Tuesday, 5 January 2016

La Scala Gala des Etoiles

Some absolutely amazing dancing here's my Sydney Arts Guide review http://www.sydneyartsguide.com.au/palace-opera-and-ballet-presents-gala-des-etoiles-from-la-scala-milan/ PALACE OPERA AND BALLET PRESENTS GALA DES ETOILES FROM LA SCALA MILAN Part of this year’s Palace Opera and Ballet season we were very privileged to be able to see this special screening from La Scala, to celebrate the closing of the 2015 Milan World expo, bringing together some of the world’s finest ballet dancers. The Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala played magnificently under the dynamic baton of David Coleman. The complex program blended a mix of American, French, Russian and English choreographic styles. In my view, the ‘English’ school, as represented by the MacmIllan pas de deux, was the least successful of the collection. Traditional Russian ( Le Corsair, Spartacus , Don Quixote) was mixed with neo-classical and ultra contemporary styles. Technically the dancing was brilliant, at times jaw-droppingly so, featuring very demanding leaps, turns, and some exhilarating lifts in yhe pas de deux. The female dancers were presented beautifully. The screening opened with exciting glimpses of the show in rehearsal and marvelous, sweeping overhead shots of the architecture of the theatre and of the city of Milan. The show featured very little set, mostly just a simple cyc background in an appropriate wash of colour, and some giant chandeliers in a couple of the scenes. The first piece was Three Preludes, music by Rachmaninov and choreography by Ben Stevenson with a single piano on stage, played by Roberto Cominati. A feature was the stark, dramatic lighting. The two dancers, wearing grey, were terrific. Stevenson’s very demanding choreography was intensely neo-classical and the first prelude had the atmosphere of Robbin’s Afternoon of A Faune crossed with Balanchine. In the first prelude there was the use of a ballet barre slid/stood upon .The second prelude featured some amazing lifts – Claudio Coviello was wonderful- and Lucia Lacarra showed great control in the adage. There were plenty of swoops and swirls in the choreography for this section, with circular portes des bras. The third prelude featured plenty of sculptural partnering and flurries of movement, showing off the ballerinas. The pas de deux from Macmillan’s Manon was exuberantly performed by Melissa Hamilton and Claudio Coviello, featuring tricky lifts, swoops and scissoring legs. La Rose Malade was an elegiac yearning pas de deux by Petit, to music by Mahler, which began with a voice over of a poem by Petit. Maria Eichwald as the sick rose has a flying , floating entry in the arms of Mick Zeni. Her hair was in a twig like style. This piece featured plenty of arcing, anguished back-bends and angular enfolding and difficult high lifts as well as swoops and passionate emoting, including a ‘broken wrist’ death. The Grand Pas Classique, as choreographed by Gsovsky to music by Auber, was distinctly of the ‘Russian’ school. Leonid Sarafanov, wearing dark blue, starred with some exceptional solos including some blistering brise voles and cabrioles. Alla Somova’s solo in a blue tutu was very Petipa in style. Somova had a very elegant, regal carriage and dazzled with some very tricky footwork, though I didn’t like the distracting blue floaty arm frills. One of the great highlights of the evening was the sizzling sensational selection from Petit’s Carmen as performed by the amazing Roberto Bolle as Don Jose and Polina Semionova as Carmen. Seductive Semionova was slinky, dazzling and hypnotic. Bolle’s solos were powerful and dramatic, including plenty of pirouettes, some ‘moonwalking’ and even a time where he pretends to be a bull in a bull ring. This duo were simply mesmerising. Next came Svetlana Zakharova channeling her inner Pavlova in an exquisite,heartfelt, exquisite rendering of The Dying Swan (choreography Fokine, music St Saens), featuring wonderful bourees and rippling, fluid elegant arms . To take us to interval we saw an extraordinary performance of the famous pas de deux from Don Quixote. Nicoletta Manni, in a white bell like tutu with an unfortunate ruffled neckline, was superbly balanced in her extended balances and amazing backbends. Manni was also suitably flirtatious in her fan solo. Still it was Vasiliev who was jaw droppingly explosive with his tousled hair, intensely passionate eyes, split jumps and other pyrotechnical skills. He was also great as the devoted partner in the supported turns and fish dives. Another Arpino work Light Rain was the first piece after interval. The piece was reminiscent of some of Bejart’s work. The dancers wore revealing, shimmering blue costumes. The work featured an unusual and intense beat and rhythm, demanding a long, sinuous stretched line .There was plenty of sculptural entwining for Lucia Lacarra and Marlon Dino. Laccarra showed off her amazing angular extensions and backbends and the piece ended with a sense of flying. The balcony pas de deux from Macmillan’s Romeo and Juliet was well done though it lacked a sense of theatrical magic and left me a bit cold. The fiendishly difficult choreography was very well performed by Maria Eichwald and Massimo Murru. The pas de deux from Spartacus with Maria Vinogradova as Flavia and Vassiliev as Spartacus was wonderful. The next piece Prototype was in a very different style. A solo for Bolle, this was very contemporary wellnigh futuristic with plenty of computer generated effects. For example , there was one scene where Bolle danced with multiple images of himself, and even at one point fighting these images. Then came a return to the 19th century withPetipa’s scintillating Le Corsair pas de deux, featuring Zakharova and Sarafanov. Zakharova was in a purple and gold tutu and wore a tiara , Sarafanov wore green. Sarafanov channelled his inner Nureyev and was thrilling in his flashy, show stopping solo , featuring amazing split jumps. Zakharova showed off her skills performing many fouettes in her solo. Both dancers wore dazzling smiles. The evening finished with La Danza delle Ore, a series of choreographed curtain calls as the audience cheered on. This was a dazzling night of dance, a grand ‘Gala of stars’ indeed. Running time- 3 hours 20 mins including one interval. The Palace Opera and Ballet screening of the Gala des Etoiles from La Scala, Milan screened at Palace cinemas between the 4th and the 9th December. 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