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Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty, opus 66
Larissa Lezhnina (Princess Aurora), Farukh Ruzimatov (Prince Désiré), Yulia Makhalina (Lilac Fairy), Vadim Guliayev (Carabosse), Gennady Babanin (The King), Nina Mikhailova (The Queen), Zhanna Ayupova (Gentle Fairy), Irina Chistyakova (Playful Fairy/Diamond Fairy), Elvira Krylova (Generous Fairy), Yelena Pankova (Audacious Fairy), Natalia Pavlova (Carefree Fairy/Sapphire Fairy), Irina Sitnikova (Golden Fairy), Irina Krylova (Silver Fairy), Gennady Seliutsky (Catalabutte), Vadim Sirotin (Galifron), Vladimir Silakov (Servant), Eldar Aliev, Yevgeny Neff, Andrei Garbuz, Andrei Bosov (Suitors), Tatiana Terekhova (Princess Florina), Vitaly Tsvetkov (Bluebird), Yelena Kondratenko (White Cat), Albert Mirzoyan (Puss in Boots), Margarita Zenina (Red Riding Hood/Servant Girl), Mikhail Usachev (Grey Wolf), Ravil Bagautdinov (Huntsman), The Kirov Ballet, Children’s Ballet from the Ecole superieure de danse du Quebec and the Ecole de danse Eddy Toussaint, Ian Robertson (Children’s Ballet Master), Viktor Fedotov (Conductor), Bernard Picard (Video Director), Marius Petipa (Original Choreography), Konstantin Sergeyev (Revised Choreography), Oleg Vinogradov (Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer), Simon Virsaladze (Set and Costume Designer)
Recording: Place des Arts, Montreal, Canada (1989) – 129’
Arthaus Musik # 100 313 – Booklet in English, French and German

In 1989 The Kirov Ballet (now called the Mariinsky Ballet) made their Canadian Tour, featuring the splendid talents of Lezhnina and Ruzimatov, under the artistic direction and choreography of Oleg Vinogradov. Simon Virsaladze’s sets and costuming are richly detailed and nuanced with every conceivable accoutrement. Since the video was made 25 years ago, however, it’s inevitable that the color is a bit faded, but it doesn’t detract from the overall aesthetics of the production.

Leningrad native, Larissa Lezhnina, executes a beautifully poised and polished Princess Aurora. Her youthful portrayal is particularly impressive in the “Rose Adagio”: Lezhnina dances with suppleness, her arabesques penchées are graceful and flowing, pirouettes sharp and tight and the hand movements are exceptionally pliant. Act I is where she shines the brightest. In Act II there are quick moments in her movements that seem to raise a flag of distraction and disjointedness. This quickly resolves itself in the conclusive Act III (“Les Noces”.)

Athletic stamina, clean detail and meticulous function are only a few ways to describe Farukh Ruzimatov in the role of Prince Désiré. Ruzimatov has the most marvelous grands jetés with its clean sweeps and spectacular flexibility from the moment he enters the stage. His “Variation I” in Act III is nothing short of extraordinary.

The conclusive Pas de deux (“Coda: Allegro vivace”) shows Lezhnina and Ruzimatov in complete synchronization with footwork, completely matching the beats within Tchaikovsky’s music. Everything here is crisp.

Though more mime than anything, Vadim Guliayev’s Carabosse is frightfully sinister. The gesticulations are sharp and demonstrative. The added evilness simply adds to the delight of this production. In the role of the Lilac Fairy, Yulia Makhalina dances with beautiful arching and moves like shimmering gossamer threads.

Overall, the corps de ballet delivers a fine performance. In terms of complete synchronization, the best example can be found in the Pas de trois with precise and well balanced movements.

Viktor Fedotov leads a well energized interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s ravishing music. One will immediately notice the musical pacing in this The Sleeping Beauty: the tempo is brisk and forward, yet it does not appear to be too anxious. This adds to the electrification of this 1989 production. The sound is superior, especially when the harps radiate with their glissandos.

Christie Grimstad




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