Here a new one - a review of a review!
I found Clement Crisp’s review of La Bayadere fascinating for what it had and not have.
He comments that the Russian’s take the Kingdom scene much faster then the Western productions. I think I pointed out the brisker tempi sometime ago when I reviewed a few La Bayadere video. Clement Crisp thinks it more dramatic when done faster. Personally I think the slower tempos (and lighter orchestration) give it more spirituality and atmosphere. I also note that Nureyev well know Paris production he uses the slower “Western” tempo and Lanchberry’s sparer orchestration.
But it is all rather surprising about the Russian choice of faster tempi. My personal observations is that the Russian’s take things slower in most ballets. Their recent performance of Giselle was taking slower the RB production
Mr Crisp sings the praises of Nadia Gracheva. This is surprising as it seems the other newspaper ballet critics have panned her performance. Obviously I cannot comment on whose is right (if there is right in this context) – unlike some critics I do not form opinions of dancers until I have actually seen them!
But is interesting to note the way which ballet generates so many different opinions. I do not think any art form generates so completely different views of ballet. Which is why I think it is so important to for critics to say why or why not they like a particular dancers performance (particularly if you do not like his/her performance). When I read other peoples reviews I pay more attention to their assessments and not their final opinion – this is too subjective to be reliable. It is obvious that in ballet one person’s meat is someone else’s poison. So I was very happy with Mr Crisp’s thoughtful commentary on Gracheva.
But it I was less happy with Mr Crisp’s omission of the glaring faults in the production. The stomach turning political incorrectness and the fantastic padding of the plot with so much dancing. It is not as if he did not have space – his review is far longer then Anne Sacks one or the other newspapers.
I think that Mr Crisp should not be writing program notes for the Bolshoi programing. I am imply ABSOLUTELY NOTHING but independance in APPEARANCE is just as important as idependance in FACT