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Bolshoi in Cinema Ivan the Terrible

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Did anyone see The Bolshoi's Ivan the Terrible yesterday? Several cinemas outside of Manhattan streamed it live. I'm seeing a tape delayed version tomorrow. Curious if they kept the casting (Lobukhin, Rodkin, Nikulina) and how they were.

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Yes, the ballet is terrible and I,too, couldn't make it through the DVD with Le Riche. But I thought the Bolshoi gave an exciting performance. Lobukhin and Rodkin were both terrific. I'm not a huge fan of Nikulina but she was fine. Since we will never see this ballet in the U.S. (and maybe that's a good thing) I'm glad I went to see it.

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I saw a similar cast--Alexander Vetrov, Alla Mikhalchenko and Taranda--in New York in 1990. Taranda was indeed magnificent, but for the rest I remember the extreme loudness, the grotesque caricature of the Tatars, Mikhalchenko's abrupt descents from pointe, and worrying that Vetrov's pliant legs were going to get "wishboned" in the final scene.

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I remember seeing the casts with Vetrov and Mukhamedov as Ivan, Maria Bylova as Anastasia and Taranda.

They were outstanding. However, for me, the ballet falls down with the monologues, the ensemble segments

the grim reapers, and the bell crew, i.e. everything. It's dated Soviet kitch. I'm amazed that they revived it;

but given the current national energy, not so much. That said, IMO Grigorovich's tenure is best represented

by "Spartacus," and "Legend of Love."

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I did not see The Bolshoi's Ivan the Terrible on HD screen this time, because it was not shown in any of my "nearest theaters".
However, I was interested in knowing what this ballet was about. When I searched on-line, quite few Google's info results were from Ballet Alert!
10 years ago in Ballet Alert! there were fairly extensive discussions about Bolshoi's Ivan the Terrible as well as a former Bolshoi star Yuri Vladimirov who was the creator of this role Ivan The Terrible. He was also the teacher & trainer of Ivan Vasilliev who danced Ivan The Terrible few days ago at Bolshoi. A short video of I. Vasilliev's performance was leaked on YouTube Last week. Anyway, the discussions in Ballet Alert! were pretty conductive. So, I was very curious to see this ballet and found Nicolas Le Riche's recording on YouTube. However, POB's performance made me fall asleep faster.

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Ballet as sleep aide?


I didn;t want to be negative to POB's performance. I actually like Nicolas Le Riche and Karl Paquette, POB's ballets in general. Nevertheless, in Act I of Ivan The Terrible all music, dancing, lighting, stage set and colors are so intense, shown on YouTube, no contrast and breathing, which made me feel so tired very quickly that I felt sleep before the end of Act I. ... Maybe, If I watched this ballet on HD screen or in theater, I would have had different perceptivity.


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We're between a rock and a hard place with this -- the internet makes it possible to see so much more work than we could even when I was just starting (I won't bore you with the shenanigans I went through sometimes to get a chance to see some of the foundational works, while I was living outside the big dance centers) But they aren't always at their best on a small screen -- I'm thrilled for the opportunities, but I have to remind myself sometimes that it's not the real thing.

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I thought it was AMAZING. I was absolutely spellbound by the superb performance of Mikhail Lobukhin in the leading role. Dark, brooding, sinister, yet tender in his love scenes with Anastasia, his portrayal was complex and completely magnetic. This ballet is so powerful, a great theatrical spectacle and a wonderful dramatic ballet. The sets are so atmospheric, the scene with the female singers and the spirit of the dead Anastasia hauntingly lovely, the final tableau disturbing - there are just so many wonderful images. Grigorovich is a choreographer of genius. I just LOVED it.

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