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A Legend of Love

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A few days ago I saw two performances of A Legend of Love on the historic Bolshoi stage.  The matinee performance on Saturday, 20th May was the debut of Yulia Stepanova in the role of Mekhmene Banu with Alexander Volchkov as Ferkhad and Anastasia Stashkevich as Shyrin.  The evening performance the following evening was Maria Alexandrova as Mekhmene Banu with Vladimir Lantratov as Ferkhad and Evgenia Obraztsova as Shyrin.  I already wrote about Yulia Stepanova's debut on the Yulia Stepanova thread in the dancers' section, so I will just write about Alexandrova's performance here.  I will try to post the link to the Stepanova performance underneath.  



The two Queen Mekhmene Banu performances were very different.  Yulia Stepanova was much more feminine.  Alexandrova certainly commands the stage as the Queen as she has great presence and her Queen has immense attack and power.  She is clearly a "Bolshoi" ballerina with that energy and drive but for me, it comes over as a little too hard.  Technically though, she was excellent, but she does not have very beautiful lines, having comparatively short legs, and certainly not the wonderful arms and upper body that Stepanova has.  I also I did not see the variety of expressions that I saw in the Stepanova performance.  Vladimir Lantratov as Ferkhad was superb.  What a great actor he is.  I was watching with my binoculars, and his range of expressions is amazing and his jumps showed beautiful line.  Where he also was  great was in all the pas de deux work - so difficult in this ballet with its numerous convoluted and acrobatic lifts, requiring strength and timing.  This was most noticeable in the final act pas de deux with Alexandrova/Queen, which was superb.  Volchkov did not show nearly the same ease of partnering  with Yullia Stepanova, but I think that was to be expected as it was a debut: Alexandrova and Lantratov are regular partners and it really showed in this pas de deux.  The difficult upside down"candle" lift where  Alexandrova then goes into the upside down splits position was outstanding and so were the other lifts.  The expressions of both of them were outstanding - Alexandrova yearning and sensual - and the chemistry between them was palpable.  This was their best section of the ballet.  


In the role of Shyrin, Evgenia Obraztsova was sweet and graceful, but although she is one of my favourite dancers, I have to say that technically Anastasia Stashkevich the day before was superior to her.  Obraztsova's jumping did not have the same lightness and ease, and she just seemed heavier in all her movements, although there were certainly no flaws in a technically good performance.   However, Obraztsova's expressions and command of the stage were superb and I loved her frolicsome pas de deux with Ferkhad.  Lantratov was excellent with both ballerinas!


The corps and minor soloists once again were superb in all their stylised group work.  This is a great dramatic Grigorovich ballet and I saw two powerful performances!  

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