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November 03, 2021


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November 7 is the last day of Moscow's latest coronavirus lockdown; schools, gyms, shops, and restaurants, have been closed, BUT supermarkets, pharmacies, museums, and theaters have remained open. Seeing the Bolshoi 50% full on Sunday, when we're privileged to sit in the Koch Theater at full capacity, will be sad, but Svetlana Yuryevna's claque will bring plentiful bravos regardless. Very excited for this broadcast!!!

I'm surprised and not surprised that SZ is cast. I'm curious to see how the 42 year old is holding up. We might not see much of her in the future. But she is so, so good on TV that she could easily walk away from the Bolshoi and retain and probably further build her stardom.

I saw Svetlana Yury. dance Aegina in 2019, right after her 40th birthday, and she was phenomenal. That said, she seems to have retired Aurora, Giselle, and Odette-Odile over the last two years and only taken on Nikiya and Kitri. You are so right about her potential permanent transition to TV, but it seems like she's been shifting her focus to promote/strengthen dance education in Russia's regions. Hopefully she brings the fire on Sunday.

No further questions left about how Svetlana is holding up. Holy moly. What a fantastic performance that she and the entire Bolshoi put on today. Is there a more operatic ballet anywhere? Grigorovich doesn't get his due from the Western world. His production from 1968 is bloody brilliant. Not even Ratmansky gives him sufficient recognition while much of Ratmansky's own choreography clearly comes from the Grigorovich mold.

Back to SZ as Aegina. She put the hot in haughty, that's for sure. And her PdD with the - ahem, ahem - "pole" would have gotten her a wad of C-notes at the Executive Club in Hell's Kitchen.

Artemy Belyakov as Crassus stunned with his triple assemble en l'air over and over again and his Moiseyev leaps with his feet touching the back of his head. Igor Tsvirko matched Belyakov with jump height and spectacular feats and power partnering -- although that huge lift where Phrygia runs at Spartacus and he is supposed to lift her above his shoulder by holding her supporting leg went awry. Somehow, she ended up stuck on his shoulder. The second one worked well, however. Anna Nikulina was a beautiful Phrygia with gorgeous length and flexibility.

The intermission interviews with Boris Aikimov and Mikhail Lavrosky were superb. They each had a lot to say and Katerina Novikova kept up with the translations.

What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

I couldn't agree more, Haglund! It was a fabulous performance! The smallish audience in Kansas City was cheering right along with the audience in Moscow! I hope this performance will be offered again as an encore performance. Ballet heaven!

I am on the same page finding Spartacus to be a great example of Soviet choreography that, unfortunately, is often ridiculed by snobby American ballet critics. Though I disagree about Ratmansky's attitude towards Grigorovich. I thought that Ratmansky may have paid homage to Grigorovich with his latest ballet “Of Love and Rage”. It bears striking similarities to Grigorovich’s style not only in the selection of music but also in showcasing the bravura male dancing and in such uncharacteristic for Ratmansky lack of pantomime. The entire ballet is a non-stop dancing. Hopefully, New Yorkers will get a chance to see this ballet during the 2022 Spring season.

Hey Haglund,

I so agree: “what a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.”

Grigorovich’s Spartacus is poetry from beginning to end; you are so right that he does not get enough respect in the West. It seems like you can’t read a review of the ballet without some sort of passive swipe at the Cold War context it emerged in. Sure, Soviet cultural policies are important to contextualize this ballet, but nothing about that negates the genius of Grigorovich’s production.

Zakharova was on fire tonight. Hoping to see her stage life stretch as long as possible. I’m not aware of any cross training she does, so her form is truly a testament to what taking class well can do. Belyakov was stunning and looked so strong. He’s also an exceptional partner and I enjoyed seeing his dance.

Initially I was disappointed because I wanted to see the Rodkin/Vinogradova pairing for Spartacus/Phrygia, but I was really happy watching Tsvirko and Nikulina. Both made strong and excellent impressions on me. Even with one fudged lift, all I could do was focus on on Tsvirko's grace, Nikulina's legs, and Khachaturian’s gorgeous score.

So much fun watching today.

I forgot to say how incredible the Bolshoi orchestra sounded -- rich, bold, crystal clear. The musicians even got a nod of approval from the conductor at the end.

Grigorovich's Nutcracker is exceptional, too. Can't wait to see it again on December 19th. It is so full of imagination and wonder.

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