Jump to content

Bolshoi Ballet: Jewels, London 2013


Recommended Posts

Those of us who were fortunate enough to see the last Russian Gala at the Coliseum saw Obraztsova dance the central Diamonds pas de deux with Ovcharenko. 

 

The ROH website has now been updated to reflect the changes noted. 

Edited by Meunier
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So if Volchkov is injured why can't Zakharova dance it with Ovcharenko?  Very strange.

 

Just remembered the last time Zakharova was taken out of a role she complained to President Vlad and Iksanov was given his P45,  Someone's living dangerously.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So if Volchkov is injured why can't Zakharova dance it with Ovcharenko?  Very strange.

 

Just remembered the last time Zakharova was taken out of a role she complained to President Vlad and Iksanov was given his P45,  Someone's living dangerously.

  

  Lack of rehearsal time with Ovcharenko? Have they danced together before?

 

   Did that actually happen?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought Chudin both in his DIAMONDS solo variations ... and (somewhat surprisingly) in his partnering .... (that partnering is deceptively difficult and he made a fine hand of it) .... was the real standout.  Oh, THAT and Obraztsova who was exquisite in EMERALDS for which she is I think best suited.  

 

It will be a privilege for us all to see Smirnova grow as an artist over the next few years.  -- I have this distinct feeling that the Bolshoi will be back in in London 2015 given the current commercial success of this season.  That the potential is rich for this 22 year old must be unquestioned.  (It also doesn't hurt that she is radiantly beautiful - glowing a la Audrey Hepburn - on stage.)  Talking of people looking like others, I found myself laughing.  Chudin very much holds his mouth on stage like a certain Nilas Martins.  Indeed if his hair was more blonde ... he would even look like Nilas at a similar age ... Not that either of them could ever possibly wipe out the memory of a certain god-like patriarch in that role, its originator).  

 

Lovely to see Filin come out onto the Covent Garden lip during the curtain calls ... and to witness the affection his dancers so obviously hold him in.   That single happening turned the evening from a performance into an event ... and you could hear the audience very much respond in kind at that awareness.  That, in and of itself, made for much happy wonderment!    

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

I think Chudin looks very similar to a young Wayne Eagling especially with his current hair style!!

 

Wayne autographed a photo of himself in Romeo and Juliet in the late seventies/early eighties with his hair in a similar style from some side angles particularly Chudin looks so similar to me!!

 

Wayne Eagling was a rising star at he time.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, here's my take on the evening.  I am a regular at Covent Garden but by no means as ballet savvy as other commentators.

 

Sorry, guys, but I found it rather dull.  Emeralds never took off for me at all, and diamonds was not much different.  Rubies was in another class.  Forgive my ignorance as I don't know who the lead was in Rubies but whoever she was, to a layman like me, she was exquisite, exuding charisma and vitality.  Didn't even notice the male dancers, nobody was a standout for me.

 

I can tell from other comments already posted that my ignorance may be prejudicing my opinion but, gorged on too many Mayerlings, I found tonight limp, staid and not worth the money or the 8 hrs. travelling time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Am still pleasantly shocked after seeing Sergei Filin on the stage last night, they kept that quiet, last night now becomes part of the history of this very sad affair, so pleased he felt able to make it!

 

The Russians certainly seem to love dancing Jewels, the Mariinsky performance was the previous best one I have seen until now, standouts were Obratsova, Lantratov, Krysanova (on a roll, her Odile was brilliant on Saturday, bodes well for the last night), Tsvirko in the pas de trois in Emeralds and the dark haired girl, and my new dream couple, Smirnova and Chudin. This is still an early stage of her career, what wonderful talent! I think Semyon Chudin looks like Wayne Eagling, with sometimes a hint of David Bowie :)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We were not going to see Jewels originally, but I'm so glad we did, even if it was just to see the performance turn into an event, as Meunier rightly says, with the attendance of Filin. We were behind his party in SCS, and I burbled something crass like "Than you so much for coming...". He was quite charming and wanted to know how I found the company, and what could I see that was best. It bought a lump to my throat.

 

Did not appreciate Rubies at all - the pdq boys looked under-rehearsed, and the running around was a mess - without the slight irony and humour that the RB brings to it it seemed just like "oh well, what shall we do now?"

 

Chudin and Smirnova were a dream in Diamonds, though. It is a very odd piece, I think - sometimes the choreography completely ignores the swirling moods of the Tchaikovsky, and yet sometimes the steps seem follow the notes too slavishly. However, the performance itself was high grade!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My take on Jewels:

Emeralds - utterly beautiful, a piece that seeps into your being - and beautifully danced if a little passionlessly

Rubies - was danced by the soloists more with a flow, than a snap; the smiles appearing more like a step, than an expression of the joy of dancing that choreography, the wit seemingly forced rather than spontaneous. They seemed somehow on autopilot.

Diamonds - joy restored, got the biggest cheers of the night and rightly so. Smirnova  a must see and the corps were delicious.

 

I guess that as Diamonds was originally going to be part of a triple bill (not with the other two 'Jewels') they have mastered this section completely; Emeralds a work in progress - Rubies? Well, I'd start again to be honest

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Smirnova and chudin were just sensational last night. So glad I can see them do that all over again this evening.

 

I felt that obraztsova and krysanova, while technically brilliant, didn't understand balanchine. For me, shipulina came into her own last night. She really got the athleticism and sexiness of the choreography. Rubies wasn't great but she shone through it.

 

The absolute brilliance of the diamonds pdd brings out two things I'be been surprised by in the last couple of weeks.

Firstly, why so few consistent partnerships? S and C proved last night how that trust and common knowledge of a piece adds to it.

Obraztsova was constantly having to look and reach for lantratov - and no wonder consider how many different people they've each danced with.

 

Also, why so few consistent roles? Whether you liked her or not, smirnova owned that piece entirely.

Krysanova is dancing leads in every single one of the five ballets bolshoi have brought. Of course dancers have to learn a lot of roles but doesn't concentrating on a couple make it better for the audience? (Ditto the ever changing mix of soloists and solos though the swan lakes)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm afraid my appreciation of "Emeralds" was rather marred by the fact that I kept ticking off Royal Ballet dancers in the roles, and realising how few of the original cast will be around for the next revival :(.  I also didn't feel that having an "interior" decor suited this part of the ballet: to my mind, it needs to have an "outdoor" setting to reflect some of the facets of the choreography properly (and the follow-spots reflecting off the glass at the back became pretty distracting at times, too).. I did find that, compared with what I'm used to seeing from the RB, all three parts seemed to lack something in mood: a sense of Romanticism and mysteriousness in the first, the wit, as others have mentioned, in the second, and again some mystery in the pas de deux of "Diamonds", although perhaps this was more obvious to other people closer to the stage, and just didn't penetrate to the back of the amphi?  (I was also rather disconcerted to find the audience reacting to the showier aspects of "Diamonds" as if it was the Black Swan pas de deux - it felt all wrong to me, as if they were thinking "Finally!  We sit through nearly 3 acts of dancing and finally we get some showy steps we can applaud!") . 

 

There were clearly some very good dancers on display, and I agree with most of what others have said about Smirnova - she clearly is a major talent.  However, like a number of others, I find her ultra-"broken" wrists a real turn-off, especially in en couronne.  My wrists just don't articulate like that at all - I tried it in the mirror this morning, and trying to replicate it makes me look as if I'm trying to do the Mobot!  The only comparison I can make with it is seeing a really well-designed sports car in the street: your eyes sweep across the chassis in appreciation at how stunning it looks ... until you realise that the rear tyre is flat!  I know broken wrists is a thing that Russian dancers tend to do anyway, but I don't find it improves the aesthetics in this case.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me "Emeralds" was the highlight of the evening danced with great musicality despite the orchestra's rather coarse treatment of the Fauré score. "Rubies", which so often provides a pitfall for non-American companies seemed to me to be danced without the sense of fun and pizazz which this piece needs to succeed. "Diamonds" suits the company well, but I found that Smirnova despite some exquisite dancing totally lacked that chemistry or rapport with her partner which would have lifted her performance onto a higher plane. Throughout the pdd she remained an "ice queen", hardly looking at her partner, and it wasn't until the finale that she managed to smile at all and by that time it was too late. I think I am right in recalling that it was Balanchine who said that when you put a man and a woman together on stage there is always some kind of "story", but I was hard put to find any last night and found myself thinking of how much Alina and Marianela and their respective partners managed to find in the same pdd.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some more pictures from the Bolshoi's Emeralds, from Foteini Christofilopoulou:

 

 

9501914472_bff95a7172_c.jpg

Evgenia Obraztsova

© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

9499111551_073171e162_c.jpg

Anna Tikhomirova

© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

9501911210_0a7a1e103f_z.jpg

lead dancers in Emeralds

© Foteini Christofilopoulou. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

See more...

 

Set from DanceTabs – The Bolshoi Ballet: Emeralds, from 'Jewels'

Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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

Well, I'm afraid that it's a case of "here I go again"! I appreciate, of course, that Jewels is relatively new to the Bolshoi's rep. and that rehearsal time on tour, with five different productions to prepare for, is very tight. But I found last night's performance lacking the necessary 'feel' and shine in all three parts.

 

Jewels may be an abstract ballet but it surely needs to be danced with understanding, passion and projection and I simply did not 'receive' those qualities from the performance I saw. I missed the soft romanticism of Emeralds and the glittering grace of Diamonds. And even the spirit with which the two Ekaterinas (Krysanova and Shipulina) tried to invest Rubies was somewhat dulled by the mainly solemn-faced and often misaligned corps around them. Olga Smirnova came across to me as very mannered with her (overly) dominant arms stiffly deployed, not really yielding to the music in her body, and too self-absorbed to show any warmth towards her partner or her audience - which doesn't bode well for her Odette on Thursday. Semyon Chudin offers much to admire as does Vadislav Lantratov, although the latter didn't seem to have got under the skin of Emeralds and both look tense when partnering.

 

Many years ago, in a documentary film about the Bolshoi, Andris Liepa was shown explaining that it was important for dancers to warm up their faces before going on stage. That piece of advice needs, I think, to be conveyed to the current generation of principals, soloists and corps alike.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Guardian's four star review of Jewels has now been published.  http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/aug/13/bolshoi-ballet-jewels-review

 

As MAB has so generously stated it is refreshing to note that we live in a world where we can ALL see things very differently.   :)  How wonderful is that.  

 

Often the trouble for me with DIAMONDS is that I first saw it - and saw it a number of times - with its original cast.   As much as I have admired other performances by many other companies/performers,-  (it being as I have previously said my desert island ballet) - the memory of THAT experience (while then still overseen by Balanchine himself) has never in terms of its overall and thrilling mystery been (FOR ME) bettered.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WOwWjwm-QY  (The scenery in this clip was for television only.  I love the simplicity of the NYCB's original design letting the ballet speak for itself.)  

 

Will it retard me from keeping on looking at other companies/performers undertaking it? ... No way Jose ... It is just to fine a piece of art.   Next up more of the Royal Ballet in December/January and La Scala in March. 

 

All best wishes to ALL. 

Edited by Meunier
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although he wasn't the original I have this memory of Peter Martins in Diamonds - and Thibault in Emeralds, odd that in a ballet celebrating the ballerina so much, for me it is two males that left the deepest impression.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everybody on this site is so wonderfully knowlegeable and I learn so much from you all.  However, I am going to stick to my point of view that from the perspective of a layman (albeit one who sees a lot of ballet) nothing moved me last night.  Yes, there was some good work and most of it was precise I am sure, but where was the passion, the emotion, the spark?  It was as empty as my wine glass at the end of the evening.  I went home feeling I had not supped well.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please do stick to it, Penelope :) - it's not that different from my own, for a start.  Can we persuade you back to have a look at the RB in it over Christmas/New Year?  I wonder if you might look at it differently after that.

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...