Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

25 December 2012. Some of My Favourite Things. Swan Lake (complete) as Danced in 1990 by the Kirov Ballet of Leningrad

lopatkina and kuznetsov ballet

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In this 1990 production of Swan Lake, Yuliya Makhalina danced the role of Odette/Odile whilst Igor Zelensky danced the part of Prince Siegfried. This Kirov production includes the familiar happy ending in the final act where Siegfried fights and ultimately defeats the evil magician von Rothbart and is reunited with Odette at dawn.

As everyone knows, Russia has led world ballet since the time of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov in the late tsarist Silver Age. Russia has set the standard, and the Bolshoi and Mariinsky/Kirov have been the leading dance troupes in the world. This was so in the Empire, it was so in the USSR, it’s so now in the transitional period of the Russian Federation, and it shall remain so with the re-emergence of a reunited Eurasian state.

Russian Ballet lived, Russian Ballet lives, and Russian Ballet shall live!

BMD

 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

11 January 2012. Video. “Absolute Pitch”… Eight Minutes on Swan Lake

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The first minute of this is taken up with a “talking head”… then, the rubber hits the road and there’s a nice mini-documentary on Tchaikovsky‘s Swan Lake. The narration’s in Russian, but the visuals and music keep the non-Russian-speaking very happy indeed.

This is an utter contrast to the tawdry and noisome toilet bowl “non-culture” of the US rightwing… the artistic higher culture of the Orthosphere lives… and it’s still the best! What do you want? Do you want the Best of the Bolshoi or the LDS Follies? I know what I want… and not a few of you agree with me…

BMD

Sunday, 1 January 2012

1 January 2012. A Multimedia Presentation. The People Who REALLY Make the “Best of the Bolshoi”…


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The Bolshoi Ballet in the Adagio from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake at the Gala Reopening of the Bolshoi in October 2011

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The Bolshoi Opera in a Soviet-era film Kompozitor Glinka (The Composer Glinka, 1952) (fragment of Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar)

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The Bolshoi Ballet in the Waltz from Prokofiev‘s Cinderella at the Gala Reopening of the Bolshoi in October 2011

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The Coronation Scene from Mussorgsky‘s Boris Gudunov, performed by the Bolshoi Opera under the baton of Nikolai Golovanov, with the role of Boris sung by the legendary basso Aleksandr Pirogov (a performance from 1947)

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Yekaterina Maksimova dancing Gounod’s Walpurgis Night with the Bolshoi Ballet in 1974

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The artists and artisans of the Bolshoi have an unbroken and untrammelled history… from Imperial Russia to the Soviet Union to the present transitional state… and they’ll continue under whatever replaces that. Without the hard, devoted, diligent, and skilled work of he Bolshoi’s dedicated staff, the magic and beauty of the Bolshoi Ballet and Opera wouldn’t exist. They epitomise the Dignity of Labour… nothing more need be said…

BMD

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

RIA-Novosti Presents… Purity and Inspiration… The Dancing Artistry of Natalia Bessmertnova (1941-2008), People’s Artist of the Soviet Union

19 July marked what would have been the 70th birthday of the legendary Bolshoi Ballet premier danseuse Natalia Bessmertnova. In the above image, Bessmertnova dances the lead role in Giselle.

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During her life, Bessmertnova danced all the classic female ballet roles… Odile/Odette, Giselle, Juliet, Raymonda. In the above image, Natalia Igorevna dances the role of Odile in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in 1965.

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Her main inspiration was her husband, choreographer Yuri Grigorovich, whose name is associated with the “golden age” of the Bolshoi Theatre, which lasted from the ‘60s through the ‘80s. In the above image, Natalia Igorevna as Rita and Irek Mukhamedov as Boris in The Golden Age staged by Grigorovich in 1984.

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One of her frequent partners on the stage, Mikhail Lavrovsky, said, “To dance with Bessmertnova was exciting and thrilling. She electrified the audience, much like Pavlova, Spesivtseva, and Ulanova did … If Natalia Bessmertnova was alive in Petrarch’s day, he’d have composed a sonnet about her”. In the above image, Natalia Bessmertnova, dancing the role of Phrygia, and Mikhail Lavrovsky, in the role of Spartacus, collaborated in Khachaturian’s Spartakus in 1968.

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Natalia Igorevna was one of the most romantic and lyrical dancers of her time, as was shown by the fine delicate movements of her hands, which seemed to enhance her every movement. In the above image, Bessmertnova dances in Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet in 1979.

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Bessmertnova wasn’t from an artistic family; her father was a physician. Nevertheless, Natalia and her sister Tatiana chose to study at the Moscow Ballet School. Once there, Mikhail Gabovich saw the talent of the fragile doe-eyed girl, and he said, “This girl has to a great future ahead of her”. In the above image, Natalia Igorevna in a rehearsal at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1979.

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Bessmertnova with her teacher Marina Semyonova, during a session in the Bolshoi Theatre rehearsal hall in 1970.

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Immediately after graduating ballet school, Natalia Igorevna joined the Bolshoi Ballet troupe, where she danced from 1961 to 1995. In the above image, Bessmertnova in a scene from Leopold Minkus’ Don Quixote (choreographed by Marius Petipa) in 1979.

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Her début performance was in Les Sylphides (music by Frédéric Chopin, choreography by Michel Fokine), of the eight canonical parts, she performed in numbers 4, 5, and 7 (based on Chopin’s Mazurka in D major, Op 33 No 2, Mazurka in C major, Op 67 No 3, and Waltz in C sharp minor, Op 64 No 2). In the above image, Natalia Igorevna preparing for the stage in 1966.

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Another early triumph of Bessmertnova was her performance in Adolphe Adam’s Giselle (choreography by Marius Petipa); it became one of her favourite roles. In the above image, Natalia Igorevna dancing Giselle in 1979.

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“Her sophisticated characterisation and inherent lyricism, coupled with great naturalness, made her Giselle unique”, Mikhail Baryshnikov recalled. In the above image, Natalia Igorevna, in the role of Giselle, and Mikhail Lavrosky, in the role of Albrecht, in Adam’s Giselle.

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For Bessmertnova, her husband, the choreographer Yuri Grigorovich, who collaborated in many of her performances, became her inspiration. Thanks to their combined efforts, Russian dancers received much international acclaim. In the above image, Natalia Igorevna and Yuri Grigorovich during a rehearsal in 1979.

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Together with the Bolshoi, she travelled extensively, performing in some 90 countries. Bessmertnova danced on the stage of the Paris Opera, La Scala in Milano, the Vienna and Rome Operas, and the New York Metropolitan Opera. In the above image, Natalia Igorevna, in the role of Kitri, in Minkus’ Don Quixote in 1972.

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“Indeed, Bessmertnova brought a poetic spirit into the Bolshoi Ballet of the late 1950s and early 1960s. She was a new sort, quite unlike any other ballerina before, unusually pure and sublime. She was a divinely-marked ballerina”, Vadim Gaevsky said of Bessmertnova. In the above image, Natalia Igorevna prepares to make her onstage entrance.

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19 July 2011

RIA-Novosti

http://ria.ru/photolents/20110719/400067320.html

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