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Bolshoi Ballet Summer 2019 ROH London Residency

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14 hours ago, MadameP said:

Kovalyova needs a tall partner, an exceptionally tall partner.   Much as I like Tissi, with his elegance and beautiful lines, he is not tall enough for Kovalyova, just as Ovcharenko is not tall enough for Stepanova.  

Doesn't really bother me that much, MadameP. I think that Alyona Kovalyova is absolutely lovely with any of her partners. I do agree about  Jacopo Tissi's fine qualities.

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On 8/17/2019 at 1:54 AM, Buddy said:

Doesn't really bother me that much, MadameP. I think that Alyona Kovalyova is absolutely lovely with any of her partners. I do agree about  Jacopo Tissi's fine qualities.

The problem is one of practicalities!  I've seen Tissi have problems lifting Alyona and from an aesthetic point of view, I do think the lines are better if the ballerina en pointe is shorter than the man!  

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Posted (edited)

Yesterday I saw the matinee performance of Eleonora Sevenard and Artem Belyakov in Don Quixote.  This was a good performance from a ballerina who is only 20 years old and it was her London debut in the role, although she has danced it in Moscow.  She has all the technique necessary for the role and certainly will grow into her characterisation - she has good footwork, high jump and excellent turns.  Not only that, but she had all the aplomb necessary - if she had nerves, I didn't see a sign of them.  Her Dulcinea in particular was warm, gracious and flowing, and her sequence of fouettes in the grand pas was outstanding - all doubles and a triple to finish (she did veer slightly to one side at the end, but still it was a fabulous sequence of turns.)  Her acting was fair - not outstanding, but I think her interpretation will grow!  Belyakov partnered her extremely well - no problems with the one handed lifts, the second of which they held on for what seemed like an eternity, much to the vocal audience's delight.  He also was very funny in the "mock suicide" scene.   His acting throughout was excellent - this role really suits him and he responded to every situation naturally.  It never seemed like acting!   His exceptional height made all his jumps look breathtaking and he combined elegance with virtuosity.   This was a lovely pairing and the audience plainly enjoyed their performance.  Also excellent were sparkling Daria Khokhlova as one of the Friends and Daria Bochkova, who danced the first grand pas variation - beautifully fleeting and light across the stage.    Oxana Sharova's gypsy was powerful too and Maria Mishina very charming as the Amor, and with great elevation on her entrechats.   

Edited by MadameP

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Oh, now I wish I had seen the Sevenard performance. I had the option of either that or the Stepanova, and as I had just arrived in London I chose the latter to get a few hours of sleep. Stepanova was fine, although Kitri is really not a natural fit for her as she's not the spitfire type. She had some wobbles in the first act, and definitely seemed most at home as Dulcinea. I did however really like Rodkin as Basilio, and Kovalyova as the Queen of the Dryads. I thought she was spectacular, although I wish the Bolshoi did the "regular" version of that variation, which would have really made use of her height. Other standouts were Ksenia Zhiganshina as a flower girl and Anna Tikhomirova in one of the wedding variations. A disappointment was Angelina Vlashinets as the Street Dancer, who came off pointe during the knife dance and seemed far too subdued.

I'm glad that I got to see Stepanova in person, but I hope next time it's in a role that better suits her talents. 

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I have seen all four Don Quixotes and I happen to like Stepanova's interpretation of Kitri better than the others (despite the unfortunate wobble in the beginning, but then every one has their off days and I'd say this mistake speaks to how eager and emotional she was trying to do her best in this performance). Other than this she was absolutely perfect for the rest of the performance, and whenever she appears on stage, the vibrancy in her movements, her charisma, combined with her beautiful lines, gorgeous jumps, unique body type and excellent musicality, makes her portrayal of Kitri extremely convincing to the extent that I am willing to stop comparing her to others and simply enjoy her presence as Kitri. Now it's almost two days after I saw her performance, and images of her Kitri is still somehow very fresh in my mind. Admittedly she was already one of my favorite ballerinas before I saw her as Kitri, but I too shared the view that Kitri was not the best part for her. However, this performance totally changed this view of mine, and I am just amazed at how much more she can still surprise me on stage. The audience responded to her portrayal particularly well, and there were also visibly more people waiting for her at the stage door after the performance, in comparison to both her Swan Lakes and her Spartacus.

Krysanova's interpretation was solid, classic, emotional and characteristic of her style, and she looked particularly well together with David Motta Soares. I've seen Krysanova live three times as Kitri (and many times more in other parts), and I would just say that I am very grateful that I got to see her latest one in London. I share MadameP's view regarding Eleonora Sevenard. It is impressive for a young ballerina to be able to portray this part at this level, but there is still plenty of room to grow in terms of characterization. Margarita Shrainer's Kitri was also charming to me, although in comparison to the other three performances, she definitely still has room to grow both in terms of technique and characterization. 

The four Basilios were all good and each of them has something more remarkable than others, but this also in some ways means to me that each of them is also short of something. In general, I liked David Motta Soares's first act the most, and Denis Rodkin's third act, and Artem Belyakov's acting skills, and Igor Tsvirko's spirit and technique, and I just wonder how nice it would be If someone could combine all of their most distinguishable qualities :).

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I was led to believe that originally the Bolshoi planned to bring Bayaderka, but switched to Don Q because the RB was dancing it this past season, only thing is, the RB was dancing Don Q. too, so I don't understand their reasoning.   Comparisons are inevitable.  Acosta's production isn't that much liked, despite the fact that it's the first at the RB to be successful.  The Bolshoi's version isn't that great either, inferior in my opinion to what the Mariinsky has.  However with the chance to see dancers new to me in the leading roles, I finished up seeing three of the four performances.

Opening night with Shrainer and Tsvirko didn't quite deliver.  He was good, a near perfect Basilio played with considerable humour, but something wasn't right between him and Shrainer in the lifts, something I also noticed when they were paired in Spartacus.  She danced well enough but couldn't bring the role to life, a friend commented that she was midweek matinee material and on that showing I'm afraid I agree.

Friday night was Ekaterina Krysanova and David Motta Soarez and this was a stellar performance.  Soarez is a very young dancer but totally at ease on stage, if he had nerves, they didn't show.  He dances well, room for improvement, yes, but impressive all the same.  I should mention he's also good looking, Brazilian eye candy in fact, he went down very well indeed.  As for Krysanova she sparkled from start to finish and even for this seen it all before fouette watcher, I have to say her speed was quite awesome and she remained  virtually on the spot throughout.  The chemistry with Soarez was quite vibrant and they looked an excellent match.  One curious incident that I noticed was that she was absent in act two when her father comes looking for her, she is supposed to be sitting on her chair in the corner hiding her face with a fane while her girlfriends spread out their skirts to conceal her further.  On this occasion Lorenzo shoves past the friends to find no one there and had to improvise some business with the chairs: very odd..  At the curtain calls Soarez knelt before Krysanova gazing up at her with a look of adoration and the large bloom from her bouquet she handed him, he brandished as a trophy between his teeth.  Could it be the beginning of an exciting stage partnership?  I very much hope so.

I have very little to add to Madame P's critique of the Sevenard/Belyakov performance, it was a very accomplished Kitri from a dancer so young, but I do wish I could have seen her in a more purely classical role.  Sevenard made her debut in London about three years ago dancing Fairy Doll with a group of Vaganova students and people who saw her then turned up to see how her career is progressing , I consider her more than just promising.   I would have preferred to have seen Belyakov in something more classical too, he would make a fine Jean de Brienne for example, but he found a lot of comedy in Basilio and his technique is amazing.

The Bolshoi used to have a better Don Q than this one, for me it's too frantic with all the background cloak waving and the irritating multiple castanets.  The second act comes off worst with the interminable Spanish skirt waving and that absurd jig.  The gypsy dances appeared curtailed, didn't there used to be a young man dancing a super fast number with a whip?  There isn't now.  Last time around the Dryad Queens were  embarrassingly bad, they've improved, but not by that much and one left out the fiendish Italian fouettes altogether, perhaps like me she finds them vulgar.  The fact is the RB can do a lot better, no one got within spitting distance of Fumi Kaneko in that role.

They really should have stuck with La Bayadere.

 

Edited by Mashinka
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Kovalyova left out the Italian fouettes, I assumed that this was part of the production as Stepanova did them in her Dulcinea variation. Is the Dryad queen supposed to do them in the Bolshoi’s new version? Did the old version use the traditional choreography?

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9 minutes ago, Mashinka said:

Traditionally Dryad Queen does them.

Yes, but the Bolshoi's version uses a different variation than the traditional one that most companies do, so I assumed that it was expected for the Dryad Queen to leave them out in this particular production. I looked it up on Youtube and both Smirnova and Stepanova leave them out in this version. I'm intrigued that some Dryad queens apparently added them back in for London.

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Posted (edited)

In the Bolshoi production the Queen of the Dryads generally doesn't do Italian fouettes because they are reserved for Dulcineas who can't do the sissonnes toward the end of her variation (e.g., Zakharova, Smirnova, Stepanova). Although even among "jumping" Dulcineas there are few who do sissonnes; most switch in jetes instead, for example, Shrainer on Thursday. 

Edited by volcanohunter

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I asked an expert regarding the Italian fouettes.  He says the DQ dances them in the choreography  attributed to Petipa  used by the Maryinsky however they weren't in the Bolshoi's traditional  Gorsky version despite certain Dulcineas choosing to perform them, e,g, Maximova, N. Pavlova.  So it seems who dances what is now a matter of choice at the Bolshoi, as last week's Don Q's proved.

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We went to see Swan Lake on August 6th. It was Anna Nikulina and Semyon Chudin. Again, I'm not an expert though I have seen many companies do Swan Lake. I thought the production was really very good and clean - no noticeable fumbles. Nikulina in particular was lovely. The only thing that threw me was the bowing mid-performance. I'm not accustomed to that. But altogether a lovely performance and evening.

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On 8/15/2019 at 6:27 AM, volcanohunter said:

I don't think this has been mentioned elsewhere, but the souvenir program includes updated ranks. 

principal dancer - Artemy Belyakov

leading soloist - Alyona Kovalyova

first soloist - Olga Marchenkova, David Motta Soares

soloist - Anastasia Denisova, Eleonora Sevenard

Other dancers in featured roles (Bochkova, Chapkina, Gerashchenko, Kruteleva, Kryuchkov, Putintsev, Trikoz) remain in the corps de ballet. 

This has finally made it to the Bolshoi website where the roster has been updated with these dancers in their new ranks!  

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Congratulations to all of those who have been promoted!

3 hours ago, naomikage said:

While Alexander Volchkov is now listed Working under contract...

That is too bad about Volchkov.  I see he has some performances coming up so hopefully he will still continue to dance often.

 

Hopefully Anna Tikhomirova and Ksenia Zhiganshina will be promoted soon.

 

Edited by ECat
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On 9/17/2019 at 10:41 PM, ECat said:

Hopefully Anna Tikhomirova and Ksenia Zhiganshina will be promoted soon.

To be honest, I think Tikhomirova has advanced as far as she will go. Khokhlova, Shrainer and even Marchenkova are ahead of her on the promotion track. She was favored more by Filin than she is by Vaziev. Making debuts as the French doll in The Nutcracker when she had danced Marie for years, or Manu when she'd been Gamzatti, aren't encouraging signs. Tikhomirova made two unsuccessful attempts at Kitri, which would seem to be a natural fit, and she isn't very versatile stylistically. My own viewing experience suggests that she's much better in episodes than in leading roles.

Zhiganshina's career has stalled a little recently, but she is much younger, so her situation is entirely different.

Edited by volcanohunter

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13 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

To be honest, I think Tikhomirova has advanced as far as she will go. Khokhlova, Shrainer and even Marchenkova are ahead of her on the promotion track. She was favored more by Filin than she is by Vaziev. Making debuts as the French doll in The Nutcracker when she had danced Marie for years, or Manu when she'd been Gamzatti, aren't encouraging signs. Tikhomirova made two unsuccessful attempts at Kitri, which would seem to be a natural fit, and she isn't very versatile stylistically. My own viewing experience suggests that she's much better in episodes than in leading roles.

Zhiganshina's career has stalled a little recently, but she is much younger, so her situation is entirely different.

Thank you for the info about Anna.  After you mentioned the recent debuts in smaller roles I had to check it out.  I imagine you are are indeed correct that she has gone as far as she will go.  I have always enjoyed watching her in featured roles and variations and I guess that is what I will continue to enjoy her in.

 

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