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Giselle Osipova-Polunin Thu 5 October Bavarian State Ballet

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This was it - I finally caught Natasha in a classic dramatic ballet, and partnered
by none other than her on-and-off sweetheart Sergey. (was it on last night ??
didn't seem so to me but I may be quite wrong). Anyway, I flew in at noontime,
had to queue up almost an hour to clear passport, dropped off my bags at the hotel
and made a beeline for the "Tageskasse der Bayerischer Staatstheaters" to beg
and cajole for a good parkett seat which would enable me to see Natasha's mime.
Lo and behold - the moment I finished making my case the lady at the ticket coun-
ter turned her screen towards me and said "there is a seat in the 5th row which was
returned - would you like to buy it ?" ...... would I like to buy it - boy I sure would !!
Seems after the Russians the God of Ballet has also taken me under his/her wing !

So far I had only been able to see Natasha live twice :  when she danced the Pdd of
Sylphide at the Bolshoy ballet artists' gala last year, and at the premiere of Mayerling
at the ROH earlier this year. She left me out cold in London twice by dropping out of
Don Kixot (repl Tsygankova) and Giselle (repl Lamb). If I were to write what I really
think of Mayerling admin would throw me out for bad conduct and bringing disrepute
to the forum ! So I was and still am craving to see her in as many classics as I can,
be it Giselle, R&J especially, or as Kitri in Don K, and last night's windfall was much

Natasha is a gift of God to ballet lovers, a sprite, a free spirit who has also been endowed
with super dramatic expression and characterisation. I, and maybe some other members
too, sometimes get the feeling I am actually seeing Giselle or Juliet, rather than someone
trying to impersonate them, and last night I felt that I saw Giselle herself. I would be over-
stepping my mark is I were to comment on her technique, which I believe is admired all
round. It seemed to me that she may have put on a little weight since last year, and thought
the same about Sergey. However, his entrechats in the second act still seem quite peerless,
and his soaring cabrioles are a pleasure to see (hope I am using the correct terms). Had last
seen him as Albrecht two years ago when he partnered Zaharova at Balshoy and thought he
was excellent. Hilarion was Javier Amo, quite good in the role, and Myrtha was Prisca Zeisel
- not bad but I felt I had seen somewhat more impressive Myrthas in Russia, eg Allash at Bal-
shoy and Ivannikova at Mariinka.

So imho it was a fine performance overall and Natasha and Sergey got big applause at the end.
In Russia they would have been held up doing quite a number of curtain calls. The CdB merits a
special mention - they really surprised me !  (my expectations are not too high re ballet in Ger-
many, which I normally see in Berlin from time to time, and I usually go to see Polina Simyonova
...... we consider her our "National Bride" apart from being an excellent dancer - her husband is a
Turkish CdB dancer of Berlin). I was quite pleasantly surprised and impressed by the general per-
formance quality of the Munich Cdb, and hereby declare that one can go see ballet in Munich (!)
The CdB imho can very well hold its ground against the RB (one gets the feel that there is a Rus-
sian finger in this) - I am now twice sorry that I did not go to see Lucia Lacarra when she was in
Munich, but that was pre-Zelensky and whether the CdB was as good at the time I simply don't

So, an evening well worth the hassle, took a chance and divine providence helped. Back home
in Istanbul now, don't know for how long I can keep up this cramming to make up for time lost.
Chances are that either my long-suffering knees will give way, or my long suffering wife will go
to court to get me sequestered or something - will see !

One footnote about ticket prices :  top price for this performance and cast was 70 Euro - incre-
dibly cheap when one compares it with 150+ Euro at the ROH and 200+ Euro at the Bolshoy.
Opera and ballet is subsidized by local governments in Germany, making it affordable for many
people. In England Mrs. Thatcher initiated the "user pays" policy after which ticket prices went
through the roof, and I don't know where the ROH would be today if some cash from the Lottery
had not come their way. At the Bolshoy raising the price for best seats seemed the only possible
way (according to Urin) to keep the cash in house which would otherwise be lining the pockets of
scalpers. Top price for classic ballet at the Historic Stage is currently R15,000 which surpasses
top cast ballet price at the ROH. At Mariinsky top price currently is half of Bolshoy at R8,000, but
at second-tier (?) houses like Stasik and Mixailovsky it is in the R4,000-5,000 range ie similar to


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Thanks for this report! I saw her Giselle at the Met with ABT, partnered by McRae, a few years ago (the performance where she took a bad fall near the end). But, as you note, she's high-risk and I've endured quite a few cancellations along the way, too. 


Good for Germany in subsidizing prices as much as they do. That's becoming increasingly rare!

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Osipova is an absolutely thrilling Giselle --I have especially loved her performances with David Hallberg. Glad Mnacenani, that you were able to see her dance in Munich.

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2 hours ago, Drew said:

Osipova is an absolutely thrilling Giselle --I have especially loved her performances with David Hallberg.


(between you and me :D) I have a ticket for the Osipova-Hallberg Giselle at the ROH

on next March 1st. Their only other casting was for March 9th if I remember correctly,

and before booking opened I had a hard time deciding which one to go for, finally deciding

on the first performance. That's two injury-prone dancers cast together, exponentially incre-

asing the potential heartbreak factor. I will make a sacrifice to the God/s of Ballet !

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Munich is a bit of an exception for ballet prices, which are rather cheap compared to the much higher opera ticket prices. At Hamburg or Stuttgart ballet is as expensive as opera or sometimes even more expensive. Which means best seats are at ca. 100 to 120 Euros. But you can get cheap seats in every German opera house/theatre, ranging from around 8 to 15 Euro. That's was the subsidies are meant for. Just for your information :-) Now back to Osipova!

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