Bored at the Bolshoi?

What an extraordinarily unresponsive crowd to greet the opening of the newly restored Theatre. Ten seconds of timid clapping and then the television director honed in on bored faces, while bangs and scrapes came from the unlit stage during the scene changes.

The whole approach, from lighting to graphics, was rather like that of a child discovering a room full of sweets and wanting to try them all: the director just couldn’t hold back. Just as the dancers went for a lift so the camera lurched towards the stage from under a violinist’s armpit. While Svetlana Zakharova was emoting touchingly as a white swan, we were treated to another drunken remote-controlled shot from behind the chandelier. And the back projected animations wore a little thin.

The director didn’t get it all wrong however. After Angela Gheorghiu, clutching her score which she stared at throughout, finished Liza’s aria from The Queen of Spades, he zoomed in on the disapproving face of Galina Vishnevskaya. There was also a beautiful close-up of 85 year-old Maya Plisetskaya looking regal and radiant. The choreographed flower-basket carriers, yes the real ones who bring on the floral tributes at the end of a performance, managed to wake up the audience more successfully than the international artists.

The défilé on a giant white staircase was gloriously effective with chorus, corps, orchestra, and soloists all together in black and white, with a stylised image of the Bolshoi’s façade crowning the final pose.


  1. Diana Ashforth says

    Reuters have different ears: “rapturous applause from the 2,000 guests.”

    They also say, interestingly, “The Bolshoi’s principal dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze has repeatedly told local media the old theatre’s interior has been replaced with even cheaper material.”

  2. Fred Stone says

    So who cares what nonsense that Tsiskaridze is sprouting….anyone who has seen the documentary of the renovation knows otherwise……he also made some stupid remarks about David Hallberg being invited to the Bolshoi Theater .. Quote : “I like David very much and respect him as a dancer, but it is an insult to the entire Russia ballet, a demonstration of indifference to the rich Russian tradition and culture,” Nikolay Tsiskaridze, a Bolshoi premier dancer said in an interview Friday…. He said that the company’s management, in hiring Hallberg, projects a certain attitude, and because of that, among other things, “Russian dancers see no future for them in the Bolshoi.”….Tsiskaridze is not even a Russian ! Which French choreographer mentioned something about the “stupidity” of dancers ? Tsiskaridze is a living example of it …..

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