CriticalDance Forum

Kirov 2007-2008 Season
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Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Thu May 15, 2008 10:17 am ]
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Hmmm. That I cannot yet confirm. Let me TRY to view the video. I am on dialup, usually I can't see videos as the connection is never more than 50kbps here. Once I see it I will let you know though. I can only say that THIS Elena was very young -- so could be a 2002 graduate -- and very beautiful. I will get back to you...

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Thu May 15, 2008 10:47 am ]
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Ok I am pretty sure it is her. Looks exactly the same in the face/hair/limbs but she was much more polished in this performance than she is in the video clip....

Author:  NataliaN [ Thu May 15, 2008 11:39 am ]
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Thanks, Catherine. I have since done a bit of research and can attest that Evseeva graduated in 2001 -- one year before Obraztsova. So she must be 25/26 years the prime of her career. Her fairness and use of little makeup certainly makes her look like she's barely out of school, though.

Perhaps a subject for another thread but -- Is it just me thinking that last year's changes at the Mikhailovsky Theater (or "Maly" or "Mussorgsky"...whatever) have caused more than the usual changes that happen when the leadership shifts? It appears to be a seismic change with lots of the principals and soloists jumping ship and going to the Mariinsky, even if means a demotion to corps. Just two years ago, we had Evseeva, Kucheruk, Shestakova, Lomachenkova and Khabibulina (who should be the reigning prima of the Maly about now...same class as Lopatkina) as the main ballerinas of the troupe. Shirinkina was on her way up. Is Maria Richter, one of Dudinskaya's last graduates, still with the troupe or has she, too, been pushed out? Roman Mikhailev, their virtuoso prince (& husband-partner of Kucheruk), also left. Irina Perren seems to be safe, although she spent lots of the past season touring the USA with Hermitage Ballet.

I wonder how much of this change is the doing of the private millionaire businessman who is the theater's new manager & not necessarily the choice of Ruzimatov, the artistic head? St. Petersburg's "second ballet theater" has suddenly become very much a business enterprise, e.g., adding a new glitzy Spartacus but removing the rare choreographic gem, Esmeralda, from their rep -- a crying shame. I sure hope that somebody filmed that full-length Esmeralda before it died! The last link to the Petipa version, as set by Gusev.

p.s. to add -- Oleg Vinogradov was recently appointed to a high position at the Maly/Mikhailovsky/Mussorgsky. (Let's just call it the "3M"!) The changes came before his naming.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Thu May 15, 2008 7:32 pm ]
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Hi Natalia,

Thanks for all of that additional information. Wow!

In all honesty I haven't followed that troupe aside from the known appearance of Kolegova and others ïmmigrating across Nevsky... I think all of your suppositions are more than just highly probable though. Farukh has been at the helm less than a year, so I'd doubt any of this is his doing. He also, for whatever reason, doesnt strike me as the kind of major overhauler that is actually taking place.

I think it's safe to say that SOMETHING is going on.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Jun 01, 2008 7:50 am ]
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I hadn't known this but someone pointed out today that Batalov is also from the Maly... the number of dancers from there is larger than I thought. I had known only of Mercuriev (long since gone to the Bolshoi but he did come from the Maly first) and Sheshina who is still with the MT.

As a side note, there was an open air performance at the Strelka last night. I'll post comments shortly. First, a review of Friday's gala:

Gala Concert – Divertissements
Mariinsky Theatre
St. Petersburg, Russia
30 May 2008
By Catherine Pawlick

As part of the White Nights festival, the Kirov Ballet performed the first of several “gala concerts” that will punctuate two month’s worth of constant ballet and opera performances. Other concerts dedicated to the ballerinas of the Mariinsky Theatre will be held the second week in June.

For this performance, following a reprisal of “Carnavale”, the audience was treated to a series of divertissements that comprised the second half of the evening and featured several of the Kirov’s leading ballerinas.

Anastasia Kolegova and Evgeny Ivanchenko opened the sequence of pas de deux with the Black Swan Pas de Deux. Ivanchenko’s fine lines appeared more polished than they have in the past. Kolegova was a consistent, serious Odile. With a technique beyond reproach, her easy extensions and flexible feet are beautiful to watch, but in the role she was less fiery than others have been. She managed the requisite fouettes cleanly as well.

Next came Ekaterina Osmolkina with Mikhail Lobukhin in “Diana and Acteon” pas de deux from “Esmeralda.” Osmolkina’s delicate limbs somehow managed to attack the penché arabesques en pointe with gusto, and her petite allegro could not have been sharper. She excels in these types of roles and easily outshone Lobukhin, who apparently enjoys the jumps and turns that this variation allows him.

Uliana Lopatkina’s “Dying Swan” is no doubt her signature role. Never vulgar, overdone or stale, she manages to infuse the simple steps with a meaningful story each time she dances this short piece, and tonight was no exception. Her long, fragile limbs evoke the essence of the fluttery white bird, and a blur of bourrés gave the impression of a swan struggling to fly. Lopatkina received several well deserved curtain calls for her efforts. She is the image of perfection in this role.

Eight corps members, including Victoria Kutepova, Svetlana Ivanova, and Elena Vaskiovitch introduced the Grand Pas de Deux from “Don Quixote”. Ekaterina Kondaurova danced the single variation with a smooth elegance and grace that made it look as if she could tackle far more challenging choreography in her sleep, if she so chose. Victoria Tereshkina and Anton Korsakov took the honors of the main pas, both of them displaying the highest levels of bravura technique. Tereshkina was a virtual spinning top in her fouettes. Korsakov executed his variation with fervor, but appeared more winded than usual at the end.

Olesya Novikova and Andrian Fadeev followed in the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. Fadeev here was the ideal partner up until the final lift, when Novikova got ahead of him slightly and they didn’t quite make it into the wing. Aside from that minor detail, Fadeev’s clean lines and boyish grin lent the piece the requisite lightness of character. Novikova has a knack for appearing gracious in roles such as this and she –like Kondaurova before her – also appeared a master of the choreography, executing the footwork with ease, while maintaining a soft epaulement throughout.

A special treat came in the form of Andrey Ivanov’s appearance in “Harlequinade” alongside Elena Sheshina. The couple were adorable in this quaint pas de deux that is performed all too rarely. Ivanov is one of the company’s best kept secrets but has rarely danced in recent months. That he loves the stage is readily apparent, but he is also a consummate partner, even for Sheshina, who was adorable in her role but seemed to slightly outsize him.

Leonid Sarafanov was a refreshing example of clear technique and bravura strength in the pas de deux from “Le Corsaire”. It was a pleasure to watch him, although Alina Somova disappointed as his partner.

The evening ended with “The Death of Roses”, Roland Petit’s work set to Mahler’s 5th Symphony. Uliana Lopatkina and Ivan Kozlov have performed this pas de deux countless times in more than a handful of international cities in the past 10 months, but this is the first time they’ve done so on the Mariinsky stage. The piece suits Lopatkina perfectly, although set to recorded music it was almost anti-climactic to place it after the fireworks of “Corsaire”. Nonetheless, the slow plies and lyrical movements lent a “blossoming” effect to Lopatkina’s rose which, at the final notes, sadly crumpled to the ground. This is a piece one could see more than a few times and never tire of. Petit’s choreography intrigues, and Lopatkina’s long lines and beautiful technique here have yet another opportunity to display themselves.

Mikhail Sinkevich conducted the evening aside from the final piece.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Jun 01, 2008 7:59 am ]
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For those who know St. Petersburg, the Strelka is right by the Voenni museum on Vasilyostrov, and it looks across at the Hermitage (and across at the fortress). The city had set up a stage with two large screens here and closed the streets so that passersby could stand there to watch the 9pm performance. Due to the white nights, it was perfectly light outside, but the newly installed fountains on the Neva, probably less than 100 meters behind the "Stage", meant the dancers (and crowd) got water mist blown at them. Word was the dancers were getting much wetter as the wind blew at their backs -- it was not perfect weather for this outdoor performance but it oculd have been much worse.

The performance lasted a good 90 minutes, uninterrupted. Highlights included:

Elena Evseeva in the pas de deux from Spring Waters. The epitomy of spring lightness, those who've seen this pas know that it is toss-dip-twirl after toss-dip-twirl...A crowd pleaser.

Daniel Simkin (I heard he is the hottest new commodity now headed for the USA?) dressed in a button down white shirt and tie, with black slacks, in a very "who cares" -ish dance that drew wild applause.

Anton Korsakov in a Ukrainian Cossack outfit - flash in the pan solo that also got the crowd excited.

Ti En Ru in the drum dance from Bayadere -- with life fire eaters and spinning sparklers onstage as they danced.

Osmolkina with Lobukhin in a pas similar to Diana&Acteon -- the name escapes me at the moment but he danced it at the festival.

Tereshkina and Fadeev in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.

Kolegova with the United Zoo hip hop dancers in a unique little number for those who understand only hip hop.

Denis and Anastasia Matvienko in the grand pas from Don Q.

A pair of dancers in Briantsev's pas de deux set to Chopin.

There were a few other dancers, not of the Mariinsky, whose names escape me; one woman in red danced a modern solo... but the highlights are as listed above.

Following the performance, a 5-10 minute display of fireworks directly overhead wowed the crowd. The fireworks were so directly overhead that the spectators (myself included) had to shield their eyes from the falling ash and cardboard, remnants of the fireworks.

It really was a spectacular evening, dedicated to the city's 305th birthday (May 27).

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:24 am ]
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Unfortunately I was traveling on business the past 6 days, and missed Lopatkina’s Gala concert on June 8th. Her program included short pieces that I have seen and reviewed previously on this site, however, for those interested, there were two new pieces as well. “Stabat Mater”, set to music by Pergolisi was danced by Francesco Ventrilia, who had also choreographed the piece. Lopatkina then appeared in another work of Ventriliya’s called “Antagonisms”, set to the music of Yana Tirsena by Franchesco Ventriliya from the Teatro La Scala. Word was the evening was very well received.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:44 am ]
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Programs for the upcoming galas on the 12th and 14th (not listed on the MT site).

June 12th.
Part I. Divertissements.
1) Pas de Quatre. Kondaurova, Selina, Shirinkina (debut) and Evseeva.
2) Diana and Acteon pdd. Tereshkina and Lobukhin.
3) Giselle pdd. Kolegova and Ivanchenko.
4) Don Q Grand Pas. Shklyarov and Obratsova.
5) Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. Osmolkina and Zuizin.
6) Pavlova and Cecchetti. Lopatkina and Kozlov.

Part II is Ballet Imperial. Somova and Kolb.

June 14th.
Part I. Divertissements.
1) Pas de Quatre. Kondaurova, Selina, Shirinkina and Dumchenko.
2) Diana and Acteon pdd. Evseeva and Lobukhin.
3) Giselle pdd. Kolegova and Ivanchenko.
4) Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. Somova and Kolb.

Part II is Ballet Imperial. Tereshkina and Shklyarov.

Author:  Cassandra [ Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:09 am ]
Post subject:  Kirov in Baden Baden 2008

The Kirov is back at the Festspielhaus in Baden Baden, Germany at Christmas with five programmes.

Tues, 23.12.08 20:00 Tchaikovsky: "Swan Lake"

Thur, 25.12.08 18:00 Tchaikovsky: "The Nutcracker"

Fri, 26.12.08 18:00 Zemlinsky: "The Crystal Heart"

Sat, 27.12.08 19:00 Tchaikovsky: "The Nutcracker"

Sun, 28.12.08 13:00 Minkus: "Don Quixote"

Sun, 28.12.08 19:00 Minkus: "Don Quixote"

Mon, 29.12.08 20:00 Ballet Gala Stars of the Kirov

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:03 am ]
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“Apollo”, “Prodigal Son”, “Symphony in C”
Kirov Ballet
By Catherine Pawlick
17 July 2008

Perhaps due to the visit of the President of Italy, or perhaps the peak of the “White Nights Festival”, the Mariinsky Theatre burgeoned with patrons on Thursday night as the company performed an all-Balanchine bill that included one special piece.

Alexander Sergeyev graced the stage in the title role of “Apollo”, alongside Ekaterina Osmolkina’s debut as Terpsichore. Sergeyev’s passionate energy and raw individualism proved exactly what this role needs, and is by far the best rendition of the young god that I’ve seen here in four years worth of performances. Apollo’s power was apparent as Sergeyev pushed his arms through the air, exploring the limits of his human form, now gaining his balance as a young god, now tugging at the three muses who pull him forward as if like racehorses. At the end of each of the muses’ variations, Sergeyev’s erect posture stipulated the pride and omniscience of a true deity. Throughout, he was a master of the role.

Yana Selina was brightly pleasing as Calliope, her sketches in the air full of grace. In the ensemble work her arabesques remained suspended longer than the other ladies. Maya Dumchenko danced Polyhimnia with verve, but had difficulty in the pique pirouettes to arabesque. She seemed to leave even Apollo a bit displeased. Unfortunately, Osmolkina did not fare much better. While adequate, her Terpsichore lacked the stuff that a true Dancing Goddess is made of: her hip shifts on pointe weren’t quite Balanchinean, and she left me longing for more.

In “The Prodigal Son”, Andrey Ivanov was given ample food for his great acting chops. A consummate performer with not nearly enough exposure in dramatic roles, Ivanov excelled as the impetuous Son alongside his friends, danced by Grigory Popov and Anatoly Marchenko. The short duet between Popov and Marchenko in which the two boys battle it out contained the perfect amount of masculine recklessness. As the father, veteran Vladimir Ponomarev was an imposing figure in the initial and final scenes. As Ivanov pulled himself up into his father’s embrace with every last bit of strength, it was impossible not to feel the surge of emotion stirred by this old tale.

And finally, there was “Symphony in C”. This ballet of all ballet’s has not been performed here at the Maryinsky in at least four years. One can ponder the possible reasons: injuries and various dancers on tour here and there means that rarely is a cast –despite the overlarge size of this troupe – all available at the same time. Tonight was a treat. Four principal couples, eight soloist pairs, and 28 corps members all appeared and danced one of Balanchine’s greatest works to repeat curtain calls from the audience. It was a ballet --and a night – I will never forget.

I shall go to my grave with an image of Uliana Lopatkina moving through the series of ultra slow fouettes into arabesque en pointe, her legs shifting through perfect academic positions with lyrical grace, a combination of pinpoint accuracy and sheer elegance. If her partner, Ivan Kozlov, was less than poised in his role, it still didn’t detract from the ultimate ballerina of the Mariinsky claiming her spot in the Second Movement.

She offered visual relief from her predecessor in the First Movement, Alina Somova of the stiff, widespread fingers that marred classical and neoclassical lines alike. My heart went out to Andrian Fadeev who once again was given the responsibility of supporting this young thing. Nonetheless he managed a triple pirouette that paused en releve, closed in fifth and then finished with a perfect double tour. I laughed out loud when, intent on continuing to bow in front of the curtain, Fadeev had to pull her offstage with his arm. That moment epitomized the essence of Somova: lacking in grace and professionalism, and determined to be rewarded for both deficiencies, like it or not.

Luckily another distraction in the first movement were the demi-soloists. Yana Selina with the rarely cast Fyodor Murashov, and the equally rarely cast Maria Shirinkina with Maksim Krebtov. This foursome amazed with their crystalline delivery. Shirinkina has hardly been given such prominent placement on stage to date and she truly rose to the occasion, expressing herself as a true Balanchine ballerina would. You would never guess that she is not yet 20 years old. Both Murashov and Krebtov were considerate cavaliers, and Selina’s arabesques were to the eyes what silk is to the skin.

For those that love panache, the Third Movement brought Olesya Novikova and Leonid Sarafanov, resident deliverers of fanfare and pyrotechnics. If Sarafanov’s feet were slightly sickled in his precise tours, no one was the wiser for it, because he completes everything with a “ta-da” gesture that makes you believe he’s just done something fantastic. Novikova’s legs were crisp, her arms soft in the speedy partnering sections, an equal match for Sarafanov’s bravura on all accounts. Both dancers are invigorating to watch.

The Fourth Movement brought us Nadezhda Gonchar alongside Anton Korsakov. In hindsight there isn’t much to say about Korsakov. The demi-soloists, Anastasia Petushkova and Karen Iohanessen, with Daria Vasnetsova and Denis Firsov, drew my attention instead. Nadezhda Gonchar of course is a woman of steel: always reliable, always on her game, always there in place and on time. And this, after having danced the “Siren” in Prodigal Son earlier that evening.

Pavel Bubelnikov managed another uncharacteristically impressive evening, for the orchestra sounded magnificent under his baton.

Author:  Cygne [ Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:04 pm ]
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She offered visual relief from her predecessor in the First Movement, Alina Somova of the stiff, widespread fingers that marred classical and neoclassical lines alike. My heart went out to Andrian Fadeev who once again was given the responsibility of supporting this young thing. Nonetheless he managed a triple pirouette that paused en releve, closed in fifth and then finished with a perfect double tour. I laughed out loud when, intent on continuing to bow in front of the curtain, Fadeev had to pull her offstage with his arm. That moment epitomized the essence of Somova: lacking in grace and professionalism, and determined to be rewarded for both deficiencies, like it or not.

What? :?

I'd like to add to this report, my own eye-ball witness/memories of her bent wrists, lack of epaulement, port de bras, musicality, phrasing and turnout. If this incident had happened at Le Garnier (oh God yes, there), or La Scala or Covent Garden, etc. the management would have her pull up a chair with them to discuss her bad attitude and her future. And that, justifiably so, especially in view of the fact that her legitimate international reviews on the whole are scathing at worst, and mediocre at best. Most recently she's was promoted to 1st Soloist, but at the same time, she failed to capture New York's imagination in April the way that Tereshkina and Kondaurova did. How can the management explain this paradox? Why did that happen? Because they, like Prima Ballerina Lopatkina, and other fellow soloists such as Obratzova, Novikova etc. are far superior dancers than she. There's no just cause nor excuse for Somova's behavior. And even if she were a competent dancer it's still tasteless and un-professional. Moreover, this is not her first 'hogging the footlights at curtain call' incident on the Maryinsky stage.

Amazingly, there are those who still think that she might be able to succeed in Balanchine, Forsythe and other modern choreography. It's a well documented fact that she can hardly cope with the few Petipa roles she's already been given. Her inconsistencies, audacity, lack of stage etiquette and humility - especially with those who outrank her by title and accomplishments needs to be addressed. Therefore, it's unfortunate that Fadeev felt he needed to take matters into his own hands on the spot, by 'hooking' her off the stage. It's come to that. This stuff should not be indulged or overlooked. Her overall inadequacy and actions do not become a 1st Soloist of the Maryinsky Ballet, about to begin her sixth season as a professional. MO.

Pavel Bubelnikov managed another uncharacteristically impressive evening, for the orchestra sounded magnificent under his baton.

I am very happy to hear that Pasha has improved and is going from strength to strength with his conducting! :D

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:43 pm ]
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Cygne wrote:
Because they, like Prima Ballerina Lopatkina, and other fellow soloists such as Obratzova, Novikova etc. are far superior dancers than she.

Hold it right there. A little technicality here--I don't think the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet has given out the title of prima ballerina officially in a long, long time, though I do think if the Mariinsky management bothered to bestow that title, Ulyana Lopatkina is definitely the leading contender to get that title.

Why do I have this feeling that Alina Somova will not be with the Mariinsky troupe at the rate things are going?

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:19 am ]
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Oops, Cygne, you're right. I forgot to mention the bent wrists, but those were present as well.

I was disappointed enough when I saw her name on the playbill. But it was really bad...really really bad...!

Sacto, one can only hope! I however think that since Fateev is already at the helm, any changes would have already been made by now. Also I *think* the MT has to have a reason to fire a dancer. I am not sure they can just let them go based on preference, once hired, as it is a state institution... I know if the dancers miss morning class or rehearsals, they can be fired for that. But it seems as if simple poor adherence to classical tenets is not enough to get pink slipped (if there were such a thing in Russia).

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:22 am ]
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
But it seems as if simple poor adherence to classical tenets is not enough to get pink slipped (if there were such a thing in Russia).

Well, I'm sure Gergiev and Fateev maybe conjuring up a way to "ease out" Somova without causing a scandal. :twisted: Now, if we can just get the Mariinsky Theatre management to tremendously expand its performing repertoire of classical ballets, though I'm not sanguine about that idea.... :roll: I'd like to see them revive The Fountain of Bakhchisarai with Ulyana Lopatkina as Zarema and Viktoria Tereshkina as Maria, just for starters! Or how about reviving The Bronze Horseman?

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:15 am ]
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Sacto, the Bronze Horseman is a great idea.

Actually the MT routinely performs Fountain of Bach here. Lopatkina never would dance it, those roles are considered character roles...[/i]

EDITED TO SAY: I was thinking of "Polovtsian Dances", not "Fountain" when I posted this (as you will note on the next page in my next post). I will not delete the subsequent discussion but want to amend this. I have seen many classical ballerinas in Fountain here in Petersburg: i haven't seen Lopatkina in it, here, yet, but it doesn't mean she won't be cast.

I DO hold to my statement that she would never appear in Polovtsian though! :-)

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