CriticalDance Forum

Kirov 2007-2008 Season
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Author:  Cassandra [ Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:11 am ]
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Lopatkina never would dance it, those roles are considered character roles..

Are you sure about that? When that ballet was danced in London the two Zaremas were Asylmuratova and the guesting Guillem, neither a character dancer.

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:24 am ]
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Actually the MT routinely performs Fountain of Bach here. Lopatkina never would dance it, those roles are considered character roles...

If I remember correctly, Lopatkina did perform the role of Zarema in the late 1990's and got rave reviews when the ballet was performed in New York City in 1999. She's got enough "acting skills" to pull it off again probably today. So which ballerina among the principals and soloists right now could play the roles of Zarema and Maria successfully? :?:

(A bit off-topic: I found out why both Galina Ulanova and Maya Plisetskaya had such strong acting presence on-stage. According to this PhD thesis from Florida State University: ... 05-133328/

At the time both ballerinas came to prominence, the tenets of "Socialist Realism" demanded new ballets with far more "acting skills" than the old Petipa-choreographed ballets. As such, that's why when you see Ulanova in Giselle or Plisetskaya in Swan Lake their skill to express emotions really stands out.)

I do think, however, you can forget about either MT or the Bolshoi reviving The Bronze Horseman, though. :( The fact this ballet was a lot of emphasis on on-stage effects at the expense of dance means it may not translate well to today's balletomanes.

Author:  Cygne [ Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:33 pm ]
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. . . So which ballerina among the principals and soloists right now could play the roles of Zarema and Maria successfully?

Hi Sacto7654! Of the active principal dancers I'd vote for Lopatkina and Tereshkina as Zarema. Pavlenko, (who is currently inactive) would equally shine with them in this role. I can't picture Tereshkina as Maria. This role is very lyrical and 'Juliet-like.' Maria is an innocent ingenue, a victim of Zarema's jealousy and wrath. And like Juliet, Maria isn't in control of her destiny, and is a victim of circumstances. Tereshkina's stage persona doesn't strike me as tragic soubrette/ingenue.

I wouldn't consider Vishneva an "active" Maryinsky principal. This is due to her absence from her home company for most of the year as an international guest artist. However, if Vishneva had Zarema in her repertoire, (she doesn't), the role fits her dramatic temperament, so she'd be accurate in it. However, I can say that I've seen enough of her tragedienne roles to deduct that her interpretation would be indistinguishable from her Zoebide, and her Queen Mehkmene Banu in "Legend of Love." That leaves Nioradze and Makhalina both of whom seldom perform today, but are on the roster as princpals. Makhalina danced Maria only, (IMO a huge miscast), but this was very early in her career. Nioradze has danced Zarema; this wasn't a miscast.

Potential Zarema's? Among the current crop of soloists I'd choose Ekaterina Kondaurova. With excellent preparation, I predict that she would be wonderful in the role, and it would be another milestone for her. Another great possibility would be Polina Rassadina. This is thinking out of the box. Yes, she is a Principal Character Dancer, but like Catherine stated earlier, Zarema is a very charcter-like role, and Rassadina is the most outstanding female character dancer the Maryinsky has on staff right now. But, then again, character dancers do not perform en pointe. My guess is that Rassadina does dance en pointe (because she's a member of the company), but as she is a character dancer this isn't her primary area of expertise. The Maryinsky doesn't take these kinds of casting liberties between classical and character dancers. They take outrageous liberties when casting leading female roles in the classical repertory, ( :arrow: Somova :roll:). But if they ever crossed the great character - classical divide, Rassadina would be great if given the opportunity.

Of the forgotten 1st Soloists, Dumchenko has also made her mark as Maria. She rarely performs, yet she's in her prime years. Therefore, I was very, very happy she was given an opportunity to dance in "Apollo," July 17. Perhaps if she were not so under-utilized, she might have been a little bit more present for Polyhimnia :D. Of the active 1st Soloists, Obratzova has already triumphed as Maria.The only other 1st Soloists that I think might have had a shot at this role would be Novikova and Golub. However, the latter two do not have the same dramatic range and versatility that Obratzova possesses. MO.

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Tue Jul 22, 2008 5:52 am ]
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Based on what you described, there's too many good ballerinas to play the role of Zarema and woefully not enough ballerinas to play the role of Maria? Great.... :roll:

Mind you, Lopatkina or Tereshkina as Zarema and Orbatzova as Maria is something I'll pay top Euros for. :)

You might want to read that PhD thesis I referenced earlier. It talked about why MT will not likely revive The Bronze Horseman anytime soon, but still has The Fountain of Bakhchisarai still in the active repertoire. Indeed, it was actually a minor miracle of sorts the Bolshoi even revived The Flames of Paris despite the major changes in the current revival.

(I do think if somebody in Russia decides to revive The Bronze Horseman it would be the Bolshoi, since the version originally danced at the Bolshoi in 1949 is considered the "reference" version in Russia now.)

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:02 am ]
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Irina Zhelonkina would be perfect as Maria, a role she has danced before.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:47 am ]
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I for whatever reason was thinking Polovtsian Dances throughout this thread.

So erase that comment!

YES -- for Fountain, I agree and I rescind what I wrote, as I have seen Veronika Ivanova in the role, and she is nothing if not a classical ballerina.

I have *not* seen Lopatkina cast in this ballet in the past four years here in St. Petersburg, (and had she been cast, I would have attended), but that doesn't mean she didn't dance it abroad or wouldn't dance it here, given the opportunity.

Sorry about any confusion. I repeat, I was thinking of Polovtsian with that comment in my other post.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:51 am ]
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Sacto, Socialist Realism! You're bringing back to me my Soviet Film class! :-)

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:24 pm ]
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Sacto, Socialist Realism! You're bringing back to me my Soviet Film class! :-)

What's interesting is that because of the "Iron Curtain," people in the West missed out on a lot of great movies and animation done during the Soviet era. I would LOVE to see some of the more popular Soviet-era movies restored with pristine prints and subtitled in English so people in the West can enjoy these films.

By the way, I really enjoyed that PhD. thesis, because it talks about how the works of Alexander Pushkin influenced the creation of ballets from around 1920 to the early 1950's. Alas, the comments in that thesis makes it likely that for the more "modern" ballets, (NOT Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella, which are still strongly rooted in Classical ballet) only The Fountain of Bakhchisarai will stay in the repertoire of MT and the Bolshoi in its original form.

I am sorely disappointed that MT is NOT willing to mount a new, authentic production of Soviet-era ballets from the 1920's to early 1950's. It would certainly pique the interest of balletomanes in St. Petersburg to see a revival of things like The Red Poppy, The Flames of Paris, or even The Bronze Horseman (difficult as the latter ballet is for modern balletomanes to understand). Varery Gergiev would be almost a national hero if he could approve and assist in reviving these ballets for the Mariinsky Theatre. 8)

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Fri Jul 25, 2008 2:04 am ]
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Sacto, I hereby officially proclaim you Ballet Ambassador to the Mariinsky Theatre. Here is your top hat, your cape, and a one-way ticket to Gergiev's office... maybe that would help? :-)

Author:  LMCtech [ Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:41 am ]
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I second the motion and add a cane for good measure, for beting sense into the artistic management.

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:56 am ]
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Thanks for the suggestion except I don't like to wear a top hat and carry a cane--this isn't the 1940's! :)

By the way, is the end of the White Nights Festival on July 27th means the "official" end of the 2007-2008 season? (Hopefully, they'll make an announcement of the preliminary details of the 2008-2009 season by mid-August at latest.)

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sat Jul 26, 2008 6:04 am ]
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Yes, the ballet's final performance is tonight, Swan Lake with Tereshkina. Then Grigorovich's company enters with Volochkova in tow for their short stay (I will not be attending). This concludes the 2007-08 season.

As for early postings... I do not have any high hopes on that note. In the past four years here, in most cases the new season info has only come out in early Sept.... and then only for the months of Sept/Oct...

(p.s. I had visions of a Diaghilev type figure heading into Gergiev's office, but if you don't want the top hat and cane, you can wear a baseball cap and sneakers... just dont turn the cap backwards a la ugly Americans!)

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Sat Jul 26, 2008 6:27 am ]
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Yes, the ballet's final performance is tonight, Swan Lake with Tereshkina. Then Grigorovich's company enters with Volochkova in tow for their short stay (I will not be attending). This concludes the 2007-08 season.

As for early postings... I do not have any high hopes on that note. In the past four years here, in most cases the new season info has only come out in early Sept.... and then only for the months of Sept/Oct...

Now that the season is technically over, does that mean the dancers can even GO on a short vacation?

Hopefully, we'll see the 2008-2009 season topic here on this forum at the beginning of September 2008 when they make the announcements for the early season performances. (I for one would love to see MT do a revival of the exact version of Swan Lake as Petipa/Ivanov did it in 1895--mind you, the very different corps de ballet dancing in Act I Scene 2 and the tragic ending might not suit Russian balletomanes, especially the older crowd used to the Konstantin Sergeyev 1950 version MT now uses for its performances..)

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:04 am ]
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Yes, vacations for all for more than a full month!

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:04 am ]
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Mixed Program: «The Rite of Spring», «Prodigal Son», and «Symphony in C»
Mariinsky Theatre
St. Petersburg, Russia
25 July 2008
by Catherine Pawlick

That Nijinsky's choreography for «The Rite of Spring» in combination with Nicholas Roerich's avant-garde set designs reflect perfectly the complex dissonance and uneven measures of Stravinsky's accompanying score was once again visible as the ballet returned to the Mariinsky stage at the close of the 2007-2008 season. The company performs this wild attempt at modern movements rarely, and indeed the piece is disturbing enough to warrant that infrequency. Friday night's performance, as faithful to the original as could be, nonetheless left viewers unsettled, which is, as we know, part of the choreographer's original intent.

The four foot long white beard decorating Vladimir Ponomarov as the Shaman, and his deep, wondering stare as he poised two flattened palms near his ears was just one of many symbolic images in the course of the ballet. Anastasia Petushkova danced the role of the proverbial sacrificial lamb with undying energy, fulfilling the rigid choreographic style with ease in the repetitive jumps and head jiggles of her role. The costumes — long black braids with golden headbands and vibrant colors that are visually jarring — seemed almost a caricature of ancient Russian peasant dress. Despite Alexander Repnikov's unwavering baton, this viewer was relieved at the close of the ballet. There is enough ugliness in the world that displaying such dissonance onstage is hardly a vacation for the eyes and soul.

Pavel Bubelnikov took over the orchestra in the second ballet of the evening, «Prodigal Son». Mikhail Lobukhin in the title role was slightly less impressive on the heels of Andrey Ivanov in the same, just days ago. Tatiana Serova debuted as the Siren in a strange combination of technical adequacy and vacant dramatism. An ill-fitting pair of new pointe shoes distracted from the lines of her legs, and one could sense no electricity between her and Lobukhin, the latter content to strut his stuff in the solo sections.

The evening's pace dragged in these first two ballets, but the glory of Balanchine's «Symphony in C», a welcome and long awaited conclusion to the evening, more than compensated for seeming torpidity.

An odd casting choice filled the first movement when Irma Nioradze attempted the soloist role. Unfortunately the choreography revealed her now stiffened back and diminished flexibility: in the series of saute arabesques, even while leaning on Maxim Zuizin's attentive arms, Nioradze tossed her head back with vulgar violence, attempting a Kitri-like kick that never materialized. Likewise her leg repeatedly hit a turned-in arabesque line that not only distracted, it disappointed. While glad Somova was not cast, this selection was hardly an improvement. Only the two demi soloists provided pleasant dancing. Anna Lavrinenko's refined port de bras and perfect epaulement matched beautiful legwork displayed by both her and Elena Cherpasova. Both seemed overjoyed to be on stage, and moved as though the steps were second nature to them. Would that these two girls had danced for us instead of the pas de deux.

This viewer thought she had seen heaven on stage last week with Lopatkina in the Second Movement. In fact, Ekaterina Kondaurova delivered an equally breathtaking rendition of this adagio, her limbs melting from one pose to the next, seamlessly, like thick molasses. Even her arms in the reverse port de bras through 5th high were smoother than Lopatkina had managed. Her partner, Evgeny Ivanchenko, was nondescript enough to not distract from the ballerina's beautiful lines. Yes, ballerina, for Kondaurova, after this performance, deserves the title. Demi soloist Svetlana Ivanova drew attention for her textbook perfect arabesque, a physical sculpture of perfection.

In the Allegro Vivace, Ekaterina Osmolkina joined Vladimir Schklyarov for a happy romp about the stage. Both dancers displayed the requisite vivacity with wide smiles, and matching high jumps,
she sharp and quick, and he soaring as far as humanly possible.

In the Fourth Movement, Evgenia Obratsova appeared suddenly, dancing her sequence of pas de bourree fouette and chaine turns downstage like a lightning bolt. Obratsova's adaptability to various roles and genres never ceases to amaze. Her infectious smile and surefire technique can win over any spectator, and her dancing eyes cement the deal. As her partner, Alexei Timofeev's virtually elastic limbs had him bouncing higher than Schklyarov, even if in a slightly more sloppy manner.

As the entire company appeared onstage for the finale, the glory of classicism reigned. With only a final «Swan Lake» left before the season closes, this display of virtuosity left an indelible impression. In just two more months, the new season begins.

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