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Lieutenant Kijé and Le Baiser de la Fée

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The Moscow Classical Ballet's 'Baiser,' with choreography by Kasatkina & Vasiliov, is a GEM of a ballet, not just because it stars Vladimir Malakhov as the bridegroom; the then-prima of the troupe, the adorable Lyudmila Vasilieva, as the fiancee; and the tall/glamorous soloist Tatyana Yatsenko as the fairy. It's a chance to see the full ballet in realistic sets/costumes and hear the complete Stravinsky score from which the shorter NYCB-Balanchine 'Divertimento' is derived.

'Kije,' a totally made-for-TV production starring the Bolshoi's Raisa Struchkova, did nothing for me but is of archival worth. On the other hand, the bonus Sleeping B. and DQ pas de deux starring Struchkova & Boris Khoklov, more than make up for the cheesiness of the Kije TV production, IMO.

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I saw publicity stills for "Kije" when it first came out in the early 60s, but I couldn't tell much from them, except that it starred Struchkova, and had choreography by Alexander Lapauri and Olga Tarasova.

The story has always appealed to me, about a man who is created by the slip of a pen in an edict signed by the Tsar. Since the Tsar can never make a mistake, regular reports have to be sent to him about this fictitious man's exploits. The story even got recycled as an episode of the TV series M*A*S*H.

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