La Bayadere —- Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow -- April 13,14,15, 2016
She now represents the perfection of the art.
She’s artistically beautiful and technically exact. She doesn’t seem to ever make mistakes. She can be compelling in character to the extent that she goes beyond herself, into the area that I would call theatrical ‘genius.’ I remember her performance of Giselle from several years ago at the Mariinsky Festival that I called the best performance of ‘Anything!’ that I’d ever seen.
This year, at the end of her La Bayadere, about 10% or more of the ground floor audience rushed to the stage. The audience is highly aware that it’s watching artistic greatness from one of its own and the response is as knowingly appreciative and acknowledging as it’s proud and instinctive. She received five or six highly applauded curtain calls, the most enthusiastic response from all that I saw.
Ekaterina Krysanova and Anna Nikulina
They both have a lot in common. First of all, their dancing is extremely beautiful. They are very likeable. They are not tall women, but they have a huge stage presence. Both have an airiness that is just lovely. Their shorter limbs are still alive with beauty and interest. Anna Nikulina performed the first night, being slightly looser and more youthful. Ekaterina Krysanova is very technically sound. She showed this the most, and was probably the most secure of all the Nikias, in the final series of spins across stage that end abruptly to be instantly followed by returning backward in arabesque. This is the bravura highlight for the women, especially Bolshoi women, and they carry it to the limit, racing across the stage. Svetlana Zakharova was also very secure with this as she is with everything.
Anna Nikulina, Ekaterina Krysanova and Maria Allash all radiated this. You expect it from Nikia, the heroine Temple Dancer, but Maria Allash even brought it to her Gamzatti, the Rajah’s revengeful daughter, and it worked with poetic fineness. Each night she starts joyfully innocent, falling immediately in love with Solor, to be heartbroken to discover that he loves Nikia. Even while taking revenge on Nikia, she is a heartbroken innocent, at times forcing herself to act out the role that she must live as a Rajah’s daughter. Her second evening was slightly more royal and less sympathetic. Still, both nights, she was quite loveable in many ways. You do feel for her.
The confrontation between Ekaterina Krysanova, Nikia, and Maria Allash, Gamzatti, is a meeting of innocents. It’s poetically deep and emotionally touching.
Svetlana Zakharova, as Nikia, and Maria Alexandrova, as Gamzatti, were no innocents. They wove mature circles around their adversaries. Svetlana Zakharova, although the pure Temple Dancer, knew exactly what was happening at all times and reacted powerfully. Maria Alexandrova was just theatrically brilliant ! She offers Nikia her diamond bracelet and, when Nikia refuses it, she drops it to the floor with an impish arrogance as if it were a meaningless piece of junk. She is sharp as can be at this sort of theatrical prowess. No actor that I’ve seen can do it better. In addition, you have to love her, no matter whom she’s portraying.
The Corps de Ballet
Magically Wonderful !
They performed as well as I’ve ever seen. Their final Shades Act was dream perfect. They moved totally together, like heavenly waves. They positioned themselves like goddesses. I can’t praise them enough.
They, Even With All The Exceptional Solo Performances, Were, As Much as Anything, The Ones Who Carried Each Evening Above and Beyond.
The lead male dancers, Vladislav Lantrato, Denis Rodkin and Mikhail Lobukhin, for me, were most noteworthy for their feats of bravura. One exceptional element was their very impressive jumps. The audience couldn’t get enough ! Also, what’s extremely important, and can go completely unnoticed, especially by me, is the partnering, the way that the ballerina is supported. I have to assume, because of the outstanding ballerina performances, that the partnering must have been of the highest order.
The Bronze Idol always brings the house down. This is followed by the group of ‘crazies’ in “The dance with drum.” If you were starting to nod off, forget it. You were wide awake for the rest of the evening.
In fact the entire evening moves along with liveliness and beauty. At this, the Bolshoi is perhaps unequalled.
The dancing was extremely beautiful and outstanding throughout. It also seemed so precise, secure and clear. I don’t really pay close attention to technical detail, but this dancing seemed so correct and so easy to read.
What brings me back to Russia year after year ?
The wonderfulness of the ballet, most deeply sensed by being in its own home.
And the day to day life — How warm and heart touching individuals can be, true everywhere, but especially felt by me here.
The first thing that I did after getting to London was to go see the Rembrandts at The National Gallery. Is there a connection between that and where I just came from ? I sometimes really think so.