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This thread is to discuss any of the Bolshoi Ballet cinema broadcasts for this season.  According to our original list on the "ballet in cinema" thread (http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/3251-ballet-in-the-cinema-2013-14-season/page-0), they are: 

 

October  20th Spartacus

 

November 17th le Corsaire (repeat)

 

December 22nd Sleeping Beauty (repeat)

 

January 19th Jewels

 

February 2nd Lost Illusions

 

March 30 Golden Age Marco Spada

 

although I have a feeling this may have changed?

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Spartacus was amazing with really powerful, dramatic performances from Mikhail Lobukhin (Spartacus), Anna Nikulina (Phrygia), Vadislav Lantratov (Crassus) and Svetlana Zakharova (Aegina). It seems to be a ballet made to be shown on the big screen and displays the Bolshoi to great advantage. And Lobukhin/Nikulina pulled off a more spectacular lift in their Act 3 pas de deux than I have ever seen anywhere before.

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Spartacus was amazing with really powerful, dramatic performances from Mikhail Lobukhin (Spartacus), Anna Nikulina (Phrygia), Vadislav Lantratov (Crassus) and Svetlana Zakharova (Aegina). It seems to be a ballet made to be shown on the big screen and displays the Bolshoi to great advantage. And Lobukhin/Nikulina pulled off a more spectacular lift in their Act 3 pas de deux than I have ever seen anywhere before.

 

Agreed.  A wonderful afternoon.  This must be the Bolshoi's 'signature' ballet.  It suits them so well.  Does any other company have a male corps as large or as fine as theirs?  Possibly only they can pull this off.  I hope they bring it to London next time they come

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A really great performance that got clapped in Aylesbury. Lantratov seems to have been a late substitute - his dancing was superb, with icy arrogance, humiliation and revenge shown so clearly. Zakharova's speed and accuracy were stunning, Lobukhin (whom I had not seen before) was so strong and yes, capybara, that lift was astounding! Nikulina perhaps the weakest of the four (though that is hardly an insult, nor is it meant to be)

 

Medvedev on great form as a shepherd, the male corps hitting the spot between militaristic and artistic (is there ANY other company that can muster such might?!), and the sets as usual completely non-distracting.

 

Good use of the intervals, too (ROH take note) with Ms Novikova as enthusiastic as ever and hopefully not about to get her fingers rapped for explaining that this ballet is so popular because, she claimed, it is about personal freedom....

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Not *that* many :) (wasn't that the week I was trying to fit two Mariinsky programmes *and* both Ed Watson's Manons (his only two at the ROH so far, sadly) in in the same week?

 

Thank you, capybara.  I was sitting there thinking "Am I getting Lobukhin mixed up with someone else, or was it he who danced the Prodigal Son so well a few years ago?"  Actually, do you realise that, with Zakharova, that makes 2 Mariinsky/2 Bolshoi in last night's performance?

 

I have to say, this looked absolutely stunning on the big screen.  Apart from a few longueurs in the second act, it almost managed to convince me that Spartacus is a really good ballet :)

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  Apart from a few longueurs in the second act, it almost managed to convince me that Spartacus is a really good ballet :)

 

I have seen Spartacus enough times now to know when the longueurs are coming and be able to have a brief doze!

 

One's view of Spartacus as a ballet is very much affected, I find, by the strength or otherwise of the four central performances. I have seen some weak portrayals of the title role in particular which undermine the work quite fatally.

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I loved Lantratov as Crassus he was brill and Zakharova was great too, not so keen on Louboukin or Nikulina.  I really missed Kaptsova as Phrygia and Vasiliev as Spartacus!  Our cinema played the sound far too loud so that spoiled the performance somewhat for me as it is not the quietest of ballets!  The Bolshoi certainly can do "big"!

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Our cinema played the sound far too loud so that spoiled the performance somewhat for me as it is not the quietest of ballets!  

 

Try asking them to turn the sound down although you may have to wait until the first interval. My local Odeon played both this and Don Q far too loud but it appears that individual cinemas have some control over the volume.  I found I was not the only one who found it way too loud  It's worth asking  

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I always liked Mikhail Lobukhin but yesterday it became clear to me what a treasure he is. He looked as a classical embodiment of Spartacus. Not a ringleader but a knightly standard-bearer. His dancing was so true to the choreographic ‘text’ of this role, without cheap tricks or flirtation with the audience. He was expressive without resorting to corny acting. His height and perfect proportions of his body called for his every leap or posture to be captured on a poster for ‘Spartacus’ or even carved or sculptured or cast. IMHO, it was a noble and faultless performance.

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Try asking them to turn the sound down although you may have to wait until the first interval. My local Odeon played both this and Don Q far too loud but it appears that individual cinemas have some control over the volume.  I found I was not the only one who found it way too loud  It's worth asking  

Oh thanks for the tip - will try next time thank you!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Le Corsaire was shown live a year or so ago and today's screening was a recording featuring the now-departed Svetlana Lunkina as Medora, Ruslan Skvortsov as Conrad, Andrei Mercuriev as Birbanto and Nina Kaptsova as Gulnare.

 

The Bolshoi's scenario is more similar to ENB's production than that of the Mariinsky but I felt that it had many longuers, not least in Act 3 Scene 1 (the 'wedding') which does not feature in ENB's version at all (I'm pleased to note!). Although I had seen the Bolshoi show on stage at the ROH some years ago, I did not recall that Lankendem is a non-dancing character role (for the excellent Gennadi Yanin) and that the Pas D'Esclaves is danced, not by Gulnare and Lankendem, but by an anonymous couple who, rather curiously, appear only to do that set piece (Anastasia Stashkevich and Vyacheslav Lopatin). There is no Ali character but a somewhat incongruous satin-clad partner (Artem Ovcharenko) appears in the wedding scene with Medora and Gulnare. The costumes are based on the 19th Century originals and, in my view, Conrad's flowing white skirt somewhat detracts from the famous pdd.

 

I left the cinema not altogether satisfied and rather wishing that I had thought to take ENB leaflets with me to publicise the live performances at the Coli in January to audience members as they left.

Edited by capybara
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I really enjoyed Le Corsaire, it brightened up a gloomy November Sunday no end! Dancing was fabulous and I would love to see this production live. I also would like to see Lunkina, as despite many years of seeing the Bolshoi in London I have never done so. I was pleased that my local cinema was almost a full house for this screening. Have to say that I loved this production.

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  • 1 month later...

Jewels today was fabulous. One great advantage of the cinema screenings is how much closer it brings you to the stage (at least compared with my normal cheap seat :)

 

I would definitely recommend the Bolshoi's performance of Emeralds over Royal Ballet's, which I found rather lacklustre just before Christmas.  

 

However, RB's Rubies was much better - the Bolshoi lacked the necessary pizazz to put across the personality and comedy.  Steven McCrae delivered a great performance for RB in a very good role for him - the two Bolshoi principals were technically excellent, but I felt didn't have the drama or feel for the more American style of dance.

 

Diamonds at the end was beautiful - perfectly executed by the principals and corps.

 

Overall, I think I would give the Bolshoi performance the thumbs up ahead of RB, although both were very good (of course).  

 

This is possibly one ballet where it's worth splashing out for a better seat, as I found you can appreciate the quality of the dance much better closer up, and I think enjoyment of this ballet heavily rests on being able to appreciate the complexity and beauty of the pure dance.

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I saw it in Cambridge, with what looked very much like a full house for the main screen.  I knew in advance that Emeralds was unlikely to affect me greatly, for it never has in the past, and so it turned out.  More worryingly, I was also disappointed by Rubies and Diamonds.  Both struck me as efficient, with little heart.  Perhaps it's just me.  I don't think it's Balanchine, as I see Serenade and Agon as tremendous bits of work.  The customary Bolshoi claque, in evidence as ever with voices that are now recognisable, would disagree.

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It was nice to see Sergei Filin being interviewed during the second interval. Speaking in Russian,(if I followed the translation correctly) he mostly spoke about the production, the newly designed sets and costumes and the dancers. He thanked the Balanchine Trust and hoped that there would be further Balanchine ballets in the Bolshoi repertoire in the future.

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It was lovely to see this, however I too was somewhat underwhelmed at times.  Emeralds is very low key, but bordered on boring.  And in spite of what Balanchine may have intended does not really look like the "French School".

 

Rubies was more upbeat, but at times it seemed almost a bit dated now, off-centre balances and classical contorsions have been pushed so much further in the last few years.

 

Diamonds worked best, but was almost too cool (as in cold not trendy!).  The elegance and body lines of the dancers whether corps, soloists or principals was gorgeous though.  

One thing I find irritating is the way the camera keeps the dancers in the centre of the frame even when the male principals are flying round the stage in leaps and turns.  The background rushing past almost gave me motion sickness, and you lose the sense of how much ground they are covering.

 

I was very pleased that they announced that they will be showing Marco Spada on 30th March rather than The Golden Age, which I have seen before.

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It was nice to see Sergei Filin being interviewed during the second interval.

Darn, I missed that. I hung around for a while after the curtain came down, but decided that they obviously weren't going to interview anyone in the second interval, having already spoken to Merrill Ashley in the first, so went out to get a bite to eat. But kudos to Ms Novikova: she was *really* good yesterday. I really wouldn't fancy doing all that stuff to camera in two foreign languages. In fact, I don't think I could.

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Alison

 

I also liked the Bolshoi;s presenter. My heart went out to her when she translated the word déçu as "deceived" rather than "disappointed" in the context of "I hope you won't be deceived (sic) by diamonds." I think she is wonderful and she contributes to the transmission.  I remember being scolded for that mistake when I was preparing for my French "O" level many years ago.  My teacher called it a faux ami.  

 

I much prefer the Bolshoi's transmissions to the Royal Ballet's and just about everyone else's except the Met's operas from New York.

 

As for the performance I loved the whole show particularly "Diamonds". I suppose Rubies does require some razzle dazzle which doesn't come easily for a 200 year old state ballet company.  I also liked Emeralds.  Such a shame that the choreographer never added Sapphires as I think he had intended. but then it might have been too long.

 

Reeling back to October - which was before I discovered this website - I enjoyed Spartacus and would like to see it danced more often perhaps by a British or at least a Western company. I wonder why it is not shown more often.

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Mea culpa - I too should have mentioned the ever-impressive Ms Novikova who, I think, contributes immensely to these transmissions and who must have had an exceedingly busy 2013, what with one thing and another.  Referring back to a debate I seem to recall some months ago as to whether she was using Autocue, I'd say there were a number of little instances on Sunday suggesting very strongly that she did not.  

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Ms Novikova is a great presenter - especially compared to the dire presenter at the Mariinksy 3D Swan Lake - who I think was chosen for looks rather than ability to present!  I loved Jewels on Sunday and now I am very much looking forward to Lost Illusions and Marco Spada.

Edited by Don Q Fan
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I'm also an admirer of Ms Novikova - I think she does it in a very charming way and knows what she is talking about. I felt she stunned the American ex-dancer/representative of the Balanchine Funds with her "question"  if Balanchine was'nt known to always adapt the choreagraphy to the dancers he was dealing with :rolleyes: while she was going on about how movements "had to be done" and that there are only a few who know how to teach and preserve this.

We haven't seen Jewels before this performance and it seems we were the only ones here who liked Rrubies. My friend and I felt that Krysanova and Lopatin made a good couple who enjoyed the performance. I haven't seen Krysanova quite some time and I thought she seemed more secure about herself and enjoying to be on stage.

I also think it was great that they did the interview with Sergei Filin. Firstly it was interesting what he had to say about the dancers and the balllet and secondly it's good to see him in a positive mood and obviously fit enough to do his job well. Glad to see he seems to get around quite well. That's also why I refuse to leave during the break ;)  I don't want to miss any of this.

It's also the first time I saw Smirnova and not sure yet what to think about her...

So looking forward to the next transmissions - it's absolutely phantastic that we can see the performances live these days

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If anyone is interested I have cut and pasted my review of the HDTV transmission of the Bolshoi's Jewels that I have posted elsewhere having removed all links to my own blog:

 

"I am something of a fan of the Bolshoi's HDTV broadcasts as readers will recall from my review of Spartacus. They are next best thing to seeing ballet on stage. In one important respect they are actually better because their engaging presenter Katerina Novikova interviews people like Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi's artistic director, and Merrill Ashley, the US ballerina who helped the Bolshoi stage Jewels.
 
Ballet goers have seen a lot of Jewels lately. The Bolshoi brought it to London a few months ago (see  Luke Jennings's review in The Observer 18 Aug 2013) and the Royal Ballet has just staged its own version  as an alternative to all those Nutcrackers that appear over Christmas. Choreographed by George Balanchine for the New York City Ballet the work consists of three acts each of which could stand as a ballet in its own right.
 
The programme notes say that the ballet was inspired by the beauty of the gem stones at the jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels though the Wikipedia entry quotes Balanchine as saying that "The ballet had nothing to do with jewels. The dancers are just dressed like jewels." And so they are: 
  • green in the first act to symbolize emeralds the women in romantic tutus dancing to a Fauré score;
  • red in the second to symbolize the cast dressed as for a Broadway musical dancing to Stravinsky; and
  • white in the third to symbolize diamonds the women in classical tutus dancing to Tchaikovsky.
According to the presenter there was to have been a fourth act where the dancers were to be in blue to represent sapphires but that never came off. A pity though it would have made for quite a long ballet.
 
Ms Novikova also said that each of those gems or colours was to represent a city that was important to Balanchine and its associated dance tradition. Emeralds were to represent Paris and the romantic ballet as well as wine and perfume and some of the other good things in life; Rubies New York with its razzmatazz and all that jazz; and Diamonds were to stand for St Petersburg and the classical ballet. 
 
There was a bit of criticism in the press and also in [an on-line ballet discussion forum to which I subscribe] of the first and second acts but everyone seems to have liked Diamonds and I certainly did.  That act reminded me of Serenade which Balanchine had created over 30 years earlier and which Boston Ballet had performed in London on 4 July 2013 (see Boston Ballet: "High as a flag on the Fourth of July!" 7 July 2013). But I liked the lot particularly Emeralds which reminded me of the exquisite Giselle I had seen the night before ("Giselle - Royal Ballet 18 Jan 2014").
 
The Bolshoi has helpfully published a cast list so that you can see who did what on Sunday. I liked all of the dancers and it would be unfair for me to single any of them out for special praise.  Ms, Novikova did tell one of the principals (I won't say which for the reasons I have just given) that her performance was "stunning" and it was so good to see her smile as she accepted the compliment. The truth is that they were all stunning and although I have my favourites I can give no good reason for my choice.
 
The next HDTV transmission from Moscow will be Ratmansky's Lost Illusions on the 2 Feb 2014 which alas clashes with Sibley and Crisp at the Royal Ballet School and wild horses will not drag me from another chance to glimpse Antoinette Sibley, my favourite ballerina of all time."
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Thanks for your comprehensive notes Terpsichore.

 

You could always add a signature to your username that includes a generic link to your blog that people can dip in and out of as they wish.

 

I don't have a blog, but I do have a signature with a tag line!

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That's a good idea Janet McNulty.  I may well do that.   Many thanks for the suggestion.

 

For the moment the present arrangement where I cut and paste reviews from Terpsichore works well enough.

 

The reason I posted a lot of links to my blog when I first joined this forum was that I had a  stock of articles on many of the performances that were then under discussion and it just seemed easier to link to those articles than write new copy,   I have now caught up with everyone else so my contributions will be more or less the same frequency as those of most other members,.

 

I have learned a lot from this forum which has already enhanced my appreciation of ballet.   The thread provides a very good example.   I have not yet seen Jewels on stage so the reviews about the Royal Ballet's version were a good preparation for the HDTV transmission.

 

Another good example is the discussion in the Giselle thread about how she died.   Having seen a lot of Giselles from a lot of different companies over the last 40 years I thought I knew everything that an intelligent ballet goer needed to know about the work. I never gave a moment's thought as to whether Giselle killed herself or whether she just died but now I see why the manner of her dying might be relevant.  Had she been buried in a churchyard the wilis would not have got to her but because she was buried in unconsecrated ground they could.   I don't really buy that interpretation because it sounds dodgy theology for one thing and, for another, ballet does not always condemn suicide - for instance Rothbart's spell is broken only when Siegfried and Odette jump in the lake - but I shall certainly think about that rationalization when I see my next Giselle. Especially as it carries the authority of Peter Wright behind it,

 

One of the delights of ballet is that there is so much scope for interpretation. For choreographers, of course - the work which you and I are going to see at The Lowry next week is a case in point - but also for us the audience. Ultimately, it is the impression that a work makes on us that really matters. Just as you can't run an airline without passengers you can't run a ballet company without an audience,

Edited by terpsichore
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Am pleased Golden Age seems to have been replaced by Marco Spada which I've never seen live; only the dvd with Nureyev. (Having seen the video of Gediminas Taranda in Golden Age can't imagine anyone else in the role). However, the date it is being broadcast (30th March) I will be away in Rye, East Sussex on the south coast. Can anyone tell me of a cinema within easy reach that will be showing it? There is an Odeon at Hastings but they are not down to show it yet (though I know that can change). The nearest Odeon showing it seems to be Tunbridge Wells but I wondered if there were any independent cinemas in the area that may be showing it. Many thanks   Joan

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today's Lost Illusions was very nice but it didn't thrill me. Not sure I would rush to see this if I was in Moscow. Not keen on the sets or music. Well danced by the wonderful Lantratov, Vishneva and Shipulina though. I admired Shipulina's 20 fouettes on a table! As ever superb presentation by Ms Novikova.

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