THE FLAMES OF PARIS
Bolshoi Ballet at the Royal Opera House
An odd relic, this, first staged in Stalin's time, and revived in this century with a slightly different take on the revolutionary struggle.
On Saturday afternoon, we didn't even have the superstellar pyrotechnics of Osipova and Vasiliev to cheer. Nonetheless, there were many incidental pleasures, not least the handling of Asafiev's undistinguished score by the Bolshoi band under Pavel Sorokin [exquisite viola solo for the pas de deux].
The setting was monumental, with girdered tenements in the wings for Act Two, with acres of space for the interminable divertissements which ended each act. In the first, in the decadent court at Versailles, there was much traditional choreography, and nods to Lully in the music, with a nice minuet for Marie Antoinette [Olga Tubalova]. After the all-too-brief toppling of the ancien régime, with some of the best choreography for the excellent crowd scenes, the stage was cleared again for dances of rejoicing, including much crowd-pleasing athleticism from Valdislav Lantratov's Philippe.