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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2002 10:28 am 
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Lincoln Center Festival, 2002<BR>The Kirov Ballet<BR>Friday evening, July 12, 2002<BR>Metropolitan Opera House, New York<P>"La Bayadère"<P>The first thing to be said for the Kirov's production of "La Bayadère" is that the audience got its money's worth. The reconstruction ran nearly four hours, including three intermissions and an impromptu front-of-curtain lecture on the legalities and perils of flash photography during the performance.<P>"La Bayadère" was a feast -- a bit heavy on the appetizers, a delectable main course and a dazzling dessert assortment, consumed dutifully even if we were too stuffed to fully appreciate its richness. The first two acts (appetizers) were so heavy on mime, acting and pageantry that one began to wonder if the entree would ever be served. For example, Gamzatti was shaping up to be a character role. That did not change until the fourth act, when she donned pointe shoes; it was after 11 p.m.<P>As Gamzatti, daughter of a wealthy Rajah and fiancee to Solor, a rich and famous warrior, Elvira Tarasova was strong in her characterization and her dancing (when she got to it). However there was a seeming dissatisfaction or nervousness that came through in her variations.<P>Diana Vishneva's Nikiya, the Temple Dancer, was fascinating -- a breathtaking combination of feminine beauty tinged with sadness and tragedy. In some ways she bears a resemblance to Gelsey Kirkland, but a darker-haired, Russian version. She has that Kirov posture, with the rib cage thrust forward and upward, and a wonderfully supple back to go with it. She creates incredible lines in her arabesques and other high extensions. Always expressive in her acting and through her formidable technique, she was a Nikiya to admire from afar, yet to identify with in her turmoil.<P>Andrian Fadeyev was an elegant but understated Solor. His partnering was attentive and seamless. His strong, long lines made him a good match for Vishneva, and combined with his easy ballon to create a reserved virtuosity.<P>With the end of the second act came the end of the appetizers. The last scene began with a Triumphal Procession in honor of the Idol Badrinath. The gold idol was carried around, but he did not dance. Solor made his entrance here atop a fabulous elephant (not live, but a good facsimile). A long divertissement included some familiar dances and some unfamiliar sections. The fan dancers shared the stage with girls who danced with parrots. One of the processionals included music we are used to hearing in "Don Quixote."<P>This act concludes with the dance and death of Nikiya (death by snakebite, courtesy of a Rajah and his daughter who want Nikiya out of the picture so Gamzatti can have Solor's full attention). Nikiya's variation took on a new dimension, as she performed it with a veena (an Indian guitar) in hand. In fact, when Solor first sets eyes on Nikiya in the first act, she is seated on a window ledge dolefully playing the veena. An interesting detail.<P>The main course was worth the wait, delivered in the third act. Here the Kingdom of the Shades was inhabited by rows of clones. The corps work was mesmerizing. Not only did they move as one, but every angle of the head or arm, every leg in arabesque, looked identical. Even their bourrées shimmered in unison. The Shade soloists, Irina Golub, Ekaterina Osmolkina and Xenia Ostreikovskaya all turned in impressive performances.<P>Dessert was an expanded fourth act. In addition to the wedding celebration and the inevitable destruction of the Temple there was a Dance of the Lotus Blossoms -- garlands and little girls (American) en pointe accompanied the Kirov corps.<P>A few observations in closing -- while fascinating in its historical perspective, this "Bayadère" made one appreciate the intelligent choices and care that went into Makarova's staging.<P>There was an unusual mime sequence between the High Brahmin (in love with Nikiya, and upset that she is in love with Solor) and the Rajah. The Rajah was explaining how he would have Nikiya killed, and the High Brahmin had his back to the Rajah. If you can't see the gestures, can you still hear them?<P>The mime pledge of fidelity, often represented by a high, outstretched arm with index and middle fingers held together, was presented here by the same outstretched arm, but with all five fingers reaching and held together.<P>A word of praise for the conductor Mikhail Sinkevich, who made the orchestra sound very good. There was a passage during which Gamzatti was performing jumps en pointe. At the same time, a glance at the podium revealed Sinkevich jumping up and down in time to the music, with the ballerina. Now that's a ballet conductor!<P>The scenery and sets were exotic and sumptuous. A colonnaded interior of the Rajah's palace made the huge Opera House stage look as if it went on forever.<P> <p>[This message has been edited by nancy (edited July 16, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2002 1:30 pm 
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Anna Kisselgoff writes in the NY Times:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>There will be those who insist that the Kirov Ballet, known again in Russia by its old name as the Maryinsky, has always been a ballerina's company. Yet it was also the home of Vaslav Nijinsky, Vakhtang Chabukiani, Rudolf Nureyev, Yuri Soloviev and Mikhail Baryshnikov. <P>In the Kirov's current season as part of Lincoln Center Festival 2002, the accent is, as in recent years, on new young ballerinas rather than the men. On Saturday night at the Metropolitan Opera House, Sofia Gumerova, a statuesque dancer with a thoroughbred elegance who came to notice in George Balanchine's works in 1999, was a new Odette-Odile in "Swan Lake," with Igor Kolb as a new and tender prince. Earlier, she offered the most convincing Nikiya of the season when seen for the first time in "La Bayadère" on Wednesday night. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/16/arts/dance/16LAKE.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Click for More</B></A><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2002 7:02 pm 
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At The Kirov<P>July 11, 2002<P>The Kirov returned to New York, bringing another ballet reconstructed from notes on its earlier performances. Like The Sleeping Beauty, which was presented here in 1999, La Bayadere features marvelous costumes and sets, a production of great length, and a strongly developed pantomime with a rich and subtle vocabulary.<P>As Mary Bueno observed to me, the mime is striking for the degree to which it integrates with the dance. All too often, the mime serves as recitative, advancing the plot before an extended ballet aria. In this performance, the mime and dance are through-composed, and serve each other, and the larger work.<P>Diana Vishneva is Nikiya, and her performance succeeds at once. She descends the temple steps, and moves downstage center, where she stands, veiled and motionless as the Bayadere dance around her. With elbows at her sides, each arm is drawn straight up, and her palms rest upon her shoulders. Her veil, and her protective arms describe the purity of her spirit.<P>But her feet. Oh, those feet! In a demure demi-first position, a simple V, they perch so lovingly upon the ground, speaking with such force, that immediately we understand how the high priest will forsake his vows. This image of chastity and desire, which forms the central motif of ballet, is achieved in perfect stillness, in the opening moments. The greatest dancers make the world fall, with and at their feet.<P>We are fortunate to have this reconstruction, even if it does not have quite the same impact as The Sleeping Beauty, which was significant because of the particularly close relationships among its drama, music, and movement. I recall that presentation in this note, from another season:<P>June 28, 1999<P>The Kirov love the dance. They proclaim this love in the ambition and scale of their presentation of The Sleeping Beauty. While other companies may dispose of this work in two acts, at the Kirov, the program declares that the first of three intermissions will be required no later than the end of the Prologue. The musicians, stern and uncompromising in their opening bars, announce that they have turned out in numbers sufficient for the performance of the largest orchestral works. But it is only at the end of the overture, when the dancers begin to enter, that we first glimpse the depth of this love. For it is only then that we can see the costumes.<P>At a glance, it is evident that in their intricacy, in the sumptuousness of their materials, and above all, in the art and care lavished on the tiniest details of their construction, costumes of this quality rarely are seen on an American stage. Remarkably, most of this excellence must be lost to the audience. Binoculars reveal only a hint of their small details. Nor is this excellence confined to the principal dancers. In the garland scene, there are sixty one dancers on the stage, and every costume is glorious.<P>Understand these costumes, and you will understand the Kirov. You must understand why they have done as they have done, what this effort has meant, in its full human dimensions, in its cost to Elena Zaitseva and her heroic staff. <P>However much of their effort lies invisible to me, none of it is hidden from the dancers. Not a single thread, not a stitch of those millions of stitches escapes their eyes. Elsewhere, they perform in costumes. At the Kirov, they dance in gowns. This is a tangible, and, to use a term of unsurpassed historical significance for Russia, a _material_ expression of a fundamental principle. In the end, the Kirov dance and sew for the same reason: the importance of small things done perfectly. For the Kirov, this is the very breath of life.<P>As dancers, they are enigmatic and disguised. They conceal their preparations and cover their approach. They are not big, in fact, many are of short stature. They do not show off, indeed, they are defined less by their soloists than by the corps. They avoid temptation and decline the obvious, they are what they are not. They would rather leap gracefully than high. Elsewhere, dancers gather themselves up for an enormous jump. At the Kirov, they rise into the air, like birds.<P>For this production, the Kirov undertook an elaborate reconstruction of the choreography from the Stepanov notation by the regisseur Sergeyev, which he began in 1903, and which he carried to the west as he fled from the revolution. More knowledgeable writers have explained that although he preserved the steps, Sergeyev was musically inept, and that they have seen these dances better done. <P>I cannot dispute this, but one must pay close attention to the peasants. Peasants are invaluable in this work, for without them, there can be no princess. In these multitudes, one sees some of those steps which surely must have been rescued from Sergeyev’s notes, and which now are made to fit the music with a machinist’s precision. These details beguile us as they motivate the action, and emerge into the larger work. Otherwise, who could possibly care about any of this? It is because these peasant girls are so carefree, as they play with their forbidden spindle, that we are mortified when they are admonished and that we rejoice when they are forgiven. At every moment, the music and gesture support each other, as both choreographer and composer subordinate their art to the service of the libretto.<P>The corps maintains a studied perfection, not through military regimentation, but with a subtle process of mutual adjustment. In the exigency of performance, they maintain their line with an organic, fluid accommodation, the upstage dancer gently adjusting to the downstage, until the row is perfect. At the same time, each dancer remains an individual. Not all are cast from the same mold, or move in the same way, because the movement that is perfect for one body would look awkward on another.<P>Watch this with the same care with which it was made. It proceeds, by degrees, for three hours and forty minutes, to tell an old tale. Russia is very large, and very great, and very old. She has many, many, many things to tell us.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2002 2:37 pm 
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From the village Voice, with a lovely photo.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Lavish Russian Productions of Ballet Warhorses at the Met<BR>Kirov Classics Hit and Miss<BR>by Wendy Perron<P>The first two productions of the Mariinsky Theatre's Kirov Ballet, playing at the Lincoln Center Festival through Saturday, are ballets more than a century old; both have lavish sets and costumes; and both featured spectacularly limpid dancing from their female leads. But Swan Lake hit the spot, while La Bayadère, claiming to replicate the 1900 version, misfired.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0229/perron.php" TARGET=_blank><B>more...</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2002 4:37 pm 
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Anna Kisselgoff write in the NY Times:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>”Don Quixote," the best-known comic ballet in the 19th-century Russian repertory, has been danced by companies around the world. In part, this is the result of stagings by former dancers of the Kirov Ballet, notably Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov.<P>Yet oddly, the Kirov Ballet itself had never performed the work in New York until Monday night. The company's current version, presented at the Metropolitan Opera House as part of Lincoln Center Festival 2002, is an attractive staging that reproduces the beautiful décor of Aleksandr Golovin and Konstantin <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/17/arts/dance/17DON.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Click for More</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2002 7:17 am 
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Marcia B. Siegel writes in The Boston Phoenix (July 18-25):<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>We’re into the second century since the great Russian classicist Marius Petipa choreographed La Bayadère for the Mariinsky Theater of St. Petersburg (now the Kirov) in 1877. Bayadère survived as an evolving stage work, woven from remnants, updates, and successive interpolations, but the ballet as originally done is effectively lost, with only its reputation intact. Last year the Kirov decided to go back to Petipa’s final revision, for which considerable documentation exists, and it’s this 1900 relic that opened the Lincoln Center Festival and the Kirov’s two-week engagement early last week.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/arts/dance/documents/02357991.htm" TARGET=_blank><B>More</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2002 8:42 am 
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One of the most interesting things regarding the current Kirov tour to the US has been the first reviews in the West of the reconstruction of the 1900 production of “La Bayadere”. I have much affection for the Makarova version for the Royal Ballet which mixes fine dancing with the emotional interest of an eternal triangle and works much better for me than something like “Le Corsaire”. I have only seen the Nureyev version for Paris Opera Ballet once and this has far more incidental dance, especially in the engagement party scene, but the quality of the POB dancers and the striking designs carries it through. A key element in both these productions is the 20th Century additions to the choreography, especially the variations for Solor, principally by Chabukiany. <P>We may well see the reconstructed “La Bayadere” in London before too long and it will be staged in Paris later this year. I will see it and I hope that a high quality film version is made for posterity. However, I suspect that my reaction will be similar to that of Marcia Siegel, that there is too little dance and too much mime for the taste of modern audiences. I was pleased to see the Kirov reconstruction of “Sleeping Beauty”, as it gave me some sense of how ballet might have looked 100 years ago, except of course that the technical quality of the dancing is generally accepted to be so much higher now. Nevertheless one viewing of this version of “Sleeping Beauty” was enough for me and I will not be surprised if the same is true for “La Bayadere”. <P> <BR><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited July 18, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2002 11:50 am 
I love the Kirov's reconstructed version of La Bayadere which I saw once in New York last weekend after my arrival. I will try to write about it in detail after my return home. Meanwhile I am looking forward to seeing again Jewels tonight, after 2 superb performances of Don Q yesterday - Irina Golub and Anton Korsakov in the afternoon, and Elvira Tarasova and Andrian Fadeyev in the evening.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2002 1:13 pm 
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Lucky you Kevin! Looking forward to your reviews.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2002 8:45 am 
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Anna Kisselgoff writes in the NY Times:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>”Jewels," capped by an astonishingly magical performance by Svetlana Zakharova on Thursday night, is the latest work by George Balanchine to be performed by the Kirov Ballet in New York.<P>A staple of the New York City Ballet since 1967 and now also performed by other companies, "Jewels" is more than familiar: three composers and three sections choreographed by a genius add up to the world's first three-act plotless ballet. The gems of the ballet's subtitles open up the imagination to a variety of ideas. But all are related to the feeling of the choreography in each distinct section.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/20/arts/dance/20JEWE.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Click for More</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 6:04 am 
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The photo accompanying Kisselgoff's review is not of Zakharova and Korsuntsev. They danced "Diamonds" and the photo is of "Emeralds." It appears to be Ayupova, and I can't identify her partner.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 9:14 am 
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"Jewels"<BR>The Kirov Ballet<BR>Lincoln Center Festival 2002<BR>Metropolitan Opera House<BR>New York, NY<BR>July 20, 2002 evening<P>"Jewels" is really three one-act ballets with music of three composers. They are united, in what is billed the first full-length plotless ballet, by the theme of the title. On Saturday evening, the Kirov's presentation of this Balanchine work was a gem of a way to end the Kirov's New York engagement.<P>When the curtain opened on "Emeralds," there was a gasp from the audience. A stage full of dancers in emerald green with a simple, jeweled frame of a set was breathtaking. The impressionistic music of Gabriel Fauré leads us through a pleasant landscape of romantic style neo-classicism. But just as we are about to relax and let it unfold in front of us, we are confronted with an unusual duet in which the soloist walks en pointe across the stage, nobly accompanied by her cavalier. Daria Pavlenko walked nicely, very nicely. Zhanna Ayupova was the lovely, but not quite strong enough in the ballerina role. <P>"Rubies" is the jazzy centerpiece of the trio, with music of Igor Stravinsky. The Kirov delivered an excellent rendition. Irina Golub was flirtatious and sassy in the lead, and really captured the essence of the piece. Daria Pavlenko was back as soloist and had a chance to shine here. She was commanding, with good attack and an understanding of neo-classic style. Viacheslav Samodurov looked like he was having fun in a chase scene (a thread carried over from the walking sequence in "Emeralds"?) and was happily commanding in his dancing. A word of praise is due for the male quartet and the female corps who helped make this a sizzling performance.<P>"Diamonds" appeared to be a homage to the roots of Russian ballet. There was a reverence in the Kirov's interpretation that was not so visible in other troupes' renditions. This showed in the opening duet for Sofia Gumerova and Danila Korsuntsev. Gumerova looked a bit uneven technically, but danced this duet with a love and caring that made it resonate. Korsuntsev was much more appealing here than as Siegfried in "Swan Lake." His neutral but noble dancing and lack of acting were assets here. The corps shone here as well.<P>Starting with the simplest of steps we would see in a Petipa ballet, "Diamonds" moves on to typically Balanchine moments. There is a line-up for a Polonaise very similar to the closing of "Theme and Variations." Some time later, another line-up occurs, but on a swell in the music the women unfold their legs in an open, high extension to the front, and then bow forward. It is a ballet equivalent of the singing of a national anthem, or saluting an invisible flag. It was very powerful.<P>Many of the dancers grasped the Balanchine style, with only occasional lapses into more Kirov-looking port de bras. Differences had to do with attack; where Balanchine dancers might arrive in a high penchée arabesque as the result of a burst of energy, the Kirov dancers would place the leg in a high arabesque. It was more a position than an energy. Some of the men, especially in "Rubies," had a bit of a challenge with the upper body, which does not retain its verticality when there is a hip thrust occurring. The resulting lines were not the ones we are accustomed to in City Ballet dancers. But the ballet as a whole seemed to take on a new meaning and lustre and turned out to be the perfect closing to the New York ballet season. <BR> <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2002 6:44 pm 
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Anna Kisselgoff writes in the NY Times:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Second thoughts are often best. New casts in the Kirov Ballet's "Don Quixote" on Wednesday afternoon and evening at the Metropolitan Opera House galvanized the company as the production's New York premiere on Monday had not.<P>No one can rival the Russians as character dancers. A cascade of colorful Spanish dances and choreography in various styles fill this staging of a 19th-century comic ballet. The Kirov's ensemble has been superb, serving as more than a frame for the principals. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/22/arts/dance/22LINC.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Click for More</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2002 10:48 am 
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Great review, Nancy. Thanks a lot. Image


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov/Mariinsky 2002-3
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2002 11:09 am 
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Yes - that was a great review, Nancy. AND I WAS THERE.


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