The MiNAPRESS Column

Bolshoi Live on Stage and On Screen

Posted in arts, ballet, cinema, dance, performances, reviews by MiNA on March 20, 2015

BOLSHOI LIVE ON STAGE IN 2009

Bolshoi Ballet LaBayadere

Photo provided courtesy of Zellerbach Hall on behalf of the Bolshoi Ballet.

Over the course of the Bolshoi’s restoration project, one of the company’s greatest gifts to its global audience was their extended world tour that began in the US in June 2009. Under the artistic direction of Yuri Burlaka, Bolshoi’s first stop in the US was in the San Francisco Bay Area; where I had the privilege of seeing Yuri Grigorovich’s full-length version of “La Bayadere,” live on stage at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall.

A seldom performed ballet within the US, the Sunday matinee on June 7, featuring the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and Bolshoi conductor Pavel Klinichev, was at full capacity.

Utter silence blanketed the auditorium in anticipation, until first notes of Ludwig Minkus’ intoxicating ballet score filled the room.

As the male lead Solor, Alexander Volchkov was superb. Commanding and majestic, the audience gasped the moment Volchkov soared through the air during his powerful grand entrance.

Impossible to not notice was the abundance of male dancer roles; each one exuding extreme masculinity — very typical of Russian ballets.

BolshoiBallet_Bayadere_NadezdaGracheva_Credit_DamirYusupov

Nadezda Gracheva as Nikiya. Photo by Damir Yusupov. Provided courtesy of Zellerbach Hall on behalf of Bolshoi Ballet.

As the female lead Nikiya (the temple dancer) and Solor’s love interest, Nadezda Gracheva was radiant; as was Ekaterina Shipulina dancing the role of Gamzatti, Solor’s betrothed — by arrangement.

One slight faux pas during Shipulina’s first solo — which could have gone terribly wrong, was her foot becoming tangled in her long veil. Showing not even the slightest hint of concern; Shipulina simply went about her sparkling tour jetés and grand jetés, as if nothing had happened.

During Act II, the engagement celebration, the highly anticipated dance of the Golden Idol was a smashing success. Covered in gold body paint, Denis Medvedev’s athletic and charismatic performance was extraordinary.

Only on one occasion during the program was the music timing slightly off with the dancing; not necessarily the fault of the dancers, as it’s the job of the ballet conductor to ensure the music is precisely synchronized with each movement.

Act III — the Kingdom of the Shades was a transcending experience. To hear the familiar adagio live as the glowing corps de ballet perform the famous port de bras that repeats across the stage, was to be transported into a dream state. At the close, Volchkov and Gracheva’s pas de deux was breathe-taking, triggering a thundering applause that saw no end.

BOLSHOI LIVE ON SCREEN IN 2014

To see Bolshoi live on stage in one’s lifetime, it is simply a must. Although when live performance is beyond one’s means, there is at least one alternative. Thanks to local independent cinema and advancements in digital technology — the big screen is the next best outlet for viewing live stage performance. Now in its fifth season, Bolshoi LIVE is a cinematic experience no dance enthusiast should miss.

More than a cost effective means of captivating new audiences, dance in cinema is one sure way for companies to reduce their annual tour cost; a likely reason why Bolshoi’s 2014 tour to the US was limited to Washington DC and New York City only.

Under the current artistic direction of Sergei Filin, Bolshoi Ballet has become a leading presenter within the dance in cinema genre.

Bayadere-photo by Damir Yusupov

Photo by Damir Yusupov. Provided courtesy of By Experience on behalf of Pathe Live and Bolshoi Ballet.

On December 7, 2014, Pathé Live  presented Yuri Grigorovich’s “La Bayadere” via distributer BY Experience; a pre-recorded production from the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, digitally streamed to cinemas across North America.

For the local presentation of the ballet, I attended the December 10, 2014 evening performance at the Sonoma Wine Country Rialto Cinema in Sebastopol, California.

An eager, culturally diverse audience turned out for the 2 hour/45 minute performance featuring new costumes and set design and such renowned artists as Svetlana Zakharova (Nikiya), Maria Alexandrova (Gamzatti), and Vladislav Lantratov (Solor).

The scene opened to a foreground filled with towering exotic tree limbs and male slaves dancing about the sacred fire; after which, Lantratov (Solor) leaps on stage like a graceful Gazelle.

As the striking prima goddess herself entered, Svetlana Zakharova (the temple dancer Nikiya), wearing pantaloons, a simple midriff top, and worn toe-shoes (perhaps for sentimental reasons), all eyes were fixated on her.

LA BAYADERE ©Damir Yusupov

Photo by Damir Yusupov. Provided courtesy of By Experience on behalf of Pathe Live and Bolshoi Ballet.

The portrayal of undying love between Lantratov and Zakharova was convincing in every way, as the dancers brought life to their characters with every heartfelt movement.

Also dancing impeccably was Maria Alexandrova — as Gamzatti — the perfect foil to Zakharova’s Nikiya — showcasing her wonderfully explosive grand jetés.

During Alexandrova’s time on stage, one slight deterrent stood out; the young entourage that accompanied her. No doubt these students were highly skilled dancers; what was unfortunate was the galumphing choreography and unflattering costumes given to these youth who would likely have preferred simple boring choreography to the simply embarrassing movements they were given.

In Act II, costumes seemed to take-on a more Egyptian appearance than Indian. And the dance of the Golden Idol, though technically spot-on, charismatics fell short.

One particularly spectacular highlight was Alexandrova’s furious fouettes, without question — the fastest I had ever seen.

Act III was pure magic — start to finish. As Solor turned to Opium-infused dreams and 32 corp de ballet dancers appeared as mirror images of his beloved Nikiya, time stood still.

At the close, a tutu perfect pas de deux (down to Lupkhova’s shiny new pointe shoes), prompted that ever so glorious and distinct Russian applause from the Moscow audience. As contagious enthusiasm spread to onlookers within the wine country cinema, satisfied spectators left the theatre with smiles upon smiles.

Coming Soon

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Equal to the cost of an average rush ticket, ballet enthusiasts throughout North America have the opportunity to view another Yuri Grigorovich classic at their local independent cinema:

“Ivan the Terrible” (Live in Moscow) — Sunday, April 19, 2015

To learn more, visit: BolshoiBalletinCinema.com

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INDIE GO-GO-GOAL

Posted in arts, ballet, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, dance, events, news, performances, publicity by MiNA on May 27, 2014

GOOD DAY ARTS ENTHUSIASTS!…. Announcing as of this date — 20 days remain before the world premiere of Duvall Productions’ Soul of a Blue Butterfly in New York City. With great optimism, we bring you word of two affordable support options that have been added to the Indiegogo campaign — both of which come with perks!

Image

Dancer/choreographer/story creator Anna Duvall

$5 Contribution/Perk: See your name in BLUE! For your contribution, we’ll add your name (in blue) to our list of Indiegogo campaign contributors on the official Soul of a Blue Butterfly website.

$10 Contribution/Perk: See your name in-print!…. in the performance program!…. and in BLUE…. on our official Soul of a Blue Butterfly website.

A small investment by a large group of contributors can go a long way. Help make it happen. Make it real. Share. Support. And feel good about your good deed for the day….

Thank you for your attention. Live. Dance. And Prosper.

TEAM BLUE BUTTERFLY

YOUR TICKET TO THE PRODUCERS CIRCLE AWAITS

Posted in arts, dance, events, music, news, performances, publicity by MiNA on May 20, 2014
Photo of dancer Jennifer Chicheportiche provided courtesy of Duvall Productions

Photo of dancer Jennifer Chicheportiche provided courtesy of Duvall Productions

PRESSING ARTS NEWS.

For Your Eyes Only Darling…….

The MiNAPRESS Column

Wilcommen. Bienvenue. And Welcome….. Duvall Productions proudly announces — Soul of a Blue Butterfly is now casting for the roles of “Production Contributors.” Come partake in the launch of an artists dream by playing the role you were destined for. Semi-controversial in context — this important theatrical dance production is a rare quality piece which cries-out for your funding assistance; enabling this modest stage production to metamorphose into the international theater sensation it’s predestined to become. Earn a place with your name in the performance program with a contribution of $25 or more and make a visionary’s life work become realized.

Representing what a true crowd-funding effort is supposed to be — supporting independent artists with limited financial means — your participation via Indiegogo is respectfully requested.

Photo of dancer Jennifer Chicheportiche provided courtesy of Duvall Productions

ABOUT Soul of a Blue Butterfly….

The true story of a young Swedish woman en…

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YOUR TICKET TO THE PRODUCERS CIRCLE

Posted in arts, dance, events, music, news, performances, publicity by MiNA on May 19, 2014

Wilcommen. Bienvenue. And Welcome….. Duvall Productions proudly announces — Soul of a Blue Butterfly is now casting for the roles of “Production Contributors.” Come partake in the launch of an artists dream by playing the role you were destined for. Semi-controversial in context — this important theatrical dance production is a rare quality piece which cries-out for your funding assistance; enabling this modest stage production to metamorphose into the international theater sensation it’s predestined to become. Earn a place with your name in the performance program with a contribution of $25 or more and make a visionary’s life work become realized.

Representing what a true crowd-funding effort is supposed to be — supporting independent artists with limited financial means — your participation via Indiegogo is respectfully requested.

Photo of dancer Jennifer Chicheportiche provided courtesy of Duvall Productions

 

ABOUT Soul of a Blue Butterfly….

The true story of a young Swedish woman en route to Jerusalem to discover her roots, finds unexpected love. Upon being asked to marry, the Synagogue Rabbi declares Lavana (the story’s heroine) not Jewish enough for an Orthodox wedding. As despair ensues, the struggle of a lifetime begins.

Set in the 1940s, this tragicomedy – elevated by an original music scoreperformed live by Swedish composer Elin Palmer; a lighthearted Charlie Chaplin mime motif; and breathtaking aerial theatrics by former Cirque du Soleil artist Sara Joel, is a rare theatrical feast for the senses for all generations.

GOALS:

  • To compensate our artists for their hard work and commitment
  • To generate positive/effective media coverage
  • To generate strong patronage for three performance dates
  • To establish our brand and continue building a national and international presence

NEEDS: $5,000 USD

  • STAGING/TECHNICAL: Lighting, sound, stage management, photography/filmography, venue space, rehearsal space, costumes, sets, and props
  • CAST/CREW: actors/directors/musician(s)/admin salaries; transportation; lodging
  • COLLATERAL/PROMOTION RELATED: programs, flyers, website maintenance, advertising/publicity

CONTRIBUTOR PERKS In addition to having your name featured in the performance program, your contribution of the below listed amounts include:

  •  $25 USD – Contributors receive an autographed Soul of a Blue Butterfly poster
  •  $50 USD – Contributors receive a CD of the soundtrack (original score by Elin Palmer/music sample: http://elinpalmer.com/music/) and an autographed Soul of a Blue Butterfly poster
  • $100 USD – Contributors receive a tee-shirt, a CD of the  soundtrack (original score by Elin Palmer/music sample http://elinpalmer.com/music/), and an autographed Soul of a Blue Butterfly poster
  • $1000 USD – Contributors get to meet the cast and receive a tee-shirt, a CD of the  soundtrack (original score by Elin Palmer/music sample http://elinpalmer.com/music/), and an autographed Soul of a Blue Butterfly poster

Support the Blue Butterflies of the World via http://igg.me/at/blue-butterfly/x/7497377


TICKETS

Thespis Theater Festival / Cabrini Repertory Theater / Washington Heights

701 Fort Washington Avenue / New York, NY 10040

JUNE 17th at 8:45pm / JUNE 20th at 9pm / JUNE 22ndat 2pm

Tickets $20 + minimal fee (no discounts) http://bit.ly/1nZ4CnN /

 

Luscious Noise ~ June 26

Posted in arts, performances by MiNA on June 17, 2011

Photo by William Zauscher

Luscious Noise ~ the live classical music and multi-media experience featuring members of the San Diego Symphony.

Featured guests ~ flutist Demarre McGill and harpist Julie Smith

Prepare to be scintillated by harp on June 26 during Carlos Salzedo’s Latin inspired “Scintillation.” Carrying on with the harp will be Hovhaness’ “Upon Enchanted Ground” for harp, flute, cello, and giant tam-tam. For solo flute, Honegger’s creamy dreamy “Danse de la Chèvre” will make the mind dance; while Debussy sustains that note with “Danses Sacree et Profane” for harp and strings.

Eyes will then be fixated on “The Red Shoes,” the Oscar winning classic that scored big in 1948 for best music score and art direction. La Divina, the larger than life Maria Callas will also appear on screen, singing “Una Voce Poco Fa” from Rossini’s “the Barber of Seville.” For further amusement — a hypnotic scene from the overture of Ingmar Bergman’s film “The Magic Flute.”

More is in store. Be there to find out.

Sunday, June 26, 2011 at 6pm
Anthology supper club · 1337 India Street · San Diego, CA 92101
Tickets $10 and up · Call 619.595.0300 or visit AnthologySD.com

LUSCIOUS NOISE

Posted in arts, dance, performances by MiNA on January 7, 2011


“The future of live classical music” returns to Anthology on Sunday, January 16. The Luscious ensemble featuring members of the San Diego Symphony will commemorate Twenty Eleven with….

…live dance to the music of Bach
…live music by Vivaldi, Ravel, and Messiaen
…and Rachmaninov’s “Vocalise” performed by soprano Diane Alexander

… also featuring a film excerpt from “Wings of Desire” and footage of baritone Albert Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 7:30pm
All ages welcome. Space is limited.

Anthology · 1337 India Street · San Diego, CA 92101

Tickets $10 – $20 · Call 619.595.0300

http://artists.anthologysd.com/classical/luscious-noise-january-16-2011/

More Luscious Noise on March 14th

Posted in arts, performances by MiNA on March 5, 2010

The third interlude of the Luscious Noise performance series at Anthology continues on March 14th with the motif — “Night Music.” Members of the San Diego Symphony will transport audiences to old Vienna as they perform:

· Beethoven’s “Septet”
· Mozart’s “Ein Kleine Nachtmusik” and “Clarinet Quintet”
· Franz Schreker‘s “Intermezzo
· Schoenberg’s affecting arrangement of Gustav Mahler’s “Songs of a Wayfarer”

Conductor John Stubbs, producer of the event says,
“The highlight of this show will be the ‘Songs of a Wayfarer’ by Gustav Mahler. It was arranged for a small ensemble by Arnold Schoenberg for exactly this purpose; being able to present these works in an intimate environment with small forces.”

The evening event will also feature performance footage with….

· Carlos Kleiber conducting the Vienna Philharmonic performing Strauss’s famous waltz “The Blue Danube”
· Soprano Natalie Dessay’s in her career defining role as Queen of the Night in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”
· Jiří Kylián’s breath taking dance piece, “Petite Mort” performed to Mozart’s “Piano Concerto”

Luscious Noise
serves as a means for new audiences to come experience live c
lassical music in a comfortable setting where they can eat, drink, and mingle while they watch the show. Some guests of the November and January performances have even found Luscious Noise to be a perfect outlet for introducing their children to classical music. Children of a mature six years of age and up have proven to be quite content.

Stubbs says, “I have gotten a tremendous amount of positive feedback from audience members who admitted to not knowing that much about classical music. And the members that did thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Luscious Noise · March 14, 2010 at 7:30pm. All ages welcome.

Anthology · 1337 India Street · San Diego, CA 92101
Tickets $10 – $20 · Call 619.595.0300 or visit AnthologySD.com

Luscious Noise This Weekend!

Posted in arts, performances by MiNA on January 12, 2010
The future of live classical music. Eat, drink, and mingle while you enjoy a rare multi-media performance in an avant garde setting.
Featured artists will include members of the San Diego Symphony and launching their national Sounding Off tour, cellist Johannes Moser and toy pianist Phyllis Chen.

Music selections will include:

  • “Air and Rigaudon” from the “Holberg Suite” by Grieg
  • Bach’s “Brandenburg” No. 3
  • Mozart’s “Divertimento” in F
  • Tchaikovsky’s “Élégie: Larghetto elegiaco” from “Serenade” in C

Visual excerpts will include:
  • Jean Cocteau’s 1946 classic “La Belle et La Bete”
  • Ingmar Bergman’s “The Magic Flute”
  • The Royal Ballet School’s “Peter and the Wolf”
January 17, 2010 @ 7:30pm
Anthology supper club in Little Italy
1337 India Street · San Diego CA 92101
Tickets $10 – $20
Call 619.595.0300
AnthologySD.com
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