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Bolshoi cinema broadcast feedback thread 2016-17


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Wow-I thought The Golden Age was a great start to the season-I wasn't expecting much as I had somehow got the idea it wouldn't be very good...

I was quite wrong.

 Lobukhin gave an amazing performance-I couldn't take my eyes off him-as the villainous gang leader-elegant and yet savage- the moment when he removed hat and gloves finger by finger  bristled with menace.. Having great music by Shoshtakovich helped, but the ballet was a good example of the way successful ballet doesn't depend on a terribly sophisiticated or high quality literary source. It just worked because of the clear story, strong characters, lovely costumes, exciting pace, fantastic dancing, .

 

Not the most subtle or insightful piece perhaps but wonderful entertainment.

Krysanova too was -well, sensational is not too strong.

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Well, let me just say WOW. I nearly didn't go, as my local flea pit was charging £20. So I drove a bit further into Bristol, just to make a point, and paid a much more reasonable £12 (Although I did have to go and get them to change the aspect ratio of the picture, as we couldn't see any of the dancers' feet -never ideal in ballet!)

As to the ballet itself, fabulous. The plot could have fitted on a postage stamp, but the Bolshoi were on top form. Nina Kaptsova and Russian Skvortsov were divine as Rita and Boris, with miraculous lifts, but as usual, I couldn't take my eyes off Ekaterina Krysanova, adorable as Lyuska, in a Betty Boop kind of way. The show was stolen by a gloriously over the top swash-buckling performance by Mikhail Lobukhin, part Errol Flynn, part Clarke Gable!(or the chap in the film 'The Artist'). I did wonder if he was in a different ballet from the rest of the cast at times, but decided that without him, it might have subsided into sameness. The 1920's elements in the choreography were gorgeous, and the corps seemed to be enjoying themselves as flappers. And they got to wear one pink and one black pointe shoe! However, the men's costumes were just mean. Nobody looks good in playschool dungarees

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4.5/5 for dancing, 3/5 for the ballet itself. If you're going to tell a story I'd like to care a little bit about what happens.

 

It did occur to me that they needed an awful lot of decadent old style dancing to demonstrate how inferior it was to the new healthy Soviet dance. ????

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Yes sailor costumes were not as good....Should have said how good were Kaptsova and Skorvstov. He managed to overcome the pale pink dungarees with huge assymmetric buckles which showed great strength of character.

Edited by Mary
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I did spend some of the second half wondering if Shostakovich wrote 'Two for Tea'! (Written in 1925 apparently for the musical, 'No, No, Nanette'). There was a glorious waltz by the corps to this tune, with a marvellous dreamlike quality, could have watched that bit alone for an hour.

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I did spend some of the second half wondering if Shostakovich wrote 'Two for Tea'! (Written in 1925 apparently for the musical, 'No, No, Nanette'). 

Haha, me too!  

 

As for the ballet, to be honest I was not too much of a fan.

 

There was many things I did like about it- it kept me entertained and it was pretty fun.  I loved Ekaterina Krysanova in it- I thought she was really excellent.  I also really liked the music and costumes (well the women's costumes!)

 

The negative for me was the choreography.  There was a lot of parts that just didn't work for me and I really hated the 3 million lifts they did everytime Nina Kaptsova was on stage.  I felt like everytime she had a pas de deux her feet were barely on the floor and some of the lifts were quite ugly and looked awkward.  It's not a criticism of the dancers- I love Kaptsova and I thought everyone did a great job- but just because a lift can be done doesn't mean it should be done is basically where I come out on it.  For me, it just killed the romance between them because she couldn't catch a break before she was having to get into another awkward position and be swung around Skvortsov's neck.  Anyway, although it won't be a favourite of mine I'm pleased I saw it.  I was having a bad day and it did cheer me up so you can't say fairer than that  :)

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4.5/5 for dancing, 3/5 for the ballet itself. If you're going to tell a story I'd like to care a little bit about what happens.

 

Yep, that was pretty much my take on it, too.  Couldn't really care less about the characters: I just assumed they would get out alive at the end because they were the noble Soviet ones and the baddies weren't.  I actually got so bored by the end of the first half that I had to go and have a nice piece of cake to keep me going considered going home, but thankfully it got rather more interesting in the second act, even though there were way too many scene changes and switching back and forth to the cabaret or whatever you call it.  I was very surprised, though, towards the end of Act II, to hear the opening strains of the slow movement from DSCH's second(?) piano concerto (better known to many readers here as the "Concerto pas de deux", I should think).  Is this an original part of the score, and did Shostakovich appropriate it for the concerto, or did Grigorovich simply decide to insert it as a suitable(?) piece of music for a pdd?  (If he did, I'd have to say that he and I have different interpretations of "suitability" :)

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I wasn't sure whether to go to this one, partly because it wasn't on at our local theatre and the cinema had a few technical/human error issues at the last Bolshoi screening we went to so I wasn't feeling overly confident about that, and also I wasn't  inspired by the plot of this one. I'm so glad I went! I thought the dancing was sensational and I really loved the choreography as well with the blend of twenties style movements.  I don't normally get over-excited by lifts but I was blown away by some of these. I adored Kaptsova's dancing-  her blend of musicality and lyricism together with effortless technique was outstanding, and I loved Lobukhin's sheer evil portrayal. The sets were very interesting with the way in which some of the shapes seemed to reflect the style of the choreography, and the way in which their use of colour reflected emotion (although I did think that grey-coloured angular shape backdrop came down once too often- it would have been more effective used a bit less.  Also agree wtih the point about the dungarees though- it reminded me of Hale and Pace's playschool take-off). I also loved Shostakovich's music for its passion and drama and also his versatility in being able to portray slapstick and comedy so brilliantly.

 

The only tiny fault I could pick out with the choreography and production was the rather anti-climactic feeling when Yashka finally gets his come-uppance. It felt as if it needed to be more dramatic and a bigger part of the scene. I absolutely loved the pas de deux between Rita and Boris, especially their final one. If I were in the luxurious position of being able to rearrange the final act, I'd have finished with this and swapped it around with the actual finish, but that of course would have changed the focus to the love story rather than glorifying the wonderful, non-corrupt new regime. I was trying to think whether you could translate this ballet to a non-Soviet storyline and I think it would work very well set in a futuristic dystopian land with an old-style tea room that harbours all the corrupt elements from the past.

Edited by pianolady
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Yep, that was pretty much my take on it, too.  Couldn't really care less about the characters: I just assumed they would get out alive at the end because they were the noble Soviet ones and the baddies weren't.  I actually got so bored by the end of the first half that I had to go and have a nice piece of cake to keep me going considered going home, but thankfully it got rather more interesting in the second act, even though there were way too many scene changes and switching back and forth to the cabaret or whatever you call it.  I was very surprised, though, towards the end of Act II, to hear the opening strains of the slow movement from DSCH's second(?) piano concerto (better known to many readers here as the "Concerto pas de deux", I should think).  Is this an original part of the score, and did Shostakovich appropriate it for the concerto, or did Grigorovich simply decide to insert it as a suitable(?) piece of music for a pdd?  (If he did, I'd have to say that he and I have different interpretations of "suitability" :)

I meant to ask if anyone knew that, too. Personally I really liked the addition, if that is what it was. It hadn't occured to me that Shostakovich might have adapted it himself for the concerto- I suspect it was inserted for the ballet somehow.  I don't go for all of Grigorovich's choreography in some of the production I've seen but I did like this one.

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Subtle is wasn't. It seems to me the designers went through the "How to stage a ballet" handbook:

  • lovers - check
  • rivals - check
  • jester with bravura leaps - check
  • corps marching about - check
  • fouettes - oh no we've forgotten the fouettes - let's chuck some in at the end.

With a few cuts, this could be a passable ballet, but as it stands it is quite dull in places.

For me the highlights was the final pdd with Rita and Boris, and were the ballet should have ended. I thought Lyuska and Yashka had by far the best roles, and Ekaterina Krysanova really stood head and shoulders above the rest, although Mikhail Lobukhin wasn't far behind.

Shostakovich's score is wonderful, although very loud in places. I don't know if other cinemas had this problem, but sometimes it was so loud that it hurt, and somebody from the audience went to tell the management, It made no difference though.

The costumes worked really well. In one of the little films, the costume department said that they still had the full set of the originals and used this to make costumes for this new staging. I too was wondering (and dreading) when Pikachu was going to make an appearance.

When Katya Novikova was speaking from the stage at the start, one of the chaps was practicing and nearly ran into her. He gave a really filthy look as if to say "Get out of the way". I with Novikova would slow down a bit! She is very skilled though - it can't be easy to give commentary in three languages simultaneously.

What was good, was the decision to stage The Golden Age and transmit it to a world wide audience, rather than presenting yet another Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, etc.

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I was very surprised, though, towards the end of Act II, to hear the opening strains of the slow movement from DSCH's second(?) piano concerto (better known to many readers here as the "Concerto pas de deux", I should think).  Is this an original part of the score, and did Shostakovich appropriate it for the concerto, or did Grigorovich simply decide to insert it as a suitable(?) piece of music for a pdd?  (If he did, I'd have to say that he and I have different interpretations of "suitability" :)

 

The piano concerto bits were Grigorovich's addition when he restaged the ballet.  I sympathize with your need for cake, alison. I watched the whole ballet on YouTube a couple of weeks ago and loathed it, just about all of it. But in any case I was in New York watching New York City Ballet yesterday so not at all sorry to miss the Bolshoi broadcast. I am looking forward to Bright Stream though.

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I sympathize with your need for cake, alison

 

That's the good thing about Picturehouse Cinemas (along with the members' discounts) :)  Not to mention the break-out areas you can sit and eat it in during the interval.  Makes it totally worthwhile dumping my local Odeon (£20 a ticket now).  (The cake was very nice, BTW :) )

 

The Bright Stream is only a repeat, isn't it?  Much as I enjoy it, I don't know whether I'll bother going to see it again.  May depend on trains and things.

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We've got quite a few cinema broadcast feedback threads now, so I've tagged the ones I could find with "cinema feedback" in the hopes of making them easier to find.  That said, I haven't yet managed to locate the one dealing with the previous broadcast of The Bright Stream.

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Yes  Bright Stream is a repeat, but I missed it the last time. In its wisdom our Canadian cineplex chain shifted it from early November to late November.... so that it conflicts with the National Ballet of Canada season. Not only that, it may conflict with Svetlana Lunkina's Onegin on that very day, so Svetlana's fans will be torn. Waiting on tenterhooks for the casting to be announced.

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According to Pathe Live the casting for Bright stream is: Svetlana Lunkina (Zina); Mikhail Lobukhin (Pyotr); Maria Alexandrova (the Ballerina); Ruslan Skvortsov (the Ballet Dancer); Denis Savin (the Accordionist); Alexei Loparevich (the Old Dacha Dweller)

Edited by David
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Haven't seen any showing at my local Odeon and Vue cinemas (Preston) though I will call in and check. They don't seem to be showing their Nutcracker either which is also a repeat. I would love to have seen Bright Stream which is a real favourite. Difficult to beat Filin's performance as a sylphide!

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According to Pathe Live the casting for Bright stream is: Svetlana Lunkina (Zina); Mikhail Lobukhin (Pyotr); Maria Alexandrova (the Ballerina); Ruslan Skvortsov (the Ballet Dancer); Denis Savin (the Accordionist); Alexei Loparevich (the Old Dacha Dweller)

 I meant the casting for our Onegin. This is the problem if you want to see Svetlana in both!

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Reverting briefly to The Golden Age screening, it was notable in part for a live interview during the interval with Irina Shostakovich, brought on stage and worth noting here I think.

Edited by Geoff
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  • 3 weeks later...

Great fun to see the (recorded) Bright Stream this afternoon- just the thing for a cold, very wet November day.  Most amusing: anyone else go? It was worth it just for the surreal scene when giant courgettes are carried on to the stage.

Seriously it was worth it for the wonderful dancing and comic acting especially of Maria Alexandrova and Ruslan Skvortsov,  the exquisite lines of Svetlana Lunkina, and the joyous music.

Of course, one wishes all the screenings were live rather than slightly old re-runs. But it beats doing the ironing.

Edited by Mary
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Am I right in thinking it's available on DVD already?

 

I decided not to bother going when I discovered that Picturehouses were still going to charge £22 for the privilege despite it being a ?3-year-old recording rather than a live relay.  I'd noticed that last time I wanted to go to a Bolshoi re-screening my local cinema weren't bothering to screen it, although this time at least they had an excuse as it would have clashed with the RB encore screening.  But I wonder why it had to be this week, given that it wasn't live?  It's not very long after the previous one, either.

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