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The Bolshoi under Vaziev

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On 02.02.2018 at 9:13 AM, Helene said:

I just start with the assumption that if claquers are paid, it's a shakedown, while others are over-the-top people.

I'll admit I don't know all the details, but today I watched Roman Abramov and his crew counting large numbers of 1,000-rouble bills stuffed into envelopes right inside the Bolshoi Theatre. They were also discussing who they'd be applauding at tomorrow's performance (Maria Vinogradova and Artem Ovcharenko).

Again, it may not mean anything, but in the stage door area this same group swarmed around Artemy Belyakov as soon as he emerged and left when he did, even though the principal dancers in the cast and the other dancers with honorific titles hadn't yet come out. (Honestly, I would tell Belyakov that he doesn't need the claque. He makes a better Pechorin in "Taman" than either Ovcharenko or Vladislav Lantratov.)

The spectacle was revolting.

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2 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

I'll admit I don't know all the details, but today I watched Roman Abramov and his crew counting large numbers of 1,000-rouble bills stuffed into envelopes right inside the Bolshoi Theatre. They were also discussing who they'd be applauding at tomorrow's performance (Maria Vinogradova and Artem Ovcharenko).

Again, it may not mean anything, but in the stage door area this same group swarmed around Artemy Belyakov as soon as he emerged and left when he did, even though the principal dancers in the cast and the other dancers with honorific titles hadn't yet come out. (Honestly, I would tell Belyakov that he doesn't need the claque. He makes a better Pechorin in "Taman" than either Ovcharenko or Vladislav Lantratov.)

The spectacle was revolting.

What's your understanding of why this is allowed?  Couldn't Urin just ban them? 

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In his Facebook post following the attack on Sergei Filin, Alexei Ratmansky railed against the "disgusting claque." Ratmansky used to be AD of the company, so it begged the question, if he regarded the claque as such a blight, why didn't he do anything about it? My best guess is that there is an equally corrupt scheme on the Bolshoi side of the equation, and someone within the theater is making a profit.

Corrupt schemes are a long-standing problem in the theater, going back to the days when a certain number of tickets for each performance were reserved for bigwigs from the Communist Party. Only these were seldom used, so box office employees would sell them and pocket the cash.

As for the claim that claqueurs sometimes resell their tickets, this would be relatively inconvenient to accomplish. Bolshoi comps are like any other comps: they're picked up from a special wicket immediately prior to the performance. Now presumably someone could make an arrangement whereby they would go to the theater together, the claqueur would pick up the comp and then hand it over to the buyer. The comps, which are called invitations, are personalized, but the ticket takers standing just a few feet away don't check names or ask for ID. So certainly not impossible, but it would have to be done right under the noses of Bolshoi staff.

Could Abramov just be banned from the theater? I don't see why not. He's obvious enough. The one and only time I was a recipient of a Bolshoi comp, the person standing in front of me in line to the administrator's little hole in the wall was...Roman Abramov. He was sticking his head inside the window and trying to negotiate something, I think unsuccessfully, for a very long time, and all I could think was, if you are trying to get your paws on my comp, I may have to strangle you. So he's an appalling nuisance, but he is allowed to pass by every security guard, ticket taker and usher in the building.

Edited by volcanohunter

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4 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

My best guess is that there is an equally corrupt scheme on the Bolshoi side of the equation, and someone within the theater is making a profit.

Dear Volcanohunter in all my business life when some things just didn't add up I always suspected, rather knew, that there was some hanky-panky involved :). I presume you know how babushkas start queueing up at 6 am Saturday mornings (box office opens at 11 am) to get numbers for advance tix sales for say SL or SB performance three months ahead. Bolshoy security is around, but on one occasion which made it into the news last year (could be 2016) a black minivan drove up just before the box office opened, a number of scalpers got out and walked right in past the babushkas in full view of Bolshoy security and bought quite a number of tickets !  Urin himself said in a news conference that the only thing they were able to do to fight scalpers was to put up the ticket prices - this way at least the revenue would accrue to the theatre which would otherwise line the pockets scalpers (only ??). Best seats which cost R15K are expensive by London standards let alone Moscow, but when casting is posted well after the house is sold out one has to fork out R35K to R45K for Zaharova, serious money. So the management probably is turning a blind eye to some goings on so as not to earn the enmity of those outside and inside the house ...... acid is cheap  :P

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Portions of Kovalyova's debut as the Lilac Fairy.  One oops moment backing into oncoming traffic, but otherwise a good first effort.

 

Edited by Guest
correct typo

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1 hour ago, naomikage said:

Maria Alexandrova will be guesting in English National Ballet's Sleeping Beauty in June.

http://www.balletnews.co.uk/english-national-ballets-the-sleeping-beauty-maria-alexandrova-to-guest/

 

Thank you--Jane Simpson posted about this on the Alexandrova thread (under Dancers). By coincidence I have tickets to see this production in June. My performance choices were determined by the dates that I could make during a planned trip to London. But I won't exactly be unhappy if Alexandrova dances!

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3 hours ago, Drew said:

Thank you--Jane Simpson posted about this on the Alexandrova thread (under Dancers). By coincidence I have tickets to see this production in June. My performance choices were determined by the dates that I could make during a planned trip to London. But I won't exactly be unhappy if Alexandrova dances!

Oh lovely! Hope your tickets are for her performance. I recognized Jane's post after I posted this.

Alexandrova and Lantratov are to perform in the World Ballet Festival in Tokyo this August, and they are also guesting in a full-length Don Quixote with Tokyo Ballet in Osaka (as a part of this festival) 

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Critic Tatyana Kuznetsova takes aim at Vaziev:

"In 'Curtain' Alexandrova demonstrated not only superb form, impeccable technique and uncommon dramatic talent. Her performance forced one to doubt the strategy of ballet artistic director Makhar Vaziev, who is methodically purging the Bolshoi of proven 'old cadres' and pushing forward into leading roles young talents, whose right to dominance is by no means obvious."

https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3571776

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Elvina Ibraimova, one of the corps members Vaziev was pushing into prominence, has abruptly resigned from the Bolshoi, apparently to join the Bavarian State Ballet. She was dancing many soloist roles and some leads (Gulnare, Possokhov's Undine, Jewels), and Vaziev publicly identified her as one of the company's future stars.

Starting with Don Quixote in London in 2016 I saw her dance a number of times, but I am sorry to say I never enjoyed any of her performances.

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43 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

Elvina Ibraimova, one of the corps members Vaziev was pushing into prominence, has abruptly resigned from the Bolshoi, apparently to join the Bavarian State Ballet. She was dancing many soloist roles and some leads (Gulnare, Possokhov's Undine, Jewels), and Vaziev publicly identified her as one of the company's future stars.

Starting with Don Quixote in London in 2016 I saw her dance a number of times, but I am sorry to say I never enjoyed any of her performances.

Too bad.  She wasn't one of my favourites either, although I know many did like her and will be sad at this abrupt departure.   With a company the size of Bolshoi, there will always be some who are not given the roles they deserve, or think they deserve, or are promised ... Good luck to Elvina in Bavaria.

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With the termination of the pension system for dancers, and poor handling of senior dancers — I wonder if we will see more defections to Western European companies.  While the pay is not tremendously better by our standards, the healthcare, pension contributions and ruble-to-euro ratio make the opportunity tantalizing for Russian dancers.  

Especially if they can get coaching from a Russian AD and team.    

Edited by Jayne
A letter

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@Jayne

I can answer on behalf of a number of dancers: the repertoire at the majority of western companies is so hideous, we'll not see many Russian dancers going abroad, mostly some of those whose professional carriers are hopelessly stuck, and those who are not hired by the top Russian companies. There will be even more movement in reverse, from the West to Russian companies. Again, the reason is the disastrous repertoire policy in the West. Considering Grigorovich's production of "Swan Lake". for which you seem to have nothing but contempt, I cannot name, really, better versions among the ones currently danced in the West. The plus-side of Grigorovich's version is its integrity and logic, unlike, for example, the excentric and controversial Noureev's version in Paris, which uses all the music.

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20 minutes ago, Laurent said:

Considering Grigorovich's production of "Swan Lake". for which you seem to have nothing but contempt, I cannot name, really, better versions among the ones currently danced in the West. The plus-side of Grigorovich's version is its integrity and logic,

Grigarovich's Swan Lake - the first ballet I saw at the Bolshoy, on my first ever trip to Russia. I was dumbstruck, thought it was brilliant. I am dead against the classics being "reimagined" but I couldn't help thinking this is the way to do it, if one must.

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1 hour ago, Laurent said:

@Jayne

I can answer on behalf of a number of dancers: the repertoire at the majority of western companies is so hideous, we'll not see many Russian dancers going abroad, mostly some of those whose professional carriers are hopelessly stuck, and those who are not hired by the top Russian companies. There will be even more movement in reverse, from the West to Russian companies. Again, the reason is the disastrous repertoire policy in the West. Considering Grigorovich's production of "Swan Lake". for which you seem to have nothing but contempt, I cannot name, really, better versions among the ones currently danced in the West. The plus-side of Grigorovich's version is its integrity and logic, unlike, for example, the excentric and controversial Noureev's version in Paris, which uses all the music.

I can assure you that from 'the west' Russian repertoires seem narrow and unimaginative whereas in most of the western companies they are far more innovative and wide ranging.  You seem to choose to forget that dancers such as Nureyev, Makarova, Baryshnikov et al chose to defect (at some risk to themselves) in order to dance in a wider repertoire.  Nowadays all dancers have to do is get a work permit.  Frankly I don't see any benefits for dancers working in Russia and the majority that do so seem to have gone there to train and then simply stayed on.

Impossible also the ignore the present political climate as recent events have political analysts predicting a new cold war.  Before long it may not be possible to move in either direction.

 

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On 3/28/2018 at 2:33 AM, Mashinka said:

You seem to choose to forget that dancers such as Nureyev, Makarova, Baryshnikov et al chose to defect (at some risk to themselves) in order to dance in a wider repertoire.

But of course - seeking fame and fortune played no part in their defections !  :D:D  Please do excuse me but Nureyev's obsession with money is well documented.

On 3/28/2018 at 2:33 AM, Mashinka said:

from 'the west' Russian repertoires seem narrow and unimaginative whereas in most of the western companies they are far more innovative and wide ranging.

Again I beg forgiveness but from the East repertory in London and esp. Paris seems "much ado about nothing" !  "Strapless" ...... "Alice in Wonderland" ...... the latter being too long by 2 hours !  :D:D

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I had a hard time recently convincing a talented young French ballerina to consider Stuttgart, the best among German companies. They wanted her, she didn't, "too little classics", was her answer. I hear this all the time from ambitious young dancers, in Paris and abroad, the ones who resign themselves to the tedium of modern and contemporary are the ones who know that their training is deficient and their physique is not right for classics (even though in the West there is a lot more tolerance in this respect).

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24 minutes ago, mnacenani said:

But of course - seeking fame and fortune played no part in their defections !  :D:D  Please do excuse me but Nureyev's obsession with money is well documented.

 I doubt very much that money paid a part in that decision as no dancer was as wealthy as Nureyev before or since.  He could have had no inkling of how famous he was to become that day at Le Bourget.

31 minutes ago, mnacenani said:

Again I beg forgiveness but from the East repertory in London and esp. Paris seems "much ado about nothing" !  If I were to spell out what I really think about it Helene would instantly put me in the clapper. "Strapless" ...... "Alice in Wonderland" ...... the latter being too long by 2 hours !  :D:D

I'll not argue over that, the Royal Ballet has had a whole list of duds, though Woolf Works and Symphonic Dances are anything but.  But at least they are new works, without them a company becomes a museum.

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On 3/28/2018 at 2:58 AM, Laurent said:

I had a hard time recently convincing a talented young French ballerina to consider Stuttgart, the best among German companies. They wanted her, she didn't, "too little classics", was her answer. I hear this all the time from ambitious young dancers, in Paris and abroad, the ones who resign themselves to the tedium of modern and contemporary are the ones who know that their training is deficient and their physique is not right for classics (even though in the West there is a lot more tolerance in this respect).

Sorry but I don't understand your story.  A French dancer won't go to Stuttgart because there are too few classics?  Exactly what does she think she'll be dancing in Paris?

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9 hours ago, Quinten said:

  Note the multiple debuts of Vaziev favorites Anastasia Denisova (3), Antonina Chapkina (3) and Ekaterina Besedina (2).

Could you please tell us more about Ekaterina Besedina, especially the facts that have led you to conclude that she is a Vaziev favorite?

9 hours ago, Quinten said:

Faith Borisenkova Ivan Alekseyev - Mazurka 
 

Faith? What a joke! If this is how the Bolshoi posts the casts, their website management team has hit a new low.

Edited by Fleurdelis

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On 4/5/2018 at 10:47 PM, Fleurdelis said:

d

Edited by Guest

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3 hours ago, Quinten said:

I'm afraid Mr. Google Translate is at fault here, not the Bolshoi.   I corrected many of the obvious mistakes but missed others.  Thank you for pointing them out.  I'm intrigued by what role is referred to as "Hellbent".  Anybody know?

"Folly" is how it's translated on the Bolshoi website...

Here is Tikhomirova:

 

Edited by Drew

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5 hours ago, Drew said:

Here is Tikhomirova:

Thanks Drew.

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