There seems to have been very little press coverage about the Grigorovich Gala, I’ve only come across these two notices:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0c285042-b263-1 ... e2340.html
http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/thea ... 201592.ece
These are particularly mealy-mouthed responses to what was a glorious evening of classical ballet and which culminated in one of the most heartfelt ovations that I’ve ever witnessed with the entire house on its feet - and standing ovations are something of a rarity at Covent Garden.
I have to admit the orchestra was
rather poor (is Khatchaturian really such a difficult composer to play?) but the dancers were clearly giving it their all. The high spot of the evening for me was The Golden Age with Anna Antonicheva absolutely perfect as Rita, the reluctant cabaret star, and Gennady Yanin who was the best MC I’ve ever seen: wonderful to see that the present generation of Bolshoi stars are as attuned to this work as their predecessors.
Sadly illness prevented us from seeing Nikolai Tsiskaridze in the role many consider to be his best, the Prince in Nutcracker: he was replaced by Alexander Volchkov dancing opposite London favourite, Svetlana Lunkina. They made an striking couple, but perhaps a shorter dancer than Lunkina would be more suited to the intricate solo choreography. The national dances were very well performed and I for one love the joke of the Shepherd and Shepherdess taking along their little lamb in the Mirlitons.
Only Spartacus was a bit below par mainly due to Denis Matvienko’s changing the chorography to include his partytricks. Unless this role is played entirely straight it simply doesn’t work; his partnering looked shaky too. Fortunately Maria Allash and Volchkov were on hand to save the day as the two wicked Romans, perhaps the most attractive pair of villains in the Ballet world.
Grigorovich hasn’t always received his due in this country, possibly because the broad strokes of his choreographic canvas can sometimes look simplistic our maybe because of his fondness for heroic storylines in an age where only an anti-hero is appreciated is considered naive. Whatever the reason the critical scorn he regularly has heaped on him has never tallied with the enthusiastic responses he invariably receives from his audiences. On Sunday night though his admirers were out in force and gave him the sincere applause he deserves.
Happy birthday Yuri!