CriticalDance Forum

Kirov in UK 2008
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Author:  Cassandra [ Fri Jan 18, 2008 6:54 am ]
Post subject:  Kirov in UK 2008

I've just received the following details of the UK performances of the Kirov this year. Although not dancing in London on this occasion, both these 'north of Watford' venues are first rate.


Tuesday, May 13 – Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lowry Theatre, Salford: May 13 – 17
Birmingham Hippodrome: May 20 – 24
A feast of dance with Balanchine’s shimmering Jewels, a Gala Evening of balletic fireworks and hot Spanish passion in Don Quixote

One of the World’s great ballet companies, The Kirov Ballet from the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, returns to Britain for a two week tour to Salford and Birmingham from May 13 – 24, 2008. The company’s visit is in association with Victor Hochhauser.

The Kirov will perform at The Lowry, Salford from Tuesday May 13 to Saturday, May 17 followed by its first ever visit to Birmingham Hippodrome: (Tuesday, May 20 to Saturday, May 24) as part of the city’s International Dance Festival Birmingham 2008.

The 200-year-old Russian company, under the Artistic Direction of Valery Gergiev and Ballet Director Makhar Vaziev, the will perform two full-length ballets – Balanchine’s shimmering Jewels and Don Quixote, one of the highlights of the classical canon, as well as a Gala Evening of balletic fireworks.

For its UK tour, the company will be led by the exquisite Uliana Lopatkina. She is joined by principal dancers Viktoria Tereshkina, Anton Korsakov, Andrian Fadeyev, Sofia Gumerova, Alina Somova, Igor Kolb, Anton Korsakov and Leonid Sarafanov and the company’s ravishing corps de ballet.

George Balanchine’s Jewels

George Balanchine is justly regarded as one of the greatest twentieth century choreographers. Trained in St. Petersburg’s Imperial Ballet – much later to become the Kirov - he settled in the United States where he reinvented the language of ballet for the new century.

His sublime three-act ballet Jewels, which opens the Kirov’s Birmingham season is a heavenly succession of stylistically diverse classical divertissements which take their tone from the jewels they are named after. Elegant and romantic for Emeralds (set to Fauré), hot and jazzy for Rubies (set to Stravinsky) and glittering and aristocratic for Diamonds (set to Tchaikovsky).
Balanchine created Jewels for his own New York City Ballet, but the Kirov was the first company in Europe to stage all three acts in the same evening. The Kirov production recreates Peter Harvey’s original décor – a shimmering cascade of jewels suspended in mid air – and the dancers wear magnificently bejewelled costumes based on the originals by fashionable New York designer Karinska.

First seen in London in 2000, this Kirov production of Jewels left critics and audiences literally reeling with delight.

Gala Programme

The Kirov’s Gala Programme promises a box of delights for ballet lovers, including Fokine’s romantic one-act ballet, Chopiniana (sometimes known as Les Sylphides) and the sublime Kingdom of the Shades from Act III of La Bayadère which shows the Kirov’s legendary corps de ballet off to perfection. The middle course of this splendid feast includes Fokine’s dreamy Le Spectre de la Rose and a dazzling sequence of balletic set pieces.

Don Quixote

Don Quixote is one of the sunniest ballet’s in the Kirov’s rich classical repertoire. Created by classical ballet’s greatest choreographer, Marius Petipa, it tells the story of the rocky romance between Kitri, the playful daughter of a social-climbing innkeeper, and her lover Basilio, a barber who is handsome – but broke.

Based on Alexander Gorsky’s 1900 production, this colourful Kirov production bristles with authentic Spanish dances, bullfighters and gypsies – all portrayed with an exquisite blend of wit and bravura. Its vivid Spanish settings have also been faithfully reproduced from the legendary turn-of-the-century production.

Author:  David [ Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:12 am ]
Post subject:  Birmingham casting

Kirov Ballet casting for Birmingham as detailed below. As usual, subject to change. Running times are given at the bottom of this posting.

Tuesday 20 May at 7.30pm

Emeralds: Olesya Novikova, Alexander Sergeev, Anastasia Kolegova, Andrey Ermakov
Rubies: Alina Somova, Ekaterina Kondaurova, Andrian Fadeyev.
Diamonds: Uliana Lopatkina, Daniil Korsunstev

Wednesday 21 May at 7.30pm

Emeralds: Anastasia Kolegova, Alexander Sergeev, Ekaterina Kondaurova, Andrey Ermakov
Rubies: Irina Golub, Nadejda Gonchar, Anton Korsakov
Diamonds: Viktoria Tereshkina, Igor Kolb

Thursday 22 May at 7.30pm
Gala programme

Mazurka, Seven Waltz: Anastasia Kolegova
Young man: Daniil Korsuntsev
Prelude: Yulia Bolshakova
Eleven Waltz: Irina Golub

Talisman: Irma Nioradze, Mikhail Lobukhin
Carnival in Venice: Olesya Novikova, Vladimir Shklyarov (ch. Petipa, music: Puni)
Auber: Viktoria Tereshkina, Leonid Sarafanov
Arlekidana: Elena Sheshina, Anton Korsakov
Swan: Igor Kolb (Ch. Radu Poklitaru, music: Saint-Saens)
Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux: Alina Somova, Andrian Fadeyev

La Bayadere (Kingdom of the Shades)
Uliana Lopatkina, Ivan Kozlov

Friday 23 May at 7.30pm
Don Quixote

Alina Somova, Leonid Sarafanov

Saturday 24 May at 2.00pm
Don Quixote

Irma Nioradze, Mikhail Lobukhin

Saturday 24 May at 7.30
Don Quixote

Ekaterina Osmolkina, Mikhail Lobukhin

Approximate Running times:
Jewels: 2 hours 10 minutes
Gala Programme: tba
Don Quixote: 2 hours 45 minutes

Author:  NataliaN [ Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:54 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for the casting of the UK tour.

No Obraztsova...not even in her latest triumphant role, Kitri? Now I am wondering just what Yevgenia Obraztsova may have done to get herself into "The Kirov Dog House"? It's a bit too much that she has been kept out of the latest three big overseas Kirov tours -- Kennedy Center/DC, NYC and now the UK.

Will Obraztsova be included in the Fall 08/winter09 USA tours, all of which will include her repertoire (Don Q and/or Giselle)? Time will tell.

Author:  Azulynn [ Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:18 am ]
Post subject: 

Natalia, Ardani Artists Management happens to have just released the casting for next fall's American tour. It can be found here, on their website. Plenty of Vishneva, Nioradze, Novikova, Somova... But once again, Obraztsova is nowhere to be found - no Giselle, no Kitri. I can't understand the logic behind it - she dances at home, but she is kept off every major tour. Very sad.

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:53 am ]
Post subject: 

Sounds as if she will be pushed down the same path as the divine Zhelonkina.

Author:  NataliaN [ Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:42 pm ]
Post subject: 

Azulynn wrote:
.....once again, Obraztsova is nowhere to be found - no Giselle, no Kitri. ....

Now this is getting to be absurd, if not downright cruel. Methinks it may be time for Zhenya to find a new home, rather than to remain in Petersburg and be the Next Zhelonkina.

Author:  Cassandra [ Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:15 am ]
Post subject:  Kirov Manchester casting

Kirov Ballet casting

Lowry Theatre, Salford

Emeralds - Olesya Novikova, Alexander Sergeev
Anastasia Kolegova, Andrey Ermakov
Trio Yana Selina,Nadejda Gonchar, Anton Korsakov
Rubies - Irina Golub, Ekaterina Konduarova,Leonid Sarafanov
4 men ­ Maxim Khrebtov, Alexey Nedviga, Anton Pimonov,
Vasily Scherbakov
Diamonds ­ Uliana Lopatkina ­Ivan Kozlov

Emeralds - Anastasia Kolegova, Alexander Sergeev,
Ekaterina Kondaurova, Andrey Ermakov,
Trio - Yana Selina,Nadejda Gonchar, Anton Korsakov
Rubies - Irma Nioradze, Ekaterina Kondaurova, Andrian Fadeyev
Diamonds - Alina Somova, Igor Kolb

15 May GALA
Mazurka ­ 7 Walz Anastasia Kolegova
Young man - Daniil Korsuntsev
Prelude Yulia Bolshakova
11 walz Irina Golub

1.TALISMAN Ekaterina Osmolkina ­Mikhail Lobukhin
2.Carnival in Venice Olesya Novikova, Vladimir Shklyarov
(chor.Petipa, music C.Puni)
3.Auber Viktoria Tereshkina- Leonid Sarafanov
4.Arlekidana Elena Sheshina ­Anton Korsakov
5.“Swan” Igor Kolb
(Chor.Radu Poklitaru, Music Camille Saint-Saens)
6.Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux Alina Somova ­Andrian Fadeyev

3 PART Shades Uliana Lopatkina ­ Ivan Kozlov

16 May Don Quixote Viktoria Tereshkina ­ Leonid Sarafanov
17 May mat Don Quixote casting tba
17 May Don Quixote Olesya Novikova - Anton Korsakov

Author:  Cassandra [ Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:28 am ]
Post subject:  Obratzova

Regarding Obratzova, is it possible that she will dance Juliet and/or Giselle in Las Palmas, just a matter of days before the UK tour starts?

The Kirov will be performing Giselle and Romeo & Juliet from the 7th -11th at the Teatro Pérez Galdós.

Here's the link:

Author:  Cygne [ Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:38 am ]
Post subject: 

Re Obratzova, I totally agree: It's unfortunate that she's
not promo'd as much as other individuals. She has made a
name for herself in guest engagements. It seems
pure academicians and IBC Gold Medalists are routinely
downplayed on tours to major world cities. I sincerely
hope that she will come this Fall to the U.S. for
"Giselle" and "Don Quixote."

Author:  NataliaN [ Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:00 pm ]
Post subject: 

I do not think so. Neither is Obraztsova included in the Sept 11, '08 gala-concert in the Teatro Real Madrid, even though every other active first- and second-soloist woman will be included. Something's up...either Genya is injured or is on maternity leave (????) or is about to move. I can't believe that it is political because she HAS been VERY recently given premieres (Carnaval lead, for ex.) and important debuts (Kitri). No -- something is up; what, I do not know.

Author:  NataliaN [ Tue May 06, 2008 11:09 am ]
Post subject: 

Well, we know that Obraztsova is not injured or otherwise indisposed, as she just danced in the Stars of the 21st-C. Gala in Toronto (4 May 2008).

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed May 14, 2008 7:18 am ]
Post subject:  Kirov in Manchester

The Kirov opened at the Lowry last night in a performance of Jewels that appeared to leave little impression on the local critic: ... _the_lowry

Not quite sure why a picture of Somova in Don Q. is featured in a review of a performance of Jewels that she didn't appear in though.

I'm not surprised it was a poor house; £95 is a lot for a venue outside of London and possibly too much for the capital also, as I remember a great many empty seats for NYCB (with similar prices) in London earlier this year. Perhaps there is an optimum amount that dance fans are prepared to pay.

Author:  Cassandra [ Thu May 22, 2008 10:55 am ]
Post subject: 

Gala Programme
(Chopiniana, Divertissements, Kingdom of the Shades)
The Lowry,
15th May 2008

This turned out to be a very mixed evening with quite a few deviations from the originally promised line up. Most disappointing was the omission of The Swan with Igor Kolb, but every ballet experienced cast changes with Golub and Korsuntsev missing from Chopiniana; Osmolkina, Shklyarov and Fadeyev all replaced in the Divertissements and Lopatkina out of The Shades.

Chopiniana may feature a poet but there was little poetry in evidence on this occasion with the moonlit glade too brightly lit to convince us that the very solid Evgeny Ivanchenko would find much inspiration amongst this particular bunch of broadly smiling sylphs. I would award Yana Selina a pass mark for effort though.

The evening brightened up considerably with the Divertissement section that (almost) got better as it went along. The Harlequinade pas de deux with Elena Sheshina and Anton Korsakov wasn’t bad, with Sheshina making a pert and bouncy Columbine but with Korsakov looking a bit under the weather. Next came The Talisman pas de deux which should have been danced by the heavenly Osmolkina, a lady who has made this role completely her own as far as I’m concerned. Her place was taken by Tatiana Tkachenko, a glitzy dancer capable of wooing and winning any audience, her strong personality projects across the footlights and she wins you over with her warmth. Partnered by Mikhail Lobukhin, she appeared to relish the roles difficulties.

The Grand Pas Classique to Auber’s music is less of a rarity than it used to be whereas the pas de deux with the same title but with music by Adam seems to have fallen into obscurity, rather a pity as I would have thought that there is room for both. Having seen Viktoria Tereshkina dance this just a few months ago the ecstatic response from the audience came as no surprise, she is quite magnificent in this piece but this time around she was partnered by Sarafanov who matches her precision far more keenly than the dancer I saw with her last time. I like these two as partners very much as they are well matched both physically and emotionally, the Kirov tends to display a rather cavalier attitude towards permanent partnerships but this couple deserves to be seen together far more often.

The last item of the divertissement section was Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux dance by Alina Somova and Korsakov. Let’s just say it was an anticlimax after the thrilling performance that came immediately before it, perhaps someone should step back and revise the programming and acknowledge that the best should always be left till last.

La Bayadere’s Kingdom of the Shades act concluded the evening with an intriguing replacement for the absent Lopatkina, as fresh from her triumphs in New York we had “Big Red”, that tall slender redhead better known to most of us as Ekaterina Kondaurova in the leading role of Nikiya. Whether this lady has danced the role before I had no way of finding out, but as the ballet’s conclusion takes place beneath the Himalayas, I'll use a mountaineering analogy and say that she has yet to climb to the summit of the role and at present must persevere up the foothills. I know Kondaurova to be a fine classicist and a recent Lilac Fairy that I saw her dance in Germany, puts her in the company of the finest exponents of that role, but as Nikiya she needs to develop an understanding of the character’s spiritual aspects and at the same time to tone down some of her movements that at times looked forced. Even though I have some reservations about her performance I still find this dancer very beautiful to watch and look forward to seeing her progress in the role.

Her partner was Ivanchenko who gave a proficient account of Solor even though he left out the now traditional double assemblés. The supporting shades were Olesya Novikova and Nadezhda Gonchar who were both good and Somova. The sets and costumes were from the Vikharev production and the longer skirts of the corps de ballet girls’ tutus inhibited them from attempting any too high penchées. The last act of La Bayadere used to ‘stand alone’ in the Nureyev version at Covent Garden for many years and I have a real affection for the work without the earlier acts and would love the company to continue with The Shades as part of a triple bill from now on.

Author:  NataliaN [ Thu May 22, 2008 11:13 am ]
Post subject: 

[....Ekaterina Kondaurova in the leading role of Nikiya. Whether this lady has danced the role before I had no way of finding out, ......[/quote]

Thanks for this wonderfully thorough report, Cassandra! Kondaurova danced Nikiya in 'Shades' (only that act) in Washington, DC, in spring 2003; I was living in Russia at the time, so missed it, but Alexandra Tomalonis gave it very positive reviews in DanceMagazine.

As far as I know, Kondaurova never again danced Nikiya -- neither the Shades act nor the full ballet -- after the '03 DC outing. It's interesting that she has returned to the role after five years' time, perhaps as a reward for her triumphs in NYC?

Author:  David [ Mon May 26, 2008 6:18 am ]
Post subject: 

The Kirov Ballet
Hippodrome Theatre, Birmingham, UK; May 20, 2008

Just as the value of the jewels of titles increase, so it always seems should the wow factor of the three ballets that make up the themed evening. What it shows instead though is that Balanchine was most at home choreographing in his neo-classical American style.

“Emeralds” is in many ways the least satisfactory of the three works. But then again, its purpose is essentially to act as hors d’oevres for the more exciting fare to come. Balanchine described the ballet as evoking the elegance, comfort, dress and perfume of France. Unfortunately on this occasion it rather more brought back rather less elegant memories. The company just didn’t seem to be able to connect with the work at all. And more important, they didn’t connect with the audience either. Of course, it doesn’t help that the choreography doesn’t have any of the really ‘show off’ moments that the Kirov are so good at. But even so, there was a decided lack of precision on occasion, although I understand the following evening’s performance was much improved. Things were not helped by the horrible shiny green leotards that looked like they had escaped from some local dance school show, and that were made to look even worse by the rather bright lighting.

The arrival of “Rubies” was something of a relief. From the moment the curtain rises to reveal giant rubies hanging in the air and the dancers in short red tunics with Roman-style skirts, you just knew you were on to a winner. Although not as sharp and spiky as when done by most American companies this was a pretty good rendering of classic Balanchine, all quirky movements, odd angles and off-centre positions, danced along to Stravinsky’s glorious “Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra.” Long and amazingly loose limbed Alina Somova was perfect as the flirtatious girl. The whole company looked as if they were enjoying being let off the leash, and so did we!

“Diamonds” is Balanchine’s homage to Petipa and it certainly does have more than a hint of “Swan Lake” about it with the dancers in mostly white. It’s a technically demanding piece and the Kirov were perfectly at home here, just as you would expect them to be. Viktoria Tereshkina and Evegeny Ivanchenko made for a beautifully matched regal pair, backed up by the corps who melted gracefully from pattern to pattern.

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