I like to post this review of the Bolshoi's "Legend of Love" written by Arina, my friend in Moscow.
Well, the "Legend of Love" is again on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre. Having listened to some judgements on two general rehearsals which I hadn't seen, I went to the premiere with some fraction of fear. I was afraid to be sick of it. But fortunately these expectations were not justified. Even the first act (a little dragged), was rehabilitated by the two subsequent acts. As a result, the ballet for me finished unexpectedly quickly, and it would be desirable prolongation.
Already knowing that Grigorovich hasn't almost changed anything in the choreography on the stage of the Bolshoi, I hoped that there will be other scenery and costumes. However, the first one was old but renewed, and the second, though, has been sewn anew, and there were all the same little spots, flowers and pendents on trico and ugly coronas with feathers. About the lighting - it is certainly beautiful, when the blue or red beams create the applicable mood, but even in the front row it's rather difficult to see faces in such lighting, especially, when the actors are at the back of the stage. Maybe it was for the best because it was strange to see almost all time smiling face of Anna Antonicheva in an image of Shireen, but Nadezhda Gracheva expressed dramatic emotions not only on face, but also in the plastics of her body. I very much liked her in the role of Mekhmene Banu and I think if the ballet went in large blocks as for example in Opera de Paris, her motions would become even more sharpened.
But Shireen -Antonicheva, vice-versa, has disappointed me. She, in my opinion, was not a spoiled princess, "neither fish, nor the meat " - like thin, ductile, but any "flail", arms is not understandable, that figured, even "sparks" were not legible. She did not jump poorly, but in a diagonal (the scene of escape) with Ferkhad. Alas, she "villaged in a pool", i.e. on her arse, but she mounted very fast and joined Tsiskaridze which didn't interrupt his dance. Tsiskaridze got the wild applause having excellently executed two circles of jete en tournant and taking off on the edge of a proscenium. It s certainly his "corona trick", and I can look at him in it indefinitely. From this trio perhaps only he didn't forget to keep his palms always in a vertical position. He has wonderfully completed pas-de-deux with an immovable face - well, he does not love Shireen in this legend - are cold, the head is bent on a breast of princess only because it is necessary (Grigorovich has told). And Ferkhad blossomed in his variations that were predictable for Tsiskaridze.
Mark Peretokin was good in a role of Vizier and I liked very much Gennadiy Yanin as Jester "gray cardinal" of eastern empire - small role which, it s a pity, was not received of development, it could be interesting.
Separately it would be desirable to mark marvelously legible activity of corps de ballet - probably choreographer has spent a lot of time working with them - crowd scenes of procession and pursuit under a legible rhythm of music create definite mood. In general the ballet is very graphic, though now it is not any more innovation. I do not want to compare the Bolshoi version with the version of the Kirov, to discuss if this ballet is old-fashioned or is modern and how long it will remain in the repertoire, but I'll go to see it once again or twice. Ovation at the end was rough, any improbable facility with flowers has been dragged on the scene, but the last appearance of the dancers to bow was surprising. Gracheva who was playing key role has appeared first - with Peretokin and Tsiskaridze was last.
Let me to return to "Legend". I, as well as I promised, have seen it once again but only from the second act. It was the second cast: Mekhmene Banu - Maria Alash, Shireen - Marianna Ryzhkina, Ferkhad - Dmitriy Belogolovtsev, Vizier- the same Mark Peretokin. After two general runs there were miscellaneous judgments not only about the ballet, but also the competence of both casts. Therefore in second time I looked ballet from this point of view and now I can compare. Allash's Mekhmene Banu was liked by me less than the interpretation of Gracheva: Nadia s dramatic skills, even tragic one was expressed in a plastic, but Maria almost hasn t it. She didn't resemble a strong empress, which has power to rule destiny of the people, she was simple woman suffering with jealousy - her mountain on the dying sister and unshared love should be comparable to power of queen, only then a problem of choice will be similar "To be or not to be?". And the motions expressing all this, should "ring", as the stretched cord, at all events. But just Alash has not such "nature".
Shireen, in my mind, vice-versa on the one hand - naive girl, who fall in love for the first time, on the other hand - whimsical entity. And Marianna Ryzhkina in this role was better than Antonicheva, especially in the third act. On forum www.ballet.ru it is frequently written, that she has short hands, but as it is strange, she made much more legible gestures by the arms, transmitting the text of a role, and her legs worked well and legibly. As to Ferkhad, it is rather difficult to me to compare two dancers - Tsiskaridze and Belogolovtsev. Everyone has the his own advantages and lacks that is why the images of Ferkhad have received absolutely miscellaneous.
Ferkhad-Tsiskaridze has reminded me of Aladdin from my favorite Russian films - fairy tale - lovely young man with aristocratic face held by self and his books, who saw beautiful girl and even at once didn t realize it. Ferkhad an artist drawing nice patterns on the walls of palace - in Hikmet's play and on the scene - in Grigorovich's ballet, he doesn't know how to address with the women, suddenly has appeared involved in all this history at once with two ladies. It is necessary to be resistant. The art nature easily has a fancy, but to make a feat is more poetic than to run with princess in an uncertainty. I would interpret this image in such way.
Ferkhad- Belogolovtsev is absolutely another, he is faster, similar to the hero of Nizami - powerful, little rough stonemason who skilfully works with pickaxe, but not dispossessed with artistic skills. For him everything is equal to broke a mountain or to lift up a queen. Does he love Shireen? It would be desirable to trust, but for some reason it seems, that it's not so real and to hack a rock is not so desirable for him. Strong support, powerful jumps but everything without the special attention to such parts as a position of arms. To the third act Dmitriy was obviously tired and began to make blots - a leg was not raised on an owing altitude, he got behind on an instant from his beloved or fell asleep not in that place (all Ferkhads slept near a lantern, and this one lay down far from it).
The brightest person in second performance was Vizier-Peretokin - thin and sharp, in a measure sad, jealous, with the sharpened motions. It seems the auditorium has estimated him very highly. The corps de ballet was good and this time, but the Jester (Morikhiro Ivata) was bad. At the end there was again a basket of flowers and Grigorovich appeared on the scene.