29 October 2011

Bolshoi inaugural

The remodelled, reconstructed State Academic Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow (founded 1776) was inaugurated with a gala of opera and ballet on 28 October 2011. The event was not simulcast in Canada, unfortunately, but I often thought about it during the day. After 80 years of neglect the building was in danger of collapse. The present works, from foundation upward, took six years at a cost exceeding $700 million. The magnificent theatre and its artistic companies, opera and ballet, are world treasures.

20 October 2011


Spartak Спартак
chor. Yuri Grigorovich (1968)

Bolshoi Ballet, in Paris (2008)
with Carlos Acosta, Aleksandr Volchkov, Nina Kaptsova, Maria Allash
Decca DVD (2009)

A legacy ballet of the Soviet era, Spartacus survives as a signature piece of the Bolshoi Ballet, a work of heroic proportions and artistic demands.The courageous but hopeless struggle of slaves against their imperial Roman masters takes on allegorical life on stage. It represents an unending challenge regardless of odds.

The present choreography, dating from 1968 now classic, communicates the message on a grand scale without losing the human dimension, a progression of scenes building logically to a tragic climax.

Carlos Acosta is admirable in the 2008 performance, but so too is Aleksandr Volchkov in the demanding role of Roman tyrant, Crassus. While women have significant roles, the ballet is primarily for men. In an interview on the Decca DVD Carlos Acosta cited Spartacus as the perfect role for him, and culmination of his career.

10 October 2011

La Esmeralda

La Esmeralda (2009 recension) was first simulcast of the Bolshoi season: bravura and virtuoso dance sans pareil with principals Maria Aleksanova and Ruslan Skvortsov, and amazing Vladislav Lantratov with Ekaterina Krysanova (Acteon and Diana sequence).

La Esmeralda Эсмеральда
chor. Jules Perrot (1844), Marius Petipa (1886, 1899), and others
recension: Yuri Burlaka, Vasily Medvedev (2009)
with Maria Aleksandrova, Ruslan Skvortsov, Ekaterina Krysanova, Denis Savin, and Vladislav Lantratov
simulcast from Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow