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Giselle in NYC--Reviews


Ilya

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What a fantastic company and a fantastic performance!

It was a horrendous “Giselle” at the Mikhailovsky in 1985 that resulted in my never watching the company for the remainder of the 1980s; then geography intervened, and since then I had never had a chance to see the Mikhailovsky Ballet until tonight. I can confirm those persistent reports that nowadays the company is much, much improved. smile.png

Everyone was great—the corps, Ekaterina Borchenko as Myrta, the Peasant PDD (Veronika Ignatyeva and Andrey Yakhnyuk), Moyna and Zyulma (Anna Naumenko and Valeria Zapasnikova); and of course the duet of Osipova and Sarafanov was outstanding and achieved great dramatic impact. I have not seen Sarafanov since the Mariinsky’s 2008 NYC tour. He is a great virtuoso, a sensitive partner, and a formidable actor. I wish he would dance in NYC more often than once every 6.5 years. Perhaps Kevin McKenzie (who was in the audience, along with a number of other staff members from ABT) could arrange this?

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Just came home from the opening night of the Mikhailovsky run in NYC. The performance was Giselle, with Osipova as Giselle, Sarafanov as Albrecht, Borchenko as Myrta and Tsal as Hilarion. For me, the performance was a mixed bag. First, the production is different than either ABT's or POB's (the ones I'm most familiar with). Hilarion doesn't put any game and Giselle's door and a lot of what Giselle's mother's role ( especially in the mad scene) is performed by Hilarion.

Now to the dancing. In Act 1 Osipova was wonderful. Her jumps, ballon and actin are all there. Her feet and her turns seem to have actually improved since going to the Royal. And I have always liked her interpretation of a very shy country girl, easily awed and then defeated once deceived. Her mad scene is thankfully not hysterical but just the right amount of "crazy".

I have never seen Sarafanov live and I was really looking forward to his performance. Sadly there is little for him to dance in Act 1. As for acting, both Sarafanov &

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As for acting, both Sarafanov and Vladamir Tsal (Hilarion) walked around the stage barely gesturing and rather expressionless. This underwhelming "natural" miming drained all the drama from the Act and left me puzzled. If I hadn't known the story I'm not sure I would have gotten it. Thank goodness Osipova was acting her heart out but there really was zero chemistry between Sarafanov and both Osipova & Olga Semyonova (his fiancée).

In Act 2 Sarafanov had more dancing to do and the solos he did well. Nice, clean line, good jumps and fantastic 32 entrechats sixes, where he kept jumping higher and higher. On the other hand the partnering was a bit weak and still no chemistry with Osipova. When he lifts her in front of him (the overhead lifts were fine), she should look weightless and she did not (this was also partly her fault). So dancing great, acting and partnering not, leaves me a bit disappointed.

Osipova, in Act 2, I have mixed feelings about. She is not quite the whirling dervish she was a few years ago but she still has her jump. And she definitely likes to use it, rather than go for less and make Giselle a more Romantic style ballerina. For me, she chose to be athletic rather than ethereal. The rather weak partnering of Sarafanov contributed to this impression. I love Osipova's jumps but are they suitable for Act 2? And at age 27, how much longer will she have them ( a question Ashley Bouder pondered for herself in city.ballet.)?

I guess I would prefer Osipova stop relying so much on herself and her jumps. Let the partner do some of that work and she can concentrate on using her arms and bending torso to look weightless.

I was very impressed by Ekaterina Borchenko as Myrta. She is a blond, tall, regal dancer with a lovely line and confidant manner. She isn't the fierce b***h that Gillian plays Myrta as (and that I love) but her dancing is just so beautiful I easily go with this interpretation.

I have to say that at the end of the performance most of the audience in orchestra seats gave Osipova and Sarafanov a standing ovation. I stood,too, but I have to say this was not my favorite Giselle by a long shot.

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I also felt there was no chemistry between Osipova and Sarafanov. In Act 1 the very unfortunate costume for "the Count" with a scoop neck and short skirt and Sarafanov's current very short hair cut, in my opinion made it look like Giselle was dancing with a very young boy. Consequently I was never drawn in emotionally to the love between them. I enjoyed Sarafanov much more in Act II. Still no chemistry but beautiful dancing, apart from a few very loud landings from both of them. In addition to Osipova I was most impressed with Borchenko.

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I actually registered for this website to say how wonderful Victor Lebedev was in today's performance. From his graceful port de bras one could easily tell that he's a Vaganova trained dancer. He was technically very clean as well... perfect balances with a high releve and well controlled turns... I couldn't fine any flaws. Also he dances with the music! Every movement was in sync with the orchestra- including during his 32+something entrechat six (I lost the count in the middle). I'm looking forward to see him in DonQ next week! I encourage everyone to get the ticket asap cause there were many people in the audience asking when he'll be performing next :D

Soboleva is the youngest Giselle I've seen in a live performance. You can tell that she's not as experienced or charismatic as Osipova yet but her acting felt more... pure and innocent. Excuse my poor description- I don't know how to put this in fine language.

I thought their chemistry was strong and it got better and better as the ballet went on. In Act 2 Soboleva really looked weightless in Lebedev's arms. It's surprising cause he's so slender and she's quite tall (when Soboleva is en point she's about the same height as Lebedev). They jump together and land together. Is it possible for ABT to invite them as guest dancers? I want to see more from them.

I apologize if my review looks too unorganized. I'm still gathering my thoughts about this wonderful performance!

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extraordinary Giselle this afternoon. Victor Lebedev is an extraordinary dancer/actor and his Giselle, Anastasia Soboleva, was wonderful too. So moving.

And they are both very young. Soboleva has lyrical arms, a high jump, a stylistically pure romantic arabesque, and fine acting ability. I especially enjoyed her dancing in Act II, despite a not-quite-secure set of balances at the beginning of her adagio. Lebedev brought the house down with his 32 + 3 + collapse entrechat sixes, and the incredible arch of his back in his final diagonal solo. They are a couple to keep an eye on in the future.

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I was wondering why Soboleva did not get the flowers at curtain. Are flowers sent by the house?

The second act was as close to an ideal as I can imagine, true to the spirit of Romanticism, and the dancing was

extraordinary, the characterizations utterly convincing. I was surprised esp. after the Bolshoi, that the house was far from being sold out and

felt a little sorry for the dancers - would love to see them as guests at ABT

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I was wondering why Soboleva did not get the flowers at curtain. Are flowers sent by the house?

The second act was as close to an ideal as I can imagine, true to the spirit of Romanticism, and the dancing was

extraordinary, the characterizations utterly convincing. I was surprised esp. after the Bolshoi, that the house was far from being sold out and

felt a little sorry for the dancers - would love to see them as guests at ABT

Osipova did not get flowers either. I was very surprised.

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Last night, Vorontsova and Vasiliev completely failed to impress. She is too heavyset and too wholesome to be a credible Giselle, and he is out of his element in this ballet too. No chemistry whatsoever.

The corps looked mostly like a joke, and the orchestra sounded as if it was a bunch of non-professional musians quickly thrown together.

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I thought that although there was no chemistry between Osipova and Sarafanov, the dancing was superb.

I also enjoyed the Soboleva - Lebedev performance. She is a very lyrical and fluid dancer. He has extraordinary lines and, as mentioned, a beautifully arched back. I also thought that these two did have chemistry together, and were very moving. Would definitely enjoy seeing them again.

For me the least believable match up was last night's performance of Vorontsova and Vasiliev. Of course people are going to complain that Vasiliev's physique makes him a poor choice for the role, and I completely understnad that criticism. However, if you can look past the body type issue, I thought Vasiliev did pretty well. His technical skills are amazing, and I thought he made an effort to make the acting believable and detailed. (He needs a new makeup consultant. Way too much makeup.) Vorontsova had a few minor technical blips, although she did well with the jumping requirements. I thought she was not particularly fluid in her upper body movements, and a lot of her acting seemed too fake to me.

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The mention of Angelina Vorontsova sent me back to an 11:34 video clip of her Act II Giselle, posted June, 2013, which has impressed me very much. Waelsung and/or abatt, if you have a chance to look at this, maybe you could tell us how it compares to what you saw.

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Angelina Vorontsova was much better in Act I as the sweet peasant maiden than she was in Act II as the ghost. I thought she looked better than her Youtube clips in Act I and I didn't see any heaviness or technical problems. In Act II, I did.

Let's get to the production. Nikita Dolgushin is using as his blueprint the Kirov production from the 1950's that he danced in as a young man. However in Act I he fools around with the order of the Peasant PDD and the pas seul for Giselle. Yuri Grigorovich also does this at the Bolshoi. He evidently found it awkward having Bathilde, the Duke of Courland and their hunting party enter, exit and re-enter with squires and dogs and ladies-in-waiting, etc.. So basically the nobles come on, we have the bit with Bathilde and the dress, the gift of the necklace and then they go into Berthe's cottage for refreshments. Hilarion comes back, breaks into Loys' hut and finds the sword and cape, hides them behind a bush and goes offstage to wait. A bunch of peasant boys and girls enter but they are not crowning the harvest queen and nominating Giselle as harvest queen - they are just inviting her to join in their revels. Albrecht decides it is safe to rejoin them as Loys even though his noble pals are just inside the cottage instead of offstage hunting. Giselle dances the pas seul and then invites her two friends to dance the peasant pas de deux one after the other. The choreography for the Peasant PDD is pretty much the same as the one Kolpakova set in the ABT production so I guess it derives from the 50's Kirov as well. Andrei Vakhnyuk did well with the male peasant part but Yulia Tikka tottered in pirouettes and looked not ready for prime time. After the peasant pas de deux, Hilarion enters and confronts Giselle and Albrecht, reveals the hidden sword and cape and then blows his horn to bring the hunting party not from the woods nearby but from inside the house. Mad scene, death, yadda yadda yadda. Curtain.

Act II gets stranger - some of the introduction music for Hilarion is played with the curtain down. The lighting is brilliant light blue - seems to be early morning or late afternoon - not midnight. There are weird leafy branches drops upstage center and over Giselle's cross downstage left that rise and drop arbitrarily. Hilarion has to mime seeing flying spectres or weird lights when nothing is really happening and his mime is pointless and ineffective. The lighting and flying branches look like technical blunders but aren't. There is an unfamiliar musical section to Giselle's reawakening solo - a moody transitional slow section that I never heard before. Also when the Wilis exit after their scene there is different music for them and new choreography. Nothing better, just different. Some different details concerning the flowers (Albrecht brings white roses not lilies to Giselle's grave) and Giselle doesn't disappear at the end behind the cross over her grave but goes upstage center and is obscured by the falling leafy branch drop. Albrecht prostrates himself over Giselle's grave down left at the end even though she exited down center. Again, different but not better.

I liked Vorontsova a lot in Act I as I said - she is very pretty: blonde with a heart-shaped sweet wistful face, big doe-like eyes with long lashes and a shy smile. Nothing calculated about her - young, innocent, sweet. Vorontsova's mad scene was low-key not melodramatic - she was a lost creature, wounded, innocent. Very strong pirouettes, hops on pointe and piques in the pas seul. She has lovely long arms and high extensions and a big buoyant jump. In Act II, she lacked all sense of Romantic style - no stretching out of the limbs and the back seemed a bit stiff and vertical at all times. She had to push with her shoulders when she raised herself into arabesque penchée. No lingering on pointe, she just rushed through everything. Here and there her footwork got muddy. She lacked lightness and an ethereal quality. This was due to the stiff back but also a lack of elongation and stretch in her movements - the signature forward tilt of the torso and reaching arms weren't there. There was no dramatic arc where you sensed Giselle trying to save Albrecht from the Wilis - just generalized mournful and sad affect.

Ivan Vasiliev is also not a Romantic dancer or danseur noble but he is a strong, giving actor and bravura technician. He can't help having those short, over muscled legs and roguish face. However in Act I he added little extra jumps and acted with detail and passion. He had excellent rapport with Vorontsova and was reacting every moment. He was an ardent, impulsive Albrecht - not a cad but a spoiled boy who was going to do what he wanted. Wilful but not malicious. In Act II, he overacted - a robotic stiff walk as he entered with the white roses and black cape. Major eye-rolling when he saw Giselle's ghost. He added extra sets of entrechats sixes and the orchestra vamped extra bars but he conked out at the beginning of the musical bar and had to sit it out upstage right until Giselle could enter and "save" him on the next phrase. The entrechats were impressive and high though as were his beats and jumps. The big problem was that his muscular athletic showoffy style precluded any sense that Albrecht was exhausted and desperate and in extremis at the end of Act II. I have liked other short, bravura Albrechts like Julio Bocca but they had better sense of the style and were more disciplined in Act II. Vasiliev wasn't quite as miscast and bad as I thought he would be - but he isn't in my top league of Albrechts either.

Ekaterina Borchenko had all the physical qualities and most of the technique for Myrtha but again lacked style. Her petite allegro lacked polish and sometimes she failed to register certain poses and gestures clearly. She could have used coaching from Tatyana Terekhova (and Vorontsova coaching from Makarova). No one seemed to know that in "Giselle" that there are little moments where the dancer lingers in arabesque or holds a pose to create an iconic image - everything was plowed through energetically without nuance. Vorontsova, Vasiliev and Borchenko and the decent Wili corps all had loud landings from jumps with shoes hitting the floor with a thud.

The orchestration seemed brassier and not what I have heard in other productions and the conducting was pretty brash and fast. The orchestra had a few bad moments in the horns and lacked refinement but is still better than the pick-up orchestra ABT gets. The sets look like pretty much what you would expect but a little provincial with poorly realized details. The late medieval costumes can look goofy too especially those for the men.

I really enjoyed Act I where the leads convinced and the production despite a few eccentricities didn't get in the way. In Act II, the deficiencies of the lead dancers and the eccentricities of the production let things down quite a bit.

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I've seen 3 casts (and it's my second exposure to Mikhailovsky's Giselle, after seeing L.Sarafanov with O.Novikova in Mikhailovsky's theater some time ago).

I liked Sarafanov and Lebedev a lot (the latter is a new discovery for me and I will definitely watch him; the former – I knew what to expect and he didn’t dissappoint),

I liked Borchenko (better on the opening night, yesterday she was not as solid and steady),

I was very pleased with Peasant pa-de-deux cleanness (and landings in 5th position after tour jumps (sorry, i'm bad with terms)) The females leads varied but i liked them all.

Different to Waelsung, i enjoyed Vorontsova dancing and acting a lot (the tempo in the second act was a bit slower, but then i am not sure if it's due to her or they were just slower), she was a tiny bit hesitant with beginnings of some of her balances. But she danced and acted very well in Act 1, and in Act II danced with a different (ghostly, willowy) plasticity of the body. Her finishing movements and filling in between poses with movement reminded me of Mariinsky style. I found her most musically accurate, and she “flowed” better than other leads in the 2nd act.

I liked Soboleva too a lot, and had great chemistry with Lebedev.

I was not moved by N.Osipova, I’d agree with Amour’s description of her, it was still too athletic at times, too unpolished at times, sacrificing proper form and alignment for the sake of speed. Imhp, she did not have “ghostliness, weightlessness” in Act II andsome jumps reminded me the effort Olympic athletes put. She still has balloon but I couldn’t help noticing many “tricks” that create an optical illusion of higher jumps (a long skirt helps), and she has to do something about her point shoes (imho, it’s not acceptable, especially as it’s not an occasional thing, but a recurring one).

Different to many, I can’t not notice I.Vasiliev’s body type. Aside from that, he’s a great actor, but I couldn’t help asking myself if it was a Basilio or Albreht? The acting was of the same role.

I liked the corpse, they kept on dancing better with each performance, and I liked the orchestra (there were a couple of glitches). By the way, the conductor usually tours with the Bolshoi.

PS: the moving tree limbs were distracting to me

Overall, I am enjoying them

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I was there on Tues, and overall thought the production disappointing and the leads not disappointing. However, whenever Osipova and Sarafanov jumped in the air and came down in an assemble, they are fastidious in landing in a 5th without fidgeting the 5th position. But they land flat-footed. I'm used to dancers landing on their toes first and then coming down in a more "cushioned," softer landing. Isn't this approach by the "Mik" hard on dancers' feet?

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It does not sound like the partnership between Osipova & Sarafanov has gained anything since the 3D screening of their Giselle a few years back. Anyone who saw them then and now notice any differences?

I saw that performance (and it has now been released on a Japanese DVD you can buy from hmv in Japan) and no it has not improved. I saw both Tuesday and Thursday night and they were basically the same performance. Zero chemistry between Osipova and Sarafanov. I sat in two different places (1st ring Tuesday, Orchestra Thursday). It looks to me like it's Sarafanov. Osipova acts, uses her face and gestures to the max, looks S right in the eye. He, OTOH, barely gestures and looks in her direction but never right in the eye. Tonight, in Act 1 it looked liked he simply didn't care or was bored. Whatever it was, it's not acceptable when you are paying $100 a ticket.

I thought tonight's Act 2 was better than Tuesday. For the most part, Osipova was more expressive, more pliancy in her torso and arms and looked more weightless when partnered. But when she jumps up and down in place, she couldn't resist going higher and higher to the point where at the end she looks like she's jumping on a trampoline. This is simply not my vision of a wili. As YID said, this not the Olympics. With all the talk in the last few years about how dancers are athletes, I think some have forgotten they are artists first and their athleticism should serve their artistry. Whether it is the athleticism of Osipova or the hyper limbed poses of a Zakharova or a Somova, ballet is being pushed in new but not necessarily better directions. In any case, I felt some progress on that front from a Osipova tonight. I'm sure it's hard for her to restrain herself in a Romantic ballet but I hope she is trying. And certainly there is no better place than the Royal Ballet to learn drama/dance. She is smart and I hope she gains these dramatic skills sooner rather than later.

Again, Sarafanov is a mystery. In Act 1 he underacts to the point of looking bored or not caring. In Act 2 the partnering was smoother and he looked slightly (but really slightly) more involved. Of course, he comes magically to life with those 32 (or more) entrechats sixes. And they are very impressive, with him jumping higher and higher until he collapses. But that alone does not make a character fully rounded. I think he needs to take some more acting/mime classes. And he's got to learn to use those skills whether he likes his partner or not (It looks to that he doesn't like Osipova).

So overall some great moments in what otherwise is a disappointing production.

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I may only add to what have already been said about Osipova-Sarafanov's pairing. His was the most complacent Albrecht I have seen to-date. Their performance was a technical marvel but lacked drama. Osipova carried the weight but could not do it alone without a partner who responds.

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I was at last night's performance. I found it extremely disappointing. The production by Kirov legend Nikita Dolgushin looks out of a 19th century storybook. The peasants weren't wearing generic Giselle peasant frocks, but really lovely, well-designed dresses that suggested that in this village, the mama's are very talented tailors. The scenery was picturesque and I liked how carefully the choreography and blocking separates the noblemen from the peasants.



In Act Two Dolgushin included a variation for Myrtha and the Wilis and some extra music in Giselle's initiation scene that are cut from other standard productions of Giselle. I suspect this music was probably in the 1842 version but 86'ed over the years. Dolgushin also included some 19th century theater effects -- moving trees that flew up and down to hide a dramatic "reveal" of a character, and veils on the Wilis that were attached to strings that "magically" flew off. Did it add much to the experience? Not really, but it was different, and you can't see it in other productions.



But the performance didn't work. For one, the Mikhailovksy seems to have underestimated how narrow and shallow the Koch Theater stage is -- all that shrubbery in the second act made it hard for the Wilis to dance. The stage was also too brightly lit for both acts -- in Act One, the bright lighting made the whole thing look sort of Disneyish, and in the second act, the bright lighting took away from the spooky ghostliness of the story. Kind of hard to get scared when it all looks like a merry party in the woods.



The Mikhailovsky's casting tonight was also off. Natalia Osipova and Leonid Sarafanov are both excellent dancers. They just shouldn't dance together. The chemistry was entirely non-existent. Osipova's Giselle has now acquired some grand diva mannerisms -- her attempts to seem shy and sweet in Act One looked stilted. When Giselle discovers Albrecht's treachery, there's a big moment when Giselle throws off the necklace Bathilde had given her. Most Giselles are able to make this moment very frenzied and even angry. Osipova just calmly picked off the necklace and tossed it on the ground as if she were a prima donna rejecting an unflattering wig. Sarafanov is a simple, boyish, uncomplicated Albrecht. He looked like a teenager playing hooky rather than a caddish count. This might have worked with a Giselle that was naturally childlike, but next to Osipova's Diva it did not work at all. Osipova's dancing was technically magnificent -- her Spessivtseva variation included her making a small circle onstage in the middle of her diagonal on pointe. Her pique turns were so expansive she seemed to be flying across the stage.



I thought the lack of personality would be alleviated in Act Two, which contains more pure dancing and less mime and acting, but it was actually worse. Sarafanov and Osipova seemed to be dancing on entirely different planets. On paper they look like a great couple. He can jump, she can jump. And in those simultaneous assembles, boy could you see it. Both flew across the stage and landed in a tight fifth. But they were onstage at the same time, and dancing inches from each other, and yet there was no sense of reconciliation and connection. Instead, both decided to go to the Olympics. Osipova's Giselle still has that incredible ballon and elevation, and her grand jetes don't just soar, they fly to the moon and back. Her initiation turns were so fast they were demented. Her exposed developpes and arabesques were completely still and secure. And those series of backwards entrechats -- no one can hang in the air like Osipova. But beyond those incredible athletic gifts, there was nothing. I've seen her Giselle with David Hallberg. I know she's capable of so much more than she gave tonight.



Sarafanov's Albrecht was even more callow in Act Two. His lifts were labored -- there seemed to be some poor timing, as I noticed that Osipova was giving her feet the little "pushoff" before the lift, but Sarafanov seemed to ignore those cues and delay the lift until it looked like he was carrying a lead balloon. His worst misfire was in the series of entrechat sixes that he dances at Myrtha's command. Oh, they were incredible entrechats. Those feet tight and the crosses crisp and fast, and amazing height. But the point of the entrechats is that Myrtha is ordering him to dance till exhaustion. Sarafanov started flying, and the crowd started clapping, and he was so excited that he pumped his fists in the air as Usain Bolt would after the 100 m dash, and decided to go for another round of entrechats. But just as many figure skaters often stumble in the last minute of the long program, Sarafanov overestimated his jumping stamina, and fell out of the entrechats with a messy spill. Gold medal lost, and oh wait, Osipova is already standing upstage, ready to "rescue" Albrecht! I happened to glance upstage and Osipova had the most impatient look on her face as she watched Sarafanov's antics. So Sarafanov had to haul ass and finish out the floating arabesque variation with a visibly pissy Osipova. Awkward city.



The strange thing about Osipova and Sarafanov's Giselle Olympiad is that the other dancers seemed to be dancing another ballet altogether. The company as a whole has pleasing manners and grace. Vladimir Tsai (Hilarion) had the virtue of being both better looking than Albrecht and also is played as a gentle giant type. The peasants in Act One formed a merry little community -- they all cheered on Giselle's dancing with a genuine enthusiasm. Veronika Ignatyeva and Andrey Yakhnyuk (peasant pas de deux) had their moments of hesitation but overall invested this often formulaic piece with a winning sweetness and charm. Ekaterina Borchenko (Myrtha) and her Wilis had a beautiful softness and flow. I loved watching their arms and the way they swayed back and forth with the music. Borchenko isn't like the stereotypical Myrtha -- she's not fierce looking and her jump is actually sort of weak. But she and her Wili sisters' graceful romanticism made it believable that these Wilis were heartbroken brides.



In fact, I wondered at the end of the evening whether I'd really experienced the Mikhailovsky Giselle at all. Is this what a performance in their home theater would be like? Or are we seeing a "Stars of the Russian Ballet" touring version, with the principals throwing in a dog and pony show because that's how audiences overseas expect Russian dancers to dance? I bought several tickets for the Mikhailovsky. I hope the next performances are better.


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I didn't think Sarafanov was doing a victory fist pump in Act II. He was gesturing to Myrta that he was near his physical end - that she was causing him to dance to his death.

I actually thought last night's performance surpassed Tuesday night's performance in quality. I found it very moving, and extremely well danced. Granted Sarafanov is not Gomes in terms of acting and stage presence, but who is? I thought that his diffident nature worked with his story line. He was a man child, not a suave seducer.

Osipova is a little older now than when I saw her do Giselle at ABT, and it looks like her figure has filled out a little more. She is more womanly looking than she used to be, less waif-like. I think her Giselle now has a higher level of maturity than before.

I have to wonder what the Osipova Hallberg partnership may look like at ABT in the Spring. They have not danced together for years. I'm not sure they can just pick up where they left off all those years ago.

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I don't have much at add besides what has already been said, but I found last night's performance to be extremely disappointing, and I don't think it was only a matter of chemistry (though Sarafanov makes Cory Stearns look like a method actor). For me, the taste level and style was what was really lacking, especially in Act II. I remember Osipova's Giselle debut at ABT as being fresh and coltish. I couldn't believe how she effortlessly flew through the air. Last night, she looked like a pogo stick wearing a bad wig. When she lept around the stage after emerging from the grave, she did a sort of squatting position in the air (a la Nutcracker Chinese dance), I suppose to make it look like she was even higher above the stage than she was. I thought it was an extremely poor decision. When I think of some of most memorable Giselles -- Ferri, Ananiashvili, Vishneva -- I picture their gorgeous port de bras, the way they luxuriate in each pose, each arabesque. They're able to create a sense of ethereal ghostliness through so much more than leaping. Based on last night's performance only, I would say that Osipova is very poorly suited to Romantic rep. I was so looking forward to her Giselle this summer with Gomes, and now I'm just confused about whether or not to see her again.

I couldn't agree more with canbelto that the lighting was way too bright in Act II. Also, what was up with the tree scenery being hoisted up and down repeatedly throughout Myrtha's entrance and variation??? It was horribly distracting. The staging of Giselle's first entrance and final exit was also terrible. Just because she's "hiding" behind foliage doesn't mean the audience can't see her. I also very much missed Myrtha's bourees across the stage after her entrance. Instead, she just popped out from behind a shrub and boureed around a little bit before going into her variation.

I don't have many positive things to say about the Mik dancers. It felt like amateur night at the Koch. Giselle's mother provided some of the worst, overwrought acting I've ever seen in a ballet. She looked like Carol Burnett doing a parody of Giselle's mom.The soloists seemed like they could have been student dancers. And I've never seen Wilis clomp across the stage so clumsily in the section where they hop back and forth in arabesque.

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I don't have much at add besides what has already been said, but I found last night's performance to be extremely disappointing, and I don't think it was only a matter of chemistry (though Sarafanov maAkes Cory Stearns look like a method actor).

I'll bet Cory wishes he could come close to Sarafanov's incredible buoyancy and clean, strong technique. Not in this lifetime.

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