I agree with you absolutely with regard to the limited space allocated to the dancers at QEH. Even the microphone has not been removed further from the stage apron. I felt sorry that the dancers could not fully spread their 'wings' and legs. Even worse was the impact it had on the audience's perception of the mood, which they were trying to create with their performance, especially in "The Dying Swan" where the total loneliness of the white bird in the black wastness of the stage is of paramount importance. To Irma's credit she danced beautifully and is in an excellent form now. I read that the Moscow ballet lovers were very enthusiastic about her dancing "The Firebird" in the Kremlin recently.
However, I would like to defend the programme of that concert. You wrote: "The programme of selected works showed an incredible disparity that gave no clues to the path of the evening. Readings in Russian from Brodsky rubbed shoulders with arias from Tchaikovsky’s ‘Queen of Spades’ and collided with a piano duet from Schnittke’s ‘Gogol Suite.’"
First of all, it was a very Russian concert, very typical of the concerts which Russians are used to and love: mixture of music, ballet, opera, poetry reading, etc. - the same kind of a composition as a Royal Variety Show in England but without a comedian linking all the numbers. And the leit-motif of that concert was perfectly clear: St.Petersburg, timed to its 300th anniversary. Almost all performers, as well as every piece performed, had some link to St.Petersburg: arias from "Eugene Onegin" and "Queen of Spades" (the most Peterburgian of all Tchaikovsky's operas), poetry by Mandelshtam and Brodsky, "Tarantella" by a Leningrader Gavrilin. "The Overcoat" piece from Shnittke's "Gogol Suite" is based on Gogol's "St.Petersburg Stories". And two ballet numbers were choreographed by a Peterburgian Mikhail Fokine. Everything seemed logical to numerous Russians who constituted the majority in the audience on that evening. They could listen Sergei Yursky reading "Onegin" endlessly, however, I could understand that his reading in Russian seemed too long for the English-speaking viewers.
I personally enjoyed the concert although one of the singers should have stayed at home learning singing.
I am definitely looking forward to see the gala concerts with Irma Nioradze at Albert Hall in May.
<small>[ 21 January 2003, 06:08 PM: Message edited by: coda ]</small>