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Bolshoi Ballet Summer 2019 ROH London Residency

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  • 37 minutes ago, Ashton Fan said:

As to the reason for the alteration of seat classification for individual ballets and all round price hikes by the ROH's marketing department, my money is on the need to bail out the opera company financially rather than paying for the bland airport-style extension

Possibly, but the timing suggests otherwise.  As for Lohengrin both the performances I saw were  a full house, on the other hand a couple of the Mayerlings I went to were very poorly attended.  In general the opera attracts a younger and more moneyed audience which is one of the reasons why opera prices are higher. 

Russian ballet in London doesn't have much of a core audience now, the real enthusiasts that can remember the glories of the Soviet era are either dying off or drifting away as a less attractive aesthetic takes hold and lets face it the Royal Ballet arguably has better female principals than the Bolshoi.   The annual Russian Icons Gala has gone from being affordable to out of most people's price range, but that hardly matters as the organizers know that they can sell out to wealthy Russians that go primarily to parade their extravagant fashion sense.   That though is a one off and with the Russians on their summer hols I fear this years high prices will deter London's ballet audience and all but the wealthiest summer tourists.   The two main Russian companies do  attract travelling fans but I doubt they will come in the numbers necessary to make much impact on the final takings.

 

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6 hours ago, Mashinka said:

In general the opera attracts a younger and more moneyed audience which is one of the reasons why opera prices are higher. 

I always assumed it was because of the much higher fees commanded by opera singers, although I'll admit that's only a guess

6 hours ago, Mashinka said:

...and lets face it the Royal Ballet arguably has better female principals than the Bolshoi.

It does. Better females soloists, too.

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1 hour ago, volcanohunter said:

I always assumed it was because of the much higher fees commanded by opera singers, although I'll admit that's only a guess

I've also had that impression. When I compare prices for Colorado Ballet and Opera Colorado, which perform in the same opera house, I'm stunned at how much more expensive the Opera is for the same seats. Out of curiosity, I found the same thing comparing prices at the Met for ABT and the Met Opera for identical seats.

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I imagine the higher prices for certain operas factor in the fees for top singers, but although the RO employs a chorus on year round salaries, surely the wage bill for the ballet must be higher as the rankings are more hierarchical.

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Casting for the London tour includes many familiar and predictable names with very pleasant surprises (Skvortsov/Lobukhin) and some new untested corps dancers (Denisova/ Sevenard):

Mon 29 Jul 2019, 7.30pm: Spartacus (Rodkin/ Sevenard/ Lantratov/ Zakharova)

Tue 30 Jul 2019, 7.30pm: Spartacus (Tsvirko/ Nikulina/ Ovcharenko/ Smirnova)

Wed 31 Jul  2019, 7.30pm: Spartacus (Lobukhin/ Vinogradova/ Belyakov/ Stepanova)

Thu 1 Aug 2019, 7.30pm: Spartacus (Vasiliev/ Denisova/ Skvortsov/ Shipulina)

Fri 2 Aug 2019, 7.30pm: Swan Lake (Smirnova/ Chudin)

Sat 3 Aug 2019, 2pm:  Swan Lake (Kovalyova/Tissi)

Sat 3 Aug 2019, 7.30pm:  Swan Lake (Zakharova/ Belyakov)

Mon 5 Aug 2019, 7.30pm: Swan Lake (Stepanova/ Ovcharenko)

Tue 6 Aug 2019, 7.30pm: Swan Lake (Nikulina/ Chudin)

Wed 7 Aug 2019, 7.30pm: The Bright Stream (Zhhiganshina/ Vasiliev/ Skvortsov/ Krysanova)

Thu 8 Aug 2019, 7.30pm: The Bright Stream (Nikulina/ Lobukhin/ Lantratov/ Shipulina)

Fri 9 Aug 2019, 7.30pm: Spartacus (Rodkin/ Sevenard/ Belyakov/ Zakharova)

Sat 10 Aug 2019, 2pm: Spartacus ( Tsvirko/ Nikulina/ Skvortsov/ Krysanova)

Sat 10 Aug 2019, 7.30pm: Spartacus (Vasiliev/ Denisova/ Lantratov/ Smirnova)

Mon 12 Aug 2019, 7.30pm: Swan Lake (Stepanova/ Ovcharenko)

Tue 13 Aug 2019, 7.30pm: Swan Lake (Marchenkova/ Belyakov)

Wed 14 Aug 2019, 7.30pm: Swan Lake (Kovalyova/ Tissi)

Thu 15 Aug 2019, 7.30pm: Don Quixote (Shrainer/ Vasiliev)

Fri 16 Aug 2019, 7.30pm: Don Quixote (Krysanova/ Lantratov)

Sat 17 Aug 2019, 2pm: Don Quixote (Sevenard/ Tsvirko)

Sat 17 Aug 2019, 7.30pm: Don Quixote (Stepanova/ Rodkin)

https://www.roh.org.uk/seasons/2018-19/summer/events

Edited by Dreamer

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Lucky Londoners will get to see Denisova's debut as Phrygia. I have a feeling she will be amazing. Curious choice by Sevenard, would have been a much better Aegina.

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On 1/24/2019 at 6:07 PM, Mashinka said:

lets face it the Royal Ballet arguably has better female principals than the Bolshoi.  

Highly arguably. Natalia Osipova aside. But then she is an ex-Bolshoi product.

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8 hours ago, Fleurdelis said:

Lucky Londoners will get to see Denisova's debut as Phrygia. I have a feeling she will be amazing. Curious choice by Sevenard, would have been a much better Aegina.

It's much more likely that Sevenard, Denisova and Ovcharenko will make their debuts in Australia a few weeks earlier. It would be madness to throw them on stage cold in London, although I wouldn't put it past the current management. 

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11 hours ago, Fleurdelis said:

 

Highly arguably. Natalia Osipova aside. But then she is an ex-Bolshoi product.

British taste is very different to current Russian taste, or perhaps I mean the current tastes of Russia's ballet directors.   The  line up of dancers coming on the tour is massively disappointing, I didn't expect Obraztsova, but was hoping for Alexandrova and Kaptsova despite their degraded status and where is Tikhomirova's name?  Only Krysanova  has the qualities that are generally admired.  This won't be a memorable season I fear.  I stand by my assertion that the RB's female principals are better and I surprise myself by saying so, as for me it has never been the case before.

 

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Shrainer made her debut as Kitri when the Bolshoi were last in London and it was far from a success. Last year's streamed Coppelia showed the real Shrainer but that London debut did no one any favours, not the company, not its audience and certainly not the dancer. An AD  who can give a dancer a prestigious debut she is not ready for is perfectly capable of throwing other dancers on cold in London. Neither the choice of repertory nor the casting make this Bolshoi season seem that tempting.

Mashinka,

I very much doubt that the Royal Ballet company is more expensive to run than the resident "opera company" although it has on- costs which the opera side of the organisation no longer has because today the "Royal Opera Company" is merely a chorus, an orchestra, a few essential support staff, plus an artistic director and a music director who is, I believe, paid a salary and performance fees. Apart from the Auld Jebsen artists who are essentially apprentices the Royal Opera has no comprimario or house singers on its books which means it has to hire singers for every named role which cannot be safely allocated to a member of the chorus each time it stages an opera. I find it difficult to describe an organisation which, when it stages Falstaff, has to hire singers for the relatively minor characters of Bardolph and Pistol, as an opera company, let alone think of it as a world class one. It is not how major European houses such as Munich and Vienna operate, 

If the resident ballet company's operating costs were higher than those of the opera company Anthony Russell Roberts would not have felt compelled to reform the way in which the ROH dealt with the operating costs of the two resident companies .  When he arrived at the Opera House and  began to work for the Royal Ballet he found much to his surprise that the ballet company's operating costs were much higher than he had expected them to be based on his experience working at the Paris Opera. He discovered that the accounting system in place at the ROH at that time aggregated the operating costs of the two resident companies and then allocated them  between the companies according to the number of performances each had given. This had the effect of forcing the ballet company to shoulder a considerable part of the opera company's operating costs. He was understandably very proud of the fact that he had forced the opera company to shoulder all its costs and had relieved the ballet company from unwittingly paying for the opera company's activities. The basic facts are that opera is far more expensive to stage than ballet. The wages bill for the opera chorus is going to be much higher than the comparable bill for the corps de ballet. If only because the chorus is composed of performers who are older and more marketable than the dancers in the lower ranks of the ballet company are. When it comes to the  contracts of international singers taking major roles such as the Countess and Susana some years ago you were talking of fees of £25,000 per performance. Although I have no idea what the top dancers at the Royal Ballet or anywhere else are paid I doubt that there are any dancers who can command fees comparable to those of opera singers. Kevin's policy of allowing his dancers to guest abroad is a very shrewd one as it gives his top dancers a base from which to operate, something which Durante said she missed when she went freelance; allows them to top up their earnings; keeps them happy and enables him to give young dancers opportunities they would not otherwise have,

As far as ticket sales and ticket prices are concerned last season Lohengrin was slow to sell and not all performances sold out which suggests that the Holten regime did the company's artistic reputation a great deal of long term damage. As to how the losses which the opera company has sustained are being covered the games which the Marketing Department has recently been playing with the prices of ballet tickets and the re-categorisation of seats for the resident company's performances suggests to me that the ballet company is once again being used to provide financial support for an opera company whose financial problems are largely self-inflicted. Comparing the prices which are being charged for the resident  company's Romeo and Juliet and the prices being charged for the same seats for the Bolshoi season is a very interesting exercise particularly as the Hochhausers will expect to make a percentage for all their efforts. 

 

Edited by Ashton Fan

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12 hours ago, Fleurdelis said:

Lucky Londoners will get to see Denisova's debut as Phrygia. I have a feeling she will be amazing. Curious choice by Sevenard, would have been a much better Aegina.

She’s tiny though, she’s dating Rodkin and there seems to be more of a vacancy for Phrygia than Aegina  especially with Kaptsova’s status and Stashkevich probably being out til next season.  

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54 minutes ago, Ashton Fan said:

Shrainer made her debut as Kitri when the Bolshoi were last in London and it was far from a success. Last year's streamed Coppelia showed the real Shrainer but that London debut did no one any favours, not the company, not its audience and certainly not the dancer. An AD  who can give a dancer a prestigious debut she is not ready for is perfectly capable of throwing other dancers on cold in London. Neither the choice of repertory nor the casting make this Bolshoi season seem that tempting.

Giving dancers debuts on tour would seem to me a risky business, I would have thought an AD would want to present the very best the company had to offer.  Last time the Bolshoi was in London there were a number of sub standard performances and I can't help wondering if that has something to do with the lack of enthusiasm I'm detecting when I talk to the ROH regulars.

After seeing her in Milan a friend is hugely enthusiastic about Kovalyova despite some reservations about her over all style, apparently she can really connect with an audience, something too few of her colleagues can do.  I'm now very curious to see her and am booking for her Swan Lake.  Very much hoping to spot some talent in the lower ranks to compensate for the dreary principals.

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I have to say I am curious about Mr Tissi who was plucked from the obscurity of the corps to dance Siegfried in Ratmansky's reconstruction of Swan Lake at La Scala and then chose to follow the AD when he returned to Russia. However I am far from sure whether that curiosity is sufficient to get me through the doors to endure the company's dreary Swan Lake. As I assume that we are being treated to the dull production of Don Q which the Bolshoi brought to London two years ago I don't feel that tempted by that either. Don Q is far from my favourite ballet but until the Bolshoi's last trip to London I had always felt secure in the knowledge that the company could be relied upon to deliver a performance of unrestrained high voltage vulgarity. The current production really demands dancers of the starriest type to make it live. It will be interesting to see how the performances of the resident company's dancers in  Don Q and those of the guests compare. At the moment I am more tempted to go to the entire run of the  RB's mixed bill and give the Bolshoi a miss .Six performances of the entire Firebird score, three new casts in Month at least one of which looks good on paper and six performances of Symphony in C in which, as far as far as I can see, the casts never completely repeat plus the Fonteyn Gala is far more tempting. 

Edited by Ashton Fan

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I would say the reason you found Don Q. so dull was down to the indifferent performances it received.  I've been watching the Bolshoi for well over forty years and more than in any other company I find the dancers react to the principal couple on stage and the excitement levels always rise to match a stellar Kitri and Basilio.  The first pair I ever saw was Ekaterina Maximiova and Vladimir Vasiliev and to me they epitomized what the Bolshoi was all about,  Today their heirs are a sorry lot.  Ironically the one performance that took wing when the company was last in London was Alexandrova's.  Astonishing isn't it that they leave their one truly bankable star at home.

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On 2/20/2019 at 1:18 PM, Deflope said:

She’s tiny though, she’s dating Rodkin and there seems to be more of a vacancy for Phrygia than Aegina

Sevenard is not what I'd call tiny. She is above average in height (5'7"?), and her build is robust by ballet standards. Rodkin is tall and strong, but when the two of them performed the Nutcracker adage at the Adyrkhaeva gala last May, he had conspicuous difficulty with the overhead lifts. Spartacus isn't any easier in that regard.

On 2/20/2019 at 2:58 PM, Ashton Fan said:

However I am far from sure whether that curiosity is sufficient to get me through the doors to endure the company's dreary Swan Lake. As I assume that we are being treated to the dull production of Don Q which the Bolshoi brought to London two years ago I don't feel that tempted by that either.

There are dancers at the Bolshoi I go out of my way to see. Sadly, only two are on the London tour in principal roles. There are others, and this list is a little longer, whom I avoid if at all possible. The remainder of the dancers are somewhere on the like-to-neutral scale. So I rated the performances accordingly, and found that only three received net positive scores. Two more received neutral scores, whereby the positives and negatives balanced each other out to produce a zero rating. The remainder are net negatives.

I visit Moscow a lot, mostly to see the dancers the current management is trying so hard to eliminate. I attended 32 Bolshoi Ballet performances in Moscow last year, seven so far this year, so I've seen nearly everyone recently. (The exceptions being Meskova, Semenyachenko and Vorobyov, whom I've never seen in person.) I agree entirely with Mashinka that the Royal Ballet has better principal women, and better female soloists, too. As for the dancers lower down the rankings, I fear you'll find mostly very thin women with wobbly ankles. But they can all point their toes at the ceiling. :dry:

Edited by volcanohunter

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4 hours ago, Mashinka said:

After seeing her in Milan a friend is hugely enthusiastic about Kovalyova despite some reservations about her over all style, apparently she can really connect with an audience, something too few of her colleagues can do.  I'm now very curious to see her and am booking for her Swan Lake. 

It was rather her partner Tissi connecting to his home audience that cheered loudly throughout the entire performance (a mediocre one, I must add). Kovalyova is not everyone’s cup of tea. To me she is a dancer lacking grace and refinement. And she’s also a poor actor who can’t bring nuances to her role in a story ballet. 

I am still planning to attend several performances as I want to answer a queston that has been lingering in my mind for quite some time: Is this company still worth my money and precious vacation days or is time for me to start exploring new territories?

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I plan on attending as well. I don't see as much world class ballet as many posting here anyway, so even flawed performances usually offer much I can savor. And if only the Bolshoi were bringing Bayadere to London, then I would be plenty thrilled--all ballerina debates notwithstanding. Instead I am likely to see a lot of Swan Lake  in a production I have seen multiple times before and find...well...let's say...not to my taste.  But it is a rare chance for me to see the company live; the last time was in 2014.  However revealing video may be, there is a lot it doesn't tell you even in high quality broadcasts of full performances. Based on video alone I always admired the Mariinsky's Tereshkina but I wasn't swept away by her dancing. When I finally saw her live in a great classical role, I was swept away. I now can't wait to see her again._ 

 I will try to extend my trip to include Bright Stream as well as Swan Lake. It's a ballet that I would love to see the Bolshoi dance as I've only seen it with ABT and just the one time (I think I saw Murphy, Herrera, Gomez, and ...can't remember the other male lead...) Possibly I can manage the opening Spartacus as well and I would also be very pleased to see Zakharova's Aegina live.  (Dates are dictated by work which covers the airfare, but in a best case scenario. the plan is to see all three of these ballets. Perhaps I will have the chance to meet some of you in London?)

Edited by Drew

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On 2/20/2019 at 6:34 PM, volcanohunter said:

Sevenard is not what I'd call tiny. She may not be very tall, but her build is robust by ballet standards. Rodkin is tall and strong, but when the two of them performed the Nutcracker adage at the Adyrkhaeva gala last May, he had conspicuous difficulty with the overhead lifts. Spartacus isn't any easier in that regard.

There are dancers at the Bolshoi I go out of my way to see. Sadly, only two are on the London tour in principal roles. There are others, and this list is a little longer, whom I avoid if at all possible. The remainder of the dancers are somewhere on the like-to-neutral scale. So I rated the performances accordingly, and found that only three received net positive scores. Two more received neutral scores, whereby the positives and negatives balanced each other out to produce a zero rating. The remainder are net negatives.

I visit Moscow a lot, mostly to see the dancers the current management is trying so hard to eliminate. I attended 32 Bolshoi Ballet performances in Moscow last year, seven so far this year, so I've seen nearly everyone recently. (The exceptions being Meskova, Semenyachenko and Vorobyov, whom I've never seen in person.) I agree entirely with Mashinka that the Royal Ballet has better principal women, and better female soloists, too. As for the dancers lower down the rankings, I fear you'll find mostly very thin women with wobbly ankles. But they can all point their toes at the ceiling. :dry:

Phrygia is generally willowy and fragile. Sevenard is anything but that. That's why it is a curious choice. Maybe she will redefine this role, who's to say? Difficulties with lifts can be overcome with practice and experience.

I recently saw the video of the Royal's A Winter's Tale. Looking forward to it premiering at the Bolshoi this coming April. Will be the definitive head-to-head comparison of whether Royal's principals are really all that. I saw Sarah Lamb's Aurora, she is excellent, but in my view Bolshoi does it better. And Vishneva does it better too.

I may not have the luxury of seeing 32 Bolshoi performances a year, but the pointing toes at the ceiling part is news to me. Zakharova does this a lot, but she indeed has a unique stretch. Marchenkova did a bit of it during the recent broadcast. But that's all I could think of really.

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3 hours ago, Fleurdelis said:

I saw Sarah Lamb's Aurora, she is excellent, but in my view Bolshoi does it better.

Well, actually no.  The RB dances a rather different version to the Bolshoi and I would rate it as superior.

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After priority sales for six different categories of ROH Friends, the Hochhauser mailing list and Young ROH, tickets for the Bolshoi visit to London are going on sale to the general public tomorrow at 9:00 am London time. For those planning to buy, there are lots of tickets still available for all performances. Selling best so far are Zakharova's Swan Lake, the opening Spartacus, and Vasiliev's first Spartacus. The fewest £180 orchestra seats are available for Nikulina's Swan Lake, although there are lots available in the other orchestra sections and throughout the rest of the house, so perhaps this is an instance of a company or delegation buying a big block of tickets. 

Sales have been slow thus far for Tsvirko's performances, Stepanova's Swan Lakes, Kovalyova's evening Swan Lake and all performances of Don Quixote, perhaps because the Royal Ballet has been performing it since mid-February. Selling abysmally poorly are the second Bright Stream, Marchenkova's Swan Lake and Sevenard's Don Quixote, despite the desirable time slot. So if these are the performances that interest you, you're in luck. Practically everything is available.

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Thank you for that interesting analysis, I imagine the Bolshoi fans bought tickets under the Hochhauser priority scheme, as ROH friends are more interested in the RO and RB.  I note some of the less familiar names are the slow sellers which is what I would expect.  I'll have a look in a couple of days and see if general booking reverses any of the trends you've noticed, but with several months to go, things could well pick up later.

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Posted (edited)

Vladislav Lantratov was injured on stage during the premiere of The Winter's Tale in Moscow. The curtain came down on Act Two, until David Motta Soares was summoned from home nearby to complete the performance. Lantratov is out for the remainder of the season. Casting for the London tour will have to be juggled as a result.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv3iAEZF9fO/

Edited by volcanohunter

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Posted (edited)

I will be in London early August for a concert, and was curious to see what the ballet schedule was like during my time there. Needless to say, I was delighted to find out the Bolshoi would be performing Swan Lake during my few days in the city !

I just purchased tickets to the Monday evening performance with Stepanova and Ovcharenko. I'm thrilled! I was hoping some seats would be left for Saturday night and Zakharova's performance, but the seats left weren't great or were solo seats and I am going with somebody. I figured I'm still going to have a wonderful time watching a prima ballerina from the Bolshoi dancing, whether it be Stepanova or Zakharova. It's not every day I get this chance either, so I went for the better seats.

I'm quite excited to watch the Bolshoi live. I have never seen any "European" ballet and Russian ballerinas live yet. I lived in the US beforehand and am very used to the Balanchine, American style of ballet. I had seen his Swan Lake, albeit too short for my taste, so I'm so excited to finally get to see the full length version in person. 

Edited by sohalia

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38 minutes ago, sohalia said:

I will be in London early August for a concert, and was curious to see what the ballet schedule was like during my time there. Needless to say, I was delighted to find out the Bolshoi would be performing Swan Lake during my few days in the city !

I just purchased tickets to the Monday evening performance with Stepanova and Ovcharenko. I'm thrilled! I was hoping some seats would be left for Saturday night and Zakharova's performance, but the seats left weren't great or were solo seats and I am going with somebody. I figured I'm still going to have a wonderful time watching a prima ballerina from the Bolshoi dancing, whether it be Stepanova or Zakharova. It's not every day I get this chance either, so I went for the better seats.

I'm quite excited to watch the Bolshoi live. I have never seen any "European" ballet and Russian ballerinas live yet. I lived in the US beforehand and am very used to the Balanchine, American style of ballet. I had seen his Swan Lake, albeit too short for my taste, so I'm so excited to finally get to see the full length version in person. 

That’s wonderful. I have tickets for their Swan Lake as well though unfortunately I can’t stay in London long enough to see Stepanova’s performance. 

(Have you seen the Bolshoi Swan Lake broadcast? The production by Grigorovich has some distinctive features (and cuts the end of the score). Some people hugely admire it, but it is not to everyone’s taste.) 

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I have not ! I was starting to watch videos of Stepanova on YouTube, but then decided to not spoil myself. It will be interesting to see this production with everything you mentioned. I love ballet, but I do not know the specifics of it all or little details like these, so it is certainly good to know. 

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