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Bucharest National Opera: La Fille mal Gardée - Cojocaru Enache Kobborg Preda 13DEC2014

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Bucharest is probably a more rural town than London, since its audience seems to find normal to see dancing chickens: La Fille mal gardée opened in a total, maybe surprised, maybe respectful, silence. What a difference with Royal Opera House audience, able to laugh at the same point at every show, even at the 50th view. But it lasted just few moments: at Alain entrance, the lady sitting at my side started laughing and went on until the end; the usual background rumors, laughing, suspires, surprise, popped out and lead to a deserved triumph (double triumph , because the enthusiasm at first act end was already erupting).


Alina Cojocaru Lise was her usual wonderful self: funny and sweet, with quick footwork and supple and eloquent upper body. Her jumps were smoothly high and with a great ballon: nobody would have guessed she was recovering from a calf injury that made her worry to not be able to perform.


Johan Kobborg thinks he has to define better some details in his widow Simone, and if the artist says this maybe he is right, but I really need to see the improved version, because the first one was a already great performance and I loved it: the character was fully there, very funny, with a perfect acting timing. The clog dance showed the highest and lighter jumps ever, you see the great dancer behind bonnet and ringlets and this adds a touch of grace to the funny old lady, as an ephemeral spark of the young girl “she” has been. I was really scared when Simone head bursts out of the window at the very beginning. You are never ready enough when it’s done so properly. A very satisfying debut, promising for even more as he guarantees.


After having seen him as a brilliant James the past year, I could have expected also a good Colas from Robert Enache, but he really surpassed my generous expectations: dancing at the side of artists of the level of Cojocaru and Kobborg, already experienced of the style and the ballet, he looked at his very own place. His acting was credible and able to create the character, the dancing was superb, able to fulfill the required quick steps and also powerful in the pdd solo.


Cristian Preda was a sweet Alain: with excellent “dancing” and an acting able to generate the laugh and also the sympathy; he demonstrated to be another important asset for the company.


The minuscule pony Amore (credited on the cast list) was a little nervous at the beginning and even more when he had to walk in front of the curtain, closer to the orchestra and the audience (and also for a little incident with the curtain, touched by the cart). It was Alina, standing up on the cart and pretending to act something, to “save” the poor boy: she furtively handed a treat to Thomas, Alain father, to be given to the pony. The chomping little thing walked out happy with the cart and its passenger and looked more relaxed after that. A scary debut was almost over: the ice was broken… and the good boy didn’t poop on stage, as some illustrious colleagues often do. :D


The corps was excellent: great dancing and a sense of excitement and enthusiastic commitment that was palpable also into the audience.


I’ve seen La Fille mal gardée danced by other company than the Royal ballet but I’ve always felt that something was missing or not working properly: not in this case. A small group of English ballet goers attending the show agrees with this impression. When the audience started laughing and feeling to be part of the show, one could have really thought to be at the Royal Opera House: a great result and a tremendously good job by everyone.


The coaching to the soloists was provided by Corina Dumitrescu, a quite famous Romanian ballerina, and by the Guest Artist in Residence, Alina Cojocaru. A career as coach is something I was not really expecting for Alina’s future, but she has already coached the Lesson earlier in this season and is loving it: it’s great to think that her artistic ideas will be shared with other dancers and that this activity has already started now that she is in her prime. It must be thrilling for dancers of the company to be coached by such an artist!


At the end of the show the audience was invited by the management to join the dancers in the foyer for an autograph session: a corner is always ready with an Opera Bucharest back screen and chairs and small tables. Cojocaru, Enache, Kobborg and Preda were surprised to find there dozens of cards with their portraits, ready to be signed for the audience: a gentle and generous present by Bucharest Opera and the sign that they all know that they all are living a special moment and that the project to build a relevant company is going on quickly and successfully.


Here is the link to Cojocaru’s interview to Romanian television, with moments of the show.



I understand very few words: she is lovely proud when she speaks of “our company”…should English audience be worried? I don’t think so: she is always happy and ready to confirm how much she loves to dance with ENB and how much she appreciate and trust colleagues and staff. Anyway to see Alina dancing in her hometown is a unique experience, and for sure also the company and its soloist are worth to be seen. Connections from London to Bucharest are excellent, so why don’t plan a visit?

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Anna, are you able to tell us whether Alina will be dancing in La Sylphide?


I don't know about la Sylphide, but as reported on Cojocaru's web site, she is dancing excerpt from Mayerling on January 28th in a gala.

A rare opportunity to see her dancing again with Johan Kobborg :).


The  past year I saw La Sylphide danced by Sena Hidaka (a Japanese dancer graduated at the Vaganova) and she was absolutely wonderful (her partner was Robert Enache).

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