Jan 232015

Svetlana Zakharova

Svetlana Zakharova knows that a lot of jealousy surrounds her but she’s fought for her rightful position in the dance world since she was a child:

It was a tough struggle at the Vaganova Academy. I was ten, and several times I just wanted to leave everything to return home to my family. This does not mean that the world of dance is the one portrayed in the movie Black Swan, which I’d always avoided until I happened to see it on a plane en route to the United States.

No Black Swan episodes in Zakharova’s career then?

Well, one day at the Bolshoi, I found my costume cut in half, a minute before I had to go on stage. I remember how the wardrobe mistress’ hands were trembling as she tried to repair it seconds before I had to enter. I never found out who was the culprit. There is much invidiousness around me, but I try to not let such people get too close, and just ignore it.

Would she like to make a film?

I love the cinema. I love the stories of Kings and Queens… lately I watched Doctor Zhivago again and it was electrifying. However, just as I like the idea of making my début as an actress, right now I can’t afford to leave dance for a long period of time. Ballet is all-encompassing and demands self-denial. How many sacrifices… even food! I feed myself with vitamins, my diet is my job. Dance is my life.

…continue reading.

Jan 182015

Paul Seaquist

Paul Seaquist is a ballet impresario, which conjures up an image of a Diaghilev figure with a fur-collared coat and silver-topped cane. However, Seaquist is quite different physically: a recent television interview saw him in jeans and a V-neck T-shirt, and he’s quite a bit thinner, and certainly better looking, than the Russian impresario. His thinking is modern too:

I often think of Steve Jobs who, as a computer freak, didn’t only place his bets on one slot, he diversified. He understood things most of us can barely fathom – especially in the ballet world! – and by doing this he didn’t only revolutionise the computer industry, but the movie industry, the music industry, the mobile telephone industry, just to mention a few. This is the kind of leader the dance world needs: people who think outside the box.

What does ‘thinking outside the box’ actually mean for a ballet impresario?

Thinking outside the box is what makes something good become perfect… …continue reading.

Jan 122015

Svetlana Zakharova in Revelation
A good old-fashioned ballet gala: Nutcracker, Don Q, Swan Lake, Le Corsaire… it’s sometimes just what the doctor ordered. Daniele Cipriani’s Les Étoiles injected the audience in Rome with a generous dose of positive energy administered by some of the world’s best dancers.

It wasn’t all cherries. Silvia Azzoni and Oleksandr Ryabko danced Hamburg Ballet repertoire with John Neumeier’s Shall We Dance? set to Gershwin’s music and his Adagietto from Mahler’s 5th Symphony. There was also Svetlana Zakharova with her favourite bon-bon, Motoko Hirayama’s Revelation set to John Williams’ theme tune from the film Schindler’s List. In many hands, it would be a piece that could veer toward the obvious, but with Zakharova – who seemed especially inspired – it is seductive and convincing.

Less so with Makhail Lobukhin’s All is Going Wrong, a solo choreographed by Morihiro Ivata, which mixes in a little of Ben Van Cauwenbergh’s Les Bourgeois with a touch of Spartacus and the result is… well… obvious. …continue reading.

Jan 072015

Bostridge SchubertIan Bostridge, one of the leading Schubert tenors of his generation, has just published a book on the composer’s Winterreise song cycle. Winter Journey: The Anatomy of an Obsession is an insightful and deeply personal exploration of what the he calls “an indispensable work of art that should be as much a part of our common experience as the poetry of Shakespeare and Dante, the paintings of Van Gogh and Picasso, the novels of the Brontë sisters or Marcel Proust.”

Bostridge has recorded Schubert’s three great song cycles, Die Schöne Müllerin, Winterreise and Schwanengesang (with pianists Mitsuko Uchida, Leif Ove Andsnes and Antonio Pappano respectively). These recordings are now gathered together in a 3CD set, along with a bonus DVD of Bostridge’s filmed dramatisation of the complete Winterreise (with pianist Julius Drake), complete with studio sets, actors, costumes and props. …continue reading.

Jan 062015

Sarah Lamb as Tatiana in Onegin - ©ROH, Bill Cooper, 2013
John Cranko’s masterpiece, Onegin, returns to the Royal Opera House at the end of this month. Created for the Stuttgart Ballet in 1965, the Royal Ballet first performed this production in 2001 and have since made it a staple of the repertory.

The upcoming performances feature role débuts from Principal dancer Natalia Osipova and First Soloist Itziar Mendizabal as Tatiana and Nehemiah Kish and Matthew Golding as Onegin. The role of Lensky sees débuts from Principal dancer Vadim Muntagirov, First Artist Nicol Edmonds and Artists Matthew Ball and Donald Thom. …continue reading.