The Magnificent 'Vibrantly-Colored, Russian-Parisian, Love-Fantasy Landscape,' painted by Marc Chagall, floated overhead.
Within minutes it was to be echoed by an Equally Awesome 'Vibrantly-Colored, Russian-Spanish, Love-Fantasy Landscape' as the characters of Don Quixote and his new found mate, Sancho Panza, exit the stage and the curtain rises on a dancing-partying sea of humanity -- the Bolshoi Corps de Ballet.
The evening became one continuous Block Party.
But the difference between this Block Party, being a Bolshoi Block Party, and a normal one, is that --
This Block Party Never Touched the Ground !
Natalia Osipova, a little bundle of Explosive Lovability, hit the stage like a Burst of Sunshine and the evening was sealed !
She sailed, she floated, she charmed. She spun singles, doubles and ended with a triple. She flew backwards into her partners arms. She descended from the sky into her partners arms.
And on and on. The list of artistic wonder is almost endless.
This version of "Don Quixote," like some other Russian ballet masterpieces, doesn't take a physical risk at the end. As is usual, the final 'spectacular' moment (a lift, a dive, etc.) occurs just before the end. The lead couple then reaches out into space, in some beautifully inspiring pose and it's over.
Well that's what Natalia Osipova, with her partner, Ivan Vasiliev, did, with one difference.
Natalia Osipova finished her final pose to the audience with
A Smile As Bright As All the Lights of Paris !
For the entire evening, this audience was as charged and responsive as I've ever seen at the Opera de Paris.
(The audience response, the evening before, with Ekaterina Shipulina as Kitri, was almost as 'electric.')
There are several other women that I would like to mention. Two of them aren't at the top of a "Don Quixote" who's who list, but they have remained vibrant in my memory. They would almost seem to be polar opposites.
Kristina Karaseva -- Mercedes
( She was " Good Golly Miss Maaaahly ! " as you might remember. Why ? )
This Spanish dancer, a ball of imploding fire, was Bolshoi pyrotechnical wonder to the extreme ! I don't recall how many times she leaned back with her head touching the back of her knees, but it was a lot ! Not only did she do this, she stayed down there at least once, for what seemed like 'hours' ! I'm not sure how you feel about this kind of theatrical prowess. I'm not sure how I do normally, but I simply can't get her out of my mind ! It was more than just stretching your body to its limits. It came with an inner fire and a sense of poetic pacing that was hypnotic.
As the curtain came down on the tavern scene, Kristina Karaseva -- Mercedes -- was dancing, swayingly, in the background on a large table, and for me, in this particular scene, she might have stolen the show !
Anna Nikulina -- Second Soloist, Grand Pas, Act III
( "Dream Angel, Dream Angel, wherever you are, I love you" )
In terms of fireworks, she was seemingly the exact opposite of Kristina Karaseva. She only appeared for several minutes, but those several minutes were pure poetry.
She, as some of you might know, made her debut as Odette-Odile ("Swan Lake") with the Bolshoi at the age of 19 !
So why is she now dancing a short appearance as one of two soloists? I'm not at all sure. Perhaps sometimes folks need time to catch up with themselves. Maybe they were just giving her a rest. I have actually seen her as Giselle and she did dance as the Queen of the Dryads the night before. She had wonderful elements of loveliness and promise in both of these.
In her very short appearance this evening I could see more than ever what she is capable of. She was as airy and graceful as one would hope for, but she also had a wonderful sense of poetic expression. She was almost like some of the last sculptures of Michelangelo, that are famous for their incompleteness. They are these magnificently developing figures still largely encased in their rough marble beginnings, their original essence. In the same way I could see Anna Nikulina, immersed in her basic human essence, making her initial reachings for the heavens.
For me, these lovely several minutes of delicate poetry were as powerful as Kristina Karsavena's outward physicality. Both, I would say, were equally beautiful and compelling. What I saw in Anna Nikulina was a poetic soulfulness, that certainly justifies her debut at the age of 19 as the lead in one of Art's most poetically soulful creations, "Swan Lake."
There was much, much more. There was also this fellow named Ivan Vasiliev, who you might have heard of. (Big smile intended)
I will try to touch on some of it at another time.
[several paragraphs combined]
Last edited by Buddy on Fri May 27, 2011 6:34 am, edited 3 times in total.