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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:07 pm 
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Something that I’ve found interesting is that the Festivals rarely turn out as I would have expected. There are always surprises that change everything.

An artist may show a new aspect or excellence that we never would have anticipated. Ekaterina Kondaurova did it to me last year with her outstanding characterizations while performing the leads (in one evening!) for all the works from George Balanchine’s Jewels.

Or an artist just might have an unexpectedly great night.

Thus we write about who will do what and what their fine qualities are, yet once the performance has been completed, a new world may have been created. When I go to a performance I try not to predetermine what I’m going to see. I may love to see an artist shine in a certain way, but I try to be open to what the artist is really doing. Artists never change completely, but the enthusiasm and interest can take new directions.

So a few thoughts in anticipation of this year’s Festival.

I continue to feel that Alina Somova could produce some of the most unexpectedly pleasant surprises. She certainly has the ability and from internet and press reports of her Washington DC Swan Lakes, she is doing very well. She will be featured in the largest number of major works, Sylvia and La Bayadere.

Oxana Skorik has similarly compelling attraction. I would say that she is or has become more subtle, yet shines with outstanding beauty and immense interest. Her brilliance may be less overwhelming at first, but it’s some of the finest that I’ve ever seen.

For me, the Essential is Airy Gracefulness.

Alina Somova and Oxana Skorik have this in essence and more. Yet what about the one artist who doesn’t need more — Ulyana Lopatkina, perhaps one of the greatest ballerinas ever because of this. She is so far unlisted. When I saw her perform Swan Lake in October she was as beautiful as ever. Hopefully she will appear in something important, although for the moment only the final Gala Divertissements remain unannounced.

Along with Alina Somova and Oxana Skorik, one other artist that could produce the most pleasant and unexpected surprises, as I’ve mentioned before, is Ekaterina Kondaurova. Her range and versatility remain remarkable, from her mental/physical agility in Forsythe and Balanchine to her grace and elegance in Swan Lake. Another artist who shows a similar but quieter promise is the younger Maria Shirinkina.

Olga Esina is one more artist that I love for her exceptional grace and aliveness.

Diana Vishneva is perhaps the high expressionist of today’s ballet. She can make Anything that she does compelling.

The delightful and highly talented Anastasia Kolegova is always a breath of fresh air.

Elena Yevseyeva sparkles. I noticed her for the first time last year as Kitri (Don Quixote).

One of the younger artists, Nadezhda Batoeva, is getting some attention. I’ve just watched her on the internet and like her airy gracefulness very much. Another older artist with basic beauty and grace, Svetlana Ivanova, will be appearing, while the similarly fine Ekaterina Osmolkina is still not listed. A corps member, Alisa Sodoleva, whom I really liked last year because of her fine proficiency and grace as one of the three Shades (La Bayadere), will hopefully appear.

I would always want to see the lovely and highly talented Daria Pavlenko doing as much as possible.

Among the men, Xander Parish and Kimin Kim should be excellent. The exciting Kimin Kim seems to be everywhere this year.

One of the very few guest performers, Isabella Boylston (ABT), (not a principal dancer as usual) should be great as Gamzatti in La Bayadere. I’ve seen her dance this and Odette/Odile. I think that she has a very fine future.

As usual these are just a few names from so many. This year's Festival is very high quality with many truly fine artists being given a chance to be seen.


[typo corrections made]


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:46 am 
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Which performances are you seeing? Is Olga Esina debuting as Giselle? She will be so beautiful. I didn't see it listed on her website in repertoire. When are the schedules and tickets for White Nights available?


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:03 am 
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Hi, maps.

I hope to see almost all of the performances.

I really can’t tell you anything about the White Nights. I’ve always attended the International Ballet Festival because it’s all ballet, whereas, I believe, the White Nights tends to emphasize orchestra and opera. Also the March/April Festival is not during the high tourist season, thus quieter and hotel rates seem better. The weather’s not too wintry, but the summer is probably much milder and the outdoors’ sites much more accessible. The huge and extremely fine Hermitage museum of art is a great place to hang out in the winter.

For the International Ballet Festival tickets go on sale as soon as the schedule is posted. It’s pretty easy to get tickets on the internet from the Mariinsky at the best price.

Festival announcements are posted here.
http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/fes ... 2013_2014/

I’m not sure if Olga Esina has danced Giselle before, but I agree, she should be “beautiful.” She is also cast in Swan Lake, Apollo and Romeo and Juliet for London this July-August, so hopefully she has become a permanent Mariinsky artist.

I’ve never seen Alina Somova in La Bayadere, which could be another truly beautiful Festival performance along with Sylvia, which I’ve never seen. She is extremely lovely in the internet clips I’ve seen of Giselle.

I also notice that Ulyana Lopatkina is cast in London (posted last Friday) for Swan Lake, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Marguerite and Armand, which makes me wonder all the more why she isn’t listed anywhere for the Festival.

(Here’s the London schedule and casting, which looks quite good)
http://dancetabs.com/2014/03/mariinsky- ... g-casting/

Added:

Also, maps, the Bolshoi will be in NYC, July 12-27, with seven Swan Lakes and more. This could be a great chance to see the remarkable Vaganova graduate, Olga Smirnova, along with former Mariinsky stars, Svetlana Zakharova and Evgenia Obraztsova, although casting has not yet been announced.

http://lincolncenterfestival.org/bolsho ... 1393189059


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:12 am 
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I guess one thing to keep in mind when speculating about Ulyana Lopatkina is that she is now 40 years old. Also Diane Vishneva is 37. (according to Amelia at Balletco.)

How do these old women :) do it ? (I'm 71 tomorrow)

If I could have done 1/1000 of what they can do on stage when I was 15 I would have been extactic.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:30 pm 
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The program for “A Creative Workshop of Young Choreographers” has been posted. All the choreographers seem to be from Russia and some are associated with the Mariinsky.

Two interesting items. The costumes for one are by Altynai Asylmuratova. Another is choreographed by a “first-year student of Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet.”

http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/pla ... 13/2_1200/
(thanks to ElenaK at Dansomanie for finding this)


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:43 pm 
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Just arrived in Saint Petersburg and am looking forward to tomorrow night’s Sylvia with Viktoria Tereshkina and Vladimir Shklyarov.

Here's a recent and very sympathetic quote from Viktoria Tereshkina:

“But I work hard so I am satisfied at the end of a show that I did not let the ballet master or the public down. Once I found a comment on the internet where a lady said she had chosen to buy tickets to come to see me instead of buying a new skirt. How can I let that person down when she is making such a hard choice for herself?”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/thea ... -life.html

I haven’t been on the internet for a few days, but I’ve found some news.

A dream partially answered. Since my first years at the Festival I’ve been hoping for Veronika Part (ABT, formerly Mariinsky) to perform Swan Lake. Well, she will appear at the Festival — Brava !!!! — (and Jared Matthews (ABT)), but so far only in a final night Gala divertissement. Maybe they can upgrade her somehow.

http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/pla ... 13/2_2000/

Hee Seo (ABT) will replace Olga Esina as Giselle.

http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/pla ... 11/1_1900/

I was really hoping to see Olga Esina. Sophia at Dansomanie writes that news reports from Vienna say that she’s injured. I haven’t found any reports yet, but I wish her a quick recovery. I also wish Hee Seo much success.

http://www.forum-dansomanie.net/forum/v ... 0&start=15


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:17 am 
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A huge piece of news - that was not in effect as of last night at the press conference, when Fateyev reiterated that Ivan Vasiliev was to perform in Corsaire. Apparently since last night, that has changed.

Sergei Polunin is now cast alongside Kondaurova in Corsaire on the 12th:

http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/pla ... 12/1_1930/

This will be, I believe, his debut on the Mariinsky stage, very exciting turn of events, if it holds!

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:19 am 
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Buddy wrote:
I was really hoping to see Olga Esina. Sophia at Dansomanie writes that news reports from Vienna say that she’s injured. I haven’t found any reports yet, but I wish her a quick recovery. I also wish Hee Seo much success.

http://www.forum-dansomanie.net/forum/v ... 0&start=15


This is true Buddy, she is injured but it is "not serious." Serious enough, however, that she can't fly out for that Giselle.

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:41 pm 
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Thanks, Catherine, for the additional news.


Sir Frederick Ashton’s “Sylvia.” — Night One

Great job guys ! — Another Festival off to a fine start.

Viktoria Tereshkina — At the top of her game ! Brava !

Everything worked for her tonight. Her dancing was excellent and her expressiveness fit like a glove. Ever since Alina Cojocaru’s Giselle several years ago a theatrical challenge has been established. It seems like many dancers attempted to raise their bar, Ekaterina Kondaurova, last year, being incredibly successful. Viktoria Tereshkina showed great promise. Tonight she did it. Every nuance was right on.

I’m not familiar with Frederick Ashton’s works or his style, but it is distinct and certainly different from the Mariinsky norm. I believe I read a ballerina’s remark that with Ashton the feet have to move like crazy and the arms have to be pure grace. There certainly seemed to be a lot of exciting and inventive motion tonight (variations on a theme, maybe, George Balanchine's English cousin, perhaps). Viktoria Tereshkina was on top of it all. Even when she sits still she’s pure loveliness. I remember a new work several years ago where the men were dancing like lightning for maybe ten minutes while Viktoria Tereshkina just sat at the top of the steps watching. Who is it that I’ll always remember from that night. Yep.

Tonight she was commanding like the near goddess that she portrayed, poetically captivating as a woman in love and exotically seductive in the handling of her unwanted suitor. On and on I could go and once again — Brava !

I enjoyed Alexei Tyutyunnik very much as Eros in his handling of the Ashton challenges and his colorful imagery. Vladimir Shklyarov sailed as usual and navigated Viktoria Tereshkina beautifully through the sea of Ashton, which was handled by everyone with poetic fineness.

Alisa Sodoleva once again captured my attention as Terpsichore. (I believe that it was her in a long pinkish gown because she was carrying a harp. Please correct me if I’m wrong, Catherine). Her long lined elegance was very noteworthy.

There’s a wonderful sense of theater and poetry in this work, perhaps the English heritage. I greatly look forward to experiencing it again and to getting a better feel for the world of Sir Frederick Ashton along with seeing how Alina Somova’s potential dreaminess compares with Viktoria Tereshkina’s vibrant yet depthful interpretation.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:50 pm 
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Backstage after the second night of Sylvia, Yuri Fateyev made a short speech to the entire cast. He introduced the British Consul General and pointed out that this, 2014, is the year of British-Russian Culture.

He then announced that as of that moment, Xander Parish had been promoted to soloist - and all applauded.

Xander had danced Romeo last fall, and debuted in Siegfried on March 6, 2014. He's been dancing principal roles such as these and others for some time -- congratulations to him for the promotion!

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:54 am 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Backstage after the second night of Sylvia, Yuri Fateyev made a short speech to the entire cast. He introduced the British Consul General and pointed out that this, 2014, is the year of British-Russian Culture.

He then announced that as of that moment, Xander Parish had been promoted to soloist - and all applauded.

Xander had danced Romeo last fall, and debuted in Siegfried on March 6, 2014. He's been dancing principal roles such as these and others for some time -- congratulations to him for the promotion!


Fine news, Catherine. Thank you. My comments below about Xander's performance last night were written before reading this.


Sylvia — Night Two

Alina Somova — The highlight of her performance last night was the magnificent use of her beautiful long limbs and her flexibility in a manner that enhanced greatly, as does Oxana Skorik, the feeling of the work.

“He [Frederick Ashton] was renowned for…. creating characters out of steps….”

http://www.theballetbag.com/2010/03/29/one-step-closer/

An extremely fine example of this was in Act I when Alina Somova, kicking her leg straight up several times in front of her, created an identity that almost took flight. Her magnificent gazelle like jumps, the front leg lifting again after takeoff, reinforced this. She was a creature of the air. Her motion defined her as being someone of mythological prowess and beauty.

Her lift sequence with Xander Parish in Act III was magically beautiful. Their long lined elegance established a picturesque grandeur in this apparently very demanding series of moves that was a true highlight.

Alina Somova was facially lovely and most believable in her more serious moments. Her look as a women fallen in love was natural and heart touching.

Xander Parish — He’s great !

As a teenager might say — “ He’s got the moves ! “

He’s also very believable and embracing in his presence and character. He was a rock solid partner as Aminta, the hero.

I thought that Sophia Gumerova was very compelling in her few minutes on stage as Diana. Oksana Marchuk appeared for the second night in the goat duet, similar to the two cats in Sleeping Beauty. Last night she was particularly captivating in her jumps because of their playful airiness and finely timed positioning. There was also another woman (in a polka dot dress and a golden crown), possibly Svetlana Ivanova, in a group of three ladies in Act III who was vibrant with beautiful long limbed dancing.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:01 am 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Backstage after the second night of Sylvia, Yuri Fateyev made a short speech to the entire cast. He introduced the British Consul General and pointed out that this, 2014, is the year of British-Russian Culture.

He then announced that as of that moment, Xander Parish had been promoted to soloist - and all applauded.

Xander had danced Romeo last fall, and debuted in Siegfried on March 6, 2014. He's been dancing principal roles such as these and others for some time -- congratulations to him for the promotion!

Catherine, this is very exciting news! Did Yuri Fateyev say whether he meant 2nd or 1st soloist promotion for Xander? I have heard it said that there are actually only two rankings - corps and soloist - and that the ranking system shown on the website does not actually exist. Do you know anything about this, because as far as I can see, those who are promoted to 2nd soloist are always promoted from the coryphee rank and not the corps rank? Similarly, it is always 2nd soloists who are promoted to 1st soloist, and not coryphees. Anyway - did Fateyev say exactly which rank Xander is promoted to? Thank you!


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:24 pm 
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Good question, Tiara, if it is indeed the case.

This was my first night inside the new Mariinsky and I have to say that I’m impressed ! I think that it’s absolutely beautiful. Even the outside seems less massive than in the pictures and having been inside it all seems to come together much better. I think that one can become very comfortable with this new kid on the block. The old theatre still remains the gem, but with sensitive future handling I think that it could all work very well. Also I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many beautiful women in one place as I did at the Mariinsky II tonight.

And by the way, historic Saint Petersburg lit up at night is pure magic. It’s the equal of any urban beauty that I’ve experienced.

The star tonight was probably Kimin Kim. He joins Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev in today’s ballet “force of nature” pantheon. Besides that, he’s got class. In the modernistic Infra by Wayne McGregor he ‘rocked!’ In Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH he represented the state of the art in contemporary blast-off in contrast to his more laid back fellow dancers, whom Alexei Ratmansky seems equally comfortable with. I have to say once again that Kimin Kim handles the classics with the same brilliance.

And then there was Ekaterina Kondaurova. She also appeared in Wayne McGregor’s Infra and was fireworks. And once again I have to say that she handles the classics as beautifully as anyone. And once again, if she ever decides to hang up her dancing shoes and become only an actress….Hollywood might never be the same ! Yes, she’s that good and tonight she once again proved it.

I enjoyed Wayne McGregor’s Infra very much, but I would seriously advise a week of pilates before attempting the first part anyway. The entire cast did very well, but if Ekaterina Kondaurova had been partnered by Kimin Kim they might have to start thinking about a new roof. The last dancer, who I believe was Anastasia Matvienko, partnered finely by Alexander Sergeyev, added a gentler and lovely contrast.

Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH was a delight. The man has a fine sense of humor among his other amazing abilities. Parts I and III were playfully brilliant and alive from the color of the costumes to the passages of wonderfully eccentric and quirky soloing and patterning. Part II was absolutely lovely and it was great to finally see Svetlana Ivanova take a lead. She was pure loveliness and the flying lifts that she was partnered through were breathtaking.

Perhaps I can add more at another time.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:20 pm 
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Swan Lake

Oxana Skorik

Magnificent !

Her performance of the famous Act I White Swan duet, along with Ulyana Lopatkina’s from eight years ago, was possibly the finest that I’ve seen. This ten or so minutes is the part of Swan Lake that I cherish and watch over and over on any video. For one thing, Oxana Skorik performed, with the very secure assistance of Denis Rodkin, one of the most breathtaking series of overhead lifts from this duet that I’ve ever seen. She went almost completely upside-down with total confidence and a sculptural drama that was mind boggling. For the most part her Act I White Swan was one of the finest in my viewing experience. Her entire evening was, overall, Magnificent.

Each time I see her she grows in surety and artistry. Tonight she was A Mortal Goddess.

Hopefully more to say about this outstanding evening at another time.

My words can’t really describe what I saw except to say….


“Sunshine Came Dancing Through My Window Today”


Last edited by Buddy on Mon Apr 07, 2014 3:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky International Ballet Festival: April 3-13, 2014
PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:01 am 
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Tiara wrote:
Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Backstage after the second night of Sylvia, Yuri Fateyev made a short speech to the entire cast. He introduced the British Consul General and pointed out that this, 2014, is the year of British-Russian Culture.

He then announced that as of that moment, Xander Parish had been promoted to soloist - and all applauded.

Xander had danced Romeo last fall, and debuted in Siegfried on March 6, 2014. He's been dancing principal roles such as these and others for some time -- congratulations to him for the promotion!

Catherine, this is very exciting news! Did Yuri Fateyev say whether he meant 2nd or 1st soloist promotion for Xander? I have heard it said that there are actually only two rankings - corps and soloist - and that the ranking system shown on the website does not actually exist. Do you know anything about this, because as far as I can see, those who are promoted to 2nd soloist are always promoted from the coryphee rank and not the corps rank? Similarly, it is always 2nd soloists who are promoted to 1st soloist, and not coryphees. Anyway - did Fateyev say exactly which rank Xander is promoted to? Thank you!


In his speech, no, he simply said "soloist".

Indeed, inside the theatre, pay rates are divided, I am told, into only TWO categories: corps vs soloist. So the online rankings are a more detailed reflection of the roles/casting that dancers receive. However, that's not to say there are only two salary levels or two casting levels. The salaries depend on a lot of other (often subjective) decisions. Same with the casting. Because obviously someone like Lopatkina is not receiving the same casting or compensation as a second soloist...

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