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Moscow City Ballet - UK Tour - Winter 2014/15


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I have not seen their Giselle - but I have seen their Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.  (i believe I have written accounts on all three if you wanted to reference them.)  The ideas involved in the productions I have always found to be (i) tasteful and (ii) often profound given their means.  They do travel with an orchestra and have always been overall good value I think - certainly when compared with some of their other Russian brethren of a like ilk on similar regional trails.  One is so very deeply appreciative of the fact that MCB (i) respect these major classical works and their attending audience and (ii) somehow manage to take them into areas of the UK that often other - even substantially subsidized - companies cannot seemingly manage.)  I certainly would not fear/hesitate in pluming in their favour.  Not at all.  I, myself, look forward to seeing their Giselle on 15th January 2015 at the lovely Richmond Theatre.  Please do report back if you do attend, Moomin.  I would love to hear what you thought. 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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It doesn't look as if the ents24 website has all the tour dates. I haven't found it very easy to get the full details, but they are also supposed to be in Truro (Hall for Cornwall) with Giselle and Swan Lake 19-22 November 2014, Croydon (Fairfield Halls) with Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet 23-25 November, Lowestoft (Marina) with Nutcracker 27-29 November, Watford (Colosseum)  with Nutcracker 21-24 December, 23-25 Cambridge (Corn Exchange) 2-4 January 2015 and Sheffield (Lyceum) 6-10 January 2015. 

 

It's been a few years since I have seen them perform, so can't comment on their present standard. They used to have a live orchestra (and may do again now), but resorted to taped music for a while, and I think that may have lost them some venues. The Siberians from Krasnoyarsk slipped in to my local theatre.

 

James

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We have booked tickets to see them dance Swan Lake. Thank you so much for putting up this thread. I haven't seen a live ballet for several years and I am so happy right now, even though it isn't until February. This site is so wonderful. :D

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This is not about Giselle, but it is about the Moscow City Ballet.

 

When I found out that the MCB were coming to a nearby theatre (New Wimbledon) with Nutcracker, I decided to go to satisfy my new-found passion for (obsession with? addiction to?) ballet. I am so glad I did. I didn't have that much expectation, but was glad to read Bruce Wall's favourable comments about the company. From what I saw tonight, those comments are well-deserved.

 

I was actually in rather "low spirits" this day, and attending MCB's Nutcracker really cheered me up. I found their performance really enjoyable - and so did the audience as a whole, quite a few "bravos" at the end. I must emphasise that I have never seen Nutcracker as a whole before, although the music is largely familiar to me. I am therefore unable to compare their performance with others. As far as my very inexperienced eye could determine, the performance, both by soloists and corps, was at the very least competent, and probably more than that in many sections. There were a couple of minor glitches, but they didn't detract from the overall effect.

 

I took along a pair of 8x binoculars - normally used for wildlife observation. My eyesight is not 100%, and with these I could observe, from time to time, more closely the faces and actions of the dancers. It seemed to me that their acting - getting into the spirit of the ballet - was very good. And they seemed to be enjoying themselves. This wasn't just a "job", they were dancing because that's what they wanted to do.

 

The MCB are accompanied by their own orchestra. If this is at least reasonably competent - and they were - it is so much better than recorded music. The conductor was called on to the stage at the end. The orchestra isn't large, but for most of the ballet it was quite adequate. On at least a couple of occasions, I had a literal tingle in the spine when a familiar piece of music started. The only part where I felt a larger ensemble might have made a difference was in the "Grand Pas de Deux" in Act II - and even then they weren't far off - and the timpani rolls at the end were magnificent. This is a piece of music which often brings tears to my eyes - it's surely one of the greatest and most heartfelt pieces of music Tchaikovsky - or anybody - ever wrote. I remember reading an article which pointed out that it shows what a supreme musical genius can do with what is basically just a descending scale.

 

The accompanying programme unfortunately didn't give the names of the soloists, and if there was a piece of paper which did, I missed out on it. I am going to look on the MCB site to see if they have pictures, and if I can identify any of them. If anyone knows who they were, I would be pleased if they posted the information. I suspect that one of the male leads must have been Talgat Kozhabaev, who has been well spoken of in reviews.

 

If any of the more knowledgeable and experienced ballet lovers were at this performance, I would love to learn of their reactions, even if they disagree with my favourable impressions. From my naive viewpoint however it has made me more keen to catch up with the MCB when they are next in my area, and see another of their productions.

 

Just to quote from the programme: "The 21st century has brought fresh attention to classical ballet. In Western Europe a wave of re-awakening to the classics has been gathering force.......Unlike minimalist productions of contemporary dance, often without storytelling and performed to recorded music, a performance of Russian classical ballet provides a theatrical dancing experience combining artistry, technique, narrative and live music, attracting a whole new generation of dance lovers".

 

Long may they continue to do so.

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I really enjoyed your review Frank.

 

I feel just the same about the music for the grand pas de deux-it makes me cry very time ( and I must have seen it 100 times.) There is a fabulous dvd recording of the Royal Ballet with Johnny Cope and Miyako Yoshida dancing this pas de deux which is The Best.

 

I shall be looking out for Moscow CB near me.

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I really enjoyed your review Frank.

 

I feel just the same about the music for the grand pas de deux-it makes me cry very time ( and I must have seen it 100 times.) There is a fabulous dvd recording of the Royal Ballet with Johnny Cope and Miyako Yoshida dancing this pas de deux which is The Best.

 

I shall be looking out for Moscow CB near me.

Thinking it was Nutcracker time, I watched this DVD earlier in the week, it is very lovely and also has Alina Cojocaru and Ivan Putrov as the young couple, and Zenaida Yanovsky as the Rose Fairy.

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Thanks to Sim and Mary for your kind remarks.

 

I had so enjoyed Moscow City Ballet's Nutcracker that I saw it again two days later. It was an equally satisfying performance.

 

This time I managed to get a cast list. As I thought, Talgat Kozhabaev had been one of the male leads, Drosselmeier, on Thursday, and here he was again in the same role. Drosselmeier has a more important dancing role than he has in the version danced by the RB in performance on the Opus Arte DVD. For MCB have their own version of Nutcracker, firmly classical in spirit but with significant innovations in the choreography. These innovations are described in the review by Bruce Wall in these ballet.co forums. That review is featured in the MCB publication - a handbook rather than a programme - which is sold at their performances. It's worth getting as it details all the four ballets they are performing in this particular tour. The review is credited to 'Ballet Co".

 

Reading Bruce Wall's informative posts on the MCB, it appears that the company is characterised by making intelligent variations on classical ballets, that being the policy of the late Founder and Artistic Director, Victor Smirnov-Golovanov. From my very limited experience and knowledge, I would agree with Bruce Wall that these innovations in Nutcracker are imaginative, and actually improve the structure of the ballet. For instance, it is surely an improvement to increase the dancing importance of both Clara and Drosselmeier. In particular, in the MCB version Clara dances the Grand Pas de Deux with the Nutcracker Prince, and it starts as a Pas de Trois  involving Drosselmeier also. As a newbie to ballet appreciation, I don't know whether this type of thing has been tried before, or is original to the MCB, but in any case it seems right to me that the high point of the ballet should involve the main characters.

 

On Saturday evening Clara - very definitely the lead ballerina role in this Nutcracker - was danced by Yuliya Zhuravleva, who I think was also so cast on Thursday. The Nutcracker Prince was different from Thursday. I have no idea who it was on Thursday, but on Saturday evening it was Andrei Zhuravlev. As on Thursday, I thought the Corps were remarkably good.

 

Mary, I have recently bought the Opus Arte DVD of the RB performing all three Tchaikovsky ballets. This must be of a different performance from the one you and Beryl H have, as, while it does have Miyako Yoshida in the Pas de Deux, she is partnered by Steven McRae, and the Rose Fairy is Laura Morera.

 

I have been so impressed by the MCB that I have booked to see their Swan Lake in Croydon, and am planning to get to their Giselle in Richmond in January.

Edited by FrankH
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I'm not sure Ive seen this particular company as I think it's the one from St.Petersburg that has come to Brighton before I'll see if I can catch them.

 

Where Nutcracker is concerned I often used to engineer getting some of Tchaikovsky's ballet music played in school assemblies and the final pas de deux of Nutcracker is just so beautiful as is the one from the end of Act one before Snowflakes. I can't say how many times Ive seen Nutcracker especially from the days when used to dress for London Festival Ballet as they were then called but certain sections of this music I never get tired of hearing.

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These innovations are described in the review by Bruce Wall in these ballet.co forums. That review is featured in the MCB publication - a handbook rather than a programme - which is sold at their performances.

I trust they asked permission.

 

That reminds me that, some years ago, I went to a performance of "Giselle" by one of the touring "Russian" companies - I think it was in Woking. When I read the synopsis in the programme, I thought "Hang on, something's a bit wrong here." The synopsis was clearly that of Derek Deane's "Giselle" for ENB. Fair enough, except that if you ever saw that one you'd know that it was set in the early 20thC, and featured a motor car on stage in Act I, which was referred to in the synopsis!

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I trust they asked permission.

 

That reminds me that, some years ago, I went to a performance of "Giselle" by one of the touring "Russian" companies - I think it was in Woking. When I read the synopsis in the programme, I thought "Hang on, something's a bit wrong here." The synopsis was clearly that of Derek Deane's "Giselle" for ENB. Fair enough, except that if you ever saw that one you'd know that it was set in the early 20thC, and featured a motor car on stage in Act I, which was referred to in the synopsis!

Of course I've no idea whether or not they asked permission. If "they" didn't - and in this case I suspect the "they" would be PMB Presentations, who are promoting this tour - then the person who has most reason to be upset is Bruce Wall, since he isn't acknowledged as the author of the review. On the other hand, it seems to me to be good publicity for the balletco.forum. If I hadn't already known of its existence, I might very well be googling to find it.

 

[incidentally, how does one contribute financially to this site - I understand this would be welcome, yet I can't seem to find a link as to how to do it]

 

I've been again to see the MCB this last week in Croydon. On Monday I saw Swan Lake, which I enjoyed as much as I had enjoyed their Nutcracker. This prompted me to go the following night to see their Romeo and Juliet, which I had no plans previously to see, as I didn't think I would it like very much, as I'm not a great fan of Prokofiev's music. Well, the MCB's performance was highly entertaining, and they really "sold" this ballet - or at least their version of it - to me. I even got to like the music!

 

When I have more time, I'll try to review my reactions to these last two performances. I'm only a beginner in ballet appreciation, so don't take my word for it (but do pay attention to Bruce Wall's favourable impressions), but I think the MCB are far removed from the plastic "Russian" companies which Alison rightly derides.

 

For me, the MCB seem a company worthy of support. I've booked to see their Giselle at Richmond in January.

Edited by FrankH
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[incidentally, how does one contribute financially to this site - I understand this would be welcome, yet I can't seem to find a link as to how to do it]

Hi Frank. We had a funding drive I'd guess 15 months ago, and I assume we'll repeat it when it looks likely to be necessary again. 

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  • 2 months later...

Went tonight to see MCB in Nutcracker in Nottingham. Utterly packed theatre. It is wonderful that this amazingly hard working company tour so extensively in uk and bring classical ballet to such a wide audience. Stand out dancer tonight was the one dancing Clara. Just lovely. Fine orchestra too. Not sure about some of the choreography though. The lifts? Just feel it got too much on that. Clara was literally being hurled around for no artistic reason.

As I said, MCB do a surpurb touring programme.

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We are supposed to be going on Sunday and I really hope we can. The whole family has been really unwell this week. Thanks for the review, Nottsballetlover. We will definitely be there if it is the slightest bit possible.

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Went tonight to see MCB in Nutcracker in Nottingham. Utterly packed theatre. It is wonderful that this amazingly hard working company tour so extensively in uk and bring classical ballet to such a wide audience. Stand out dancer tonight was the one dancing Clara. Just lovely. Fine orchestra too. Not sure about some of the choreography though. The lifts? Just feel it got too much on that. Clara was literally being hurled around for no artistic reason.

As I said, MCB do a surpurb touring programme.

am going tonight only just got a ticket as i left it a bit l8

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