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  1. Smirnova wasn't "chosen", she will be the first cast (was there ever any doubt about it?).
  2. No, it isn't your imagination, for Osipova it is normal to ignore the tempi and dance at the speed comfortable to her, ahead of the conductor. I am saying this with a heavy heart yet what Osipova did had nothing in common with the name of "Raymonda". I know, this is my own fault, because I had a misfortune to see ballet named "Raymonda" several times over the last thirty years, Kirov, Bolshoi and the Paris versions.
  3. If it is not, in fact, Vaziev who "wants", then everything else is also going to look different in your reasoning. Bolshoi used to be a jungle and we are, I am afraid, once again close to where we were before.
  4. That sounds absolutely fabulous, I realize I must have gone to a wrong theatre, in mine, Raymonda was, unfortunately, none of that. I believe that this work of Marius Petipa was meant to be a hymn to femininity, every variation of Raymonda was supposed to celebrate one of its aspects. The Raymonda I saw was glacial, straighforward, not interested in her partner, marriage, etc. It seemed as if her main objective was to prevent de Brienne from marrying somebody he would love to be with instead of being forced to be with her.
  5. One of the World's greatest ballet companies, yet there are goodly many days when the corps can be lethargic and apathetic, and a sizeable portion of the soloists lousy. I witnessed this many times during my recent visits to their home town. "Their corps members would be principals in most other companies?" Well, some are, in fact, much better, artistically speaking, than many principals in other companies, even in their own company, this has been a well known paradox of the personnel policies at the Mariinsky during the last ten years. Take, for example, Svetlana Ivanova, a glory of the modern ballet, who should be flooded with praise and awards by critics while she is, sadly, hardly ever mentioned. How often do we mention her in these pages? The praise, attention and the awards are flooded on others, some much less deserving yet very well promoted, which is a good reflections on the critics themselves, on their supposed knowledge and understanding of ballet. The majority, however of Mariinsky's corps are just corps members who are better trained than their peers in other companies, with a notable exception of the Bolshoi. To be a principal requires a lot more than technical competence.
  6. What "original novel" do you have in mind? What ballet called "Raymonda" has that "another" ending? The libretto of "Raymonda," according to what I know, was an original work of Lydia Pashkova, a well traveled literary figure of the late Imperial Era, and wasn't an adaptation of any novel. Are you perhaps talking about the 1938 Soviet production? That production discarded the original libretto and replaced it by a new one. Whatever the source of the inspiration for the authors of that production, in the context of "Raymonda", the ballet, it cannot be considered "the original novel".
  7. I am sure she isn't. Taking acting classes can make you a competent actress, the old truth is, however, that a ballet artist can show on stage only what he or she really has inside. Conscious acting cannot get you everywhere, no matter how competent it may initially seem, it will feel insincere, artificial, "manufactured" (as a friend of mine aptly said). Additionally, acting the role of a Roman courtisan poses entirely different challenges from acting a tender, pure-of-heart medieval princess. Still, Jann Parry thought that her Aegina "Not for any money could she plausibly seduce a campful of mercenary gladiators." She never had those "Vaganova" hands, in the first place, so nothing could have happened to them. Everybody in the trade is aware that her hands, wrists and shoulders, are her greatest problem. Her pedagogue at the school tried to rectify it for several years, without success. Concerning the lower half, the form of her feet is another problem and it only will get worse in the future.
  8. Undeniably, Smirnova is capable of strong characterization yet not of the kind that makes those great classical ballets really touching. Instead of radiating warmth and deep feelings she is always wearing a mask of an unstoppable cold conqueror. So the problem lies not with "Raymonda", "La Bayadere", and other classical ballets. The problem is the lead who cannot touch your soul.
  9. First soloists at Bolshoi most of the time dance soloists roles, not principal ones. You probably have missed that but the Allash class was pre-recorded. If it wasn't, Olga Smirnova could not be shown as she had the evening performance on the WBD while, according to Shipulina, the purpose of that class was apparently to feature Smirnova without other prima ballerinas of Bolshoi, like e.g. Shipulina, present.
  10. Shipulina wrote: "This whole comedy here (i.e., at Bolshoi) was recorded ahead of time and those to be recorded were strictly preselected. No "live coverage" of any kind, as in other theatres" (apparently, Miss Smirnova's credo is "Bolshoi that's me".
  11. Your comment is in response to my remark about Smekalov's production. That was not, I repeat it, meant to be a "reconstruction" at all but an on original work wrapped up around Yuri Burlaka's Grand Pas. Considering your comment standing on its own - the reconstructions can be evaluated by competent professionals, "avid balletgoers" can only say how much do they like them. Yes, there are no more than a handful of those , more or less, competent professionals (I happen to know nearly all of them first hand). We analyzed, for example, number by number, leaf by leaf (I am talking about the score and the Stepanov notations at Harvard, Ratmansky's recent reconstruction of "Harlequinade", from the first to the last bar. I concur with your sentiments re. "choosing the wrong designer, over and over again". Ratmansky admitted in a long recent article published in the Spring-Summer 2019 issue of Ballet Review, that previously he cared essentially about reconstructing the steps, much less about reconstructing the costumes. This has changed, he said.
  12. If he did it right, I would be the first one to greet him. As it is, I prefer a piece of balletic archeology à la Ratmansky to this stillborn production. When comparing the quality of any productions it is unfair to compare the quality of the forces involved, yet it would be even more unfair not to mention that the premiere cast Paquita in Munich, Daria Sukhorukova, represents the same Vaganova standard as Tereshkina and, in fact, may be a more refined dancer. "Raymonda", set to a richly textured, post-wagnerian symphonism of Glazunov comes from the very last years of the 19th Century, while "Paquita" is a typical, light, Romantic musical theatre of the mid 1840-ies. They are incomparable in every respect. Whether Vikharev actually succeeded in his undertaking, is a separate question that we need not to address but I would say that Ratmansky succeeded even more because he was more faithful. It is worth to be reminded that just a few years after "Raymonda" premiered, the press in Paris, and even so more in London, was totally dismissive of "Giselle", denying it any merit.
  13. The storyline is very thin and the mise-en-scene amateurish, in my opinion. I saw this "remake" of Paquita several times, with the best casts, and every time the first two acts felt spurious to me, with uninteresting ensembles and unimaginative choreography. The third act is, essentially intact, Grand Pas, as staged by Vaganova. It could be exciting, if danced with panache, finesse and, most of all, conviction. Alas, none of this in the shows I saw. The criteria for selecting the soloists were on every occasion a puzzle to me, one variation danced by a refined artist, another one — by a crude craftsman. Why, if there are sufficiently many fine artists in the company? I prefer Ratmansky's reconstruction to this Mariinsky's tired, and danced without conviction, Grand Pas, preceded by two incongruous, poorly constructed, acts.
  14. I've been to many exams and school showcases and, based on what I see, most schools are reluctant, for understandable reasons, to put them online.
  15. Partnering is a separate exam, for rather obvious reasons.
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