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Zakharova fell but recovered splendidly. I wonder if the stage is slippy. I saw a swan fall in their Act II opening entrances, again at Bolshoi.

 

Polunin was beautifully engaged with Giselle in act I and wonderfully brooding in Act II. (He broods magnificently.) There is a definite magnetism there which holds one's attention.

 

The wilis were excellent, I thought. The house crowd very strident in their praises, which I found got a bit tiresome.

 

I especially liked the trapdoor method of the couple's parting. One sees the grasp slip away, all the more tragic. Overall, a good night put, though not so much at Ipswich, where we were in hats and coats, with no heating! I hope to write a blog post about my thoughts soon.

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It looked like a bad fall. I think it took her some time to recover. She is a goddess though.

 

Both the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky make me laugh though. Their dancing is so sophisticated, and yet the devices they use and their props departments are those of an amateur production. Although the trapdoor device worked beautifully when the couple finally parted, I thought Giselle's appearance out of it was rather comical. Look out behind you! What with breaking branches of flowers and people swaying about in trees and a huge Christmas lights budget to spend at the Range and stuffed hawks glued to arms and Giselle's great big bobbly necklace, I was constantly on the edge of my seat as to what would malfunction next. I'm not sure any of it was helped by the rather overzealous use of huge close ups, especially of poor old Ekaterina Shipulina trying to twitch the sweat off her face.

 

But strip all that away, and Zakharova and Polunin were divine beings from another planet!

Edited by cavycapers
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I found Act 1 just a little unconvincing and I think the props issue did have something to do with this.

Act 2 was sublime though and have to agree about the ultra-sublimity of Zhakarova and Polunin in this act. They were a beautiful match physically.

 

The props were rather unforgiveable- the wobbling tombstone with infant school writing on it..the awful fake flowers. These things cannot survive a close-up...

also the cheering was over the top even by Moscow standards- really Giselle should NOT be curtseying to the audience when she is dead and the applause in every pause of these ethereal scenes did not help the atmosphere ..

and yet somehow it was still wonderful.

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I hadn't seen the Bolshoi Giselle before so was very interested to see this - especially on hearing that Sergei Polunin would be dancing as well!

 

I agree with the above posts regarding the props.  I personally wasn't keen on Giselle's act 2 entrance and definitely didn't like the wobbly tree thing she stood on and then there were the flashing light things which were a bit disco like..  The dancing was wonderful though and Sergei Polunin's jumps were just phenomenal.

 

Regarding the curtseying during the Act 2 - I do remember seeing a video with Carla Fracci where during the Act she curtseys to the Queen of the Willi instead of to the audience which I absolutely loved but I've never seen another dancer do this. (Think it might have been a La Scala recording with Nureyev)

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That was Giselle in the wobbly tree thing was it? :D and don't get me started on Giselle's mother, who looked younger than Giselle under that terrible wig and make up, and seemed more concerned with straightening out her daughter's skirt than about the fact that she was dead. But you're right, Mary, despite all this it was indeed wonderful. And I loved Zakharova all the more for her slip and the courage she showed going on. I've always found her rather icy before.

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This was the first time I have seen Giselle apart from the wonderful English Yourh ballet of course! I thought Giselle was exquisite and admired her recovery from her fall, very professional. I was also very moved by the partnering in the second act between her and the prince, which quite reduced me to tears. The atmosphere was however somewhat spoiled for me by the audience. I couldn't grasp their need to clap while the company were actually dancing. I just wanted the beautiful choreography and music to carry me away, and the clapping broke the mood. This was especially so in the second act. Those amazing jumps by the prince, the power and presence of the queen, the corps' beauty as they danced Hans to his death; then the audience clapping as soon as they saw some move or step that impressed them. Not for me.

Overall, a truly beautiful experience. My mum tells me that's it's quite different from the English version, but I am not as knowledgeable or experienced as her. She has seen so many of the greats, I am green with envy!

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I also found Polunin and Zakharova magnificent, really from another planet! A shame the fall of her; maybe it's just me, but in the first act I found her a little less credible than usual as Giselle, very good as always, but with a look a little too ... serious? Maybe she wasn't well from the beginning...anyway she handled it very well! A great professional!

Personally I always find perfect Polunin as Louis, because he plays a prince who tries to "blend in" among the villagers, but obviously he can not, because stands out like...a pumpkin in a field of melons, exactly as Polunin stands normally! :)

Completely agree with the previous comment about the props: from the Bolshoi I expected more of the christmas lights!

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 I loved the dancing in both acts- Act 1 was only marred for us by technical problems in Aylesbury which sadly meant we missed the first 15 minutes.  Also first experience seeing a ballet screening in a multiplex rather than a theatre and I could hear other, louder films from other screens at some really quiet moments. 

 

I really enjoyed the gentle autumnal feel of the first act but had mixed feelings about the production in Act 2.   I didn't like the trapdoor thing Giselle entered on which for me felt a bit hammy and panto- ditto the tree was a distraction and I agree that the twinkly fairy lights didn't really add a lot. And whilst too much bathing in mist can be over the top, a bit more of a ghostly feel to the set would have been welcome. 

 

I loved Giselle, both on the dancing and acting front, and the superbly cold Queen of the Willi. Totally agree, the audience was a distraction (had they borrowed them from Strictly?)  especially in Act 2 with endless applause which really breaks the mood-you could hardly hear the music at times.

 

Just a shame it wasn't better attended. I'd estimate an audience of about 30 people- I'd be interested to know how this compares to other areas. The only Bolshoi screening I've been to round here that was nearly full was Nutcracker last year. I see none of my local outlets are showing Jewels which is annoying.

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I attended Giselle in Preston and it was quite well attended; about 60 I should think. Hope Zakharova is ok. She had a lot of dancing including a lot of jumps to do after her fall; not the best way to aid recovery. I thought Polunin looked a lot older than last time I saw him but perhaps it was because his hair was shorter. I thought they danced together very well though I'm not a huge fan of Zakharova.I'm glad they have done away with those awful side whiskers Hilarian used to have that made him look very strange.

 

I agree with previous posters about the tacky special effects. Personally I think you can't fault the Peter Wright production and it will be interesting to compare them when we see Vadim next year. I do think the opening of the second act with the dry ice and Willis with veils creates a wonderfully supernatural, eerie atmosphere.

 

The Russian habit of applauding every little move does get really tiresome, especially in a ballet like Giselle which relies so heavily on atmosphere. However, that is their way and I think I read that when they first came over here they thought the British audiences didn't like them because of lack of continuous applause. However, when they received a tremendous ovation at the end they realised that's how we showed our appreciation.

 

Interesting to see Igor Zelensky backstage at the end.

 

The wonderful Katerina Novikova gave her usual interesting insights with no prompt cards and in 3 languages.

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I wonder if the reason Act 1 is not as convincing as Act 2 is because Zakharova too "stands out like a pumpkin in a field of melons". Everything about her, including her lovely profile, screams aristocrat, not peasant. There was no way one could imagine her as being amongst her friends. But it is also this very reason that makes her so exquisite in Act 2.

 

I saw her leave the stage door one night at the ROH. There was no scurrying out in old tracky bottoms. It was like seeing an old Hollywood film star. We waited ages, and then she appeared, hair and make up perfect, and a beautiful coat, very fitted like a corset, then swirling out onto great big skirt, with many points on it, the coat equivalent of a tutu! So glamorous!

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BTW, here are links to our discussion of the 2014-15 season: http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/8128-bolshoi-ballet-broadcasts-2014-15/?hl=broadcasts

 

and the 2013-14 one: http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/5117-bolshoi-cinema-broadcasts-2013-2014-feedback-thread/?hl=broadcasts

 

Some of the repeats will have been discussed in those.

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 I loved the dancing in both acts- Act 1 was only marred for us by technical problems in Aylesbury which sadly meant we missed the first 15 minutes.  Also first experience seeing a ballet screening in a multiplex rather than a theatre and I could hear other, louder films from other screens at some really quiet moments. 

 

 

 

Welcome to the Forum, Pianolady.  I hope we will hear more from you.

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My 2 cents on the performances:

 

- I agree about all of the comments about the 'mother' role above

- I felt that Polunin was not a believable prince or 'noble' character at all, nor do I think that his dancing ability was enough to compensate for his lack of compassion nor emotions for Giselle at all. Last season I watched Friedemann Vogel as an arrogant noble, mistreat and play with poor Giselle's emotions, and the Graceful Roberto Bolle sweep Giselle from her feet and getting carried along with emotion to forget his responsibilities as a noble until it was too late. Both brought a story, a character and emotions for Giselle. Polunin brought 'Polunin' who as a 'Name' I did not even hit me that he was trying to be another character, and I found myself just looking for some 'amazing' dancing to compensate for the lack of character, sadly to say I didn't find it at all.

 

- Following from lack of a noble prince, to a princess throughout, Zakharova. In a way it seemed more like roles were reversed in many of the pas de deuxs with Zakharova looking beautiful and graceful, apart from some minor chest pain every now and then. Again, she was too beautiful and strong to be the vulnerable and naive Giselle in Act 1. So I found myself losing any story line at all, and instead looking for why 'zakharova' was such a star in this role. I had to wait for Act II, and then on stage alone as a beautiful ghost, dancing fantastically, I could understand why she is a star Name as a Giselle (to some point)

 

 - With all of the scenery looking a bit dated and comical at times, with not much emotion or story on stage, and only some elements of fantastic dancing ability of Zakharova shining through, I wonder to myself why would the Bolshoi transmit this to the world? It wasn't as if after I felt, hmmm poor my in Zurich having to go to watch Giselle and trying to take comfort with what I see. In fact I felt very happy about the emotion, and partnership of the dancing I see on stage in Zurich that to me this is the important part of watching. 

 

So in summary, I would happily spend hundreds to fly to La Scala to watch Zakharova dance Sleeping Beauty, and this time only if the Noble Tissi was dancing again. I wouldn't rush to fly to Bolshoi to see this Giselle again nor would I watch it online again, even for free.

 

I don't want to sound like a harsh 'wannabe' critic and I am sure Polunin is amazing in some roles and more than likely opposite someone that he has an emotional attachment to, namely osipova, but this performance left me cold.

 

I am excited to watch Giselle in Zürich again though, and cheer a little louder at the end :)

 

Also, with the chance to replay, Zakhavorva's fall was from an overextension and he actually landed on the top of her foot, there was no slipping at all. Just FYI, she recovered and danced amazingly! (heroine)

Edited by SwissBalletFan
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MAB, I believe it was the Grigorovich.

 

It was (or, as I like to think of it, The One With The Sliding Window): which is the other version?  Ms Novikova was going into a lot of detail about how Act I was more the Coralli/Perrot part and Act II the Petipa.

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Dear all, I have heard from a friend in Russia and they still have the HD link on the Bolshoi youtube account here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Emt57z3CE3c

 

If you travel to Russia or know someone there. or have an IP address proxy account such as DotVPN for chrome. Then you can watch the whole performance online. I hope this helps.

 

Very grateful for the tip :) easy to set up. 

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Dear all, I have heard from a friend in Russia and they still have the HD link on the Bolshoi youtube account here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Emt57z3CE3c

 

If you travel to Russia or know someone there. or have an IP address proxy account such as DotVPN for chrome. Then you can watch the whole performance online. I hope this helps.

Great! thank you for this, SBF :D (I think I will fast-forward past the bouncing-tree bit though....)

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Guest Ali Pasha

Dear Members :  I have just returned from Mockba where I saw two different casts of Giselle at the

Bolshoi on two consecutive nights, the second one being the cinecast performance with Zakharova

and Polunin. Back in my hotel room I posted the following message to my guru :

THE SUPRANATURAL DANCING THE SUPERNATURAL

"May I humbly suggest, so as not to incur your wrath, that this is it ? You may well have,

but this humble soul had not seen up to date a ballerina who so effortlessly sublimates
between solid liquid and gaseous state as Svetlana does. Also one of the best acted mad

scenes I have seen, may I say on par with Alina ? I would very much like to have your

comments whenever you can spare a few minutes for me. And Polunin .... first time I saw him

in a full ballet recorded or live. In my humble view seriously good as dancer-actor. Probably

made the right decision to quit the RB and I wish Natasha would also quit and go back to

Mockba - here is where they should be, backed by a CdB which can keep symmetry and sync

....... to me it really does make a difference. I had faxed Anthony Dowell in the mid-Nineties
complaining about poor symmetry and sync (am I using the right terms ?) of the RB CdB and

got a noncommittal reply. It has improved somewhat but still is not up to Paris standard let

alone Bolshoi, again imho.
Is Svetlana Giselle ? Am undecided, will watch Alina on BR disc again as soon as I go back.

She has been Giselle for me for some time and could be forever, just as Vishneva is my Juliet,

probably forever".

 

Will follow up shortly with full casting and other info.

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Guest Ali Pasha

A copy of my report to the guru prior to departure from Istanbul :

BOLSHOI GISELLE CASTING THIS WEEKEND

Saturday 10th matinee : ex post facto I wish I had booked this performance
instead of the evening - Katyusha is runnerup to my favourite Svetlana, and
I like Denis too and would have liked to see his Albrecht :
http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/performances/41/roles/#20151010120000

Saturday 10th evening : what I am going to see first - if my Turkair flight is
not forced down over Crimea by Russian MIGs that is ! Saw Nikulina in SL
in January was technically fine I thought but did not give me any buzz :
http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/performances/41/roles/#20151010190000

Sunday 11th evening : "Tonight .... tonight ..... I finally see Sveta live tonight !"
Am really curious and excited about how this pairing will click ..... or not. The
best "Jizel" I have seen up to date was Alina&Johan (RB 2006 brd) - I thought

this was possibly unsurpassable. Would you say this is a dream ticket :
http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/performances/41/roles/#20151011180000

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Guest Ali Pasha

My message of Sunday morning after the first performance (Sat eve) :

Saw the first Jizel of the weekend last evening - I had already mailed you the casting.

I really would have (wanted you to have seen this performance too) if it were possible

to hear your take on it. For the second time I failed to click with Nikulina, and was not

too impressed by Albrecht either. "One can see this level of artistry and athleticism at

the ROH too - nothing to write to XX about" I was thinking !  Is my infatuation with Svet-

lana and Katya clouding my judgment ? Am I preset negatively due to Anna replacing

Svetlana in January / the matinee performance having Katya/Denis who I would have

preferred seeing / being focused with VERY high expectations on today's performance

with Svetlana/ Sergey ??  You would have been the perfect judge and helped me in put-

ting behind all these questions swirling around in my mind.

My discovery of the evening was the gorgeous cafe-bar at the 4th Balcony level (Paradis !)

which I failed to discover on my January visit and had to make do with a much smaller one
in the basement opposite Beethoven Hall. Secondly, Novikov's "Bolshoi" restaurant directly

behind the Bolshoi, nice place with a nice mainly classical menu, chock full of well-heeled
Muscovites on a Saturday evening"

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Oh, those disco lights round Giselle's grave! And I had to stifle a laugh when she appeared on the branch, for all the world like a fairy tumbling off a Christmas tree. But the real design flaw of the evening was that grotesque necklace.

The tree ....Hot on the heels of poor Zakharova's tumble (and how marvellous she was to get up and carry on) for a horrible moment I actually thought that Polunin was going to come a cropper too (malfunctioning, shaky branch holding Giselle hovering dangerously above his head...)

 

I thought that the dancing was great, but agree with other comments regarding the staging and lack of passion.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Bolshoi Jewels from last -year- perfect escape from a dismal November Sunday afternoon.

 

Ballet heaven.

 

For once -unlike Giselle!-the Bolshoi sets were restrained, tasteful and worked beautifully with the ballet. Just simple glowing backdrops, -I preferred them to the ROH swags, drapes and chandeliers. This ballet doesn't need it.  Chudin on spectacular form I thought.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Bolshoi Dame aux Camellias- fantastic ballet, superb dancing, the most beautiful costumes- as usual, knowledgeable inetertsing presentationfrom K Novikova,  -the whole experience was top notch.

 

I had never seen this Neumeier ballet before and was impressed, Such interesting, creative use of music, and of silence. Very good creation of atmosphere with props and costumes rather than sets-worked perfectly. Choreographically it was interesting to see some infuence of Cranko ( so far as I could judge) -also to compare to Marguerite and Armand, and Month in the Country-some of the same music.

A fascinating piece.

 

Zhakarova was ideal casting. Edvin  Revazov was new to me and another Bolshoi revelation- what an expressive dancer. Some virtuoso work from Semyon Chudin and indeed all the dancers were excellent.

 

 

How I wish we could see this ballet at ROH..

I guess it would be a mite on the expensive side.

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SBF thanks for the info on live streaming only just seen this thread now and I never knew about that - very good to know!!!  I heard on Twitter that Zakharova danced Marguerite... as herself/Zakharova all over extensions etc ....and not really suitable to the role.  I saw La Dame aux Camelias in Amsterdam earlier this year with Igone de Jonghe and then Anna Tysgankova - I thought both were really good but Anna T was my personal favourite she was really great in the role.

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