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Everything posted by drb

  1. drb

    Ulyana Lopatkina

    Thanks for the info, Paul. Ballet.co magazine's August issue has an in-depth interview with her, after a recent Swan Lake performance: http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_05/au...a_lopatkina.htm An excerpt: “Basically speaking dancing is very hard work” says Uliana Lopatkina, whose breathtaking performance in the dual role of Odette/Odile last week emphasised yet again her position as the current world’s greatest female classical ballet dancer. So adored in her native country, which venerates dancers with almost the same passion we reserve for footballers, Lopatkina, 31, is dubbed by the Press as The Soul of Russia. Talking to her backstage dressed in a simple black trouser suit, her only jewellery small silver ear loops and her short auburn hair pinned behind her ears with plastic combs, it is clear where her sanctification comes from. Unlike the Imperial ballerinas building empires on diamonds thrown by adoring Tsars, Lopatkina’s power base is the strength of her own convictions. Her deeply religious beliefs inherited from her mother are widely known.
  2. Bouder/Aegina? Yes!!! And with Maria as Phrygia, what an alternative we'd have to NYCB's "Blue Necklace!" This will surely raise objections, but since I see Phrygia as a character as heroic as Spartacus, the Wheeldonised version of Wendy Whelan would make a fascinating Phrygia. Too bad Jock isn't ten years younger--what duets they'd deliver in Spartacus... To Gisell05, it really is true that Don Q wasn't the best ballet to display these Bolshoi ballerinas. With Antonicheva's fame in this role... . Zakharova's Bayadere (as compared to what I've seen her perform in those Mariinsky visits) is why I suggested ABT's Giselle: she'd have no line-breaking extensions (I assume Kolpakova would be in charge of her) and we'd get to see the lyric purity which those two magical Bayadere's suggested was in her. I don't see the Bolshoi ballerinas as all alike, but surely the greater variety at ABT is not explained only by the differing backgrounds of ABT's ballerinas. As you point out, individual ABT ballerinas change from performance to performance. Risk rules! Of course we do not have the luxury of watching the Bolshoi ballerinas many times over in a given role. Your remark on ABT's freer climate has been tested. Put a Russian ballerina in ABT: Zakharova did seem different in her two Bayaderes (one more erotic, the other more pristine), and Makarova, much to Baryshnikov's chagrin, was always unpredictable! And Part, her three New York O/O's have certainly been anything but carbon copies. Hopefully ABT's not calling Vishneva a "guest" means we'll get to see her repeat some roles...
  3. Based on discussion of the Spartacus performances elsewhere on this site, it might not be a bad idea to extend this topic to male dancers. There, ABT seems to be way in the lead, with Acosta and Gomes being suggested for the roles of Spartacus and Crassus, in whichever order! To which I'd add Hallberg as Crassus. Bringing NYCB into the mix, how about Uvarov to partner Maria Kowroski and La Sylve? And how about Maria K and, in a year or two, Ashley Bouder as Phrygia? It is a bit tougher, however, to compare the ballerinas, partly because we're seeing the Bolshoi dancers perform on a level surface, unlike the raked stages of Russia. But I'd certainly like to see Lunkina and Zakharova in ABT's Giselle...
  4. What dream casting that would be, 'though I'm not so sure that ABT could carry the production as a whole the way that the Bolshoi does. But with American stars like Maria Kowroski (O/O) and Paloma Herrera (Kitri) guesting in Russia and the likes of Svetlana Zakharova (Nikiya) and Diana Vishneva (hopefully more than guesting) guesting here, why not Acosta/Gomes (and others; given his late season Rothbart, wouldn't Hallberg make a fascinating Crassus?) in the Bolshoi production? Won't they be travelling a lot the next two or three years? The way Spartacus sold out this weekend, NYC could easily support a couple more runs over that period. Indeed, Spartacus would probably sell out in any American city with a stage big enough to hold it. And a variety of ABT leads would increase the number of performances that would sell out. Although I was lucky enough to see a number of Vasiliev/Liepa performances, it was never with a great Phrygia. The politics of casting in the old Soviet days. Vasiliev's wife, Ekaterina Miaximova was a great one, but at least on the tours I saw she was not allowed to come to America when he did (pointedly, they chose New York for their joint retirement performance, as I recall). But, later, I had the honor of seeing Nadezhda Pavlova in that role, just once. Knowing that there were no matches for V/L, I was motivated by the chance of seeing another great Phrygia. Also, it was the only performance assigned to the great Antonicheva in the entire two-week run. She did not disappoint. But I would bet that for a first seeing of the ballet, the heir-apparent for the role, Vorobiev, would have been the better choice. Please, could you tell us a bit more about his performance? Especially after Klevtsov's underwhelming Basilio (in fairness, a substitute situation, and not well-matched with Alexandrova), his effort as Spartacus was a happy surprise.
  5. drb

    Evgenia Obraztsova

    Thanks for the tip, Estelle! Here is a clip (bande annonce) that gives a peek at Swan Lake: http://www.cinemovies.fr/fiche_multimedia.php?IDfilm=4739
  6. On Friday the orchestra was again in 'full power' and the music was there to sway both the dancers and the hearers, THE theme, the one for Spartacus and Phrygia, raised the spirit, and often raised Phrygia with the help of one arm of Spartacus. Klevtsov may not have looked exacly like prototype Vasiliev, but he maintained intensity and he 'believed'. The audience warmed to his Herculean effort, and their feedback seemed to redouble the power of his portrayal. And the power of his dancing. All four solists came through with worthy performances. Volchkov wasn't a cardboard badboy, he knew how to charm you, to make you like Crassus, making the baring of his true character all the more effective. The leaps of the two women told their character differences: the purity of Antonicheva/Phrygia's (relatively) classical soaring, a thrust to freedom; the eccessive extensions and distortions in Allash/Aegina's leaps, thrusts for power by manipulation. The corps seemed to take it all very seriously: this was no mincing army. If we want Vasiliev and Liepa, well we won't see them and we will miss the show. But taking what was given, and a lot was given, this was a fine, living Spartacus. The audience was very rightly moved, and I think the dancers and orchestra were too. A wonderful ballet fan break early in Act 2, with the recruiting of the Shepherds into Spartacus' Army. The last of the five shepherdesses to leave the 'hill' was Natasha Osipova. A gift of respite, of joy, of purity, of dance before the war began. At the beginning of the third Act the orchestra was given a mighty roar of appreciation, some lights were even turned on above them so they might bask in their glory. They had the house and they knew how to keep it with a mighty Act 3. From Phyrgia's leaving her tent, to her being joined by her doomed hero, Antonicheva was an Ikon of the Heroic ballerina, the reason to attend THIS performance, sweeping graceful blinding strings of beauty, the antithesis of the helpless princess waiting for her magic prince to save her. Instead it was real love for a real slave that would make them live in histroy forever. So far. Old political notions, we're older than that now.
  7. drb

    Evgenia Obraztsova

    Here's a look at Evgenia Obraztsova performing Juliet this weekend in London for the Mariinsky. Winner of the Moscow Gold, she's being called the next Ulanova (check out the penultimate photo). Talk about an impossible burden.... In these pictures from ballet.co's site there's not a 180 degree, or is it called a 6 O'clock?, in sight. Anyone seen her? http://www.ballet.co.uk/gallery/jr_kirov_romeo_0705 And here she is playing Amour to Paloma Herrera's(!!!) Kitri: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=htt...%3Doff%26sa%3DN
  8. It appears that Khachaturian began working on the score in 1950, predating the novel, but it wasn't completed till 1954, postdating the novel. Jakobson's version premiered in 1956. The Spartacus story had appeared in literature and theater long before the novel. Of course that doesn't mean that the authorities who requested the ballet weren't aware of the book... There is an interesting picture of Jakobson dancing Spartacus in ballet.co's Bolshoi Archives: http://www.ballet.co.uk/albums/bolshoi_arc...acobson_500.jpg
  9. Beautifully explained! Your words almost bring her performances back to life. This really catches not only her Giselle, but also her monumental performances in Pillar of Fire at City Center. The Pillars, and the Giselle with Malakhov remembered by Cargill in the Dancers thread, did, however elicit cheers.
  10. For those going to today's Spartacus who are on Natasha Osipova watch, last night she was the last Shepherdess to descend from the 'hill' ( Act 2, Scene 5: The Appian Way), and her joy in performing reminded me of Darci Kistler in her apprenctice days. Hopefully they won't bother to recast these bit parts.
  11. In a city without readily available [save for the internet] professional ballet reviews, here's a refreshing one of the opening night of Don Quixote, by Eric Taub of ballet.co's magazine: http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_05/au...olshoi_0705.htm "If the Bolshoi dancers are sometimes cavalier about pointing their feet or straightening their knees, they are never less than passionate about their music, dancing on top of the beat in a manner more reminiscent of City Ballet than the more-somnolent Kirov, where sometimes it seems that keeping on the beat is considered vulgar. "
  12. Natasha Osipova was the first dancer's name mentioned in the Gia Kourlas review of DQ's 2 & 3. And my personal favorite in the DQ's that I saw. If you missed DQ but want to see the phenom, in Friday's Spartacus she was the fifth shepherdess at the beginning of act 2, the last one who comes down from the 'hill.' A thrilling, glowing cameo.
  13. A very key point, Dale. His decision to bring relatively new, young dancers to New York is surely a change from old policies and must lead to some displeasure. But so did the old ways, and this decision has resulted in the added pleasure of discovery for the audience. Next week we will get to judge Mr. Ratmansky's artistic merits for ourselves, what with his reconstruction of Bright Spring, and their mega-hit Pharoah's Daughter. But on the basis of their performance of Spartacus tonight, which has looked awfully lame the past couple of decades, it is hard to believe there is much of a schism between dancers and the Artistic Director. This isn't the place for a review, but there was a really impressive intensity on the part of all four soloists, and of the corps. Both a very evident joy in dancing and all-out effort. So whatever he is or isn't doing, he's got the "Bolshoi" back in The Bolshoi. By the way, the site is a great source of photos [for dancers on the site's favored list].
  14. With tickets still available for Bright Stream, July 25-27, perhaps some photos of this ballet would prove useful. First, pictures of Maria Alexandrova's Golden Mask (something like an Oscar for ballet) winning performance may be found at http://www.bolshoi.org/stars/alexandrova/photo-eng.htm by clicking Bright Stream, 'though clicking other ballets will not displease! Then a fascinating contrite statement by Bright Stream's composer, Shostakovich, may be found at http://www.bolshoi.org/balet/stream/page-1-eng.htm By clicking on Libretto, one may find the libretto, which lead to death in a Gulag for its writer. By clicking on the image of a camera, a large photo set of the ballet will appear.
  15. Thanks for that, Michael. They were equally wonderful Tuesday, another level above what we get on even a great day at ABT or NYCB. It is a shame that they have been stained by the "review of record," in the Times, for Monday's performance. Mr. Rockwell was very much correct in this regard, but there must have been some extraordinary extenuating circustances involved. I hope he'll have an opportunity to re-review the orchestra.
  16. Thanks for bringing this back, Carbro. I've not been lucky with Barocco on my subs in recent years. It has seemed 'flat', so different from what it was in Mr. B's time. Probably unlucky casting? Could you recommend current dancers who've made it work for you?
  17. drb

    Ulyana Lopatkina

    Clement Crisp, from yesterday's Links says " She has claimed this role over a decade with an interpretation that has acquired a thrilling resonance. Here is the Princesse Lointaine as swan, the enchantress Odile as icon, the dance as haiku, molto adagio the dynamic norm, a reading more expansive in timing than I have seen with any other ballerina. It is intensely personal, as if she poses a series of questions to herself about the nature of the role, and about the ballet itself." ...and goes on to describe a very personal, internalised performance. It may just be that she is boring to some, profoundly deep to others: a little like responses to McKerrow's Giselle over the years. About the size issue: perhaps her trunk is slight but her limbs are long?
  18. Recently the Mariinsky ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina addressed this issue: "On the subject of technique, can I ask you about the controversial 6 o’clock extensions? To throw a leg so high was unacceptable until quite recently, and now almost everyone’s doing it. What do you think about this? It seems to me that there have to be some limits. The teacher’s and the ballerina’s taste is very important here. Six o’clock is appropriate only at certain special moments, if it helps to express something and – what is most important – if it doesn’t ruin the line. When a ballerina does it, she shouldn’t cross the line of the arm with her leg. All diagonals must be kept intact. There must be harmony in the lines of arms and legs. Beauty is paramount. One mustn’t mix sport with ballet. " The link to the full ballet.co magazine interview may be found in Dancers, Ulyana Lopatkina
  19. drb

    Ulyana Lopatkina

    There's a wonderful interview of Mariinsky Swan Ulyana Lopatkina in ballet.comagazine this month: http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_05/ju...w_lopatkina.htm Included is a beautiful, large photo of her Odile, and one of her with her three year old daughter. I've read that she's Russia's Assoluta, but have never seen her when the Kirov/Mariinsky has visited New York. Are there any eyewitnesses to her Odette/Odile who can describe what it is about her that is so special?
  20. Well, it is what Stalin ordered! But at least, until the blown ending, there is beauty. Of course you're right, Leigh. Your remark reminded me of a summer of true Swan Lakes, three decades ago. First ABT's, with Makarova/Nagy. Followed into the Met by The Royal's, with Makarova/Dowell. Both were true to the choreography, tragedy, and the feelings expressed with mime. It is unfortunate that now the best we can do is 'improved' by being mimeless, yet adhere's to tradition established by 'The Great Leader.' Where's a Lake worthy of Veronika Part?
  21. Just posted in balletco's gallery are 24 photos of the Mariinsky's Swan Lake currently appearing in London. Tereshkina/Kolb. http://www.ballet.co.uk/gallery/jr_kirov_swanlake_0705 Included are nine photos of The Real Act 4. This is what we're missing, fellow ABT fans! And what a corps.... Maybe this post should have been to the Act 4 string?
  22. In the Times last week http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/15/arts/dance/15bols.html Artistic Director Ratmansky singled out Vorobiev as a young star to see in Spartacus. His Phrygia, Kaptsova, has distinguished herself as Cupid in the first two DQ's (a different role to Phrygia for sure, but she seems to have the right look), as did Shipulina in the undemanding role of Dryad Queen Tuesday. Klevtsov seemed relatively inclined towards virtuosity as Basil. Frankly, given there're no Vasilievs on the scene, all three casts have merit.
  23. NYsusan, don't think you looked away on Monday, I didn't see Zakharova perform the Italian fouettes either. Wish the Bolshoi gave them to the Dryad Queen as does ABT, since that role is a little thin without them--and both days we've had very accomplished dancers in that role. I believe ABT gives us more Italian fouettes, or maybe it is just the high quality of what Michele Wiles delivers! Alexandrova, wonderfully in character, seemed a more natural Kitri than Zakharova, but then the company overall seemed more at home on the Met stage than on opening night. Maybe we've got to thank the Times music, er, dance critic for that: the orchestra may have taken his opening night scorn to heart. They upgraded from a high school band to a proud opera orchestra on Tuesday. Of course, we don't know how much time, nor the conditions, they had for rehearsal. Music has got to matter to the dancers! Brava again to Anna Antropova. And to Natalia Osipova, who appears to have an angel hovering above her leaps, creating a partial vacuum.
  24. The Bolshoi Don Q is quite different from ABT's, with more of the Don [although of course not in the profound manner of the Balanchine/Farrell version] and more long solo character passages, generally beautifully danced, but which slow the pace of the ballet. Also, Basil's comic suicide occurs two scenes prior to the Don's Vision scene with the Bolshoi, reverse the order at ABT. ABT's Vision scene seems richer for the Principal soloists, although one cannot ignore the exceptional corps dancers in the Bolshoi. An advantage to having a company of 220 dancers (130 here)! Unlike the good old days under Grigorovich (bad), there is quite an emphasis on young talent this time, no longer is travel used for rewarding long-time party toe-the-liners. Perhaps THE THRILL of opening night was Natalia Osipova's first variation in Act 3's Grand Pas. Listed in level 5 of their heirachy, corps de ballet, she is clearly fulfilling the promise of her La Scala Gala performance in 2003. Such floating leaps, flowing harmony, and extensions that work! And she is just one of very many sensational young talents on display. The matter of extensions. Yes, Svetlana Zakharova delivered many 180's, but not more excessive than this, and naturally, seemlessly integrated into the choreography. She was stunning, an Ikon of beauty. But of course controversial. Some mumblings that they didn't bring enough principals. But if fact, the list is loaded. Our three-tier system is such that what we call Principals they break into two groups, "Principals" and "Leading Soloists." This latter group includes the likes of Svetlana Lunkina, a Principal anywhere in the Western World! And the eagarly awaited Anastasia Yatsenko is in the third level!
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