CriticalDance Forum

Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season
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Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Prior to the season opening performance of "Swan Lake" tonight, a press conference was held with Maestro Gergiev. Although it started 30 minutes late, the basics were covered and highlights include the following news for the ballet:

Planned productions for the season include Wheeldon's "Alice in Wonderland", Grigorovich's "Stone Flower", the famous and long-lost "Bronze Horseman", as well as a return of Scotch Symphony.

Debuts will include Shapran in Giselle, Le Parc, Romeo & Juliet and Bayadere.
Skorik will debut in Sleeping Beauty and Anna Karenina.
Parish will debut in Sleeping Beauty.
Shkylarov will debut in Shourale.
Askerov and Ermakov will debut in Romeo as Romeo.
Kimin will debut as the prince in Cinderella.

Author:  PenneallaNorma [ Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

I am very thrilled to see that the Stone Flower and The Bronze Horseman will return!

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Sep 28, 2014 8:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Hi PeneallaNorma,

Me too! Apparently the dancers in the company have mixed feelings about Stone Flower. But Bronze Horseman, as you probably know is based on Pushkin's 1833 poem about the statue of Peter the Great (which those who have been to or lived in St Petersburg know well) and very much a "Petersburg" ballet. Music by Reinhold Glière. Choreography by Rostislav Zakharov.

Although work began years prior, its official premiere was March 14, 1949. Konstantin Sergeyev himself starred along with Dudinskaya and Shelest in the leading roles of Evgeny, Parasha, and the Queen of the Ball, respectively.

I think there are very few clips of it online as it just hasn't been kept up in the repertoire.

Author:  sandpoint [ Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

I am thrilled to see Stone Flower shall return to the Mariinsky stage, thus all three Prokofiev ballets (and Prodigal Son) are in the theater's current repertoire, how wonderful! (if only they could rid of Ratmansky's Cinderella, but that's a different issue).

Why the dancers in the company have mixed feelings about Stone Flower? I can already imagine Lopatkina (she danced a pdd recently, didn't she?), Kondaurova, and Tereshkina in it!

I am also curious about Bronze Horseman. Searched my whole ballet hard drive (mostly Mariinsky) but could not find a single clip of the ballet. The composer, Gliere, by the way, was Prokofiev's childhood music teacher.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Hi Sandpoint and welcome to the forum!

The reason for the contention is that aside from a lot of posing in Stone Flower for the Mistress of the Copper Mountain, there's not a ton of real dancing to be had (ie it's no Petipa ballet) it's considered overly long with not enough meat, by some.

There are some clips of Bronze Horseman on youtube but maybe only in Russian. I will see if I can find or direct you to them.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Swan Lake
Mariinsky Ballet
2014-2015 Season Opening - 232nd Season
Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia
26 September 2014

by Catherine Pawlick

Although in years past the decades old tradition of opening the theatre season with "Swan Lake" has been sprinkled with variations -- a "Romeo" here or a "Raymonda" there -- this year's opening held true to that tradition with three Lakes in a row. Reappearing on the historical stage to the baton of Boris Gruzin leading the energetic orchestra, the ballet troupe looked reinvigorated after a 5-week annual break.

Oksana Skorik had the honour of dancing opening night alongside Evgeny Ivanchenko in the two leading roles. Skorik has come a long way since her series of Odette/Odile appearances on the California tour several years ago. Now more refined in her delivery, more self-assured and cleaner in technique, her manner of transitioning through steps has gained a maturity and depth. The speed of her port de bras when arching into the signature swan pose have now acquired a personalisation that allows her to embellish delivery without straying from or altering the choreographic text. Her Odette is a sprightly, frightened bird. Her Odile emanates sly seduction, those quick turns of head intent on manipulating Siegfried to the very end. Ivanchenko, the ever reliable prince managed an ending to his Act II variation with a multiple pirouette that ended in two rotations with his arms pulled up overhead, and a triumphant smile to punctuate the step.

As Rothbart, Andrey Ermakov danced the first two performances, both with strong dramatic delivery and verve. Fully disguised in the silver face paint, Ermakov creates a stunning image of the evil, all-knowing sorcerer, his head tossed back as he runs off stage, seemingly victorious in the first act, and encrypted in the second as he plots along with Odile.

In a pleasant surprise, Grigory Popov was cast once again as the Jester. No dancer in the company can carry this role as well as Popov to date, although others such as Tkachenko offer strong renditions in their own right. Popov was tasked with performing this role in the series of back-to-back "Swan Lakes" years ago in one of the Mariinsky Ballet festivals and even today he adds a light-hearted charm to a role that, on the wrong dancer, can fade into the background.

More delights came in the Act I Pas de trois with Ernest Latypov offering double tours to a perfect fifth position, and sissone-ouvertes that hung in the air, his ever-growing legs etching fine lines on stage. Nadezhda Batoeva sizzled through triple beats in each of her assemblés, ruler-straight chainé turns and a radiant smile throughout. We saw her again as one of the two swans in Act III, hopefully portending her own chance at Odette/Odile in the future.

Author:  sandpoint [ Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Thank you Catherine, and thanks for the tip! I did a search in Russian on YouTube and found two performances:

Maybe it's Vaganova's student version?

I started reading this forum in 2004, when I first saw live ballets. Learned a lot from the discussions here, and also from your book.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Hi Sandpoint, Am thrilled if my book opened up a new world to you! :-)

Those clips are fantastic, thanks for posting them. The first is at the Hermitage Theatre, the second inside the Vaganova Academy at their in-house hall.
The first clip reminds me of the ballet Carnavale a great deal, the costumes are nearly the same (esp for the man, minus the mask on his face). And the girl looks like Columbine, even the choreography is similar in their pas de deux with the flirtations and kisses and so forth.

The second clip, I'm not sure if it has been adapted for student performances or not (having never seen the original version since it's never danced). I am very curious to see this full length on stage in the spring!

Author:  PenneallaNorma [ Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Thank you for posting those two videos. I loved the second one. It is always wonderful to see a young girl dancing with the Vaganova style (flowing seaweed in ocean current term).
I am glad they are reviving this ballet just from that one clip alone. Makes me want to know more about the ballet!

Author:  sandpoint [ Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season


You are welcome, just two links.

But someone posted a new video of Bronze Horseman on YouTube today (together with some political statement):

Looks to me like another R&J.

BTW, I don't see it's been mentioned here. According to the theater's playbill, Mariinsky is going to stage Matvienko's The Great Gatsby on February 13, 2015. The new ballet has a web site:

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sat Oct 11, 2014 2:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Yes Gatsby is Denis Matvienko's brainchild project. He funded/designed it. It's not a Mariinsky project -- just like Vishneva's projects are not the Mariinsky's, they are hers. So this is an independent production presentation with outside funding -- it just will be performed on the Mariinsky stage. The "troupe" shows that with a select cast (ie Pavlenko, Sergeyev, and the Matvienko couple). ie the Mariinsky Ballet itself is not performing it, just members from the Mariinsky. Usually this sort of project is done on other stages in the city, but more and more the classics are being pushed aside for modern "projects" such as this.

About the Bronze Horseman, (by way of translation for those who wish it), the entry titles there in the clip states that the ballet takes its story from the great flood of 1824 in St. Petersburg. About 5 minutes from where I live, near where Dostoyevsky wrote Crime & Punishment, there's a mark on the building and a plaque noting where the water level was in that year. It's about the level of my shoulders (I'm over 172 cm).

The film clip that RussianballetVideos posted is probably in response to this new announcement :-). It shows the famous and sweet Sergey Berezhnoi in the main role of Evgeny. He loses his beloved Papasha (Kolpakova) to death, and blames the statue of Peter the Great. He is then haunted by the statue and thinks it follows him everywhere.

There's a cut in the recording at 9:15. But I have to say i really like Zakharov's choreography here. It's very lyrical and the Gliere score is gorgeous. It's a wonder they have not renewed it before now as it doesn't seem to require complicated sets, and the choreography is all very clear in the recording. I can easily see Kondaurova/Lopatkina and others in the leading roles. It's interesting too that they did this in the 1960s style of the "film ballet" like the film version of Sleeping Beauty circa '66 (with Dudinskaya and Soloviev) ...with the interpolated shots of Berezhnoi doing chaine turns and the pictures of the statue... I'm curious how those sections play out on stage in the full length.

My guess is Horseman will debut during the festival and then re-debut at the start of the White Nights. That's usually what they do. I just pray the project is not scrapped in favor of others before the spring. I hope it stays in the season plans.

(the subtitle mentioning insane asylum must be what you meant by political statement, sandpoint :wink: )

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

I mentioned awhile ago that I really didn’t see too much difference between today’s performing style of the Mariinsky and the Bolshoi. If anything I felt that the Bolshoi had moved closer to the dreamlike flow of the Mariinsky.

Last July in NYC I saw two performances each of the Bolshoi’s Swan Lake with Svetlana Zakharova and Olga Smirnova. For the first time I felt something really different. It’s always been the dreamy spell cast by the Act I Odette duet that has defined Swan Lake for me and is what I most love about it and ballet in general.

Svetlana Zakharova and Olga Smirnova left me with an overall impression of theater and of strong character identity with their Odette/Odiles. I believe that this is what the Bolshoi is more known for, but it’s the first time that I truly felt it. I still attribute it more to the extremely fine performances of these two great artists than the company style.

Just recently I’ve watched video clips of the Bolshoi’s young Anna Tikhomirova in Coppelia and the richness of theater and character is again very evident. (I liked her brief NYC appearances very much). Also Kristina Kretova, a somewhat recent arrival at the Bolshoi, can show vibrant personality, as seen in the Blue Bird duet (Sleeping Beauty) video clip. I’ve seen similar qualities in Maria Alexandrova and Yekaterina Krysanova, but not to this extent. I’ll be very interested to see if this becomes more prevalent and in fact changes my perception and perhaps others’ of today's Bolshoi in contrast to the Mariinsky.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Mariinsky Theatre II
Saint Petersburg, Russia
25 October 2014
by Catherine Pawlick

The Mariinsky greeted viewers with an early holiday mood on October 25 with its performance of "Jewels." Now regularly rotating in the theatre's repertoire, Balanchine's triptych masterpiece presents three types of jewels in three acts set to different composers, each with its own aura.

Xander Parish joined Yana Selina as the main couple opening "Emeralds", set to Fauré's hauntingly beautiful score. Selina, who for years danced only the pas de trois in Emeralds, has, post-maternity leave, been given more soloist opportunities. A reliable performer, she executes musically and with accuracy, although the sense of mysterious romance that can decorate this section was missing. Instead she was a cool gemstone, seemingly emotionless, but flawless in execution save for an odd tendency to raise her chin repeatedly. Parish, seemingly entranced with his partner, performed the intricate pas de deux with ease, weaving in and out of the corps as if a Prince in a land of brilliant gems. Victoria Brilyova danced the second pas de deux, somehow reminiscent of Sofia Gumerova in the same role, long, graceful and lyrical as she tapped her pointe shoes in the fondu poses during her variation. Her partner, new face Roman Belyakov, did a fine job of supporting her in the challenging stacatto "clock" pas de deux. A spark of energy came as always from David Zaleyev who led the two ladies in the pas de trois -- Oksana Marchuk and Ksenia Ostreikovskaya -- and then flew through double tours and sissones with attack. Marchuk danced the "crossed bourrées" variation that used to be Selina's, and while her smile enchants, precision was missing in the crossing of her legs - rather than sharp positions in the walks en pointe, we saw a blur, with a lack of accents.

"Rubies" shocks when the curtain opens, and shocks again with Stravinsky's rebellious Capriccio, the piano solo played exquisitely by Ludmila Sveshnikova. Ekaterina Kondaurova, waiting like a Siren upstage, carried this section on her own - fiery, energetic, and yet aloof, her Ruby was a match for no one. From the moment when four cavaliers manipulate her into à la seconde and arabesque to the standing penchés delivered without a wobble, she emitted a sense of the untouchable soubrette, impervious, but electric. In terms of energy and flirtation Nadezhda Batoeva danced in a similar vein in her pas de deux with Vladimir Shkylarov. The tempo for the couple seemed fast at first, or perhaps the pair seemed under-rehearsed, as the distinctions often seen between movements were vague, poses seemingly hit in a rush to what came next. As both are equipped with ideal technique, perhaps it was an issue of timing or tidiness that needed to be addressed.

However, any discrepancies in timing or delivery were put to rest when "Diamonds" began.

Perhaps every ballerina makes this role her own in a different way. It has been a number of years since Uliana Lopatkina's interpretation gained iconic status for its utterly spare, pristine delivery. Not a single step extra is taken, and even a transitional glissade or coupé is infused with meaning and musicality. Her port de bras perfectly etches the Tchaikovsky score, meeting it on the note, never before or after. Lopatkina's presence is quiet and demure - and in that subtlety is grandeur. She does not have to announce her entry, for her lines, musicality, and presentation do so for her. Moments of tenderness toward her partner, Evgeny Ivanchenko, who in this performance proved quite reliable, intertwine with romantic era arm positions. Nothing is taken to extremes, everything is measured, and this very approach is what entrances most. We witness greatness, it is impossible to draw one's eye away, and when the dance ends, one longs to see it again, just for a minute, to indulge in this rare, heaven-sent beauty once more.

And when the grand promenade of the finale begins, the corps adorned in white gloves with their cavaliers, we have a glimpse of what Balanchine saw as the Imperial tradition - no image more fitting for the stage of the Mariinsky Theatre itself, the home of that very heritage.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Just a note, Great Gatsby debuts here in St. P on November 10th which is...soon!

Author:  Buddy [ Thu Oct 30, 2014 3:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky 2014-2015 (232nd) season

Thanks, Catherine, for the fine review.

Personally, I’m glad that Yana Selina was given this recognition. I’ve seen her do some very fine performing. It was somewhat the same at this year’s Festival when another Second Soloist, Nadezhda Gonchar, was given much more than usual and did a very good job.

Unlike you, I’m somewhat relegated to video land most of the year and I’m not complaining. There’s some very good stuff on the internet with good photographic quality. It’s a chance to glimpse at performances that I’d never be able to see otherwise. Still I try to remember that they are just videos and not the real thing.

I’ve been watching Oxana Skorik’s Act I duet from her September Swan Lake (with Yevgeny Ivanchenko). From the video ‘interpretation’ she has changed somewhat from my last audience viewing, her magnificently developed Swan Lake at this year’s Festival. For me, her strength of character expression has come from deep within as contrasted to the Bolshoi’s Olga Smirnova, who’s developed remarkably in outward expressiveness. In this video Oxana Skorik seems to be trying more for outward expression. Being her ’sublime’ inner self has been one of my favorite things about her, so I’ll be interested to see what comes next.

Physically, the wonderful beauty of her arms is very noticeable in this video. It’s perhaps what I like best so far.

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