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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:54 am 
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They now replaced Lunkina's photo with a photograph of Zakharova and Zelensky:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jh ... ewel15.xml

However, their claim that "Zakharova will star in every ballet performed by the Bolshoi at Covent Garden this summer" remains incorrect. She does not dance in "The Bright Stream", "The Queen of Spades" and "Go for Broke".


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:15 am 
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Quote:
Dance of death
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

It's a cause of great regret for Russia's monolithic ballet companies, the Kirov and the Bolshoi. Both are aware that, had Shostakovich been given full artistic freedom, he may have become one of the great modern ballet composers - as inspirational for the dance-makers of Soviet Russia as Stravinsky was for choreographers in the west.

published: July 19, 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:28 am 
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Why doesn't Zakharova work a little less on her line and more on her pirouttes?


Last edited by ripowam on Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:07 am 
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With the Bolshoi and Kirov-Mariinsky getting ready to perform in London I looked through my archives.This is actually a very fine interview with Svetlana Lunkina that I am lifting from another recent posting.

Two things that Svetlana Lunkina says are....

"The Most Important Thing For Me Is My Family, Children, And The Joy Of Life. And Life In General."

"....One Teacher Who Really Influenced Me--Larissa Dobrjan. She Was Very Gentle, Polite....We Were 14 At The Time And She Had An Individual Approach To Everyone. She Was Such A Kind And Nice Person That We Loved, Even Adored Her."

http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_06 ... a_0306.htm

I was fortunate enough to see some excellent Bolshoi performances in England earlier this year. Among the many, many Bolshoi artists who did wonderfully the names Svelana Lunkina, Maria Alexandrova, Anna Antonicheva, Maria Allash and Natalia Osipova come to mind.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 4:42 am 
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Accompanied by a beautiful picture of Ulanova as Juliet, Debra Craine of The Times looks back over 50 years of Bolshoi seasons in London in today's Times 2.

Seems some senior Bolshoi staff members regret the loss of the company's former style and deplore the trend towards technique being the be all and end all.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,585-2280651.html


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:20 am 
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[quote]High drama at the Bolshoi
by RUPERT CHRISTIANSEN for the Daily Telegraph

"In Russia, we say of ballerinas that their brains are in their legs," Iksanov retorts. "She should concentrate on her dancing. The project is going to plan."

But earlier this year Moscow's mayor resigned from the Bolshoi's governing body, on the grounds that the scheme's time-frame was unworkable.

published: July 24, 2006[/quote]more...


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 10:29 pm 
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Just one more. This is an interview from about two years ago. It shows a contemplative and sympathetic Nikolai Tsiskaridze.

"I remember that when I started learning to walk, still with crutches, and went outside for the first time, this was in Biarritz; I went to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. After walking a little I sat on a bench, and there was a staggering sunset on that evening. I was just sitting by the sea, listening to Mozart on my headsets, looking at the sunset and thought: what a delight and joy it is! I never had time before to sit like this and to admire what I saw."

"Here you are, a doctor - this is really a good profession....He said to me: “You see, I am a great ballet fan. My work is difficult and stressful. I can relax only in the theatre. If your profession did not exist, I wouldn’t have a place to go to and to enjoy myself. My work seems easier to me when I think of going to the theatre. And after being in the theatre I feel my spirit is lifted.” "

"However much a man loves ballet, however strong his grievances can be, nevertheless, life is much more than just ballet, life is wonderful and there are many excellent professions around."

http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_04 ... aridze.htm


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:04 am 
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Quote:
The Fiery Angel, London
by RICHARD FAIRMAN for the Financial Times

On the strength of this first evening the Bolshoi looked the more professional company. Its production of the Prokofiev was better rehearsed than any of the Mariinsky’s three and I hope it is not just a reflex western reaction that made the production values of Francesca Zambello, a guest American director in Moscow, seem more modern and acceptable to a London audience.

published: July 26, 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:33 am 
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London’s Russian Summer, on 2 Fronts: The Bolshoi and the Maryinsky
by ALAN RIDING for the New York Times

“To be honest and fair, you have to sell everything, of course, and Lilian knows that ‘Swan Lake’ sells,” Mr. Gergiev said in an interview with The Sunday Times of London in early July. “We also know that, but how many times can you do ‘Swan Lake’ in London?”

Well, on the 50th anniversary of the Bolshoi Ballet’s first ‘Swan Lake’ here, the answer appears to be open-ended. All six scheduled performances of “Swan Lake” in August have sold out.

published: July 29, 2006
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 Post subject: Bolshoi Season opens tonight!!!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:38 am 
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2006 is a red-letter year for the Bolshoi Ballet as it is now 50 years since the company’s triumphant first visit to Britain. In anticipation of the exciting Bolshoi season that begins tonight, I attended a press briefing at the Russian Embassy not long ago and as is usual on these occasions was regaled with an impressive number of facts and figures about the company. The fact that impressed me most was that the company has performed no fewer than thirty different programmes in the past year, a figure that few companies could attempt to match. In this London season alone there will be eight ballets on show, half of which will be will be completely new to UK audiences. And it won’t just be The Kirov Ballet celebrating the hundredth birthday of Shostakovich, as the Bolshoi is including in the repertoire his ballet “The Bright Stream”, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky that has been greeted with great acclaim everywhere it has been performed. In addition there will be an exhibition at the ROH about Shostakovich and his links to Britain plus another exhibition outlining the rebuilding work currently in progress at the Bolshoi Theatre.

The highlights of this season will undoubtedly be the four new ballets on show: Ratmansky’s “The Bright Stream”, a new “Cinderella” choreographed by former Bolshoi principal Yuri Posokhov, a second Ratmansky work, “Go For Broke” danced to Stravinky’s Jeu de Carte and Roland Petit’s powerful “Pique Dame” featuring a seduction scene between Nikolai Tsiskaridze and Ilze Liepa unlike anything seen on a dance stage before. Catch Maria Alexandrova in any of her roles and check out young Natalia Osipova a dancer whose natural element is the air.

With the Bolshoi theatre now closed for a major refit, the company will be touring a lot from now on, including another season in the UK next year; Paris in 2008 and La Scala Milan in 2009. The theatre is expected to re-open in 2008, but as most theatre projects are inclined to over-run, this date may prove a little optimistic, if all goes well the company plans to invite a number of major ballet companies to perform on the newly developed stage, including Britain’s Royal Ballet, in 2009. I suppose with Britain’s poor track record of completing major projects on time and on budget it’s easy to become cynical about the Bolshoi’s chances of sticking to the original time scale, but don’t underestimate Russian determination to win out against the odds. I predict the new improved Bolshoi Theatre will be a huge success.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:58 am 
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Quote:
Delicious feast of Egyptian corn
by MARK MONAHAN for the Daily Telegraph

Certainly, only Russians would ever dare attempt this sort of stuff, let alone make it work - British dancers, in particular, would be too busy hooting at its absurdities to tie the ribbons on their pointe shoes. No, to carry it off, performers need to leave their irony at the stage door.

published: August 2, 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:28 am 
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Mr Monahan's obsession with Zakharova is becoming tedious.

Quote:
......Svetlana Zakharova proved. The unchallenged star of the Bolshoi,.....


Unchallenged star? I don't think so.

I had an unwanted ticket for Zakharova for tonight and had great trouble getting rid of it as regular ballet goers seem to want to see anyone but SZ.


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 Post subject: Pharaoh's Daughter
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 6:43 am 
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‘The Pharaoh’s Daughter’ - The Bolshoi Ballet
The Royal Opera House, London; July 31, 2006


Egypt, pyramids, desert storms, chases, lions, snakes… It sounds like it could be Indiana Jones, but no, it’s summer in London, which means the Bolshoi Ballet are in town and it’s "The Pharaoh’s Daughter".

It seems incredible to think that it’s been fifty years since the company first came to London. In the programme, Clement Crisp recalls that first visit and especially how the queue for tickets began forming three days before they were due to go on sale. Demand is still as high as ever, nowadays we just queue in different ways. Incidentally, the prices were a little different too. For that 1956 visit the seats were one penny!

This “Pharaoh’s Daughter” is of course not the long lost Petipa version, abandoned in 1928 as being of little value, but Pierre Lacotte’s 2000 production. Lacotte describes it as a ‘reconstruction’, and elsewhere in the programme it’s called ‘restored’ but in reality it’s pretty much totally new work. Petipa has long been the base on which choreographers, dancers and producers have done their own thing. What Lacotte has tried to do is return to the spirit and style of Petipa’s original, as he puts it “to retain the scent of the age”. It does seem like he might have achieved that, although of course just how well he has tuned into Petipa’s original thoughts no-one can never really be truly sure.

The Pharaoh’s Daughter is of course essentially a dream that Lord Wilson, a traveling Englishman resplendently dressed in safari jacket, tie and enormous pith helmet, has one evening while traveling in Egypt. Fuelled by the effects of smoking opium, Wilson dreams of mummies that come to life and a beautiful princess, Aspicia. Wilson himself become an ancient Egyptian, Taor, and follows her. Having saved her from a lion they fall in love, the problem being that her father has other ideas and plans to marry her off to the King of Nubia. The lovers run off but are chased. Taor is caught but Aspicia throws herself into the Nile finishing up in some underwater kingdom. Of course, since it’s all a dream, she can reappear, save Taor, who has meanwhile been condemned to death, and ensure a happy ending.

On the whole the dancing was superb, especially from Svetlana Zakharova as Aspicia. It is rare indeed to see someone so technically precise in both lyrical and explosive modes. The way many dancers overextend their legs is often criticised today, including by me, but there was something wonderfully aesthetically pleasing about her 180 degree splits on grand jetes.

Zakharova was partnered by Sergei Filin as Lord Wilson/Taor, who was incredibly light on his feet with excellent fast, precise batterie and neat turns. It sounds a bit like nitpicking and perhaps it reflects the standard we expect from the Bolshoi, but the came when he stopped. Whenever anything finished on one knee, and sadly for him most things seemed too, there was a loud thump as he put it down, followed by a noticeable wobble.

There were however problems with the evening. While the corps were their usual precise selves, Lacotte finishing every set piece for them in an inch perfect sculptural pose, much of the choreography is uninteresting. He can certainly make patterns and it’s pleasant enough to look at, but it’s no more than that. And what of John Bull, Lord Wilson’s servant, played here by Denis Medvedev. His sole job seemed to be to run after his master Sancho Panza-like. What a waste of a fine dancer’s abilities.

As a story ballet, “Pharaoh’s Daughter” needs to work as a narrative. I couldn’t help thinking that the whole thing would have been so much more effective had it been acted rather more ‘over the top’. It all seemed to be taken rather too seriously. It would be interesting to see someone like ABT tackle the same ballet. I suspect we would get a totally different impression. There were some very funny moments. Aspicia fainting into Taor’s arms could have come straight out of an Indiana Jones or silent movie, and the cobra, which appears from some flowers and is used to put prisoners to death, was quite hilarious - I swear it was grinning at the audience.

Let downs included the monkey and supposedly ferocious lion, which both appear in Act I. The monkey seemed to do little more than scratch itself, turn a couple of forward rolls that any six year old could have done, grab a couple of oranges and disappear again. You might have thought a cheeky monkey stealing fruit would have been chased. Not here and anyone expecting a ‘jester-like’ showing was sorely disappointed. The lion hunt meanwhile was over in a flash. Where was the panic that should have ensued? Mind you, quite why anyone would be scared of what seemed more like an overgrown version of my neighbor’s cat, I don’t know. Here were two great opportunities for excitement and/or humour, both spurned.

Things being over too fast was a recurring problem. Blink and you missed it. I don’t think anyone expects the four hours of the original, but truncating things brings problems. Maybe it would have been better to leave some things out all together and develop the remainder rather than make so may episodes so short.

The acting too rather lacked something too - actually it rather lacked quite a lot. Russian dancers rarely seem to bare their emotions when acting, and of course Petipa’s original dancers certainly wouldn’t have, but here it was almost as if it didn’t matter. When Taor was captured, there was no struggle, no emotion, in fact barely a shrug of the shoulders. It just happened. In a story ballet the characters have to engage with the audience, on this occasion something that rarely happened.

Lacotte’s “Pharaoh’s Daughter” is a moulding of today’s dancers and today’s techniques with the style of a bygone age. The result sort of works and it is quite an enjoyable evening, but it could have been so much more.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:51 am 
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Quote:
The Pharaoh's Daughter
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

All of the characters, apart from the animals, come dressed in several riotously inauthentic but beautiful outfits, with the heroine allocated no less than eight.

...

Lacotte doesn't even try to take it seriously. Instead, he creates reams of pretty dance, weaving his corps de ballet through complicated patterns, while his principals and soloists are drillled through one exquisite variation after another, each jump and pirouette wittily embroidered to match the opulence of the costumes.

published: August 2, 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 8:27 am 
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The Pharaoh's Daughter
Bolshoi Ballet
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
London
2nd August (matinee and evening)


Earlier this year I saw a wonderful young dancer who impressed me more than any I’d seen in years. She first bounded into my consciousness as the Spanish princess in Swan Lake and later amazed me even further with an immaculate rendition of the Flames of Paris pas de deux. Her name was Natalia Osipova and after seeing those tantalizing glimpses of her in supporting roles I was hungry to see her take the lead in a full-length ballet. On Wednesday afternoon that hunger was satisfied when Ms Osipova took the stage as Aspicia in “The Pharaoh’s Daughter”. Although I didn’t know it at the time, it was also her very first appearance in the role. Did she display nerves? Yes, she did; there was more than one minor mistake in the first act and a couple of small partnering errors too where her timing appeared slightly off. She has the habit of biting her lower lip in difficult passages, that tell tale sign of a very young girl facing a theatrical challenge, though that childish little trait just made me warm to her more. Osipova is gorgeous, a prima in the making if I’m not mistaken. Her technique is already near impeccable and that miraculous jump of hers is allied to the cleanest of footwork. She has good line, pleasing musicality, natural épaulement and above all no mannerisms whatsoever. Her acting ability in this role was excellent for a first attempt and she was physically well matched to her slender partner, Dmitri Goudanov. Dark haired and pretty, Osipova is shorter and a little more compact than most of her peers, indeed her proportions are of the sort most suited to the art of classical ballet. Aspicia is a fairly demanding role for the ballerina and I saw no signs of flagging whatsoever, as Ms Osipova looked as fresh at the ballet’s end as at the beginning: an astonishing debut.

As Taor, that exotic alter ego of a drugged archaeologist, Goudanov gave a performance to match that of his exquisite princess. This role has always suited him technically, but in the past he seemed just a little too reticent in the part; too much the mild mannered academic and not quite the ardent lover from the colourful world of ancient Egypt. But this time around things were different. With his hair colour changed to blond and a more flattering hairstyle than I saw before, Mr Goudanov now looks breathtakingly handsome and has honed his acting skills to give an extra edge to his performance. He always dances like a dream; few dancers anywhere have such clarity of line allied with such perfect control, his feet are so beautiful that I could write a poem to them. I watched him from the front of the stalls and could hear spontaneous applause from clusters of his colleagues watching him from the wings, every bit as impressed as I was. His partnering of Osipova wasn’t exactly faultless, he was after all partnering a debutante, but no serious mistakes occurred. These two look wonderful together though and I can see them making an outstanding partnership given time.

At the evening performance Maria Alexandrova and Sergei Filin took the leads. Alexandrova has made this role her own and catches every nuance of the part from her entrance as pampered princess to her final scene as a woman transformed by love. She actually manages to give this candyfloss ballet a semblance of sense as she experiences love, defiance, flight, fear and finally fulfilment in this very slight story of a princess compelled to defy her all-powerful father to achieve a future with the man she loves. Filin danced the premiere of this ballet and the fast footwork, so fundamentally different from Russian choreography, holds no fears for him. His partnering was exemplary, so much so that he received a round of applause for one his lifts in the last act. The Bolshoi is truly privileged to have such exceptional male dancers such as Filin and Goudanov within its ranks.


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