Stars of the Bolshoi

Opened 25 April 2001, Closed 19 May 2001 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London

Stars of the world's greatest ballet company The Bolshoi in London with the renowned Bolsoi Corps de Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet Orchestra. The legendary Bolshoi Ballet makes an eagerly awaited return to London with three sensational programmes featuring many of the greatest moments from the classic ballets. The Bolshoi's top soloists will display virtuoso performances which promise to take your breath away with their beauty, elegance and excitement.

The company features Anastasia Goriacheva, Maria Alexandrova, Anna Antonicheva, Dmitry Gudanov, Olga Suvorova, Nina Kaptsova, Yan Godovsky, Inna Petrova, Maria Allash, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, Gallina Stepanenko, Svetlana Lunkina, Svetlana Gnedova, Andrei Uvarov and Sergei Filin.

Bolshoi Ballet - Programme One: 25 April to 3 May 2001 - Featuring Act II of Swan Lake, along with Flower Festival at Genzano, Adagio from Raymonda and pas de deux from The Nutcracker, Giselle and Don Quixote.

"The dancers must feel short-changed. Here they were, expecting to come to London with the full weight of the Bolshoi Ballet behind them. Instead, after management upheavals back in Moscow, they find themselves with a much-reduced presence in the capital. A four-week season at Theatre Royal Drury Lane in which 'the Stars of the Bolshoi Ballet', a sort of Bolshoi-lite, offer three programmes of ballet highlights - excerpts and divertissements that don't do much to flatter the dancers or the ballets. The audience might feel short-changed too. After a while on Wednesday night the succession of detached duets began to feel like an audition, each couple allotted their few minutes in which to convince us of their talent and superior qualifications... We are told there are 40-odd Bolshoi dancers on this tour, but it doesn't show on stage. The corps de ballet have their moment in Act II of Swan Lake, which opens the first programme, although Yuri Grigorovich's ragged choreography left the swans looking pretty skittish on opening night... The Bolshoi has brought its own musicians, a slimmed-down version of their home orchestra. The music sounds thin, as well it might, but at least it's live." The Times

Bolshoi Ballet - Programme Two: 4 to 10 May 2001 - Chopiniana, along with Narcissus, pas de deux from La Sylphide, La Fille mal gardee, Romeo and Juliet and The Sleeping Beauty and Le Corsaire.

The second of three programmes by the Stars of the Bolshoi Ballet, at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, was another tatty-edged showcase of grab-bag classicism. The performances were almost always correct, but only intermittently satisfying... Taken out of context, these excerpts were like being tempted with a few dishes without ever being allowed to eat the meal. The couples plunged in and out of scenes like thoroughbreds racing against the clock. The Bolshoi orchestra lagged behind, often sounding woozy and tinny and lacking in the necessary amplitude. Performances continue until Thursday, with the final programme unveiled on May 11." The Times

"What we are seeing in this Drury Lane season by the mini-Bolshoi troupe is the triumph of dancing over graceless surroundings. The second programme brought Chopiniana (which is Les Sylphides) with a tremulous set and lighting of an uncompromising "on or off" kind. Yet there was the ravishing Svetlana Lunkina drawing the lines of dance with a fine and delicate grace, making vapour-trails of movement. There was the lovely Maria Allash soaring through the mazurka without seeming effort, buoyed up on Chopin's rhythms, despite their brisk and vinegary disguise. And there was Andrey Uvarov, showing us a discreet mastery, the choreography set out with subtle authority while he dreamed dreams of the drifting girls in the fine corps de ballet. Uvarov was later to be seen as the Prince in the last-act duet from Sleeping Beauty, with the charming Anna Antonicheva. He is perfectly the Prince, all elegance and charm in step and manner." The Financial Times

Bolshoi Ballet - Programme Three: 11 to 19 May 2001 - Act III from La Bayadere, 'Kingdom of the Shades', along with Le Spectre de la Rose, Dying Swan, Auber's Grand pas Classique, pas de deux from Swan Lake Act III, Flames of Paris and Don Quixote.

"The Bolshoi's month-long London season has been a gamble. No 'proper' ballets to speak of (well maybe one or two), no productions to impress us with spectacle, and no full houses at the enormous Drury Lane Theatre (at least not on the nights I've been there). So the ssuccess of this season rests with the stars, and how well they dance on the night. I am happy to report that by the time the third programme rolled along, the dancing looked a lot better than it had on opening night." The Times

Stars of the Bolshoi Ballet in London at the Drury Lane Theatre opened on 25 April 2001 and closed on 19 May 2001.