TAMING OF THE SHREW
July 31, 2017
Oh the vagaries of men and women in courtship, particularly in an era when older sisters were required to marry before any other females in the family tied the knot.
Particularly stressful for Shakespeare’s Kate, because this was an independent woman. Left to her own devices, Kate might have never married, had children out of wedlock, and been King of a province. However, that was not what society deemed “correct” for this sharp tongued beauty faced with the face of being stuffed in palace forever with her parents or breaking out—albeit with some distasteful man.
Plumbing the great theatrical talent inherent in the Bolshoi ranks, Ballet de Monte Carlo choreographer and director, created a ballet “Taming of the Shrew” based on Shakespeare and Bolshoi verve.
In the opening night cast, Olga Smirnova (who made quite the stir in “Diamonds”) played the sweet, virginal Bianca, while the spitfire red-haired Katarina was gamely portrayed by Ekaterina Krysanova and her handsome rascal, Petruchio featured Semyon Chudin. At the opening of the ballet, a woman (the widow) teases the audience, pulls on her toe shoes, and shakes a finger at latecomers. Her comic timing is refreshing, but the logic impenetrable.
Most of the action is built into the first half of the ballet. Choreographed to a bright score by Shostakovich, the ballet lacks dramatic drive and choreographic complexity. Granted, the dancers, particularly the men, were shown off to the great delight of the audience, as were the gifted women who added character shading not evident in the choreography.
The second cast suffers because technically and dramatically they were not on a par with the first cast and without the force of major performances the ballet diminishes even more.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis