Jump to content

Bolshoi Ballet: Sleeping Beauty, London 2013


Recommended Posts

Not happy with the new production, gorgeous to look at but without the inherent magic that the ballet should possess.  The columns at the side of the stage looked good in the Palace scenes but made an odd setting for the hunt.  If anyone saw the La Scala version of a few years ago they’ll know what I mean.  The evening was chopped down to a digestible two acts and in places the music was butchered. All in all not really an improvement on the earlier production,

 

Actual dancing was good with a lovely Aurora from Krysanova and a gracious Lilac from Shipulina.  Artem Ovcharenko no doubt earned himself some fans and even I was impressed by his immaculate double tours in the last act, but for me he didn’t quite cut it as a prince.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some photos from the photocall, from Foteini Christofilipoulou:
 

9448270541_ed99fa3ebf_z.jpg
Svetlana Zakharova (Princess Aurora) in The Sleeping Beauty with the suitor Princes
© Foteini Christofilopoulou.Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


9451056004_faf03da347_z.jpg
Svetlana Zakharova (Princess Aurora) in The Sleeping Beauty
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr



9451062726_94e11b91b2_c.jpg
Anna Tikhomirova as Fairy Audacity in the The Sleeping Beauty
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

See more...

Set from DanceTabs – The Bolshoi Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very briefly - out of a scale of 10:  Stage floor -1 (most distracting as seen from above - read Amphi ... especially when any satin pointe shoe merges - read disappears - into the light reflecting gilt of it);   Denis Savin as the Grey Wolf: 11 (so refreshing to have a total characterisation - even half covered in a mask - THROUGH dance, one followed through and delighted in by the audience ... but then he was brilliant too in the dance with the drum pairing on Saturday afternoon in Bayadere.)  

 

I'm sure others will have much more to say vis a vis last night ... but just now I must proverbially dash.  

 

Thanks for the photos, Dave.  They are a truly luxuriant treat and wonderfully framed.  That is Denis Rodkin partnering in the first photo in posting 3.  He danced the Bluebird last night and did, I thought, a good job of it.  (Believe it or not this lad is now one of the two dancers - the other being V. Lantratov who he replaced due to injury last night - doing the major roles in the Bolshoi's current productions of SPARTACUS and IVAN.  So pleased I had the privilege of seeing the 'other Ivan' while he was still about in Moscow  :) Perhaps while Vasiliev is still at ABT they should consider borrowing one or two of the two Russian productions for him. - (Methinks they are inter-changable only Ivan has the better score.)!!  Love to see him opposite either, say, Gomes or Cornejo - or a guesting La Riche. BRILLIANT!!)  Who knows that might even be able to fill the Coli if they were to bring it here and help to off-set the traditional lesser audiences for more recent works like Ratmansky's hailed Shostakovich Trilogy or upcoming Tempest).  Rodkin's Florine, Kristina Kretova, also pleased and she has the most enchantingly natural smile.  

Edited by Meunier
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very briefly - out of a scale of 10:  Stage floor -1 (most distracting as seen from above 

I'll second that....... No, I've changed my mind. I won't second it as I'd be inclined to give it an even lower mark.  I don't think that, as seen from high up, the stage floor could be worth more than 0 out of 10.  Maybe it looks better from lower down but, seen from the rear amphi, the heavily patterned floor is almost more prominent than the dancers.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd be inclined to give it an even lower mark.  I don't think that, as seen from high up, the stage floor could be worth more than 0 out of 10.  

 

 

Sorry if I didn't make myself clear, Bluebird.  We are IN AGREEMENT.  I meant mine as a MINUS ONE (-1)   

Edited by Meunier
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry if I didn't make myself clear, Bluebird.  We are IN AGREEMENT.  I meant mine as a MINUS ONE (-1)   

 

That's more like it!  Sorry I didn't realise the "-" was a minus.

 

Edited to provide a link to the second page of Ismene Brown's review.  It contains a video clip of Aurora's first  entrance .  Those of you who haven't yet seen the production will be able to make up your own minds about the flooring. In these close ups it's not really possible to imagine what it looks like from above but it can give you an idea of the heavy patterning.

 

http://www.theartsdesk.com/dance/sleeping-beauty-bolshoi-ballet-royal-opera-house?page=0,1

Edited by Bluebird
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As ever we only had The Prologue and Act I for the general rehearsal photocall but here are some more pictures.  From my position I could not see the floor so it was not a problem.  The set was rich and opulent as you would expect for a king.

 

Bolshoi%2B-%2BSleeping%2BBeauty%2B13_jr_

 

 King Florestan XIV - Alexander Fadeyechev and The Queen - Kristina Karasyova and baby Aurora 

 

Bolshoi+-+Sleeping+Beauty+13_jr_128_smir

 

Olga Smirnova - Lilac Fairy

 

Bolshoi+-+Sleeping+Beauty+13_jr_231_kara

 

Svetlana Zakharova - Princess Aurora and The Queen - Kristina Karasyova

 

More pictures on www.johnrossballetgallery.co.uk

Edited by johnross
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very briefly - out of a scale of 10:  Stage floor -1 (most distracting as seen from above - read Amphi ... especially when any satin pointe shoe merges - read disappears - into the light reflecting gilt of it);  

 

I seem to remember we were given ample chance to notice the distractingness of it during the cinema broadcast - or am I getting my productions mixed up?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very briefly - out of a scale of 10:  Stage floor -1 (most distracting as seen from above - read Amphi ... especially when any satin pointe shoe merges - read disappears - into the light reflecting gilt of it);  

 

Thanks for the photos, Dave.  They are a truly luxuriant treat and wonderfully framed.  

 

glad you like the photos - but they're not mine. Was posting on behalf of DanceTabs - they belong to Foteini.

 

Anyone any advance on -1 for the floor?  :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Saw it for a second time tonight.  Highlights lodged within a gleaming but nonetheless sorry (or is that dull) lot:  

 

(1) David Hallberg deserves a medal for (i) live-saving partnering given a partner (no names mentioned) whose legs seem to live on a planet of their own imaging and (ii) for etching a character (one might almost say forcing one) out of exactly nothing (which last night's occupant did not even attempt I now realise);   Smirnova danced the Lilac Fairy and after Saturday night's Bayadere I was mightily disappointed.  True she has a ravishing instrument and was also gifted by Hallberg's esteemed presence ... but I lost count of the number of pirouettes she fell out of during her initial variation.  After that the smile of my heart in her regard became rather fixed I fear.  Of course, Mr. Crisp, It will live in the hope that it might be warmed again.  Fingers crossed. 

 

(2) the graceful Florine of the ever-dependable and charming Anastasia Stashkevich.  She danced tonight with last night's Desire, Artem Ovcharenko.  He looks good in blue, but Denis Rodkin was, I fear, better equipped and more responsive in his partnering.  SO VITAL.  

 

(3) True highlight, however, was the ever wonderful Igor Tsvirko who appeared as Carabosse.  If you MUST have a Carabosse en travesti .... (and I, myself, prefer when they are not ... Oh, for Merrill Ashley in the original NYCB production) ... then THIS is your (wo)man!!  A class act Igor  - No qualms there.  

Edited by Meunier
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes smirnova made a very poor show of the lilac fairy variation. I do wonder wonder about the wisdom of giving a swan lake to someone that can't absolutely nail that solo.

She was technically poor in exactly the same areas as bayadere act III

Edited by Dancefan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I liked it on Monday, loved it on Tuesday - I can see everyone of the criticisms (though thankfully didn't see the floor from above) and don't disagree but I have to love any ballet that gives me a Christmas version of Dunsinane, the BEST wolf ever and so many pretties.

 

David Hallberg was certainly worth seeing (would have been nice if he could do more performances) and his Charming was charming. I liked Zakharova better in this than in Swan Lake and ended up staring at her feet a lot after she twirled endlessly without the slightest wobble - they are like some super powered ballerina pedals that might need their own mention in the cast list.

 

Both Bluebirds (Rodin on Mon, Ovcharenko on Tue) were delightful to watch, Carabosse and his creatures were fun, but I really need a colour coding chart for the fairies of Kindness to figure out who/what I'm watching. The only one I could easily identify was Tikhomirova (who again was very watchable in any of the roles she was dancing)

 

The Lilac Fairy is a strangely forgettable role in this production. It was nice to get a glimpse of Smirnova, and Shipulina didn't do a bad job either, but all I can remember of either of them was that they were wearing a lilac hat/wig and took the prince for a boat ride.

 

And the one thing that completely cracked me up was the cat fight between Yulia Lunkina and Denis Medvedev on Monday. BEST cat award clearly goes to both of them, they really felt feline.

 

Red Riding Hood and the Wolf were excellent in both Mon & Tue. Maybe the Russian psyche enables all dancers to channel an inner wolf. I had to restrain myself from howling as a sign of appreciation and stuck to the more traditional clapping instead.

 

Though the one thing I find unforgivable are yellow/brown outfits combined with pinkish purple feathered hats. Mercy.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Given that there seems to be a number of problems with dancers coming off point regularly in this season, I am wondering whether there is a difference in the rake of the Bolshoi stage and that of the ROH which could explain things.  Anyone?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad I'm going again tomorrow, hope I see some of the exciting cast changes mentioned, Ovcharenko's Bluebird, Tsvirko's Carabosse in particular. Interesting to see how Olga Smirnova copes too.

 

I have the Blu-Ray and did wonder what the floor would look like live, now I know, from the amphi it was horrible and got me fiddling with my opera-glasses, the reflection made Aurora in particular (the pale costume) look blurred.

 

About the insipid choreography, I always notice this in Russian productions, there are lots of changes, and we see Ashton's solo for Aurora in the vision scene which is beautiful, the biggest change I suppose is in the Rose Adagio where Aurora merely swaps Prince's hands quickly instead of raising her arm up to join the other one, and balancing.

 

And the Wolf, it was the first time I've ever really looked at him on Monday, Denis Savin was brilliant, the way he licked his lips :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is not a change in the Rose adagio, Russian dancers have always danced it without the arms en couronne.  The rare exceptions would be those that have been exposed to western companies as guests.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Given that there seems to be a number of problems with dancers coming off point regularly in this season, I am wondering whether there is a difference in the rake of the Bolshoi stage and that of the ROH which could explain things.  Anyone?

 

Yes.  Didn't the RB have problems with the Bolshoi rake when they took Mayerling over there about a decade ago?  Mind you, whether the (lack of) rake has anything to do with the dropping-off point or not, I don't know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They haven't had these problems in previous seasons, most of the dancers already have experience of the ROH stage and anyway they tour often enough to know they must adapt to different stages.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This production and Tuesday night's performance didn't really do it for me:

 

  • overbearing scenery; heavy-looking costumes; personality draining wigs
  • fudged story-telling - no magic, no real drama - and Carabosse's mime lost within the folds of his garment
  • gratuitous choreographic additions (notably the Prince's bravura entry solo in Act II, albeit thrillingly danced)
  • curious musical cuts and unfamiliar tempi
  • missing or inconsistent characterisation on the part of all the leads - Smirnova's Lilac Fairy could have been forgiven her wobbles (well some them as she didn't have to essay the usually demanding end to the Prologue solo) and her forced poses if she had shown the necessary benificent authority; Zakharova's Aurora, although dancing beautifully at times I thought, needs lessons from ENB's Elena Glurdjidze on how, in her thirties, she can portray convincingly a sixteen year old as well as a vision and an about-to-be-married Princess; Hallberg's Prince was a joy to behold until he had to partner, whereupon anxiety was writ large on his face and he seemed to lose the sense of who he was; Tsvirko's Carabosse lacked the requisite menace and power to give meaning to the narrative
  • the speed at which the fairy variations in both the Prologue and Act III were taken seemed to minimise their import and impact

On the plus side,  this Sleeping Beauty displays the strength of the Bolshoi in its soloist ranks and special plaudits should go to Tikhomirova (Diamonds); Alizade (Sapphires) and Stashkevich (Florine).

 

Generally speaking, I sense that I am in the minority in my disappointed response as the audience around me was clearly loving it. But I came away glad that I had not bought tickets for another SB night.

Edited by capybara
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Generally speaking, I sense that I am in the minority in my disappointed response as the audience around me was clearly loving it. But I came away glad that I had not bought tickets for another SB night.

Not a minority of one. I share that sentiment.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We saw Smirnova at a Coliseum Gala.  Does anyone remember if she was having difficulties then?   

 

Not that I recall. It was the first and only time that I've seen her live and I thought that she was Great !  -- along with Svetlana Zakharova  who had just returned to the stage. Evgenia Obraztsova and Daria Klimentova also were exceptional, I thought.

 

 
Well here we go again. Clement Crisp and Five Stars(!) for Ekaterina Krysanova and Artem Ovcharenko in Sleeping Beauty. Since I've yet to recall a negative word from him *Ever* about the Bolshoi or the Mariinsky, he is the only one I really trust on the subject.  :)
 
"So far, so admirable, and even more admirable in the appearances of Ekaterina Krysanova as Aurora and Artem Ovcharenko as her Prince. Krysanova’s Gamsatti, in last week’s Bayadère, only hinted at the artist whom we saw on Monday night. Here was Aurora as coloratura ballerina, difficulties set out with a delicious ease, the fiorituri of steps pearling out in long chains of movement that sparkled, having brightest charm. It is a stylish reading, in that Krysanova’s technique embellishes the usual with unusual brilliancy, and the rigours of classicism (I recall the sublimities of Zhana Ayupova, the blazing elegance of Ludmila Semenyaka, as Aurora) find prettiest airs with Krysanova. She is mistress of the role on terms that would surely have made Petipa smile in approval: a reading bright-cut, with delicious pirouettes, delicately shaded in the Vision scene."

 

I also like Ekaterina Krysanova very much and would really wish to elaborate on this at another time. Although she has since shown herself to possess fine virtuosity and even 'bravura', it is her *Absolutely Gentle Loveliness* that I recall from her Cinderella a few years ago that I hold the most precious.

 

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/ef9011a6-fe8a-11e2-97dc-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2bJrUHNSS

 

(thanks to Dansomanie for citing this article)

Edited by Buddy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suppose is in the Rose Adagio where Aurora merely swaps Prince's hands quickly instead of raising her arm up to join the other one, and balancing.

 

That is not a change in the Rose adagio, Russian dancers have always danced it without the arms en couronne.  The rare exceptions would be those that have been exposed to western companies as guests.

 

 

Evgenia Obraztsova is that 'rare exception'.  She did her RA en couronne; twice times the triple round - and delightfully so.  Moreover, she succeeded in forcing the conductor to SLOW DOWN.  (Of course we had previously seen her in her glory with the Royal Ballet in this role - and also at the ROH with La Scala where she danced with that most radiant of princes, Leonid Sarafanov!)  For a very brief moment during her vision sequence - and only a moment - she reminded me of Judith Fugate.  I am not entirely certain why.  It may have been her eye make-up mixed with the corner of her enchanting smile.  She tried in her first act solo variation tonight to also slow things (read 'music') down as well but that only only resulted at one point in a distinct disjoint against the orchestra's grain which was not I think her intent.  Still she bravely stuck to her guns.  (Who was conductor here after all?  Tonight that was sometimes a rhetorical question.)  Obraztsova was right to be stubborn and it paid off for the benefit of ALL involved.  The visual sensation of pride by the 'Foreign Princes seeking Aurora's hand in marriage' during the curtain call for the RA was palpable.  Last night dear Karim Abdullin - a fine partner - had looked totally flummoxed in fear at having to handle the ballerina Aurora he had been assigned.  I agree the same light did, (as capybara mentions), also cast its long shadow (beneath and around her extensions) unto the understandably concerned demeanor of the very noble David Hallberg's prince.  None of that to contend with this evening however.  Most refreshing.  The warm relationship between her and the conductor was evidenced at the curtain call ... as well as the LARGEST collection of roses in a basket I've ever seen presented on the ROH stage.  It was a veritable bucket ... so much so that (i) it took two ROH substantive FOH staff members (male) to carry it on - struggling as they did so - and (ii) Dimitri Gudanov, her fine prince, had to lean down and pull but three roses out for her to carry .... He also lead her down in front of the curtain as it fell .... a wonderful entry to their first front of curtain bow.  In ALL a delight.

 

This was the finest SB of the three so far by a considerable length.  

 

Prime support this evening came from Ekaterina Shipulina as the Lilac Fairy.  She was truly magnificent in her graceful exactness, totally obliterating painful memories of several unfortunate occurrences the evening previous.  I'm so glad that she will be dancing the FLAMES female lead at the Saturday matinee with Lantratov.  They will, I think, make a fine combination.  .    

 

Further special mentions from my memory tonight:

  • Yulia Lunkina and ESPECIALLY Denis Medvedev as the White Cat and Puss in Boots.  Radiant - especially the extraordinary character work of Medvedev.  Also he wins the prize for best make-up job of the year.  He was, in fact, even better than he was at the first performance ... or is it I was just able to enjoy the detail of this more knowing what joy was in store. 

     

  • Anastasia Stashkevich once again did yeoman duty as Diamonds in the Jewels section only the orchestra was SO fast as to all but obliterate her achievements in the primary variation.  

     

  • Anna Tikhomirova delighted with zest as Cinderella and the aforementioned Karim Abdullin was her enchanted and enchanting prince.  This small outing is pure Grigorovich in its choreographic realisation.  I would love to see Tikhomirov as Phrygia opposite Ivan Vasiliev.  You could see how brilliant she would be from this section.  It would be a real treat.

     

  • Chinara Alizade shone tonight as the Carelessness fairy as she has all week be it as a very fine third shade in Bayadere or, as capybara pointed out, a sparkling 'shapphires'.  

     

  • Kristina Kretova and Denis Rodkin were again the bluebird couple.  She particularly shone.  

 

All in all it was a vast improvement.  Although I, too, had doubted the wisdom of having another ticket for entry .... coming out I was most pleased I'd made the effort.  There had been a goodly number of diverting rewards.  

Edited by Meunier
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Goodness, it genuinely feels like we saw different productions last night. Wish I had seen yours, I got do frustrated with the corps being at sixes at sevens and all the shoe squeaking.

There were so many sloppy details, even the vision arabesques between aurora and lilac were late / badly timed and then snatched.

 

Obraztsova was lovely (particularly in the final pdd I thought) but she had some pretty shaky moments. Zakharova was so technically strong and confident you could just sit back and enjoy, with EO it was all slightly on the edge.

Not helped by gudanov doing some truly terrible partnering...

 

Agreed shipulina made a great lilac fairy but did look oddly HUGE next to EO.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not that I recall. It was the first and only time that I've seen her live and I thought that she was Great !  -- along with Svetlana Zakharova  who had just returned to the stage. Evgenia Obraztsova and Daria Klimentova also were exceptional, I thought.

 

 
Well here we go again. Clement Crisp and Five Stars(!) for Ekaterina Krysanova and Artem Ovcharenko in Sleeping Beauty. Since I've yet to recall a negative word from him *Ever* about the Bolshoi or the Mariinsky, he is the only one I really trust on the subject.  :)
 
"So far, so admirable, and even more admirable in the appearances of Ekaterina Krysanova as Aurora and Artem Ovcharenko as her Prince. Krysanova’s Gamsatti, in last week’s Bayadère, only hinted at the artist whom we saw on Monday night. Here was Aurora as coloratura ballerina, difficulties set out with a delicious ease, the fiorituri of steps pearling out in long chains of movement that sparkled, having brightest charm. It is a stylish reading, in that Krysanova’s technique embellishes the usual with unusual brilliancy, and the rigours of classicism (I recall the sublimities of Zhana Ayupova, the blazing elegance of Ludmila Semenyaka, as Aurora) find prettiest airs with Krysanova. She is mistress of the role on terms that would surely have made Petipa smile in approval: a reading bright-cut, with delicious pirouettes, delicately shaded in the Vision scene."

 

I also like Ekaterina Krysanova very much and would really wish to elaborate on this at another time. Although she has since shown herself to possess fine virtuosity and even 'bravura', it is her *Absolutely Gentle Loveliness* that I recall from her Cinderella a few years ago that I hold the most precious.

 

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/ef9011a6-fe8a-11e2-97dc-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2bJrUHNSS

 

(thanks to Dansomanie for citing this article)

 

 

Well I haven't read Clement Crisp's review yet but am really looking forward to seeing Ekaterina Krysanva again tonight with a different Prince, Semyon Chudin.  Do you have the DVD of Flames of Paris? she is so enchanting in the Amour dances, gentle loveliness indeed!

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hi!

I so much agree with you, Meunier! Last night was superb. The dancing was outstanding!

I don't have much to add!

- Obraztsova literally SHINES throughout, with her smile and her exceptional dancing. Her musicality is so refreshing, her stability and her gracious arms are delighting. It made me smile that you mentioned the first curtain call, when Dmitri Gudanov led Obraztsova to the front of the stage as the curtain was coming down. I thought that was really sweet too.

- I particularly liked Kristina Kretova and Denis Rodkin as the bluebird couple as well. I thought she was delightful and I couldn't detach my eyes off her as she performed her variation.

- a huge Up for Denis Savin, whose characterization of Fee Carabosse was perfect! I felt like a little girl again. Those characterization and acting skills are what bring one performance to another level. Alexei Loparevich as Catalabutte was also a good addition I thought in all his tall clumsiness.

- Yulia Lunkina and ESPECIALLY Denis Medvedev were a couple full of humour in their White Cat and Puss in Boots.

- Of course, Ekaterina Shipulina deserved all the applause for Lilac Fairy. She carried the story along and was beautiful to watch dance.

 

Overall very very pleased.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Goodness, it genuinely feels like we saw different productions last night. Wish I had seen yours, I got do frustrated with the corps being at sixes at sevens and all the shoe squeaking.

 

 

I agree with you, Dancefan. It's just that this was the third time I'd seen this production and those elements you mention had been CONSISTENTLY present throughout each of the performances.  Agree about squeaking on the floor.  I think I have a squeak in my ear now - having stood through three nights of it ... with a fourth , the last, to come tonight.  It's only a shame we won't get see Alexandrova in it.  She is, at least from my observation and taste, the most assured technical female principal the Bolshoi has at the moment - well, from the crowd that has been brought on this particular junket.  Fate, she can be a cruel mistress, ballet and otherwise.   

Edited by Meunier
Link to comment
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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...