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[Legend of Love]

 

At first I found it hard to warm to this production, but became engrossed. It is not a very subtle ballet, and some aspects jarred on me- e.g. the hunch backed jesters(!) and some of the costumes...

Denis Rodkin was, I thought, impressively precise, powerful and indeed beautiful to look at.

 

I am not quite sure about the rest-it is so different in every way from the current RB run that I've been thinking about so much!

what does the forum think?

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I didn't know anything at all about this ballet until someone on this forum explained it. I didn't really want to go for some reason. I don't know why. I really want to see all the others that are going to be televised.

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It was definitely nowhere near subtle, and I found some of the hand movements a bit jarring at the beginning - they made me expect a sphinx to show up any time soon. Overall it took me a little while to get to grips with it initially, by the time the curtain fell I was semi-sold on the ballet - need to see it again before I get anywhere near to making my mind up. I liked the group scenes and pdds in the third act a lot, wasn't too keen on the hunchbacks (dwarves?) but rather liked their female companions with the flower-beards.

 

Denis Rodkin certainly doesn't hurt the eye, the other leads were pretty good too. If Maria Allash had any nerves about standing in as a last minute replacement, she really didn't show them.

 

There was so much going on on stage, I already feel as if I've forgotten half of the things I've seen this afternoon. Though I'm likely to never forget the odd costume choices accentuating the female chest area.

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Mary, thank you for starting the thread.  I hope you don't mind, but I've changed the title to include all the Bolshoi broadcasts, and added a title to your post so it's clear which one we're talking about.

 

Well, I've seen this one now, and I don't feel any great need to go and see it again.  Despite all the "Orientalisms", the choreography still struck me as fairly typically Grigorovich, almost expressionistic, painted with very broad brushstrokes and rather strident in parts: certainly I felt that some of the corps work (the goosestepping, for example) could have been lifted out and inserted straight into "Spartacus" without anyone even noticing (perhaps he even did?  I'm not so familiar with its choreography that I'd necessarily notice).  I also get the feeling that the narrative was rather less thin than what we were given, but I was rather bemused as to what was supposed to be happening for much of the time.  Perhaps I've just got used to being able to dancers expressing something more or less every minute of a ballet.

 

Like Mary, I did become more involved in the production later on.  I thought the costumes (and lighting) in the final act were very good at expressing the "ghostly" aspect of the narrative.

 

The main thing I came away with, though, was: how sad is it that I can recognise David Hallberg's feet without thinking twice?  And they weren't even "pointed", I don't think!

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I agree with you Alison. I didn't really like the choreography and kept seeing Spartacus also.  The choreography for the corps didn't really move the the story on (not that there was much of a story) and was a bit repetitious.  I thought the principals were great apart from some uncertainty in the lifts in the pas de deux between Maria Allash and Denis Rodkin (understandable given the cast change)

 

I hated the music.

 

Interesting to see from the point of view of ballet history but I wouldn't be rushing to see it again.

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Well, I've seen this one now, and I don't feel any great need to go and see it again. 

 

Like Mary, I did become more involved in the production later on.  I thought the costumes (and lighting) in the final act were very good at expressing the "ghostly" aspect of the narrative.

 

 

After the first 2 acts I thought it was a curiosity with some impressive dancing here and there, and I'd kind of given up following the story. In an ideal world, I could just see an encore of the 3rd act (at a third of the price would be nice....) to decide whether I'd see it live if I'd ever get the chance.

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The main thing I came away with, though, was: how sad is it that I can recognise David Hallberg's feet without thinking twice?  And they weren't even "pointed", I don't think!

 

Did Hallberg dance?  (I didn't see the cinema broadcast as I was a Dylan Thomas Celebration.)   Is Hallberg back from NYC/his injury/operation?  I didn't see his name in the LoL cast list ... or was this from a preview of the upcoming encore of the most recent Bolshoi SB ... which is - as it happens - already out on DVD?   

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Thanks Alison and apologies for my incompetent setting up of the new topic!

You have all said pretty much what I thought.

One of the main problems was the stylistic theme of the supposedly "oriental" hand and arm movements which as Rodkin said meant the dancers had to "break" the line of thier arms and use them differently throughout.This would have been all right in one or two moments but used throughout spoiled the line and was distracting.At one moment it looked just silly as the corps whirled ther hands around.

 

In the first act bizarre analogies came to mind -a corp of Freddie Mercuries doing the sand dance?

 

The third act was much more tasteful and restrained.

 

But, on the whole, a curiousity.

Still, it is great to be able to see it and some pretty spectacular dancing too.

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No, it was a promo video with Smirnova.

 

Did it say what they would be dancing (and did they suggest that it would be broadcast)?  I thought her usual partner was Chudin, though I believe that she has danced with Hallberg very successfully in Oneign.  Perhaps they will dance the Cranko with ABT at some point as she now seems to be becoming a regular guest artist there (taking the Cojocaru's spot?) ... what with her second guesting assignment there in a row next summer.  Hallberg has gone on the record as saying he very much wants to dance more with Osipova - and is doing so it seems both at ABT next summer and La Scala. 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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This is an edited version of a review of the HDTV transmission I have published elsewhere. I have removed references to other articles that I have written to comply with the rules change introduced in January as well as references to the content of other HDTV transmissions which I know to be controversial. The first few paragraphs are didactic (for which I apologize). Please remember that the passages in inverted commas were written for a different audience, 

 

"A Legend of Love is not well known in the UK which is a pity because there is a lot to like about the ballet. A fine score by Arif Malikov, spectacular choreography by Yury Grigorovich and striking set and costume designs by Simon Virsaladze. It was first performed by the Kirov (now the Mariinsky) Ballet in Leningrad (St Petersburg) in1961. Grigorovich introduced it to the Bolshoi when he moved to Moscow. The Bolshoi performed it for the first time in 1965 with Maya Plisetkaya and Maris Liepa in the leading roles.   My first encounter with the ballet was watching a rehearsal during World Ballet Day on 1 Oct 2014. I saw an HDTV transmission from Moscow at the Wakefield Cineworld this afternoon. An HDTV transmission is not the same as watching a ballet in the theatre but Pathé Live's broadcasts are the next best thing. 

The scenario for the ballet was contributed by the Turkish poet and playwright Nâzım Hikmet who based it very loosely on the 12th century Persian poem The Labours of Ferhad. There is a synopsis on the Bolshoi's website but the point to remember is that the hero, Ferkhad, chose to sacrifice his love for the beautiful Princess Shireen in order to secure a water supply for his drought ridden neighbours. Very public spirited. Indeed very socialist minded.  Just the sort of thing that Stakhanov might have done. 

There are six strong roles in the ballet:

Grigorovich inserted some exhausting looking jumps for the men, particularly the jester in act II and there seemed to be at least as many fouettés for the Queen as in Don Quixote or Swan Lake.Indeed, he really put that character through her paces forcing her to adopt the most awkward, angular poses including one that resembled a table with one leg thrusting in the air like a flag post,  Nearly all her movements were en pointe even in the curtain call at the end.  The effect was spectacular - one feat after another - just as in a firework display.

The most remarkable thing about this ballet is that it was created by very young men.   Malikov was in his late twenties when he wrote the score and Grigorovich was in his early thirties when he choreographed it. Both of those gentlemen are still alive and Malikov was in the audience.  He was interviewed by Katerina Novikova in the second interval and it was wonderful to see him as he rose to acknowledge applause in his box when a spotlight beamed on him just before the start of the third act. He took a bow to thunderous applause at the end of the show when the conductor invited him onto the stage. In her interview Ms Novikova asked him about his teachers and mentors. He listed a number of distinguished composers and musicians culminating with Shostakovich. Charmingly and not at all cheesily he noted that the title of the ballet was A Language of Love and wished everybody a little bit of love in their lives.
 
One of the reasons for the success of Pathé Live's transmissions is the remarkable Ms Novikova.  Always elegant - today she wore a smart blue top and trousers - fluent in French and English and very knowledgeable her discussions and interviews are as unmissable as the dancing.  As well as Malikov she spoke to Rodkin who was down in Moscow from the Mariinsky. She got him to talk about how the great dancers of the past, Liepa and Plisetkaya, had inspired him and how he had realized his ambitions of dancing Spartacus and Ferkhad by the age of 24. 
 
......................."
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Some people might not like the (Grigorovich's)  choreography, which is acceptable and the matter of (personal) taste.

Only thing is that those people who are seeing Spartacus in the Legend might consider that actually it should be vice versa?

 

The Stone Flower 1957

 

Legend of Love 1961

 

Spartacus  1967

 

Again, the style and the choreo might not catch your eye but it is sooner that you may see some Legend in Spartacus,

Grigorovich developed the idea (symbolic) since the Stone Flower all the way through those 3 ballets, even if you do not see-or-think so.

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... Rodkin who was down in Moscow from the Mariinsky.  

Thank you, Terpsichore, for your tribute to this remarkable ballet, which, in my view, should be seen on the Bolshoi's historic stage. 

I just want to mention that the 24-y-o Rodkin has never been a Mariinsky's dancer. The Bolshoi has been his only employer since 2009.

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Thanks for that information, Amelia.

 

I was foxed by the absence of a hypertext link to Mr Rodkin on the Bolshoi cast list but the presence of a link to him on the Mariinsky's site.   I should be grateful if you could shed some light on the apparent anomaly.

 

I am afraid that I do not follow either company as closely as I should wish because I see them only when they visit London (and even then only once or twice a season because I live 200 miles from the capital).

 

You on the other hand do follow the Russian companies much more closely and I am always grateful for your information and opinions.

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Terspichore, Denis Rodkin was one of the two prized private students of Nikolai Tsiskaridze when he was still with the Bolshoi Theatre prior to becoming the Acting Rector of the Vaganova School.  The other was Angelina Vorontsova who was the (personal) partner of the dancer who is currently in prison serving a sentence for his conviction for masterminding the Filin acid attack.  She is by all reports a lovely dancer and, no longer under the Bolshoi's employ, is now with the Mikhailovsky Ballet and features prominently in that company's NYC season at the Koch (formerly NY State) Theater next month frequently dancing with I. Vasiliev..  

Edited by Bruce Wall
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Thanks Alison and apologies for my incompetent setting up of the new topic!

 

Mary, it wasn't remotely incompetent :)  I just thought from previous experience that it might be easier to have all the broadcasts in the same thread, as certain subjects tend to crop up throughout the season - and not all the broadcasts attract as much comment as this one has.

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Thanks for that information, Amelia.

I was foxed by the absence of a hypertext link to Mr Rodkin on the Bolshoi cast list but the presence of a link to him on the Mariinsky's site.   I should be grateful if you could shed some light on the apparent anomaly.

I am afraid that I do not follow either company as closely as I should wish because I see them only when they visit London (and even then only once or twice a season because I live 200 miles from the capital).

You on the other hand do follow the Russian companies much more closely and I am always grateful for your information and opinions.

 

Thank you for your kind words, Terpsichore.

Denis Rodkin was promoted to a leading soloist quite recently and his photo can be seen among the leading soloists on the Bolshoi’s website: http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/persons/ballet/

However, they apparently could not find time to translate his page from Russian:

http://www.bolshoi.ru/persons/ballet/1294/

As a contrast the Mariinsky where Rodkin performed as long as I remember only twice - “Carmen” at Moiseyeva Gala and “Swan Lake” - already created a page for him in English.

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Terspichore, Denis Rodkin was one of the two prized private students of Nikolai Tsiskaridze when he was still with the Bolshoi Theatre prior to becoming the Acting Rector of the Vaganova School.  The other was Angelina Vorontsova who was the (personal) partner of the dancer who is currently in prison serving a sentence for his conviction for masterminding the Filin acid attack.  She is by all reports a lovely dancer and, no longer under the Bolshoi's employ, is now with the Mikhailovsky Ballet and features prominently in that company's NYC season at the Koch (formerly NY State) Theater next month frequently dancing with I. Vasiliev..  

 

Hello, Bruce Wall. Rodkin was not “a private student” of Nikolai Tsiskaridze. During his last few years at the Bolshoi Tsiskaridze was wearing two hats - of a Principal dancer and of a a teacher/répétiteur. As a teacher he was conducting a daily class, which was inherited by him from Marina Semyonova, and was rehearsing with Vorontsova and Rodkin (earlier also with Ovcharenko). So it wasn’t a private enterprise. Now both Denis and Angelina, especially the latter who is also in St.Petersburg as you mentioned, still turn to their former teacher when they need an advice and help.

I am also puzzled with how you linked “the acid attack” with the “Bolshoi Ballet broadcasts 2014-15” topic.

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I loved the repeat of Pharoahs Daughter this afternoon. Granted it is a flimsy story line, just a great excuse for a full on spectacle of superb dancing from the whole company, challenging choreography, very danceable music, fabulous costumes and impressive sets. I love the way that the Bolshoi fully commit to a daft story. The benefit of the recorded performance was that the intervals were just 10 minutes and in the first one the lovely Ms Novikova  interviewed the choreographer, Pierre Lacotte, for whom she was interpreter for 3 years in her younger days. The second interval pulled at my heart strings as I realised that the production we were seeing was more than 2 years old as she was talking to the very beautiful Sergei Filin on whom Lacotte had created the role. I looked up the date when I got home and it was Nov 2012 :(

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I enjoyed Bolshoi Swan Lake yesterday.

 

This was not the mouldy production I saw on tour in London a few years ago- the costumes were new and sparkling ( and very lovely in the ballroom scene)- and Zhakarova and Rodkin were on sparkling form too.

 

I am looking forward to new technology which will allow me to use a zapper to edit out the jester..... It is indeed intolerable that he weaves between the dancers and upsets other dancers' symmetry and rhythm in e.g, the pas de trois.

However.. there was still much to enjoy. one plus of this rather strange version is that the Prince gets more dancing and I personally can't have too much Rodkin.

 

It is interesting the way in which the culture /audience in which the company operate at home has moulded their style. There is some truth that it produces a display of dancing rather than a whole performance. Certainly when claques are banging and shouting for curtain calls after each variation, the whole rhythm and atmosphere of the performance is destroyed.

 

But my what dancing some of it is.

 

All in all a great way to spend a dull January Sunday afternoon...

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Was I the only one who went to see Ivan the Terrible last Sunday? I was hoping someone could tell me why Anastasia was so miserable in her Act I solo?

No,  I was there too but I am sorry I can't answer that question.  I can only suppose that she wondered about her fate, she was chosen by Ivan and I image did not have much say in the matter.  I have seen Nikulina dance several times and do not think she is a great actress although she is a lovely dancer with an amazingly supple body and wonderful long legs, and had to cope with some very difficult lifts.  We noticed she had a large bruise on her thigh

 

Lobukhin was just amazing.  The speed with which he moved around the stage was dazzling and his descent into madness painful to see.  He emerged for his curtain calls looking completely exhausted as well he might after such a powerful performance

 

Praise too for the Corps especially the large contingent of male dancers

 

Our cinema was fairly well attended especially on what was a fine Sunday afternoon and the reaction afterwards was stunned silence, but in a good way.  As usual Miss Novikova was an impressive compere in several languages

 

Perhaps someone with more technical knowledge than me could give a review?

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Was I the only one who went to see Ivan the Terrible last Sunday? I was hoping someone could tell me why Anastasia was so miserable in her Act I solo?

 

It would have been more surprising if she was relaxed and happy. When men are fighting at the front, their wives at home do worry.

 

From the Synopsis:

“Ivan leads Russian regiments into the battle side by side with Kurbsky. 

Death mows down the soldiers, but the harbingers of victory portend defeat for the invaders. Russian regiments force the enemy back. The battle is won! 

Anastasia is anxiously awaiting Ivan’s return.”

 

http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/performances/576/libretto/

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It would have been more surprising if she was relaxed and happy. When men are fighting at the front, their wives at home do worry.

 

From the Synopsis:

“Ivan leads Russian regiments into the battle side by side with Kurbsky. 

Death mows down the soldiers, but the harbingers of victory portend defeat for the invaders. Russian regiments force the enemy back. The battle is won! 

Anastasia is anxiously awaiting Ivan’s return.”

 

http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/performances/576/libretto/

 

And thank you from me.  I clearly missed the point of Alison's question!

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