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Birdsall

Bolshoi at Teatro alla Scala

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I just returned from the Bolshoi’s Opening Night of its Milan tour. I am only here for the 3 Bayaderes and a rare Cherubini opera Ali Baba. 

Svetlana Zakharova gets a lot of heat on BA for high extensions, but she is almost always reliable in giving a good performance at an international level. Tonight she had some trouble ending her turns with the scarf with the second one almost looking like a stumble, but for the most part this was a good performance overall. The slight technical mishaps (some wobbling on the arabesques that are almost penchees during the duet with Solor) were countered with a much more dramatic conviction than she is known for...I also liked her lyrical arms....I am probably the minority here on BA but I think this is a world class ballerina who has become a much better actress. She’s not my favorite ballerina by a long shot but I feel she deserves respect.

Denis Rodkin was very “on” tonight, and the Milanese loved him showering him with cries of bravo. I like his artistic arms also. Several years ago I saw him as Onegin at the Bolshoi Theatre, but he seemed too young to pull off Onegin’s personality. Tonight as Solor he showed he has grown into a great artist. 

Olga Marchenkova was Gamzatti, and in the past I thought she had very stiff arms. They were much better tonight. And she’s a beauty!

My favorite thing about the Bolshoi’s Bayadere are the 4 ramps that the poor Shades have to descend. It is breathtaking to see that many rows of shades making their way down the mountains! Gorgeous! 

Cries of “Bravi!” filled the auditorium at curtain calls. The Italian man in front of me seemed to be schooling his friend on “bravo” versus “brava” versus “bravi”.....

Late and tired....tomorrow will be Smirnova....

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Looking forward to hearing more. I would love to see that four-ramp Bayadere!

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It is magical when there are shades on all four ramps! I had seen it on video many times, but in person it was so gorgeous! That’s one thing Grigorovich changed that I love!!!

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9 hours ago, Birdsall said:

I just returned from the Bolshoi’s Opening Night of its Milan tour. I am only here for the 3 Bayaderes and a rare Cherubini opera Ali Baba. 

If you would be so kind as to comment also on Ali Baba, I would be very, very, grateful.

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Birdsall how many shades did the company field at the performance ? If it was thirty two then  Grigorovich is giving audiences the number of shades who should be seen in that scene rather than the slimmed down number favoured by Markarova in her staging. As you indicate there is something magnificent about four ramps and a stage full of shades.  

Edited by Ashton Fan

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3 hours ago, Mashinka said:

If you would be so kind as to comment also on Ali Baba, I would be very, very, grateful.

Okay, I will. It is actually students from La Scala’a Academy who have been working with La Scala to learn and perfect their abilities. 

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1 hour ago, Ashton Fan said:

Birdsall how many shades did the company field at the performance ? If it was thirty two then  Grigorovich is giving audiences the number of shades who should be seen in that scene rather than the slimmed down number favoured by Markarova in her staging. As you indicate there is something magnificent about four ramps and a stage full of shades.  

32....both the Mariinsky and the Bolshoi do 32. And I counted to make sure! LOL I have seen the Markarova version and it is disappointing for me to see only 24. I do like the temple collapse and closure that Markarova gives us especially the beautiful apotheosis where Nikiya seems to lead Solor up the steps to Heaven holding the scarf....that is a beautiful moment (ending). But I really love the Russian style in the entire Shades scene, and 32 on 4 ramps is pure bliss! Grigorovich attempts some type of closure. I interpret his ending as Solor waking up and realizing she’s gone for good (Nikiya appears at the top of the ramps and then leaves) and he collapses (almost like Giselle’s ending).

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4 hours ago, Birdsall said:

Grigorovich attempts some type of closure. I interpret his ending as Solor waking up and realizing she’s gone for good (Nikiya appears at the top of the ramps and then leaves) and he collapses (almost like Giselle’s ending).

When Solor collapses on stage, he supposedly dies from broken heart. 

I agree with you, Birdsall,  that Zakharova was a beautiful Nikiya last night but Marchenkova, in my opinion, was an average Gamzatti. She had some technical difficulties and her extremely high attitudes looked awful. But I guess this is what Vaziev expects from his ballerinas.

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By the way,  the local children performing in La Bayadere wore blackfaces. So, obviously, this is not a big deal in Italy, either. 

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I hope you're having a great time, Birdsall!  Bayadere and SHurale are my favourites!  That series of ramps in the Bolshoi Bayadere is truly spectacular - the Bolshoi does spectacular well!  Have fun in Italy!

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http://www.teatroallascala.org/en/season/2017-2018/ballet/bolshoi/la-bayadere.html

 

Here’s the casting for all 3 shows (above) in case I don’t mention most. Late and I am tired.

I see why Smirnova’s arms are controversial now. I think part of the issue is that she has large elbow joints sort of like the men who have large forearms (larger than their biceps which looks like Popeye arms). You see this more frequently in men. Smirnova’s forearms are not Popeye arms but the elbow joint is much larger than most ballerinas and this causes many of her movements and poses with her arms to take on an angular or bent or squarish shape. I think she is trying really hard to compensate and the audience loved her (maybe even more than Zakharova). She does give her all in acting. She is the up and coming prima (may knock Zakharova off her throne) judging by audience reaction. I enjoyed much of her performance, but I agree with some people that her arms are a problem. She does have a diva look but her curtain calls are rather humble in manner. I like her, but I want to like her more. But who am I? It sounds like she has plenty of fans.

Chudin ended his turns in second by stopping with his working leg high and balancing before finally setting it down. He was committed and a great partner. What he lacked in zip and youthful vigor (Rodkin) he made up for showing his experience.

Shrainer was a very dynamic Gamzatti. After her Italian fouettés and regular fouettés I thought she was about to fall out but she recovered before any problem. It looked like she might fall out but regained her confidence and composure before she did.

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Cherubini’s rare opera is probably rare for a reason after hearing it tonight (actually last night since it is well past midnight)...there is really no big memorable aria (Nadir and Delia have an aria each but their arias are not thrilling, just “nice”), no memorable duet, no great chorus, etc. Everything about it is nice (the music is nice, the story is comic but I never laughed but it was cute, the set pieces weren’t bad but nothing to make us wish a favorite singer would star in this), but it has nothing that thrills. No “Casta Diva” or “Celeste Aida”....

I don’t mean to make it sound bad. It was fun and nice. I don’t feel I wasted an evening, but I doubt I will ever see it again, even if I had the chance.

It strikes me as an ensemble piece where no one character takes center stage at least not for long. The arias are almost ariosos. Therefore it was a perfect vehicle for the student singers of the academy. I think overall they showed promise but they didn’t sound like polished singers. The tenor Hun Kim as Nadir had an aria at the beginning and did not sound warmed up, but he got better as the opera progressed. Soprano Enkeleda Kamani was Delia, and she sang well and acted well. I think with more stage experience and technical study she could develop into a very good singer. Bass Paolo Ingrasciotta was Ali Baba, and I thought he sounded best among the main characters.

Luciana D’intino prepared/coached the singers, according to the playbill. 

The ballet students did some crazy modern dances (one tossing watermelons to each other). They looked talented but the choreography was more like circus acrobatics. 

Paolo Carignani conducted well and got the most applause.

Liliana Cavani was the director, and she had them double as students in a library and also going into the world of Ali Baba. It enabled the production to be both fairly conservative but with a twist that might satisfy the Regietheater lovers. 

Overall, a nice evening, not a performance for the ages though, and I didn’t expect that. It was interesting to hear and see this opera. I probably will never get another chance to see it, but that won’t bother me either. I would much rather see Cherubini’s Medee!

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When Ali-Baba first premiered, this was in Paris at l’Opéra, on the 22 July of 1833, it had ballets in the 3rd and in the 4th acts, artfully composed by Coralli. The services of the best dancers, Mmes Legallois, Noblet, her sister, Mme Alexis Dupont, and Monsieur Perrot, were employed and each subsequent representation was meeting with an approval of their choregraphic talents: La danse a été digne d'elle-même, vive, animé, élégante, féminine surtout. When in the 7th representation, a new number had been unexpectedly introduced, pas de schall, danced by Marie Taglioni and Pauline Leroux, the greatest critic of the time, Jules Janin, began his feuilleton with an enthusiastic exclamation:

Il est des événemens qu’on n’annonce point , qui s’annoncent tout seuls tout d’abord , tout d’un coup. Vous êtes tranquillement assis à l’Opéra , vous prêtez l’oreille à la musique de M. Chérubini , qui vous parait plus belle encore que la première fois , tout à coup vous la voyez! vous la revoyez ! c’est elle ! c’est bien elle ! elle danse ! et comment danse-t-elle ? Elle danse comme dansaient toutes les autres avant elle, comme ne dansent plus les autres depuis qu’elle a dansé ; elle danse comme si elle était l’élève de M. Coulon , comme si elle était l’élève de quelqu’un ; elle danse comme la Camargo.—Je vous assure, Monsieur, qu’elle à fait un entrechat.— Pas possible ! un entrechat ! en êtes-vous bien sûr ? — Deux entrechats! trois entrechats ! oh! la folle! oh ! la naïve ! voyez ! voyez ! elle aussi, elle a ses bouffantes ! Regardez ! regardez ! Et en effet, elle a dansé ce jour-là à ne pas la reconnaître , n’était sa grâce naturelle, son chaste maintien et tout le charme de sa personne. Le parterre ravi a applaudi comme jamais ; les vieillards , parce qu’elle leur rendait la danse de leur jeunesse , mais correcte , charmante , décente dans ses plus grands écarts ; les jeunes gens , parce qu’elle leur prouvait que l’entrechat était possible.

Only a lack of room prevents me from providing a translation retaining the charming qualities of the original.

That was then. Now we have monstrosities of ineptitude and bad taste (à la "coreografia" Birdsall is mentioning in his report).

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Birdsall, thanks so much for giving us your thoughts, and thanks also to Laurent for some historical background.  I recently read a theory that these old 'forgotten' operas are being revived to provide the opera audience with 'new' works as there is not much take up with contemporary discordant works. 

In London this summer we got to see the world premiere of Donizetti's L'Ange de Nisida (1839) in a concert version with professional singers.  When the opera was first written the theatre company in Paris due to perform it went bankrupt  the opera was never performed. Donizetti went on to use the best bits in later works. 

I sometimes go to student performances but they lack the polish of professionals, the odd choreography can't have helped the overall impression either, operas of that period were so dependant on lengthy ballet sequences.  Agree Medee is wonderful.

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Very interesting to read about Ali-Baba -- thanks from me as well Birdsall and Laurent.

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9 hours ago, Birdsall said:

I don’t mean to make it sound bad. It was fun and nice. I don’t feel I wasted an evening, but I doubt I will ever see it again, even if I had the chance.

It strikes me as an ensemble piece where no one character takes center stage at least not for long. The arias are almost ariosos. Therefore it was a perfect vehicle for the student singers of the academy. I think overall they showed promise but they didn’t sound like polished singers.

When Ali-Baba was first performed in Paris, it was sung by the greatest singers of the time: Levasseur as Ali-Baba, Cinti Damoreau as Délie, Nourrit as Nadir, and Mlle Falcon as Morgiane. Musically it was quite uniformly considered to be a triumph, some critics were writing, however, that the delights of the piece were opening themselves in the second and subsequent viewings. Its only weakness was ascribed to the libretto, criticized for its low literary qualities, a result of collaboration of Scribe and Mélesville. It's worth remembering that Scribe was responsible for the libretto of La Belle au bois dormant, and of Le Dieu et la bayadère, precursors of the Sleeping Beauty and La Bayadère. Both works were performed twice in the same month of September of 1833, when Marie Taglioni made her unforgettable appearance in pas de schall of Ali-Baba. She danced in all three besides making her rentrée in La Sylphide, three times that month.

Edited by Laurent

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I have the Ali Baba audio recording with Alfredo Kraus from La Scala’s 1963 production. I listened to it several times before coming here, and, although the singers were better (especially Kraus), even then I felt it is no major work. It is enjoyable with nice music. I think great singers improve it, but I don’t think it will ever be held in the esteem (popular or critical) that other comic operas are (Barber of Seville, L’elisir d’amore, Don Pasquale, La Fille du Regiment, etc.). I imagine the original singers may have embellished their arias and that may have helped a lot. Maybe La Scala also cut the set pieces and they would be better uncut and embellished. No idea. I found it fun and nice but won’t run to see it again. 

I do like to see rare operas. Occasionally you sit up and realize an opera doesn’t deserve to be neglected, but often you understand why. 

I have seen many rare early operas by Verdi, and they show that Verdi was not born a genius. He has glimmers of genius in some arias or ensembles in the early works, and something like Oberto showed his connection to bel canto (which is very interesting) before he found his own amazing special voice. But even from this great composer you understand why many of his early works are rarely performed. They aren’t bad. They just aren’t La Traviata, La Forza, Don Carlos, etc.

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It looked full to me. Hard to tell if the back seats in boxes were full though. 

Kovalyova, Tissi, and Kretova were great tonight! They all looked like young people in love! They gave their all! I was very surprised. I will have to say more tomorrow. I have to try to sleep for 3 hours before catching a flight home very early!

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Last night Kovalyova, Tissi, and Kretova thrilled the crowd, and the audience didn’t seem to want them to leave. Tissi, of course, was beloved, but it also felt like I was watching a star being born for Kovalyova! Kretova too! It was like watching 3 stars being born!

I actually saw Kovalyova’s debut via a private video and thought she was too young and inexperienced for Nikiya...I was actually disappointed when I watched the video, but last night she impressed me, so I assume she’s been working on the role. Where she was weak in her debut seeming to barely act when the High Brahmin accosted her, she was more emphatic in her rejection last night. However, she looks to me to be a sweet and gentle soul where anger or rejecting someone comes harder than for someone like Zakharova. She has the flowing Vaganova arms that I love, and all night she seemed like a woman in love. Her turns with the scarf looked more assured than Zakharova’s! 

But the biggest thing that made me love this performance was that all three main characters seemed fresh, young, alive, and the dancers looked like they LOVED what they were doing at every moment.

Kretova’s acting was outstanding. She looked desperate when she thought she might lose Solor, and she was very imperious and angry after the cat fight bringing her fist down powerfully. After the snake bite and Nikiya accuses her she looked scared. Technically I found no fault either. Her Italian fouettés and regular fouettés were great! 

Tissi was hard not to love. I am sure part of the excitement in the theatre was due to his being Italian. However, he delivered and added so many little balances or poses that were beautiful and expressive of the moment. It was like he wanted so much to give the most to the performance. His first solo, however, had a slight jerkiness to it, as he prepared to jump, but all other moments were gorgeous. His cambres in the first act as Nikiya circles around him were deep and beautiful.

Basically, this was the performance I thought I would like the least, but it ended up knocking my socks off! Everyone was “on” and you truly believed in the plight of these young people! 

It is so rare for all the main dancers to be so exciting.

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8 hours ago, Birdsall said:

Last night Kovalyova, Tissi, and Kretova thrilled the crowd, and the audience didn’t seem to want them to leave. Tissi, of course, was beloved, but it also felt like I was watching a star being born for Kovalyova! Kretova too! It was like watching 3 stars being born!

I actually saw Kovalyova’s debut via a private video and thought she was too young and inexperienced for Nikiya...I was actually disappointed when I watched the video, but last night she impressed me, so I assume she’s been working on the role. Where she was weak in her debut seeming to barely act when the High Brahmin accosted her, she was more emphatic in her rejection last night. However, she looks to me to be a sweet and gentle soul where anger or rejecting someone comes harder than for someone like Zakharova. She has the flowing Vaganova arms that I love, and all night she seemed like a woman in love. Her turns with the scarf looked more assured than Zakharova’s! 

But the biggest thing that made me love this performance was that all three main characters seemed fresh, young, alive, and the dancers looked like they LOVED what they were doing at every moment.

Kretova’s acting was outstanding. She looked desperate when she thought she might lose Solor, and she was very imperious and angry after the cat fight bringing her fist down powerfully. After the snake bite and Nikiya accuses her she looked scared. Technically I found no fault either. Her Italian fouettés and regular fouettés were great! 

Tissi was hard not to love. I am sure part of the excitement in the theatre was due to his being Italian. However, he delivered and added so many little balances or poses that were beautiful and expressive of the moment. It was like he wanted so much to give the most to the performance. His first solo, however, had a slight jerkiness to it, as he prepared to jump, but all other moments were gorgeous. His cambres in the first act as Nikiya circles around him were deep and beautiful.

Basically, this was the performance I thought I would like the least, but it ended up knocking my socks off! Everyone was “on” and you truly believed in the plight of these young people! 

It is so rare for all the main dancers to be so exciting.

Great to hear, Birdsall.

I do have to say that I thought that the Olga Smirnova Nikiya that I saw two years ago was magnificent.

Hope that you had a very fine trip.

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9 hours ago, Birdsall said:

Last night Kovalyova, Tissi, and Kretova thrilled the crowd, and the audience didn’t seem to want them to leave. Tissi, of course, was beloved, but it also felt like I was watching a star being born for Kovalyova! Kretova too! It was like watching 3 stars being born!

I actually saw Kovalyova’s debut via a private video and thought she was too young and inexperienced for Nikiya...I was actually disappointed when I watched the video, but last night she impressed me, so I assume she’s been working on the role. Where she was weak in her debut seeming to barely act when the High Brahmin accosted her, she was more emphatic in her rejection last night. However, she looks to me to be a sweet and gentle soul where anger or rejecting someone comes harder than for someone like Zakharova. She has the flowing Vaganova arms that I love, and all night she seemed like a woman in love. Her turns with the scarf looked more assured than Zakharova’s! 

But the biggest thing that made me love this performance was that all three main characters seemed fresh, young, alive, and the dancers looked like they LOVED what they were doing at every moment.

Kretova’s acting was outstanding. She looked desperate when she thought she might lose Solor, and she was very imperious and angry after the cat fight bringing her fist down powerfully. After the snake bite and Nikiya accuses her she looked scared. Technically I found no fault either. Her Italian fouettés and regular fouettés were great! 

Tissi was hard not to love. I am sure part of the excitement in the theatre was due to his being Italian. However, he delivered and added so many little balances or poses that were beautiful and expressive of the moment. It was like he wanted so much to give the most to the performance. His first solo, however, had a slight jerkiness to it, as he prepared to jump, but all other moments were gorgeous. His cambres in the first act as Nikiya circles around him were deep and beautiful.

Basically, this was the performance I thought I would like the least, but it ended up knocking my socks off! Everyone was “on” and you truly believed in the plight of these young people! 

It is so rare for all the main dancers to be so exciting.

Glad you enjoyed it! I've been following along on instagram trying to see videos and there are some videos on insta stories and posts that I have downloaded. If anyone wants to see it feel free to PM me! Also, Carla Fracci and miuccia prada and other fashion designers were also in attendance last night which is pretty cool!

From what I have seen on social media, it seems that Tissi and Alena have grown closer over this last year. They often hang out together (via insta stories) and his family often comments on her instagram which leads me to think they are actively trying to build a relationship which can only be good for us ballet viewers! Since, Kovalyova is so tall her partners are quite limited so a good relationship with Tissi is important I think! 

I think for Tissi, it was special for him because he's from Italy, this was where he danced until he came to the Bolshoi so it was a homecoming of sorts for him so I'm sure it was very emotional for him. In the clips I've seen, he looks better here than he did in their debut! 

Also, do you still have a way to view her debut? I would love to see it to compare it to the little tidbits from this time to see the improvement you speak of. Thanks! 

Edited by balletlover08

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15 hours ago, Birdsall said:

Last night Kovalyova, Tissi, and Kretova thrilled the crowd, and the audience didn’t seem to want them to leave. Tissi, of course, was beloved, but it also felt like I was watching a star being born for Kovalyova! Kretova too! It was like watching 3 stars being born!

I actually saw Kovalyova’s debut via a private video and thought she was too young and inexperienced for Nikiya...I was actually disappointed when I watched the video, but last night she impressed me, so I assume she’s been working on the role. Where she was weak in her debut seeming to barely act when the High Brahmin accosted her, she was more emphatic in her rejection last night. However, she looks to me to be a sweet and gentle soul where anger or rejecting someone comes harder than for someone like Zakharova. She has the flowing Vaganova arms that I love, and all night she seemed like a woman in love. Her turns with the scarf looked more assured than Zakharova’s! 

But the biggest thing that made me love this performance was that all three main characters seemed fresh, young, alive, and the dancers looked like they LOVED what they were doing at every moment.

Kretova’s acting was outstanding. She looked desperate when she thought she might lose Solor, and she was very imperious and angry after the cat fight bringing her fist down powerfully. After the snake bite and Nikiya accuses her she looked scared. Technically I found no fault either. Her Italian fouettés and regular fouettés were great! 

Tissi was hard not to love. I am sure part of the excitement in the theatre was due to his being Italian. However, he delivered and added so many little balances or poses that were beautiful and expressive of the moment. It was like he wanted so much to give the most to the performance. His first solo, however, had a slight jerkiness to it, as he prepared to jump, but all other moments were gorgeous. His cambres in the first act as Nikiya circles around him were deep and beautiful.

Basically, this was the performance I thought I would like the least, but it ended up knocking my socks off! Everyone was “on” and you truly believed in the plight of these young people! 

It is so rare for all the main dancers to be so exciting.

"On" isn't always a function of the most distinguished casts--whatever one's criteria for distinction is--or most experienced ones. There's a living excitement that takes over in the theater some nights. Sounds like this was one of those nights. Wonderful to read about! 

 

Edited by Drew

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That's true, Drew. Zakharova was the most experienced, and she was very good. She is still worth seeing. And Rodkin partnered her very well. So that was a recipe for being the best show, but somehow it wasn't. Kovalyova and Tissi were electric, in my opinion, and this is something that is hard to put your finger on why exactly......they simply made the story come alive for me.

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I saw the three Bayaderes at La Scala and here's my take on the performances. 


Firstly, aspects of this Grigorovich 2013 production felt unfamiliar to me even though I think it must have been the one the Bolshoi brought to London in 2013. Gamzatti and the blacked up children have significantly more dancing than in the Mariinsky version with which I’m more recently familiar and the ending sees Solor with a last desperate grand jete around the stage before he dies. 


I enjoyed all the performances and for me each cast brought something to enjoy and admire. As an aside, La Scala stage seems very deep and not so wide as some others so maybe where you sit makes a big difference to your experience. 


On the opening night Rodkin was terrific; his solo dancing is so smooth and light, and his elevation so impressive, that when he grand jetes across the stage in his first entrance he’s like a panther. Zakharova, now in her late 30’s is presumably in the twilight of her astonishing career but she still has the most beautiful arms and the shapes she makes with her body (in particular with her back) in the Act 1 pdd with Rodkin are simply exquisite. Rodkin is an excellent partner and I find his acting much improved. In this cast Krysanova was replaced by the corps de ballet dancer Marchenkova and that was a pity because in my opinion she was probably better suited to her originally scheduled Kovaleyeva/Tissi cast. She’s a strong dancer and had no problem with her fouettes - Italian and otherwise - but the confrontation between her and Zakharova seemed fuzzy and lacked impact. 


The Bronze Idol in the first and third nights was Lopatin a dancer whose recent promotion to principal was well overdue IMO. It’s a pity that this was the role to show him off to Milan because although he has great precision, I don’t think he has the elevation to make a spectacular bronze idol and he will have been really annoyed with himself to have to use his hand to save his landing in the third performance. 


As for the ensemble/corps dancing - the cast in the grand pas and the three shades were mostly the same in all three performances and included : Bochkova, Kruteleva, Khochlova, Severnard, Chapkina, Zhiganshina, Trikova, Shrainer. Generally, the standard of the dancing was high with Kruteleva’s first shade variation being particularly notable. The shades were generally well coordinated.


The second night brought Smirnova/Chudin & Shrainer in the lead roles. Smirnova and Chudin are a familiar partnership, possibly why they were the only couple who executed the more tricky “boat” version of the Act 1 pdd lift. The confrontation between Smirnova’s Nikiya and Shrainer’s Gamzatti was by far the most effective of the three performances. I first saw Shrainer in the poorly regarded Don Q debut she made at Covent Garden but two years have passed and in my opinion Shrainer’s Gamzatti was excellent - she is technically strong and has a very engaging stage presence.

Smirnova has clearly been identified as an exceptional talent for some years now, and although I used to find her too remote, in Milan her Nikya solo in the wedding scene was a masterclass not only superlative in execution but equally in expression of emotion. If this was not the stand out performance of the three perhaps it was that, fabulous dancer he undoubtedly is, Chudin is a prince, not a warrior and he was slightly lost on the huge La Scala stage - even though he was the only warrior to carry off 8 tours en l’air in the final solo.


Kovaleyva/ Tissi were a new combination for me although she was in ensemble roles on the last tour to London. It’s easy to see why she has been propelled out of the corps de ballet; her limbs go on forever, she has a very sweet, fresh presence, and although she’s unfinished she clearly has star quality. Tissi for me was rather less convincing for someone who is a Bolshoi Leading Soloist. He’s tall, handsome, charismatic and confident and he partnered her generally very well but the disappointment for me was in all of his solo variations which I found lack lustre. His elevation is average and his final variation was a mix of split jumps and grand jetees - no tours en l’air. 


All the performances were enthusiastically received by the Milan audience and it was pretty well sold although I could see there were a number of empty stalls seats for Kovaleyva/Tissi. 

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