CriticalDance Forum

Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season
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Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:10 am ]
Post subject:  Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

The 2013-2014 season opens with Romeo and Juliet with Alina Somova on September 9th, followed by the treat of some full length Raymondas, including one by Lopatkina.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

On Friday, September 13, the full-length version of Raymonda returned to the historical stage at the Mariinsky for a two-night run, with Uliana Lopatkina at the helm. Lopatkina danced to a packed house, sold out weeks in advance, full of fans and admirers thirsty (after the company's month-long hiatus) for some true classicism.

The historical production --said to be planned for a Costa Mesa tour in fall 2015-- is certainly not full of flash and fanfare as modern reworks of "Swan Lake" or other warhorses may be, but it holds a charm and aura of eternity that newer works do not offer. So if one does not mind stepping into the dimmer Act I costumes, and the nuances of French court, no disappointment should follow.

Our medieval French princess is having a birthday celebration inside the castle, interrupted repeatedly by the roughly boorish Abderkhaman, intend to give her the sun and the stars in return for her hand in marriage. The royal family politely evades him. Her father bestows the gift of a tapestry holding the image of her promised one, Jean de Brienne. The plot focuses on Raymonda's eventual union with Jean, and the defeat of the violent Abderkhaman. That's the crux of the libretto in summarized form.

Having seen the 2007 three-performance run of Raymonda (Lopatkina and Tkachenko), this revisitation offered no less spark or inspiration than the very same performers just 6 years ago. Lopatkina was exquisite, delicate in her first entrance picking up the flowers that line her path from the floor, every gesture and pose perfected. She danced through the veil variation in the second scene with effortless ease, the flowing white fabric adding an additional element of divinity to her dance. Danila Korsuntsev joined her as Jean de Brienne with verve and gusto, notably in his Act III variation, but in the Act I partnering sequences as well. The ever-challenging "shoulder lifts" where Raymonda kneels in arabesque on one of Jean's shoulders are perhaps among the most awkward in the classical repertoire (as are the two variations in the same scene, danced laudibly by Yulia Chereshkevich and Ekaterina Ivannikova), but nonetheless Mariinsky expertise pulled them through. Yuri Smekalov's skill in evil roles has grown to the point that he's unrecognizable - his stellar performance as Abderkhaman was praiseworthy.

Valeria Martinouk danced a sprightly variation with style in Act III. The four cavaliers who dance the short quartet of double tours in cannon -- Alexei Timofeyev, Vasily Tkachenko, Alexei Nedviga and Alexei Popov - looked stunning. This excerpt would be a nice insert for an evening of Divertissements. The final Act Grand Pas was a testament to Imperial stature (albeit, French style) with the quick retire passes, and the Petipa's stylized choreography. For dance classicists: the "clap" in the famous variation was soundless

Raymonda needs to appear in the repertoire more often.

Alexei Repnikov conducted.

Author:  PenneallaNorma [ Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

I love Raymonda's entrance when she picks up the flowers. It is just one reason I have come to dislike the Bolshoi's production among many other reasons. She does not pick up the flowers in the Bolshoi version.

I know it is a tiny detail, but it is such a lovely detail.

Thanks for the review! So am I understanding correctly? They may do Raymonda on tour in Costa Mesa? That surprises me, but it is good news.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

Yes, What I had heard was that they'd do the full length Raymonda on tour in 2015 (2014? in any case the next fall Costa Mesa tour)... I hope it's true. I know the US critics will not like it, since anything Russian is "bad"...but the audience reaction is what matters.

I agree with you about the flowers - I love that diagonal )

Author:  Buddy [ Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

I'd like to touch on two topics based on what I call

*Ethereality* -- *A Dreamlike Beauty*

This is the quality that attracts me to ballet performances.

The Ethereal Work

"Swan Lake" is possibly is the best example. I've seen quite a few Mariinsky "Swan Lake"'s since I started going to ballets about ten years ago. I've developed a point of view that I've mentioned here before, most recently at the "Swan Lake", Naples, Italy topic. The highlight of "Swan Lake" is considered by many to be the Act II White Swan duet. This for me is where the 'spell' is cast. This 'spell' is so Wonderful that I long to see it carried throughout the entire work, like an adagio symphony -- gentle and dreamlike. All the plots, characters and performances would maintain this overall aura.

I recall from many years ago seeing the movie "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg." My pleasant recollection is that everything seemed to be contained within a dance.

There are many elements in "Swan Lake." Often after a particularly fine White Swan duet, I tend to not want to focus on anything else, to cling on to its Dreamlike Beauty, until the return of the White Swan for her solo. From the duet through the rest of the work it's the White Swan, Odette, who maintains this Ethereality. If the other elements, such as the contrasting character, Odile, the framing situations (the court dancing, etc.) and the crafted performances (the dance of the four little swans, etc.) can somehow reinforce and recall the Ethereality of the White Swan duet, then, for me, a remarkably beautiful experience has been accomplished.

The entire company, in the performance a week ago Friday featuring Olga Esina, combined many of these elements into one dreamlike 'symphony' as finely as I've ever seen.

The Ethereal Artist

I've also often mentioned my fascination with the ongoing parallel development of Oxana Skorik (Mariinsky) and Olga Smirnova (Bolshoi, Vaganova School (Mariinsky) graduate). I'm tempted for the moment to include the Mariinsky's new Guest Principal, Olga Esina. I had the great pleasure of seeing Oxana Skorik and Olga Esina twice in Swan Lake two weeks ago along with Ulyana Lopatkina, who probably sets the standard for today's Ethereal dancer.

Olga Esina is older than Oxana Skorik and Olga Smirnova, but her newness and development at the Mariinsky, combined with her freshness, makes me want to group these ladies together. It's their beautiful *Airy Fineness* that's so compelling. Other qualities such as extension, flexibility and expressiveness can also be very impressive, but my focus is on their

*Essence of Fineness*

Oxana Skorik, in essence, has a purity of Fineness. She has the ability to be another Ulyana Lopatkina. Her drive seems to come from deep within.

Olga Esina is perhaps somewhere in-between Oxana Skorik and Olga Smirnova. She has lovely and lively expressiveness, but it's beautifully contained and totally harmonious within her overall Elegance and Delicate Flow.

Olga Smirnova has brought her remarkable and prodigious 'Mariinsky' (Vaganova) Grace to the Bolshoi. The internet video clip, "Olga Smirnova - Exam Pirouettes - Vaganova Ballet Academy 2011," shows this refined and linear loveliness.

These ladies, because of their youth and remarkable ability, will be exciting to watch as they grow and reveal their Artistic Ideal of Feminine Beauty.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

The press here, for the past week or so, has been discussing the issue of Gergiev's proposal to unite several arts-based institutions under the umbrella of a national arts center which, of course, he would head.

For numerous reasons, this would benefit neither the ballet troupe, nor the dancers, nor the Vaganova Academy (all of which would fall under this "umbrella" were it to occur).

The Vaganova Academy has responded with a public letter in which they address this news and point out that unfortunately they heard of this third-hand through the media.

The Open Letter (which I do not have time to translate) is located here:

Author:  NataliaN [ Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

Casting now up for the late-Jan/early-Feb 2014 Swan Lake tour to Washington, DC:

1. Terioshkina/Schklyarov (3 shows, including opening night)
2. Kolegova/Zyuzin (2 shows)
3. Somova/Askerov (2 shows)

No Skorik? No Kondaurova??? Lopatkina will likely be busy with Olympic-related preparations, so I wasn't expecting her.

Details and exact dates:

Recent Vaganova graduate Sofia Ivanova-Skoblikova has been cast in the Pas de Trois at the Mariinsky this fall. I wonder if she'll go to DC? It would be a real treat to see her.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

NN, thanks for the post and for the research. I just copied your post to another thread, as there are enough US attendees of the Kennedy Center tours that perhaps there will be more discussion on the topic between now and then (I hope).

I haven't asked yet about why Kondaurova or others are not on the DC guess is precisely that they do have other engagements...with the new theatre, everyone has been pulled in two directions at once. And add the Olympics into the fray...

Author:  Buddy [ Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

Why not go out on a limb? That's partly what they're there for, I guess. :D

My prediction for 'new face' Mariinsky Superstars -- Oxana Skorik and Olga Esina.

That's not to at all diminish so much other super talent at the Mariinsky.

I'm also very glad to see Anastasia Kolegova and Maria Shirinkina being given so much prominence.

And Daria Pavlenko. I've had some glimpses of Real Artistic Maturity, in addition to the great things that I've seen her do over the years, and would love to see a lot more of her in major roles.

Author:  Buddy [ Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

Or, if you prefer -- Oxana Skorik and Olga Esina -- will be two Stars at the Mariinsky -- where everyone's a Star ! :D

Author:  Buddy [ Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

I've been locked into the video clip of Oxana Skorik's Act II "Giselle" duet for about a week as I've been to her Act IV "Swan Lake" for over a month.

Last week I watched video clips of about six other Act II "Giselle" duets. Today I went back and forth between Oxana Skorik's and Galina Ulanova's. Galina Ulanova is probably in a universe of her own and her approach to this duet is quite different from Oxana Skorik's, but to want to view the very young Oxana Skorik alongside her sort of speaks for itself in my feelings of admiration.

Author:  NataliaN [ Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

Catherine, I see that the originally-cast Kolegova has been removed from the internet-site cast of the October 25 Swan Lake. Odette-Odile is now 'tba' for that show. I wonder what's going on? Is Kolegova OK or will this be a try-out for a new Odette-Odile...or perhaps Terioshkina's return to the role? ... 25/1_2000/

The Matvienki are still listed in the playbill for the October 24 Swan Lake, as originally shown when October casts went up last month.

There will be three more Swan Lakes in early December but casting not yet up for any of them. This should yield further clues as to who might 'really' dance in DC. I definitely keeping fingers and toes crossed for Terioshkina to return to O-O. I see that she is returning to Kitri soon (Nov 11), so she must be in fantastic shape to star in a 'classical tutu' role: ... ereshkina/

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

I do not know, she may be sick or she may be going on the Mexico tour... I know a bunch of dancers got sick. There is a wicked 2-week flu bug going around (I got it in September). So they may be making switch-arounds due to that... (Part of the company leaves for Mexico tomorrow, the 15th)

Author:  NataliaN [ Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

Thanks for this, Catherine. Sorry to hear about the illness that's going around. Yes, the Mexico City tour kicks off today but the following short report from the MT website doesn't list Kolegova as one of the tour participants...but lucky Mexico will be seeing PAVLENKO/SERGEEV, Kondaurova and Skorik, among others.

Perhaps the fact that Kondaurova & Skorik are on this Mexico tour is a reason why they won't be seen in Washington, come January? I heard that Mr. Fateev likes to 'spread the wealth' when casting dancers for tours.

Author:  Buddy [ Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2013-2014 (231st) season

NataliaN wrote:
Thanks for this, Catherine. Sorry to hear about the illness that's going around. Yes, the Mexico City tour kicks off today but the following short report from the MT website doesn't list Kolegova as one of the tour participants...but lucky Mexico will be seeing PAVLENKO/SERGEEV, Kondaurova and Skorik, among others.

Perhaps the fact that Kondaurova & Skorik are on this Mexico tour is a reason why they won't be seen in Washington, come January? I heard that Mr. Fateev likes to 'spread the wealth' when casting dancers for tours.

So glad to hear that Daria Pavlenko will be performing, Natalia ! I hope it's something special that she'll be doing.

It's always good to hear about her husband, Alexander Sergeev, as well.

Ekaterina Kondaurova looks better than ever 'classically' on recent video clips ("Swan Lake" and "La Bayadere"). The Artistic Range of this amazing women is staggering! I still maintain that in her Balanchine performances at this year's Festival, she showed a side of herself that I could never have imagined. Her theatrical prowess, most noticeable in her use of facial expression, made me think of some of the finest moments of Broadway and Hollywood. She is versatile as can be. Her husband, Islom Baimuradov, who is also her coach, has this same ability, which might explain some of it.

As for Oxana Skorik, I wouldn't take my eyes off of this remarkable young artist for a moment. I quite simply think that we could be witnessing the 'birth' of an all-time Genius.

How far is it to Mexico City ? :D

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