CriticalDance Forum

Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season
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Author:  Buddy [ Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

Thanks, Catherine, for the fine review. I can imagine Daria Pavlenko being great in this work. It would be very consistent with her excellent performances at the Festival. Hope that she continues to be featured in prominent roles.

I also wish her much success, representing the other dancers, in her talks with the Mariinsky management. It would be great if they could arrive at an agreement that satisfies everyone. One good thing for the Mariinsky performers is that the new theater should be state-of-the-art in practice facilities, comfortable surroundings, performance/support facilities, etc.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

In The National, Kevin McCardle reviews the "Homage to Fokine" program presented at the Abu Dhabi Festival on Thursday and Friday, March 14-15, 2013. The program includes "Chopiniana," "Spectre de la Rose," "The Dying Swan" and "Scheherazade."

The National

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

Carmen, Symphony in C
Mariinsky Ballet
Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia
26 March 2013
by Catherine Pawlick

Coming off a heavy touring season, and the jam-packed (12 performances in 11 days) Mariinsky Festival that concluded earlier this month, the current programming options at the Mariinsky Theatre nonetheless remain aggressive as this season edges towards the annual White Nights Festival. But with snow still on the ground in Russia's northern capital, the fireworks for now are indoors, on the "old" stage, as it were. For in just one month we will have the "new" Mariinsky stage to talk about.

But in the meantime, Tuesday night offered an evening of contrast: Carmen, followed by Balanchine's Symphony in C. One might guess the shift in moods would be jarring, but instead it provided a balanced range of tastes in an evening of stellar dancing.
One would not automatically peg Ekaterina Kondaurova as the Carmen type. Fair-skinned and long-limbed, she's more swanlike than soubrette, and yet with elegance and pride --and that innate adaptability, her Balanchinean sense of attack-- she filled her character's every move. Teasing Jose with a flexed foot or hand, she was every bit the flirt on stage, aggressive, self-assured and yet feminine.

But perhaps all that spice is not difficult to convey alongside the sexy Andrey Ermakov who this evening emitted more passionate expression than I've seen in perhaps any performance of his to date. Thick blonde locks and razor sharp movements etched the images of his entrance, which quickly shifted to confusion in the face of this seductive woman's repeat approaches. His remorse at the sudden misstep with the knife at the ballet's close was palpable as the curtain closed -- Ermakov's star is rising, and quickly. It's nothing short of a pleasure to watch his talent and confidence develop on stage as he's increasingly paired with the Mariinsky's leading ballerinas.

The masterpiece of Symphony in C was cast for a fully packed house at higher ticket prices than usual. The reason: Uliana Lopatkina's appearance in the second movement. Lopatkina's name still sells out the house here, and this evening was no different. Thus, on the heels of Kondaurova and Ermakov's spicy opener, we then shifted to Imperial splendor: tutu-ed, powdered, and primped.

A perky Nadezhda Batoeva surprised us as the lead in the First Movement. Still a member of the corps, Batoeva has a wide ranging facility for the most difficult technical challenges. Here partnered by the gallant Maxim Zuizin she offered a sense of playfulness and spark.

Lopatkina holds the key to the adagio in the Second Movement, where all is based upon breath, linearity and flow. A retiré passé begins with a breath, a lift in grand jeté is a long sigh. She's slow and steady, now lifted skyward, like stillness set in motion, and now plucking her feet off the floor to match the notes from the violin. She turns this movement into an exercise in both precision and musicality, layering the dance with both depth and texture. No matter what her detractors in the administration may say, her performances are still sublime perfection, grace in a sea of what at times approaches altercation.

Increasingly Elena Evseyeva is receiving prominent roles, and her place alongside Vladimir Shklyarov added zest to the evening. Shklyarov, the king of pizzazz and energy, can at times hardly contain himself when it comes to partnering -- it's evident his talents are best demonstrated in solo work -- but here the two of them, matched in terms of energy and excitement, colored the entire Third Movement with brightness.

To top off the evening, speed demon Nadezhda Gonchar took the honors in the Fourth Movement next to partner (and husband) Andrei Solovyov. No challenge is too great for Gonchar who attacks the steps with ease. Solovyov is attentive, accurate, and beautiful to watch on his own as well; one hopes to see more of him in solo roles going forward.

The evening ended with numerous curtain calls and flowers for all. Boris Gruzin conducted.

Author:  Soutenu [ Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

I have asked it before.
May be someone can tell WHEN Mariinsky will start selling tickets for performances in SEPTEMBER? Will be very grateful for your advice.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

Soutenu I replied in detail to your PM and I will restate here: no one knows, much less the theatre. The press office is currently focused on the new theatre opening which has required hiring outside firms to handle the additional workload.

I think no sooner than June --or most likely July-- is when you will see Sept tix on sale. Possibly later.

Author:  PenneallaNorma [ Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

Soutenou, the White Nights Festival hasn't even been announced, and that begins May 24! I know someone anxiously awaiting info for her trip!

Unfortunately you have to be very patient with the Mariinsky when it comes to announcing what will play, who is in the cast, etc. Next season is being announced in American companies now, but I wouldn't be surprised if we have to wait until August to hear what will play in September let alone get tickets!!! Many are waiting for info on the White Nights from May to July, and tomorrow is April. So forget about tickets for September. Any other company would probably advertise when you can buy, but that is an eternity away for the Mariinsky!! LOL Not laughing at you. Laughing instead of crying! LOL

Author:  PenneallaNorma [ Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

Just back from a fabulous trip. Kolegova was wonderful in Sleeping Beauty, Kondaurova was "spicy" as Catherine says above in Carmen Suite, Batoeva, Lopatking, etc. great in Symphony in C, and Shirinkina in Raymonda. Also saw a ballet gala at the Hermitage Theatre and the Magical World of Dance which was aimed mainly at children but still worth seeing for the dancing.

The biggest surprise was Shirinkina as Raymonda. It looked like she really worked hard ahead of time and prepared the role well. I really didn't think she had a Raymonda in her. To me Raymonda seems like a role for a very experienced dancer who has already proven herself in all the classical roles already, but Shirinkina added or kept many small things in that others do not. She had all the frappes that Lopatkina does in the role, she did entrechats instead of changements like Novikova (and also the same shaking of the head that Novikova does throughout the role) in her second act variation. She also came running out at the coda of the final act and held a balance longer than most right before the music started for her and she went into what I call the marching. That was a dramatic moment. The only thing was that I felt she lacked the power and regal element in the final clapping variation even though she danced it well. To me this is the moment where Raymonda lets us know that she is now a grown up woman who overcame Abderakhman (maybe sexual awakening). At that point Raymonda is a woman of the world and no longer a naive princess.

In contrast I think Kondaurova did the final act well earlier in the season but did not convey a "princess" who is in danger. Kondaurova has a "spicy" personality that makes it hard for me to believe that her Raymonda would ever fear Abderakhman. She is a woman of the world from the start of the ballet. Kondaurova's Raymonda seems like she could kick Abderakhman's butt even on her birthday! LOL

Author:  Soutenu [ Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

Thank you very much, Catherine and PenneallaNorma, for your advice.
Silly me, I failed to look into my PM. Must be more attentive in the future.

Thank you also for your reports.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

Petroushka, Prodigal Son, Rubies
Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia
05 April 2013
by Catherine Pawlick

Petroushka is rarely danced on the Mariinsky stage. It pops up on mixed bills here and there, quietly, mid-season without much fanfare, and yet the ballet itself is saturated with symbolism and messages about the human condition. Set in Saint Petersburg's Admiralty Square in the 1830s during Maslenitsa, the Russian Orthodox pre-Lenten celebration, it was created in 1910 in a short period of intense collaboration between Alexandre Benois, Igor Stravinsky, and Mikhail Fokine. The result is a bright ballet indicative of the Russian character, the nuances of Russian politics in the era, and filled with unique step patterns to Stravinsky's mercurial score. The crowd scene on the square that opens the ballet is filled with bright characters - gypsy women, dancing boyars, performing gymnastic girls and bears, scarf sellers. The atmosphere joins the laymen's merriment with oppression - in the visage of the evil-looking Magician and the stern guard who must be bribed in order for a performance to occur on the square. A strong sense of looming terror hangs in the air.

When the puppet show on the square begins, we see the three main characters: The Moor, the Ballerina and Petroushka himself, a floppy limbed clown doll in love with the Ballerina. The trio act out the love triangle for spectators, but back in the reserves of their private rooms, we see that the dolls in fact have lives of their own.

Grigory Popov, having just flown in from a month of guest performances in Canada, danced the role of Petroushka with soul and depth. That the turned-in movements, the requisite limpness, and the score's odd-numbered counts are a challenge goes without saying, but it's one that Popov meets and then takes to another level. His face expresses the angst of longing to escape from the chains of his Magician master, and the frustration of unrequited love - he wants the Ballerina. Sharp hand and head movements along with droopy shoulders and a wide-eyed hopefulness rendered Popov's clown melancholic. We see the tragedy of his character early on, and we root for him.

The self-satisfied Moor, relatively powerful in the small world of these three puppets, was danced superbly by Islom Baimuradov, unrecognizable in the black-face makeup and rich robes of his costume. Tossing his coconut impatiently while reclining on his ottoman, he etched the image of a tyrant of his own order with wide steps and sweeping gestures. He's clearly the most powerful of the three dolls; when the Moor signals, the Ballerina --danced beautifully by Oksana Marchuk, whose facial features perfectly embody this role-- jumps, or turns, or follows him.

Unfortunately for Popov, Baimuradov and Marchuk, technical disruptions distracted from the mastery of the dance. A late curtain close forced Popov to leave the stage in audience view after the scene in his black box room; likewise the lighting came on late at several points, when dancers were already moving but not lit for the audience to see. This is a vote in favor of running Petroushka more often, for otherwise the dancers did a superb job of renewing this thickly historical work.

Balanchine's Prodigal Son presented a confident, energetic Maxim Zuizin in the leading role with boyish support from his two sidekicks, Alexei Nedviga and Fedor Murashov as the two men who accompany on his journey of desertion. When given the opportunity, Zuizin can fill any principal role, and has come a long way from his early coryphée days. Here, with chiseled chest, powerful leg muscles and the impatience of a naive young man, he presented the range of role's emotions, from eagerness and confusion to repentance and shame. The last image of him pulling himself into his father's arms -- the stately Vladimir Ponomarev-- concluded the ballet's message in a poignant note. Anastasia Kolegova danced an imposing Siren, aloof, greedy, and with just a hint of evil.

Rubies followed, a unique choice for the program close, where Ekaterina Kondaurova danced the second soloist and Nadezhda Batoeva danced brightly in the main role with Alexander Sergeyev as her partner. Batoeva, increasingly promising in solo work and perhaps already on the path to star status, is a dancer to whom even bravura steps come with ease. She has a lovely beauty that suits the stage: long limbs, dark hair, high cashew-type arches, and an ability to flirt, ever so slightly, that recalls, in moments here or there, a young Vishneva. Sergeyev is prince-turned-cowboy in this pas de deux, and with the exception of one excitingly off-balance turn, he partnered her reliably and played with the steps within the music.

Mikhail Agrest conducted, and Ludmila Sveshnikova performed the piano solo in Rubies expertly.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

Carmen, Divertissements
Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia

12 April 2013
by Catherine Pawlick

As we move closer to the opening of the Mariinsky II Theatre just 17 days hence, the possibilities of the Mariinsky organization holding three performances simultaneously on three different stages becomes increasingly clear. As it is, since the construction of the Concert Hall (also known as Mariinsky III) in 2006, the Concert Hall space has been used predominantly for orchestral or operatic performances. However, evenings of ballet using select productions that do not require sets are increasingly common.

Friday night was one such event, when Carmen was presented in its rearranged choreographic format for the Concert Hall space, followed by numerous divertissements. Carmen works well on this small, un-raked, amphitheater, and it is to the dancers' credit that they cope so well with the four doorways covered with curtains which serve as "wings". This evening the impeccable Ekaterina Kondaurova danced the lead alongside an emotive Ilya Kuznetsov as Jose and a serious Evgeny Ivanchenko as the Torero. Blessed with stage side seats, I was able to see Kondaurova's eyelashes, and the drops of perspiration on Kuznetsov's now-confused, now-enraptured visage. The proximity lent a special element of closeness to the performance that is lacking when further away -- and also provided a deeper sense of the dancers' commitment to their roles. Kondaurova is a true mistress of Carmen's character, having fully mastered the flirtatious, aggressive, self-assured, yet completely fallible nature of the Spanish heroine. To boot, her facial beauty and flawless physique make her a pleasure to watc Kuznetsov, despite his attraction to the seductress, appears the weaker of the two, his feelings getting the better of him. Here he fits well as the tall, strong Jose, his acting talents carrying to the far reaches of the house. In their pas de deux midway through the ballet, expressions of romance and sincere joy enveloped both performers, as we caught a glimpse of what might actually be true feelings and not just animal passion. Sadly that joy evaporates in the final moments of the ballet, when the unintentional knife in her stomach reveals who truly had the upper hand, whether fated or otherwise.

The second act of the evening opened with a sassy Valeria Martinouk in the Tarantella along with Philippe Stepin. The pas appeared sharper and with more spark than other couples have offered in past presentation. Martinouk took full command of both choreography and audience; even Stepin seemed to make his variation his own. Anastasia Kolegova followed in the Russian variation, all diamonds and white beauty, lush, vigorous and beautiful.

Then we enjoyed Elena Evseyeva alongside Kim Kimin in the Diana and Acteon pas de deux. This pas is danced nearly only at gala concerts or evenings of divertissements such as this. A gem of the repertoire, it is the interpolated pas from Vaganova's revision of the full-length Esmeralda. Armed with a bow in hand, Evseyeva's brightness and attack proved a good match for Kimin's soaring jumps. The couple danced with energy and panache. The Don Quixote Grand Pas came next: a regal Oksana Skorik as a polished Kitri, whipping through double fouettes, and hitting every balance, alongside a reliable but tired Evgeny Ivanchenko.

Alisa Sodoleva, the company's "it girl" at the moment, danced in Sergei Vikulov's Etude, a brief piece in which she undulates in a navy unitard with a red Liza Minelli wig. The choreography was less interesting than her unreal physique: hipless, and endlessly long.

We were then treated to Vladimir Shklyarov in the humorous Ballet 101, which debuted last month in the Festival, and has Skhlyarov show the audience the supposed "101 positions" in ballet. As his demonstration speeds up, he's asked to perform the steps in various combinations; then the music shifts to the sound of a helicopter trying to take off. After the lights return to the stage, we see an arm and a limb (from a mannequin) placed in the middle of the stage. The audience roared.

The evening closed with a crisp version of Grand Pas Classique, presented by the serene pair of Kondaurova with Timur Askerov. Clothed in matching deep blue satin and velvet decorated with diamonds, the pair suggested aristocratic wealth, purity, elegance, refinement and, of course, artistry.

Alexei Repnikov conducted.

Author:  Buddy [ Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

I've just gotten back from some fine traveling and I'm trying to catch up. Happened to be looking through the videos and found a lovely one of Svetlana Ivanova dancing Giselle with Xander Parish from the end of last year. The video is easy to find as there are very few of Svetlana Ivanova.

She has such lovely qualities.

Catherine, I believe that you like her very much as well. I can't recall seeing her in many important parts, but I would certainly hope to.

Thanks for your recent reviews, Catherine, which I've only had a chance to look at briefly. I'll try to read them more carefully when I settle in. I'm very envious of the performances that you are able to see. My consolation is that I hope to see a string of ABT Swan Lakes in a few months when I return to the US. One will feature Veronika Part (formerly Mariinsky), who at times is possibly my favorite ballerina in the world today.

Author:  Tiara [ Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

Buddy wrote:
I've just gotten back from some fine traveling and I'm trying to catch up. Happened to be looking through the videos and found a lovely one of Svetlana Ivanova dancing Giselle with Xander Parish from the end of last year. The video is easy to find as there are very few of Svetlana Ivanova.

She has such lovely qualities.

Catherine, I believe that you like her very much as well. I can't recall seeing her in many important parts, but I would certainly hope to.

Thanks for your recent reviews, Catherine, which I've only had a chance to look at briefly. I'll try to read them more carefully when I settle in. I'm very envious of the performances that you are able to see. My consolation is that I hope to see a string of ABT Swan Lakes in a few months when I return to the US. One will feature Veronika Part (formerly Mariinsky), who at times is possibly my favorite ballerina in the world today.

Ivanova is a lovely ballerina - wonderful in Lady and the Hooligan, but woefully underused in roles. Maybe first shade onstage in Bayadere, such as she often dances, is an honour, but a ballerina such as Ivanova deserves far more.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

Agree with Tiara. Sadly she is still recovering from the January injury and it will be a while before she is back on stage. :(

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

Anna Karenina
Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia
14 April 2013
by Catherine Pawlick

There is perhaps no better synthesized ballet based on classical literature than Alexei Ratmansky's cohesive Anna Karenina. Since its premiere here on the Mariinsky stage just 3 years ago at the 2010 spring festival, it continues to run in the company repertoire periodically but perhaps, based on Monday's performance, not frequently enough. Karenina's high-tech sets, which include a moving onstage train car and frequent film clips on the overhead scrim, integrate modern technology with the art of dance in a comprehensive fusion of expression that communicates Tolstoy's message with depth and symbolism. Combine that with Rodion Schedrin's score on the foundation of Ratmansky's genius choreography, and you have a ballet masterpiece.

On Monday night, a packed house welcomed Uliana Lopatkina in her reprisal of the main role. As Anna, she displayed the heroine's every emotion, from joy to disappointment, passion to fear. Utter mastery of the choreography made her movements lyrical, never rushed, endlessly fluid, delivered with ease. Notably in the group ballroom scene, when Anna dances the same steps as the corps de ballet at several points, Lopatkina's musicality stands out above the rest, accenting the notes with various steps, interweaving steely grounded legwork with wispy, floating port de bras. A developpé à la seconde held in perfect balance several seconds longer, and then a sudden speed in the ensuing steps - these are the elements that form her sublime perfection. Further, the interactions with her son, played by the small Alexandre Bychko, reveal a woman who understands motherhood offstage, and can bring that experience to the audience.

Her Vronsky was the gorgeous Andrey Ermakov, whose talent seems to increase with each subsequent stage appearance. Dashing, noble, slightly impetuous, Ermakov embodied the attractive officer perfectly; his tall lines suit Lopatkina's length well and his emotional display was also palpable. The complex duet sections appear easy at Ermakov's hands - lifts become weightless and jumps become airborne. Backed by the gallant gentry in matching white coats, he led the Hippodrome section with particular panache, in which the battalion of male "horses" parade across the racetrack with thudding rhythms and high jumps. That scene is one of the highlights in the entire ballet.

In fact it is difficult to mention all of the highlights, because each moment in Karenina offers profound food for thought. The opera scene in which Anna is shunned, the seaside pas de deux with Vronsky, in which Anna mistakes a young boy for her own son: these details capture the essence of Tolstoy's novel in symbolic snapshots. It seems one could not possibly create a synopsis of the great novel in just two hours on stage, but Ratmansky has apparently done so.

Other characters brought additional coloring to the ballet: the fragile Maria Shirinkina as the naive Kitty, at first taken by Vronsky and then exasperated when he floats to Anna's side. The stern aura of Viktor Baranov's Karenin, who depicted the man's priority of duty and public face above all else; Ksenia Ostreikovskaya as Kitty's sister, and Alexandra Iosifidi as the chatty, overinvolved Betsy.
This Karenina has so many layers that one would have to see it dozens of times to catch and recall all of the nuances. Thankfully, then, the ballet is being repeated tonight (April 15) with Olesya Novikova in the leading role. Ratmansky's work is one that demands repeat attendance. Let us hope that the programming this summer offers us that option.

Alexander Repnikov conducted.

Author:  Willie [ Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2012-2013 (230th) season

I, too, was in that packed house on 14 April to see Ratmansky’s Anna Karenina.

I enjoyed how Tolstoy’s novel was told through flowing changes in scenery, beautiful costumes, video projections, and, yes, the moving on-stage train car. But I did not care much for the choreography (after seeing Ratmansky’s Cinderella and Anna Karenina, I have concluded that I am not a Ratmansky fan). Nevertheless, Ulyana Lopatkina and Andrei Yermakov looked great dancing together.

By the way, I’m still seeing spots from the blinding light of the train that ran over Anna Karenina. :shock:

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