Thursdays are great to start celebrating the weekend- but they are so much more special when Boston Ballet invites you to an opening night of their “Lady of the Camellias” choreographed by Val Caniparoli and set to the beautiful music of Chopin. This return marks 20-year anniversary of Caniparoli’s version of the famous story (first performed by Boston Ballet in 2004.)
Chances are high that you are already familiar with the tragic love story of French courtesan Marguerite and society man Armand. First depicted by Alexander Dumas (son), in his 1848 novel La Dame aux Camelias, the story then inspired numerous theatrical and film adaptions where the role of Camille- Marguerite was played by world’s leading theater and screen ladies (Sarah Berndhardt in 1911; Greta Garbo in 1936; Isabelle Huppert in 1981 and Nicole Kidman in 2001- to name just a few). And I personally remember Armand on the (live!) white horse under the Marguerite’s country estate windows in a Moscow theater production in the 90-s.
There are no special effects of this sort available to dancers of course. It is a dramatic ballet with minimal decorations; the true moving force are character emotions, shown through…(but of course!) the steps. Dancing was indeed exquisite. My favorite piece was an intimate bedroom pas de deux with Marguerite and Armand at the end of Act 1. This pas de deux might be the very reason I overcame my initial reservation about witnessing yet another tragedy on stage. After reading the preview in Boston Globe, I could not wait to see the passion brought alive by the power of dance. In the preview, ballet master Larissa Ponomarenko (who was internationally acclaimed for her own performance as Marguerite in Boston Ballet’s 2004 production), said that [the scene is] “one of the most challenging duets in the repertoire in terms of length and intricacy, the way one sequence is threaded into another. It has quite demanding lifts that have to describe emotions that are so forceful, yet it has to look so light and smooth and effortless.”
On the opening night last Thursday, the lead roles of Marguerite and Armand were danced by principal dancers Yury Yanowsky and his wife Kathleen Breen Combes; they are also scheduled for the closing performance on March 8 which, according to Boston Globe, will be Yanowsky’s farewell onstage appearance with the company. (Four couples will perform the lead roles of Marguerite and Armand: Kathleen Breen Combes with Yury Yanowsky; Erica Cornejo with Lasha Khozashvili; Ashley Ellis with Sabi Varga; and Anais Chalendard with Eris Nezha.)
Tickets start at $29. For more information, visit www.bostonballet.org or call 617-695-6955.
Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 1:00PM and 7:30PM; Post-Performance Chat with Mikko Nissinen following 7:30PM performance
Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 1:00PM
Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 7:30PM
Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 7:30PM
Friday, March 6, 2015 at 7:30PM
Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 1:00PM and 7:30PM; Pre-Curtain Talk prior to 7:30PM performance
Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 1:00PM