Jump to content
Quinten

Bolshoi La Bayadere in Cinema January 2018

Recommended Posts

21 minutes ago, Laurent said:

Smirnova literally owns the Russian media. Her husband is the head of Goldman-Sachs Russia, in the local configuration of power this is a very significant person; in Bolchoï she wields enormous power, it is her, not Vaziev, who has the final say who "can" who "cannot" be shown in the cinema broadcasts. Only Zakharova and Smirnova decide what, when, and with whom they will be dancing.

No doubt Zakharova and Smirnova do wield some degree of power and have some privileges, but If Smirnova truly decides completely "what, when, and with whom" she will be dancing, how is it that she did not refuse when Vaziev assigned her the role of Kitri, which she was unhappy about dancing?   

Share this post


Link to post

unhappy about dancing -- ???

 

Not "some degree". They do decide. Zakharova decides her own affairs, Smirnova also the affairs of the theatre and especially the media coverage. The powerful mother of her husband, the grey eminence of the Bolchoï under Mr. Filine, evicted from Bolchoï immediately after the appointment of Mr. Ourine, is back in the theatre, without any fanfare.

Share this post


Link to post

Goldman Sachs is an investment bank, to the best of my knowledge it has nothing whatsoever to do with the media.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Kaysta said:

I’m thrilled Smirnova is dancing the broadcast, her Diamonds was one of the highlights of ballet watching for me.  I can’t wait to see her Nikiya.

Hi, Kaysta. If you've read any of my posts you probably know that I'm a great admirer of the artistry of Olga Smirnova. I also agree with what you've written. Since you've mentioned Diamonds, if you would like  to see what I consider a beautiful contrast in style, relevant beyond just this work, I would suggest an internet Diamonds video of Oksana Skorik. I feel that both these artists in their own way are two of the greatest highlights in ballet today and watching them perform 'side by side' adds to the appreciation of both of them.

Added: I would also say that Olga Smirnova is probably always thinking about the direction of her career and acts accordingly. Yet, from interviewers’ comments, etc., she also seems like a very decent person and I think that this would be reflected in all her actions.

Edited by Buddy
end of last sentence added before the "Added" , "always thinking" replaced "quite concerned" in "Added"

Share this post


Link to post

Olga Smirnova’s husband, Dmitri Kostov, held a position of an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs Russia.  (I don’t know if he still does.) Equaling an ED to the company’s head is an exaggeration. 

Share this post


Link to post

Never having heard of Dmitri Kostov, I googled and soon descended into the Bolshoi version of "you can't make up this kind of stuff":   During the trial of the men accused of the acid attack on Sergei Filin, as reported by the Guardian, "Filin's assistant, Dilyara Timergazina, also gave evidence on Tuesday. She denied Dmitrichenko's claims that Filin had had affairs with a number of ballerinas and handed out leading roles "through his bedsheets". In particular, Dmitrichenko accused Filin of having an affair with Olga Smirnova, a star ballerina at the Bolshoi who accompanied him to a theatre performance on the night of the attack. Timergazina said she was certain that Filin was not having an affair with Smirnova, who is also her daughter-in-law."  https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/nov/12/bolshoi-theatre-acid-attack-sergei-filin?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

This testimony cleared Olga's name, but reveals that Timergazina, the mother of Smirnova's husband Dmitri Kostov, was working for Filin at the time of the acid attack, and that Dmitrichenko, among others, perceived favoritism towards Smirnova.  Dmitrichenko thought the perceived favoritism was due to sexual favors, but according to the mother-in-law, it was not.  Maybe Dmitrichenko was completely wrong, that there was no undue favoritism because after all Filin brought Olga to the Bolshoi and why wouldn't he provide her the best opportunities and best press? But it's also possible that Olga's opportunities/press were enhanced by her mother-in-law's proximity to the AD. Based on common experience, know it can be very helpful to have a family members positioned near levers of power, but in the case of Smirnova we'll probably never know for sure, either way.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

I'd like to throw this into the equation, if I can.

"I [Olga Smirnova] believe that the main thing is not wish for something better, rather than remain in harmony with yourself and with your loved ones," confesses the modest prima ballerina. "When I was a child, I could not even dream of such a fulfilling creative life as I have now. I think I just want to cherish and enhance it."

https://worldofballet.com/smirnova_en

For me, her exceptional artistic ability speaks for itself. There's nothing in my outsider's view of her personal life that would supersede this in importance. We all have our favorites. This should by no means exclude us from appreciating everyone else's ability.

Share this post


Link to post
18 minutes ago, Quinten said:

@Buddy nobody’s suggesting she’s not a wonderful dancer. 

😊

By the way, I also think that Yulia Stepanova is a very fine ballerina.

Share this post


Link to post

Meanwhile, the latest issue of the Italian dance magazine Danza & Danza has a photo of Olga Smirnova on its cover. Smirnova is also a recipient of magazine’s “Ballerina of the Year” award for her role of Nikiya performed during the Bolshoi’s tour of La Bayadere at La Scala last September.

Share this post


Link to post

Here is the full length trailer for Bolshoi's La Bayadere featuring Yulia Stepanova dancing Nikiya's monologue, or most of it. Oddly, Olga Smirnova narrates this clip. (Normally, the featured ballerina both dances and narrates the trailer.) Under the title it says, "voice of Olga Smirnova, Prima Ballerina". Yulia is not credited in the video, although she is the only person dancing for the entire 2:40 of the clip. It would have been easy to add "dancer Yulia Stepanova, Prima Ballerina". (There's a blurb on YouTube below the video that eventually clarifies who is dancing in the video, but in some of the other versions in other languages that explanation doesn't appear). I can't imagine why Bolshoi would not want to identify one its own prima ballerinas as the actual dancer in the clip. Or are they trying to fool the public into thinking it's Olga Smirnova they're seeing in the clip?  Bizarre.

Here's the clip:

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

Daria Khokhlova narrating, unidentified prima ballerina Anastasia Stashkevich dancing. The dancers demonstrating the choreography are not named, sadly. Sometimes they also appear in the trailer as talking heads so viewers can put two and two together, sometimes they don't.

 

Share this post


Link to post

Other than the black faced children which makes me want to crawl in a hole....

 

i am LOVING this cast.  Super impressed with all 3 leads, especially Marchenkova, who may be the fiercest Gamzatti I’ve ever seen.

Share this post


Link to post

Olga was beautiful in the second act, even with a little bobble.  And watching Belyakov makes me realize how depleted the male principal ranks are at both NYC companies right now.

Share this post


Link to post

Glad I went.  Some bobbles by all 3, but the 3 leads were all great.  Outside of Tiler Peck, Smirnova may be my favorite current dancer.  I thought she was a hauntingly beautiful  Nikiya.

My only complaints besides the black faced kids (which is completely unnecessary and should be changed) is the camera work during the corps Kingdom of the Shades.  I don’t want to see close up shots during the Shades entrance.  I also was not that impressed with Shrainer or Chapykina’s solos.  But overall, an afternoon well spent!!!!

Edited by Kaysta

Share this post


Link to post

I enjoyed it as well. Lots of Russians in the audience and no ballet students which is terrible! When I went to Don Q a bit ago, movie stopped before the pas and they couldn't get it going again so got our money back. Wonder if that happened at all the theatres. They said it was a transmission problem....

Share this post


Link to post

That production is so much fun! The corps and soloists (most of them) were just astonishing!  This is the first time I've seen Bolshoi's La Bayadere through from beginning to end and it was a delight. I especially liked Bruna Galglione Cantahede in the dance with drum, Daria Bochkova in manu and the 4 grand pas soloists in red/orange tutus.  Oh, and the opening dance of the slave temple helpers or whoever they are -- the lead guy was gorgeous and what a jump! (Ivan Alexeev? not sure). The leads were another story.  I like Olga Marchenkova in some things but she's a badass (in the best sense of the word), not a princess! She's clearly done a lot of work to refine her technique and appearance since her Gamzatti debut a couple of years ago, but she's just not at Smirnova's level or quality and it was jarring.  I also like Artemy Belyakov, who danced beautifully, but to me he lacks charisma and sex appeal. Neither of these two were ready for international exposure and they weighed Olga down. Not to say Olga didn't dance well (in spite of a number of bobbles) but I think she would have done much better with her long time partner  Chudin, perhaps would've been more free and less obviously buttoned down. The size contrast in the Gamzatti Nikiya fight scene was weird -- usually Nikiya is the taller of the two.  Based on this viewing I don't think Nikiya is Olga's best role, although I can believe the experience might be better in the hall than in the movies.  Her face has a mask-like quality in close up that makes her look unexpressive and a bit severe.  Not such a problem in the shades act, but in the first act it looked fake and sort of old movie star exaggerated. Viewed live from the auditorium the limited facial expressiveness might not be a problem, since obviously her body is expressive, but on the screen I find it puzzling and off-putting. Glad I went though.

Edited by Quinten

Share this post


Link to post
6 hours ago, MRR said:

Bolshoi uploaded the cinemacast on its website (you have to register an account):

http://media.bolshoi.ru/play#/vod/play/435


In the end I had to miss this in the movie theater and was grateful to be reminded in time that I could find it on the Bolshoi website. I just finished watching it this evening.

I very much enjoy and admire the Bolshoi's production of Bayadere with a few caveats: I seem to appreciate pure pantomime more than Grigorovich; and I prefer Solor see Nikiya's dance with the veil in Act I since it explains the dream imagery of Act III; also, the placement of that Act I "veil" pas de deux in the Mariinsky's production doesn't interrupt the Djampe dance the way it does here. The Mariinsky's Djampe exit, ever turning in arabesque, is also more impressive. Additionally, I take it as axiomatic that Solor entering Act II on an elephant is far superior to any other possible entrance.  (As I've expressed my concerns about blackface in this ballet before and at length -- I won't go into it again.) But those caveats aside, and allowing that I only have video to go on, I do very much enjoy this production which I've also watched complete in the Zakharova/Lantratov/Alexandrova version that was broadcast a few years ago. And I hope one day I get to see the Bolshoi Shades scene, with its four ramps, live in the theater.

I did find the leading performances in the Zakharova/Lantratov/Alexandrova recording superior to those in today's broadcast, but I still found lots to admire in today's leads (Smirnova/Belyakov/Marchenkova)--especially, at times, Smirnova. Still, I'm afraid I have to second Quinten's suggestion that she might have given a freer performance opposite Chudin and regret we didn't get that pairing. I do think Belyakov is a fine dancer and I imagine he can develop still as a performer. 

Edited by Drew

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Drew said:

I prefer Solor see Nikiya's dance with the veil in Act I since it explains the dream imagery of Act III;

Thanks Drew.  I had no idea!  Had been wanting to ask, what's with the slave/veil dance?  There's no explanation of it on the Bolshoi website or in wikipedia last I looked.  Also, I've never seen the Mariinski version in its entirety (although have seen the elephant entrance on video, which does look spectacular!).  Can you explain any more about the veil dance?  What is the occasion? Why is the slave carrying her? 

Share this post


Link to post
Just now, Quinten said:

Thanks Drew.  I had no idea!  Had been wanting to ask, what's with the slave/veil dance?  There's no explanation of it on the Bolshoi website or in wikipedia last I looked.  Also, I've never seen the Mariinski version in its entirety (although have seen the elephant entrance on video, which does look spectacular!).  Can you explain any more about the veil dance?  What is the occasion? Why is the slave carrying her? 

The synopsis on the Mariinsky website reads: "The time for the marriage to be consecrated is close and Nikiya is requested to dance in the holy rites." But I'm afraid I don't know much more about it than you.  I saw the Mariinsky version when they brought it to Kennedy Center a little over a year ago and she is brought in to dance shortly after Solor and Gamzatti become engaged and dances it in front of them. It does very much give the impression of being a pas de deux in honor of the newly engaged couple and a blessing or consecration of sorts especially when she casts flowers down from a high lift. 

Since the dance involves the unwinding of that elaborate veil I always thought it helped make sense of the prominence of the veil in the Shades scene. However, it's not performed as if Nikiya knows about the engagement or as if she comes to any sort of realization about it either. It's as if she doesn't even see Solor there. I find that a little odd and it might account for why Grigorovich changed the timing of it to make it just a generic entertainment (or blessing perhaps) with no Solor around...which, come to think of it, is a point in favor of how Grigorovich re-arranges the scenes.  Makarova cut it entirely. 

I LOVE the elephant and it perfectly corresponds to the deepening, brassy parade music at that point, but it's definitely an old fashioned kind of stage effect when you see it live, so perhaps not everyone finds it impressive.  I will note though, that Nureyev keeps it too. I have only seen his production once and it was many years ago. One of the things I remember best about it is the elephant. But I've been thinking I should watch his version on video sometime soon...

Share this post


Link to post

I always thought that the slave pas de deux was meant to show the difference in social standing between Solor/Gamzatti and Nikya. In the first scene we saw Nikya and Solor as equals. They dance together and are in love. In the second scene Nikya is essentially entertainment for Gamzatti. The placid dance is a contrast to her passionate pas de deux with Solor in the first scene. It's a little dance that shows Nikya her place, so to speak.

Share this post


Link to post
19 hours ago, MRR said:

Bolshoi uploaded the cinemacast on its website (you have to register an account):

http://media.bolshoi.ru/play#/vod/play/435

Thanks so much, MRR, for finding this.

I’ve watched most of Olga Smirnova’s performance and I really don’t want to rush through the rest in order to write these few words. As I’ve written before, I think that we are witnessing at least one of the greatest ballet artists that I’ve ever seen live.

Share this post


Link to post

I’ve now seen Olga Smirnova’s entire performance and I think that it’s outstanding. It’s no longer available at the Bolshoi site.

I may be doubling back on myself, but for a couple years I’ve been writing that she could possibly be another Galina Ulanova or even an Anna Pavlova. This would be an ideal for me, because I’m very much into lyrical loveliness and dreaminess, perhaps above all else.

But Olga Smirnova has chosen a more dramatic direction, for the moment anyway. She could, I’m certain, be a lyrical masterpiece, if she chose to be. She was, after all, a star student at the Vaganova school.

But she also possesses a dramatic prowess that is remarkable. It’s compelling. It has depth and substance.

Anna Pavlova and Galina Ulanova were of the 'Stars.' Olga Smirnova is more of the here and now, with the ability to carry that into the stars. It should be fascinating and beautiful to see what she chooses and what she accomplishes.

Edited by Buddy
spelling correction

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×