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Bolshoi Premier CINDERELLA
By CristinaB
On Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:47 PM
Edited by CristinaB (144788) on 2006-02-12 12:49:48
Image detached by CristinaB (144788) on 2006-02-12 12:51:10
Edited by CristinaB (144788) on 2006-02-12 12:51:53
Moved to Reviews by hylndlas (107168) on 2006-02-16 11:26:06 moved to reviews

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Fairytale Magic

The Bolshoi Theater's new staging of Sergei Prokofiev's "Cinderella" dazzles with its dancing and raises a laugh with its comedy villains.

By Raymond Stults
Published: February 10, 2006

According to some advance reports, the new production of Sergei Prokofiev's ballet "Cinderella" that premiered last week at the Bolshoi Theater was going to be a radical post-modern interpretation, one of a sort likely to outrage the conservative ballet-going public and almost certain to frighten small children.

But instead, the new "Cinderella" emerged as a gentle, dream-like retelling of the familiar fairy tale, with commendable choreography and an enlivening array of original twists and turns. Overall, it added up to a terrific show and one that seemed to give great pleasure to the audience at its opening night last Thursday.

The most novel feature devised by choreographer Yury Posokhov and his collaborator in staging, Yury Borisov, was their addition to the cast of a character called a Storyteller, clearly intended to be Prokofiev himself. As the curtain rose, the Storyteller was seen seated atop a huge moon-like sphere, shuffling through what were presumably the pages of a score.

Descending from his lofty perch, he acted as a substitute for the usual Fairy Godmother, helping Cinderella outwit the notorious trio of her stepmother and ugly sisters, introducing her to the Prince's ball and popping up in other places to give advice and support. At the final curtain, as Cinderella and the Prince finish their love duet, the Storyteller turns his back on the happy couple and disappears into the depths of his moon.

Innovation of a different sort occurred during the Prince's madcap search to find a foot to match the lost slipper. Among those he encountered along the way were Marlene Dietrich, in the costume of Lola from her famous film "The Blue Angel," and a singer -- unmistakably resembling Maria Callas -- who gesticulated wildly atop a piano and spurned his request to try on the slipper.

The finest comic moment of all came in the first act when the plump and diminutive ugly sisters were prepared for the ball by a dancing master, who was played in wonderfully droll fashion at the premiere by the leader of the Bolshoi ballet troupe, Gennady Yanin.

In a conversation several years ago, former Bolshoi ballet artistic director Boris Akimov remarked on how difficult it was to find a choreographer capable of dealing with large-scale scenes involving the corps de ballet. And it was precisely Posokhov's rather nondescript handling of the second-act ballroom scene that proved to be the ballet's least well-crafted feature.

When it came, however, to providing dance material for Cinderella and the Prince, Posokhov proved himself once again -- as he did in the Bolshoi's "Magrittomania" the season before last -- a masterful reinterpreter of the familiar positions and steps of classical ballet.

Fortunately, the choreographer had the Bolshoi's very best at his disposal to dance the principal roles at the premiere. Svetlana Zakharova approached perfection as Cinderella, not only in her wonderfully graceful and accurate movements, but also in the conviction she brought to portraying the victimized younger stepsister. Sergei Filin, the Prince on opening night, may not have the longest leaps or highest jumps of the Bolshoi male principals, but his dancing, as usual, had about it an elegance unequaled by any of his colleagues. The lovely Zakharova could hardly have found a more fitting partner.

The decor by Hans Dieter Schaal conformed nicely to the overall scheme of things and left plenty of space for the dancing. A trio of large box-like structures served as background to the opening act. One held a kitchen; a second housed the sisters' dancing lesson; and from a third, the fairy dancers emerged to portray the four seasons of the year. Most striking of all was the enormous white staircase that dominated the ballroom scene. California-based designer Sandra Woodall lent color and surprise throughout with a parade of wonderfully fanciful costumes.

The score of Cinderella, written during the years of World War II, when Prokofiev was evacuated to Alma Ata, and later to Perm, contains some of the most beautiful music the composer ever wrote. It is also as challenging a score for conductor and orchestra as any in the entire ballet repertoire. Bolshoi musical director Alexander Vedernikov and his musicians in the pit rose magnificently to the occasion, with leadership and playing of a quality not often heard at the theater.

Unfortunately, due to the ballet company's touring schedule, "Cinderella" will not reappear at the Bolshoi until June. Meanwhile, the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater has a "Cinderella" of its own in the works. Its production will premiere after the reopening of the theater's main stage, which is now tentatively set for April 17.

4 Replies to Bolshoi Premier CINDERELLA

re: Bolshoi Premier CINDERELLA
By CristinaB
On Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:53 PM
Edited by CristinaB (144788) on 2006-02-12 12:56:25
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Zakharova promised something entirely different this time, saying "the performance is totally different to that previously put on at the Bolshoi and my Cinderella has nothing to do with Ulanova's."


She said she had turned down an invitation to dance Cinderella at Milan's La Scala to the choreography of Rudolf Nureyev because "other dancers have already danced Nureyev's choreography and it is more important for me to take part in a new ballet created for me."


Posokhov's choreography reflects his career as a former Bolshoi dancer who went to the West and currently dances in San Francisco.


Filin, who plays the prince, said "the choreography requires our bodies to be relaxed and our movements free, which was difficult at first."
re: Bolshoi Premier CINDERELLA
By CristinaB
On Sun Feb 12, 2006 01:24 PM
Edited by CristinaB (144788) on 2006-02-12 13:35:21
i know there is a video already on internet of cinderella with zakharova look the pics i found.

Image hotlink - 'http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c225/Mcristinab5/b_58474.jpg'

Image hotlink - 'http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c225/Mcristinab5/b_59120.jpg'

please find it, i'm not an expert on russian
re: Bolshoi Premier CINDERELLA
By DreamingTreemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Feb 12, 2006 02:40 PM
From what I can tell, it is a bit modern-ish, isn't it? At least the sets are, but apparently, the costumes remain classical.
I'd really like to see the videos, Svetlana looks pretty good in the pictures!
However I don't know where to find them either, perhaps LEXX_RUSSIA could do this for us? :]


Cathy
re: Bolshoi Premier CINDERELLA
By BALLETTgermmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Feb 12, 2006 02:49 PM
Thank you CristinaB for giving these new pics of Sveta and a lot of information about the new Bolshoi Cinderella!

Oh, yes I want to see the video, too....... :D
How flexible Sveta is (3rd pic) :O

Germie :)

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