CriticalDance Forum

Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season
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Author:  NataliaN [ Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Any word on the possible revival of The Bronze Horseman? I'm still hoping that it may appear this summer. I close my eyes and see....hmmm...I can picture Kristina Shapran as Parasha and Alexander Sergeev as Yevgeny. I hope that the Mariinsky hurries up and stages this before someone like Ratmansky "railroads" the story and title, changes the choreography, simplifies the designs, and "assigns" new ugly music by Desiatnikov. Please, let the original and lovely Zakharov/Gliere live once more, realistic flooding effects and all!

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Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Thu Apr 02, 2015 4:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Natalia, I totally agree! The only word is that it's off the schedule (indefinitely). I believe it has to do with funding but not sure.

Author:  NataliaN [ Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Thanks, Catherine. I keep having nightmares that this will be the next great ballet (like Lost Illusions or Humpbacked Horse) that could be "Ratmaned" with simplified decors and non-hummable melodies.

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Author:  NataliaN [ Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

According to the Vaganova Academy's official Facebook page, the senior students are preparing Balanchine's gorgeous RAYMONDA VARIATIONS for the next graduation performances. What a treat and so appropriate to this academy...much more so than (ahum) recent Nacho Duatos, for example. Something very right is going on at the Vaganova under the new leadership. Like many, I was a bit skeptical at first but this sounds promising. :)

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Author:  Buddy [ Sat Apr 04, 2015 5:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

I'd just like to call attention again to someone whom I've been watching with continued great interest.

Yekaterina Chebykina

Anyone who has read some of my Mariinsky posts is probably aware of my extreme admiration for Oxana Skorik. Well now another very young lady is catching my attention for many similar reasons. I’ve put both in a loose grouping that I’ve called ‘Swans’ because of their linear, graceful resemblances. The lyrical beauty and fineness of their long lines as well as their compelling expression make them very special. The standard setter for this group would be Ulyana Lopatkina.

Oxana Skorik is so noteworthy for a sublime depth and poetry. In contrast Yekaterina Chebykina is alive with an airy youthfulness. This I’ve noticed in video clips that I watch over and over. She also has an essence of joy that she’s still able to adjust to more weighty characterizations, such as Myrtha from Giselle, which I saw her do so successfully at the Mariinsky Festival.

Two other extremely fine Mariinsky artists whom I've included as 'Swans' are Alina Somova and Yekaterina Kondaurova. Alina Somova can display a fineness of motion and a depth of portrayal that is greatness. Yekaterina Kondaurova has shown similar airiness and lyrical delicacy along with a statuesque presence (possibly the most beautiful in all the performing arts) and a theatrical prowess that can be staggering. Exactly what they will do next always fascinates me.

So now I add Yekaterina Chebykina. She’s the fresh breeze, an airy and joyful enchantment. I greatly look forward to seeing much more of her.

Added Comment:

Natalia, I’m one who continues to hold my breath with much concern over what’s happened at the Vaganova the last two years. I do hope for the best.

Author:  Buddy [ Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Looking through the schedule for April it's very nice to see that Daria Pavlenko will be dancing the Firebird April 25.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

yes Buddy indeed it is!

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Swan Lake
Mariinsky Ballet
Mariinsky Theatre II
Saint Petersburg, Russia
14 April 2015
by Catherine Pawlick

Few people have the honor of attending Swan Lake in the city of its creation, on the 175th anniversary of Pytor Tchiakovsky's birthday, witnessing the most iconic Odette/Odile of our day, Uliana Lopatkina, in the leading role. But for those who filled the seats of the Mariinsky Theatre II on Saturday April 11th, such was the case.

Uliana Lopatkina today is at the pinnacle of her career. Her performance in Swan Lake--a ballet that, unlike American versions, runs regularly on this stage throughout every single season-- is replete with nuance and various shadings, fresh with each performance. She does not recycle the past, but infuses it with new life and gradation, so that each performance always differs slightly from the next. Great attention is paid to detail, incredible weight is given to musical phrasing. Nothing is overlooked.

A chassé and large jété colored her Act I entrance, followed by careful shifts in épaulement as her Odette preened briefly downstage. Upon seeing Siegfried she freezes, bourrées backwards in fear, performs a soutenu and runs to the other side of the stage. Her solo in the White Swan Adagio includes a carefully placed tendu devant à terre before the retireé passé into developpé arabesque, rather than a degagé devant with the front leg en l'air as she has done in the past. The overhead lifts in diagonal included one leg directed straight towards the heavens. And the closing of the adagio included a perfect double finger turn followed by a triple.

Her Odile was a fresh-faced beauty, alert and focused on her prize, but easily transformed into the gentle tremors of Odette at the appropriate moments. In Odile's variation, Lopatkina delivered two singles and one double "step-up" piqué turns punctuated with a relevé in attitude on the first and third sequences, a unique addition to that diagonal. Other Lopatkina signatures include chainé turns done in fifth, and poses held just long enough on the music, neither too early nor too late.

It is said that nothing is more critical than a Russian ballet audience. In my 11 years of experience watching ballet in the halls of the Mariinsky (and now in the new theatre building as well) that has always rung true. The utter silence throughout all of Lopatkina's single 32 fouettés -- not the usual break into applause that the newcomers usually do at 16 counts in-- attested to that. That silence was broken by thunderous applause not just following the fouettés, but by the requisite (and never missed) 15-minute curtain call at the end of the performance.

Murmurs in Petersburg ballet circles repeatedly pose the question "what next?" for this Russian star of great magnitude. Will she run a ballet academy? Shift into teaching or coaching? Open up her own school? There are plenty of musings, but no concrete answers yet. What we know for sure is the great indulgence it is to witness parts of divinity grace this stage time and again. And truly, what better way to honor Tchaikovsky's birth.

Author:  DrewToo [ Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Thank you for review--I fear I may never see Lopatkina dance live again. But am hoping I can find a way...

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Apr 17, 2015 4:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Maxim Petrov — Young Choreographer

I’ve been getting more and more into the work of this Mariinsky related young choreographer. The resemblances of his work to some of the joyful successes of Jerome Robbins, for me, is exciting. I’ve even included him in a discussion about the apparently highly successful NYC debut of Christopher Wheeldon’s "An American in Paris" at another forum.

HIs works were performed at both last year’s and this year’s Mariinsky Festival Young Choreographers showings. I was there last year and thought that his presentation really stood out along with that of the Vaganova’s very young Maxim Sevagin. I thought that it was a delightful take on the world of Charlie Chaplin. This year I didn’t get to the evening presentation but I have watched the video — a lot! It’s called “ “Ballet No 2” to A. Tsfasman's score” and along with last year’s work, “Cinema”, can be easily found on the internet.

The highly inventive joyfulness of his work is such a pleasant breath of fresh air in the world of modern/classical dance. His work is delightful, cross cultural and world class. I think that he’s brilliant and greatly look forward to what he’ll do next.

Author:  Buddy [ Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Daria Pavlenko’s Firebird, Saturday — At least found a video clip of the curtain calls. Looks like she was very well received.

Lots of other good things happening. Envy you, Catherine, being able to see some of these. Les Sylphides-Chopiniana was danced by Oxana Skorik, Xenia Ostreikovskaya, Yana Selina and Xander Parish. Oxana Skorik’s dance is more beautiful than ever. In the series of jumps she seemed to float. In the initial dance for three (four?) at the ending her facial expression was as fine as I’ve ever seen. She looked like dream images of Anna Pavlova. (Gave her a four star rating, three being the highest). In her solo Xenia Ostreikovskaya was absolutely lovely! Yana Selina danced very well. Xander Parish was princely ‘elegance’ at it’s finest as usual.

Legend of Love was all over the place in April, five at the Bolshoi and three at the Mariinsky. I like this work very much for the inventiveness and emotional poetry of the dancing. At the Bolshoi, Yuri Grigorovich, its creator, is probably still quite active in its staging which adds considerable interest. I’d like a chance to study the difference between the two companies' presentations more carefully. At the Mariinsky, Oxana Skorik is classic as Mekhmene Banu. I like the more subtle and restrained approach very much. At the Bolshoi, Maria Vinogradova is very fine as Shireen and an old video clip of Yevgenia Obraztsova, with her Mariinsky based loveliness, shows how poetically compelling Shireen can be in the beautiful duets. I’d love to find clips of Yekaterina Krysanova and Nina Kaptsova’s evening. Another video clip from late last year shows Svetlana Zakharova (formerly Mariinsky) at her finest in artistic maturity and commitment to portrayal as Mekhmene Banu along with some lovely moments from Anna Nikulina as Shireen.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Hi Buddy,
there is certainly a lot going on now! I didn't attend Saturday, but Sunday's Fokine program. I'm posting a review shortly.

Diana Vishneva has her Giselle here Tuesday and Xander Parish is debuting in Diamonds on Wednesday. Simultaneously there are performers across the city as part of the Dance Open (on two stages) so people are having to choose between these three options and the ongoing Mikhailovsky performances -- a lot to choose from!

Drew, don't lose hope. Although she rarely tours, Lopatkina does tour so I hope for your own sake you can see her again live soon! :D

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Fokine Mixed Bill
Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia

26 April 2015

by Catherine Pawlick

One wouldn't necessarily expect the Mariinsky's Fokine bill to be the forebearer of high-energy electricity. Chopiniana, the most romantic work on the bill, is a foray into a glen of wispy sylphs in a forest long ago. Spectre de la Rose is similarly dreamy in nature with the Girl lost in a literal dream about the Rose from her evening out. The Dying Swan, at once tragically beautiful and beautifully tragic, is the shortest ballet, not just on this program, but in the world repertoire today, and one that leaves a philosophical impression. It's only Scheherezade that combines passion, sensuality, murder and suicide all in one. The April 26 performance at the Mariinsky incorporated all of these elements, yet it was the debuts in Scheherezade that created fireworks and deep hopes for the future of this troupe.

The selections from Chopin that comprise Chopiniana -- a ballet known as Les Sylphides in the West -- is enough to carry the viewer to another world, but adorned with the Mariinsky's corps de ballet of sylphs, we could not have taken a more direct route into 19th century Romanticism. A rather new cast took to the stage, including Viktoria Brilyova in the Prelude, Diana Smirnova debuting in the Mazurka and Seventh Waltz, Yaroslav Pushkov as the Youth, and Tatiana Tiliguzova in the Eleventh Waltz. Tiliguzova has mastered the quick pitter-patter run prior to her floating jetés, as well as the port de bras required of this specialized technique, and her long slender neck and light jumps perfectly embodied a weightless sylph. Tiliguzova is rarely cast in soloist roles (aside from last month's Choreographer's Workshop), so her presence was a treat. Diana Smirnova seemed both ebulliant and naive in the Mazurka, with only a few nuances of timing and épaulement overlooked. Pushkov as the youth approached the steps and his partnering sequences with care and attention, and no doubt in time could become a polished performer in this role.

It was Ernest Latypov who addressed the great challenge of combining masculinity, strong jumps, and Romantic era curled port de bras in Spectre de la Rose, a role that contains contradictions in what it requires from the male lead, but that, when done well, can leave lasting impressions. Latypov has much longer legs than the creators of this role, but his light jump and focused approach made for a Rose infused with life. Yana Selina was The Girl who falls into reverie. With accuracy she performed the choreography, much of which requires her to dance with eyes closed (she is, after all, asleep and dreaming), which Selina mastered easily. Spectre has an old-fashioned look and feel, from the sets and costumes to the steps themselves - intricate details reign and must be infused with energy and life. These two performers accomplished that.

Following Spectre, Uliana Lopatkina performed a haunting The Dying Swan. Each performance of hers is slightly different -- dips of the torso, or a different position accenting the crest of the violins. Her bourrées are delivered like a bird's fluttering heartbeat, never ceasing until the final moments when she kneels on the floor, a jewel sewn mid-bodice on her tutu glowing red like a drop of blood. The audience only reluctantly ceased the applause after numerous curtain calls.

If touching romanticism and poignant tragedy characterized the first three pieces, electric sensuality distinguished Scheherezade. Nadezhda Batoeva debuted as Zobeide alongside Ki Min Kim, just promoted to Principal Dancer last week, in his own debut as the Golden Slave. A double-billed introduction such as this may be risky, but in this case the risk paid off. Batoeva was the most commanding I have ever seen her, the full mistress of her manor, the energy between her and Kim palpable. For his part, Kim is a natural jumper, but his unwavering focus on Zobeide in every glance and gesture, the thirst with which he drank from the chalice, his bursts into sudden turns or airborne feats spoke of a deep-seated passion for his Zobeide. In the final moments of the ballet when Zobeide takes the knife from her master Shahriar (performed convincingly by veteran Soslan Kulayev), it was with a look of far-sighted conviction that Batoeva drove the blade into her own chest, struggling but missing a final kiss with Shahriar, and the final curtain closed. This pair is ready for international tours. Tonight's performance suggests they're already professionals in these challenging roles.

Author:  Buddy [ Fri May 08, 2015 5:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

It would appear that the 2016 Mariinsky Festival will be the end of March into the beginning of April, slightly later than this year, based on the space left over after the 2016 Subscription ballets.

(These were posted by Elena K at Dansomanie. For the moment if you get the english translation page it will be for 2013-2014 posted by mistake.) ... 2015_2016/

Author:  Buddy [ Fri May 08, 2015 12:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Maxim Sevagin — Young Choreographer

I’d like to post this video. It’s posted by the Vaganova Academy so I’ll assume it’s ok here.

The title translates literally to “Elementarium.” It was presented at this year’s Mariinsky Festival’s Young Choreographers Workshop. The more I watch it the more I like it. Also it's a pleasure to appreciate the Vaganova students who dance this. I’ve already mentioned that I saw this young 19 year old Vaganova student’s “Hungarian Rhapsody” last year and it was a highlight along with Maxim Petrov’s “Cinema.” I’ve discussed Maxim Petrov above. Both men’s efforts standout firstly because they’re very good and interesting. You can just sit back and enjoy them.

Last year’s work by Maxim Sevagin was a more vibrant, perhaps even more entertaining one, with an added classical fineness. This year’s is a more refined one, with the same attention to classical detail, yet with a subtle fascination. There’s also an element of excitement and difficulty, but this does not dominate the classical sense of restraint. Another thing that I like is that it’s a ‘modern’ ballet without a sense of Balanchine or ‘contemporariness.’ It’s contrasts very well with the lighthearted freeness of Maxim Petrov. I look forward to seeing much more of both of them.

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