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It was good to see the Bolshoi's La Sylphide- a ballet I haven't seen for years, with the most beautiful woodland set from Peter Farmer. We were told that Johann Kobborg was watching this, his production, from a cinema in London.

 

Worth it anyway for Semyon Chudin with his lovely line, impeccable feet and that lopsided smile.

Does anyone know what went wrong in the interviews? Anna Balukova (Madge) was being interviewed by Katie Novikova , but with her eyes constantly in the wings and a growing sense of unease, and then she cut the question short rather brusquely, it seemed, and dashed off.

A bit disconcerting.

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8 minutes ago, Mary said:

Worth it anyway for Semyon Chudin with his lovely line, impeccable feet and that lopsided smile.

 

I agree, I thought he was brilliant.  As was Anastasia Stashkevich as the Sylph.  I fell in love with this ballet when I saw it for the first time when ENB did it most recently in their double bill so I couldn't wait to see it again and the Bolshoi definitely didn't disappoint!  I popped out for 5 minutes in the interval so I must have missed the interview with Anna Balukova but that does sound odd, especially as there was also no other interviews in the interval like there usually is.

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I really love Chudin- we have seen quite a bit of him in the screenings in the  last 2 years. How I wish he would come and guest with one of our companies..

He has so much character I think he would really fit in.

 

Yes it was very odd about the interviews- and Ms Novikova seemed a bit strained, wich is most unusual- I hope there was nothing seriously wrong backstage.

 

 

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Great to see Oscar as one of James friends ....wish I could have seen the broadcast!! 

I very much like Chudin and noticed him for the first time when the Bolshoi were here last a great dancer and can imagine very good in this role too.

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Interesting to note that what appear to me to be a significant number of changes have been made to Kobborg's production since he originally mounted it on the Royal Ballet.  There was a bit of a shortage of tartan in this one - and it wasn't very clear from Effie's narrow sash that she was adopting the tartan of James' clan.

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On 11/11/2018 at 17:50, Mary said:

It was good to see the Bolshoi's La Sylphide- a ballet I haven't seen for years, with the most beautiful woodland set from Peter Farmer. We were told that Johann Kobborg was watching this, his production, from a cinema in London.

 

Worth it anyway for Semyon Chudin with his lovely line, impeccable feet and that lopsided smile.

Does anyone know what went wrong in the interviews? Anna Balukova (Madge) was being interviewed by Katie Novikova , but with her eyes constantly in the wings and a growing sense of unease, and then she cut the question short rather brusquely, it seemed, and dashed off.

A bit disconcerting.

It looked like she was being called from the side, she was turning her head to listen to someone.From what she said, I assumed it was her dresser or someone of importance getting her ready for the next  act. She was on first in the next act.

Edited by Stevie

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I hadn’t focused before I went to the live relay that this production and choreography were by Yuri Grigorovich. Perhaps it was unfortunate to see it barely 24 hours after Sir Peter Wright’s beautiful version for the RB. Obviously, it follows the same structure: Clara, her brother, Drosselmeyer, the Nutcracker, dancing toys, rats, soldiers etc etc but it doesn’t bother to make it into a coherent, narrative in the way that the RB version presents a family Christmas in a Victorian (?) house. In the pdd for Clara and Nutcracker towards the end of Act 1 they are surrounded by the toys which I found a distraction. The snowflakes are wearing what look like white swimming caps, and carrying cotton wool balls on sticks all of which would have been neither here nor there were the choreography for them not so uninspiring. I’m sad to say that for me mediocre choreography was the big failing of this Nutcracker. 

The dancers were excellent - although both Chudin and Shrainer had minor wobbles at the end of their Act 2 variations - but IMO the choreography was simply not worthy of them.

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I saw the Bolshoi production of The Nutcracker once - and decided that once was enough, thank you.  Like you, Anna, I didn't find the choreography inspiring.

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Agree about the choreography- I really didn't like the Sugar Plum Fairy solo which looked routinely virtuoso rather than delicately beautiful, or the Act 2 pas de deux. Another vote down for the snowflakes' bathing caps and the prominence of the toys there(that said I'd rather it be toy-infested than rat-infested like ENB's production), and the dominance of Marie and the Nutcracker rather than the corps de ballet in the snow flakes' scene. Do quite like Drosselmeyer's choreography although the marigold gloves a bit off-putting. But very grateful to see a Nutcracker at all- last year was jinxed because of snow and I missed out on the RB screening due to a virus-laden household.

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I saw the Bolshoi Sylphide. I compared it with the 2012 broadcast. I actually preferred the James and Sylph here (Chudin and Staskevitch) but I thought otherwise the mime and sequences with Madge really suffered. I think in 2012 Johan Kobborg was on hand to personally teach the mime, and this time he wasn't. Danish mime is one of those things I think really needs to be hand-taught. It's so clear and concise when done correctly. 

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Like Ivy, I also enjoyed the Bolshoi Sylphide in Cinema very much. I must admit that I missed the importance of the mime and will pay more attention next time. I go for the enjoyment and never try to dissect a performance for criticism. My friend complained about the condition of their shoes, but I didn't notice the condition of their shoes. Its very easy to look for fault if that's what one wishes to do. 

 

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On 29/12/2018 at 08:30, Stevie said:

Like Ivy, I also enjoyed the Bolshoi Sylphide in Cinema very much. I must admit that I missed the importance of the mime and will pay more attention next time. I go for the enjoyment and never try to dissect a performance for criticism. My friend complained about the condition of their shoes, but I didn't notice the condition of their shoes. Its very easy to look for fault if that's what one wishes to do.  

 

 

Can't agree more. Bravo!

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I hope this is the right thread for this. It seemed to be the most suitable when I searched.

 

I spent this afternoon watching the Bolshoi Bayadere on their website, as @Amelia kindly posted a link to it elsewhere. Having seen the RB Bayadere cinecast I found it very interesting to see the Bolshoi's version: they started off seeming quite similar then increasingly diverged! I gather that the last scene of the RB's is not considered authentic but I preferred it from a dramatic point of view compared to the Bolshoi ending with the Kingdom of the Shades. I found the Bolshoi Act 2 rather interminable, with at least half an hour of divertissements before any actual plot happened! I thought the Bolshoi production was very grand and, in some ways, it seemed very old-fashioned. I presume it's the custom in Russia to applaud principal dancers not only on their first entrance but also on subsequent entrances and to applaud particularly hard lifts/jumps/turns but not being used to it I found it somewhat disconcerting.

 

This is the first time I've watched a Bolshoi livestreaming so the dancers were all completely unknown to me. I thought Olga Smirnova as Nikiya had a sort of glacial exquisiteness. Her movements were beautiful but I couldn't feel much chemistry between her and Artemy Belyakov as Solor. In fact if anything I thought Belyakov had better chemistry with Olga Marchenakova's Gamzatti, which was slightly problematic plot-wise! I thought Belyakov came over as noble and rather arrogant, which I suppose suits the character, but I didn't really warm to him. When he was supposed to be heartbroken at losing Nikiya the choreography was saying it but I didn't really feel it from him. Alexander Fadeyechev as the High Brahmin did some of the most OTT acting I think I've ever seen on stage! I guess it probably came over better in the theatre than on screen.

 

Knowing the Bolshoi's reputation I thought the dancing would be brilliant and I thought it was indeed extremely good, but no better than the RB's. The corps in the Kingdom of the Shades were not immune to the occasional slight wobble in all those arabesques (I lost count somewhere about 45) so even the Russians evidently can't manage to produce absolute perfection!

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I thought that Olga Smirnova was exceptional. I usually do. She's probably one of the greatest and she has years ahead of her to become -- another Ulanova !?  

 

Artemy Belyakov had a very nice presence and quality of dance.

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I sort of half-watched it in the cinema yesterday.  I say half-watched, because it was really excessively hot in there (I ended up with a migraine when I got home), and I kept nodding off - unfortunately through some of the best bits (I'd have been happy to miss the embarrassingly capering black-faced children, for example, but no such luck).  It's a stunning-looking production, that's for sure - but I don't remember it all from when it was last at the Royal Opera House, so is there a touring version for smaller (i.e. all?!) theatres?  The transmission - or our reception of it - was however pretty horrendous: sound cutting out every few minutes (at least a dozen times before the title character made her entrance!), and less-frequent pixellation/breakup of the picture.  It made it quite difficult to concentrate on what was happening on-screen during Act I - fortunately the other two were a lot less badly affected.

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The reception in our theatre was flawless-  it sounds as if things went wrong your end of things, Alison. Surely some kind of partial refund should be in order when it's as bad as that? Agree that the production is very impressive in appearance. The start of the Kingdom of Shades act was superb I thought as the ramp wasn't visible at first, making the  dancers seem to be floating. Less impressive was the camera work, with the constant flitting in and out of the dancers in close-up-in this scene it really lost the full impact of the whole of the corps de ballet. I rather like the idea of the ending with that scene, but found the actual realization of it a bit unsatisfying. Maybe I'm an old romantic but I'd have preferred the two to be reunited in death rather than him seemingly lost and alone. Couldn't quite believe my eyes at the blacked-up children, and I couldn't stop laughing at the dancers with their dead parrots. With all that, and the large amount of Divertissements and endless stopping and starting with the applause, it was hard to quite get into the high drama of the latter part of the act.

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38 minutes ago, pianolady said:

The start of the Kingdom of Shades act was superb I thought as the ramp wasn't visible at first, making the  dancers seem to be floating. Less impressive was the camera work, with the constant flitting in and out of the dancers in close-up-in this scene it really lost the full impact of the whole of the corps de ballet.

 

Oh yes, I'd forgotten that bit.  I totally agree with you.

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2 hours ago, alison said:

I sort of half-watched it in the cinema yesterday.  I say half-watched, because it was really excessively hot in there (I ended up with a migraine when I got home), and I kept nodding off - unfortunately through some of the best bits (I'd have been happy to miss the embarrassingly capering black-faced children, for example, but no such luck).  It's a stunning-looking production, that's for sure - but I don't remember it all from when it was last at the Royal Opera House, so is there a touring version for smaller (i.e. all?!) theatres?  The transmission - or our reception of it - was however pretty horrendous: sound cutting out every few minutes (at least a dozen times before the title character made her entrance!), and less-frequent pixellation/breakup of the picture.  It made it quite difficult to concentrate on what was happening on-screen during Act I - fortunately the other two were a lot less badly affected.

I have found that Cinema customer services are very fair with compensation when things go wrong. Vue, even once, gave me complementary tickets for another performance when I showed up a week late, having got the date wrong, completely my fault.

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Interesting to read all your takes on Bolshoi's La Bayadere. I truly enjoyed the sheer spectacle of it, all the color, costumes, and divertissements. The corps de ballet and most of the soloists were great. However, I felt the love story got kind of lost, partly because of the amount of time devoted to other things but mainly because the lovers did not seem all that interested in each other.  Belyakov is a wonderful dancer -- those jumps! --- and a very elegant figure, but he seemed to be in a world of his own.  He didn't look like he was in love. Smirnova is a cold dancer and so brittle looking I felt she might shatter into ice shards if she fell, which thankfully she didn't.  She too is elegant (they were well matched in coolness and elegance) but sadly, the camera is not her friend -- she probably looks better in the theatre. I did appreciate her pacing and musical accents and the general high technical level but her lack of connection with anybody else on stage was disappointing. She does not usually dance with Belyakov so I suppose the two of them were focussed on getting through without mistakes and this probably made it difficult to enter fully into character. As for Gamzatti, I'm mystified why Bolshoi chose a corps de ballet member with questionable technique and over the top acting skills instead of one of the many magnificent Bolshoi Gamzattis like Allash, Shipulina, Vinogradova, and Kretova, to name a few. The production was good but could've easily been wonderful with a better cast.

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9 hours ago, pianolady said:

I couldn't stop laughing at the dancers with their dead parrots.

 

Dead parrots? After being nailed to poles and stuck on wrists? They were just resting.

 

2 hours ago, Lark said:

As for Gamzatti, I'm mystified why Bolshoi chose a corps de ballet member with questionable technique and over the top acting skills instead of one of the many magnificent Bolshoi Gamzattis

 

She was also given the interval interview, so is certainly being pushed by management. I rather liked the acting.

 

Edited by Geoff

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Those parrots were definitely deceased....how unlike the fine bird-handling skills of our own  dear RB.

 

Some exquisite dancing took place in between a lot of bizarre and very over-the-top business but it was lavish, colourful, fun and highly entertaining. With these Bolshoi blockbusters,  it is no good going along expecting to take it all seriously, I find. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing but, partly in a spirit of high comedy.

 

Apart from the atrocious blacked-up children- how they can put that on and broadcast it around the world defeats me.

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20 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

I gather that the last scene of the RB's is not considered authentic but I preferred it from a dramatic point of view compared to the Bolshoi ending with the Kingdom of the Shades.

 

I do think continuing beyond The Shades is needed to resolve the story.  Makarova's inclusion of her own Act IV,  as seen in the RB production, is surely more authentic, since  the  wedding ceremony, and an earthquake  destroying the palace, was  in the original C19 Petipa  ballet, but was  mainly dropped in Russia  from the 1920s onwards (possibly because of cost, or because of Soviet political sensibilities). 

 

20 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

I presume it's the custom in Russia to applaud principal dancers not only on their first entrance but also on subsequent entrances and to applaud particularly hard lifts/jumps/turns but not being used to it I found it somewhat disconcerting.

 

Did this production also virtually "end" the ballet after Nikiya's death by having  full curtain calls at that point, and then recommencing with the Shades? I found that aspect one of the more bizarre aspects of the Bolshoi version by Grigorovich in 2013. 

Edited by Richard LH
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21 hours ago, Dawnstar said:

The corps in the Kingdom of the Shades were not immune to the occasional slight wobble in all those arabesques (I lost count somewhere about 45) so even the Russians evidently can't manage to produce absolute perfection!

 

In the 2013 version at least, the Bolshoi  get through  The Shades  arabesques at a quicker speed than the RB did  last year.  For me, the RB girls, taking  it slower, showed more elegance and grace  particularly in their arm and head movements. 

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2 hours ago, Richard LH said:

Did this production also virtually "end" the ballet after Nikiya's death by having  full curtain calls at that point, and then recommencing with the Shades? I found that aspect one of the more bizarre aspects of the Bolshoi version by Grigorovich in 2013. 

 

I don't remember it, but of course that may be one of the bits where I nodded off!

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3 hours ago, Richard LH said:

Did this production also virtually "end" the ballet after Nikiya's death by having  full curtain calls at that point, and then recommencing with the Shades? I found that aspect one of the more bizarre aspects of the Bolshoi version by Grigorovich in 2013. 

 

Yes. Pretty much everyone other than Nikiya did a curtain call at the end of Act 2.

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1 hour ago, Dawnstar said:

 

Yes. Pretty much everyone other than Nikiya did a curtain call at the end of Act 2.

Well in  the 2013 version Nikiya (Zakharova) also joined in the Act 2 curtain calls.

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On 21/01/2019 at 22:16, Dawnstar said:

I found the Bolshoi Act 2 rather interminable, with at least half an hour of divertissements before any actual plot happened! I thought the Bolshoi production was very grand and, in some ways, it seemed very old-fashioned.

 

All classical ballet is, for some, "very old-fasioned".

 

 

Quote

I presume it's the custom in Russia to applaud principal dancers not only on their first entrance but also on subsequent entrances and to applaud particularly hard lifts/jumps/turns.

 

The custom that you find disturbing has been common to most places with a developed balletomane audience. Long ago you could witness it in London. Unfortunately no more. You can witness it still at Bolshoi but, curiously, not at Mariinsky where the audience degenerated to the level of meeting and, frequently, parting with the dancers in near total silence, irrespective of the quality of their dancing.

 

Quote

Knowing the Bolshoi's reputation I thought the dancing would be brilliant and I thought it was indeed extremely good, but no better than the RB's. The corps in the Kingdom of the Shades were not immune to the occasional slight wobble in all those arabesques (I lost count somewhere about 45) so even the Russians evidently can't manage to produce absolute perfection!

 

In some respects it was better than the Royal Ballet, in other it wasn't. Overall, the quality of the Bolshoi corps is significantly better than a few years ago. The Royal Ballet greatly benefited from Natalia Makarova's meticulous attention to the Kingdom of Shades scene. Few dancers alive display understanding of this scene as profound as she does.

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