On the gala performance of the Grigorovich ballet, Herod's Atticus Theatre, 9/9/2014.With Anna Nikulina and Ruslan Skvortsov.
The autumn showers did not keep the audience from rushing to attend Giselle at the undermined, once glorious haven of the Athens (now Hellenic) Festival, namely Herod's Atticus Odeon. Neither did the high-priced tickets and spectators filled the Roman Odeon, while Yuri Grigorovich gave a lesson on how history is written, when at the end of the performance kept the audience for something that seemed like ten curtain calls. A maitre-de-ballet of 30 years with the Bolshoi theatre, having survived politics and political changes, deaths and intrigues, Yuri G. surely knows that history is a matter of mass impression: as in 4.000 people applauding...
With uninspired sets and a corps-de-ballet that feared that if properly turned when required by the choreography there would not be enough stage space and would possibly end-up on the front row viewers' lap, Giselle, the story of the forgiving ghost-fiancee relied heavily on the second act's uncanny atmosphere to mesmerize the audience. (A spoilt audience which applauded at will as if it searched to justify every penny paid for the expensive ticket.)
Despite the superb second act, the Grigorovich Dance Theatre of Moscou left me with a bitter-sweet impression. The time that has elapsed since the glorious days of both the choreographer and the theatre triggered more than a series of interpretative associations in regard to the (now seen as controversial) role of the Odeon in the cultural life of the country in the past 60 years; it triggered thoughts in regard to the future of the Old School and the misery of the once glorious space around me. In a way though, Yuri Nikolayevich Grigorovich and the Herod's Atticus Odeon both seemed to fight fiercely for their reputation and did not give up on their glorious past, finding the way to the spectators' hearts.