Who’ll pay for the Flames of Paris?
I would. Ignore the first hour or so of this 2010 recording of the updated Soviet propaganda piece (it was one of Stalin’s favourite ballets apparently) unless you like watching lots of people running around in lousy costumes pulling revolting faces. Instead skip straight to the famous pas de deux towards the end to witness some truly remarkable dancing.
For ten minutes or so Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova take centre stage for quite the most thrilling ballet performance so far captured on DVD. Anyone who’s seen Vasiliev in the flesh will know what to expect but even so, this is exceptional. He leaps, he jumps, he belts across the stage. At one point he’s literally corkscrewing through the air and every thumping landing is nailed to perfection. The role of Jeanne is not choreographed as emphatically as Philippe’s so consequently Osipova is not as flamboyant as her partner but her pirouettes and dazzling footwork and are carried out with delicious fizz and energy.
As this is all we have available on DVD at the moment of these two legends-in-the-making it really is worth the money spent. Just for that ten minutes. Incredible.
P.S. To whoever owns the visual recording copyright for the Bolshoi: please bring out a Don Quixote with these two in.