Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Beautiful Bolshoi Ballet

The Lady of the Camillias was the ballet that was "simulcast" from the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow on Sunday. I have never seen or heard about it although I had heard of John Cranko of the Stuttgart Ballet whose idea it was. But he died before finishing it so it's really the work of John Neumeyer and has mostly been done in Germany. This was the Bolshoi's first production and it was spectacular and marvelous. It's a full-length (very long, in fact) costume ballet that tells both the story of Marguerite (renamed Violetta when Verdi used this story for La Traviata) and Armond. It is paralleled by the story of Manon Lescaut and  Des Grieux, also the subject of an opera.  The music is all Chopin.

Cranko and Neumeyer were very influenced by Stanislavski's acting techniques so that the dancers were cast for appearance and acting ability -- it was superb! -- to the point of being told that every movement must reflect the emotion of the moment. Mostly in ballet technique and dancing comes far ahead of acting, but in this case, they were equally important and equally well done.  Sets, lights, and the many, many costumes were equally expressive. The various Chopin music was exactly right -- some with piano alone and some piano and orchestra.

Seeing this ballet was absolutely fascinating. I felt I was seeing a work of art that went beyond the wonderfulness of ballet -- and ballet is to me always very wonderful. 

For a change the sometimes awkward intermission features (which are done in English, French and Russian) was an important addition helping me understand what I was seeing.  I'm totally delighted that I only have to drive about 15 miles to see something of this sort which I could never see otherwise.


Kass said...

I'm delighted to learn of this ballet and hope I can access it on 'demand.'

June Calender said...

I don't know if ou can, Kass, but I hope so. It's an amazing experience. Thanks for the comment.