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Welcome to Tiara and godots_arrived (which I misread at first glance!), and thank you for your contributions.

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Fair enough, but I do think there's an interesting non-specific point to be discussed -- if not in this thread -- about the role of the arts in any post-war healing process as well as within political structures generally that's important to consider when evaluating performance choices. And in Russia in particular the subversion of the arts (from the denunciations of Shostakovich to the entire school of Soviet Realism) renders almost any composition (music or dance, painting, book etc.) regardless of medium nearly impossible to comment on absent context. Perhaps a topic for another thread though. 

 

A topic for another forum, godots_arrived!  We try and stick to discussion here about the arts, but keep them separate from politics as it never ends well.  Meanwhile, welcome to the forum and we look forward to more contributions from you. 

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For reasons unbeknown to me, I bought a lot of Swan Lakes this time round, and I'm coming to appreciate it more on repeat viewings. I actually pay attention during the brides/folk dances, which are scenes where my mind often drifts in other versions. I like the idea of the evil genius as a sort of string-pulling alter ego. I don't think I'll get as far as liking the ending, but I think it could be an interesting alternative if it had a more developed narrative / choreography.

 

Tonight's performance belonged to Zakharova, with a decent showing from Rodkin (I don't get much emotion off him, but his movement can be utterly beautiful), Lopatin showing off beautifully as an amusing Jester with awe inspiring spins, and a fab Spanish princess by Tihkomirova. And perhaps I'm a little harsh on the 3 swans, but this was the first performance I've seen where they seemed reasonably attuned to each other instead of having arms going any which way at times. (Maybe there was a Swan Bootcamp since the first lot of SLs...)

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I’ll start with an unashamed apology that this is most definitely a fan-boy write up. I didn’t go to see Swan Lake last night, I went to see Svetlana Zakharova (for the first time). She was fabulous, I’d love to be able to describe her the way Bruce Wall would but I don’t have the words. Every movement, every pose was sumptuous, her arms truly rippled, her face was expressive. Sinuous as a snake are the words that sprang to mind when watching her – not terribly flattering words though :(.

 

I was sitting in the front left hand corner of the OS and what I hadn’t really appreciated beforehand is that a lot of SL is Odette (and others) moving from back right across the stage to front left – this meant they were coming straight at me, loved it :) .

 

Anna Tikhomirova has clearly become an ROH favourite with a ripple of applause when she came on stage as the Spanish Bride (only Zakharova and Tikhomirova got this ‘appearance’ applause).

 

All the Brides were good with Yulia Stepanova as the Russian Bride as my favourite. (Any Russian bride would be my favourite, I love that Russian Bride music).

 

Svetlana Zakharova’s black swan was wickedly delightful (fashion note: no black feathers for SZ, just a lovely little crown). I had to count and she did exactly 32 perfect fouettes – ever the perfectionist.

 

I’ve seen three Bolshoi SLs this time round and none of them moved me emotionally which tells me this is not a good version of SL (I think we knew that). Zakharova came the closest in the first white act when her facial portrayal of Odette and her little shudders and ripples told of her sorrow and the sadness to come – but I couldn’t stop grinning :D  because I was enjoying  Zakharova so much that I forgot Odette.

 

Rodkin/Belyakov/Lopatin were tremendous to watch as Siegfried/Evil Genius/Fool. The interplay between Prince Siegfried and the Evil Genius is probably the best ‘new’ thing in this SL version but it is nowhere near enough to make it a good SL.

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Reminds of when I saw SZ in SL in Amsterdam (as the Bolshoi didn't come here that year) a few years back and her 6 o'clock arabesque as Odile was nothing short of stupendous and of course her fouettes are always spot on too!  She is a brilliant technician but I rarely get any emotion off Zakharova, but you HAVE to see her at least once in your life!  So glad you enjoyed seeing her.

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In common with Timmie, I too went to see Svetlana Zakharova (and Denis Rodkin) last night as distinct from booking for Swan Lake.

 

Since her teenage days with the then Kirov, I have always admired Zakharova but she has rarely won me over with her interpretations ‘in the round’. [The exception was her Dame Aux Camelias which I caught in the cinema relay and thought brilliant.] Last night, however, I felt more characterisation and emotion from her than hitherto in a classical role. As both Odette and Odile, her face was expressive and her arms doubly so. There were times when her technique took my breath away.

 

But, strangely, she didn’t seem to be getting much back from Rodkin beyond his naturally handsome visage. I like to see him but, as in his Don Q, some of his dancing appears effortful and he did not really come across as princely. There is a sort of flat-footedness about him as well which seems to emphasize his comparative lack of elevation.

 

Anna Tikhomirova once again carried all before her as the Spanish Bride. She has a really captivating stage presence and connection with her audience (witness Timmie’s reference to her being clapped on!) which the other princesses seemed to lack.

 

Having been seriously disappointed by the Saturday matinee cast for Swan Lake, my overall impression was much more favourable last night – and the bored swans’ faces of the week before had virtually disappeared as well.

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Despite my (severe) reservations about the production as a whole, Smirnova's Odette/Odile has been a highlight of the run for me. Those going tonight (Tuesday) are in for a treat in my view. TBH I am almost tempted to go down to London and linger around the box office in the vague hope that someone shows up with a spare ticket such is my wish to see her again.

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Unnecessarily unpleasant young women on the stage door last night as we were waiting for Svetlana to come out. Give someone a little bit of power.... she kept coming out and trying to move us around, and counting us, etc, then after an hour and a quarter, she told us all to go home as Svetlana had gone and there was no one in the building. So most of us did, then Svetlana apparently came out at quarter to twelve and signed, smiled and chatted to those that had stayed. Badly done ROH, I don't care, I'm grown up, but there were many youngsters there clutching their pointe shoes who stood for over an hour to be sent home and then to find she was still there...

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Unnecessarily unpleasant young women on the stage door last night as we were waiting for Svetlana to come out. Give someone a little bit of power.... she kept coming out and trying to move us around, and counting us, etc, then after an hour and a quarter, she told us all to go home as Svetlana had gone and there was no one in the building. So most of us did, then Svetlana apparently came out at quarter to twelve and signed, smiled and chatted to those that had stayed. Badly done ROH, I don't care, I'm grown up, but there were many youngsters there clutching their pointe shoes who stood for over an hour to be sent home and then to find she was still there...

 

Doubly angry now that I learn she did come out (I left when we were told Svetlana was gone). I feel awful for all those sweet girls, many of whom had flown from America and Australia to see her, and then some of whom went home disappointed, just because an officious ROH woman lied to them.

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I think that there needs to be a complaint about this. There is no way that Svetlana would have left by a secret door.

 

Is there anyone on here who was present last night who feels able to write in?

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I suppose it's possible that the woman in question had actually been told that Zakharova had left ... although presumably with the "Open Up" work the alternative stage door exit isn't available?

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No, she said she had looked in the dressing rooms etc and no one there. If it had been at Svetlana's request, she wouldn't have been so gracious when she came out. My young friend who didn't give up, said she was lovely and happy for photos and chat and signings when she did emerge.

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It did occur to me that Svetlana might have requested for the woman to say that she'd gone, so as to not be mobbed by fans- just after you'd left, Cavycapers, myself and a young man ventured inside the stage door; there was a man sitting the other side of the glass who also politely but firmly assured us that Svetlana had gone and there was absolutely no dancers left in the building!

 

 

But if no dancers were left in the building, why were the lights still on, door open & security man sitting in his booth?!

Persistence is key, I got some lovely photos with Svetlana and a very precious pair of signed pointe shoes!!!! ;)

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Nooo, sick as a parrot. I had booked a hotel instead of getting last coach home just so I could see her!

. Glad you got to see her though!

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Vicky page, were you the lady in the red gilet, that I spoke to on the tube! Hello if you were!

 

I think I would just have liked the truth, if the woman in red had come out and said Svetlana is very tired and doesn't really want to see people, we would have respected that a lot more.

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Is there anyone on here who was present last night who feels able to write in?

 

I know a very angry mother who is going to complain about the experience. There were a lot of young girls there, although judging by how things looked when I left (I am pretty angry, but after Flames on Friday, I was pretty tired, so not too sorry about leaving, since I had to get back to Oxford that night) most of them doggedly stayed and got the pay off.

 

I don't think that Svetlana could have been the one to ask them, since it sounds like she was so lovely and sweet once she actually emerged. I suspect it's a policy (not necessarily an official one) to tell large crowds that the person they're waiting for has gone home in order to thin the group somewhat. 

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Vicky page, were you the lady in the red gilet, that I spoke to on the tube! Hello if you were!

 

I think I would just have liked the truth, if the woman in red had come out and said Svetlana is very tired and doesn't really want to see people, we would have respected that a lot more.

 

Nope, sorry. I wore black, and am probably a lot younger than you imagine! I agree though; I think lying to us was just really disrespectful. 

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Oh nooo I am so sad for those that missed SZ especially the youngsters. I wasn't there but last time they came I did wait for SZ and she only came out after they called that the House was closing in 10 minutes so 11.50pm, which seems about the same time here. I think she likes to avoid too many fans and does give fans the slip...happened at The Coli after a Russian Icons Gala she left by another door. I've seen her both impatient with fans and nice with them.

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She was very sweet although did seem in a rush to get away (understandable I suppose!!)

By the time she came out, there was just me & my mum, a Chinese gentleman, and a small group of women who seemed to speak fluent Russian- and didn't seem fazed when we were told that Svetlana had left, leading me to think that they were perhaps friends of hers who had been forewarned!!!

I managed to get a cast sheet signed for the three lovely young girls who go to the same school and will post it to them; I felt so sorry for everyone who left just moments before Svetlana came out!!

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I agree that the woman in red was very rude though and do feel compelled to complain- had we left when she told us to, I was going to write on here to say that it was rude of Svetlana to leave without even greeting her fans, so I'm very glad that I know that the woman in red lied!!

(In fairness to the woman, she could've just been doing what she was told to, although the way she she spoke to everyone- and counted us (!!!) seemed particularly irreverent.)

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I agree SP, it was a fabulous evening, but this left a bad taste in the mouth. She talked to us as if we were stupid. If that was the first ballet experience for those young girls and boys, it was an unpleasant ending. You don't talk to children like that. And those people who were such an irritant to her at the stage door are the same ones who come (or will be coming when older) time and time again. I've no objection to being told that a dancer just wants to go home, but not like that.

 

I too am glad that I don't have to think badly of SZ now!

 

To be honest, even if it was all directed by SV, it was the way it was done with such relish that was poor.

Edited by cavycapers
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 I bet the customers in the 150 quid seats who aren't the ones at the stage door at 11pm aren't treated like that.

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Here's an instagram photo of Zakarhova signing autographs after Swan Lake last evening.  To me she looks utterly exhausted.  I may be in a minority here, but really, after having given so much in her performance, must she then give more just because people want things from her?  Can't we just let her go home when she's tired, and explain to the kids why this is the right thing to do?n 

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BI5AhOZglcU/?tagged=swanlake

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I agree, what bothers me is that if we had been told that she was exhausted and wanted to be left alone, i dont think there was a single person who wouldnt have left. What I hated was the delight with which the woman in red informed us, children inclded, that she had gone home.

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Amen to that, Cavycapers!

 

Godots_arrived I don't fully understand your point; do you mean that the patrons who paid for top price seats should've been treated better at the stage door? I agree!!

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Hi Vicky Page (cool name by the way!) you were the young lady with the family going back to Oxford, weren't you? I was the lady who told you about Alina coming out once to sign autographs still dressed as a swan! Nice to meet you, young lady. If nothing else, I got to finally meet some balletco members last night, so something good came of it :)

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Amen to that, Cavycapers!

 

Godots_arrived I don't fully understand your point; do you mean that the patrons who paid for top price seats should've been treated better at the stage door? I agree!!

 

No. I meant that if the stage door was regularly frequented by expensive seat-holders (half of whom are interested in the social occasion rather than the dance) then I suspect the stage door staff would soon improve their social skills. Or be told to.

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Here's an instagram photo of Zakarhova signing autographs after Swan Lake last evening.  To me she looks utterly exhausted.  I may be in a minority here, but really, after having given so much in her performance, must she then give more just because people want things from her?  Can't we just let her go home when she's tired, and explain to the kids why this is the right thing to do?n 

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BI5AhOZglcU/?tagged=swanlake

 

Good God, looking at that photo I'm so glad I wasn't there. I'd still be in recovery now if I had been. 

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No. I meant that if the stage door was regularly frequented by expensive seat-holders (half of whom are interested in the social occasion rather than the dance) then I suspect the stage door staff would soon improve their social skills. Or be told to.

 

 

Good God, looking at that photo I'm so glad I wasn't there. I'd still be in recovery now if I had been. 

 

Moderators: First comment implies that ballerinas would be more willing to accommodate wealthy sugar daddies than young girls clutching pointe shoes, and that ROH staff would go along with this. The second comment implies that the photo of an exhausted Zakarhova might drive one to drink if witnessed in person.  Isn't this enough to ban him/her?

 

And no, I am not going to argue with you, godots-arrived.  You don't deserve any further attention.

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Whilst certainly not wishing to provoke an argument, Godots_arrived, I do disagree with your point about expensive seat holders. On this occasion I was very lucky to recieve Orchestra Stalls tickets as a birthday gift, however frequently watch ballets from stalls circle standing or balcony standing- my point is that regardless of how much money I pay for my ticket, I still support the ROH and deserve to be treated with respect by its staff. And whilst I can appreciate that some people may go to the ballet for the social aspect, I- and no doubt many others- go to broaden our horizons in the ballet world and appreciate the art form, which is primarily the purpose of going to a ballet.

 

Yes, Zakharova was understandably exhausted, and spent no more than two or three minutes with me- but they were very precious moments that I will cherish for a lifetime.

 

Lexy I do find your point about people 'wanting more from her' very thought-provoking, I most certainly wouldn't want any dancer to feel that I was wanting more from them by waiting at the stage door; I waited for almost 2 hours as a means of expressing my respect to Zakharova; had she not wanted a photograph with me then I would've totally respected her decision! I only wish I could've had time to buy a bouquet of flowers to give to her, so that she didn't feel that I was selfishly asking for an autograph without acknowledging that she had already given everything she had in the performance!

(Just to clarify, Lexy, I am agreeing with your point, albeit in a slightly ashamed manner as I had naively assumed that dancers would always be keen to greet fans, so it hadn't really occurred to me that the dancer might perceive it as us at the stage door wanting more from her, I am grateful that you gave me that insight :) )

Edited by swanprincess
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