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Cinderella

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I went to see Angelina Vorontsova today. I enjoyed the performance very much.

She has a lovely presence and fine theatrical command. She also has very beautiful motion of the arms. They just floated.

As was mentioned to me, her spins were exciting and the beauty, speed and elevation of her jumps were breathtaking.

I liked Ivan Zaitsev as the Prince. He also had great jumps and was a fine and secure partner.

In addition, I really enjoyed Yekaterina Odarenko and Valeriya Zapasnikova as the two stepsisters. They did some very fine and dynamic dancing to some very good choreography and they were extremely funny and entertaining.  

I’ll add the arabic dancer(?) who I believe was Polina Filimonova. She danced very well and was very effective in casting her exotic spell.

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I was also at this matinee. I enjoyed the performance, first time I saw Vorontsova live. I found both the characterisations and the dancing very good, and the "video scenery" was imo very interesting - first time I have seen such extensive and effective use of video special fx, we'll be probably seeing more of this in other venues quite soon. Lots of small kids, some well under the minimum age 6 at this matinee - good to see that the Russians will uphold this great art form and tradition for the foreseeable future.

However, my companion (who is a very knowledgeable "avid ballet-goer" and blogger) huffed and puffed, saying she was so bored during the second (ballroom) act that she almost dozed off, and gave it a "D" overall - there you go !  :D

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31 minutes ago, mnacenani said:

I was also at this matinee. I enjoyed the performance, first time I saw Vorontsova live. I found both the characterisations and the dancing very good, and the "video scenery" was imo very interesting - first time I have seen such extensive and effective use of video special fx, we'll be probably seeing more of this in other venues quite soon. Lots of small kids, some well under the minimum age 6 at this matinee - good to see that the Russians will uphold this great art form and tradition for the foreseeable future.

However, my companion (who is a very knowledgeable "avid ballet-goer" and blogger) huffed and puffed, saying she was so bored during the second (ballroom) act that she almost dozed off, and gave it a "D" overall - there you go !  :D

Mnacenani, were you sitting in Row 3 ?  If so I was sitting next to you, light green sweater and beard. Why didn’t you tell me who you were ?  :)

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7 minutes ago, Buddy said:

Why didn’t you tell me who you were ?

Yes, we were in seats 12-13 ..... how could I have known ?? Small world !

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So funny that two members were sitting so close without realising!  I saw Vorontsova/Zaitsev on 7th and Lebedev/Soboleva on 8th but posted my review in the wrong place and Helene has kindly moved it to this Mikhailovsky section.   I LOVED Cinderella, and Lebedev is THE prince of princes!  Here's the link to my review for anyone interested:

 

 

 

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In my stupidity as a "newbie" I posted my own experiences seeing Cinderella nearly a year ago in the Cinderella thread.  I *hope* it's allowed to repeat my thoughts here.

I had posted: " I was lucky enough to see Mikhailovesky Theatre's production of Cinderella when I was on my business trip a while back.  I found it extremely impressive.  I was wondering if anyone has recollections of the original Bolshoi production from Zakharov, or Sergeyev's rival production.  "

And when asked for details of what I saw (with questions about any links to info), I replied:

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Yes, I will link you to their web page for the production.  I will say that a lot of it at least reminded me of the old Bolshoi edited film version of the show--the look of it, but also some choreography details (Cinderella being courted by princes from different kingdoms--sound familiar?--at the ball, before the prince comes, the guests coming in and out of the ball...) 

I have to warn you that I'm still rather a novice when it comes to dancers--when I read reviews of ballets or of ballet on DVD, and someone says "Well of course it's "..." so she must be great" I have little knowledge of who people mean.  I know the greats I grew up seeing either live or more often on TV--but few of them are dancing anymore, so I am of little help there.

But the actual choreography and production of ballets, does deeply interest me.

Victor Lebedev was the Prince--and I know this because my companion was excited to see it because of him (he did impressed me greatly--more in his solos, where I felt he and the choreography matched the demanding score perfectly, than in the partnering which had a LOT of lifts that were impressive, but lacked a bit of emotion).  I'm not sure who Cinderella was as I don't have my program, but, the performance was late last year.  I thought the production was beautiful, with a few caveats.  For the most part, I thought the projections and digital effects only added the the magic.  However, in the scenes with the fairies of the seasons, the transitions of the seasons, while beautiful, somewhat got in the way of the dancing itself.  Similarly, I felt during the ball in Act II (which was the best ball scene I've ever seen in a Cinderella ballet), the constant need for the night sky in the background to flash little "fairy lights" of magic, was a bit distracting.  And something that I could see my mother finding completely distracting.  Happily, they kept most of the effects away from the big dance highlights--and I really think the staging of the ball, and all of its transitions, is masterful.  It has some of the, what I call, over the top mid 20th C Bolshoin jumps and lifts, but they really felt earned by the romance between the two main dancers, and there was a constant feel of Cinderella not wanting to believe that this was real and running away.

One of the big "effects" sequences, with the booming Prokofiev "clock theme" when Cinderella realizes she's cut it short, was really well done with a scrim and projections--and made me wonder how the Bolshoi originally did it back in 1945.  Similarly effective was the sequence of the Prince searching the world for the woman who would fit a shoe--a sequence I always hate being cut from the standard Ashton version (it's a short ballet, anyway!).

Overall, I am sure you can read better takes on the production elsewhere on here.  There is one official video on online but it's by the people who do the effects and so focuses on that, but is easy to find. 

I am just curious from people who remember the original Bolshoi version (or even the alternate version done a year later for the Kirov by K Surgeyev) as to how the actual "look" and the choreography compared.  For me?  Out of 6 Cinderellas that I've seen, it was the best.  That may have to do more with the dancers than the production, but I think sometimes it's best to treat these pieces in a relatively traditional (though exciting) way.

Oh, I forgot the link--which has images and the promo video.  (As well--it has reviews that, of course, are positive, but mention its similarity to the original staging.  Yet, none of the people who reviewed it seem to have seen that staging, which is why I ask...)  When watching the trailer now, unless things have changed, I will say that the special effects were neither that elaborate, nor as intrusive as they seem there (though the fireworks scene was very well done)  https://mikhailovsky.ru/en/afisha/repertoire/cinderella_ballet/# 
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I have seen quite a bit of video on youtube of this Mikhailovsky production -- not all of it official. It looks rather wonderful, though I had been wondering if  the special effects might not end up distracting from the choreography. It sounds from what you say @EricMontreal as if that may sometimes be the case. I'm afraid I can't say that I ever saw any Soviet Cinderella even on film. I do think that in interviews Messerer speaks very convincingly of the need for something more than a merely pious approach to revivals and reconstructions and I very much enjoyed what he did with Vainonen's Flames of Paris--not that much of which survived to be the basis of Messerer's revival. (The Mikhailovsky brought their Flames of Paris to New York which is where I saw it; unfortunately, I've never seen the company in its home theater.)

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Thanks Drew--what did you think of their Flames vs the Ratmansky one most of us know?  I think with their Cinderella, which seems to be a hit, that they will tone back the effects--and some videos I've seen seem to show this.  Cinderella always interests me--Prokofiev apparently did change some of his music for the original Zakharov production--but it wasn't like, obviously, Petipa and Tchaikovsky, or even Delibes and his choreographers, where he would change music all the time for the production.  That said--a lot of the actual choreography felt "right" to me, in a way that it hadn't before.

The Bolshoi film with a great Struchkova as Cinderella, is in the public domain so I find no reason why not to link it here.  It suffers--at least in this print--for many of the main reasons other Soviet ballet films do.  But does seem to correspond with the basic choreography of the Mikhailovsky production, including the in-joke with Prokofiev's The Love of Three Oranges, and the general set details.. 

 

Edited by EricMontreal

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16 hours ago, EricMontreal said:

Thanks Drew--what did you think of their Flames vs the Ratmansky one most of us know? 

I only know Ratmansky's via video so I can't make a fair comparison.  Watching on video I did think that Ratmansky's attempt to update and refresh the story led to a certain incoherence or at least oddity in the ballet--I'm not sure you can superimpose a post-Soviet critique of revolution onto a Soviet celebration of revolution without it leading to some tonal mismatches. At least that was my reaction.

Keeping to the original libretto (and using real character dancers for the character dances) Messerer created something exciting and joyful for the Mikhailovsky that also honors the ballet's Soviet origins in a less equivocal way than Ratmansky's does. To take a simple example:  the martyr in Messerer's version is one of the revolutionaries--which I assume is true to the original libretto--not a sweet aristocrat guillotined by the revolution. The Mikhailovsky production is just a fun, optimistic work that celebrates the power of a popular uprising with all the energy of Soviet ballet.  (I no more have a problem with that than I do with Sleeping Beauty's celebration of absolutism.) And I found seeing the Basque dance danced by character dance specialists alone worth the price of admission--though that was more true of the "first" cast than the alternate cast I saw.

My understanding is that a lot of the ballet had to be worked up from second hand reports, memories, or just the music/libretto, though there is a chunk of it on film. Both Ratmansky and Messerer were bound to invent and update in some fashion, but clearly Messerer saw his job differently from Ratmansky. Incidentally the Mikhailovsky production also uses some projections etc. -- so he was already showing interest in technological updates. I do have a lot of respect for what Ratmansky tries to do with his version--anyone interested in how post Soviet Russia has been coming to terms with its past could do a lot worse than study all of Ratmansky's ballets--and I would love to see it in the theater one day. Very possibly in the theater I might have a different reaction to it too.

Edited by Drew

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