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Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016
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Author:  Buddy [ Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016

One thing that’s been posted for quite awhile is the tribute to Lyudmila Kovaleva during the Diana Vishneva evening. This is quite a knockout list of artists.


Ekaterina Bortchenko (Mikhaïlovsky), Sofia Gumerova, Olga Esina (Opéra de Vienne), Anastasia Lukina, Alisa Petrenko, Olga Smirnova ( Bolshoi), Kristina Shapran, Zlata Yalinitch, Timur Askerov, Andreï Ermakov, Naïl Enikeev, Igor Kolb, Danila Korsuntsev, Denis Rodkine (Bolchoi), Roman Lazik (Opéra de Vienne), Alexandre Sergeyev.

During the rest of the evening it will be really nice to see Vladimir Malakhov once again with Diana Vishneva. I thought that he was ‘Michelangelo-esque’ with her in Giselle years ago. And with Konstantine Zverev (“We will, we will, Rock you!” (?!) :wink: ) ... /1/1_1930/

Hopefully the Divertissement will harken back to the 2012 Festival when the Gala Concert for Gennady Selyutsky was “Probably The Finest Evening Of Individual Ballet Performances That I've Ever Been To !”


Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016

Test post

This is a note that the forum is undergoing construction -- currently registered users can still post but new registrations won't be taken, as Criticaldance is shifting to a new format. THis is also to prevent the ongoing spamming (I had to clear out 420 posts from some asian spammer on this very forum recently). Once I have news about where new users can also register/post I will share it here.

In the meantime please carry on! ))

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016

An update as to casting for Bronze Horseman, which many are asking about: it looks like Tereshkina/Shklyarov are first cast, Evseyeva/Zverev is second and Matvienko/Sergeyev are third.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016

Images of the new work in this long Preview:

Author:  Buddy [ Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016

Some very quick thoughts about last night’s Bronze Horseman.

The highlight of this production is probably the very fine choreography of Yuri Smekalov and the very fine dancing, led this evening by Viktoria Tereshkina and Vladimir Shklyarov. Danila Korsuntsev does very well portraying the Czar, Peter I, and Yekaterina Kondaurova is elegantly beautiful and theatrically right on in her Act I dance appearances as the Czarina.

The entire staging is very professional and often outstanding. The evening moves into theatrically heavy territory in Acts II and III, which, for me, is happily concluded at the ending by an uplifting Epilogue.

The creative choreography of Yuri Smekalov shows that the classical, lyrical style can be varied and highly interesting. I probably liked it most in Act I, which had a nice, historically artistic and somewhat epic feel, using atmospheric costumes and settings. Here the dancing was mainly by groups. It was animated and imaginatively nuanced. It tended to be slightly bravura, which worked best for the male dancers, especially and throughout for the aerially brilliant Vladimir Shklyarov. It was also fine for Viktoria Tereshkina, who has similar excellent ability. In character she was relaxed and convincing. She always radiates warmth and fineness.

Author:  Buddy [ Sat Apr 02, 2016 2:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016

“Diana Vishneva. Tribute to a Teacher”
“An evening of ballet in honour of Professor Lyudmila Kovaleva”

This was a very fine evening with so much to enjoy. I’ll try to touch on a few personal highlights. Being broadcast on the internet, hopefully those who read this will have also seen it.

There is little doubt that Diana Vishneva is one of the finest ballerinas today. I particularly enjoyed her, with old-time dance partner, Vladimir Malakov, in Hans van Manen’s “The Old Man and Me”(?) (my translation). At the beginning she was delightfully sensual and brilliantly expressive in her motion. The longer Hans van Manen’s work, “Live,” that concluded the evening was half performed with her (partnered by Konstantine Zverev) in the theatre lobby, ending with her walking out into the night. All this was projected in the theatre on a large screen. While in the theatre she danced with her back to the audience, again being seen from the front on the screen. A main impression was how much better it was to see her live, which is somewhat a qualifier for totally judging performances from a video. On stage, even with her back turned, her live presence radiated so much more, for me, than the screen. In person, she was compellingly beautiful and alive with dance expression.

Other performances that I particularly enjoyed were those of Sophia Gumerova with Danila Korsuntsev and Olga Esina. I seldom get a chance to see Sophia Gumerova, but I totally like what I’ve seen on stage and video. She seems so complete in her artistry and so likeable. I feel the same about Danila Korsuntsev, who is perhaps the most sympathetic and competent partner in ballet. He’s partnered some of the greatest, most notably, Ulyana Lopatkina.

I’ve always really liked Olga Esina and was delighted when she was once made a Mariinsky Guest Principal. Her performance last night had the fresh airy grace that first attracted me. She danced a duet (partnered by fellow Vienna State Opera dancer, Roman Lazik) from Christopher Wheeldon’s “Fools Paradise.” I once wrote that she seemed to dance within her dance. Again I felt this. Her motion was sometimes large, but within this was something else, another dancer of airy wonderfulness.

I felt somewhat the same about Olga Smirnova. Once again, I sensed something special (of so much that is special about her). She was completely on top of what she was doing. She flowed so knowingly into her moves. At times she was almost there in presence before the motion had started.

Kristina Shapran, whom I particularly hoped to see performing “Diamonds,” did not appear. (ElenaK at Dansomanie heard that it may have been a licensing issue with the Balanchine Trust). I thought that Nika Tskhvitariya was lovely, beginning the evening.

There was much more. Again, it was a very fine evening.

Author:  Buddy [ Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016

Last evening’s performance of “The Bronze Horseman” was excellent. It featured Elena Yevseyeva and Konstantin Zverev. Oxana Skorik appeared in Act I as The Queen of the Ball. She was like a velvet cloud. She floated through her solos and supported duets. From my last few years experience, when she is in a performance she sets the standard and is hardly touchable. And she just gets better and more beautiful. As for comments about her technical ability, she did spins that were absolutely gorgeous, difficult and aesthetically breathtaking. For me, it was her show until the principal solos and duets started in Act II. Here Elena Yevseyeva and Konstantin Zverev came into their own.

Elena Yevseyeva is a wonderful and distinct combination of captivating loveliness and technical prowess. She sailed excitingly through the largely bravura choreography. In addition, her quiet solos and duets were lovely. She stole my heart.

Konstantin Zverev, whom I’ve watched for years wowing the audience with his exceptional feats as Rothbart (“Swan Lake”) and Espada, the matador, (“Don Quixote”), took his bravura requirements with airy brilliance. In fact Act III seemed to consist of his nonstop dancing as did a lot of Act II. His understated authority worked very well in the heavily emotional Acts II and III, making his remarkable dance prowess the center of attention. Now aware of the uplifting ending, I was able to relax more and enjoy all the extremely fine artistry and staging.

Vladimir Ponomarev, as Czar Peter I, was his usual theatrically genius self. There was one moment when he seemed to me to be the embodiment of Shakespearian drama.

Author:  Buddy [ Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016

Today’s noon and final performance of “The Bronze Horseman,” featuring Anastasia Matvienko and Alexander Sergeyev, was probably the most poetic. Anastasia Matvienko was perhaps the most gentle and graceful of the lead ballerinas. Her shapes and flow were beautiful.

Alexander Sergeyev is possibly the most poetic and theatrically interesting of the Mariinsky male dancers. He’s also extremely likeable. His facial expression is so compelling that you almost forget that he’s a dancer (a very good one) and think that you’re watching a movie star. Then he takes off with remarkable, airy grace.

Both dancers handled the many high energy, bravura passages with airy confidence. This worked very well giving the entire performance a more dreamlike feeling.

Anastasia Kolegova had a delightful sparkle as The Queen of the Ball. Her dancing was very fine and secure.

Vladimir Ponomarev was once again exceptional as Czar Peter I. Even more so tonight, he dealt with subtle and precise nuancing the complex rendering of his character.

Act I has much group dancing of a very interesting nature. There is a long, beautiful duet for the lead couple and an exciting bravura folk soloist. The Queen of the Ball gets a lovely, supported duet. Czar Peter I circulates throughout.

Act II is where the lead couple becomes dominant, starting with four gentle solos for the ballerina, a quiet duet, another solo for the ballerina and then into more duets, etc. About midway through the Act, the male does a circular series of jumps, which signals the beginning of the couple’s high energy dancing, which continues through Act III. After the Act II duets, the male dancer becomes the principal performer. He is most noticeable at the end of Acts II and III.

Interspersed in Acts II and III is more group dancing. Lovely, nymphlike for the women starting Act II and epic, exciting and theatrically gripping at the beginning of Act III. Both steps and patterns for the groups, throughout, are very artistically crafted and highly interesting.

For anyone who would like to see the listing of the entire Festival go here and click on the title of each event for the casting. ... _fest_233/

Author:  Buddy [ Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016

For anyone interested in how the current production of “The Bronze Horseman” relates to the original 1949 production, Yuri Smekalov, “Production choreographer,” discusses it briefly at the Mariinsky’s site.

Yuri Smekalov about The Bronze Horseman

On 31 March the XVI International MARIINSKY ballet festival opens with a premiere of the ballet The Bronze Horseman. Production choreographer Yuri Smekalov speaks about the new ballet.

The new Bronze Horseman is not a reconstruction of the ballet which was premiered in 1949 at the Kirov Theatre, it’s a new stage version of Rostislav Zakharov’s famous ballet. I developed the concept of its adaptation for modern times with a wonderful artist, the designer Andrei Sevbo. His taste, poetic nature and romantic associations with stage space, I believe, are very suitable for a ballet about St Petersburg. Having worked with performers of Rostislav Zakharov’s ballet I understood that in the duets and in the interrelationships of the characters in The Bronze Horseman there is so much that is sincere, honest and simple! I think that audiences today have been missing that. The ballet has a dramatic text, there is technically demanding dancing, and in terms of choreography we have expanded most of the solo roles. In my production I am trying to retain Zakharov’s choreographic idea, but I want to show it in a different light so that the ballet has meaning for the audience today. The most difficult thing in working on this ballet for me has been the level of responsibility. If you’re creating a completely new work then it’s the case that you’ve conceived it and you answer for it. But here I’m working on a production that was very dear to certain people, and for many the question naturally arises – why did they trust me specifically to return it to the stage? I want to produce the ballet in such a way that both the older generation and young audiences feel warmth in their hearts when they see it, I want them to see that today we are just as dedicated to our profession as those who convinced and charmed the audiences with their work were when this was the Kirov Ballet. I am responsible to all these people, I represent the younger generation, and accepting that is, arguably, the most worrying thing of all.

Yuri Smekalov

Author:  DrewToo [ Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016

Thanks for sharing your impressions of The Bronze Horseman and other performances at the festival. I hope I get a chance to see The Bronze Horseman one day. (And though I have not seen the performances you have, I think that "velvet cloud" is a good description of Skorik at her best.)

I watched most of the gala on video, but I had no patience for the Van Manen. Perhaps in the theater I would have found that Vishneva and Malahkhov (both remarkable dancers) held my attention, but...

Author:  Buddy [ Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016


Yekaterina Osmolkina

Absolutly Lovely !

One of the finest Giselles that I’ve ever seen -- in some respects probably the finest.

In Act II, she was as close to a spirit-like being as I’ve ever seen. She moved like a gentle breeze, her facial expression somewhere in the heavens.

There was a lot of excellence tonight. I’ll try to write more at another time.

Thank you, Drew. I will say one thing, once more. I’ve watched part of the video from the “Diana Vishneva. Tribute to a Teacher” evening and in all fairness seeing it live was a much better experience. Having three dimensions and living beings actually in front of you makes a big difference. I watched the beginning of the video of Hans van Manen’s “The Old Man and Me” and Diana Vishneva looked so much better live.

Author:  Buddy [ Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016

A few more quick thoughts about last night’s very fine "Giselle."

In Act I, Yekaterina Osmolkina’s wonderful artistry was most noticeable in her hands. They made such beautiful concluding statements to the rest of her exceptional dancing. Her choice of characterisation was also quite her own, a Giselle very direct and alive.

In Act II, she was a dream in motion. At times she was almost literally air. You could see and feel the currents. Her face so completely expressed her otherworldly presence. Also some of the forms that she achieved were quite exceptional. She did one forward knee bend with her other leg extended high in back, while in front she reached dramatically downward. The effect was breathtaking.

I saw her perform Giselle twice about four years ago and thought that she was remarkable in her airy gracefulness. This year she was even better. There was an additional maturity and sophistication that was extremely impressive.

Renata Shakirova, partnered by Philipp Stepin in their Act I duet, was classically outstanding. Her face was delightfully joyous. I liked her very much on the Bolshoi TV dance show, especially for her modern dance and her overall prowess. Last night the prowess was still there, for instance, a wonderfully articulated high front leg in her jumps, and her sense of refinement was also very noticeable.

Islom Baimuradov, as Hans, knocked me over. He was great! I’ve written before that he could be the successor to the amazing Vladimir Ponomarev. His style is different, but his genius is equally apparent. In addition, his dancing is quite fine, being possibly the most versatile in the company.

And as far as theatrical prowess is concerned, at the beginning of Giselle’s Act I ‘demise’ I went from her face to that of Islom Baimuradov, Vladimir Ponomarev (the Duke), Julia Kobzar (Bathilda), and Evan McKie (Albrecht) and the rightness of portrayal was remarkable.

Evan McKie (National Ballet of Canada) was fine as Albrecht. He perhaps shone most in some of his portrayal.

The Corps de Ballet was, once again, as good as I’ve ever seen it.

There were a few modifications in the group dancing that I thought were rather effective. For instance, the Act II dance of the Willis, where they hop across stage in arabesque, (I love this part, calling it 'The Sailboats’), is introduced very briefly into the Act I peasant dancing.

All in all, a wonderful evening !

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016

Héloïse Bourdon had a wonderful evening as Odette-Odile. I enjoyed her immensely, as did the audience. She did so many things so well. I'll try to say more when I have a chance. Timur Askerov, as Prince Siegfried, also did very well, as good as I've ever seen him.

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016

Les Patineurs. When the Snow Was Falling. Winter Dreams

Performed by Soloists of the Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre

A Lovely Evening.

It began with Frederick Ashton’s short, but very charming, “Les Patineurs” (one-act ballet). It was followed by Douglas Lee’s even shorter, but lyrical and finely crafted, abstract work, “When the Snow Was Falling” (one-act ballet). This was followed by the very long and very lovely “Winter Dreams” (one-act ballet), choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan.

The evening ended with the most lingering and warm series of applause and curtain calls of the entire Festival. This was probably due to the charm and talent of the company as well as the works, ending with the longest and most poetic, Kenneth MacMillan’s “Winter Dreams.”

For me, “Winter Dreams” seemed to go on forever and I couldn’t have been happier. It reminded me of when Jerome Robbins first presented his 25 minutes of “Dances at a Gathering” (one-act ballet) to George Balanchine and Balanchine responded, “Make more…” In fact this felt a lot like Robbin’s “In The Night” from about 20 years earlier. The dancing was dreamlike. The choreography was, for the most part, equally captivating. The performance had an overall poetic aura that still lingers in my mind.

This will be my 12th Mariinsky Festival in a row.

Why ?

The Enchantment.

The Enchantment of The Beauty of this remarkable artistry experienced in its own very special home.

Author:  Buddy [ Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mariinsky Ballet Festival: 31 March - 10 April 2016

Please let me return to Tuesday evening’s Swan Lake for a moment.

Héloïse Bourdon (Opéra de Paris)

Once again back to Mikhail Baryshnikov, who said that if you combined the feet of a French ballet dancer with the upper body of a Russian ballet dancer you would have the perfect ballet dancer. First of all, with Héloïse Bourdon, it seems that she has managed to carry the preciseness and beautiful articulation of her footwork through her entire body. Beyond this, she has introduced a very lovely gracefulness and flow. Her moves are elegantly structured and expressive, yet they are airy. One way that this is accomplished is by the absolutely lovely completion of her gestures. Grandly sculptured statements end in lovely, poetic currents of air. Also, her hands make beautifully defined final highlights.

In this respect she reminds me of the Mariinsky’s young and very talented Yekaterina Chebykina, who has remarkable refinement, grace and flow contained within her larger, more animated style. There is also an intelligence to Héloïse Bourdon’s motion, that reminds me somewhat of the wonderfully articulate and meaningful motion of the Mariinsky’s young Kristina Shapran. It’s an intelligence from the heart.

Some other very fine qualities that I noticed in Héloïse Bourdon are clarity, surety and confidence as seen in the lifts, long balance held on pointe and nice modulation and use of facial expression. In the last Act she created wonderfully elongated shapes as she was several times lifted horizontally.

Other very good performances were given by Timur Askerov as Prince Siegfried (already mentioned), Konstantin Zverev (as usual) as von Rothbart, Nadezhda Batoeva, Sofia Ivanova-Skoblikova and Xander Parish in the Prince’s Friends Act I dance for three and Vladislav Shumakov as the Jester. The Corps de Ballet, as usual, was outstanding.

Since I’ve discussed beautiful and interesting use of motion, I’d like to again mention the very talented, young dancer,Renata Shakirova. In her Act I duet from “Giselle,” she had a way of projecting out from a very centered overall posturing that added considerable dramatic interest and beauty.

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