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I was at 4 ballets in the Ballet Week in Munich mid-April, 2 of them with prominent guest stars - “Lady of the Camellias” and “Onegin”, which turned out to be below my expectations. On the 12th April, Marguerite was danced by Anne Laudere, partnered by Edvin Revazov, both from the Hamburg Ballet. She was fine, but Revazov, coming from Neumeier’s emsemble, was disappointing. I thought him inadequate, both technically and dramatically. Especially in the final black pdd he could not match the intensity and urgency of the Chopin’s Ballade and seemed not to have the stamina to finish the pdd with the necessary flourish... and sporting a hairdo more suited to Dr. Coppelius. One huge blemish of this production, to me at least, is that the drama of money-filled envelope took place on the extreme right extension of the stage, not on the stage proper. So those seated on the right upper tiers were unable to see Marguerite being handed the envelope, opening it, slapping Olympia, etc. All others in the audience had to divide their attention between this and Armand’s anguish on the extreme left side of the stage and the corps de ballet dancing in the middle. Very frustrating. “Onegin” on the 13th saw David Hallberg in the title role and Natalia Osipova as Tatiana. A case of big names tossed together, but which somehow fell flat. Friends I was with and myself missed the harmony and understanding which probably could only be there with more rehearsal time. Somehow the timing in the lifts seemed awkward, which esp. dampened our enjoyment of the Mirror pdd and I noticed in the final pdd that the lifts, with his arms raised and she inbetween them, were wrong. He had to bring down one arm to clutch her torso. It’s a matter of personal taste, but we found Osipova not quite right for Tatiana. Not the introverted bookworm, experiencing love for the 1st time, she was all too ready with her bright smile ... as in the words of a friend, passionate about this ballet – “She’s Kitri pretending to be Tatiana”. And on that evening she was on the heavy side, especially in the lifts. The other 2 evenings with “Taming of the Shrew” and “Spartacus” with the BSB’s own stars went off fine. Jonah Acosta cut a maverick figure as Petruchio with Lauretta Summerscales stomping as the untamed Kate, but I prefer her dancing as the tamed wife. For me Marcia Haydee is still the one who set the standard as Kate. Perhaps it’s the fact that Haydee was not pretty in the conventional sense of the word, so that her “ugly sister“ ferocity was given a cutting edge. “Spartacus” too went off well. Compactly built Osiel Gouneo delivered the spins and jumps to the delight of the audience, but still could bring over the passion of Spartacus. Ksenia Ryzhkova danced Phrygia wonderfully, with the right mixture of longing, fear and despair. The male corps de ballet marched and stamped vigourously, though I’ve often wondered how they’d compare to the Bolshoi, which I only could catch on dvd.
I very much enjoyed the live stream tonight. The Munich company gave a very good account of themselves in each piece. Ashley Bouder was fantastic, I thought, in Rubies. Alina Somova danced with cool precision and allure in Diamonds, just about coping with the brisk tempi in the final segment! A special mention for Vladimir Shklyarov who is really dancing on top form at the moment (appearing in The Little Humpbacked Horse last night at the Mariinsky and presumably flying to Munich this morning) - it was a great pleasure to see again his elan and musicality. I look forward to watching the performance all over again tomorrow!
Nothing too innovative in Munich! Wheeldon's Alice Fille La Bayadere R&J Symphony in C/In the Night/Adam Is (Aszure barton) Spartacus Giselle A Midsummer Night's Dream (Neumeier) Stanislavsky guesting with Mayerling
Now available online, a half-hour TV program (in German) documenting a journalist's weeklong experience of life in a ballet company: http://www.ndr.de/fernsehen/sendungen/7_tage/index.html Julie please let us know if your son is anywhere to be seen!