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Summer 2014 NYC & Saratoga Tour

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I know I'm going to be in a huge minority about this but I think the Grigorovich Swan Lake is a masterpiece - it's a very personal, innovative and powerful take on the original, realized by purely choreographic means and without retorting to the total rewrite a la Neumeier. Sure, it's not a love story we're all used to, but a rather philosophical parable about the duality (or even duplicity) of human nature. As Dostoevsky said, "God and devil are fighting, and their battlefield is the human soul" - this is what Grigorovich is all about here. The soul in his SL is, of course, Siegfried's who is being torn apart from the inside by good and evil forces contained within him. He loses the battle at the end and is defeated by the villainous, treacherous, destructive part of his own self.

SL at Grigorovich is a philosophical parable about the good and the evil that is in every man, and, unfortunately, the good does not always triumph.

On Grigorovich's version of Swan Lake, I must admit I am a bit puzzled by all the negativity here. I personally think this is the best version of this ballet, with all the fairy tale silliness taken out, and the plot indeed made more "streamlined", common sense and coherent. It is a clear parable about the fundamental unity of good and evil, founded on their juxtaposition, as one would not exist without the other, and the inevitable tragedy and destruction of the youthful longing for beauty and purity that is unattainable among the dark realities human existence.

I wholly subscribe to this opinion. I attended Saturday's matinee with apprehension - and was surprised at the beauty of the choreography.

This is a dark and grown up, non sentimental interpretation - I found the narrative more cohesive and streamlined, (though I do prefer the original score). I wonder if the experience of Evil in the last century in that neck of the woods, (continued even as I write-Ukraine) is the source of Grigorevich making this a parable of good and evil.

All this is very interesting and sheds light on the Grigorovich production. However, it also underestimates the power and beauty of fairy tales, and comes across as a bit condescending towards the artists who originally created Swan Lake. This was always a parable about good and evil. Having the same person portray Odette and Odile speaks volumes by itself. To relegate this great dual role to a figment of Prince Siegfried's imagination is both unnecessary and understandably upsetting to a lot of viewers. Siegfried is, after all, a young man and the sort of sophisticated reflections he is credited with in this interpretation can only arrive with time and experience.

Personally, I have no problem watching this version of Swan Lake; but I am a little surprised about how well it is apparently liked in Russia.

It is somewhat ironic that Don Quixote is to be performed next. Hopefully, no one's enjoyment of the Bolshoi's production will be lessened by the wholesale differences between the ballet and the novel.

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I saw on youtube the variant where good triumphs in the final scene and wonder if Bolshoi uses the endings interchangeably.

No, the current ending has been used since 2001.

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"This was always a parable about good and evil."

It's funny how quickly this fundamental point tends to be forgotten in discussions about Swan Lake re-thinks.

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Aside from re-thinks that make it a Mommy Issue, in theory, the attempts to bring Von Rothbart to the fore are meant to bring the struggle of good vs. evil to the fore. Not that they always work and that they aren't meant to add another male principal into it at the same time...

Because adding a Jester is not enough. At least Kent Stowell gives the Jester a character as someone who tries to protect and guide Siegfried -- he's shooed off and doesn't get to see what happened at the lake, so he advises with imperfect information -- and he's not just the guy who does the flashy jumps and spins.

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Aside from re-thinks that make it a Mommy Issue, in theory, the attempts to bring Von Rothbart to the fore are meant to bring the struggle of good vs. evil to the fore.

Isn't it enough to have a Woman in White vs. a Woman in Black to accomplish this?

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Isn't it enough to have a Woman in White vs. a Woman in Black to accomplish this?

White vs. black swan wasn't an original styling and was injected later. Black Swan is a different kind of evil: going along with her family, even if she relishes it. She's not the mastermind, though, and she's not the one who captured Odette's mother and forced her daughter into slavery.

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I think Russians like their symbolism a little more pronounced. I was happy that there were less black swans than white ones when they danced together :-).

I also do not read the evil genius as a figment of Sigfrieds imagination.

I see him as a demon.

At the risk of getting out of my depth I think that the supernatural has been much more part of reality or magical reality in Russian lore and literature than here.

This is true of Russian fairy tales (in American lore I can only think of the Headless Horseman as being comparable),

in Gogol's tales incorporating demons and witches into normal everyday (Evenings on the Farm near Dikanka)

or Bulgakov cultish Master and Margarita - where the devil very matter-of-factly takes residence in the center or Moscow (or is it St. Petersburg).

I suspect there may still be old women in the countryside with vestiges of superstitiious beliefs in magical creatures inhabiting forests,

(perhaps going back to Naiads) Rusalkas that take a man to his watery death,

or club footed conniving devils inhabiting bogs that want to steal men's souls. - a little far from our graceful evil genius but perhaps connected -

One could probably write a dissertation :-)

As far as I know there is no direct fable that Swan Lake comes out of though there are supernatural tales of transformations and of course why are those princes names always German?.

I come out much happier from ABT's spectacle - but I would not call this SL dismal. I did not go with great expectations which anyway always works great.

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Isn't it enough to have a Woman in White vs. a Woman in Black to accomplish this?

White vs. black swan wasn't an original styling and was injected later. Black Swan is a different kind of evil: going along with her family, even if she relishes it. She's not the mastermind, though, and she's not the one who captured Odette's mother and forced her daughter into slavery.

The change in costuming made the dichotomy more obvious, but it was always there. The struggle between good and evil has always stood at the forefront of the story. Siegfried faces a choice, in a moment of weakness he makes the wrong one, and everything falls apart. (Except here the ending is hardly catastrophic.) And as you point out, Rothbart has always been the one pulling the strings. His role requires no amplification, much less any manipulation to turn him Siegfried's alter ego, for this to be clear.

I do, however, think that once you create a situation in which one female dancer is playing two characters, and two male dancers represent different aspects of a single character, the ballet's structure does become muddled, and in this case it's Odette-Odile who is the loser.

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Upping von Rothbart's character doesn't have to mean making him the Dark Side of Siegfried.

Siegfried has to make a choice under pressure -- his mother is demanding in public that he choose a bride, and he doesn't see a way out -- and von Rothbart knows that he has to keep Siegfried with Odile, to keep his gut from chiming in with any misgivings and to keep his hope up. He's enchanted in several ways, and it's more like Greek tragedy with a little bit of Arthurian magic than choosing being good vs. evil.

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Upping von Rothbart's character doesn't have to mean making him the Dark Side of Siegfried.

Siegfried has to make a choice under pressure -- his mother is demanding in public that he choose a bride, and he doesn't see a way out -- and von Rothbart knows that he has to keep Siegfried with Odile, to keep his gut from chiming in with any misgivings and to keep his hope up. He's enchanted in several ways, and it's more like Greek tragedy with a little bit of Arthurian magic than choosing being good vs. evil.

No, it doesn't. Unfortunately it was the approach Grigorovich chose.

As for a Siegfried under pressure, that was certainly Bruhn's take--a Prince suffocated by all sorts of women: Queen Mother, Swan Queen, Black Swan, Friend (female Benno) and Black Queen (female Rothbart), though the Tutor was not converted into a Governess. (Of course Nureyev did merge the Tutor and Rothbart. I wish I could remember which critic was grateful he hadn't combined Rothbart with the Jester.) Cranko believed that regardless of whether he'd been enchanted or not, Siegfried was "a tragic hero and must be vanquished." So both Bruhn and Cranko had Siegfried commit suicide on his own, leaving Odette alone and trapped in her swan body.

Productions that chose to "expand" the role of Siegfried, whether in dance terms--usually by adding a melancholy solo at the end of Act 1--or "psychologically," were common enough in the 1960s. I'm okay with the melancholy solo if it's well choreographed, but I still think the story requires no tinkering.

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I dislike the melancholy solo bit. I dislike amping the von Rothbart role for any reason, although I understand how it can be used to amp the evil part of the equation without going into silly territory. I dislike the Jester. I also think the story doesn't require tinkering, but it is so much better with the mime, especially the mime where Odette explains that the lake was made from her mother's tears, and that is like trying to rack down a unicorn.

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Just came back from Don Q and, again, the first cast was a disappointment (why does Filin keep doing this). Alexandrova is really past her prime for performing Kitri and Act 1 showed it. She really has no jump left (let alone touch her head to her back foot) and barely got off the ground; she also has a stiff back and she was rarely on her leg in supported pirouettes. She also had no flair for comedy and little chemistry with Lantratov (Basilio). As a result, Act 1 wasn't the really fun time it usually is. Lantratov is very strong, has some charisma but without a strong, fun partner he was hard pressed to do all the heavy lifting (so to speak) on his own. Luckily, Denis Rodkin as Espada and Anna Tikhomirova as a street dancer had both technique and chemistry in spades and saved Act 1 from being a total bore.

Act 2 was saved by dancers is secondary roles. Maria Zharkova (Spanish) Kristina Karasyova (Gypsy) and Oxana Sharova (Mercedes) had beautifully flexible backs and danced with requisite ethnic flavor. Olga Smirnova was gorgeous as Queen of the Dryads though I did find her beautiful Vaganova epaulement and ultra classical line did stick out in a sea of Bolshoi dancers not similarly trained. And she and Alexandrova did not look good together. But I was happy to see Olga has quite a strong jump so clearly she is working to try to assimilate some Bolshoi features into her dancing. As for Cupid(Yulia Lunkina), she was quite unremarkable, not spritely or playful.

Act 3 was an improvement on Act 1 for Alexandrova. She had good balances and kept up with the very fast tempi (these Bolshoi conductors make Balanchine's pace look slow). Her fouettes were all singles and traveled but she managed them adequately. She was successful in projecting the stately demeanor of this act (as opposed to the comedy of Act 1) and her technical flaws weren't in as much evidence (though the fish dives were a bit of a mess). But, IMO the star of this Act was the lovely Maria Vinogradova, who performed the 1st variation in the Grand Pas. She has a clear, high jump here (in SL, as one of the Brides, she had lovely ballon). I predict she is a dancer going places.

In sum, this was a mixed bag kind of night. Still rather boring and not cast as well as it could have been (I would have liked to see Lantratov with a younger, more able partner). I saw Macauley there; I wonder what his verdict will be.

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Don Quixote is considered the Bolshoi's house special, and it's easy to see why. The Bolshoi has over 200 dancers, and many of them specialize in character dancing. That's why they can have rows and rows of dancers who don't even look like ballet dancers, but rather like folk dancers, with the emphasis on lower body strength, back flexibility, and dancing on the downbeat. I loved the character dance soloists -- the Spanish dancer (Maria Zharkova), the Bolero couple (Anna Antropova, Vitaly Biktimirov), the Gypsy dancer (Kristina Karasyova). Their solos are short, but do they know how to sell it! The women seem to have jelly spines, and their long skirts become almost like musical instruments as they sashay and shimmy and dance their hearts out.



The Bolshoi has been famous for its Kitris -- Maya Plisetskaya, Ekaterina Maximova, Nina Ananiashvilli, Natalia Osipova are just a few of legendary names. Tonight's Kitri, Maria Alexandrova, is coming back from a ruptured Achilles tendon and as much as I'd like to report that she's rebounded from her injury completely, there were a lot of moments when her Kitri seemed weak. For one, her once buoyant jump is gone -- the grand jetes are now low to the ground, and effortful. In the famous Kitri Act One variation, she didn't even attempt the famous Plisetskaya head kick, and also had trouble traveling on the diagonal. Her Italian fouettes in the Vision scene were also effortful. In the final grand pas de deux her balances were shorter, and her variation with its rapid passé and relevé sequence seemed again heavy and effortful. She did finish her fouetté sequence with some very fast singles. Alexandrova's still a solid, likable dancer, but she's no longer the whiz-bang that this role requires. I also wish her upper body weren't so stiff -- she now dances with a tenseness around her arms, neck, and shoulders that is distracting.



Thankfully, her Basilio, Vladislav Lanatrov, added the sparkle and joy to Alexandrova's Kitri. She might not be able to do all the tricks that other Kitris can pull off, but her rapport with Lanatrov was wonderful. If she couldn't wow the audience herself, as a couple they could wow the audience. Lanatrov picked her up in two thrilling one-handed lifts, the second prolonged as the corps banged their tambourines longer and longer. Lanatrov's solos were also very fine, if occasionally sloppy in form. I've seen cleaner double assembles and split leaps, but Lanatrov had a real charming personality. The only time his partnering failed him was in the wedding pas de deux, there were a few pirouette/lunges that looked shaky.



The rest of the soloists showed that the Bolshoi, despite its quirks, is a company with real depth. The variations were cast from strength. Kitri's friends at the wedding danced two splashy variations -- Maria Vinogradova was notably stronger than Ana Turazshvili, but both showed great promise. Denis Rodkin (Espada) didn't do as much with his back I would have hoped but Anna Tikhomirova was thrilling as the Street Dancer. She looked like a Kitri in waiting. Yulia Lunkina wasn't that memorable as Cupid.



Olga Smirnova (Queen of the Dryads) is the big It Girl of the tour. I missed her Swan Lakes last week, but I did see her Nikya when she guested with the ABT. It's easy to understand why Smirnova has a following -- she's one of the most physically exquisite dancers I've ever seen. She looks like the ideal ballerina, with her raven hair, china doll face, and beautifully tapered legs and feet. So I hate to sound sour but I think she's one of those ballerinas who might be too aware of her own beauty. Her Dryad solo was beautiful and pristine, but also contained a lot of mannered "now you may admire the exquisite tilt of my neck" posing. It's impressive, but too calculated by half. I just want her to really dance. The only thing I don't like about the Bolshoi's Don Q is the Dryad variation -- I prefer the developpe/Italian fouette variation that the Mariinsky/ABT does. The Vision Scene corps were beautiful.


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I forgot about Alexandrova's injury (suffered in London last summer, I believe). So her weak dancing was not a matter of age but of not having been able to fully recover from her injury.

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Anna Tikhomirova was thrilling as the Street Dancer. She looked like a Kitri in waiting.

Tikhomirova danced her first Kitri earlier this year. The Bolshoi has already been forced to go to a back-up Kitri in Kristina Kretova following the withdrawal of Ekaterina Shipulina. Theoretically, if the need arose in Saratoga, Tikhomirova could also step in, though she is nowhere near as experienced in the part.

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Overall, it sounds like the outcome of the first cast is mostly in line with what we expected. I am minorly irked that the roles of Anna Tikhomirova and Maria Vinogradova are inverted for tomorrow's matinee but other than that continue to look forward to tomorrow's show, especially since I don't have much familiarity with the Fadeyechev production.

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Anna Tikhomirova was thrilling as the Street Dancer. She looked like a Kitri in waiting.

Tikhomirova danced her first Kitri earlier this year. The Bolshoi has already been forced to go to a back-up Kitri in Kristina Kretova following the withdrawal of Ekaterina Shipulina. Theoretically, if the need arose in Saratoga, Tikhomirova could also step in, though she is nowhere near as experienced in the part.

I think Tikhomirova would make a great Kitri. Tonight, as I watched Alexandrova & then Tikhomirova, I wished the latter WAS Kitri.

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I forgot about Alexandrova's injury (suffered in London last summer, I believe). So her weak dancing was not a matter of age but of not having been able to fully recover from her injury.

When I saw the first sentence of your previous post I wanted to stop reading and tell you about her serious injury. Yes, she hasn't recovered fully. It is a pity and I feel very sorry for her, since over the years she gradually won me over with outstanding levels of technique and artistry.

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Many thanks to Canbelto and Amour for your very detailed and helpful reports. I have seen this production before and love it, especially the wealth and diversity of the character dances. American productions (especially ABT's) are pale and skeletal in comparison.

I had never seen Alexandrova before and was disappointed, but the account of the serious injury explains why she never astonished us. She was more than adequate, but there was never a moment when I felt, wow, I can't believe she just did that! Her wide smiles during bows, especially at the end, were Sally Field moments ("You like me! You really like me!"), but they seemed to be genuine appreciation of her fans.

I love that she threw a rose into the orchestra pit to thank them. BTW - I've noticed that the orchestra routinely stands during final curtain calls, faces the stage, and applauds the dancers. I've never seen that with American orchestras.

In the trivia department: I'm sure at least one thing changed in this production from when I saw it in 2010: the ensemble in the long white dresses in Act III sat at little tables around the edge of the stage for most of that act in 2010. Now, they disappear into the wings. Perhaps that was an accommodation to the smaller stage at Koch. I don't remember other details changing, though perhaps they did.

More trivia: In Act I, Alexandrova's flesh-toned pointe shoes did not have any ribbons, just a broad band of elastic attached near the heel. I've noticed Osipova in recent rehearsal videos wearing her shoes like that, but have not seen it in performance. In II and III, Alexandrova did have traditional shoes and ribbons, though.

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Age and injury have taken the bite out of Alexandrova's Kitri, but I feel she has a lot to offer in the role - in particular the wonderful ease and naturalness of her classical dancing and profound connection to this ballet and this character. In my eyes, she still has the glow and authority of a leading ballerina. I enjoyed Lantratov, but some of the most fun and exciting and beautiful dancing came last night, as others have reported, from the dancers in secondary roles. I would like to write about all of them, but may wait until I am at a keyboard, rather than on tablet in hotel room! But certainly Rodkin's no holds barred cape-sex and look-at-me stance when doing nothing on side of stage seemed to me exactly right for Espada -- especially a Bolshoi Espada -- and one was always sorry to see Tikhomirova leave the stage.

As Queen of the dryads, Smirnova's upper body was ravishing; I'm not sure she consistently has the same kind of lush control over how she brings everything together. Sometimes it is there and certainly I could not take my eyes off of her. She does though look like she landed from an alien planet on the stage of Bolshoi-- planet Vaganova perhaps, but also her own planet, because she is very distinctive. I would not want her to lose that distinctiveness, but I agree the 'pairing' with Alexandrova does not exactly mesh...

Many other fine dancers deserve mention, but I must stop...

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Back from the Krysanova Don Q. Overall liked the production very much, and for the most part the dancing was fantastic and only got better as the show went on.

Act 1 highlights -- I liked the extended prologue in this version, which includes more comedy and character development for Don Q and Sancho Panza as well as the smashing of the pasteboard helmet. Following that, the leading pair got off to a bit of a rocky start, with a relatively mediocre Kitri entrance without much flair, then a few shaky lifts from Chudin, and also Krysanova tripped and nearly fell during the beginning of the Kitri variation. Krysanova did manage to execute the other parts of the variation well however including the parts that Alexandrova struggled with or omitted. I attribute this to some nerves at the start of the show and maybe they were not warmed up enough. Biktimirov was an energetic Espada who certainly outshined Chudin for this act, but did not develop much chemistry with Vinogradova as the street dancer. I would have preferred to see Tikhomirova in this role with her larger-than-life personality. I was disappointed by this act, but fortunately the following acts more than made up for it.

Act 2 highlights -- The tavern scene in Bolshoi's production comes before the gypsy and vision scenes -- I prefer this order and think it makes more sense. The Spanish dance was memorable although the choreography and percussive score dragged a bit for me, overall corps member Asatiani did a good job, but I liked the gypsy dance later danced by Balukova more. Biktimirov continued to impress and Mercedes as performed by Sharova was exquisite although not much dancing. I liked Sharova more than Vinogradova in Act I since these two roles are sometimes performed by the same ballerina. In the gypsy scene Don Q leaped offstage "superman" style similar to Siegfried in ABT's Swan Lake ending, which was pretty funny. He also physically came back down on the rotating windmill prop which was a nice stunt effect.

Vision scene -- Agreed that Cupid was passable but unmemorable although perhaps more memorable for me since previous posters specifically singled this part out for criticism. I wouldn't say that Lunkina did poorly, just maybe less memorable than some other moments. I didn't like Smirnova as Queen of the Dryads as much as I thought I would, the dancing was gorgeous but I didn't really connect to her, maybe partly just the role. Krysanova's Dulcinea variation was by far the highlight of this scene, clearly the butterflies went away here and she danced with abandon and was as light as a feather especially in the ballonnés. I also very much admired the beautiful corps here.

Finally, I should mention that I found myself frequently observing Kitri's friends during both Act I and Act II, these are often thankless roles but the two corps members in their matching costumes were lovely. One notable moment for me was their acting during the Basilio "stabbing" scene, which was appropriately coquettish and comedic in contrast to all the other corps members aghast and looking away.

Act 3 highlights -- The bolero was entirely unmemorable, they should just omit this. Next of course I have to mention Tikhomirova's 180-degree grand jetés in the first variation, she gets so much height and makes them look so easy (only dances this role for the matinée though). The second variation, both the dancer and the choreography, were unmemorable. During the final pdd and variations, Chudin and Krysanova significantly stepped up their game. The partnering and lifts were flawless and impressive, and particularly of note were Basilio's variation which Chudin performed with virtuosity and the coda. I had already heard about Krysanova's exciting fouettés from her performance in Swan Lake, but it was fascinating to watch her accelerate through them at record speed finishing with a multiple pirouette flourish also without much traveling -- to thunderous applause. It was fitting that the audience reaction also accelerated in enthusiasm piece by piece during the final segments of the show.

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As Queen of the dryads, Smirnova's upper body was ravishing; I'm not sure she consistently has the same kind of lush control over how she brings everything together. Sometimes it is there and certainly I could not take my eyes off of her. She does though look like she landed from an alien planet on the stage of Bolshoi-- planet Vaganova perhaps, but also her own planet, because she is very distinctive.

Based on her Swan Lake performances, I would call it 'Galaxy Smirnova' and I wouldn't change a thing ! happy.png

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Back from the evening performance of Don Q with Kretova & Lobukhin and happy to report it was a success (at least in my eyes as well as the audience, who was much more enthusiastic tonight). Kretova has the high jump and flexible back that one expects of Kitri. Lobukhin (another Mariinsky refugee) is not only virtuosic but a great actor with much charisma. He and Kretova had tremendous chemistry and comic timing, with the audience erupting in laughter at many points. My only very small quibble was that Lobukhin's one handed lifts were not quite as impressive as Lantratov's. Unbelievably, Anna Tikhomirova (street dancer) and Denis Rodkin (Espada) were even more brilliant than yesterday (the cape swirling done perfectly). I also have add that tonight Kitri's friends, Chinara Alizade & Daria Khokhlova were a joy to watch: each had beautiful technique and they were perfectly synchronized. In short Act 1 was fun and lively, something it wasn't last night.

In Act 2, Kristina Karasyova was a wonderful Mercedes (again better than Sharova last night). Anna Antropova as the gypsy was good as was Maria Zharkova repeating the role of Spanish. All these women have amazingly flexible backs that make their dancing something special. Anna Nikulina (Queen of the Dryads) had none of the refinement and elegance of Smirnova last night. But she has a solid jump and looks like she came from the same planet as Kretova. While this works in an ancillary role, though, there was nothing intrinsically interesting about Nikulina's dancing that would want to make see her in a Swan a Lake, for instance. As for Yulia Lunkina (Cupid again, subbing for Daria Khokhlova), I found again her dancing to be meh;the most notable think about her was her coal black shoes.

Act 3 was a continuation of the excellence of Act1. Kretova's balances were long (one especially long one got a round of applause) and her pirouettes perfect. She started her fouetté combination by whipping off a series of triples (I think I even saw one quadruple) and then, as the music got faster, escalated into an impressive series of singles ,Lobukhin's jumps and 580's were impressive but again his lifts were not long and not as good as Lantratov's. The fish dive, though, was perfect tonight. And again, I have to gve a shout out to the lovely Maria Vinogradova, with her clear, high jumps, for delivering a perfect Wedding Pas first variation.

In sum, I'm very glad I came to see this production tonight to be reassured that the Bolshoi can still deliver a top notch Don Q.

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Back from the evening performance of Don Q with Kretova & Lobukhin and happy to report it was a success (at least in my eyes as well as the audience, who was much more enthusiastic tonight). Kretova has the high jump and flexible back that one expects of Kitri. Lobukhin (another Mariinsky refugee) is not only virtuosic but a great actor with much charisma. He and Kretova had tremendous chemistry and comic timing, with the audience erupting in laughter at many points.

Great to hear that Kretova stepped up to the plate considering she's only danced Kitri with the Bolshoi three other times (source: WSJ) and for redeeming the Bolshoi together with Lobukhin after two uninspiring Act I's. Krysanova isn't as strong of a jumper, and the audience most certainly didn't erupt in laughter this afternoon during Act I so it's a very good sign. Bravo. Act I is so difficult to do well, with all the famous sequences and everyone looks to the legendary performances documented on video as canon so it's hard to truly distinguish oneself. I am still irked about the Tikhomirova/Vinogradova flip this afternoon, while I think both are great with the jumps and can deliver a stellar Act III first variation, Vinogradova is still developing her interpretative capacity and at the moment Tikhomirova is superior in the street dancer role even with potential to grow as Kitri.

Still wondering about Spartacus, I haven't purchased a ticket yet. There seems to be a surprising glut of tickets yet the face value on the tickets that are on the market are allegedly much higher (often double) vs. their equivalents for Swan Lake or Don Q which seems very strange to me. For me I would be excited to see Zakharova again as Aegina if only to see her in a much different role, though I'm not sure I care to pay $300+ for the experience. Maybe prices will go down as the dates get closer, or maybe I will go early in the morning for standing, we'll see.

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