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Bolshoi in Brisbane

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Since I don't think this has been made available in English yet, here is casting for the Bolshoi's upcoming visit to Australia

Le Corsaire

Medora – Maria Alexandrova (May 30, June 1e, 5e); Ekaterina Shipulina (May 31, June 2, 5m); Ekaterina Krysanova (June 1m, 4)

Conrad – Vladislav Lantratov (May 30, June 1e, 5e); Mikhail Lobukhin (May 31, June 2, 5m); Ruslan Skvortsov (June 1m, 4)

Gulnare – Nina Kaptsova (May 30, June 1e, 4, 5e); Kristina Kretova (May 31, June 1m, 2, 5m)

Birbanto – Vitaly Biktimirov (May 30, Jun 1m, 1e, 4, 5e); Denis Savin (May 31, June 2, 5m)

Pas d’esclaves – Kristina Kretova (May 30, June 4); Anna Tikhomirova (May 31, June 1e, 2, 5e); Chinara Alizade (June 1m, 5m);

Denis Medvedev (May 30, June 1m, 2, 5m); Andrei Bolotin (May 31, June 1e, 4, 5e)

Seyd-Pasha – Alexei Loparevich

Lanquedem – Egor Simachev

Danse de Forbans soloist – Anna Antropova (May 30, June 1e, 4); Anastasia Meskova (May 31, June 2, 5e); Anna Balukova (June 1m, 5m)

Odalisques – Maria Vinogradova, Yulia Grebenshchikova (all performances); Anna Tikhomirova (May 30, June 1m, 4, 5m); Chinara Alizade (May 31, June 1e, 2, 5e)

The June 4 performance will be simulcast to venues throughout Queensland.

The Bright Stream

Zina – Nina Kaptsova (June 7, 8e); Ekaterina Krysanova (June 8m, 9)

Pyotr – Mikhail Lobukhin (June 7, 8e); Denis Savin (June 8m, 9)

Ballerina – Maria Alexandrova (June 7, 8e); Ekaterina Shipulina (June 8m, 9)

Ballet Dancer – Ruslan Skvortsov (June 7, 8e); Vladislav Lantratov (June 8m, 9)

Accordionist – Denis Savin (June 7); Denis Medvedev (June 8m, 8e, 9)

Old Dacha Dweller – Alexei Loparevich (June 7, 8e, 9); Alexander Petukhov (June 8m)

His Wife – Anastasia Vinokur (June 7, 8e, 9); Anna Antropova (June 8m)

Galya – Ksenia Pchelkina

Gavrilich – Egor Simachev (June 7, 8m, 8e); Alexander Petukhov (June 9)



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Maria Alexandrova seems fairly excited about the prospect of visiting Australia.

My guess is that Merkuriev would have preferred to go to Australia also, and given that he dances both male leads in The Bright Stream, he would have been a good candidate. But on this tour the premium appears to be on Conrads. The biggest change to the basic casting outline that was announced back in February is that Vitaly Biktimirov will not be dancing Pyotr after all, which I think would have been a debut for him. Instead he will be doing most of the Birbantos. Given that Denis Savin already dances Pyotr, it seems entirely sensible to cast him. Savin, though, must make an awfully sweet-tempered Birbanto.

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Well I've just returned from my whirlwind trip to Brisbane.

It was super amazing.

Alexandrova was just as wonderful as I expected but it was pint-sized Nina Kaptsova who left the biggest impression on me.

Even though I'd heard of her before I'd never seen her dance (on youtube etc), she turned out to be the loveliest of soubrettes and I found her performance utterly charming.

Other random thoughts about the performance:

1) It was pretty obvious that the music was composed by different people; often the writing is pretty homophonic with lots of "oompah" accompaniment. Then you'd get to a number where the orchestral textures would become much richer and the harmonies less diatonic.

Overall the score has some nice moments in between long periods of banality.

2) The audience took a little while to work out when to applaud; the first bows where met with scattered applause and there was virtually no mid-variation applause.

I had expected that this would happen but thankfully things improved as the performance progressed.

In any case it wasn't as cringe-worthy as the concerts I've been to where the audience breaks into applause during a fermata.

3) Ballet is harder than piano. The next time I feel like sawing off my fingers, I'll remind myself that others have it worse.

All in all I had a great time. smile.png

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That reminds me of traveling to Phoenix to see Ballet Arizona perform, because I loved Natalia Magnicaballi, who also danced with Suzanne Farrell Ballet, and on that trip, fell in love with Paola Hartley.

Kaptsova was a lovely Gulnare in Washington DC when the Bolshoi toured there in 2009. I'm glad you got to see her, and thank you for reporting back to us about your impressions!

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I went to last night's performance of Corsaire. Ekaterina Shipulina played Medora, Lobukhin played Conrad, Kristina Kretova played Gulnare and Denis Savin played Birbante. I must admit that I spend most of my time following the Mariinsky but after this performance I have a newfound appreciation of the strong Bolshoi style.

Shipulina took some time to settle into the role and had a few timing issues with the orchestra during the Act 1 PDD & variations, but once she got going she was strong. She portrayed a sweet, radiant Medora. Lobukhin as Conrad was fine- his standout moment was his variation during Act 1 which drew gasps from the crowd with his magnificent leaps. I personally felt that the relationship between Medora and Conrad seemed a little contrived, but maybe that's just Corsaire. Kretova as Gulnare was lovely, perfectly in character with a great sense of humour in Act 3 and technically she was excellent. Savin could have received a few boos from the audience for his role as Birbante, in the best possible way of course!

The standouts for the evening were the three odalisques, played by Maria Vinogradova, Anne Okuneva and Chinara Alizade- what wonderful precision. The ladies of the corps de ballet were also really wonderful. It was remarkable how little variation there was in height/size between them- I am so used to seeing significant differences and they were so uniform!

The sets were divine, but the sound coming from the orchestra was not the warm, beautiful upwelling I'd expect when listening to this score- it might have been the accoustics or where I was sitting on the first balcony, but it definitely took the orchestra at least the first act to meld. The costumes during Act 2 and 3 were lovely but I felt that the white/maroon/turquoise of Act 1 was actually a little hard to look at and certainly difficult to determine the difference between some of the main characters (especially the men) based on costuming.

This performance was good, but it didn't capture my spirit in the way I expected a Russian company would. I'm off to the Bolshoi again next Friday evening for The Bright Stream which I am really looking forward to!

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