10 March 2014


Acta diurna: Turning Point Ukraine

Turning Point Ukraine

Ukraine Turning Point 2014
see:  http://lewis27.ca/blogspot2

02 March 2014

mid-winter ballet

 National Ballet of Canada
 mixed programme

    26 February - 2 March 2014


Watch Her
chor. Aszure Barton (2009)

an ensemble ballet of  “mood, atmosphere, and suggestion" [Michael Crabb, TS, 27/2/2014]

It’s crowded choreography of little interest. Identically suited men abruptly appear through multiple doors, and just as suddenly disappear. A woman in red stands out, but so does one in blue. There is certainly emotion visible, even distress, but nothing lasts. A man throughout is watching.

Contemporary ballet need not tell a story, though I feel there is one here, all too hidden.

A Month in the Country
chor. Sir Frederick Ashton  (1976)
staged by Sir Anthony Dowell
with Aleksander Antonijević (Aleksei Beliaev) and Greta Hodgkinson (Natalia Petrovna)

libretto based on the play by Ivan Turgenev (1855), Месяц в деревне

It’s a quiet and very comfortable country house in appearance where disparate ages, however, suggest dysfunction. The tutor (Aleksandar Antonijević) and chatelaine (Greta Hodgkinson) dance some beautiful moments fraught with emotion while the boy of the house (Skylar Campbell) cavorts and ward Vera (Jillian Vanstone) flirts and throws tantrums. The performance I saw (1 March 2014) was completely engaging. 

With retirements imminent this was probably the last time Aleksandar and Greta would be together in these emotive roles. There were cheers and not a few tears in the theatre.

            Aleks and Greta with Sir Anthony Dowell

15 February 2014

Ballet Boys (Norway, 2014)

Ballettguttene  (Norway, 2014)

Ballet Boys

dir. Kenneth Elvebakk
for release April 2014

Documentary on four years in the life of three ballet boys — Lukas Bjørneboe Brændsrød,  Syvert Lorenz Garcia,  Torgeir Lund

Lukas Bjørneboe Brændsrød
        Norwegian National Ballet School
                         Ballettskolen ved den Norske Opera & Ballett

08 February 2014

XXII Winter Olympiad Opening

XXII Зимние Олимпийские Игры Сочи 2014
XXII Winter Olympiad Sochi 2014

The opening ceremony was a grandiose spectacle in the Fisht Olympic Stadium worthy of combined Disney and Cirque du Soleil on unlimited budget with gigantic scenery and projections, handsomely costumed dancers, actors, and musicians by the hundred. Intention was a worthy inauguration of the XXII Winter Games and celebration of both nation and the Olympic spirit. Despite an occasional small hitch it came off remarkably well. 

The large Canadian contingent looked good in scarlet inspired by the iconic Hudson's Bay point blanket. Curious American journalists took it to be a Mountie look.

Svetlana Zakharova shone for a few moments in a scene reminiscent of Lev Tolstoi’s monumental War And Peace, soon joined by virtuoso Ivan Vasiliev (both Bolshoi Ballet stars) and handsome Danila Korsuntsev (Mariinsky). 

Diana Vishneva (Mariinsky Ballet) later led a group of whirling doves in a gesture to peace.

Lighting of the gigantic cauldron set off an astonishing spectacle of fireworks.

7 February 2014

01 February 2014

Illusions Perdues

Illusions Perdues
Утраченные иллюзии
chor. Aleksei Ratmansky  (2011)

Bolshoi Ballet
Балетная Труппа Большого Театра

with Vlad Lantratov (Lucien), Diana Vishneva (Coralie), Artem Ovcharenko (First Dancer, Youth, Robbers’ Leader)

Pathé simulcast from Moscow
2 February 2014

The performance was excellent, with star dancers in the principal roles: Vlad Lantratov (Lucien), Diana Vishneva (Coralie), Artem Ovcharenko (First Dancer, Youth, Robbers' Leader). Lantratov cut an impressive figure as the confident and successful young composer on the way to failure, marginalization, and emotional collapse.The libretto, a ballet about ballet in 19c Paris, at times seemed overloaded with detail. The specially composed score by Leonid Desyatnikov while mostly appropriate for the movement was jarringly modern for the period scenes unfolding. A soprano declaiming Russian poetry marked poignant moments, actually a distraction from the dance.

28 January 2014


chor. Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot (1841); Marius Petipa (1884)
version: Sir Peter Wright (1987)

Royal Ballet
with Natalia Osipova (Giselle) and Carlos Acosta (Albrecht)

cinema rebroadcast from London
27 January 2014

Reviewer Judith Mackrell (The Guardian, 19 January 2014) was ecstatic about Natalia Osipova's Giselle though she found her interpretation of the role took "some drastic licence with the choreography's phrasing”. 

Natalia Osipova was dramatically and emotionally brilliant in the challenging role of Giselle — in turn girlishly cute, infatuated, distraught as the tragedy unfolded, then a protective and loving ghost amidst a host of vengeful willies. It was a wonderful production.

Carlos Acosta danced well, but was perhaps miscast as Albrecht. A younger partner would have been more suitable.

19 January 2014

Jewels (simulcast)

chor. George Balanchine (1967)

Bolshoi Ballet
Балетная Труппа Большого Театра

with Semyon Chudin, Olga Smirnova (Diamonds); Vlad Lantratov, Anna Tikhomirova (Emeralds); Vyacheslav Lopatin, Ekaterina Krysanova (Rubies)

simulcast from Moscow
19 January 2014

George Balanchine’s ballet gems, inspired by Van Cleef & Arpels, were brilliant in this performance with a large complement from the corps de ballet and strong principals in each segment. Memorable were the pas de deux of Vlad Lantratov and Anna Tikhomirova (Emeralds) and Semyon Chudin and Olga Smirnova (Diamonds), with virtuoso moments especially for Lantratov and Chudin. Costuming for the Bolshoi production was freshly conceived after consultation with the original French jewellers whom Balanchine admired.