Viktor and the wolf

Viktor Fedotov, chief conductor of the Kirov, is that rare animal: a musician who can satisfy both composers and dancers. But then he's been wielding the baton since he was 15. Louise Levene meets the maestro who never sleeps

DANCE / Swan Lake The Kirov at the Coliseum, London

It is rare to see a Swan Lake in which neither Odette nor Siegfried is a disappointment but on Friday Igor Zelensky and Uliana Lopatkina gave a splendid performance of the Kirov's grand, no-nonsense production which indicated that the company may yet overcome its current problems.


overview The Kirov began a five-week London season with the British premiere of the characterful, comic four-act ballet about the innkeeper's daughter who wants to marry the barber, led by star dancers Igor Zelensky and Altynai Asylmuratova with Minkus's score in the hands of Viktor Fedotov.

DANCE Don Quixote The Kirov, Coliseum, London

How wise of the Kirov to open the company's five-week London season with the British premiere of Don Quixote. Superbly danced and often hilariously funny, the ballet is sure to be a huge hit. The scenario, broadly similar to the Baryshnikov and Nureyev productions, is essentially the tale of Kitri, the innkeeper's daughter, who wishes to marry Basil, the barber, despite her father's ambitions. The Don, played with melancholy grandeur by Vladimir Ponomarev, wanders in and out of the action providing a diversion when the lovers need to escape, and helping to cement their union at the ballet's close.

Keeping in step

The Kirov Ballet has been performing `Don Quixote' since its creation by the company's founding father in 1869. And they remain true to its original spirit. Today sees its first London staging. By John Percival

Ding, dang, Don!

Review: CLASSICAL: BCMG Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham

The reality myth and miss

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Edinburgh Festival: Fringe round-up: The Quest for Don Quixote / Don Juan

It sounds good on paper: former members of Theatre de Complicite take on the the two Dons and - as you'd expect - make a few little alterations. Quixote is an old man who carries with him Cervantes' novel. Sancho Panza and Dulcinea are acted by his servants, and the adventures take place in a barn tiled with raffia mats and baskets (both shows are beautifully designed), with adults playing children's games, tilting at windmills made of stepladders and poles. Gerry Flanagan's monotone man of La Mancha is convincingly senile, but never manages the insane joy of the dreamer.There's nothing remotely quixotic about the style of performance. In Don Juan, even the seduction is passionless: smartly choreographed, but you can sense the director (John Wright, no less) marking out each girlish wiggle and shuffle of the Don's boots.

All work, all play

Slava Polunin is widely acknowledged as the world's greatest clown. But don't ask him to be anything less than serious. By Adrian Turpin

Exorcising the demons within

Nine years ago, the playwright Tom Kempinski weighed 24 stone and couldn't get past the front door. Now he's slimmed down and can turn out one play a month.

replay: Ravel: The Last Six Compositions (1928-34) Pedro de Freitas Branco, Piero Coppola, Alfred Cortot, Marguerite Long, Charles Munch, Martial Singher (Recorded 1930-1939) (EMI Classics 5 65499 2))

Now here's a thought-provoking slice of musical history. The annotator James Harding relates that for the last 78 rpm "side" of Bolero, Ravel asked the conductor Piero Coppola not to go so fast. "They began again," writes Harding, "and went on until Ravel was satisfied." Still, I do sometimes wonder whether HMV issued the right take - for what we actually hear is a sudden jolt forwards followed by a gradual slowing down. Certainly, as Boleros go, this 1930 world premiere recording is slower, rhythmically freer and rather less well-executed than most.
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