Following a 3-year gap London ballet audiences finally got the Bolshoi back in town for summer. A long season at Covent Garden meant we had plenty of time to see an enticing mix of well-crafted reconstructions, heritage ballets, contemporary pieces and world class performers. Here we recap on our favorite moments of the tour:
- Spartacus (Vasiliev / Kaptsova / Allash)
- Coppélia (Osipova / Skvortsov)
- 2x Serenade/Giselle (Osipova / Skvortsov – Nikulina / Volchkov)
- Petrushka / Russian Seasons / Paquita
- 2x Le Corsaire (Alexandrova / Tsiskaridze – Osipova / Vasiliev)
- Don Quixote (Krysanova / Mercuriev)
L’s favorite moments:
The very Russian triple bill. Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons was a real modern masterpiece. The colorful restored Benois sets for Petrushka brought back memories of Russian tales heard in my childhood, while the opulent grandeur of Paquita simply made me want to jump with excitement and joy.
Natalia Osipova’s Giselle. Everyone knew she could jump but what amazed us the most was her transformation from a sickly, heartbroken peasant girl to the airiest and most powerful of Wilis.
Masha Alexandrova. In Paquita, she was the diva who brought real ballerina authority to the stage and her Medora was a delight: regal, charming and poised. A true prima.
Ivan Vasiliev’s flying Spartacus. Every blockbuster needs a great action hero to lure in the crowds. The only thing missing at this Hollywood-worthy performance? The popcorn.
Ekaterina Krysanova and Andrei Mercuriev’s partnership. While their rapport in Russian Seasons was evident, their Don Q was a lesson in classical purity, outstanding technique and burning chemistry. They were well rewarded (and seemed genuinely surprised) with a massive sunflower throw.
Reconstructions. The charming Coppélia, the impressive Le Corsaire, the lavish Paquita Grand Pas proved that sometimes it pays to look back at the past.
- Coppélia (Osipova / Skvortsov)
- Serenade / Giselle (Osipova / Skvortsov)
- Petrushka / 2x Russian Seasons / Paquita
- Don Quixote (Osipova / Vasiliev)
E’s favorite moments:
Every second of Ratmansky’s masterpiece Russian Seasons, even though on second night the first minutes of virtuoso violins were almost ruined by a determined bag-fumbling woman around us. From Mercuriev’s powerful dancing to Krysanova’s fluid line the Bolshoi filled it with Russian soul and made a work originally choreographed on NYCB their own.
The way Natalia Osipova as Giselle took flight: spinning the fastest attitude turns and, seconds later, soaring high with her miraculous jump. The audience’s collective heart must have skipped a beat or two.
Shhh! Silence! The corps de ballet shoes in Serenade… were these the quietest pointe shoes ever or was their sound drowned by the orchestra’s impassioned reading of Tchaikovsky?
The Royal Opera House crowds roaring at Osipova and Vasiliev’s Don Quixote. Most of all I loved Osipova’s relevé passés in superhuman tempo as well as her fouettés which spun faster and steadier than Cobb’s top.
The Vikharev reconstructed Coppélia was a feast for the eyes. It had the best folk dancing one can ever hope to see in a ballet production, the prettiest costumes and – her again – Natalia Osipova as a delicious Swanilda.
We also asked our Twitter followers to share their favorite moments with us; they answered:
- Masha Alexandrova’s Medora
- Natalia Osipova in everything she did but especially her Giselle
- Anastasia Stashkevich’s tremendous Swanilda in Coppelia
- Ekaterina Krysanova & Andrei Mercuriev’s chemistry in Don Q.
- Ivan Vasiliev & Alexander Volchkov in Spartacus
- The glorious Russian Seasons & Paquita Grand Pas
Feel free to use the comment form below and let us know your own Bolshoi favorite moments this season.