Sunday, 14 October 2007

A new Season underway...

I don't know why the sudden blogging hiatus - people go through phases I suppose - although this summer (for the first time since I started following blogs) the whole English-language blogosphere seems to have gone through some sort of collective sigh of ennui...

...part of the resason for which may be the rise of Facebook. I have become a Facebook whore. It's incredibly addictive and just crystallizes how brilliant social networking can be. It has put me back in touch with school friends whom I would never usually drop an email to, randomly, but the fact I read their Facebook updates, and they mine, sparks a dialogue which otherwise would be lost. I think it genuinely adds the humanity back to the Internet (and, perhaps, in contrast, can make blogging look rather sterile). Facebook-is-conversation:-blogging-is-rhetoric kind of thing.

Anyway, as winter hits Moscow - grump - I will start blogging again. A random email conversation (the opera/ballet season is only just a week old):

Red Exile replying to a friend on Facebook:

Hi there. Yes the little angels getting me down yesterday. Jean Jacques [very French bistro on Nikitsky Boulevard, rapidly becoming expat heaven in the heart of Moscow] I haven't been to yet, but my colleague swears by it. I might check it out tonight! Friday's Bolshoi was the new production of Corsaire - so-so I thought - more a parade of fiddly dance show-offy bits than a richly compelling narrative, and the music left me unmoved; but I was so tired from only having 2-3 hours the night before (overnight train to Moscow from Kyiv) that I wasn't on my best.

I have tickets for Norma at the Novaya Opera tonight, but not sure I am in the mood for Bellini.

Hot things in opera and ballet this season? Well, actually I think this side of Christmas the Bolshoi is looking rather tame (apart from the 'Kings of the Dance'; a four night spectacular, which is sold out but scalpers are now selling tickets for about $300 each, but fortunately I bought mine ages ago); so I have temporarily transferred my affections to the Stanislavski-Nemirovich-Danchenko (theatre on Dmitrovka Pereulok).

I think their new ballet, 'Chaika' (based on Chekov's seagull) is very fresh and has some interesting music, including Scottish percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie! [she has a great website! and an amazing life story] The production has a fine young cast and is another Moscow work for Hamburg ballet's John Neumeier, who did the Bolshoi's production of Midsummer Night's Dream and whose style of melding traditional with avant-garde, both musically and in terms of dance I think very intelligent and emotionally charged. Below is a YouTube piece from Kyltura TV on Chaika - it's in Russian, but you'll get a flavour of what this production is like:

Last week there, on the opera side, I just loved their Carmen: the tenor singing Don José, Mikhail Vekya, is just INCREDIBLE. He doesn't look how you imagine Don Jose to look, but the sound is extraordinary and he literally stole the show (there is a mirco-bio in Russian only here).

His final scene raised the hairs on the back of my neck and reminded me of another great Don José performance: check out José Carreras , from 1987 in New York, here.

The S-N-D is also organising 'Dance Inversion: international ballet festival' in November and I am going every night for about a week :) LOL

That's it for now from your Moscow arts correspondent!