I find Sarah Crompton's remarks regarding Nikolai Tsiskaridze highly offensive:
On the production’s opening night, the comparative veterans Nikolai Tsiskaridze and Maria Alexandrova took on the parts of Conrad, the roguish corsair, and Medora, his beautiful minx of a girlfriend. He danced effectively, throwing off his one big variation with speed and ease, while rather curiously dressed in a bolero and skirt.
She writes this as if Tsiskaridze had deliberate chosen a costume that looked 'curious': he did not, he wore the standard costume also worn by Denis Matvienko and Sergei Filin when they danced the role in London three years ago, variations of which are worn by the other pirates. It's Greek national costume for goodness sake and the action takes place at the eastern end of the Mediterranean so that's what they wore.
But with his long locks falling over his forehead and his pouting ways, he could no more lead a pirate gang than I could climb Mount Everest.
Again the wig is part of the costume, worn by all the others too so why does this critic deliberately try to mislead with these spiteful remarks. The audience didn't seem to have any reservations about this as there was a tremendous response at the end.
The following night, the young star Natalia Osipova was dancing in show pony mode. The strength of her technique means that every balance is perfectly held, each turn ferociously fast, each jump light beyond belief. She looks absolutely gorgeous, but seemed oddly self-contained. In contrast, the fabulous Ivan Vasiliev made Conrad the most dynamic character on the stage. His variation – stripped off to tight-fitting scarlet – was predictably sensational, with jetés and tours en air so high you catch your breath.
That Ivan Vasiliev chose to discard part of his costume to me speaks volumes about this dancer's hubris.
I will be going to a third performance of this ballet tonight and will be posting my own thoughts anon.