CriticalDance Forum

Kirov in Berkeley, CA, Oct. 14-19, 2008
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Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:25 am ]
Post subject:  Kirov in Berkeley, CA, Oct. 14-19, 2008

Berkeley, Zellerbach Hall

October 14, 2008, 8:00PM, Raymonda-Shades-Paquita
Lopatkina-Ivanchenko, Somova-Sarafanov, Vishneva-Fadeev

October 15, 2008, 8:00PM, Raymonda-Shades-Paquita

October 17, 2008, 8:00PM - Don Quixote - Vishneva-Fadeev
October 18, 2008, 2:00PM - Don Quixote - Nioradze-Korsakov
October 18, 2008, 8:00PM - Don Quixote - Somova-Ivanchenko
October 19, 2008, 3:00PM - Don Quixote - Novikova-Sarafanov

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:24 am ]
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I actually saw the performances on the 14th (rather than the 15th) because I was able to get the box office to swap the tickets for the 14th (it seems with our bad economy, ticket sales were not as strong as it could have been. :( ).

I can say one thing though: the stage at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA is just too small for the Mariinsky troupe--hopefully the next time they're touring in the Bay Area they go to the larger stage at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House. This proved to be a problem with the excerpt from Raymonda, as Irma Noriadze and Yevgeny Ivanchenko had to be REALLY careful not go get run over by other dancers on stage.

A couple of comments on the dancers:

Alina Somova--good as her performance in the except from La Bayadere is, now I know why some balletomanes don't like her--her gymnast-like movements can detract from her overall performance at times. I for one (in my humble opinion!) would love to see her put under the same coach that trains Ulyana Lopatkina, because Somova reminds me in terms of body build of Lopatkina but just a tad shorter and could use a coach that could properly take advantage of Somova's physical build.

Viktoria Tereshkina--she's definitely a really good dancer in terms of technical skills. She just needs just a tad more "acting presence" (she's already demonstrated that in Don Quixote as Kitri, according to some who saw her perform this role in Costa Mesa, CA about a week earlier) on more roles and (in my opinion) see the next great ballerina with the Mariinsky troupe once Ulyana Lopatkina leaves the scene.

All in all, I had a fun night on the 14th and hope to see Ulyana Lopatkina live by this time next year! 8)

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:53 am ]
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The Berkeley stage IS too small for this troup. I thought that the last time they were here, but there really is no hope for them getting into the Opera HOuse since it is booked SOLID with the SF Opera and SF Ballet schedules.

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:13 am ]
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A review from the SF Chronicle.

Dance review: Kirov tries for perfection

Rachel Howard, Chronicle Dance Correspondent

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Two years ago, the former Los Angeles Times dance critic Lewis Segal wrote an article called "Five Things I Hate About Ballet," slamming the majority of today's ballet performances as "flatulent" and "trivial."

He was widely trounced as an enemy of the art form, but anyone who knew Segal - and his encyclopedic command of ballet history - understood that his vitriol was in direct proportion to his deep love of classical dance. Tuesday night, watching the Kirov Ballet at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall, I thought I knew just how he felt.


Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:35 am ]
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Author:  Sacto7654 [ Sun Oct 19, 2008 6:16 am ]
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:

What else do you expect? :roll: That online review got panned for a lot of obvious reasons.

Author:  LMCtech [ Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:00 pm ]
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Another review from the SF Chronicle.

Dance review: Kirov's vivacious 'Quixote'

Rachel Howard, Chronicle Dance Correspondent

Monday, October 20, 2008

I thought I'd died and woken up in a different era of ballet history Friday night. After opening its Cal Performances run earlier last week with a pristine but lifeless anthology of Petipa's Greatest Hits, the Kirov Ballet overwhelmed a standing-ovation crowd at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall with a "Don Quixote" that was sensationally spirited, sunny, even swarthy - in a word, blood-pumping.


Author:  Gina Ness [ Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:41 pm ]
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I saw this performance. I enjoyed it so much more than the Sleeping Beauty I attended the last time the Kirov made its Berkeley appearance. I would agree with much of what Rachel Howard observed. I have a little reservation regarding the amazing Alina Somova. Everything she executes seems very extreme so that I find myself missing the nuances of different lines (for example arabesque), shading of quality of movement, and sublety of port de bras. I was hoping to see Diana Vishneva (whom I have never seen) but was not disappointed in Miss Somova's Kitri. Two cast members were not mentioned in the review, and I must sing their praises. Vladimir Ponomarev was a powerful and perfect Don Quixote. His slender legs, elegant bearing, soul-searching gaze, and amazing visage were truly arresting. Konstantin Zverev was fantastic as Espada the lead toreador. Not only was he gorgeous, he filled the stage with his presence. His assembles in his solo were breathtaking in their height, sustained quality and simplicity. He is one to watch! A truly enjoyable evening of outstanding ballet! Bravo!

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:16 am ]
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Thanks Gina, for sharing your impressions.

A growing number of viewers take exception to Somova's style as far from representing the Kirov's traditions, not only abroad but here in St. Petersburg (and inside the company) as well. So you are in good company on that note :-). It is frustrating when she receives top billing only because she is so far from the academic standards of the Vaganova Academy... No one else in the company destroys line and technique as she does. Those who don't know better would think that this is what the Kirov (Mariinsky) stands for, and it simply is not. It's the commercialized, flexnasticized version ... Those who admire her are not admiring classical ballet at its core, they're admiring, well, the flexnastics...

I'm pleased to hear Zverev made such a great impression. He's only a couple of years into the company and very tall and lithe. Hopefully his career will continue to blossom! Ponomarev is an icon. It is amazing that he has been doing these roles for decades and STILL draws attention...

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:08 am ]
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Gina Ness wrote:
I have a little reservation regarding the amazing Alina Somova. Everything she executes seems very extreme so that I find myself missing the nuances of different lines (for example arabesque), shading of quality of movement, and sublety of port de bras.

In my personal opinion, Somova has a body build that reminds me a lot of one Ulyana Lopatkina. Problem is, her dancing style is just a bit too extreme, and Somova needs a coach that can take advantage of that physique without losing the style of dancing perfected over all these years by the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet. If I remember correctly, Irina Chistyakova is the current coach of Lopatkina; given Chistyakova's excellent work coaching MT's tallest ballerina, she could (in theory!) do wonders for Somova. :)

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:16 am ]
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She could, in theory... but that begs the question, would she want to?

Chistiakova isn't an official theater pedagog as Fateev was/is or as Petrov, Vorontsova, Moiseeva, Chenchikova, Kurgapkina, or others on theater payroll are. She is Lopatkina's coach bc Lopatkina knows her genius and asked her to be her coach. The younger generation is assigned coaches. Only those of Lopatkina's standing could hire an outsider (as it were) to coach them.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:30 pm ]
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Paul Parish reviews the Berkeley performance run in the Bay Area Reporter:

Bay Area Reporter

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:13 am ]
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I think it's interesting that Rachel Howard was so taken with Somova and so many of our contributors here are not. I wonder if this is due to waht I will call the "Lacarra effect". When I first saw Lucia Lacarra I was taken in by the acrobatics and the amazing fascility, but it quickly lost it's appeal when I discovered that there was zero versatility or acting ability, that every role was acrobatics and there was never any sense of nuance.

Am I reading this right?

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:46 pm ]
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Having actually seen Lacarra on online videos, she looked technically impressive, but artistically, she couldn't even begin to compare with Ulyana Lopatkina or Viktoria Tereshkina, let alone the number of up and comers in the Mariinsky troupe like Yekaterina Kondaurova or Olesia Novikova.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:05 am ]
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Speaking of Kondaurova, she debuted last night in "Swan Lake". Unlike Vishneva's rather late and very disastrous debut in the same ballet here on the Mariinsky stage, Kondaurova was an essay in control and refinement. I can't provide a full review here as I am reviewing for another publication, but just wanted to say that she is now, CLEARLY, the Mariinsky's next ballerina.

Clement Crisp called her out in the Financial Times after their London tour a few weeks ago (it's a shame you in the US didnt see her this October)... but I met her in 2005, and interviewed her in 2006 here for Critical Dance ... a2007.html

and she has only become increasingly beautiful with time.

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