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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:03 pm 
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With six Swan Lakes scheduled for the Festival I have been going through my memory and various videos (mine and the internet's) and am coming to the conclusion that there are a lot of remarkable Odette-Odiles dancing right now.

Several that are maybe not as well known as others are....

Marina Rzhannikova (born 1974, Moscow Classical Ballet)
Lucia Lacarra (born 1975, Bavarian State Ballet, Munich)
Irina Kolesnikova (born 1980, St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre)
Polina Semionova (born 1984, Staatsballett Berlin)

Lucia Lacarra, who danced with the San Francisco Ballet as , is one Odette-Odile dancer that I'm really enjoying watching at the moment. She is extremely flowing and sensually expressive. I have watched her along with Svetlana Zakharova and I really like the comparison. Svetlana Zakharova may not be as sinuous, but she moves like air.

I would imagine that the dancers invited to the Festival will be from the major companies. We'll see who finally performs. With all the great possibilities it should be quite beautiful.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:40 am 
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Further information about the Mariinsky Festival has been posted on the company's website : the first two performances will be devoted to the premiere of a new two-act ballet by Kirill Semonov, called Glass Heart, with music by Alexander von Zemlinsky.

Has anyone heard of this ?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:14 am 
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Buddy, according to someone on the Mariinka forum, the six sets of Swan Lake principals will be:

1. Lopatkina- Bolle
2. Aleksandrova -Tsiskaridze
3. Vishneva - ??? (Siegfried not known)
4. Rojo- Fadeyev
5. Murphy-Kolb
6. Letestu-Martinez

Sorry that Part is not among them.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 11:34 am 
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Thanks, Natalia and Azulynn, for the information. It looks like a very fine casting for the Swan Lakes and not unexpected.

About the Odette-Odiles....

Diana Vishneva is extremely fine and possibly one of the most exciting and interesting ballerinas that I've ever seen. Uliana Lopatkina is probably one of the best ballerinas ever and certainly shines in this role. They, along with Daria Pavlenko, are among the most noticeable stars at the Mariinsky right now.

Maria Alexandrova along with Svetlana Zakharova and Svetlana Lunkina are among the finest interpreters of this role at the Bolshoi that I have seen.

As much as I will miss Alina Cojocaru this year, I will look forward to seeing Tamara Rojo. Alina has been a fixture at the Festival. She's been there for the last three years that I've attended, probably more. I sort of expect her to be there. Her performances have always been 'better than great' and the audiences seem to love her.

By the way a London reviewer, whose review I've spent about a half hour trying to locate on the internet, wrote something recently saying that Alina Cojocaru 'danced like the "Butterfly" that she really is'. As far as I'm concerned Alina Cojocaru is now--"The Butterfly".

Tamara Rojo has received some very nice comments on the internet about her past performances of Odette-Odile so I am really looking forward to this.

I don't really know the Paris Opera dancers that well, but off the top of my head I would have expected Agnes Letestu to be the choice. She is a beautifully graceful dancer. I have also heard very fine things about Myriam Ould-Brahan, but I don't know a thing about her. I look forward to seeing her at The Stars Of The 21st Century next week in New York on my way to Europe.

I was sort of expecting Maria Kowrosky to be at least one guest from New York, but Gillian Murphy is certainly an excellent choice. I saw her perform Swan Lake twice in Detroit last year and loved her as did the audience. "Our Veronika" (as named by James Wolcott) was a long shot but she is always on my wish list anywhere. Maybe next year.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 9:02 am 
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NataliaN wrote:
... according to someone on the Mariinka forum, the six sets of Swan Lake principals will be:
1. Lopatkina- Bolle
2. Aleksandrova -Tsiskaridze
3. Vishneva - ??? (Siegfried not known)
4. Rojo- Fadeyev
5. Murphy-Kolb
6. Letestu-Martinez


While the Mariinsky site had confirmed the participation of four of the above listed dancers (Lopatkina, Rojo, Vishneva and Murphy- in reverse order of date appearance), as of today the site has removed
all but Lopatkina with "to be announced". What's going on?

In addition, the final night Gala participants listed earlier have been removed too. Among them were Cojocaru. Lacarra, Corella, Kobborg.

Moreover, the program, originally announced for the 22nd of March, of
Carnaval, Pierrrot Lunaire, and Le Reveil de Flore has been delisted.

Can anyone provide any enlightenment? Natalia? Catherine?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 9:45 am 
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Greetings

Kowroski has been replaced in most of her recent NYCB performances, which would indicate that she is probably either ill or injured. NYCB is also appearing in DC and London in the coming months, so there may have been a clash of schedules.

If my memory is correct, Cojocaru is also injured or at least in the process of recovering from an injury - think her Royal Ballet schedule has been lightened as of late.

It wouldn't be impossible that the casting was copied from last year and no-one realized the glitch until recently - it's all too easy to use last year's webpage as a template and forget to update the information for this year....

Kate


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:24 am 
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That's quite a word - "delisted"! Gosh, I hope that the entire festival has not been delisted. It could be that the they are in the process of rethinking the entire misguided concept of a Swan-heavy festival.

re. Kowroski - She is fine and dancing up a storm in NYC. I saw her at the Hubbe Farewell Gala last week, for example, doing a magnificent job in Western Symphony.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:00 pm 
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Since the, however, she's been replaced in the remaining performances - that's generally sign of illness or injury.

Kate


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:32 pm 
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JPC, I share your concerns! I'm actually in California at the moment, so I can't provide additional insight. I'm concerned about the "delisting" of Carnaval as well, and that makes no sense to me that they've (seemingly) replaced it with the Glass Heart... I'd relegate that and the disappearance of particular dancer names to typical MT administration issues though...ie., they'll know about a week beforehand who is dancing and when :wink: I do wonder if the whole Six Swan Lakes plan still holds.

If I hear anything I will post it here.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 11:42 am 
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I'm back in the quiet Swiss mountain town where I have spent a great deal of time the last fifteen years and I am starting to think more about the Swan Lake performances that I am hoping to see in a few weeks at the Mariinsky Festival.

Interestingly the village figure skating club is performing it's annual show and this year it is...."Swan Lake" ! The club by the way was started about eight years ago by a young woman from Canada, who by herself and with no financial reward, has done a wonderful job coaching about 100 members (almost all girls). Her Swan Lake will be her own take on the story and looks to be very charming with some beautifully choreographed elements.

I told her that I will be going to Saint Petersburg for the Festival and that the ballet company, that rarely performs the same ballet two times in a row, is in fact going to perform six nights in a row of Swan Lake.----"It must be in the air.", she replied.

So I am watching my Swan Lake videos on my computer with Svetlana Zakharova, Marina Rzhannikova, and Yulia Makhalina, all wonderful. I can't watch any internet videos here because I only have low speed access at the moment. So I just found my Gillian Murphy version in a shipping box and hope to view it next.

Could I please take a quick look at Gillian Murphy as one example of the high level of interesting international stars that may be appearing at the Festival this year. It would appear that she might be NYC's representative this year, especially since Maria Kowrosky seems to be out for awhile. I saw Gillian Murphy perform Swan Lake last year in Detroit and she was so well received that they gave her a rescheduled lead in a second performance, probably for that reason. As I mentioned in a post at the time, I feel that her performances and that of the company in general were far superior to those on the previously released video. The video is still pretty good and at least gives some idea of what to expect live.

I think that the Saint Petersburg audience will be in for quite a treat. The difference between Gillian Murphy live and the video is that live she really didn't try to affect her character and in this case the difference for me was impressive. She is absolutely beautiful, so in being herself this time, she really did the job. Her Odette was done with a beautiful, natural focus and her Odile was pure feminine charisma. I have mentioned in the past that I have seen Odile performed as what I consider to be a captivating effort to win over a man with no added meaning (done beautifully by Maria Alexandrova) and I feel that Gillian Murphy's version is like this.

Also, besides being an excellent technician (spins, etc.), she has a wonderfully healthy looking physique for a ballerina, and her beautiful silhouette, standing on the cliff in the final act, is an image that comes to mind immediately when I think about her.

There will be other exceptional dancers as well that will be visitors to the Mariinsky stage. One wonderful possibility, hinted at by the Mariinka discusion forum but never officially mentioned, would be Lucia Lacarra. Her sensual flexibility and expressiveness would be great to see at this Festival.

So I sit back and wait to see which actual dancers will appear. The list of possible Odette-Odile dancers in the world today is exciting. The actual list of dancers that has been proposed so far is very impressive.

The one constant in all these performances will be the Kirov-Mariinsky Ballet Company itself. It will probably offer at least one of it's own female principals as well as it's backup company. The heart of the backup dancers will be the *women's corps de ballet*. I saw every performance of Swan Lake a year and a half ago in Chicago and this corps de ballet is something that I could have watched easily for another month or more. They were always excellent and never quite the same. To get an idea how good they are take a look at the Yulia Makhalina Swan Lake video (I don't have the Uliana Lopatkina one yet.).


Please take a look at my impressions of the corps dancers at the time if you are interested.

"White Swans

The curtain goes up and a large perfectly balanced grouping of angelically beautiful women illuminates the stage. No one moves.

They are all in short white ballet dresses that radiate out from the waist like gorgeous blossoming flowers. Their beautifully shaped legs and their poetically fine arms and hands are all placed in celestially designed poses.

This is the image that I will probably remember the most from all of the performances. It is the beginning of Act IV....

"Images of gracefully wonderful dancing women in gorgeous costumes and handsome men sailing through the air.

Framing all these images will be this grouping of beautiful humanity. The ethereally elegant women who perform the White Swan dances.

In almost every presentation the White Swan dancers performed this Act IV with breath-taking beauty. It was almost flawless. This is where the White Swan ballerinas danced together like perfectly formed waves. This is where I saw some of the loveliest dancing that I've ever seen in my life.

It was an Enchantment of Loveliness."


http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewt ... 849d9d223e


"Interest in the performance gradually picked up and the students became much more enthusiastic. To illustrate that these performances were not uniformly the same, the corps de ballet, which always danced beautifully, suddenly 'took off' several minutes into the White Swan Act II dancing. They were dancing the best that I had ever seen them dance and as well as they danced during all of the performances. They stayed consistent right to the end. Not only were they dancing beautifully, but they really seemed to be wanting to do their best."

http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewt ... c&start=75



The possible list of *International Stars* and the exceptionally fine abilities of the *Kirov-Mariinsky Corps De Ballet* should make all the Swan Lake performances (in addition to the other programs) a most beautiful and interesting Festival event.



[some typo corrections made and latter still a correction about the statement that the Mariinsky "rarely perform the same ballet two times in a row". At home in Saint Petersburg, where the Festival will be, this seems to be true from my casual viewing of the schedules, but on the road I know that they often perform the same ballet for several nights in a row.]


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:16 am 
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The pairing that intrigues me the most is that of Maria Alexandrova and Nikolai Tsiskaridze. In Moscow Tsiskaridze rarely dances Siegfried as his usual role is The Evil Genius (Rothbart in most productions) and I'm under the impresson that he has actually appeared as the Prince on very few occasions. Tsiskaridze is very astute in his choice of roles dancing only those that he feels he has an affinity for (he has never danced Romeo or Basilio for example), so he must have rationed his performances as Siegfried for a reason. Perhaps the opportunity to dance in the Kirov's superb Konstantine Sergeyev version has tempted him to give the role another try.

Alexandrova is a superb Odette/Odile but the Bolshoi's Grigorovich production has never shown her off at her best, so for that reason her Petersburg performance in the Sergeyev version will be quite an event. I saw her dance with Tsiskaridze in Corsaire last year and was bowled over by the chemistry between these two dancers; they should perform together more often as I believe they have the potential to become one of the great partnerships.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:37 am 
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Thinking a lot about the Swan Lake performances I may be writing down some ideas that do not relate directly to this Mariinsky Festival. I have started a new topic in the Ballet In Europe form called "Odette--Swan Lake". Please take a look if you want.

http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=31248

Cassandra, I don't recall having seen Maria Alexandrova and Nikolai Tsiskaridze dance together before so I will look forward to this. I did see Maria Alexandrova perform the Grigorovich production in Birmingham, England and an Odile performance at last year's Mariinsky Festival Gala and I liked her very much.

About two years ago after the Birmingham Bolshoi performances, I wrote my personal take on her Odile as well as some other brief comments posted elsewhere on the internet.


"A Lovable Odile!"

Maria Alexandrova. She seemed exactly that. She was to me a ravishing women saying to herself, "I really hope that I can make *Him* fall in love with me." Her characterization ranged from Cleopatra to Giselle and it was brilliant. Each expression was flawless! I couldn't imagine a better example of the so-called Bolshoi ability to act.

I consider Maria Alexandrova to be one of ballet's "Sunshine" personalities....a positive, radiant presence both on stage and off. Her Odette characterization was deeply emotional. Her dancing was fine. Some of her highlight moves--wonderful! She has one relaxed pose standing straight with her hands together in front that that always suggests--"Great things to come". She never fails to surprise me at each performance with some new aspect of excellence. But she isn't the only one.

Each ballerina had a different interpretation of Odile and each was very well danced and very well acted. It was an outward expression for Odile and an intensely inward expression for Odette. "


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:59 pm 
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This should answer some questions:

GILLIAN MURPHY AND ANGEL CORELLA
TO DEBUT WITH THE KIROV BALLET,
MARCH 16 AND 19, 2008



American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancers Gillian Murphy and
Angel Corella will debut with the Kirov Ballet March 16 and 19 at the
Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. Murphy will dance
Odette/Odile in the Kirov¹s production of Swan Lake, opposite Kirov Ballet
principal Andrian Fadeyev, on Sunday, March 16. On Wednesday, March 19,
Corella will perform Prince Siegfried opposite Diana Vishneva. Murphy and
Corella¹s appearances are part of the VIII International Ballet Festival
Mariinsky, which was launched in 2001 with the aim of drawing artists from
around the world to Russia´s cultural capital.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:42 am 
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The last of the performances has been posted.

Carnaval. For Four. Le Reveil de Flore. (Saturday, March 22)

http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/fest225/balletfest

Still no official cast postings, but I have been hinted to by good authorities that someone will be there.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:43 pm 
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The more that I go through my video collection, the more I sense that going to a Mariinsky Festival is like going to the soul of the art in a way. It also seems like going to a Mozart festival, to the summit of the art--for the fineness, the refinement, the grace, the intangible transport to a heaven on earth.

I have many favorite ballet artists from different places, but when I look at them there is a lot of Mariinsky happening. Who do I like? Veronika Part is one of my favorites (originally from the Mariinsky). Who do I like at the Bolshoi besides an obvious favorite, Natalia Osipova--Svetlana Zakharova, Svetlana Lunkina and Ekaterina Krysanova. Svetlana Zakharova is from the Mariinsky and Svetlana Lunkina and Ekaterina Krysanova are as close to Mariinsky style dancers as I can imagine at the Bolshoi. Then of coarse from the Mariinsky itself there's Uliana Lopatkina, who is possibly one of the top ten best ballerinas ever, Diana Vishneva, who in her element, is probably unequaled by anyone (ever) and Daria Pavlenko, who I feel as amazing as she is, has yet to show what she is really capable of.

Then we can think of the incredible world of George Balanchine and the artists that he influenced. He came from the Mariinsky and in my limited viewing of his work he is often revolving around that background--commenting on it, emulating it, reacting to it and building onto it.

The guest artists who will be appearing at the Festival this year will be themselves, but they will be dancing in a very special place with a very special group of artists supporting them--and from what I have seen at past Festivals, these guest artists will be be performing in their own very special way, doing their very special best.

I am very grateful to be able to be there.


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