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Kirov Sleeping Beauty, 2/15 (Wash, DC)

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Way past midnight & my carriage just turned into a pumpkin. No - just a bit tired to write impressions but wish to point out the following *unannounced* cast changes in tonight's performance, of which I was certain from my vantage point:

Bluebird - Vasily Scherbakov (replacing announced Andrian Fadeev)...dancing opposite the scheduled Florine, Sofia Gumerova

Diamond Fairy - Natalia Sologub (replacing announced Elvira Tarassova...who replaced Irina Golub on opening night)

Cinderella - NOT the announced Polina Rassadina, whose face is quite distinctive; does anyone know who replaced Rassadina tonight?

Prince Desire - Igor Kolb, who was indeed in the printed programme; however, preliminary cast lists from a month ago cited Danila Korsuntsev in the role & a lot of folks were expecting Korsuntev; it was Kolb (just as in opening night)

More later - three more 'Beauties' to go this weekend. I'll post my impressions of Zakharova et. al. later. Gotta watch my Olympics cassette now...see how the ice dancing is going. Crazy week!

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Thank you, Jeannie. The Kennedy Center press people checked before curtain and were assured that there were absolutely no cast changes smile.gif I always remember Reagan's "Trust but verify" when trying to get cast changes out of Russian ballet companies. Perhaps I should write "the alleged Tarassova".....)

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We are supposed to *believe* what they tell us? Come on, folks!

I was disappointed not to see Korsuntsev--I have heard Good Things .....

Kolb's dancing was unobjectionable, but there was absolutely not a jot of stage presence, acting (oh how awful an awakening I hope not to see ever again) or princeliness.

Truly--he mingled so well into his own hunting party that not one person in the audience clapped upon his arrival on the scene----perhaps they all were busy stuffing their handkerchiefs into their mouths when they saw that superemely cartoonish moustache and goateee (in black Sharpie, it appeared) sketched on his face. Blond wig, hat not seated properly on his head, that absurd makeup and the bearing of a stableboy. All the other men there with noble carriage, their lace and beautiful cravats/stocks and he was out there in a open necked necked shirt looking like he just got off the pirate ship. Clueless. ("Oh, this isn't Captain Blood? Wrong set. Sorry.")

In this production, Desire does not have much dancing, so he needs to act. Please. A little.

During the Awakening scene, Kolb (eventually aware of what he needs must do to get to the end of the ballet,) goes up to the bed, kisses her, stands up and carefully replaces his hat before turning around and leisurely proceeding back downstage. He did turn around and see if he was successful when he got to stage right, and poor Zakharova looked as if she couldn't believe it--"what! This is who I have to marry?" So she kicked extra high (this is saying something, for her) as if to make the best of a sorry deal and went off to change into her pretty ballgown.

This was not a particularly lovable or radiant Aurora, but we all felt sorry for her.

[ February 16, 2002: Message edited by: Juliet ]

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Just a few scattered impressions:

On the whole, not as good a performance as on opening night. The new soloists did not do as well as those on Tuesday. But the production is still gorgeous.

Zakharova danced all the steps beautifully and has a stunning body (except for her paper-thin upper arms), but didn't build her dances into something, let alone create a character. She danced everything--Rose Adagio, Vision scene, Wedding pas de deux--the same. And her glassy expression never varied.

Daria Pavlenko danced Lilac better than Part, but lacked Part's warmth, a very important part (ha, ha) of this role. The Carabosse, Islom Baimuradow, was a big disappointment. He looked good--quite a bit like the actor Alan Cumming (who, come to think of it, would make a terrific Carabosse, if he could dance wink.gif ), but showed no anger and looked utterly harmless. How can you have a Beauty without a villain? And Sofia Gumerova, a big girl who danced the Pat Neary role in Thursday's Rubies, was an odd choice for Princess Florine. This role is made for a more compact dancer, and Gumerova's long legs had trouble with the phrasing.

Another unannouced cast change: the servant who discovers the knitting needles in Act I was the same guy as on Tuesday (Alexey Semenov, I guess, from the program), not Igor Petrov, Tuesday's Carabosse, who was listed.

A couple of questions: in a production so rich in mime, why is the king's speech to Aurora before the Rose Adagio, in which he tells her she must choose a husband, omitted? And if Carabosse shows up in Act III, how did Cecchetti dance both this and Bluebird at the same performance?

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Ari, I think this production has already been trimmed. Several people who saw it in New York say that the first act has been tightened (fewer processions). I don't KNOW that the mime has been cut, but it's a possibility. Does anyone know?

As for the Carabosse/Bluebird doubling, I wondered the same thing. I can see only two choices: A) another dancer did Carabosse in the procession or B) (there is time) Cecchetti put a black cloak on over his blue feathers. DOUG FULLINGTON? ARE YOU OUT THERE?

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I noticed the omission/drastic truncation of the "pick a husband" mime in Washington, too. I thought the rest of the mime really well done, and was happy to see that Ponomarev cut down on the hambone aspect when discovering the knitting needles.

Different tastes: I thought Gumerova was really beautiful, and I liked her arrticulation of the Florine role.

I also dislike White Cat as a rule, but thought the dancer did her wonderfully....one of the great things about this company is the nuances, the richness of the portrayals.

I also applaud the children's performances last night--I was most pleasantly surprised (they cannot have had much rehearsal time) and thought they did a great job!

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I hope the cuts are limited to touring. We saw the complete ballet in New York, minus the panorama but with the entre act music, it was just amazing -- like going back to another time. I thought the point of going back to the original was to restore as many of these moments as possible.

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What's odd about omitting the "you must marry" mime is that while the speech is cut, the music isn't. So it's not as though they saved any time. As another king once said, "Is a puzzlement."

As for the Carabosse/Bluebird doubling, I think your first suggestion is probably how they managed it, Alexandra. Even if Cecchetti put a black cloak over his blue feathers, there would still be the matter of the heavy facial makeup both characters wear. I suppose he could have worn a mask, but would they bother to make one for one or two performances?

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I asked around at intermission and the consensus was that it was a double. The Prologue fairies have doubles in the finale.

Another piece of missing mime is that the King doesn't ban sharp pointed objects from the Kingdom. Another 30 seconds that makes a difference. We do learn, however, that Princess Aurora will be beautiful about 70-11 times. (Not that I object to that. I love the way someone does a gesture and then the courtiers repeat it, the way the corps will repeat a phrase danced by the ballerina.

JULIET -- ARE YOU OUT THERE? Why does Lilac get into the boat wearing the blue shoes and come in to the Awakening Scene wearing white ones? Another shoe note: Last night's Prince darkened his instep to simulate heeled shoes in the grand pas de deux.

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JULIET -- ARE YOU OUT THERE? Why does Lilac get into the boat wearing the blue shoes and come in to the Awakening Scene wearing white ones?

Fairies, even Wise Ones, are capricious.

She wears the periwinkle ones with the lilac silk chiffon, and wears the white with the Grand Bustle one. Who's to say......at least she didn't wear one of each.

Another shoe note: Last night's Prince darkened his instep to simulate heeled shoes in the grand pas de deux.

Interesting! Did anyone else like the red heels on some of the men? I did! I wish the King and Queen's had been jewelled, however.....

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Another shoe note....

I found it very distracting that some of the dancers wearing either blue or black pointe shoes did not have the bottom of the block colored as well. I hated looking at a dancer in blue tights and blue shoes, with the very tip white. It really stood out! The small things really make a difference. (Only some dancers had this problem)

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That's a perfect description of the arrival of the prince, Juliet! I was appalled when I realized the little weasel under the yellowy dreadlocks was the Prince. But once it was clear how little he would be dancing, he faded from significance anyway. I'm glad to have seen, once, this elaborate event. Now I appreciate the trimmed versions even more! After a while, even the elaborate costuming wore me out. My eyes were never sure where to look and the dancing, alas, did not always hold them. That said, I enjoyed Zakharova's performances in both Diamonds and as Aurora -- although, as someone here has already said, she didn't invest the story ballet with any more character than her Diamonds role. She seems to have one role in both ballets: to exhibit gorgeous technique.

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Sorry, hi, yes, I'm here. My understanding is that Carabosse was performed by a double in Act III when Cecchetti danced Blue Bird. Also, Giannandrea Poesio, Cecchetti scholar, has told me that Cecchetti only dance Blue Bird a couple of times.

I saw the Kirov's BEAUTY in New York and London. The King performed his mime scene before the Rose Adagio during a very extended harp cadenza.

Glad there are so many comments on this great ballet. I'm happy to read them and wish I could see it again. On another note, the Kirov's 'new' BAYADERE will be very interesting. The notations (which were made based on the December 1900 revival) are of a completely different sort than BEAUTY and there are far fewer comparative sources to draw from. Can't wait to see it at some point once it premieres.

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I really cannot get into Svetlana Zakharova's Aurora. Zero warmth & radiance. Opposite of the cuddly-adorable Vishneva or Fonteyn.

We were treated once again, on Friday, to Groucho...er....Kolb as Prince Desire.

Washington is luckier than London, where the Red Riding Hood & Tom Thumb-and-Friends were routinely omitted. I was *sure* they'd do the same here due to unions, etc., but, no, we were pleasantly surprised with as complete a Beauty as is possible on a tour. Only the Panorama was omitted.

Folks - the mine passage with the Princes before the Rose Adagio has been excised in St Petes, too. Vikharev has stated that this is a 'work in progress' with constant 'peeling away' of layers...going further back in time, with the aim of arriving at 1890 one day. The 1999 production seen at the Met was approximately 1909/10. Notes discovered since have caused certain passages of mime to be further revised'back in time." I guess that Vikharev discovered that the little mime with the princes before the Rose Adagio did not exist in 1890. Quite a bit was added in 1914 &, later, in 1920s revisions by Lopukhov in Russia & N. Sergeyev/Diaghilev troupe.

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Juliet, it seems you're really disappointed that Prince Desire wasn't Korsuntsev wink.gif I, too, missed Kolb's arrival on the stage when I first saw his Desire biggrin.gif But to be fair, as far as I've experienced, Kolb was more princely and 'noble' in other roles, say, Siegfried,Chopiniana,etc.

At least in London, he is very much admired and appreciated for his artistic merits. Hardly anyone complained about his looks, stage presence, or anything like that. I'm sure it's a matter of taste here again. In his Swan Lake last June, Kolb recieved quite a warm-welcoming applause in Act I, while, to my surprise, Odette (danced by Zakharova) appeared on the stage in front of silent audience. How weird! I guess good/bad stage presence sometimes depends on space and time. So, please, gentler criticism on the dancer's physical appearance would be highly appreciated smile.gif

[ February 18, 2002: Message edited by: NO7 ]

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NO7, I was being fairly kind about his physical appearance. People cannot help how they look. They can help what they do with their stage makeup and how they comport themselves onstage in a professional performance of this calibre. I have seen him in othr roles, and in television snippets from this production (partnering Ayupova) and he was quite nice. I have no complaint about his dancing at all, and I apologise if I gave that impression.

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