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  1. Both the Bolshoi and the Royal Ballet showed La Bayadere in the last ballet cinema season, and though I'd seen both productions before and had vaguely preferred the Makarova production for offering a resolution, this time I actually thought the truncated Bolshoi version was more satisfying, in a manner of speaking. It ends in the Kingdom of the Shades, not with the pas de deux, but with Solor seeing a final vision of Nikiya and fainting away. This time It seemed to me as if Solor had died, in a psychic if not a physical sense. I think like volcanohunter I didn't think Solor deserved the
  2. I believe it was Artem Ovcharenko, not Beyakov, who was Nikulina's Jeanne de Brienne. Kovalyova and Belyakov must have made a beautiful couple. Have they danced together before?
  3. The cinema screenings are great way to see them if you're outside the UK. Hayward has danced Clara in the last four Nutcracker relays, and Naghdi the Rose Fairy in two of them, including the most recent one. There's a new Clara for the relay this December - Anna Rose O'Sullivan - but we don't know who the Rose Fairy will be. Naghdi and Choe have taken turns for the past four relays, so there's a chance it may be Naghdi this year too. Hayward is dancing the Sugar Plum Fairy for this run, but not in the relay. And of course, she is one of Siegfried's sisters in the Swan Lake scree
  4. Ashton Fan, I'm aware that the Dowell production was a return to a more authentic choreographic text. I'm sure Parry was too. I doubt she was implying that it was in a choreographic sense that Dowell had failed as a curator. The spirit of the ballet, the poetic truth as you say, surely matters just as much. In any case, my point was that, while Scarlett had the choreographic resources of the Ashton and Dowell productions at his disposal, he still managed to produce a staging that seems distinctive primarily in its design, and even further away from being definitive than its predecessor. An
  5. Thank you, Mashinka. The Makarova-Dowell version was the first full-length recording of Swan Lake I ever saw and I don't think I've seen any others quite as dramatically compelling and satisfying since. And of course I loved the Nureyev solo performed by Dowell which I've missed in the subsequent productions. I've found the black-and-white Fonteyn-Somes video from 1954 on Youtube. Danced at this tempo, Odette feels terribly alive.
  6. I was reading old reviews and came across this in a piece by Jann Parry on the occasion of Dowell's retirement (2001): The ideal director, if he or she is not a creator, should be a curator, ensuring that the Royal Ballet presents the classics in the purest form. By emphasising design over direction, Dowell has taken the company out of the premier league of classical troupes. It still dances well but its productions have become secondary ones, not the definitive statements Ninette de Valois required of the Royal Ballet. It seems to me a very sad thing that the new production has not
  7. Drew, Ashton Fan, thank you for your responses to my clumsily phrased, stupid-sounding question. They clarified some of the problems I was struggling to put my finger on. The scenario as it is does beg more questions than it answers. Perhaps Rothbart has power only over women – princesses, queens – and can’t cast a direct spell over Siegfried, but it doesn’t answer the question of why he has to bring Odile to the palace – surely if he means for Siegfried to take her for Odette, the lakeside might be a better setting… the list of questions goes on and on, which goes to show that complicating th
  8. I would add that for all its "historical" trappings, the Royal Ballet's new production isn't consistently "realist" - this conception of Rothbart feels particularly cartoony to me. I have yet to work out how, in this late 19th-century Germanic court, a palace coup can be accomplished simply by making the heir to the throne pledge to marry your daughter. Do you have any theories?
  9. As most of the critics I've read have been very positive, even effusive, about the production, I'd be very interested to hear what else other people in the business are saying. My own response to it as a punter outside the UK, via the cinema relay, was one of deep disappointment. It seemed too dour and conceptually muddled a production for such a talented new generation of dancers to be trapped in for the next decade and more. I had similar impressions - the action felt badly timed and confused. The moments that you noted - Rothbart's attack on Siegfried, Rothbart overcome
  10. Buddy, I agree that they are linked by love. But I tend to think of it as a love that once was (though great enough for its lingering echoes to save and to redeem). The lovers have been divided by disillusionment and death, and when we next see her, the woman’s nature has changed. Elements of the choreography express her elusiveness, her aloofness, and I like to see the expressions of the dancer reflect that detachment. Odette in act 4 of Swan Lake is different as she is still very much a woman caught up in mortal passions – she can forgive but she will still take her own life in desperation.
  11. Buddy, by "them" do you mean Solor/Albrecht, and "they" Nikiya/Giselle"? That's true. But have you seen the videos, Quinten? How does her NIkiya come across to you? I believe Buddy is referring to these:
  12. Buddy, thanks for directing me to Simone Messmer. A nuanced and sexy Gamzatti is certainly a treat. mnacenani, I've only seen the Alexandrova/Zakharova pairing in the cinema relay from a few years ago, and I would certainly agree that they were well matched in terms of star wattage 🙂. I see what you mean here, and like you I do appreciate touches like this that add nuance to a character, but I did wonder if this added dimension might not be inconsistent - the catfight in the previous scene had ended with Gamzatti making a very emphatic gesture. In the Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ba
  13. From what I remember about the Bolshoi version, when the Rajah first proposes the marriage with Gamzatti, Solor is taken aback, moves a few steps away to appeal privately to a friend (?) for help, and then turns back as if resolved to refuse the Rajah. At this moment Gamzatti, who has entered while Solor's back was turned, is unveiled, and Solor is so struck by her beauty that all thought of protest seems driven from his mind. So if anything, a "less beautiful" Gamzatti would make the drama less coherent. I think Gamzatti's reaction to Nikiya's beauty is quite natural for a princess who had pr
  14. Marchenkova's debut as Gamzatti, in Stepanova's debut performance as Nikiya, no less: From 14:48: From 7:14:
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