The Bolshoi Ballet's triple bill is all over the place. It starts with a bad Petrushka, pulls up with Alexei Ratmansky's Russian Seasons, then abandons the Russian theme for the pretend-Spanish dazzle of Paquita. It's an unbalanced evening, but there's plenty to enjoy by the end.
Petrushka is the blot on the landscape. Current dancers struggle with the character-dance style in Fokine's ballet. In Sergei Vikharev's production, they've also got the steps wrong.
Petrushka is a puppet with a soul. Trapped in his cell, he laments his fate – so it's bizarre, as well as inaccurate, when he launches into flashy jumps and spins. The ballet is badly blurred, from missing details to almost unrecognisable dances.
As Petrushka, Mikhail Lobukhin struggles with a text that doesn't make sense. Nina Kaptsova has a bright, mechanical bounce as the ballerina doll. The Stravinsky score, and most of the Benois designs, are still wonderful.
In Russian Seasons, composer Leonid Desyatnikov and choreographer Alexei Ratmansky draw on folk material. The dancers dance as a community. There are implied stories, laments and celebrations, ending with what could be a wedding.
Ratmansky's choreography is full of flowing lines and juicy folk details, flexed feet and dipping shoulders. In a melancholy solo, Ekaterina Krysanova seems to be remembering lost happiness as dancers dash around her. Natalia Osipova is gleeful in Ratmansky's prancing steps. Yana Ivanilova sings with rich, complex tone.
Petipa's grand pas from Paquita looks grand in Yuri Burlaka's staging. It's a big, leisurely showcase. Everything glitters, including the performance.
Maria Alexandrova is secure and spacious as Paquita. Nikolai Tsiskaridze is on extravagant form. Vladislav Lantratov stands out in the pas de trois. Paquita is a show of strength for the company, bringing on so many soloists. Nina Kaptsova's style is Old Soviet Bolshoi, with trailing hands. Ekaterina Krysanova dances with lovely, delicate energy. Natalia Osipova romps gloriously through her solo, her sheer star power overwhelming.
Due to a production error, an earlier review of the Bolshoi referred to "Tchaikovsky's Giselle". Adolphe Adam composed Giselle.
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