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DrewCo

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  1. The variation in the last act that several have mentioned is not performed by one of Raymnonda's named friends, Clemence or Henriette, but by yet another soloist. The cast list I saw (posted by Tours en L'air's Katherine Barber) listed Elizaveta Kokoreva for that variation. I liked her a lot. And Chapkina was listed as dancing one of the vision scene variations, not the role of Henriette or Clemence; those were listed as Maria Vinogradova and Anastasia Denisova. (A lot of different dancers get opportunities in this ballet.) At my movie theater in the States, the ballet also looked dark as someone else mentioned experiencing. The dimness of lighting especially impacted -- or drained the impact -- of the vision scene which is more dimly lit to begin with. (In the theater, that is my favorite scene in the ballet.) In general I have found the Bolshoi broadcasts strangely dark in lighting, but had assumed it was either a "my bad luck" problem localized to certain movie theaters and/or an unavoidable problem caused by the gap between lighting for stage performances and lighting for high quality HD cameras. Otherwise I very much enjoy these broadcasts with the usual ballet fan caveats--sometimes I like dancer x, don't like dancer y; enjoy xyz about a production but not abc...etc. Basically, though, very grateful to see them.
  2. When the Bolshoi danced Corsaire at the Coliseum you could hear voices shouting instructions from the wings on opening night during the Jardin Anime — I don’t know Russian but assume the voices were directing traffic as the stage looked very overcrowded. It is not a good thing, obviously, to hear that, but on an opening night and especially of a production on tour (when it is not as if the companies can dance a few nights of previews) I am inclined not to hold it against them. I went to Paquita Friday and there were no production glitches that I could spot and, from downstairs, no voices overheard either. I will need to see it again before I can really form an opinion, but I will say here that I had a good time throughout and honestly, for my taste, Smekalov could have had the dancers standing on their heads slowly chewing gum for the first two acts and it still would have been more than worth the price of admission (which in my case included flight and hotel) to see the company dance the final Act in marvelous fashion — as they did. Possibly the opening wasn’t as sharp as often openings aren’t the sharpest, but I wasn’t there.
  3. To all of you who routinely take it upon yourselves to help the lost...a big thank you. This past summer I was one of them! (Of course, I have such a poor sense of direction that maybe all the indicators in the world wouldn't help me, but a few additional ones couldn't hurt.)
  4. I would be ecstatic to see Kim in Don Quixote! Hope you all have a great time--and may everyone sitting in front of you be short ...
  5. The stalls have no real rake in the historic Mariinsky, so it wouldn't necessarily solve the problem there. Understandably you very much want the whole party to sit together, but if you were flexible on that then I would suggest looking for two clusters of three seats or three pair... I agree that sight-lines in the new Mariinsky are largely much better.
  6. In daydreaming moods I have sometimes checked out tickets at the Bolshoi and the cost decidedly woke me up from my dreaming --they really ARE that expensive. However different ballets may have different price points...Mariinsky is a bit cheaper, but if it is an 80-year old ballet-lover's dream to attend a performance at the Bolshoi theater, then that pretty much settles the priorities for Moscow and the Bolshoi. Likewise you can enjoy good ballet performances at the Stanislavsky theater nearby in Moscow and presumably cheaper--but the Bolshoi is the Bolshoi. Or almost. That is, I'm sure it's part of your friend's wish to attend a performance in the "historic" Bolshoi theater rather than the smaller new Bolshoi theater they opened right by it; some Bolshoi performances are scheduled at the new theater. I have even read one fan who said she preferred the new theater for ballet because it isn't so huge and I would not be surprised if tickets there were cheaper, but obviously you will want to pick a week for your visit when at least some of the ballet performances are scheduled at the "historic" theater. One other thing that you probably already know -- but just in case not -- is that the theater lists two ticket prices, one for locals and one for visitors from other countries. The latter price is much more expensive and my understanding is that if you try, say, to get a Russian acquaintance to buy the locally priced ticket and use it yourself when you aren't a local (uh...not that anyone reading this post would do that) you will not be allowed in. Also, I think there are some new regulations in place, probably meant to cut down on a huge scalping problem: I am not sure what they are exactly--I sometimes put Russian articles through Google translate which is a pretty imperfect way of making sense of them--but rules along the lines of having with you the credit card you used to purchase the tickets or some such. I could be wrong, but you will want to read carefully what the website says about such things. I think this is wonderful birthday idea and hope you can make it happen!
  7. I'm afraid I only know the bare bones of Rambert's life story but reading that her family name was originally Rambam made me curious. The New York Times obituary for Rambert says that the family name was was "Rambam" but her father had already taken the name Ramberg at the time of her birth and her uncle had taken "Rambert." The articles gives the reasons Floss mentions above: "Marie Rambert was born in Warsaw in 1888, the daughter of a bookseller. Her original given name was Cyvia, and the family surname was Rambam. However, men in the family occasionally took other names to escape military conscription by pretending that they were only sons. Her father called himself Ramberg, and one of her uncles was known as Rambert, the surname she later adopted." Regarding her first name the obituary tells the following story: "After a friend told her that she moved with the fervor of Myriam [after she began studying in Paris], the Old Testament prophetess, she changed her name from Cyvia to Myriam." (I have no idea what the origin of the family name "Rambam" was -- and I am curious -- but, as it happens, "Rambam" in Hebrew letters is the acronym of the Hebrew name of Maimonides who is one of the most important of Medieval biblical commentators and philosophers. And that acronym is the name he is known by in Hebrew -- one reads or cites the "Rambam" -- which I suspect would have been known by more or less every Jewish person in Poland when Rambert grew up. Imagine, say, if your last name were Aquinas.)
  8. Osipova (or whoever handles her Instagram account) put Mary Poppins’ name beneath a photo of herself in Rome that was posted on Instagram this summer —apparently it was the hat she was wearing that made the connection. So who knows? Maybe they both belong to a secret sisterhood of oddly magical figures who occasionally defy gravity....
  9. The Latvian National Ballet has danced it and American Ballet Theatre — in a production that used different sets and costumes. And as best I can remember ABT did not include the gigantic vegetables. I don’t know if any other companies have performed it. I thought ABT did a great job with it and ballet fans seemed to love it. I don’t think it did great box office the last time it was revived at ABT and it hasn’t been revived for a while.
  10. I saw the three Swan Lakes performed over the weekend and enjoyed them rather more than posters above, though I agree with reservations about the production--and also agree that Tikhomirova was a stand out Friday night when she danced the Neapolitan Princess. When I compare the company (not the leads, but the corps and featured dancers in all the Acts) with how they looked dancing this production in New York five years ago, I'd say they looked just as strong and in some respects stronger with the exception of the dancers performing the Evil Genius. In New York, too, Tikhomirova -- who was dancing the Spanish bride the nights I attended in NY -- was the stand out. (The jester never does much for me, but I suppose it's possible the jesters were better in NY--can't say.) I find Chudin's aristocratic bearing and pure classical style a profound pleasure--it's not old-school Bolshoi dancing by a long shot, but poetic and dreamy. He sort of floated through his variations Friday. Smirnova remains a bit of a puzzle to me: for now I will say only that I think I admire her dancing more than I like it. Kovalyova is just a baby ballerina. She was cast as Odette-Odile and on tour in London no less, so it's fair game to criticize her, but I hardly expect much depth of any 21-22 year old in this role--I look only for promise. She has a stunning physique, great personal beauty, and tremendous charm. I found even her Odile rather likeable. She was a villainess with a twinkle in her eye as opposed to the hardened vamp we so often get. Her dancing was uneven in some ways but had great moments and interpretively her Odette had real tenderness as well. Depending on how she develops, she could be rather wonderful one day. All that said, I thought Zakharova on Saturday night was in an entirely different class from either Kovalyova (as one would expect) or, for my taste, Smirnova. And she and Rodkin made the ballet considerably more exciting than it was either Friday or Saturday afternoon. Five years ago in New York (where I missed her) Zakharova was lambasted in the press (and online among some fans) for giving what was described as a "cold" performance; here in London opposite Rodkin she gave a performance I found both tremendously moving and thrilling. Rodkin is not the seamless stylist Chudin is. Also, though his leaps are impressive, when it comes to turns, a double pirouette seems about as much as he can muster and he sort of fakes his way through the chaine turns through which Grigorovich has Siegfried express much of his agitation in the final scenes. Not just Chudin Friday night, but Tissi at the matinee was able to do more with these. But in other respects not only did he dance very impressively, but he seemed to me a much superior actor to either Chudin or Tissi and his dancing also carries much more of a sexual charge than theirs -- the result was genuine chemistry with Zakharova and a deeply romantic performance of the ballet insofar as Grigorovich's approach allows for it. Apparently no-one told Zakharova that the souvenir program describes her as primarily a specter in Siegfried's mind. And thank goodness, because when she looked up into Rodkin's eyes towards the end of the first lake scene you could believe she was in love with him. Overall, unless one values an Odette-Odile solely on whether she makes it to 32 fouettes (I counted Zakharova at 27 with the last one a double) her performance throughout was profoundly engaged and engaging. At any rate, I found it articulate, fluid, soulful, exciting--with a coda to the black swan pas de deux that I thought well worthy of her coach Semenyaka -- shooting across the stage like lightning and closing with a strong balance. At all the performances I attended I also thought the corps did itself proud. It may be I am less critical than others because these days I see rather less ballet. I do wonder if that isn't the case. But anyway I thought I would register my thoughts.
  11. Very sorry to read this news--as a ballet lover who has long read this site and more recently posts here as well, I feel deep gratitude for his contributions. May he rest in peace.
  12. I don’t think the Soviets were necessarily unwilling to appropriate Christian imagery to secular ends. I was very lucky to be in London Monday and attended opening night. I had a great time and was especially impressed by Belyakov as Crassus. For me, although I enjoyed all the dancers, his was the single most exciting performance of the evening.
  13. I only recently learned through the Atlanta Ballet's Facebook page, that--as I see FionaE also mentions above--Nikolas Gaifullin, one of the very best young dancers at Atlanta Ballet, will be dancing Tybalt in this production. (Kobborg staged La Sylphide for the company this past season and Gaifullin was one of the dancers cast as James.) I am rather a fan of Gaifullin--have been since seeing him make his debut as Basilio in Don Quixote two seasons ago. I liked his Basilio very much, but I must admit I was particularly charmed when after negotiating an awkward costume snafu, he immediately appeared to put some extra "zing" into his next dance phrase as if to underline for the audience that nothing was going to get in the way of the performance. Since then his dancing continues to be a highlight of the Atlanta Ballet performances I attend. Atlanta Ballet does some good and even very good things, but is not a major ballet company (though they have aspirations to become one), and I imagine Verona will be a very new kind of experience for Gaifullin--but I think he is the real deal and hope he has success with this production.
  14. I think another case would be Héloïse Bourdon who was invited to dance Odette-Odile as part of the 2016 Mariinsky International Dance Festival. (A slightly different context I suppose since the festival always involves guests from abroad.) At that time, I think Bourdon may only have been a "sujet" at the POB--but in any case she was not a principal. Still, it is surely a very rare occurrence. I hope Wagman has a huge success there.
  15. This is a generalization about the study of literature in American Universities that somewhat takes me up short. I'm tempted to ask a lot of questions about your education. But I won't...that is, I would not expect you to answer such questions or feel I even have the right to ask them on a message board! And in the end, I doubt that the answers would be particularly informative either--since it certainly sounds as if one way or another you took some disappointing literature classes--or classes not useful to you--at American University after having taken some you found valuable in your British prepatory education. And that could happen in a lot of different educational contexts. Since I also don't want to go into detail about myself on a message board, I will have to ask you to take it on faith I probably know more about this topic than I do about ballet. Certainly, I have sometimes been very impressed by literary materials I've seen from students in the UK (especially their level of historical knowledge and the polish of their writing)--though of course I see a very limited selection and could not begin to generalize on that basis. But I am still hard put to understand what you are talking about in your post except that you personally had disappointing literature classes in college in the U.S. Does that mean there is a "curated, Museum" like approach to the advanced study of literature in the U.S. in general? I'm sure such things exist--the American academy is vast and very diverse--but as a general description of how literature is taught at American Universities and colleges, it leaves me very puzzled. Based on my experience studying, teaching, and observing in several universities, I don't think it's accurate and I don't think it's fair. There are surely differences between the two educational systems, but it would take a very different kind of analysis to get at the way that plays out. And in the end, I doubt it would cast much light on why a slew of reviews and fan responses to Marston's Jane Eyre skews one way in the UK and another in the U.S./New York. I suspect that expectations about performing arts--opera and ballet adaptations--are playing the bigger role as well as attitudes to choreography as already discussed above in this thread. By the by, Scarlett's Frankenstein seem to me to have gotten a friendlier response from American fans online and even from critics (who gave it "mixed" reviews) than it received on this website or in the British press when it premiered in London. Audiences overall may react to things differently in different parts of the world, but the differences don't always play out in cleanly predictable ways.
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