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Notre Dame de PAris


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At February 6 Roland Petit and Boris Akimov talked with the journalists about Petit’s Notre Dame de Paris (Bolshoi’s premiere will take place at 15,16, 18 and 20 of February). The announced cast was as follows:

Esmeralda – Svetlana Lunkina, Anna Antonicheva

Quasimodo – Nicolai Tsiskaridze, Dmitry Belogolovtsev

Phoebus – Alexandr Volchkov

Frollo – Ruslan Skvortsov, Yan Godovsky.

It was said that Andrei Uvarov also prepared Phoebus but he will not dance because of injury. By the contract with the Bolshoi, the ballet will be shown no less than 40 times in 5 years.

Last circumstance is hopeful because fans of Maria Alexandrova was disappointed that she dont have the main part as Akimov promised in his interview several moths ago, but if the ballet really will be performed so often there is a chance. And of course Uvarov must be beautiful as Phoebus and I hope to see him in the part.

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Thank you for that, Inga. I'll be interested to hear how you find the ballet, and what the reaction is there.

We saw "Notre Dame" in Washington about 10 years ago with Petit's own company -- then the Ballet de Marseille. I saw it several times, and at first I thought it was too simplistic -- just the main characters, with everyone else either Peasant or Villager. But after several viewings I saw more subtlety in it, and thought that was part of its point: to paint a big story in big, broad strokes, and focus on the main characters. And there are good roles, definitely.

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February 15, premiere of Roland Petit’s Notre Dame de Paris

Esmeralda – Svetlana Lunkina

Quasimodo – Nikolai Tsiskaridze

Frollo – Yan Godovsky

Phoebus – Alexander Volchkov

The long-expected premiere took place at last, and I enjoyed it a lot! The production in spite of its old age still looks interesting, the movements showed rich fantasy and grand-scaled mind of the choreographer. The company danced with real inspiration. The corps de ballet dont have such a nice turnout as POB dancers but they danced with commitment. Nikolai Tsiskaridze was convincing as Quasimodo. His style of dancing usually is very flamboyant and in the grotesque part of Quasimodo that style was quite suitable. He was not a human being but fantastic creature not from this world, he belong to the world of eternal majestic Notre Dame. Svetlana Lunkina as Esmeralda was beautiful and tender, her stage presence was great. Roland Petit’s style is very suitable for her so no wonder that the choreographer called her one of the best ballerinas of the world. Alexander Volchkov as Phoebus looked like blond Greek god and give impression of antique statue. He is young and danced just a several big parts but I think he have qualities to became real star. Yan Godosky as Frollo apparently did his best but he have no strong personality.

Bolshoi have in its repertoire just a few ballet that is not Russian classic so it’s very pleasant to see something of quite different style.

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The premiere made big impression but on different people the impression was different. Opinions is mixed: I already hear that the ballet is dated and it’s shameful disaster for the company, and opinion that it’s big success and great victory for the Bolshoi.

Some people criticize the dancers for dancing the ballet rather in emotional Russian style than in reserved and sensual French manner. However POB dance Russian classical ballets in French style and nobody see here any problem! It’s quite natural that when a ballet is staged in different companies with different traditions it will be danced differently.

Other people, to the contrary, have their own ideas about Notre Dame de Paris personages, quite unlike that of Mr. Petit. Lunkina was criticized for being just mild beautiful girl instead of hot Carmen-like gipsy . Volchkov was called too innocent and romantic whereas Phoebus should be virile military guy. I think if Roland Petit wanted the same, he would chose for the parts other dancers.

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Thank you, Inga. Good point, these differences in approach and style are just what makes seeing the same ballet danced by different companies especially interesting. And that the approach can also change with time, even when the choreographer is involved, is also quite common.

I suppose the other casts will reveal different aspects of the ballet as well.

Anybody else who saw Notre-Dame de Paris?

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At February 18 I saw Notre Dame de Paris with second cast.

Esmeralda – Anna Antonicheva

Quasimodo – Dmitry Belogolovtsev

Frollo – Yan Godovsky

Phoebus – Alexander Volchkov

I like that performance less than the premiere because of Antonicheva – that mild obediently-looking ballerina wanted to be Carmen but she looked uneven in the beginning and bland toward the end. Her heavy movements did not help.

For me center of the ballet was brilliant Belogolovtsev as Quasimodo. He showed virile temperament and was assured and charming. That Quasimodo apparently did not feel himself a freak and have quite easy relationship with the world around. He is a part of the crowd and he like them. His feeling for Esmeralda was rather brother’s love than man’s passion, and in the final scene he was unhappy not because he lose his lover but because he see a death of a young woman that otherwise would live for many years. The rendition was unexpected but I like it. Belogolovtsev is very talented dancer but he rarely dance leading parts so I was happy to see him in the role.

Volchkov was bright again but he have not such a chemistry with Antonicheva as he had with Lunkina.

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I saw it when I was in Moscow (July-August) this summer, as originally I come from Russia but live in Cyprus right now.

I was hoping to see Tsiskaridze, but enjoyed watching Dmitri B. as well. I found the choreography a lot different from all the other ballets I saw - and even though from my point of view the corps de ballet is still finding it hard to perform in this style which is very new to them (they're used to everything 100 % classical, classical, classical!) I found it interesting and amusing to watch. The corps de ballet played a very important part in the overall performance.



P.S Note my signature - I watched the musical version of Notre Dame for the second time during that stay and now I'm mad about it. It's taken me over fully!

Edited by Bee
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