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Kirov in London, 2005 - "Swan Lake"
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Apr 17, 2005 3:55 am ]
Post subject:  Kirov in London, 2005 - "Swan Lake"

Image by Valentin Baranovsky

Press Release

Swan Lake
The Kirov Ballet

Royal Opera House,
Covent Garden

18, 19 July, 21 at 7.30pm
20 July at 2.00pm and 7.30pm

The Kirov Ballet opens the season with the eagerly awaited return of its spellbinding production of Swan Lake.

Lyrical and dramatic, mysterious and majestic, Tchaikovsky’s ravishing music combines with peerless choreography to create an imaginary world where Prince Siegfried and the swan-princess Odette affirm their love for each other, conquering the forces of evil.

click for booking details

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:16 pm ]
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The Kirov in London 2005 season opened today in style at The Royal Opera House. Amongst those I spoke to there was high praise for the dance quality, especially the corps, Lopatkina as Odette/Odile and many of the other soloists. However, as an example of lyric theatre, there were doubts about this 1950 Konstantin Sergeyev version of the Petipa/Ivanov classic.

A full house roared their approval at the end.

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Jul 19, 2005 3:37 am ]
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However, as an example of lyric theatre, there were doubts about this 1950 Konstantin Sergeyev version of the Petipa/Ivanov classic.

Doubts? What kind of doubts? If theres a better version of Swan Lake doing the rounds I've yet to see it.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Jul 19, 2005 4:45 am ]
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I hope to write more extensively on this theme, Cassandra, but my over-riding impression is: "Tragedy, what tragedy?"

The ENB proscenium arch version by Derek Deane works better as theatre for me and some others I spoke to last night.

What do others think?

Author:  OdileGB [ Tue Jul 19, 2005 11:24 am ]
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I thinnk last night's performance was a wonderful opening to the season.
There is nothing like a good Swan Lake and Lopatkina is my favourite among the interpreters of Odette/Odile I have seen over the years.
Her poetry as a friend of mine called it was just beautiful to watch.
And the Kirov corps de ballet is certainly in a league of its own.

The settings and costumes of the Kirov production are far preferable to the current RB one in my opinion. There is no frill getting in the way or overshadowing the dancing. I could well do without the Jester and the artificial happy ending though.

Author:  Cyngenoir [ Tue Jul 19, 2005 5:44 pm ]
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Cassandra wrote:
However, as an example of lyric theatre, there were doubts about this 1950 Konstantin Sergeyev version of the Petipa/Ivanov classic.

Doubts? What kind of doubts? If theres a better version of Swan Lake doing the rounds I've yet to see it.

I totally agree! (Re this production, my fantasy is that the original 1877 ending to the score be restored, that VR dies after his wing is ripped off, and O/O and Siegfried drown. Then it would be even more perfect).

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Jul 20, 2005 9:33 am ]
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Having now seen the first two performances of the Kirov in Swan Lake, I have very mixed feelings about some of what I saw. The production is a very sound one, as are all the versions of the classics attributable to Konstantine Sergeyev. True, the jester should be handed his cards – one set of pirouettes a la seconde and he gets more applause than any one else on the stage: that can’t be right, surely? As for the happy ending, I think there is an argument for that as there is a real triumphal element to the score at the very end that always suggests to me the defeat of Rothbart. The argument for a tragic end is also strong though as there is (or should be) a sense of impending doom throughout the work, though fewer and fewer dancers now put this sense of imminent tragedy across.

On the first night Lopatkina danced Odette/Odile in a manner close to ideal. She brings a real spiritual quality to the role and achieves an otherworldly remoteness, but for me she was a little too cool in her encounter with Siegfried. Her actual dancing is very beautiful though and it is easy to see why she is now regarded as supreme in her native Russia. Her partner, Daniil Korsuntsev, matches her very well physically and if his portrayal of the prince is a little low key, he compensates for this by displaying an old-world sense of chivalry that matches Lopatkina’s regal swan queen rather well

The second night cast was Viktoria Tereshkina and Igor Kolb. I admired Tereshkina very much when I first saw her dance this role at the end of last year; but in a matter of months she has taken to adopting the exaggerated poses and high extensions that mar the interpretations of most of her colleagues. Whether this is from choice or whether this style is now the preferred manner of dancing for Kirov principals, I don’t know, but this dancer has so much more to give as could be seen in a very fine act two solo and a soundly danced final act. Kolb, who danced with her last time I saw her in Swan Lake, is a very passionate prince, one who responds with fervour to all the events that unfold around him and dances like a man possessed.

On both nights the music was played with erratic tempi with horribly drawn out passages in the adagios, particularly on the second night. This is starting to become an entrenched Russian characteristic and not one that I welcome.

There were no changes of cast in the other roles for the two nights with unfaultable performances from each and every one of the company’s miraculous character dancers.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Jul 21, 2005 5:49 am ]
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Swan Lake
By Debra Craine for The Times

WE HAVE been here before, yet there is still something special about a Kirov Swan Lake, especially when it’s the opening night of a packed London season. With the promise of riches to come — Balanchine and Forsythe as well as Romeo and Juliet and Bayadère — this was a night to welcome back our favourite Russian ballet company.

Sergeyev’s 1950 Soviet production of Swan Lake (based on Petipa and Ivanov’s 1895 St Petersburg staging) has proved endlessly appealing to audiences at home and abroad, despite its weak storytelling, formulaic drama and happy ending.

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Swan Lake
By Judith Mackrell for The Guardian

When the Kirov dance Swan Lake, the ballet always appears somehow whiter, more eloquently moonlit, than you remember it. On Tuesday, though, the dancers added an extra quotient of perfection that was scary even for them. Whether by fluke, or judicious casting, the Kirov as a company have rarely performed better.

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Swan Lake, Covent Garden, London

The ancient Thames ceremony of Swan Upping began on Monday. I suspect those involved will not have taken into account the infestation in London this week, with the Australian Ballet showing their birds in a highly individual Swan Lake at the Coliseum, and the Kirov Ballet opening an all-too-brief Covent Garden season with a staging of the same name.

Cygnophiles (and cygnophobes) will know what dangerous items are passed off under this title. But the Kirov's Swan Lake is the glorious proof that this can still be an eloquent work of lyric grace.

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Swan Lake, Royal Opera House, London
By Zoë Anderson for The Independent

The virtue of the Kirov Ballet's Swan Lake is its clarity. It makes a spacious, traditional frame for a ballerina. Uliana Lopatkina, who danced the first night of this London season, is being publicised as the real thing, a ballerina among ballerinas. It won't wash. As the Swan Queen, she lifts and thrusts her jaw in an expression of stony martyrdom. She looks hellbent on being the Soul of Russia.

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A Swan Queen from another world
Ismene Brown for The Daily Telegraph reviews Swan Lake by the Kirov Ballet at Covent Garden

The Kirov Ballet is in London again, opening its season with Swan Lake. Unlike British companies, it performs the work not as a drama of theatre, but as a rite unique to the art of ballet. After the triviality of Australian Ballet's royal-soap-opera rewrite (at the Coliseum this week), the Russian faith in imagery and seriousness acts like a cleansing agent on the mind.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Jul 22, 2005 5:39 am ]
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Swan Lake
By Gavin roebuck for The Stage

From the moment Alexander Polianichko raises his baton the audience is spellbound with the glorious sound of the orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre playing Tchaikovsky’s most famous ballet score. The curtains open to reveal some of the greatest dancers in the world performing with superlative finesse.

This 1950 production by Konstantin Sergeyev is no museum piece. Gone are the old-fashioned mime scenes that some connoisseurs still like to see, and the action moves speedily along.

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Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Fri Jul 22, 2005 6:14 am ]
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Hello everyone,
I am going blind because this forum has more prominence than expected and I had not been able to locate it in some time!

A few comments based on the other comments on this thread.

The Jester - Cassandra, the same thing happens in St. Petersburg. The role receives extensive applause each time, and without fail I find myself scratching my head in bewilderment. I relegate it to a combination of choreography+music+uneducated patrons (applause increase in relation to tourist season, and decrease in the winter, respectively) because this seems to be a phenomenon. Like, the same reason people start clapping after 8 fouettes -- they dont know there are 32 coming.

Tereshkina - I'm surprised to hear abotu the leg-whacking as that's not her style here. With others (Amosova, Vostrotina) yes, but not her. That's a disappointment. I hope maybe it was an off night?

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:12 am ]
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The Kirov has performed Swan Lake for more than 100 years - and it's still determined to dance it in its own way, says Jann Parry for The Observer

The Kirov's identity is bound up with Swan Lake. Ever since the definitive version was staged in 1895 in the company's home theatre, the Mariinsky, its productions have continued an unbroken tradition, albeit with revisions over the years.

The present staging is a Soviet-era one, complete with the then-obligatory happy ending. Later versions never surpassed it, so the Kirov has retained Konstantin Sergeyev's 1950 production as its signature work, a hallowed ritual, pared of all flummery. Other companies may reimagine Tchaikovsky's ballet as a case history of royal psychosis, but the Kirov sticks to a mythical vision of swan-maidens in thrall to an evil enchanter.

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Two swans a-swimming
A pair of graceful productions glides into town, but the Kirov’s Swan Lake wins out, says David Dougill for The Sunday Times.

Swan-upping, the annual custom of counting and vetting the Thames’s royal birds, coincided last week with two spectacular productions of Swan Lake. Running concurrently in London, they were danced by two splendid companies: the Kirov Ballet, opening its Covent Garden summer season, and the Australian Ballet, at the Coliseum on its first UK visit in 12 years.
It is always a thrill to count and vet the massed flock of swans in the Kirov’s glorious Corps de Ballet — unmatchable in their perfection and poetry. Even the “prop” swans, with their reflections, glide across the magical lake with impeccable grace.

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Author:  Cassandra [ Mon Jul 25, 2005 4:24 am ]
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Tereshkina - I'm surprised to hear abotu the leg-whacking as that's not her style here. With others (Amosova, Vostrotina) yes, but not her. That's a disappointment. I hope maybe it was an off night?

When I saw Tereshkina in Baden Baden in December I had nothing but praise for her Swan Lake and I'm mystified as to why she has changed her performance style so drastically in such a short space of time.

She was impressive in the Forsythe programme though.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Jul 25, 2005 6:09 am ]
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Then again... Forsythe kind of caters to leg whacks... I still hope this is either an "off period" or some phase...

Author:  Patrizia Vallone [ Mon Jul 25, 2005 2:06 pm ]
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Swan Lake
Kirov Ballet
ROH 18/07/05
by Patrizia Vallone

The Kirov Ballet is back in London and everybody is happy. They stay for only 2 weeks this time with a packed and varied repertory, ranging from the company highlights – Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, La Bayadere – to 1 Balanchine and also 1 Forsythe programme. So the company has never a day off but Kirov dancers are well known for being hard workers so they will survive for our selfish delight.

Reading the programme we can enjoy Vaziev’s policy of pushing young dancers early. In fact some of the audience’s favourites, Ayupova, Makhalina, Nioradze, Ruzimatov, have been left at home. Maybe it is our, the audience’s fault to dream of an endless career for our beloved artists.

The season opens with Swan Lake in the evergreen version by Konstantin Sergeyev. I believe that it is unnecessary to state once more that this production is dusty and old-fashioned. It is, just let’s try to enjoy. And there is much to enjoy! The corps de ballet is absolutely superb. The girls are all so beautifully shaped, tall, slim with long legs, elegant arms and aristocratic deportment. The men are masculine and well proportioned, moving with fluid gestures. They dance perfectly in unison and in time to the music, with proper positions, 5th that are correctly closed which is something that we rarely have the opportunity to see, arabesques and attitudes that are held high effortlessly, jumps with silent landings and so on. If someone new to ballet watches the Kirov dancers they may think that ballet is an easy discipline that can be mastered by anyone, being completely unaware of the hard work necessary to attain this level of perfection.

Now let’s have a look at the principals. Daniil Korsuntsev as Prince Siegfried was elegant and beautiful but lacked dramatic expression. A deeper reading of the character would have been desirable. Ilya Kuznetsov as Von Rothbart fared much better in that respect. He was strong and energetic, portraying an aggressive and rebellious Evil Spirit. Uliana Lopatkina in the double role of Odette/Odile was simply
marvellous. Her endless arms were pure poetry and sang while floating light through the air. As Odette she was sorrowful and helpless, as Odile wicked and sexy. She mastered all the difficult steps of both with grace and ease. It was an unforgettable performance that the audience greeted with warm applause.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Jul 26, 2005 9:03 am ]
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Just a note on the "left behinds" -- Ruzimatov and Makhalina are still in St. Petersburg -- they both performed in "Scheherezade" last Tuesday. Ayupova has not performed witih the company in well over 2 years, which is a great disappointment indeed. I saw what I believe was her final performance in "Sleeping Beauty" here two years ago in June (2003). I heard she has relocated to Finland with her son and husband. Nioradze is a mystery -- she too rarely performs in St. Petersburg, but danced in "Le Corsaire" and several other roles maybe once per month this past spring.

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