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Mikhail

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About Mikhail

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Ballet & History, ballegoer
  • City**
    Moscow
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    Russia

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  1. Osiliev, Vasipova... I do not know any dancers that go by these names. I do know Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev. Ekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vasiliev were a fantastic couple in the past, but nobody ever dared to call them Maxiliev or Vasimova. I think Natalia and Ivan deserve no lesser respect. Should we use silly nicknames invented by journalists? Sorry to tell this.
  2. Sorry, Natalia, Osipova danced with Lopatin in the premiere series (second cast on March 13, 2009) . As always, they showed wonderful partnership.
  3. I was not going to dive so deep into political questions. I guess the art (especially the old one) should not be approached from that side. I only tried to tell, that if a gentleman comes to a party in a costume but without pants, it would be too snobbish to discuss a color of his tie. A lot to be said about Le Corsaire, but I will restrict myself by a few topics. Negress vs. Old Maid Words change their meaning being transferred from one language into another. “Negr” in Russian has no negative color as in modern English, it was used many times in literature of 20th century. Say, by Vladimir Mayakovsky ("да будь я и негром преклонных годов”) or by Andrey Voznesensky (“мы негры, мы поэты”), or by Evegeny Evtushenko (“и, согбенный, будто в рабстве негр”), etc, etc. Do you think they all were racists? The word “black” (“черный”) is much more dangerous in modern Russian when applied to different nations (not only to Africans, but also to people from Caucasus). So one has to be very careful in translation, and if one finds a discrepancy between Russian and English texts one has to ask himself “why” before to make a verdict. As an example: a translation of verses by Evtushenko into English does not contain the quoted line at all. Isaac Lankedem The wrong statements were made here about Isaac Lankedem. Russian speaking readers could find it interesting to have a look at the detailed historical description of different versions of Le Corsaire including the original synopsis of 1858 (the first version in Russia staged by Perrot) and that of 1899 (the last version in Petipa’s life). The latter was taken almost one to one by Ratmansky and Burlaka. “Almost” because both texts contain the name Isaac (as well as “The Negress”), but an epithet “Jew-renegade” is omitted now (probably as unknown to the ordinary audience). ”Closer to the original” Should be taken cum grano salis. When one refers to the intentions of Ratmansky and Burlaka “to be closer to the original” one should not forget the second part of this statement - “but not loosing valuable artistic achievements of the 20th century”. They tried to create a ballet which would not be dusty museum exhibit. So I think it is quite normal if Conrad replaces nameless cavalier. This is an approach of the Bolshoi, its know-how: to take an old synopsis as it stands (that is not to change a story, as was done more than once in Soviet time), to preserve what can be preserved from the choreography and to compose the parts lost with the time. The Flames of Paris declined from this route because of evident political reasons, but they will be back with Esmeralda in December (BTW, will you buy the happy end: a poor Gipsy girl is not executed but marries a noble captain of the Royal Guard), the same is planned for the future Desyatnikov-Ratmansky’s Les Illusions Perdues. Best in the World I found this approach fruitful. As the result we have in the current Le Corsaire a lot of original dances: a full version of Pas d’Esclave (Entrée is twice longer than usual), a full version of Medora’s variation Finesse d’amour in the 1st act, traditional pd2, Le Petit Corsaire, a full version of Le Jardin Anime (to compare, it is 8-9 minutes longer than le Jardin in Munich, where it was reconstructed by Doug Fullington), traditional pd3 of Odalisques, additional variations of Medora and Gulnara in the 3rd act. This is a brilliant collection of real masterpieces by Petipa. The story is silly? Yes, who doubts? And who cares? Not me - then even stronger is a motivation to enjoy the pure dance. I watched Le Corsaire in many (about 10) versions and think that Bolshoi’s production is the best. The second prize I would give to Sergeyev’s version which was performed at the Bolshoi for a couple of years at the beginning of 90s. Is Bolshoi’s Le Corsaire free of disadvantages? No, it is not. Is it perfect? No, it is not. Could it be better? Certainly, yes. Let’s wait until the better production will appear elsewhere. And let’s enjoy the dance of the Bolshoi now.
  4. Ok, Bart, thank you for the explanations and sorry for the off topic (actually it was reductio ad absurdum). Thus, all these Shakespearian Jews, Turks, Bohemians and even Maures will survive in classical ballets – good news.
  5. Ladies and Gentlemen, may be I am wrong, but I see no reasons to discuss such secondary questions as an “old negress” or the name “Isaac” of the bad guy from a provincial market place. Evidently, the Bolshoi’s Le Corsaire produces much more serious problems because it presents a real caricature on the Muslim world. Look at all these fat mullahs, lazy eunuchs, chicken-hearted soldiers, silly Seid-Pasha himself… Meanwhile Christian bandits are romantized in the ballet. The only Muslim positive personage - Ali by name - was excluded from this production. Was it coincidental? Moreover, the ballet does not respect the sacred rights of private property. Seid-pasha paid for Medora, the girl belongs to him body and soul, and yet she was kidnapped. May be the laws of that country were not perfect, but where on earth were they perfect? This was no excuse for European terrorists who attacked a peaceful Muslim town. I guess any American court would forbid performance of Le Corsaire in any version, if somebody hires a good lawyer.
  6. Bolshoi announced the casts for the US tour only on March 19. Here is the link to the first announcement which I saved for the history being absolutely sure that it would never become true. Both Zakharova’s and Osipova’s schedules were known at that time. Zakharova’s one was taken into account, Osipova’s was not. One can see from this poster that Osipova was planned to dance Le Corsaires in Washington on June 17 and 20. At that time her La Sylphide with ABT was scheduled on June 17 and 19. No comments.
  7. These days Zakharova has the premiere of Pink Floyd by Roland Petit in Milano so she could join the company only in Berkley. Tsiskaridze participates in Andris Liepa’s The New Russian Seasons in Paris and dances this awful The Blue God there.
  8. Just a few remarks / replies to some questions above. Le Corsaire was adapted because of American trade unions demands. In that case Bolshoi had nothing to do with it. Another question is what was excluded. I would have shortened the scene on a couchette in the cave, and also children dance there, but not Pas des eventailles – that leaves a void in the third act. Besides, there are two original variations by Petipa and nice Pas de six by Ratmansky. But Burlaka had another point of view, as I can conclude from your posts. This season Le Corsaire was performed only twice at the Bolshoi – on September 23 and 24 (Zakharova & Tsiskaridze, Osipova & Vasiliev, respectively). The company only had rehearsals at the end of May, when Osipova was already in New York. On Saturday Osipova danced the first Le Corsaire in Washington with high fever. Bolshoi officials already knew this before the show, but they found no appropriate way out. Alexandrova already left for Moscow, and they had only Shipulina and Osipova as Medoras. So they took a risk and let Osipova dance. In a few hours after the performance Osipova suddenly fainted and was taken to a hospital by an ambulance. She was probably really exhausted (as was supposed here by Natalia), but Bolshoi gave no official comments up to now. So, Shipulina and Skvortsov performed a heroic act and danced Le Corsaire again. It is a shame that all these dramatic events were not explained to the audience on Sunday. Bolshoi officials should do this. I have no further info on Osipova’s state of health. She and the company are in a flight now on their way back to Moscow. Let’s hope she will be OK.
  9. http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/season/press-offi...x.php?id26=1220 The official diagnosis is not published yet. People from the Bolshoi tell that Maximova died in a sleep, probably because of a heart insufficiency. Her mother found her dead in a bed. Thus, Tatiana Gustavovna Shpett-Maximova (now 94) took care of her famous daughter all her life, until the very end. So sad. We will go to Bolshoi tomorrow morning at 10 am MSK to tell Katya our Last Farewell. She always was in my life from the time I started to watch ballets. Да будет земля ей пухом (can this be translated as "let the ground be light for her as down"?).
  10. As far as I know, when in September Osipova received Ratmansky’s permission to accept ABT's offer, she was told that Bolshoi would probably need her for one or two last Le Corsaires and kindly asked ABT to move her La Sylphide from June 20 to June 19 to make it possibile to join the Bolshoi in Washington.
  11. Osipova tells she is 167 cm in Russia. Probably she will be a bit shorter in inches I can only guess on how much.
  12. Natalia, have you ever watched this “rarity”? The new ballet on the music by Scriabin with the choreography by Wayne Eagling has nothing to do with Fokine’s Dieu Bleu. These are different ballets. Oh yes, they have something similar – the synopsis and costumes designed by Bakst. And they have the same fate. Dieu Bleu with Nijinsky and Karsavina turned out a complete fiasco in May 1912, Dieu Bleu with Tsiskaridze and Ilse Liepa failed in October 2005. Press was awful. Sorry to tell this! Concerning the potential pretenders for Ratmansky's chair, I found that Tatiana Kuznetsova presented in Kommersant rather precise and short-spoken pro and contra.
  13. Actually this is not so fresh news and it is evidently Ratmansky's decision. Five more years of administration and he would loose his creativity in staging dances (what he likes most of all). The first contract between Ratmansky and Bolshoi was signed for 3,5 years and expired in June 2007. Ratmansky signed a new one but only for 1,5 years, till January 1st 2009. This date was obviously determined according to the schedule of reconstruction of the historical Bolshoi building, its Main Stage. At that time it was to reopen in the end of 2008. Nevertheless since Ratmansky could sign a contract for any period in scope of the terms of the general director Iksanov (5 years or a bit less) it was a clear message that Ratmansky is inclined to leave Bolshoi. At the meeting with ballet-goers on December 3 '2007 Mr. Iksanov was asked who was going to be the future artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet. The answer was as follows: "There are many pretenders for this post, and I considered many candidates, but I see nobody except Ratmansky for the moment". But it seems that Ratmansky is rather determined to concentrate on creative activities, having nothing to do with administration of a huge company. So Iksanov was certainly asked whether he plans to create a position of resident choreographer, which doesn’t exist for the moment. His answer was that he sees Ratmansky role more broadened: as a person, who can also determine the creative policy of the company, be responsible for the whole repertory and conceptions of the Bolshoi tours. That in his view can free Ratmansky from such routine obligations as casting of regular performances, schedule, etc. etc. Thus, according to American political slang Ratmansky now is a kind of a lame duck, and no wonder that the fight for his chair has already started. Such periods are generally hazardous both to the theater and its dancers. We’ll see what comes out of all that, but looking back I can surely declare that the years with Ratmansky were full of creative news and excitement, even if not everything proved to be a great success. Also we should not forget that Ratmansky worked in difficult conditions of reduced repertory, of the lack of rooms for dancers and rehearsals and all that. I agree with Marc. Certainly Ratmasnky completed reformas started by Alexei Fadeechev and in some sense by Boris Akimov. For instance, the new Le Corsaire was in Bolshoi's plans just for that season at the beginning of which Fadeechev was fired. And Boris Akimov said during his term about the intentions to create Massine program. Both projects were done by Ratmansky. Class-Concert by Messerer is the first ballet of the pre-Grigorovitch era, The Flame of Paris will be the next one. No ballets were excluded from the repertory during Ratmansky's term. Thus, he supports traditions even more than anybody else earlier.
  14. As was promised I talked to Yuri Burlaka to present here more details on the music of Le Corsaire. A short Introduction (Ouverture) – Pugni, composed for Le Corsaire Pas des esclaves, female variation - R.Drigo for Maria Gorshenkova in The Vestale. Finesse d’amour (Medora in the 1st act - with participation of Conrad and Seid-pasha) – a variation by C.Pugni for Praskovia Lebedeva in Satanilla. Pas de deux: Adagio – Nocturn by R.Drigo from the ballet Spring Dreams Medora’s variation – J.Gerber from Trilbi. Pas des eventailles: Entrée, Adagio, Pas de six and Coda – R.Drigo from The Enchanted Forest Gulnara’s variation – A.Zabel, for E.Sokolova Male variation – R.Drigo from The Magic Mirror Medora’s variation – R.Drigo from Pygmalion, or The Cyprus Statue Concerning some cuts made for London tour they include the Introduction by Pugni, the adagio from Pas des esclaves and the male variation from Pas des eventailles. Strange that nobody mentioned this in the reviews.
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