CriticalDance Forum

Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
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Author:  LMCtech [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

So really the problem is the fact that a ballet company is being run by a conductor. How did this structure come to be? Some twist of fate has left the Maryinski management in the 19th century?

Author:  Cygne [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

Thanks bcx, Cassandra for your kind words :).

Why isn’t the Mariinsky reconstructing its own incomparable history?
Exactly. This month, back in 1999, the company members were dragged, kicking and screaming to the stage for the 1890 "Sleeping Beauty" reconstruction. Sergei Vikharev tried. The 1890 was never "accepted" by the rank-n-file or the pedagogues. They continue to revere Konstantin Sergeyev's 1952 version. In 2001 Vikharev tried again with the "Bayadere" reconstruction. That didn't go over well either. Vikharev then went to the Bolshoi, (and lately the New Tokyo Ballet), to mount recons of "Don Quixote," and other Petipa classics. All the Petipa recons that were mounted at the Bolshoi could have been mounted at the Mariinsky, but the Almighty They don't want to do it.

Author:  LMCtech [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

Are you saying the DANCERS don't want to do the reconstructions?!

Author:  bcx [ Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

Thanks for this extremely interesting history, Cygne (and my apologies to long-time members of this board for whom this is old news). It’s very sad. At least the Bolshoi is preserving what is clearly the Mariinsky’s extraordinary legacy. For example, “Mr Lopez” points out in his extensive notes on YouTube regarding the Anna Pavolva variation:

“For some reason the Bolshoi has re-orchestrated the music so that the strings are more pronounced, but it is still heard in Drigo's original orchestration in the Mariinsky's staging. Interestingly, this solo also turns up in the Vaganova School's rarely seen ‘La Sylphide’ pas de deux.”

Author:  Cygne [ Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

LMCtech wrote:
Are you saying the DANCERS don't want to do the reconstructions?!

Yes. For example, Lopatkina has gone on record, and to this day she has refused to dance the Lilac Fairy in the 1890 production. She hasn't danced the '52 Lilac for a number of years, so this is moot. But, when the 1890 premiered and was in rotation she vocally boycotted the role. Fateev has never liked the recons and he's gone on record as well. He's basically put the 1890 recon in mothballs. Right now, the production is in some kind of "suspended animation:" If they perform it, it's once or twice a season - if at all. They don't take it abroad. They did tour it as a box office draw/novelty to Covent Garden, Germany, the Met, and Kennedy Center in the early 2000s. However, the production's scope and the logistics required for it are extremely expensive to tour so they pack and peddle the '52. They brought the "Bayadere" recon to Covent Garden in the early 2000s too. Since then, they've retained the recon sets and costumes as an "upgrade," and dance Vahktang Chabukiani's version, the Soviet version, where there's no earthquake or destroyed temple. Act 3 is the finale. Sometimes in Act 3, the corps alternates between the recon Shade tutus (circa 1900), and the standard issue modern ones.

There are several reasons why the company doesn't like the recons. When the 1890 was mounted, the dancers and the specialists didn't see the need for two productions. They felt that the choreographic text was "questionable" as authentic Petipa. "Beauty" had been preserved and handed down through Fyodor Lophukov's 1922 edit, and then Konstantin Sergeyev. Both men incrementally deleted the essential mime, until the work was a pure dance experience. The Soviet authorities called this "balletic symphonism." They also believed Nikolai Sergeyev's notebooks containing Stepanov's notations of the classics were suspect. They were taught from the beginning that he was a traitor, who took (some say stole), the Theatre's best works and smuggled them illegally to the West. Another sore point was that this notation was coming back to them from the Harvard Theatre Collection. There was wounded national and company pride in play here. It was as if everything they had been taught was a lie. Tensions and emotions were high in the studios and the Theatre. Petersburgers, critics, dance historians and cultural elites from all over Russia were curious about the reconstruction. In 1999 Russia was still in financial crisis and the enormous cost to mount it was debated. When it finally premiered on April 30, 1999 the aforementioned parties' opinions were polarized. The majority sided with the tradition that they knew: 1952. The attitude was, as the old slang saying goes, "dance (and leave) with the one who brung you."

Why would they reject the recons? IMO it may be a combination of raw emotion and sentimentality. When the '52 premiered, the city was still devastated after the war. The city had lost +1 million citizens during the 900 day German siege, and the duration. The company had just recently returned to the city from it's wartime home in Perm. This production, was seen to be, (like the re-opening of Covent Garden in 1946), the resurrection of the city and its people. So, this production is like mom's cooking: For them, nothing can top it. Dr. Tim Scholl's book "Sleeping Beauty: A Legend in Progress," discusses all these points in great detail.

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

Interesting. It sounds also if the dancers have been indoctrinated against the recons as well.

Are the productions vastly different?

Author:  bcx [ Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

"So, this production is like mom's cooking: For them, nothing can top it. Dr. Tim Scholl's book "Sleeping Beauty: A Legend in Progress," discusses all these points in great detail."

Thanks for such a detailed, helpful reply, Cygne. On a simple human level, and in the light of St Petersburg's own history, I can understand it. Thanks for the reference to Tim Scholl’s book, which I look forward to reading.

There are clips of Vikharev's reconstruction of Tchaikovsky's original 1890 production danced by Obraztsova, Korsakov, and Kolegova (are younger members of the company more open to these historical initiatives?): ... Gpd8UFaKlQ

Click on Mr Lopez’s extensive historical notes for details of this production.

Author:  Cygne [ Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

LMCtech wrote:
Interesting. It sounds also if the dancers have been indoctrinated against the recons as well. Are the productions vastly different?

The '52 was the standard Soviet production. It was the most celebrated, toured and filmed -movies and tv - during that era. The Bolshoi's production (Grigorovich's 1964 and further edited 1973 versions), the Perm Ballet's production and most others in Russia still follow the pure dance Soviet model with slight variations. For example, the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre offers a prologue for the prologue. The King and Queen go to Carabosse in desperation for help to conceive. She gives the Queen a potion and tells her to drink it for a month and within a year she'll have a beautiful baby girl. Carabosse's price is that when Aurora's born they must turn the baby over to her to raise until her coming of age. When the Queen has Aurora, they fail to do that and that sets up the plot for the rest of the ballet.

In stark contrast, the 1890 is Imperial St. Petersburg "grand ballet." The mime is restored, and the original costumes and masks. It's a riot of color: The detailed and intricate scenery, the full Panorama, the depth of the choreographic patterns - everything is there. Approx 98% of the score is played. In the 1890, Aurora's variation in Act 2 is the interpolated Gold Fairy variation from Act 3. This is also the case at the Bolshoi and some other major Russian companies. The '52 uses Tchaikovsky's original music for that dance, as does the Royal Ballet. The Prologue closely resembles the Royal Ballet's prologue which is based on Nikolai Sergeyev's notes. If you've seen a Royal Ballet prologue (with the exception of Sir Anthony Dowell's effort :roll:), you've got a good idea of what it looks like.

For my part, I've noticed subtle differences as well. The star is Aurora, and in the '52 that's really emphasized. In the '52 there's 50% less traffic onstage at any given time. In the 1890 she's slightly "incidental" - but she's still the main subject. The action of Act 1 in particular is even more credible because of the large number of individuals onstage. It really is a crowd at a Palace festival. This makes it easier for Carabosse to come in undetected and do her dirty work - without anyone noticing until the fateful moment. The 1890 emphasizes the love between her parents; this isn't emphasized in the '52. I remember when I saw it at the Met that Ponomarov and his Queen gazed for prolonged moments into each other's eyes holding hands, during the Prologue and well into several bars of the Act 1 waltz before they sat down. I've never seen that in the '52, live or recorded. Moreover, in the 1890, Carabosse comes to the wedding in Act 3; in '52 she's destroyed before the end of Act 2. If you want dance for dance's sake, and reasonably a timed evening at the ballet, that's the '52. If you want a cinematic experience, with the pomp and circumstance of an "Avatar" or "Lord of the Rings" trilogy - that's the 1890.

Author:  Buddy [ Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

There is a most interesting film being put into internet format, that was made by Vaganova and Tarasov (teacher at the Bolshoi) about ballet dance technique. (This information has been posted by sophia at Dansomanie in french.)

Ilya Kuznetsov, a dance professor at the Bolshoi, has started his own new site, Ilyaballet1, and promises to have the complete film visible with his translation into english sometime this summer.

To get a two minute glimpse of this film you can go here....
and scroll down several entries to ".... Rare and amazing ballet video!!!"

[I changed the explanation on how to access the site several times]

Author:  Cygne [ Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

Fateev has lost another promising Vaganova trained male coryphee. Sergei Popov is now a Principal with the Warsaw Polish National Ballet. Congratulations to Popov! ... mpany.html

Author:  LMCtech [ Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

They do seem to train the world's stars.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon May 03, 2010 1:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

Saturday night, the third of three Anna Karenina's took to the stage: Ekaterina Kondaurova was ravishing in the role, and to my eyes and heart, the best of the three "Annas." I was surprised by the mature dramatic delivery she offered. Hers was truly a three-dimensional Anna, incorporating all of the aspects of the role: a nurturing, maternal side; a noble, aristocratic bearing, and the equal ability to resist and succomb to passion. Her conviction, strength, and impossible beauty were remarkable. That Ratmansky's choreographic lexicon seems a walk in the park for Kondaurova only added to the sense of mastery she brought to the role.

Andrei Ermakov was her Vronsky -- a strong, reliable partner, certainly with the height and technique to go even further in the company.

The production was stunning and drew tears from more than one audience member (present company included) at final curtain.

Author:  Madigan [ Fri May 07, 2010 8:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

Benois de la Danse nominations are out:

Mariinsky earned its ticket mainly with Shurale.

David Dawson
Faun(e), C.Debussy, English National Ballet
Terence Kohler
11:11, L.Auerbach, Royal Ballet of Flanders
Susanna Leinonen
And the Line begins to Blur, K.Laine, Susanna Leinonen Company (Finland)
Benjamin Millepied
Anima, J.-S.Bach, J.Taride, Benjamin Millepied Danses Concertantes, Dance Festival in Cannes (France)
Alexei Ratmansky
Waltz-Fantazy, M.Glinka, for Mikhail Baryshnikov´s Three Solos and Duet
Christopher Wheeldon
Swan Lake (New version), P.Tchaikovsky, Karlsruhe Ballet (Germany)
Мaria Alexandrova
Nikia in La Bayadère, L.Minkus/M.Petipa, (Y. Grigorovitch production);
Title role in Esmeralda, C.Pugni/M.Petipa, (staging and new choreographic version by Y.Burlaka and V.Medvedev), Bolshoi Ballet
Isabella Boylston
Everything Doesn´t Happen At Once, D.Lang/B.Millepied, American Ballet Theatre
Hélène Bouchet
Euridike in Orpheus, I.Stravinsky/J.Neumeier, Hamburg Ballet
Anu Viheriäranta
Duet in Tryst, J. McMillan/Ch.Wheeldon, Het National Ballet
Euguenia Obraztsova
Suimbike in Shurale, F.Yarullin/L.Yakobson, Mariinsky Theatre
Isabelle Ciaravola
The title role in Giselle, A.Adam/J.Coralli, J.Perrot (staged by P.Bart, E.Poliakov) Paris Opera Ballet
Esteban Berlanga
Faun(e), C.Debussy/D.Dawson, English National Ballet
Thiago Bordin
Arman Duval in Lady of the Camellias, F.Chopin/J/Neumeier, Hamburg Ballet
Stephane Bullion
Albrecht in Giselle, A.Adam/J.Coralli, J.Perrot (staged by P.Bart, E.Poliakov), Paris Opera Ballet
Marian Walter
Prince Desiré in The Sleeping Beauty, P.Tchaikovski/V.Malakhov after M.Petipa, Berlin State Ballet
Michail Lobukhin
Ali-Batyr in Shurale, F.Yarullin/L.Yakobson, Mariinsky Theatre
Friedemann Vögel
Solor in La Bayadere, L.Minkus/N.Makarova after M.Petipa, Finnish National Ballet
David Hallberg
Count Albrecht in Giselle, A.Adam/J.Coralli, J.Perrot (staged by K.McKenzie) American Ballet Theatre

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sat May 08, 2010 6:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

Thanks for posting the Benois de la Danse info Madigan.

Tonight Ekaterina Kondaurova debuts in "La Bayadere." She had her debut in "Swan Lake" over a year ago, and is slowly cutting her way through all of the principal repertoire. I'm sure tonight will be stellar. I plan to attend but i have a temperature so am not sure how long i will last.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun May 09, 2010 3:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season

I watched all of it, could not tear myself away, despite having a bit of a fever. And I am glad I did.

Kondaurova was marvellous. Her execution was pristine, but that's always the case. Moreover, her dramatic ability, especially in the cat fight with Ira Golub's Gamzatti, was impressive. One truly felt this was a gentle Nikiya in love with Solor, intending no harm to anyone, but who, in the spur of the moment, grabs the knife and rushes towards Gamzatti. All of her first act dancing was fluid, lyrical and seamless. Act III was as classical as it gets and she was perfect in the role. I would say it was a successful debut.

Golub was the Gamzatti you truly love to hate. She has mastered the snobbish glare, the cat-like pose, everything about her oozed treachery and evil.

Andrei Ermakov debuted as Solor and the two, I thought, made a handsome couple. Ermakov is tall, at least 6'3" so his jetes en manege are truly a sight to seei with such long limbs. Fair and handsome, he is a noble hero, a royal prince. In this performance he also came out of his shell dramatically, which I have never seen before from him. Smiles and frowns, emotion wherever appropriate in whatever form appropriate -- it was all there. He projected as never before. He was a reliable partner as well. I didnt feel the audience quite gave him his due but the Petersburg audience is very discerning, so that's to be expected. The house was completely full.

The Shades scene was breathtaking as always. Nothing on this earth compares to those white tutus, every arm and leg and fingertip perfectly placed, in perfectly straight lines. Heaven.

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