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Bolshoi HD in Ann Arbor La Esmeralda

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La Esmerada Bolshoi Theatre HD

Music Cesare Pugni [Diana and Acteon divert. choreo by A. Vaganova was inserted sometimes by the Maryinsky from the ballet Le Roi Candaule]

Reconstruction Yuri Burlaka/ Denis Medvedev

Book Jules Perrot

Esmeralda Maria Alexandrova

Gringoire Denis Savin

Gypsy Iulianna Malkhasiants

Frolo Alexei Loparevich

Phoebus Ruslan Skvortsov

Fleur de Lys Ekaterina Krysanova

Diana Anastasia Stashkevich

Actaeon V. Lopatin

First performed by Her Majesty's Theatre, London, March 9, 1844

Lots of corps de ballet dancing throughout all acts .

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the Bolshoi presented the Sleeping Beauty (HD Theater) -Sure David Halberg was great, but the sets were awful.The Sleeping Beauty is Tchaikovsky's greatest ballet; Grigorovich was chopping the score as if it were a Reader's Digest version., We received Grigorovich "lite". Shame.

This week the Bolshoi brought the HD of Esmeralda. I found it gratifying and luxuriously displayed. The sets formed a coherent historical space, and the costumes were visually vibrant and urbane, and the dancers, oh my, the dancers danced their hearts out.

Osipova and Vasiliev were not there, but the dancers that were there displayed treasures, --cornucopias that feasted the eyes and the senses- act after act and scene after scene, until Pugni brought the melodrama to its emotional peak.

The narrative afforded the serial display one after the other: the crowd and its concern, the protagonist(s) in intimacy, act after act. It was a visual pleasure

to see the first act starting with the "court of miracles", the pickpockets, and the beggars, the bohemians and the students and the orphan Esmeralda and her encounters with the two men in her life, Gringoire, the poet, and the captain Phoebus de Chateaupers, as well as the malice of Frollo the priest, and Quasimodo the bell-ringer.

The following scene is Esmeralda's sleeping room, a small vaulted chamber, somewhere next to Notre Dame cathedral. Alexandrova was superb in it, expressing her joy of living as well as her sympathy to the poet, who rescued him from hanging in exchange of his betrothal, and her sudden crush for the captain with whom he begged him for a sash of his as a keepsake. Savin as Gringoire shared her quarters, but not her bed, besotten by her and worried on how he's going to learn dancing to keep up with Esmeralda, rather than reciting poems. Savin's altogether a sympathetic character.

The second act (after 25 minutes which was entertaining and informative through the press officer-Novikova-) relied on the reconstruction, as Medvedev stated, on the 1890 Petipa Mariinsky Sergeyev notes which provided the floor plans- but not the choreography. Medvedev had to replace the steps.

(Presumably Burlaka devised the Perrot mime which initially had been produced in London in 1844). The second act is the Petipa blockbuster which

provides the preparations for the marriage of Fleur de Lys and Phoebus with cdb and demi-soloists, a pas de six for Esmeralda (Alexandrova, Savin, and

four demi-soloists) and to boot, Diana and Actaeon and eight cdb. [see note above]. Bravo Burlaka-- Bravo Medvedev!

Whether ersatz or echt choreography, I truly enjoyed it. I truly enjoyed with Krysanova and Skvortsov and the demi-soloists (I think I spied Alizade and Kobakhidze ). There is never a time I haven't enjoyed Krysanova--- when I first saw her in Sleeping Beauty (fairy) in 2004 and then in 2005, when she won the junior silver) ( and Osipova the junior bronze). Splendid display.

The Esmeralda pas de six was brilliant for the fact that Savin was as good as the other five.

Stashkevich and Lopatin were athletic and dashing as the mythological Vaganova couple. While my compass imagined--and compared-- Terekhova and Berezhnoi throughout the score, I found Lopatin brilliant and virile but lacking some little iconic steps. Stashkevich is astonishing.

The third act reverses the first act: the first scene is in Esmeralda's chamber where Phoebus gains entrance after Fleur de Lys breaks up with him; (she has woven the sash which Esmeralda wears). After a passionate pdd that gains intimacy from the confines of the stone walls, the lovers unite.

At the moment Phoebus lies with Esmeralda on the stone bed, Frollo comes in and stabs him and exits.

Esmeralda seeks help for Phoebus. The police come to arrest Esmeralda for murder. Frollo saw her.

The final act takes place by the banks of the Seine with a prison on the right and the towers of Notre Dame nearby. A crowd builds because the execution of Esmeralda is going to take place. In the meanwhile a procession of truands bring on the king of fools: Quasimodo is dressed in royal robe and crown.

Eventually Esmeralda is led to the execution.The musical agitation grows ever wider. Esmeralda sees Gringoire who is instructed to see that she is buried next to Phoebus' sash. Frollo defrocks Quasimodo of his royal robe.The agitation grows when suddenly appears .................Phoebus! He is well!

In his hand he holds a scroll which he gives to a policeman. The policeman tells the crowd that Frollo is the murderer and not Esmeralda.

Frollo flees; Quasimodo stabs him in the back.



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Yes, I saw it in Boca Raton, Fl. Well worth it. Having never seen a full length Esmeralda, I was quite curious. Ist Act boarder on the ridiculous until you saw the magnificent 2nd Act. 3rd Act, not worth sitting through but glad I did. My purpose of attending was curiousity on a professional level. Second Act great for a school to explore. It was not particularly well performed but how I love the lightness and musicality!

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