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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:35 pm 
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Thanks for your ever-astute comments, ripowam. Spot-on! Thanks to Catherine and others for your kind comments, too.

Speaking of filming, Petersburg critic Ekaterina Belyaeva's (very harsh) review of Ondine, in the March 23/29 issue of "Kultura" gazette, hints that Lacotte's new ballet is headed for DVD production very soon & that, in fact, this "DVD promise" cemented the 'deal' that convinced Kirov upper-management to reschedule the ballet. Belyaeva also writes that the original first-night cast was to have consisted of Vishneva/Sarafanov but that Lacotte deemed Vishneva too anachronistic for the style of mid-19th-C Romantic ballet. Hence, Obraztsova was Lacotte's clear choice.

However, I wouldn't be surprised if the eventual DVD will feature Vishneva, out of sheer marketing concerns. Not that I don't adore Vishneva in almost every ballet that she dances. It will be interesting to compare Vishneva with Obraztsova, who seems practically-perfect for sylphlike roles such as this. I just hope that Sarafanov will be able to partner Vishneva in the many difficult adagios of this ballet; he managed excellently with Obraztsova but Vishneva is a bit taller and more 'forceful-melodramatic' in her approach.

For those who can read Russian, the filepath to Ms Belyaeva's review of Ondine/DonQ/Beauty is:

http://www.kultura-portal.ru/tree_new/c ... _id=728092

It contains LOTS of juicy tidbits concerning the truth about the trauma surrounding the mounting of this production, first in 2002/2003, then at present.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 4:58 pm 
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Belyaeva is to my knowledge incorrect in saying that about Lacotte's response to Vishneva. The project was revived because Gergiev insisted. The ballet administration, to my knowledge, was very much opposed.

There is an enormous anti-Vishneva cabal in the Russian ballet press now, due in part to her alleged audacity in dancing the opening Swan Lake [which she did at Gergiev's request] and in rehearsing with Elena Tchenichova rather than Mme. Director or Vishneva's former teacher Ludmilla Kovaleva.

Despite Tchernichova graduating from Vaganova in 1958, and working for Baryshnikov when he was artistic director of ABT, she is an "outsider," and it's even said that Vishneva was therefore not coached in "pure Kirov style" -- as if legs wrapped over the head was pure Kirov style. It's painful to say this and to realize it, but in some ways the Kirov, and Russia's ballet community and, I guess, Russia itself, is almost as nationalistic and xenophobic as it was when Stalin was alive.

The irony is that since Vishneva started rehearsing with Tchernichova in 2002 she has become much more elegant and has largely, if not entirely, succeeded in restraining her extensions and her coquine mannerisms.
She certainly could not have given as majestic and lyrical a performance of Swan Lake several years ago as she did on the Kirov's opening night last September.

Sarafanov is not going to partner Vishneva in Ondine; Kolb is.
If anyone is saying anything to the contrary it is just more attempts at misinformation.

All the casting for the Jewels filming has been kept secret; I guess to prevent the inevitable howls of outrage until it is too late to change anything. I'm almost positive Vishneva was kept out of the loop. She returns from Moscow today; we will see what happens.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 7:03 am 
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NatalyN, Thank you for the link. I just started to devour it and I'm quite shocked. I assume Belyaeva is a credible authority on this "backstage" information, yes? I don't read her regularly and note that this article is not among those posted with the other reviews inside the theatre. (which is perhaps understandable!) However, I'm not sure I can jump to believe what she wrote. Several points jump out at me:

1) when she says that Lacotte insisted on returning to complete the project. How can anyone "insist" on coming inside the Mariinsky Theatre, much less for pay?? You can't insist -- they either admit you/invite you, or they don't. (Moreover, when they'd already paid him and he'd already left and so much time had past?) And if they were as upset over his original work as the article implies, why allow/invite a return? It sounds somewhat like slanted journalism to me -- that or some facts are being left out. Maybe someone can give some more background on this point.

2) she says she had trouble following the dancing. But to me the dancing was completely follow-able, whether you liked the choreography or not is another question. She didnt understand why they took the boat to the other island before marriage, but this is part of the libretto, taken straight from "The Naiad and the Fisherman". It may not have been (was not?) mentioned in the program but it is a historical part of the original ballet/libretto.

3) her words throughout are harsh and negative, making it clear that she is quite upset about the entire situation. She states that "The Petersburg public related more calmly to this naive kitch with dance: probably they're just sick of that American Forsythe and want some French delicacies."
However, she *is* complementary to the dancers (for those of you who dont read Russian), and says they put in serious effort -- she liked Sarafanov, Novikova's variation...

A VERY interesting piece.

+++


Ripowam thank you again for your additional information. I must say, I have no idea how you know the details of these internal Kirov projects, but it is impressive.

If Vishneva was flying back from Moscow today, unless it was a very early morning flight, I'd be surprised if she would have time to attend morning class and then early afternoon rehearsal as she was scheduled for today. That is quite a lot of running around considering she performs tomorrow night.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 11:12 am 
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Catherine, re: Vishneva's return from Moscow, when I wrote "today" I meant Friday.

Re: Belyaeva's piece, as you indicate, the claim that Lacotte simply "insisted" that the Kirov let him return is a fantasy.
And you see what I mean about the xenophobia.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 2:05 pm 
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Ripowam,

Ah, I forget we're in different time zones....not only that but Russia moved ahead one hour just now, and the US does so next weekend...
+++

Just in from a sparkling Swan Lake with Lopatkina and Martinez. I'm still seeing the fairytale before my very eyes. I'll post a proper review later, but in some, they were both so professional, so perfect. He is not only a perfect partner for her, he is a perfect prince for just about any ballerina! So emotive too, which you don't often get from the males here. Very very touching and impressive.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 9:36 am 
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The festival closed last night with a fabulous variety of dancers performing a variety of dancES on the Mariinsky stage. I have the last three nights' worth of reviews to submit, and you will see those finalized and with photos in the April Ballet-Dance magazine!

Suffice it to say, the Festival was fantastic and I look forward to next year's as well!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:16 pm 
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I don't know about Belyaeva, Catherine, except that she writes for Kultura gazette. In reading various in-print reviews of 'Ondine,' I found this one particularly interesting. By the way, I'm sure that you've noticed that a good 75-80% of the "Ondine" reviews have been negative towards the choreographer & production, while mostly praising the dancers. I'm rather dumbfounded, as I find this ballet to be in the mold of earlier Lacotte reconstructions/rethinkings, all of which were deemed great successes. I have attended every Lacotte premiere since "L'Ombre" (early 1990s, Ballet de Nancy) & have found his works to be delightful, very dancey, poems to traditionalism. Perhaps there are no traditionalist-Romantics left in the Russian press?

While "Doch Faraona" (1999 - Bolshoi) was perhaps the most impressive of the lot, I found "Ondine" to be no less well-crafted than the 2001 "Paquita" for POB & stronger than "L'Ombre." I've seen the 1980s "Marco Spada" telecast (Nureyev & Rome Opera Ballet), which was a joyous avalanche of dancing. Maybe it's just the traditionalist in me but I consider his oeuvre highly satisfying and uplifting.

Even if it's just me I'll shout: "Bravo, Monsieur Lacotte!"


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 11:59 pm 
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It would be interesting to note how Lacotte's Papillon was reviewed when Kolpakova and later Evteyeva danced it in the 1970s. Of course at that time critics were hardly able to pan things on their own initiative.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:42 am 
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NataliaN,

Well, I agree with you, and yes, I had noted the rather negative tone of other Russian reviews of Lacotte's work. This is strange to me as well. I cannot claim comparisons with other of Lacotte's work, as I've seen only these two Ondine premieres live, and Fille du Pharoan on television. But I too was impressed with his entire production. I think putting together a completely classical ballet is a huge undertaking, and even if it goes over medium-well, that in itself would be a success. Lacotte has enough of a foundation to hit the mark, and he seems to have done so (IMHO) with Ondine. I can understand maybe there are some cultural difficulties that the Russian press (I'm assuming/guessing) allow to transfer into their reviews, but what exactly those may be, I have no idea.

I have some excellent news that, at long last, Zhanna Ayupova is supposed to return to the stage to dance in Emeralds in early April. Many people have commented to me in surprise that she was not a part of the Festival, but she was at no point scheduled to dance in it and had never planned to, as she was only rehearsing and getting back into shape. I cannot wait for this performance, as she is such a charming, traditional dancer, perhaps one of the last of the "old school" generation. This is thrilling!

If I'm not mistaken, one of her last performances at the Mariinsky was in summer 2003 as Aurora in the reconstructed Sleeping Beauty. (This was the last I saw her dance). She may have danced again that fall or in early 2004, but has not been on this stage since May 2004 if not prior to that.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:41 am 
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Thanks for the update on Ayupova, Catherine. Great news, indeed.

ripowam wrote:
It would be interesting to note how Lacotte's Papillon was reviewed when Kolpakova and later Evteyeva danced it in the 1970s. Of course at that time critics were hardly able to pan things on their own initiative.


Not just 'Papillon pdd,' ripowam. Lacotte staged another small gem on the Kirov during the late '70s, 'Markitanka' (Vivandiere pas de six), for Alla Sizova. Both works became part of the standard divertissements-rep and are still performed occasionally. For example, at the 2003 Mariinsky Festival, the company presented a lovely "Evening of Classical Choreography" that included both of the above-cited works, in addition to Lacotte's staging of Fanny Elssler's 'Cachucha,' for Yulia Makhalina. On that occasion, 'Papillon' was danced by Ayupova/Kolb -- the last time that I saw the ballerina perform. 'Markitanka' was led by Irina Zhelonkina -- another dancer who is rarely seen in solo roles today -- and Anton Korsakov.

re. Zhelonkina - Perhaps my eyes were playing tricks but, I could swear, I saw Zhelonkina dancing in the front row of the corps during the Garland Dance of 'Sleeping Beauty,' last week. Or perhaps it was her 'twin'? To think that Zhelonkina danced Aurora once or twice in the early '90s, before settling into second-soloist roles, such as Florine and Fairy Violente.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 11:59 am 
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Yes, Natalia, both works are priceless divertissements and I wish the Kirov would perform them more often.

By the way,Vishneva is now listed on the Internet affiche as dancing Jewels on April 5 and April 7, but she is not going to dance them; she is going to be in Berlin. Why do they go ahead and list her?
Vishneva says that she signed the Berlin contract in December and immediately informed the Kirov ballet administration.

Don Quixote will be filmed on the 6th with Novikova and Sarafanov.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 12:37 pm 
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ripowam wrote:
Vishneva ...... is going to be in Berlin. Why do they go ahead and list her?


I'm convinced that it's bumbling incompetence, rather than malice or deviousness.


re. the DVDs/films: So very soon we should expect a bonanza of DVDs from the Kirov-Mariinsky Ballet? Let's see, the rumor mill has promised us the following:

* Don Q with Novikova/Sarafanov
* Ondine with Vishneva/Kolb (although I've heard Sarafanov for this, too)
* Chemyakin Nutcracker with Obraztsova/Sarafanov
* Jewels with all of the stars cited earlier, including Sarafanov in 'Rubies'

I think I see a pattern here.... :)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 12:49 pm 
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Olesya Novikova will also be making her debut (I think ?) as Giselle in April. Another pattern here ?
Anyway, I wish Evgenia Obratzsova were filmed in Ondine, even if that's only to provide a vehicle for Leonid Sarafanov ;) By the way, is the Nutcracker DVD really going to be released ? In December it was unsure whether they had filmed it or not in Paris.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 1:03 pm 
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I think they envision a boxed set: "The Sarafanov Collection." And they could include an interview with him as well.

Novikova danced Giselle last year with Sarafanov.

Catherine, Ayupova's name was ballyhooed all around St. P as part of the Gala, according to Natalia on balletalert.com. She was also listed on the Internet affiche as part of the roster.

Last year's Nutcracker filming in Paris never happened, but I think the ballet was filmed in Paris in 2002 with Sarafanov and I think Golub.

Not only have they found a way to make sure that Vishneva was exluded from the Jewels taping, they have made this yet another opportunity to stick it to Scherbakov, who dances the Emeralds pas de trois in authentic Balanchine style. Korsakov will dance two Emeralds, and Shkylarov, who's never danced the role before, will dance the third.

The Balanchine Trust must be informed about this.


Last edited by ripowam on Tue Mar 28, 2006 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 1:46 pm 
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ripowam wrote:
I think they envision a boxed set: "The Sarafanov Collection." ......

....Ayupova's name was ballyhooed all around St. P as part of the Gala, according to Natalia .........



Sorry, I'm rolling on the floor about "The Sarafanov Collection." They must also give us a 30-minute "Day in the Life of..." documentary bit, too! Actually, I like him a lot in certain ballets; my problem is with his partnering of any girl who is taller than Obraztsova or Novikova.

That's me. I saw that Ayupova's name was printed in the souvenir programme book, as well as on the posters on the facade of the theater. A lot of people jumped for joy when they saw Ayupova's name on these documents. It's not as if TV and radio stations have been announcing it but all it takes is a mere printing in the posters and the booklet to set balletomanes on fire!


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