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Bolshoi in London

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Press release just received:


JULY 19 - AUGUST 7, 2004

One of the World's great ballet companies, the Bolshoi Ballet, comes to the Royal Opera House, London for a three-week season from July 19

- August 7, 2004. The company is presented by Victor Hochhauser who first brought the company to Covent Garden exactly forty years ago.

In its first major London season since1999, the company - under its newly appointed Artistic Director Alexei Ratmansy - will perform three of its

most revered productions - Yuri Grigorovitch's productions of Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty and Alexei Fadeechev's production of

Don Quixote - as well as the latest acquisitions to the Bolshoi's repertoire - a brand new take on Romeo and Juliet from British theatre

director Declan Donnellan with choreography by Radu Poklitaru, and a programme of Balanchine Ballets to celebrate the one hundredth

anniversary of the choreographer's birth.

Public booking for the season opens in March 2004.

Further details of the season will be announced early in the New Year.


What will the Balanchine be, does anyone know?

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Hi, Jane--

Marina Eglevsky told me in class this morning that she will be setting the "Sylvia pas de deux" and the "Glinka Pas de Trois" (did she say Minkus? I don't think so) in Moscow early next year for their Balanchine celebration... whether or not they will bring those to London, hmmmmm....

Both would be something to see.... Glinka is SO HARD, I've never seen anybody be able to pull it off -- but the Bolshoi might could....

Can't tell you about the rest...

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Jane, thank you for the press release.

I think Balanchine’s program will be staged in Bolshoi in March and will consist of Symphony C, Agon, Tchaikovsky pdd, Tarantella and something else.

Agon and Symphopy C was first staged in Bolshoi in April 1999 and was in the rep till autumn 2000. At the time the management was changed and the ballets was dropped. It was a great loss because I think the Bolshoi danced Symphony C just superb. Nina Ananiashvili as the second movement ballerina was great, she looks not as if she danced with the music but as if she composed the music by her dancing! Nicolai Tsiskaridze and Maria Alexandrova was very impressive in the third movement.

I dont sure that bringing in London Romeo& Juliet is a good idea. I have impression that London audience prefer classical ballets to modern ones. Is it correct?

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I dont sure that bringing in London Romeo& Juliet is a good idea. I have impression that London audience prefer classical ballets to modern ones. Is it correct?

Well, Londoners will be able to say more about this, but I wouldn't think so, there is a public for both I guess, depending of the performing venue (Covent Garden, Sadler's Wells). But it is still a fact that London has a strong tradition of performing "Romeo and Juliet", so in any case it's going to be tough to sell that new "Romeo" to the London audiences.

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The schedule for the Bolshoi's London season (courtesy by the Bolshoi Theatre press), no more "Sleeping Beauty" and no more Balanchine, but "Spartacus" and "Pharaoh's Daughter" instead.

Week 1

Mon 19 July, 7.30pm - Don Quixote

Tue 20 July, 7.30pm - Don Quixote

Wed 21 July, 2.00pm - Don Quixote

Wed 21 July, 7.30pm - Don Quixote

Thu 22 July, 7.30pm - Swan Lake

Fri 23 July, 7.30pm - Swan Lake

Sat 24 July , 2.00pm - Swan Lake

Sat 24 July , 7.30pm - Swan Lake

Week 2

Mon 26 July, 7.30pm - Romeo & Juliet

Tue 27 July, 7.30pm - Romeo & Juliet

Wed 28 July, 2.00pm - Romeo & Juliet

Wed 28 July, 7.30pm - Romeo & Juliet

Thu 29 July, 7.30pm - Spartacus

Fri 30 July, 7.30pm - Spartacus

Sat 31 July , 2.00pm - Spartacus

Sat 31 July , 7.30pm - Spartacus

Week 3

Mon 2 August, 7.30pm - Swan Lake

Tue 3 August, 7.30pm - Swan Lake

Wed 4 August, 2.00pm - Swan Lake

Wed 4 August, 7.30pm - Swan Lake

Thu 5 August, 7.30pm - The Pharaoh’s Daughter

Fri 6 August, 7.30pm - The Pharaoh’s Daughter

Sat 7 August, 2.00pm - The Pharaoh’s Daughter

Sat 7 August, 7.30pm - The Pharaoh’s Daughter

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«Well, I'm going to save a lot of money this summer!»

I, on the contrary, will end bankrupt this August. To miss the Boshoi’s Don Q.? Never. I hope Maria Alexandrova will dance Kitri. Galina Stepanenko is in a brilliant form. Who knows, may be Nina Ananiashvili will also turn up.

Of course, it could be nice to see their Balanchine and “Beauty”. May be the fact that both these ballets were danced by the Royal Ballet this season prompted the impresario to replace them with two Bolshoi’s exclusives: R & J and La Fille du Pharaoh.

I had a luck to see La Fille du Pharaoh twice when the Bolshoi was in Paris last January where it had a great success and definitely I will go to see it again in CG. The story is wonderfully ridiculous: an Englishman caught in a desert sees in his dream how the mummy of a Pharaoh’s daughter Aspiccia comes to life as a huntress with a bow. They fall in love and their troubles start: a lion, the damsel in distress, her resque, his arrest, their escape by boat, a fishermen’s village, etc. There is a funniest monkey there as well. The scenery and costumes are exotic and colourful. Children will love all this too. But the most important of course is that this ballet is a FEAST OF DANCE. So much finest footwork for soloists to do. There are 3 excellent Aspiccias: Zakharova, Gracheva, and Alexandrova, not to mention Ananiashvili. What a pity that the corps will probably have to be sized down to fit the Covent Garden stage.

Their R & J is also an exclusive but modern production: no point shoes, both Romeo and Juliet are part of the crowd that prevents their union to survive. I heard and read very contradictory opinions and am looking forward to see it myself, especially Masha Alexandrova acclaimed as Juliet.

How can I miss Swan Lake with the Bolshoi’s corps?

And Spartacus? It became fashionable now among SOME ballet-goers to throw harsh words about “Spartacus” and Grigorovich. Many like to kick a wounded lion. True, there is no Vassilyev-Liepa-Bessmertnova cast at the moment (like there is no Fonteyn-Nureyev in “Giselle”) but nobody dances “Spartacus” better than the Bolshoi. Those who come to see it for the first time are enraptured with it as we were a few years ago.

Of course, if one wants to save money…

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I see no reason either NOT to look forward with much expectation to this Bolshoi season. I don't think it's such a bad selection. There are two new productions and besides London hasn't seen the Bolshoi Ballet in full force since 1999 (I'm not mentioning the rather ill-fated soloists stint at Drury Lane). There are several new faces and some of the youngsters from 1999 have developed into interesting artists. And let's hope indeed that Nina Ananiashvili turns up for "Don Quixote" and "Swan Lake".

The only thing to regret is that they don't bring Ratmansky's "The Bright Stream", although I guess in view of the way London received Ananiashvili's group at Sadler's Wells, I think it's better that they don't. :angry:

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they're not bringing Bright Stream because Mrs Hochhauser thought it was "too Russian" and that audiences wouldn't understand it. I don't know what they're supposed to make of Pharoh's Daughter!

I'll certainly go to see Don Quixote at least once and probably, out of curiosity, the Romeo and Juliet. I too saw Pharoh's Daughter in Paris, but I'm afraid it left me cold - except for admiring the way the dancers performed those hundreds of fidgety steps. Quite honestly it seemed to me the least good of Lacotte's "reconstructions".

I really dislike Grigorovitch's production of Swan Lake and I don't find Spartacus works unless you have a really strong cast, which I don't think is the case at the moment. (I did see Maximova/Vassiliev/Liepa and Bessmertnova/Lavrovsky/Liepa on a number of occasions which probably spoils me for other casts, however worthy.)

Marc, I think the company is looking terrific and I was very impressed by the standard of dancing both in Paris and with Ananiashvilli's group. But prices at Covent Garden are likely to be so high and there is such a small proportion of seats from which you get a reasonable view that by going to see only those ballets and casts which are of particular interest or you know you're likely to enjoy, you've saved a fair bit of money towards a trip to Moscow.

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I am afraid a trip to Moscow does not provide an opportunity to see ballets EVERY night as it will be during this summer season.

Also, are you aware, Alymer, that ticket prices for ballets at Bolshoi now are higher than those at Covent Garden?

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Very briefly - You might at best call it an experiment - as I know the Bolshoi likes to think of it that way - but it's not a ballet. Poklitaru's shoplifter's choreography is extremely poor, it doesn't match the dramatic intentions and (even worse) ignores the music; the story has been (oh how original!) updated to 20th-century depravity country full of vile, perverse, and unsympathetic characters still bearing the same names but for whom one couldn't care less; some details are magnified (Mercutio's ambivalent sexual nature, Tybalt's relationship with Lady Capulet), yet the central element of love has been banned; the music has been chopped up leaving everybody wondering whom they are seeing. In spite of the occasional screams and silent passages, it remains even on a purely theatrical level a non-event. We all realize the Bolshoi wants to move forward, but this is a serious step backwards I'm afraid. No blame for the dancers, though, who did what they had to do in the best possible way, but they deserve a lot better. The production has been shred to pieces by the London critics, but the audience on opening night was cheering.

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ELLA just posted this on another thread; I'm pasting it here for discussion:

i took a friend to roh to see bolshoi in don quixote cost £80 a ticket she really enjoyed it , but i felt let down as the famous dance duel between basil and matador was missing. I understand it was a different production but for that price i except something a little special.Also the Bolshoi is constantly playing to the gallery, just like a cheap cabaret and debasing itself when it doesent need to .What do you think?

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The Russian ballet comnpanies always do that. After each turn they go centre stage and bow and bow and bow. Then at the end of the first act, each dancer comes on stage or in front of the curtain and bows and bows and bows. By the time the performance ends we feel we have done enough applauding.<g>


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When watching ballet, especially outside of our own villages, we should realize that there is such a thing as different traditions of performing. That said, carol, we should keep from over-generalizing. How many bows did you see during the Bolshoi performances of "Romeo and Juliet" or "Spartacus" for instance? And did you ever see any “playing to the gallery” during a performance of "Agon" by the Bolshoi?

I'm sorry, but Russian ballet companies do not always do that. It entirely depends of the ballets. In ballets like "Don Q" or the "Pharaoh’s Daughter" variations and solos will be applauded and the dancers will take a bow, but then again in the recent London season I never felt that as being exaggerated or for that matter undeserved.

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Welcome, Carol, and thank you for posting! I've also attended performances by Russian companies, especially highlight programs, where the curtain calls were much longer than I'm used to. When they've used taped music, there will be long silences after a variation if the applause doesn't fill it. I've also seen dancers be very miffed that they didn't get the applause they were expecting. I was always interested in the difference because I'd so often read that American audiences were so much more exuberant than European audiences -- but apparently we're not always up to snuff!

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We saw Don Q and Swan Lake. We have seen better performances of these two ballets. After each dance the audience was expected to applaud. It makes the performance very long.

Of course each country has their own way of conducting themselves. It does not mean that I have to like it.<s>

We try to see as many companies as we can and this is one thing that we have noticed when one compares one of the Russian companies to other companies. It does not stop me from going to see them.<g> One has to take the good with some small amount of bad, no?


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Yes, "miffed" is the right word. We have seen that too.

We have noticed a tendency recently (we often go to the theatre/ballet when we go to NYC) for the American audience to stand up when they are applauding. This rarely happens in London. Standing up signifies something extra special. A once in a lifetime theatre experience.

<< but apparently we're not always up to snuff!>>

I will not hear a word against NYC Ballet. When we are arranging a trip to NY we first go to the web site to see if they are performing.<s>


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I think the idea of curtain calls and dancers playing to the gallery deserved a thread of its own, so I made one


That way, we can continue the discussion [click the link above to get to the thread], but leave this thread for discussion of the Bolshoi's recent performances in London.

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