CriticalDance Forum

Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season
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Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon May 23, 2011 4:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

“Romeo and Juliet”
Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia
21 May 2011
By Catherine Pawlick

Following debuts in “Don Quixote” and “Swan Lake” last week, Saturday night witnessed one more Mariinsky debut this month when second soloist Maria Shirinkina appeared as Juliet alongside principal dancer Vladimir Schklyarov in “Romeo and Juliet.”

Now in her fifth season, Shirinkina’s delicate appearance has made her a frequent choice for roles such as Amour in “Don Quixote” or the Peasant Pas de deux in “Giselle.” But her repertoire has expanded exponentially in recent months to include roles such as one of the three couples in Jerome Robbins’ “In the Night” which she danced at this year’s Mariinsky Festival in April, or any of the leads in “Chopiniana.” Small of stature with bones that suggest a pre-pubescent nymph, Shirinkina is a contradiction to today’s trend of long legato ladies. Tiny, light, her bone structure is a rarity even within the ballet world, and it seems the time is now ripe for roles of more weight. And hence, Juliet.

While Shirinkina’s performance was thoroughly rehearsed, and technically she danced flawlessly, the question in a dramatic role such as this is whether or not the nature of the character is transmitted to the audience. In Shirinkina’s case, there were elements of her own signature that brought delight for their uniqueness. Her Juliet appeared a timid schoolgirl upon first entrance, focused –aptly—more on playing with her nurse than accepting her role as a girl who has come of age. Uncertain of her new role as a “woman”, she assumes a serious posture parading in front of Lady Capulet, displaying her new dress with a stiff neck and regal arms as she presumes an adult would do. The exaggeration here was effective – this Juliet isn’t yet fully matured, and the demonstration proves it. True to the libretto, Shirinkina’s Juliet initially seemed awed by the attention given her at the banquet, but she danced willingly with Paris, performed with apt noble airs by Alexander Parish, smiling with the discovery of being courted by a gentleman. Later, stamping her foot in frustration during her refusal to marry Paris, or rising on her toes at Romeo’s kiss – these details brought a sense of individuality to Shirinkina’s performance that promise even more development in the future.

Vladimir Schklyarov’s youthful Romeo greeted the full house with verve and exuberance. Shklyarov’s is a Romeo full of life, the dreamy poet intent on settling the feud between the Capulets and Montagues because of the love in his heart for Juliet. Characterizing this boyish charm in choreographic terms are Schklyarov’s airborne jumps, each one pushing the limit of both flexibility and balloon, whether cutting across the stage or soaring high with the joy of newfound love. His passion was evident the moment he greeted Juliet; his grief deeply felt when Benvolio delivers the news of her death. Here is a polished performer – not that there was ever any doubt—who can carry the entire performance on his own shoulders, if need be, and he does it always with charm, grace, and professionalism. Schklyarov is a rare jewel in the ranks of the Mariinsky’s men, and one we can never quite get enough of.

Completing the cast, the incomparable Alexander Sergeyev as the fun-loving Mercutio, a role that, in the Lavrovsky version, is hardly a secondary character. Sergeyev’s sharp attack, playful humor and lighthearted ease even during the serious fencing scenes made his Mercutio genuine to the core. He fought his death to the very end, making Romeo’s urgent need for revenge completely understandable. Schklyarov’s immediate attack on Tybalt (danced by veteran in the role Ilya Kuznetsov) suddenly seemed justified and unquestionable. But the moment of passion passed, Romeo looks up into the on-stage house, Juliet in the window peering down at her dead brother, and the gravity of these warring tribes truly hits home.

In the final Act, the pain at his separation from Juliet in flight to Mantua was visible on Schklyarov’s face, but the news of Juliet’s own fate hit him far harder. He raced to find her, but took her hand in his just moments before swiftly downing his own poison, as if to suggest even that last act must occur with her by his side.

For the evening, Boris Gruzin conducted.

Author:  Buddy [ Thu May 26, 2011 5:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Catherine, your "Romeo and Juliet" review somehow slipped past me, but I have it sitting in front of me and will get to it Immediately ! It's like the good old days to have your reviews back again ! Thank you ! It does seem like you enjoyed Maria Shirinkina very much. I can certainly understand this from what I have seen of her and she seems to be growing wonderfully as an artist.

I just looked at the video clip again, posted above, of Oksana Skorik rehearsing "Swan Lake." That looks like a very nice workspace that she's in. Can you tell us where that is? Is that Timur Askerov rehearsing with her? Whoever he is, I feel that he has a very fine 'in-the-company-of-women' presence and seems very sympathetic to, in harmony with and supportive of Oksana Skorik. In addition his own sense of 'gracefulness' should be an incentive for her to develop her feminine beauty to its maximum.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Thu May 26, 2011 9:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Thanks Buddy -- good to be reviewing again, although I have been for other publications, just not here, in quite a while.

Yes-- that video is taken in the 5th studio of the Mariinsky Theatre, which is upstairs near the upper rehearsal stage.

Author:  Buddy [ Sun May 29, 2011 2:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

This is a brief "News" item from the Mariinsky site. I have not seen any other comments about this performance.

Daria Pavlenko and Yana Selina

"The Fountain of Bakhchisarai" -- May 22

Daria Pavlenko and Yana Selina made their debuts as rivals in the tragic love triangle in Boris Asafiev’s ballet The Fountain of Bakhchisarai (choreography by Rostislav Zakharov) on 22 May. Daria Pavlenko performed as Zarema and Yana Selina as Maria.
 Daria Pavlenko, a dancer with an incredibly broad repertoire, appears in ballets by such diverse choreographers as Marius Petipa and Roland Petit, Michel Fokine and George Balanchine, Yuri Grigorovich and John Neumeier, Alexei Ratmansky and William Forsythe. She has a filigree technique and “the ability to assimilate the riskiest forms of dance.” For Daria Pavlenko, Zarema is not her first experience of Rostislav Zakharov’s choreography. In  The Fountain of Bakhchisarai she has already performed the role of the gentle victim Maria. Yesterday evening she was transformed into a woman gripped with passion and jealousy.

Maria was danced by Yana Selina, who in terms of the scale and complexity of roles has previously only performed as the Sylph in  La Sylphide. Maria in  The Fountain of Bakhchisarai marks an important step in the career of this dancer, who is remarkable for her refined technique “à la Bournonville” and the impeccable nature of her performances.


Oxana Skorik -- "Swan Lake" -- May 14

Oxana Skorik has now made her debut in the complex and demanding dual role of Odette-Odile, and it must be said that the young performer gave a unique interpretation of the image of the White Swan, in which her fluid cantilena was blended with vivid plastique characterisation.

Timur Askerov also mentioned.

XIX Stars of the White Nights Music Festival -- 23 May to 24 July 2011

"Four stages, three cities, nine weeks and over one hundred and fifteen performances."

A Mariinsky press release -- This is the ballet related info.

Of particular interest -- "The festival’s guest ballet company is the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which is returning to St Petersburg seven years after its first visit."

On 26, 27 and 28 May the Mariinsky Ballet Company will be presenting the festival at Crocus City Hall in Moscow. On 26 and 27 May in the presence of composer Arif Melikov there will be performances of his renowned ballet The Legend of Love with choreography by Yuri Grigorovich featuring Ulyana Lopatkina, Alina Somova, Viktoria Teryoshkina, Yekaterina Osmolkina, Yevgeny Ivanchenko, Ilya Kuznetsov, Yuri Smekalov and Bolshoi Theatre principal dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze. On 28 May the gala programme will feature Yekaterina Kondaurova in the lead role in the ballet Carmen-Suite by Bizet and Shchedrin with choreography by Alberto Alonso. Act II of the gala will be a divertissement including a pas de deux from the ballet Giselle, the choreographic miniatures Russkaya, Parting and Tarantella, a pas de deux to music by Tchaikovsky and Pas de Deux Classique to music by Auber.

At a press conference on 10 May 2011 Valery Gergiev said “For us it is very important to stage The Legend of Love in Moscow in the presence of the composer Arif Melikov. We are dedicating these performances to the fiftieth anniversary of his renowned ballet to choreography by Yuri Grigorovich. During the Stars of the White Nights, in Moscow on several occasions we have presented outstanding musicians and exceptional companies. During the Stars we have brought the Wiener Philharmoniker, the Bamberger Symphoniker, the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the orchestra of La Scala and Riccardo Muti among others to Moscow... It seemed to me then that Moscow audiences gave us a very warm reception. Now we are coming to Moscow and – for us – the new venue of Crocus City Hall with a ballet programme. It is possible that after the festival we will be performing other productions there.”

The festival’s ballet playbill includes the finest productions in the repertoire such as this season’s premiere of Le Parc with choreography by Angelin Preljocaj and the ballets The Little Humpbacked Horse and Anna Karenina to music by Rodion Shchedrin with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky. Engaged for these performances are the ballet company’s finest soloists, among them Ulyana Lopatkina, Diana Vishneva, Viktoria Teryoshkina, Alina Somova, Yekaterina Kondaurova, Igor Zelensky, Danila Korsuntsev, Vladimir Shklyarov and Denis Matvienko.

In the course of the festival there will be galas with Diana Vishneva, Denis and Anastasia Matvienko and the Mariinsky Theatre Corps de Ballet. The corps de ballet’s gala will be held in honour of the company’s oldest teacher Nina Fyodorova Ukhova and will showcase the Mariinsky Theatre Corps de Ballet’s skills. There will be performances of Scene 2 from Swan Lake, George Balanchine’s Serenade and Harald Lander’s Études.

Diana Vishneva’s gala marks fifteen years of the ballerina’s life on the stage and will feature soloists from the world’s great ballet companies with whim she works. For her gala, the dancer is rehearsing the Russian premiere of a ballet by Martha Graham.

Anastasia and Denis Matviekno’s gala will feature the Russian premiere of Edward Clug’s ballet Radio and Juliet.

One guest stars of the festival will be Svetlana Zakharova, prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre, who will be performing in the ballet Carmen-Suite. ... 011_05_12/

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

“Carmen Suite”, “Symphony in C”
Stars of the White Nights Festival
Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia
8 June 2011
By Catherine Pawlick

Saint Petersburg’s Annual “Stars of the White Nights” festival, which this year encompasses four stages, three cities, nine weeks and over one hundred and fifteen performances, opened locally on May 23 with several nights of operatic bliss, but the best of the ballet offerings did not come until more recently. Following the presentation of Yuri Grigorovich’s The Legend of Love in Moscow on May 26, the home-based performances are now underway.

The expected highlight of June 8th’s mixed bill, featuring both Carmen Suite and Balanchine’s elite Symphony in C was decidedly the latter, where a range of soloists and principals outfitted all four movements of the gorgeous score with classical purity. Variations in nuance, each perfectly fitting the respective musical section, came with each soloist’s personal signature.

Victoria Tereshkina’s virtuosity rightly suited her to the first movement, where her brilliant mastery of Balanchine shown through every step. Tereshkina is a neoclassicist in every sense of the word, and her easy delivery and innate understanding of the off-balance ecartés make her perhaps the company’s best interpreter of such roles. Cavalier Maxim Zuizin was no less polished, his partnering work and in particular his pirouettes executed with care and exactitude. Ekaterina Osmolkina, just several months out of maternity leave, led the third movement with particular joy, her smiles filling the far reaches of the house with each of the (almost too numerous) jetés and saut de basques. Vladimir Shklyarov’s over-exuberance led him to miss the placement on a few of the partnering sequences and a pirouette, but Osmolkina managed to remain above the fray. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so, Maria Shirinkina appeared in the final movement with dedicated partner Alexei Timofeyev. While her technique and physique are both beyond reproach—her pas de bourrée/fouetté en diagonal sequence in fact declare her better suited for Balanchine, and perhaps a successor to Tereshkina, than a future story ballerina-- Shirinkina’s dramaticism still has room for growth.

Glowing above the rest of the dancers, however, were Uliana Lopatkina alongside Danila Korsuntsev in the second movement. Her fluid grace in the epitomy of legato sections spoke of slow perfection unraveled like an endless ribbon of silk. Even in the allegro finale section Lopatkina’s sharpness of attack and musicality stood out, her dignity and clean schooling evident; but the vision here presents four soloists flanked by the entire corps de ballet, all in pristine white, and perfectly synchronized. It is the way that ballet should be.

The first half of the evening was Carmen Suite, featuring Irina Golub, a replacement for the initially listed Irma Nioradze, with Ilya Kuznetsov as Jose and Ruben Bobovnikov as the “Korrekhidor”. With traces of the sultry Viengsay Valdes’s still hanging in the air from this April’s festival, it is difficult to envision anyone else doing Carmen justice, or inhabiting the role so perfectly. Golub fulfilled everything adequately, but conniving cleverness replaced Spanish sexiness in her version. Kuznetsov, ever the passionate and jealous lover, proved a good choice for his role, although the choreography seemed to cut short his verve with its restrained, straightened movements. The “White Nights” festival continues until July, and in the coming weeks the presentation of other ballets will have something for nearly every age group and taste.

Alexander Repnikov conducted for the evening.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Mariinsky Theatre
St Petersburg, Russia
By Catherine Pawlick
12 June 2011

Considerable time has passed since the Mariinsky Ballet last performed “Jewels,” but its appearance during this year’s White Nights Festival is a welcome return to the Balanchine section of the troupe’s repertoire.

The measured symmetry of poses delivered in the opening sequences of “Emeralds”, as if the dancers themselves are jewelers etching the facets of a green gemstone, is Balanchine’s ever-fresh ode to French classicism. Arms crossed at the wrists, curved elbows linking partners, croisé positions, interwoven steps suggest the planned nobility of a verdant Versailles garden, the dancers’ movement soothing, like a cool fountain. Neoclassical technician Maria Shirinkina danced the first couple with the ever-attentive Maxim Zuizin, her almost transparent frame suggesting a young emerald, but her precision never wavering; the “compass” promenade in tendu called to mind again the tracing of grand garden plans, or an engraving on a precious gem.

Zuizin was an excellent choice as her partner, his double pirouettes perfectly placed, perfectly erect, with perfectly pointed feet. Yana Selina, who has danced in the Pas de Trois for nigh on five years now, still brings an ebullience to the crossed walks en pointe; she was accompanied by Filippe Stepin and Ksenia Ostreikovskaya, forming a threesome that was well-matched in style and presentation. Daria Pavlenko’s sensuality and warmth added a new dimension to her section alongside the stately Andrei Ermakov. Pavlenko luxuriated in the dance, every cell of her body emoting to the audience, her eyes flashing a regal presentation that was missing from Shirinkina’s accurate, cooler performance.

The alarming shift to the ardor of “Rubies”, led by Ekaterina Kondaurova, brought us to another realm, away from cool French gardens and into Stravinsky’s temperamental playground of passions. Precision was not lost in Kondaurova’s dance, where she moved as a proud Siren, sultry and commanding, among her four courtiers – Anton Pimonov, Aleksei Nedvega, Fedor Murashovand Vasily Tkachenko. She delivered each pencheé smoothly, her entire performance encompassing precise placement and assured movements. Unfortunately the same could not be observed in Alina Somova, who slapped her pointe shoes to the ground through the “stepping” sections of her pas de deux, her right wrist oddly folded throughout. Her feet remained unpointed during crucial transition steps, and supporting legs in arabesque were turned in. In order to adhere to the choreography, a squareness in the promenades and profile sections should have been present, and more care taken with the presentation of legs, feet and hands. Diana Vishneva in this same role offers spice, passion, and seduction. Somova seemed to be going through the motions with minimal effort and the result, this evening, was disappointing, far from the tenets of the Vaganova schooling in technical terms. In great contrast, her partner Alexander Sergeyev attacked his solo sections with energy, precision and verve, emitting the image, if one exists, of a “hot” red Ruby. He supported her in the duet areas with attentiveness, but this did not seem to help the cleanliness of her delivery. Sergeyev’s own virtuosity and dramatic range – from a playful Mercutio just a week ago, to the energetic neoclassicism of Rubies – speaks to his own talents as a performer.

The crowning glory of the evening, “Diamonds”, presented the best of the Mariinsky’s ballerina-gemstones, that of Uliana Lopatkina. Partnered by Evgeni Ivanchenko, who has not supported Lopatkina as frequently in recent performances, the couple presented noble classical purity at its peak. As precursors to her elegance, Evgenia Dolmatova stood out among the four demi-soloists, while Andrei Ermakov, this time partnering Yana Selina, called attention not only to his stately presentation but his acute timing in the duet work.

Ivanchenko, for his part, seemed to struggle slightly with some of the promenades, but his split-jeté manège suddenly recalled the intense head required to create a diamond, as he plunged across the stage, cutting through the air with razor-sharp battements.

Lopatkina’s slow perfection, unfurled across the series of movements with care, forethought and precision, epitomized the flawlessness of the most coveted gemstone, and yet she incorporated a warmth and enjoyment of the dance that brought both human warmth and visions of royalty to the role. As the unparalleled technician of adagio in the company, Lopatkina fills out even the final milliseconds of a musical phrase with unhurried, fluid movement. One moment a swan, another a princess searching for something in the distance, she can shift as suddenly as a diamond catching a new ray of light, and then disappear again into the choreography. Even during the coda and ensemble work in the finale, when the tempos quicken and test her musicality, she never falters, instead hearing the notes individually and accenting each of them with the appropriate step. Numerous curtain calls attested to Lopatkina’s brilliance, but we expected nothing less from the diamond of the Mariinsky.

Mikhail Agrest conducted.

Author:  Buddy [ Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Thanks for your review, Catherine. Your gemstone references made me long for the realization of the original design for the Mariinsky 'annex,' since replaced by a new design well into construction now. ... index.html

I can understand the many reasons offered for why the original design was not used, especially in regard to the visual continuity of this historically beautiful city and some very practical considerations as well, i.e. weather. Still I am fascinated especially by the implications of the third and fourth illustrations shown here. I don't think that this proposed building would have looked nearly as massive, compared to the existing main theater, as these bird's eye views of the model might suggest. It probably would have been barely noticeable from the front of the historic main theater. I do have a love for these proposed images and how beautifully they might have worked. Maybe the golden gemstone shell could cover the new building somehow. Who knows ?

Always good to hear Daria Pavlenko's name mentioned, as well as all the others, and I hope that we will hear her name again as often as possible.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Buddy, these are the current designs? Because I understood Perrault's initial designs were nixed for a number of reasons but these are still... his designs and (to me) look very similar to the originals. These are "newer"? Personally these have too strong a contrast with the historical (Parisian) architecture around the Mariinsky, but that is simplyi my taste and opinion. I think it will look strange and I believe it holds the same drawbacks as the "first" design, if indeed this is different.

Author:  Buddy [ Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Hi again, Catherine. I didn't mean to direct the post away from your review. I'm glad that you liked so much of what you saw. I would love to have seen it myself. I'm not familiar with Evgenia Dolmatova, but I am with most of the other artists that you liked so much and I share your enthusiasm.

By the way, I saw Olga Esina, former Soloist from the Mariinsky, at the Gala to aid Japan in Paris last week and thought that she was wonderful. Do you have any opinions that you would like to share about her ?

You are correct. The pictures that I posted above are of the 'old' not to be built 'annex' proposal, the 'shell' design.

This is what the actual building will look like. I want to make it clear that this building will not replace the old historic building, that will remain. It is an 'annex' being built behind the main theater on the other side of a small canal separating the two. ... ussia.html

This is an approximate four minute video uploaded by the architectural firm itself.

"Architect Jack Diamond and maestro Valery Gergiev discuss the design of the New Mariinsky Theatre now under construction in St. Petersburg, Russia during a walkabout through the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. Both opera houses are designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects of Toronto."

Uploaded by DiamondSchmitt on Mar 9, 2011

It doesn't look like there is much land left to cover the new building with the golden faceted shell that I am so fond of, if anybody ever would consider the idea anyway.The 'original' (there was apparently another design accepted before the one that is 'not' being used) was actually a sort of box within a shell, which is why the idea of covering this building isn't totally unthinkable.

Apparently maestro Valery Gergiev was very impressed with the accoustics of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto by Diamond and Schmitt. This architectural company is also known for the comfort, 'home-iness,' visibility, etc. that is afforded every seat in their performing arts buildings, which is all for the good.

My feeling is that the 'original' (not used) design by Dominique Perrault that I posted above (the golden faceted shell) could have been an exciting artistic statement for and symbol of the past and future of the city and Russia and that it would have fit in just fine, but this is only my opinion and I certainly can understand the validity of other opinions, such as yours, Catherine.

Author:  Buddy [ Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

One thing more about buildings. There was at least one design proposed for the Mariinsky 'annex' that was totally classical and might have fit in very well visually with the surrounding architecture. I liked the pictures of it that I saw.

Valery Gergiev also mentions in the video that they hope to have the new 'annex' open in about two years (statement made around March 9, 2011). Several years ago they were considering restoration work on the historic old theater. Having the new annex open would make this much more feasible. As much as there has been a lot of 'back and forth' about the Bolshoi restoration, the restoration work of the old palaces, etc. around Saint Petersburg is some of the finest in terms of visual authenticity that I have seen.

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Oksana Skorik

I've been looking through a group of video clips today, ranging from some famous stars to some very young dancers. One video that stands out is the one of Oksana Skorik practicing the Odile duet, mentioned here before. Catherine commented that regalness is a characteristic of Oksana Skorik and I believe some of that is apparent here. Also, for me, there is a wonderful sense of *Poetry* in the way that she presents this, which is not necessarily common to this duet, and which I appreciate very much. This might be an example of where the artist can make a character her or his own and the artistry can give new meaning to the generally accepted perceptions of a character or even transcend the character. ... r_embedded

Another thing that I tend to appreciate these days is a sense of youthful naturalness and 'innocence' that comes with the younger dancers. it is a quality that I really hope remains as a dancer gets older.

This is the quote from Suzanne Farrell that I like so much.

"And I caution my dancers and students alike not to focus on being a star or to demand the star treatment, but to remember the stars they had in their eyes that made them want to dance in the first place. Moreover, as you become experienced and perfect the technique, you have to remain vulnerable and not lose that wonderful innocence, that freshness."

[added comment]

The Odile duet also can make you think about the entire concept of the use of sensuality in ballet. I think that Oksana Skorik's duet handles this beautifully.

George Balanchine -- "La Danse" is a "Question Morale."

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

“Swan Lake”
Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia
18 June 2011
By Catherine Pawlick

In recent years one can hardly find a rendition of “Swan Lake” that harks back to the conservative taste of yesteryear, when perhaps the arabesque lines were lower, the technical tricks fewer, but the entire production punctuated by good taste, accents of considerable nuance, and carefully thought-out characterization. Precisely that sort of performance, filled with old-fashioned charm, took place on June 18 at the Mariinsky Theatre, when Olesya Novikova appeared as
Odette/Odile, and alongside Alexander Sergeyev brought old-time classicism to the stage.

Although the program did not list this as her debut in the role on this stage, for all intent and purpose, it was. The performance was given to a sold-out hall. Filled in great part by foreigners and visitors from the Economic Forum that took place during the week’s end, and including Bolshoi Ballet figureheads such as its new director, Sergei Filin, and Yuri Burlaka, the pressure in the atmosphere was elevated beyond Petersburg’s typical summer humidity.

From Novikova’s first entrance, her coaching by Olga Moiseyeva, one of the leading ballerinas at the Kirov in decades past, was evident. Favoring lowered legs, quick flutters of feet, and sharp turns of the head, Novikova’s presentation was that of a frightened bird, unclear on the reason for Prince Siegfried’s approach. Upon seeing him, she ran downstage and posed as if under a raised wing she would be invisible to the hunter. Novikova’s choices for emphases in the choreography – slow port de corps, more restrained port de bras, and heavily detailed footwork-- matched the simplicity of her costumes and hairstyles as well. In Act II her black tresses were pulled over her ears, in a 1940s/Giselle style that lent visual support to the aura that she infused into the entire evening. If Novikova’s Odette was a slight, fluttering woman-bird, then her Odile was a conscientious, sharp woman of the world, confident in winning over Siegfried. She chose pique turns instead of saut de basques in the grand pas; and her double pirouettes in attitude during the Act II variation were a blur of speed that is not seen on stage today. In the poses downstage before the partnered pirouettes, Novikova’s extended arm pointed wrist-up at Rothbart just meters away. “This is for you,” she seemed to say, their conspiracy confirmed. Novikova’s fouettés were interrupted by double turns on every third rotation. At Siegfried’s pledge of love, Novikova’s Odile tossed her head back, the flowers flew into the air, and she raced offstage in victory.

Alexander Sergeyev is one of the most attractive and noble Prince Siegfrieds that the Mariinsky has on offer, but unfortunately he rarely if ever performs this principal role. His carriage from the very first appearance on stage speaks of blue blood and royal lineage, and smooth turns in attitude underline that essence. Overjoyed at the gift of the crossbow, he rushes to thank his mother and stops – realizing he may only kiss her hand in proper royal manner. Sergeyev is also one of the few male second soloists in the company with beautiful legs and –this is key-- feet that extend the lines. His jumps are high and smooth, his partnering work unfaltering. In his Act II variation, the tour jetés soared. When he returned to Odette in Act III, full of remorse, Novikova’s gesture was one of lost hope, “You’ve come, but it’s too late,” her shoulders seemed to say. And their tender pas de deux spoke of eternal care and love, in great part due to his gentle attention towards her.

It was the final battle between Rothbart, the torn wing, the conquered Sorcerer, that brought the happy ending. As Novikova seemed to awaken from her listless state, she looked at Rothbart’s body and then at Sergeyev’s Siegfried, her realization of a dream come true. The gigantic basket of flowers bestowed at Novikova’s feet during the numerous curtain calls attested to the success of the evening, which was conducted beautifully by Boris Gruzin.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Olesya Novikova and Alexander Sergeyev in Swan Lake. Photo by Natasha Razina, courtesy of the Mariinsky Press Office.

Swan Lake_Novikova, Sergeyev photo N.Razina (2)..JPG
Swan Lake_Novikova, Sergeyev photo N.Razina (2)..JPG [ 2.95 MiB | Viewed 24827 times ]

Author:  NataliaN [ Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Thank you for the review and for posting the gorgeous photo, Catherine. They look absolutely stunning.

Author:  Cygne [ Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season

Thank you Catherine for the review and the beautiful pic! It seems that Olga Moiseyeva has done it again :D.
Congratulations to the Mariinsky's newest Odette/Odile, Olesya Novikova!

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