★★★★✰ The long gala (three and a half hours with one interval) was well organised, with no speeches and no protracted curtain calls.
★★★✰✰ Every gala needs a revelation, and this one was provided by Sergio Bernal, a Spanish dancer who dominated the stage in an imperious farruca solo from Antonio’s flamenco version of The Three Cornered Hat…
The gala opened with the Act III wedding pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty, performed by Ekaterina Osmolkina and Guiseppe Picone. No fish-dives in this version – the Russians regard them as vulgar, and Osmolkina could never be vulgar.
Though this year it was Nijinsky’s turn to be reclaimed as a Russian icon, the contents of the gala had little to do with him. Very probably the choice of items – mainly pas de deux – depended on which dancers were available to perform whatever was in their repertoire.