CriticalDance Forum

Bolshoi in London, Summer 2010
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Author:  Francis Timlin [ Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bolshoi in London, Summer 2010

Javier de Frutos reviews Osipova and Vasiliev in "Don Quixote" for The Arts Desk.

The Arts Desk

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bolshoi in London, Summer 2010

Nadine Meisner briefly reviews the Triple Bill and "Le Corsaire," along with a more extensive review of "Tanguera" at Sadler's Wells in The Independent.

The Independent

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bolshoi in London, Summer 2010

Reviews of "Don Quixote"

Clement Crisp in The Financial Times.

Financial Times

Sarah Crompton in The Telegraph.

The Telegraph

Sarah Wilkinson in The Stage.

The Stage

Sarah Frater in The Evening Standard.

Evening Standard

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:06 am ]
Post subject:  Le Corsaire 2nd, 3rd & 5th August

Of the full length works that the Bolshoi has brought to London Le Corsaire is far and away my favourite. Watching it however is something of an endurance test – especially when you are standing. There have been quite a few complaints about the near Wagnerian length of this programme, made so much longer by those interminable intervals that Covent Garden inflicts on audiences, the general consensus was that a 7pm start would have been more sensible as it must be dispiriting for the dancers to see people rush out the second the curtain falls or even worse, leave in the middle of the third act

I went on three nights but saw only two Medoras as Maria Alexandrova danced with both Nikolai Tsiskaridze (2nd Aug) and Alexander Volchkov (5th Aug), I love Alexandrova in this role as she seems to have so much fun as a pirate chick yet displays real imperial grandeur in the second act. The other Medora I saw was Osipova (3rd Aug) and her interpretation of the role was very different to Alexandrova’s, incredibly danced but a little too heavy on comedy. The two Conrads who danced with Alexandrova, were very different; Nikolai Tsiskaridze has the role wrapped up and is Byronic romanticism personified with a hot blooded passion for his Medora and finely honed virtuosity in his dancing: he remains the definitive interpreter of this role. Alexander Volchkov is old Hollywood in his approach with an echo of Errol Flynn in the rough stuff with his mutinous crew, he also gave an excellent account of the pas de deux, though was perhaps more a fighter than a lover in the romantic interludes. The third Conrad was Ivan Vasiliev, a dancer capable of walking on water according to the more gullible sections of the press; to be sure he gave a striking account of himself but appeared to think he was in Pirates of the Caribbean rather than the high romantic world of Lord Byron. Playing for every laugh he could extract from the plot he was very amusing, though his duets with Osipova were a little lacking in warmth but I’m unsure that the ballet can take this kind of treatment as it has its own subtle humour when played straight. His version of the pas de deux departed radically from that danced by the other two Conrads and although there is always some flexibility in classical variations (Tsiskaridze and Volchkov danced similar but not strictly identical steps), this was self indulgence. Spectacular though I thought Vasiliev’s dancing was, he was totally outclassed by Tsiskaridze whose turns were just as fast but more finer-edged and controlled whilst staying in character throughout. I am uneasy when a dancer is given the freedom to do as he pleases and as I have already mentioned in another post Vasiliev also chose to discard part of his costume too – all rather unprofessional in my book.

The three Gulnares that I saw were Marianna Ryzhkina, Nina Kaptsova and Anastasia Yatsenko and all three gave memorable performances but perhaps mischievous Kaptsova should be handed the laurels for an acting performance as good as any I’ve seen in the role. You can just imagine her married life with the doddering lecherous Pasha and can make a shrewd guess that his early demise would be more or less guaranteed. Kaptsova also danced the pas des esclaves on the first night with Ivan Vasiliev as her partner and gave yet another memorable performance, her partner was very good but as I first noted when he danced the role here last he isn’t able to perform the deep plies associated with the role and rather surprisingly neither could Vyacheslav Lopatin in the other cast I saw. Lopatin’s partner was Anastasia Stashkevich who seemed to turn up in everything on this tour, not as good as Kaptsova but still a commendable performance.

I very much hope that the Bolshoi brings Corsaire to London again before too long, but not with a 7.30 start.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bolshoi in London, Summer 2010

David Wigg interviews Ivan Vasiliev in The Daily Mail.

Daily Mail

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bolshoi in London, Summer 2010

Zoe Anderson reviews "Don Quixote" in The Independent.

The Independent

Author:  Cassandra [ Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:17 am ]
Post subject:  Don Quixote 7th August matinee performance

Although the spotlight on this tour has been firmly on Natalia Osipova it is worth remembering that she is not the only twenty-something in the Bolshoi with remarkable talent as Ekaterina Krysanova has been earning plaudits from all who see her. A very different type of dancer from Osipova, she looks ethereal, even waiflike, but there is a core of steel within her that enables her to dance the most demanding roles with total assurance. Kitri, the strong willed heroine of Don Quixote however wasn’t a role I could easily imagine her in, indeed in many ways it appeared she was being cast against type as Krysanova doesn’t come across as a potentially fiery Spaniard. If I were casting her in a Spanish themed opera rather than a ballet I would see her as an ideal Michaela but not a Carmen. With this thought in mind I mentally crossed my fingers for her, but in one sense I need not have worried as technically she could do the lot and was capable of setting the stage on fire with her virtuosity. As Kitri she was playful and fun loving, but couldn’t manage the hot-blooded temperament that the role requires, she was at her best in the last act where she was able to show the audience that no step in the ballet lexicon was beyond her. At the end she received a staggering reception and a magnificent flower throw that was totally deserved.

Krysanova’s Basilio was Andrei Merkuriev in a role he was clearly born to dance, attacking the steps with fleet-footed flamboyance and downright sexiness, you wondered if Krysanova’s sweet natured Kitri hadn’t bitten off more than she could chew with him, but opposites do attract and they complimented one another perfectly. They are well matched physically and Mercuriev’s partnering was very secure throughout whilst he acted the role to perfection. Those knowing of sideways glances towards Kitri’s girlfriends to guess which one was up for a surreptitious snog were a hoot as was his comically inept suicide scene. When he was at the Kirov Mercuriev was just another good dancer but the Bolshoi appears to be turning him into a potentially great one.

The other roles were more mixed in quality with a disappointingly dull Dryad Queen from Anna Nikulina and a low key Cupid from Anastasia Stashkevich but there was compensation in the form of a very lively Espada from Victor Biktimirov and a classy Street Dancer from Anna Leonova. Alexei Loparevich remains Russian ballet’s definitive Don Quixote and Roman Simachev as Sancho Panza added to the humour of his role by making amazing shapes in the air as he was hurled skywards by the town’s bullyboys.

The unremitting jollity of this ballet means that it will always be an entertainment I enjoy in small doses rather than wanting to see every day of the week, but in the hands of dancers such as Krysanova and Merkuriev this sometimes ludicrous dollop of Spanish kitsch becomes three hours of undiluted pleasure.

Author:  coda [ Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bolshoi in London, Summer 2010

Despite almost ground-shaking cast changes the Bolshoi Ballet season in London was absolutely terrific this summer in all aspects: their repertoire, superb corps, principals and soloists’ performances and the general high spirit of the entire company. And they produced this fireworks having arrived here straight after the end of their own Moscow season, which also included several foreign tours (USA, Italy, etc.). They showed no signs of tiredness although some confessed in private of their longing for a few weeks of holidays.
The younger generation of dancers was represented in title roles in every production and was showered with praises from the critics, which were well deserved. I admired them too but here I want to praise the Bolshoi’s ‘older’ generation.
We did not see Gracheva, Stepanenko, Antonicheva, Belogolovtsev and Uvarov this time (although the latter did dance with Ryzhkina in “Giselle” in Brazil one week before the London tour). There were only two of ‘the old guard’ this time, Ryzhkina and Tsiskaridze, and their performances will stay in my memory as an example of Class with capital letter.

At last Marianna Ryzhkina danced in London after 21-year interval. On her first visit here in 1989, right after her graduation, with a small group from the Bolshoi, she was dancing pas de deux from La fille in Divertissement. Sadly, throughout her career she had no chance to perform here. Now she was cast in 3 performances, not on opening nights, and showed her delicate grace, impeccable taste and outstanding musicality. It looks as she ‘articulated’ the music with movements of her feet, arms and the whole body. Her Vision Scene in Don Q. was a sheer delight: no excesses, just beauty.

I loved Nikolai Tsiskaridze in Le Corsaire and Paquita. He will be 37 this year. Every time when any dancer of this age does Le Corsaire pas de deux I try not to recall his younger years and, therefore, was tensely waiting for Nikolai’s variation. And what a variation it was! Not a combination of stunts but classically performed jumps, spins, steps united in impressive phrasing. For coda he chose a series of unusual jumps from Grigorovich’s “Legend of Love”, without en tournant but demanding the soaring quality and perfect form, and he finished with the traditional round of his sweeping jete en tournant.

What a joy to see the ‘older generation’ in this splendid form. That is why I shared Cassandra’s indignation with spiteful remarks by SOME critics. Although I was not surprised by this. Nikolai Tsiskaridze was always too colourful for some. When criticizing “his kit” and hairstyle they were blind to the fact that all corsairs on stage were “dressed in a bolero and skirt” and had “long curls”, or “ringletted hair”. While one of the critics lamented that he “doesn't act… and it's left to Alexandrova as Medora to tell the story of their love affair”, another critic recorded that “the pair look besotted”. Whom to believe? Poor misled readers. The viewers were not misled and the fans displayed their love for these dancers with a flower throw.

Author:  coda [ Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Bolshoi in London, Summer 2010

Sorry. It was posted twice.

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bolshoi in London, Summer 2010

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Coda, I very much concur with all you have said. It was a totally memorable season in the minds of all those I have spoken to and I was particularly struck by the exceptionally generous applause that greeted every performance I went to. I agree it was hard work for the dancers and some, such as Nina Kaptseva and Anastasia Stashkevich seemed to pop up in almost everything. I was delighted to note that the talent that exists in the Bolshoi is apparent not just in the dancing of the stars but all the way down to the newest member of the corps de ballet and although I too feel a degree of disappointment over the dancers that didn’t make the trip, I was nevertheless thrilled by the performances of those that did.

Looking back over the season one of the things I admired most was that the ladies of the Bolshoi, both soloists and corps, dance in softer shoes than those of some other companies and didn’t subject us to the irritating clatter so often heard elsewhere. I was also impressed that the hyper extension has all but disappeared this season, whether this reflects the tastes of new director Yuri Burlaka or whether the company has realised that London audiences really don’t care for ‘six o’clocks’ I’m not sure, but either way there was a greater aesthetic satisfaction to be derived from this example of classical observance.

The bizarre criticisms of Nikolai Tsiskaridze didn’t seem to relate to his performances at all, but happily not all the reviews of his dancing were unfavourable. In my opinion he still provided the finest male dancing seen in this season.

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