Jump to content
alison

Bolshoi Ballet: Le Corsaire, Royal Opera House, August 2016

Recommended Posts

Since I'm sure quite a few people on this forum will have been to tonight's performance already, could someone give me an idea of running time, please?  (Plus of course discuss the production if you like :) )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to the ROH website it is approx 3 hours and 25 mins. Money's worth, alright!

Edited by simonbfisher

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since I'm sure quite a few people on this forum will have been to tonight's performance already, could someone give me an idea of running time, please?  (Plus of course discuss the production if you like :) )

 

Well, it felt like an eternity.....but was over at around 22.40 (which is ten minutes earlier than the cast list stated it would end).  I love the Bolshoi and have loved each ballet I have seen this season (well, except the disastrous Thursday performance of Don Q) but this was less than thrilling and way, way, way too long.  I didn't think the dancing was as good as it has been in the other ballets they have shown this season and this production needs a lot of cutting and they also need to scale it down a bit more for this stage as at times it looked like Piccadilly Circus at rush hour and more an exercise in collision avoidance than dance.  ENB's production is much better in my view.  Anyway, I am going again on Saturday evening and hoping for a more inspiring performance.

Edited by barton22
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It ends at 10:50, and you probably get more than you money's worth. I'm a bit exhausted just from watching it and need to hop to bed asap, I have no idea how the cast gets through the whole performance without needing a nap inbetween.

 

Tonight's cast had Tikhomirova as Gulnare, and I'm even more smitten with her dancing and stage persona than I was before. She was full of zest tonight, sunny, funny, coquettish and danced deliciously. Lantratov felt a bit boyish as Conrad, but with a little re-adjustment of my expectations that worked quite nicely with Alexandrova's warm and languid Medora. Alexandrova's little dance with a knife and pistol is my idea of ballet nirvana - there is something wonderfully contradictory about a ballerina armed to the teeth and she really got into the spirit of it.

 

Le Jardin Anime was as spectacular as I hoped for, the sheer number or gorgeously clad dancers was a feast for the eyes and I'd happily watch it over and over again.

 

Overall the performance seemed a bit messy at times, perhaps there wasn't all that much time to rehearse everyone with all those Swan Lakes. My non-ballet friend commented that there seemed to be quite a few missed step, and he only gets dragged to ballet once every couple of years and isn't particularly critical.

 

ETA: agree with Barton that there wasn't enough space to fit all dancers on stage at times - though my preferred remedy would be a bigger stage for the ROH....

Edited by Coated
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anna Tikhomirova reminded me tonight of Joan Crawford in her performance as Gulnare in the Bolshoi's Le Corsaire.  A goodly number of that fine star's films - be they silent or talking - were somehow out of focus from a variety of perspectives but she, herself, always found a way to adapt and was always razor sharp.  She was also a very fine dancer.

 

Thank heavens for that fine cutting edge.  It can make all the difference.  

 

Certainly tonight Tikhomirova did that for me - irregardless of the length of the tale that most insistently begged to wag.

 

But, oh, Mr. DeMille, my appreciation for Bob Ringwood - already substantive - did nothing but blossom further.  .    

Edited by Bruce Wall
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to the ROH website it is approx 3 hours and 25 mins. Money's worth, alright!

 

Unfortunately, that's a matter of opinion  :) , especially in this case!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I left after Act I, feeling ENB'S superior at that point. Ratmansky's version felt quite light. My friend said Act II was beautiful and worth seeing just for that. The 2300hr possible finish just too late for me, sadly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was vital that I left after act 2 to cope with Southern train problems, be pleased to hear how act 3 went because I just might stay tonight, the garden scene in act 2 was spectacular, classical ballet at its grandest, the storyline pure "Carry On Corsaires".

 

Have to say the ROH was trying to keep to time last night, 7.30 start and strict 25m interval, what a crush though trying to get out, everyone dashing up to the amphi!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the others that it was entirely too long and also preferred the ENB version. The story seemed quite thin and at times seemed almost forgotten. After 3 hours I wanted it to end and a lot of us thought it had, audience members rushing out,etc. Then there was a long scene change and the real ending, which was underwhelming despite the impressive set. The dancing did seem a bit wobbly at times but Alexandrova and Tikhomirova were wonderful. I'd been excited to see Lantratrov after all the glowing reviews but it didn't seem like he had all that much dancing to do.

 

I preferred the other Bolshoi performance I saw, the Flames of Paris, which had the energy and passion that the Bolshoi is all about.

Edited by nycitybird
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I am greatly looking forward to it tonight as I have wanted to see this for a very long time. Can I just ask, why is ENB's version preferable to this version?

 

The reason why I like this version is because Ratmansky has gone back to the notations and used them to put this production and I think that the last time the Bolshoi was here touring this version, it was very well received so what has changed between then and now?

 

Looking forward to hearing people's thoughts on this.

Edited by CHazell2
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last time around, I think it was at the Coliseum, which may have made a difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last time around, I think it was at the Coliseum, which may have made a difference.

 

Yes you are right. Why would that have make a difference?

Edited by CHazell2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Following two touring companies that perform works in a variety of theatres I can say quite categorically that it can make quite a difference to how the production looks.

 

Another reason could be that people have had more access to the ENB version and that that is more ingrained in their memory banks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Coliseum has the biggest stage in London if not the country so big productions look and fit much better.

The ENB version is really very good. I can remember being underwhelmed by the Bolshoi Corsaire last time round even with a stellar cast. The Jardin scene is fabulous though and I am looking forward to the matinee on Saturday regardless!

Edited by Don Q Fan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They danced it at the ROH in 2010 which was the last time round, I have seen it at the Coliseum before that, think I've seen Maria Alexandrova every time, she looked so graceful last night in an old-fashioned way, suppose the costumes are based on the originals, I love these reconstructions, in the last act which I will try to stay for tonight, there are some dances recreated by Alexei Ratmansky not usually seen, I missed Denis Rodkin who danced the lead last night! Medora has a different solo to the usual in the garden scene too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I prefer ENB's because the story made more sense to me. I also preferred the costumes as from my vantage point last night I had some trouble telling the characters apart. Although the Bolshoi's jardin scene did look lush, if a but crowded as others have mentioned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anybody have any photos yet? I am going to watch on Saturday night and have heard the staging and costumes are wonderful!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The last of the 2016 season of the Bolshoi Ballet - Le Corsaire. Rehearsal pictures.

 

Bolshoi+Ballet+-+Corsaire+-+ROH+-+August
 
Nina Kaptsova and Viacheslav Lopatin
 
Bolshoi+Ballet+-+Corsaire+-+ROH+-+August

 

Said Pasha - Alexei Loparevich and Medora - Yulia Stepanova

 

Bolshoi+Ballet+-+Corsaire+-+ROH+-+August
 
Yulia Stepanova - Medora and Denis Rodkin - Conrad
 
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with Nick on this one... longest night of my life, or so it felt, despite some very fine dancing (especially, IMO, from Tikhomirova). I considered leaving in the first interval, but then remembered that ENB's version has loads of massively impressive stuff for the male characters in Act 2.  So I stayed, and nothing happened, and I realized that that Grand Pas d'Action or their equivalent of it had, I think, already happened in Act 1, and made much less of an impression...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I prefer ENB's because the story made more sense to me. I also preferred the costumes as from my vantage point last night I had some trouble telling the characters apart. Although the Bolshoi's jardin scene did look lush, if a but crowded as others have mentioned.

 

Although I admire the ENB production I detest their awful bikini top costumes and consider the Bolshoi costumes far more apt.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope Southern behave themselves for you tonight, Beryl!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I enjoyed this production more than either of the others I have seen this season (Don Q and flames of Paris). Yes , it is long, but don't forget that this is a reconstruction of a 19th century ballet based on the notation in the Harvard collection and on various other archives. Most of it is genuine Petipa, although much of the last act is pastiche by Ratmansky since I understand that the notation for this section is either deficient or missing. This is the sort of Grand Ballet that audiences of that time would expect to see complete with crowd scenes, mime sequences, processions and character dances as well as classical "high spots".

In these days when attention spans have been reduced by 1 hour TV chunks and our versions of the classic ballets have been rehashed, edited, reordered and strippped of most of their mime and character scenes, it is,I suppose, not surprising that many modern audiences find something that at least approaches the genuine article unpalatable because they expect unremitting  "wall to wall" dancing. This is the fault that I find with ENB's version of Corsaire, which I find over-condensed and with several transpositions; why, for example, have the Odalisques been moved from the garden scene to Act 1? Also the Jardin Anime scene in ENB's version is not a patch on the real thing, But then one does need a very large company to bring it off satisfactorily.

I think that for too long ballet audiences have been served up with "Readers Digest" version of the 19th century classics, and that reconstructions bt Ratmansky, and Vikharev have done a valuable service in showing what these ballets were really like. not only in content but in style as well. We like to think that the RB version of Sleeping Beauty is "authentic". but in reality it is as corrupt as most with many insertions and cuts, the most lamentable one being the removal of most of the court dances in the vision scene to make room for the variation for the Prince by Ashton - very nice no doubt, but not Petipa.

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are so used to seeing scaled down versions of Petipa's set pieces which were designed to display the Maryiinsky's corps de ballet that I think we fail to appreciate that scenes such as the Jardin Anime  were created to show the sheer size of the corps and Petipa's skill in moving it round the stage. I don't think that the steps for the dancers as they move from mass grouping to mass grouping are that important. It is the route by which they move from group pose to group pose and the floor patterns created as they do so that we are intended to appreciate . I suspect that the solos are simply there to provide a contrast to the mass movement of the corps and to distract us from some of the less interesting parts of the exercise in which, having moved from "a" to "b", a group of dancers is engaged in stepping over the hedges to form a grouping just before they strike their finishing pose.

 

While the stages at both the Coliseum and Covent Garden may not be big enough to do the Jardin Anime full justice I think that we are expected to appreciate the scene as intentionally showing the audience a stage full of dancers closely packed together with limited space available to the soloists to dance in while the massed corps is on stage.During the course of the scene there are occasions during which the corps enters and leaves the stage and here again we are, I think, intended to admire the choreographer's skill in getting the corps on and off the stage as part of his artistic plan for the entire scene rather than simply seeing it as an exercise in logistics.The floor plan was always important to Petipa and it is the way in which it dissolves and is rearranged that we are expected to admire. The stage is supposed to be stuffed full of dancers as it enabled Petipa to show the Tsar what he was spending his money on. It is, and was, intended to be an exercise in excess. Nineteenth century theatre audiences loved spectacular theatre with a stage packed with supers the Jardin Anime is an example of the balletic version.

Petipa created similar massed choreography for the Garland dance in Sleeping Beauty but it is the Jardin Anime which is probably the greatest example of his skill and ingenuity in using the corps de ballet

 

 

If I have to choose between the ENB version of Corsaire and this one then the Bolshoi's "reconstruction" wins hands down every time for me.The narrative, such as it is, makes far more sense, as the dance numbers actually appear in the scenes for which they were created so for example the three odalisques appear in act two where they belong rather than turning up in the street like a variety turn in act one. The scene in the Corsaire's cave includes the Petit Corsaire solo although why this is danced by Medora is far from clear. I had always understood that it was originally danced by a junior soloist. Having said that it is good to have the chance to see it. The Bolshoi version follows the original narrative scheme as a result the audience hears the music in the order in which it was intended to be played. Playing the music in the order in which it was intended to be heard has a transformative effect on the score which turns out to be quite effective as an accompaniment to the stage action. It ends up sounding much better than it usually does. The Bolshoi version reveals that the ballet composers responsible for the score had considerably more competence than I had previously given them credit for. But you can not really judge a score which has been drastically reordered to accommodate  the reordering of scenes and pas as it will, inevitably,lack any musical coherence.The orchestration in the Bolshoi version makes the score sound like music in a way that the standard "patch and paste"version used in the ENB production does not.

 

If I am going to see Le Corsaire and it is far from being at the top of the list of my all time favourite ballets then I want to see it in a version which attempts to stage something that Petipa might just recognise as having a connection with his ballet I am interested in Petipa and his choreography I am not that interested in the "improved" reworked sub Soviet "Reader's Digest version that the ENB have got. In 2018 we shall be celebrating Petipa's bicentenary it would be nice to think that we might get the chance to see a few more attempts to stage full length Petipa ballets as full length works rather than in edited highlight versions.

Edited by FLOSS
  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few random (& picky) observations on a somewhat disappointing Corsaire yesterday evening. I'm an admirer of Maria Alexandrova and I think it's terrific that she has come back from such a debilitating injury at a relatively late stage in her career. She has wonderful on stage charisma and terrific chemistry with her Conrad last night, Vladislav Lantratov. The role of Medora would have been a walk in the park for her a few years ago but sadly it seemed that the technique & stamina the role requires eluded her. There was a noticeable difference in the complexity of the steps & skill in execution from Krysanova (on YouTube) and Alexandrova last night. Of course this would matter less if the ballet had a substantial story but it's really only about the dancing and that needs to be top notch to sustain interest over a marathon evening - it lost me at the second interval. I was also somewhat disappointed with Lantratov, since the last Bolshoi visit a slight sloppiness seems to have crept into his finishing although like Alexandrova he has a magnetic stage presence. So, it was left to the soloists to come up with the top notch dancing and Vyacheslav Lopatin gave a near as makes no difference faultless display in the Pas d'esclaves, likewise his partner, Nina Kaptsova. Yet again Anna Tikhomirova dazzled, as she has done in everything in this Bolshoi run. As others have said the stage looked very cramped but it's a minor issue compared with the quality of the dancing. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FLOSS’s authoritative erudition has rather frightened me away from offering my take on Le Corsaire, especially since our perspectives differ so much. However, in the spirit of this forum, here goes.......

 

I find it sad that the Bolshoi is ending its season with this Le Corsaire and difficult to fathom why Ratmansky (of all people) wanted to tangle with such an unwieldy reconstruction. Of course, I do confess that my viewing was coloured by very close acquaintanceship with ENB’s terrific romp and also a measure of familiarity with the Mariinsky’s very different version.

 

Last night, I found the scenario over-protracted, far from clear and adversely interrupted both by some clunking scenery changes and by a number of ‘set pieces’. For example, the pas d’esclave in Act 1 (danced elsewhere by Lankendem and Gulnare) is presented by the Bolshoi as a free-standing pas de deux by two dancers (Kaptsova lovely) who do nothing else. The ‘entertainment’ in the cave from Medora and some children feels totally surplus to requirements. To my ear, the orchestration was weak in places and the score did not flow. Moreover, music made for dancing was wasted at times on meaningless interaction, mainly among the corsairs.

 

I’m afraid that I found Maria Alexandrova’s portrayal of Medora unsympathetic and her dancing not quite ‘on form’. She seemed to be fudging some of her footwork and over-relying on her panache to try to convince us that all was going well. She also had a tendency to linger too long for applause. Anna Tikhomirova as Gulnare was an absolute starry delight (again!) – beautiful dancing and spirited, believable acting. I felt that she was ‘winning’ the audience whereas Maria (I’m sorry to say) was ‘milking’ the audience. Vladislav Lantratov gave the role of Conrad a lot of ‘pep’ but, even though he performs the famous pas de deux (there is no Ali here), the character doesn’t have much dancing to do. I like Lantratov: he is charismatic but he has come across to me with exactly the same ferocious stare in Shrew, Flames and Corsaire and I felt the need to see some differentiation from him. I like Denis Rodkin too but he seemed a touch over-exposed in both his partnering and his dancing in the Act 3 pas de deux with Medora. Both of these two top male Principals had moments of sloppy technique. The corps was (perhaps understandably) under-rehearsed for the opening night – after all the Jardin Animee and Act 3 sequences are as challenging as they are interminable – and I tend to agree with Graham Watts’ assessment (see his review of Shrew and Flames in London Dance) that the overall dance quality this season has not been up to that of even the recent past.

 

After the second interval, as I passed a pair of august critics on the stairs, one was saying “... but, of course, it’s a very strange, muted atmosphere in the house tonight....” To me, that apparent lack of enthusiasm spoke volumes – not about a first night audience but about a performance which gave many far too little to cheer.

 

By the way, ever the optimist, I am going to give the show a ‘second go’ tomorrow!!!!

  • Like 10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that the person responsible for wasting the beautiful dance music with interaction between the Corsaires was poor old Marius himself. Strangely he thought that pantomime as well as "toe dancing" were part of the choreographer's vocabulary and should be used. Of course had he been born later he would have known better and would not have bothered us with all that unnecessary padding. Clearly there are many who like the jolly romp of the Soviet era and there are those who don't. I think it is very interesting to see this ballet because without Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Nutcracker it is this type of ballet, the ballet d'action for which Petipa would be remembered.

 

As far as the performance is  concerned it was all very subdued. I was left wondering what had happened to the dancers' personalities and stage personas. It was almost as if they were trying to be emulate the Mariinsky in their performance style.Is it the presence of their new director which has apparently given them a new aesthetic which is the explanation for this change or the fact that they are coming to the end of a longish tour. The only dancers who attempted character or had clear stage personas were Alexandrova and Tikhomirova. Now given what Medora goes through in this ballet I don't expect her to be the life and soul of the party. Sad and subdued will do for me. I was pleased to see Alexandrova because of her rare musicality and because I suspect that this is the last time we shall see her dancing in London. Tikhomirova as Gulnare played her soubrette role very well. But as far as the men were concerned they were virtually interchangeable. Perhaps they should have been colour coded to assist the audience to identify who was as who and whether they were heroes or villains. If they can do it in the western then surely they could do it in ballet as the performances gave little clue. I am sure that the Bolshoi gave us a bit more bravura and panache last time they performed this ballet in London. The applause milking was interminable but I am still glad that I went. If someone wants to give me an evening of edited highlights I would settle for seeing the Jardin anime three times I find it so intriguing.

 

As to why Ratmansky became involved in reconstructing Petipa ballets he is on record as saying words to the effect that as everyone praises Petipa's ballets he thought that it was about time we saw some of Petipa's choreography. He has did a very nice Paquita for Munich and actually got the dancers to attempt period appropriate technique and performance style.Since then he has reconstructed Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty and I believe that he has used period appropriate style and technique in both revivals. He is promising another reconstruction for an American company. There is considerable speculation as to the ballet and the company. Could it be that he wants to ensure that we actually see Petipa's choreography in 2018 ? Could it be that he does not actually buy into the idea that technique has improved as much as some would have us believe? Perhaps he has discovered an abiding interest in petite batterie and wants us to see and appreciate it?

Edited by FLOSS
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What time did the performance end last night? I am thinking of bus times as I need to catch the half past eleven train from Liverpool Street. I agree with Floss and Wuff. Give me reconstructions any day of the week. I wish that the RB would restore the Awakening Pas de Deux back into their Sleeping Beauty

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What time did the performance end last night? I am thinking of bus times as I need to catch the half past eleven train from Liverpool Street. I agree with Floss and Wuff. Give me reconstructions any day of the week. I wish that the RB would restore the Awakening Pas de Deux back into their Sleeping Beauty

22.40, although scheduled to end ten minutes later.  Given that Bolshoi tend to start late I would build in some cushion for that - I assume they just through things a bit faster than anticipated last night.  Also bear in mind that with the building work going on and only one entrance and exit, it is taking far longer to get out (and in at the start) than usual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know, I am going to have to miss the end of the performance I think

Edited by CHazell2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...