanks for the reports.
  22. What a relief the arch-enhancers weren't an issue after all
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