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 Post subject: Bolshoi Dancers in Paris
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:00 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: London UK
Members of the Bolshoi Ballet (including Natalia Osipova and Nikolai Tsiskaridze) will be appearing in the POB Diaghilev programme on 16th December.

http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/season/tours/b ... =105&i26=5

In addition Osipova will dance Nutcracker with POB in January and Tsiskaridze in December, both with French partners as yet unannounced.

As usual with POB this information has come very late: I shall have to miss Osipova as just prior to hearing this news I booked a winter holiday and the tickets for December are mostly already sold out so I will miss Tsiskaridze too. Not good :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: Bolshoi Dancers in Paris
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:28 am 
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Location: London UK
More detail on those guest performances:

Nikolai Tsiskaridze dances Nutcracker with Myriam Ould Braham on 19th and 22nd December

Natalia Osipova dances with Mathias Heymann on 8th and 9th January.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolshoi Dancers in Paris
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:29 am 
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Location: London UK
The Nutcracker
Paris Opera Ballet
Opera Bastille
22nd December 2009


Rudolf Nureyev staged his production of Nutcracker for a number of companies over the years, most notably for the Royal Ballet where I saw a number of casts in the leading roles over a period of time but sadly that very enjoyable production has long been jettisoned in favour of another that many would argue is no better and some would opine is worse. Closest to London for U.K. ballet tourists, the Paris Opera Ballet presents the work, though with a few subtle changes in chorography and a radical change in the settings as the original Regency style costumes of London are replaced in Paris with those of the fin de siècle. Although the designs in both cities are by Nicholas Giorgiadis, the earlier London set had a glowing golden tone to it that is mostly absent in Paris and even allowing for the period changes in the costumes I don’t find them overly attractive (those of the Arabian Dance especially being a case in point).

As with all Nureyev’s productions, the emphasis is on dancing, often to the exclusion of production details, and as usual his inspiration here is clearly the celebrated Kirov version of this ballet, certainly in form, though not in choreographic substance. There is a dark element to Hoffman’s tales and Nureyev captures that well with, for example, the grotesque figures that pursue Clara but are revealed to be her family and the guests at the ball, an example of the randomness and perversity of dreams where handsome princes can in an instant be replaced by fearful pursuers. Unsurprisingly the dual character of Drosselmeyer/Prince is predominant, a role that was always one of Nureyev’s best and I must confess to experiencing the damp eyes of nostalgia in places while watching a work I so closely identify with its charismatic creator.

Bolshoi guest Nikolai Tsiskaridze was Drosselmeyer/Prince and he must have found the Paris production poles apart from the cheerful Grigorovich version that he has danced so many times. As Drosselmeyer he was rather a ‘mad professor’ type, not quite conforming to some of the more sinister interpretations of this role that I’ve seen; however as the Prince he came completely into his own. In many ways Tsiskaridze is the same sort of dancer as Rudolf Nureyev in that both dancers are one-offs, not fitting into any acknowledged balletic categories and both brimming over with charisma. However both physically and temperamentally there couldn’t be more of a contrast with the taller better proportioned Tsiskaridze coming across as a far more sympathetic partner towards his ballerina than Nureyev, who with that arrogance and hauteur of his, ever did. It is fair to say that many solos that Nureyev choreographed for himself are for other performers simply un-danceable, as his insatiable desire to challenge himself whilst eliciting gasps of amazement from his audience produced variations that are absolutely lethal and I remember one young virtuoso complaining that by the end of a Nureyev solo he couldn’t feel his legs at all. But Tsiskaridze made it all look easy and executed those killing combinations of steps with a silky ease that created beauty out of what is occasionally awkward choreographic showiness.

Clara is a testing role for the ballerina in this version as she has to endeavour to look credible amongst her kiddie chums, convey a real sense of fear when confronted first by aggressive rats and later by nightmare versions of her family; finally she must convince us that she is the transformed idealized counterpart of her prince. Never an easy task, but achieved to perfection by Myriam Ould Braham who encapsulates every aspect of the role and sweeps the audience up into her fairytale world along the way. Ms Ould Braham is very much the accomplished all-rounder being both a very competent actress and an exceptionally gifted classical dancer, with both allegro and legato passages performed equally well. Above all, this young dancer has what I would call likeableness; you warm to her very quickly and get a real sense of enjoyment from everything she does. She is hugely popular too with a very lively fan base excitedly cheering her every move and I have to say she thoroughly deserved every last bravo she received.

As a partnership the Ould Braham/Tsiskaridze pairing appeared to work remarkably well with their duets performed with the ease of a long-standing partnership, whereas in reality I don’t think that this couple had danced together before these Paris performances.

The supporting roles were danced well too, especially the lovely Mirlitons trio danced exquisitely by Miteki Kudo, Geraldine Wiart and Adrien Bodet and I especially liked Mallory Gaudion’s naughty Fritz – a kid really deserving of a clip round the ear. The corps de ballet was in cracking form throughout but looked particularly impressive in the Snowflakes scene with the girls appearing far more together than in previous seasons. On the other hand the Arabian dancers were very flat, their sinuous moves hidden under unflattering baggy costumes (how I miss the RB kit of tight gold trousers with sexy bare midriffs!).

The Nutcracker was danced at the Opera Bastille, an unlovely modern hulk that I’ve tried hard to warm to but fear I never will. However that vast auditorium was packed to the gunnels and every performance of this Nutcracker run was completely sold out. Hopefully that will send a message to the POB apparatchiks that it is classical work audiences want to see rather than the continuing force-feeding of modern works of frequently dubious quality.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolshoi Dancers in Paris
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:08 am 
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Posts: 72
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Cassandra wrote:
The Nutcracker
Paris Opera Ballet
Opera Bastille
22nd December 2009


....... the Paris Opera Ballet presents the work, though with a few subtle changes in chorography and a radical change in the settings as the original Regency style costumes of London are replaced in Paris with those of the fin de siècle......

As with all Nureyev’s productions, the emphasis is on dancing, often to the exclusion of production details.....

......send a message to the POB apparatchiks that it is classical work audiences want to see rather than the continuing force-feeding of modern works of frequently dubious quality.


I'm glad you didn't miss Tsiskaridze (and Ould Braham) in the POB Nutcracker production.

I enjoyed your review of it, because you found many more virtues in Nureyev's production than I had found in it (when I saw it a couple of years ago with a different cast). For me, Nureyev's explorations into the psychology of family dynamics were simply 'concepts' that fit badly with the Tchaikovsky score.

i particularly concur with your last sentence.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolshoi Dancers in Paris
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:53 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Paris & London
jpc wrote:
Cassandra wrote:


i particularly concur with your last sentence.


As for me I don't. POB gets full house most of the time despite running quite often two productions at the same time and with a huge opera house in Bastille. Contemporary bills are POB trademark and in its tradition of strong creativity.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolshoi Dancers in Paris
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:34 am 
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Location: London UK
Please don't get me wrong, nothing is more important to me than new choreography and Paris has the best record as far as creativity is concerned, however I'm unhappy that the classical repertoire has often been sidelined in favour of new works that are frankly sub-standard. I am aware that when a new work is commissioned there is no way of knowing in advance if it is likely to be a masterpiece or a turkey: if the latter it should be quietly dropped, but the POB has revived some really sub-standard pieces in the past at the expense of the classical works in the rep.

I disagree about attendances. The Garnier almost always sells out because it is a major tourist attraction in a way that other international houses are not and consequently more and more of the modern stuff is shown there with the classical blockbusters moving to the Bastille where there are more seats to shift.

During the past year I've seen other performances in Paris and although I tend to book late, when casting details have leaked out onto the grapevine, I haven't failed to get tickets, even if they were top price. Last December there were no tickets to be had from the box office for the Diaghilev Programme, Nutcracker or the student demonstrations, and I only managed getting in to Nutcracker & the Students by other means. My Parisian ballet going friends told me they too were astonished by the scarcity of tickets and were having great difficulty getting into those December performances.


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 Post subject: Re: Bolshoi Dancers in Paris
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:53 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Paris & London
December bills are always fully packed no matter what they are showing because it’s a period where people want to go out and have time for, and because the Paris Opera sells a lot of group tickets as company season gifts or municipalities’ Christmas gifts for old people for example. I’ve been living in Paris the last four years and I can recall only three times the house wasn’t really full, twice in Garnier for the Orlin’s Allegro and La Fille mal gardée and once in Bastille for John Neumeier’s The Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler, which incidentally is up to me a masterpiece but POB is a high sell out compared to the opera for example.
The company is state funded and has a duty to keep the old repertoire alive but also to create a lively stage around ballet, not acting as if it’s a dead art.
This season for instance is well balanced according to that. For eleven bills we have this year, three classics Giselle, Nutcracker, Bayadère, three bills with 20th century classic choreographers Jewels, Ballets Russes, Homage to Jerome Robbins, three full neo-classic ballets, Neumeier’s the lady of the camellias, Bart’s La petite danseuse de Degas and Kylian’s Kaguyahime which will be reworked for the POB ballet, two contemporary bills with one full length new ballet, Preljocaj's Siddharta and one triple bill Amoveo/Répliques/Genus with a new short length, Répliques by Nicolas Paul wich has been critically acclaimed. Not all of this fits to my taste but I find it very clever.


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