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Good gala performances by the Kirov and the Bolshoi
on 8 October 2006
This interesting DVD consists of two parts. The first part ("Kirov Ballet at Covent Garden") is a very good gala performance of divertissements by the Kirov Ballet at the Royal Opera House (in the presence of the late Princess Diana) in 1992. It is conducted by Valery Gergiev. There are eight works in total. Larissa Lezhnina, fresh in her early career, in "Diana and Actaeon" is excellent, displaying her artistry. The young students from the Vaganova Academy are most charming in excerpts from Paquita (polonaise and mazurka) and The Nutcracker.
The programme also includes excerpts from Swan Lake (pas de deux and the Russian dance in Act 2), Paquita (Grand pas) and a polonaise (music only and not danced) from Act 3 of Tchaikovsky's opera, Eugene Onegin. All of them are performed beautifully to the Mariinsky Theatre's high standard.
The second part ("Gala Performance in Red Square") also shows a high standard of dancing. It is another gala performance - this time on a temporary stage in Red Square in Moscow. Most of the dancers come from the Bolshoi Ballet (Ananiashvili, Ilse & Andris Liepa, Maximova, Vasiliev and Fadeyechev), with some others making guest appearances. The programme, consisting of seven items, includes excerpts from The Sleeping Beauty, The Firebird, Le Corsaire and Don Quixote. Maya Plisetskaya dances the Dying Swan solo with remarkable suppleness for her age. (She was in her 60s then!)
The recording is slightly marred by unsatisfactory camera work - frequent long-distance shots of the stage rather than focusing on the dancers at a shorter distance.