Kulturkompasset | critics of culture events

Star cast in Red Giselle in Vilnius

Star cast in Red Giselle.

Olga Konosenko som Red Giselle. Foto Martynas Aleksa

Review by Henning Høholt. Foto: Martynas Aleksa

VILNIUS/LITHUANIA: Boris Eifmans Red Giselle is back at the repertoire in Vilnius, honestly, it has not been away since its premiere  that I attended in 2001.

Surrounded by the wonderful music by Tchaikovsky, Bizet, Adams and Schnitke, the framwork that Eifman works with is great.

Inside this frame Eifman has build a challenging history regarding a ballerina who does her seriouse work, but also are being agtracted by one of the communist leaders, that she find interesting and are feeling flattered  by the attraction, but she find our that she has to run away to Paris, as many other culture capacityes did in the difficult Sovjet time, so she was in fact following in the footsteps of Dhiaghilev, Nijinsky, Fokine and Les Ballets Russes to the most importent culture capital in Europe, Paris, as it still is.

Red Giselle is performed with a star cast of the very best dancers from the Lithuanian National Ballet with its primaballerina Olga Konosenko in the titelrole together with Eligijus Butkus as her teacher, and in second act the wonderful former first male star Nerijus Juskas, who is back, after, i thought he had wanted to retire, now more beautiful, expressive and virtuose than ever. A very welcome experience.

As the Checkist another sf the companys stars, Aurelius Daraskevicius, and as the gay friend of Juska again a pleasant experience with Igoris Zaripovas, allways present on stage.


I have mentioned a detail earlier, also in other connections about the homofobic atmosphaere that members of Seimas are making in the wonderful Lithuanian country, fighting against gays and lesbians, by not accepting that it is permitted to love who you want, either it is a person of the same sex, it is great that that attitude not has reach the ballet world, so it is possible, as in this case to have the leading male soloist, Nerijus Juska, on stage playing that he has a male gay boy friend, performed by Igoris Zaripovas,  on stage. Therefore I was also pleased lately, when the state of estonia, has stated that it is now possible to make gay marriage in Estonia. I expect that Lithuania will follow that great example soon.

The good mix of music, performed by the opera orchestra conducted by Martynas Staskus. And the dream scenes with Schnitke music on tape works very well, and the effect is like we are in two different worlds. Ms. Konosenko has the extra stage presence for this kind of “primadonna” roles, and in addition the most beautiful long legs, allways placed perfectly, westher it is in the contemporary part of the performance, in the charleston or in the classical part, as from the first act of Giselle. A great pleasure.

The corps des ballets is doing sn outstanding job, playing and dancing all the different figure types, from russian kommunist workers, military, parisian celebrities. pessants, and brilliant ballet stars.

In The Charleston part from Paris, we enjoyed the music br Walter Donaldson, Horst Askerman and Bert Laska – Sefan Laube.

Vaceslav Okunev is responsable for the Scenography and costumes.




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