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Don Quixote


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From Leena Hassan:

I'll never be a Don Quixote fan, but Osipova/Vasiliev perform the ballet as if it matters. They give everything of themselves. I adore Osiliev's sense of joy in their own abilities. They endow their characters with warmth & with, but I missed Vasiliev's usual attentiveness in partnering Osipova and surprised at the lack of tenderness in the grand pas de deux. Messerer's traditional Don Quixote, with it's colourful designs & vivid character dances is one of the more engaging versions I've seen. E. Borchenko was gorgeously dignified as Queen of The Dryads. She has such a regal air and immaculate technique.

https://twitter.com/leenahassan

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Make a difference between the two ballerinas with similar names, who dance the Queen of Dryads - Borchenko and Bednenko!

Nov. 20, 7:30 pm Natalia Osipova, Ivan Vasiliev, Ekaterina Borchenko
Nov. 21, 7:30 pm Angelina Vorontsova, Victor Lebedev, Ekaterina Borchenko
Nov. 22, 2:00 pm Oksana Bondareva, Leonid Sarafanov, Svetlana Bednenko
Nov. 22, 8:00 pm Angelina Vorontsova, Ivan Vasiliev, Ekaterina Borchenko
Nov. 23, 2:00 pm Natalia Osipova, Ivan Vasiliev , Svetlana Bednenko

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I thought both the leads were fantastic, although I believe Osipova is not as fast as she used to be, and she is slightly more careful than in her younger days. She is still very exciting with buoyant jumps and awesome triple spins in the wedding act coda. She seemed joyless in the wedding act, though. This is one ballet where Vasiliev's acrobatics are completely welcome. His gravity defying crazy jumps, splits in the air and spins were spectacular. His overhead press lifts of Osipova were rock solid secure, and he even balanced himself on only one leg while held Osipova high overhead with just one hand. Amazing strength. I liked Borchenko's dancing, but she is blandly efficient. Amour was adorable. This version is more like the Bolshoi version than ABT's, with many more character dancers. Special shout out to the wonderful street dancer, Soboleva.

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Lebedev did something I've never seen any dancer do -- he inserted that infamous killer sequence from Balanchine's T&V into his Don Q variation. You know the double tour/pirouette sequence that makes dancers look like they're dying. I certainly have never seen a dancer willingly put himself through that variation, and certainly not in Don Q. Loved it.

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From Leena Hassan:

Vorontsova a charming Kitri, but she doesn't strike me as a v. musical dancer. Where was her fan during Act III's variation? With his long lines & beautifully ached back, Lebedev's Basilio is a total departure from Vasiliev's. Both proved extremely satisfying.

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Lebedev did something I've never seen any dancer do -- he inserted that infamous killer sequence from Balanchine's T&V into his Don Q variation. You know the double tour/pirouette sequence that makes dancers look like they're dying. I certainly have never seen a dancer willingly put himself through that variation, and certainly not in Don Q. Loved it.

I didn't see him. But if it is what I think you mean, Julio Bocca used to do it.

The quality of this video is atrocious, but not of the dancing <3

(for what we are discussing see the 4:30 mark but the whole thing is worth watching after the really unwatchable footage at the start)

A later video of just that variation is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iBawhzNlKc

and an early (?) one here:

(at 5:45)
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I'm confused, Canbelto. You said Lebedev threw in a variation from T & V. (I know exactly which one you mean and it is a killer.) But T & V has music by Tschaikovsky and Don Q. has music by Minkus. Was the Tsachaikovsky music played? If so, didn't it sound a bit jarring to those familiar with Don Q?

Amour mentioned that Julio Bocca used to dance the T & V solo in Don Q. I saw him dance Don Q several times and don't member him doing that variation. If he did, whose music did he use - Tscahikovsky? Minkus?

I watched the Bocca Don Q video on Ballet Talk and it looked like a variation often done in Don Q, not the variation from Balanchine's Theme and Variations. The music was by Minkus.

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The first video ("atrocious" quality) just posted by Aurora, labelled as Bocca, actually opens with footage of Baryshnikov from 1968. The entire PdD, with Semenyaka:

Indeed, I'm wondering about the attribution to Bocca of the rest of the clip. It seems to have been filmed illicitly from the audience. But it is filled with nuances and details that recall the Baryshnikov-Harvey broadcast on PBS of Don Q (later available on DVD). Are we sure it's Bocca?

I don't think canbelto was talking about the entire T&V variation, just the one step combination of double tours-pirouettes that you see Bocca do clearly in the second video.

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I'm confused, Canbelto. You said Lebedev threw in a variation from T & V. (I know exactly which one you mean and it is a killer.) But T & V has music by Tschaikovsky and Don Q. has music by Minkus. Was the Tsachaikovsky music played? If so, didn't it sound a bit jarring to those familiar with Don Q?

Amour mentioned that Julio Bocca used to dance the T & V solo in Don Q. I saw him dance Don Q several times and don't member him doing that variation. If he did, whose music did he use - Tscahikovsky? Minkus?

I watched the Bocca Don Q video on Ballet Talk and it looked like a variation often done in Don Q, not the variation from Balanchine's Theme and Variations. The music was by Minkus.

It was me not Amour--

Not the T&V solo. Just that sequence.

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The first video ("atrocious" quality) just posted by Aurora, labelled as Bocca, actually opens with footage of Baryshnikov from 1968. The entire PdD, with Semenyaka:

Indeed, I'm wondering about the attribution to Bocca of the rest of the clip. It seems to have been filmed illicitly from the audience. But it is filled with nuances and details that recall the Baryshnikov-Harvey broadcast on PBS of Don Q (later available on DVD). Are we sure it's Bocca?

I don't think canbelto was talking about the entire T&V variation, just the one step combination of double tours-pirouettes that you see Bocca do clearly in the second video.

The quality of all of it isn't great though the Baryshnikov footage is the least good.

It is definitely Bocca in the rest though!

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Sarafanov did that same sequence today. Or at least he started to. I had watched the video above many times before today. In the video, he did the double tours / pirouettes through the whole variation and I was hoping for a repeat today. He did it through most of the variation, but then stopped, as did Julio Bocca in one of the videos. Perhaps that is the choreography or perhaps he couldn't make it through the whole sequence as he could in 2006. Earlier, in act 2, he did seven double tours in a row which was impressive.

Oksana Bondareva was to die for. A really great performance. The toreador scenes with Andrey Kasyanenko and Valeria Zapasnikova were another highlight, as were the gypsy dances. And I love the scene in which Sancho Panza is repeatedly tossed in the air. I could not disagree more with the Macaulay comment this week about Russian ballet no longer producing any exciting dancing.

The sound from the orchestra was glorious. The scenes and costumes were bright and colorful, which cannot be said for ABT's production. All throughout, there was a great energy that was lacking in other versions I've seen, certainly in the last spring's ABT version. And I couldn't help but get a thrill at seeing a real donkey and real horse on stage.

Some audience members seemed to forget that they are no longer in Russia and could not stop talking, but fortunately what was happening on stage always overshadowed that. My father, whose first ever ballet was today and who I feared would be bored, actually said "wow" a few times. That is a real success.

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Sarafanov did that same sequence today. Or at least he started to.

I could not disagree more with the Macaulay comment this week about Russian ballet no longer producing any exciting dancing.

Some audience members seemed to forget that they are no longer in Russia and could not stop talking

A couple of points.

1. I'm glad Sarafanov did (or started) to do that more difficult sequence that he did in the 2006 video and hope that he did it with the same panache. That is the dancer I was hoping to see with the Mikhailovsky and, at least on the dramatic front, I was very disappointed. I was surprised at how bad his acting was in Giselle. I didn't see Sarafanov in Cavalry Halt but Prelude was a silly waste of his talents.

2. I don't think that Macauley said that Russia is not producing exciting dancing but that it's not producing exciting choreography. I haven't seen any of Smekalov's work (he's with the Mariinsky as both a dancer and choreographer) but based on what the Bolshoi and Mikhailovsky brought to the Koch, I'd have to agree.

3. I, too, sat next to some rude Russians who not only talked but kept taking pictures with their IPhone during the dancing (and I mean dancing not curtain calls). Unlike a regular camera, the IPhone lights up the whole screen for photos and it was very distracting. When I told them it wasn't allowed, they just ignored me (I was going to complain to an usher at intermission but they weren't in their seats then) I can only imagine what a free for all it must be in Russian houses.

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I also attended a dress rehearsal of the Prologue and Act I of Don Quixote, music by Ludwig Minkus The two leading stars of the company, Natalia Osipova as Kitri and Ivan Vasiliev as Basilio performed, and they were a joy to watch. I returned to see the revised full production staged by Mikhail Messerer, with Angelina Vorontsova (Kitri) and Victor Lebedev (Basilio). Both danced well, especially their Pas de Deux in Act III. However, Ekaterina Borchenko (The Queen of the Dryads) and Veronika Ignateva (Cupid) stole the show in the dream sequence in the third scene of the second act. They were superb.

http://blacktiemagazine.com/New_York_Society/Aubrey_Reuben_November22_2014.htm

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Sorry Amour and Aurora for mixing up who said what. Canbelto, I now know what you meant. I shouldn't post on Ballet Talk before having my coffee. I was at the November 22nd matinee and also experienced people talking in Russian throughout Acts I and II. They were behind me so I don't know if they were on their i-phones. During the second intermission an usher made a general announcement not to talk during the ballet but she was looking at those people behind me. Fortunately they were quiet during Act III.

Through a lucky coincidence I sat next to Faux Pas during th matinee performance. It was great talking ballet with him. I also got to see Abatt and NY Susan during the first intermission.

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Good to see you too Colleen, as well as many other Ballet Alert regulars. These last two weeks of Mik performances have been a welcome surprise of high caliber performances. I hope the company can afford to come back soon.

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I attended the Saturday matinee of Don Q and really enjoyed myself, much more so than at recent ABT Don Q performances. I was pretty critical of Sarafanov's Albrecht, but I thought he was marvelous as Basilio -- charming, virtuosic, refined. This was the Sarafanov I've seen in videos. Much like Cornejo or Corella, his virtuosity is tempered by really beautiful technique. I never felt as if he was doing circus tricks. Considering Bondareva is practically the same size as Sarafanov, I thought the partnering was pretty much spot-on.

I also very much enjoyed Bondareva's kittinish Kitri. Her clear strength is turning. With the exception of one shaky unsupported pirouette, her turns were quite good. Her fouettes were close to ideal -- little traveling, mostly doubles and triples, and finished strongly and cleanly. What I found disappointing were her leaps. She had little ballon (and I'm not comparing her against the Osipova gold standard!) and her back leg tended to droop in her grand jetes. Her back and arms also seemed rather stiff. The iconic head-whipped-to-ankle leaps seemed barely there. But kudos to Bondareva for working through a pretty terrible wardrobe malfunction during the wedding pas de deux. Midway through the pas de deux, one of the internal supports of her tutu (not sure of the terminology -- looks like tubing) popped out and she tried unsuccessfully to pull it out. She proceeded to do impeccable balances and supported pirouettes (with the tubing/support whipping Sarafanov's thighs.) She finally ran over to the wings and managed to rip out the tubing before the end of the pas de deux.

The production was vibrant and colorful, and everyone seemed so committed to bringing the characters to life. It felt very exciting compared to ABT's tired old production.

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I went to the Sunday matinee performance. Last performance of the run and there looked to be some fatigue setting in -- Vasiliev and Osipova's overhead lifts weren't as long as they usually are, and Osipova almost took a spill at the end of her diagonal in Act One but saved it. Vasiliev again did his by-now familiar split leaps during curtain calls. If you wanted fifth position this was not the performance to be at, but a likable performance and I had fun. This is a charming company and I hope they return to NY soon.

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