Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane had the honour of hosting the only Australian performances of the Bolshoi Ballet Company prior to their departure to perform in London. Established in 1776, it is clear why this Russian dance company is considered foremost in the world.
I attended their astounding performance of Jewels – a ballet in three acts capturing the glitter of the precious stones, emeralds, rubies and diamonds. Deemed an ‘abstract ballet’, Jewels was created by Russian choreographer, George Balanchine reflecting his signature ‘neo-classical’ style.
The performance opened with Emeralds to music by Gabriel Faure. In glittering, green velvet bodices and tulle skirts, the dancers floated with delicate precision to the atmospheric backdrop of Faure’s French romanticism. The emerald setting and costumes were suggestive of a dreamy, medieval forest where the possibility of attaining true love beat hopefully in the hearts of exquisite beings.
Tranquility and peace prevailed. Motion appeared slowed in a mystical flow of fluidity of line. Exquisite performance and the compositional elements of spacial choreography, movement and time were perfectly and expertly balanced. This was highlighted in the delightful Pas de Trois which was central to the opening act.
Rubies in Act two completely altered the aura to contemporary choreography set to a musical composition by Igor Stravinsky of Russia. Fringed with rubies, the female dancers frolicked and flirted in tiny, cocktail type costumes reminiscent of Parisian playfulness in the Jazz era. The movement and mood was joyful and included delightful jaunty jogs and unusual, unorthodox footwork.
Soloist, Olga Marchenkova was exquisite in her complex stationary performance balanced en pointe while her limb movements were manipulated by male dancers. A Marionette element was produced and perfectly executed.
The Bolshoi Ballet concluded and dazzled with the final act, Diamonds performed to a musical score by Russian composer, Pyotr Tchaikovsky. It was a divine return to classical elements and elegance. Costumes by Daniil Aldoshin and her assistants were glorious and simultaneously captured the splendid essence of angelic creatures, bridal beauty and a stellar constellation.
The bird-like delicacy of the ballerinas contrasted with the olympian physiques and power of the male dancers with their elevation, extension and execution of choreographic movement. Majestic courtiers, their complex lifts were carried out with seemingly effortless grandeur and grace.
This spectacular conclusion to the ballet resulted in a standing ovation from the delighted and awed audience.
The Queensland Symphony Orchestra performed with the Bolshoi company pianist, Alexy Melentiev, conducted by Pavel Sorokin. Our orchestra is to be greatly commended for their cohesive instrumental skills as an elite. state orchestra.
The melodic pitch and rhythm was perfect and the tonal colour and quality of their music was exquisite. The Concertmaster, Alan Smith and the musical director of the orchestra, Alondra de la Parral must be duly proud of their musicians.
QPAC can take great pride in the hosting of the Bolshoi Ballet visit and the presentation of this tremendous production. They have proved themselves a world class venue and a credit to not only our city, but our country.
Bolshoi Ballet: Jewels
Lyric Theatre – QPAC, Cultural Precinct, Southbank (Brisbane)
Performance: Tuesday 2 July 2019
Image: Bolshoi Ballet presents Jewels – courtesy of QPAC
Review: Michele-Rose Boylan