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Bolshoi Ballet: La Bayadère, London 2013


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Indeed, it is not the usual Bolshoi standard, the corps de ballet was in wobbly order tonight, especially the first row. I was stunned by Mariinsky's dance of shade in 2011 as well as Loptikina's Nikiya. Bolshoi tonight is clearly not up to the standard as they did during the live transmission in January this year.

 

What was exactly happened to Alexandrova? She had a very good start! I was expecting to see her renowned 32 fourquettes :( Zakharova was too fast to watch. Lantratov did a wonderful job!

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Tonight's Bayadere looked like it was combined with the Red Shoes.  All that was missing was the empty follow-spot during the second act Gamzatti/Solar pas.  Even in the film the manager made a front of curtain surprise announcement.  (I remember being at the original opening of the Broadway revival of 42ND STREET in NYC when David Merrick announced that Gower Champion, the production's choreographer had died - knowing as Merrick did that the death had happened before the performance, in fact earlier in the afternoon.  He held the announcement. That was done on purpose for the press value ... with the girl playing the lead, Champion's mistress as it happens, in floods of tears and the reviews turning from the arts page to front page NY Times news.  This, however, most definitely would not have been THAT.)  It did make one wonder if the management had not, in and of itself, been somewhat crippled.  

 

Certainly I must confess I have never seen ANYTHING quite like tonight at a ballet performance though.  If I had paid literally hundreds of pounds to see this production I would have felt very aggrieved.  (Do you think that wrong?)  WHY DID THEY NOT BRING THE CURTAIN DOWN?  Everyone would have understood.  We were, after all, ALL witnesses to the event.  

 

Not sure what happened to Alexandrova.  Did Lantratov hit her?  Did she simply land awkwardly?  If looks could kill Lantratov would have been well and truly dead before she hobbled off.  From the way she did so it very much looked like it may have been her ankle that took the brunt turn of her foot's collapse in/on, of course, that high Russian box.  I wondered if she had landed on a previous injury?  She was of course sadly missed.  There is no question but that she was the strongest dancer on the stage in the first act.  No question at all.  Her solo variation was enchanting.  

 

Again:  Why I wonder was the curtain not brought down and a replacement found?  Did the powers that be ... or the conductor ... think that we simply wouldn't notice.  Yes, the show must go on ... but, as it happens, this wasn't THE SHOW.  Ironically Anna Tikhomirova who is to do the role in the Saturday matinee was dancing the third shade tonight.  It would only have been a matter of 10 minutes to allow her to change into the costume ... and she very much looks to be around the same height as Alexandrova (who I pray is or at least will eventually be ok).  Yulia Grebenschikova bravely attempted the final female coda variation which (as it understandably happened) was rather messy but roundly applauded for being a good sport and all that.  This was, I fear, a performance OVERALL of much compromise.  Agree with comments about corps in third act. 

 

Highlights for me:  (i) IGOR TSVIRKO as Magedaveya, the head Fakir .... consummate dancing and a very focused dramatic portrayal without at any time pulling focus.  In this role that is very hard to do.  Bravo, Igor.  Well done.  (ii) The dance with a drum ... All three soloists were stunning, but the headlights that are Alexei Matrakhov's eyes glowed in the dark from atop his lighthouse-on-the-hill-like body.  (iii) ANASTASIA STASHKEVICH - as the first shade ... a class act in everything we've been privileged to see her do thus far; (iv) STUNNING harp playing in the first act; a glistening cloud of sound.  I was taken by Lantratov.  He had the difficult job of partnering Zakharova.  Can't be easy ... and he had to recover himself for his solo in the 2nd act pas which was, perhaps, his most musical outing - being there left entirely to his own devices.  Suddenly the corps watching on looked - if only for a second - relieved..  Some of the girls with the parrot sticks sat at the back patted the tears away from their eyes during his applause.  

 

Can I ask ... does anyone else feel like me ... that Zakharova's extreme extensions come at the cost of both the music and placement.  It was for me at times like watching through a fun-fair mirror.  Too many things were blurred.  I now DEFINITELY fear for Diamonds ... which, as it happens, is my Desert Island ballet ... if, of course, I was only allowed one act ... or indeed one pas.  I am, of course, ready to be surprised - BELIEVE ME I AM - but I must confess to being ever more fearful for the opening night ... but then Smirnova, her replacement when she walked out of ONEIGN, will delight us I'm sure on the second night of JEWELS.  

Edited by Meunier
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A sad evening. I get no pleasure from watching Zakharova. She blasts her way unlyrically,almost mechanically through the steps without seeming to feel the music at all. She's away on planet Svetlana while we are left to admire and relish the warming beauty of Alexandrova (what there was of her was gorgeous) and Stashkevich. Like Meunier,I'm dreading Diamonds next week.

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The Bolshoi Ballet stated a very short run of La Bayadere at the Royal Opera House. Here are a couple of photos from the dress rehearsal:

 

 

9423698067_9af0639b70_z.jpg
La Bayadere: Solor & Nikiya (Alexander Volchkov, Evgenia Obraztsova)
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


9426464438_5e75a6d3e5_z.jpg
La Bayadere: Gamzatti (Anna Tikhomirova)
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


See more...

Set from DanceTabs - Bolshoi Ballet: La Bayadere
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 

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Dave, great pics AS EVER ... a true delight.  Smirova looks an absolute delight.  It will be our first view of her.  Can't wait.

 

Just wanted to say that a forum jacket has already been established for BAYADERE 2013 (with past and current entries already embedded therein).  Perhaps the pictures could be copied over just so there isn't any undue confusion. 

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... Yulia Grebenschikova bravely attempted the final female coda variation... 

 

 ... but then Smirnova, her (Zakharova's) replacement when she walked out of ONEIGN, will delight us I'm sure on the second night of JEWELS.  

 

 

May I make some corrections?

It was Daria Bochkova who did the coda in the absence of Gamzatti.

 

Smirnova wasn't a replacement for Zakharova in 'Onegin'. Smirnova was chosen by the Cranko Trust's repetiteurs for the first cast. The walk out happened after that.

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“Masha Alexandrova was taken to hospital,” Director General of the Bolshoi Theatre Vladimir Urin told Itar-Tass. “Unfortunately, no ballet actor is safeguarded from such injuries. Masha Alexandrova had a very active creative season. Moreover, in June she participated in long guest performances in Australia, where she was the main heroine. Already in July she came to dance in London. I hope that British doctors will help our remarkable actress to go back to the homeland as soon as possible,” he said.

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May I make some corrections?

It was Daria Bochkova who did the coda in the absence of Gamzatti.

 

Smirnova wasn't a replacement for Zakharova in 'Onegin'. Smirnova was chosen by the Cranko Trust's repetiteurs for the first cast. The walk out happened after that.

 

 

Thank you for your kind clarifications, Amelia.  I mistook the dancer Ms. Bochkova from sight.  My mistake.  Mea culpa.  Thank you for the clarifications vis a vis the situation with the Bolshoi ONEIGN.  I did know this and that was in fact what I wanted to say ... it was only my clumsy phrasing that is at fault here.  Again thanks for your kind advice for the better clairification of all. 

 

 

“Masha Alexandrova was taken to hospital,” Director General of the Bolshoi Theatre Vladimir Urin told Itar-Tass. “Unfortunately, no ballet actor is safeguarded from such injuries. Masha Alexandrova had a very active creative season. Moreover, in June she participated in long guest performances in Australia, where she was the main heroine. Already in July she came to dance in London. I hope that British doctors will help our remarkable actress to go back to the homeland as soon as possible,” he said.

 

We pray for Ms. Alexandrova's speedy recovery in Russia.  She will be very sadly missed here.  The accident was certainly a very painful one to watch.  I wonder who will dance her remaining two Swan Lakes, her Sleeping Beauty and her final night Flames of Paris.  I wonder now if they will fly out Ms. Kaptsova who was originally scheduled to dance here as a principal - or they could in a pinch bring in a certain Ms. Nunez as a guest if she were available under the unfortunate circumstances - or perhaps former Company member Natalia Osipova, who Urin is quoted as saying he wishes to extend renewed relations with might help out if possible.  This weekend she is dancing Carmen with the Mariinsky and Mr. Vasiliev Prodigal Son and Le Jeunne Homme at the same address.  They both (O/V) gave their last official performances 'as principals with the Mikhailovsky' on 30th July in Duato's Sleeping Beauty.  In any way Mr. Urin can rest assured that it will have no effect on the ROH box-office take as ALL tickets to each and every performance have been sold out under the certain provisio that 'casting is subject to change'.  That is, of course, less important than Ms. Alexandrova's good health.  That above all is paramount.  She is a very talented artist and at 34 has much balletic artistry to share with her appreciative audiences throughout the world.

 

Here is a link to the article from which a paragraph was quoted by Dancefan: http://pda.itar-tass.com/en/c32/828730.html

Edited by Meunier
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Again:  Why I wonder was the curtain not brought down and a replacement found?  Did the powers that be ... or the conductor ... think that we simply wouldn't notice.  Yes, the show must go on ... but, as it happens, this wasn't THE SHOW.  Ironically Anna Tikhomirova who is to do the role in the Saturday matinee was dancing the third shade tonight.  It would only have been a matter of 10 minutes to allow her to change into the costume ... and she very much looks to be around the same height as Alexandrova (who I pray is or at least will eventually be ok).  Yulia Grebenschikova bravely attempted the final female coda variation which (as it understandably happened) was rather messy but roundly applauded for being a good sport and all that.  This was, I fear, a performance OVERALL of much compromise.  Agree with comments about corps in third act. 

 

 

 

 

 

My first thought was that the curtain would be brought down and I could not believe it when the performance of the grand pas continued without the central couple. I then imagined that this was simply playing for time and a replacement would dance Gamzatti's solo but, no, the conductor called to the orchestra to omit it. Those of us at the side near the stage then had the worry of seeing Maria hobbling on for and hopping off after the snake scene. Such a shame for her but very badly handled from the perspective of the audience. Depriving us of the pdd somehow took the heart out of the ballet.

Edited by capybara
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Things like this rarely happen and I thought they did their reasonable best.

 

Curtain down was due at 10:30, but it would be later because that's life. And many have trains to get and anything after 10:30 starts to be a huge issue, with people forced to leave. You also loose dramatic momentum etc with a stop. All up I was happy they carried on and to be honest I was intrigued by how they would play it - real thinking on feet like this we seldom see.

 

So well done Bolshoi I say and I hope Alexandrova's injury does not stop her from dancing more in London - v special she is.

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Things like this rarely happen and I thought they did their reasonable best.

 

Curtain down was due at 10:30, but it would be later because that's life. And many have trains to get and anything after 10:30 starts to be a huge issue, with people forced to leave. You also loose dramatic momentum etc with a stop. All up I was happy they carried on and to be honest I was intrigued by how they would play it - real thinking on feet like this we seldom see.

 

So well done Bolshoi I say and I hope Alexandrova's injury does not stop her from dancing more in London - v special she is.

Agree with this, a break would have ruined the atmosphere and personally would have stopped me seeing Act 3, which apart from some wobbles in the corps was spectacularly good,  thought everyone did well to continue in very difficult circumstances, so sorry to see Maria Alexandrova out for the Season, the Bolshoi's troubles continue.

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Curtain down was due at 10:30, but it would be later because that's life. And many have trains to get and anything after 10:30 starts to be a huge issue, with people forced to leave.

 

 

Yes, I'm sorry that I overlooked this key problem. 

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Thank you, Bruce.  It was really the lack of any announcement/acknowledgement at all in face of the paying audience that surprised me.  But, perhaps, that is just me and not the Bolshoi.  Point taken with thanks.

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Well, I enjoyed this more tham Swan Lake on Monday although I felt that Act 1 was a bit dull (I've never been keen on the fire attendants' dances - and why do they look like cave men in this production?) and it only really came to life in Act 2 with the big group dances. The shades were beautiful in Act 3. I seem to be in a minority here but I liked Zakharova (very sinuous). I didn't notice the unrehearsed or wobbly corps. Obviously, Alexandrova was injured and so she didn't do much actual dancing. Was she due to do much more? Is Gamzatti a smaller role in this production? I assume that one of the ballerinas in red danced one of her solos (the one with lots of fouettes). Lantratrov was far better than Volchkov on Monday - although I felt that he was a little short for Zakharova - and his solo in Act 2 was beautifully executed in very difficult circumstances (ie shortly after Alexandrova was injured). I don't know how much of the choreography was new; personally I didn't find the pdds very interesting. The children featured quite prominently (the 'blacked-up' faces were regrettable) and it was interesting to see that a couple of them actually danced on pointe which I've not seen before in a professional production - but perhaps this is not unusual.

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I didn't realise that part of the ballet was actually omitted. Was it just the grand pas? Last night I thought that it was odd that Alexandrova did not take a curtain call, especially as she was not dancing in Act 3, but after hearing that she was taken to hospital I assume that her injury was too severe for her to go on stage again.

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(i) Obviously, Alexandrova was injured and so she didn't do much actual dancing. Was she due to do much more? Is Gamzatti a smaller role in this production?

 

(ii) It was interesting to see that a couple of them actually danced on pointe which I've not seen before in a professional production - but perhaps this is not unusual.

 

(i) I think Gamzatti actually gets much MORE diverse dancing in the Russian productions than in the version Makarova has done for so many companies in the West and such as was originally mounted for ABT where the opening cast was herself as Nikiya, Dowell as Solar and Cynthia Harvey as Gamzatti.  In the Russian productions you get Gamzatti's solo variation in the first act which I thought Alexandrova realised with stunning lyricism and strength as well as interspersed additional segments in both the first and second acts with the prime plumb of course being the central pas de deux - the crux of her role - which was sadly absent last night due to Ms. Alexandrova's unfortunate injury but is common to both versions.  As it is Gamzatti does not have any substantive choreography in Makarova's third act.  I remember with delight a free interview session at the NY Public Library with Ms. Makarova (indeed all such programmes were - and as far as I know remain - free) at the time of the opening of her production wherein she related that the reason why there were no parrots in her production was that her very first assignment with the Kirov (as then was) was in that parrot variation and she could never keep the parrot on her wrist.  Much laughter was incurred by her demonstration in fabulously broken English.  The Bolshoi ladies last night happily had their parrots on a stick.  At the Mariinsky they still come wrapped. 

 

(ii)  I don't know how many of Balanchine's 420 ballets you have seen, Aileen, but he frequently has young dancers on pointe and often dancing the same choreography as the adults.  Certainly I don't think anyone could ever accuse him of being patronising to either his dancers or the audience.  For the reason you suggest  HARLEQUINADE (2 act narrative ballet) can be an absolute delight.  Sadly, if you have not visited New York you probably won't have had a chance to see this.  

Edited by Meunier
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I didn't realise that part of the ballet was actually omitted. Was it just the grand pas? Last night I thought that it was odd that Alexandrova did not take a curtain call, especially as she was not dancing in Act 3, but after hearing that she was taken to hospital I assume that her injury was too severe for her to go on stage again.

 

In the 'grand pas' the central couple (Gamzatti and Solor) were missing but we had the surrounding groups. Gamzatti's solo from this pas de deux was also omitted last night.

 

Maria Alexandrova could not put her foot to the ground so she would not have been able to have walked on for the curtain call. However, since she didn't really get started on her dancing in Act 2, it may have been felt inappropriate anyway.

 

I think that we may all be getting a bit confused with our Bayaderes. The RB version condenses the scenes outside the temple, that inside the Rajah's palace and the betrothal/wedding celebrations (these without Manu, the drum dance, the Golden Idol and the children) into Act I; the Shades is Act II and there is a final act (where Gamzatti reappears and dances a beautiful solo) focused on the Bronze Idol and the destruction of the temple. Both the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky finish Act I after the Rajah's palace, make the extended betrothal/wedding scene an act in itself, and end with the Shades. As is so often the case when the Russian version is shown here and curtain calls are taken at the end of Act II, there appeared to be several empty seats for Act III - as if some people believed that the ballet ended at Act II and headed off home.

Edited by capybara
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That's very informative, capybara. Thank you. The RB and the Russian versions are very different. I agree that those unfamiliar with the ballet (and who had not read the programme or cast sheet) could certainly believe that the ballet was over at the end of Act 2 (particularly as there were no curtain calls at the end of Act 1). My adult god-daughter certainly thought so.

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Oh no poor Maria Alexandrova.  I was so looking forward to her Swan Lake next week.  I hope she recovers soon as she will be sorely missed as she is fabulous dancer and such a lovely lady.  Sending virtual best wishes to Maria!

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If you want to see where the accident took place with Alexandrova, please pull through to 2.23 on the following filmed clip of the cinema release performance with the same principal Bolshoi cast:  http://www.youtube.c...h?v=nkNcLy-Pzbk  She feel from her full jete prep to the floor of the stage landing on her foot.  Lantratov may well have accidentally been out of placement on the cross.  Certainly she indicated by her immediate glare that she had been hit and understandably looked to be in shock.  You can imagine what was seen by the ROH audience by removing the principal couple thereafter in your imagination and entirely cutting (again understandably) Gamzatti's variation.

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sorry to add to the general gloom about the Bolshoi's la bayadere but I really don't think the Royal wd have got away with last night's tired and disjointed performace. I also found it utterly bizarre to see dancers "blacked up"...I thought this went out with the Black and White Minstrel show ??? I'm afraid I found the whole event flat as a pancake. deeply disappointing. The injury to Alexandrova just seemed to sum up the evening. Best forgotten methinks.

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To my untutored eye Evgenia Obraztsova was very good in this afternoon's performance, and overall it was very enjoyable. Anna Tikhomirova was a popular Gamzatti, and there were plenty of good soloists - Maria Vinogradova and her co-shades, the drum dancers et al. The shades descent down the hill looked a bit jumbled but would probably have looked better from the amphi than the stalls. Do agree about the blackface kids, add nothing and are pointlessly anachronistic. Saw Evgenia practising her pirouettes in the morning whe on the backstage tour, which was a nice bonus.

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We were at Bayadere on Friday - the Night of the Injury. Sitting practically next to the stage SC Left we could see what a disaster that was - and what went on in the wings. A distinct CLICK when it happened, quite horrible. And the look of fury . . . Poor girl, I don't expect we shall see her here again during this season.

 

But apart from that, and the necessary adjustments afterwards, which went smoothly enough, it was not a performance that compared, for me, anyway, with some of those by the RB this year. No complaints about the principals (as if ! !) but the shades were very imprecise and wobbly - and I don't think that was because we were so close. I don't mean that the sight of us (understandably) quite put them off - but we're not used to seeing so much detail. Taken in the context of the progamme note from Grigorevitch about how the ballet has to end on the high point of this act, and not with a satisfying smiting of temples and general showing off from the special effects people, which is usually so remarkable, it was particularly disappointing. Could it be that there was a sense of unhappiness about what had happened to their colleague contributing to carelessness, or had they just not rehearsed this enough during the run of Swan Lake? I don't know enough to judge.

 

The Golden Idol WAS superb, even if I agree that the blacked up dancers around his "best" dance were dreadfully off-putting and need axing! The ILEA is turning in its grave, and I am pretty uncomfortable too.

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