CriticalDance Forum

St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre
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Author:  sugar plum fairy [ Thu Jan 16, 2003 5:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

Sorry for the delay , but here goes!

I attended the opening performance of The Sleeping Beauty,by the St.Petersburg Ballet Theatre at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh.The theatre is a lovely building but the stage i felt was too small to house a ballet of this size,and the black plastic stuff that they covered the floor with seemed to hinder rather than aid the fluent footwork of the dancers.The orchestra that was with them was their own , conducted by Aleksandr Kantorov.Whoever was on percussion must have had a bad day as every cymbal clash was loud,really loud.One lady in front of me nearly hit the roof when a quiet piece of music came to a dramatic end with a clash of cymbals, it did not do my headache any good either!

Whilst waiting for the performance to start i kept telling myself not to compare this production with that of Sir Anthony Dowells in 1995 for the Royal Ballet(RB),but i am afraid that is exactly what i did do as i have not seen any other production of Sleeping Beauty by any other company.So i make no apologies if i put in an odd comparison here and there.

The prologue was set in the castle of the wicked witch Carabosse(Olga Yukubovich).The back drop to her castle was gothic,to one side a warm and inviting glow under the cauldron.Carabosse had elf like creatures that looked cute rather than menacing,no rats here.She was hindered in her movements by the long dress she was wearing,should take it up an inch or two.In this production the king and Queen (Pavel Kholoimenko and Svetlana Markova)need help producing an heir,Carabosse to the rescue with a magic potion.I wonder if she has considered marketing this on the NHS?

Remember David Drews Catalabutte in the RB version?His performance stated HE was in charge,HE was running the ceremony (and what a pair of legs in those tights!),this Catalabutte(Aleksi Ilin)walked around in a daze,was it because he was not on the invite list or was it first night nerves?whichever he deserved being turned into a donkey later by Carabosse.

Now take Auroras fairy godmothers,there are supposed to be 5 i counted only 4.One stumbled during her solo ,but got up and carried on.There was no Lilac Fairy,here she is the Fairy of Goodness and Light.Her costume was a stunning white tutu and beautiful head dress that shimmered int the stage lighting whichever direction she took.Was expecting her to do her solo variation after the other fairies had done theirs,not waiting until after seeing Carabosse off!

The maids of Honour danced well , one seemed to be dancing on a dead shoe as it looked to buckle under her but she kept going - no time for a shoe change.The village boys and girls came out with their flower entwined hoops to dance what is supposed to be one of the best known pieces in the whole ballet,it was a bit of a let down.The boys were in ghastly bright pink,they looked like Morris dancers shuffling from one foot to the other,two of them going in opposite directions from the others.The girls were not much better,they gave the impression they would rather be somewhere else.

The Rose Adagio danced by Aurora (Irina Kolesnikova)for me is one of the most beautiful pieces in the classical repertoire and one of the most difficult.The piece starts well and is supprisingly similar to that of the RB,that is where the silmilarity ends.Aurora was at one stage at such an angle on one of the princes shoulders i thought she would fall off when he moved,thankfully this never happened.The plastic stuff on the floor prevented a lot of movement here.When being turned by a prince she exited pirouette facing the wings and had to be turned manually the last few centimeters.When Carabosse returns she gives Aurora a rose stem which she pricks her finger on,where does she end up going to sleep for 100 years - in a gazebo!.When the courtiers are put to sleep by the Fairy of Goodness and Light no privet hedge or forest appears.

The vision scene between Aurora and Prince Florimund(Yuri Glukhikh)started so well, she was so enchanting , so graceful especially when she performed 2 or 3 sissonnes in a row during her solo piece, then it happened , she stumbled and fell to the floor, all credit to her for getting up and carrying on.Yuri has a lot of charisma, a lot of talent , he can jump , he has excellent turns , i just wish when he lands his jumps that he would take a bit more care over the placement of his feet they were all over the place.

This is new to me Carabosse is pushed into a boiling cauldron and dies whilst fighting with Florimund!Since there are no obstacles to stop Florimund he finds the castle and Aurora easily, he throws a rose at her and she wakes.What happened to the kiss?From the fairytale guests that arrive for the wedding the Bluebird (Andrei Yaknnyuk) started with a great deal of energy , his jumps had height , but by the end of the pas de deux with Princes Florina (Anna Podlesnaia) and his solos he could hardly get off the ground.Cat(Olga Ovhinnikova) and Puss in Boots(Dimitry Shevtso)got a few laughs from the audience for their "cat" fights.

All in all i thought it was a lovely production (suprisingly similar to the RB version), as i have stated if the stage was bigger who knows what might have been?I am sure the floor covering had a lot to do with the outcome of things , if you are not confident with what you are dancing on nerves and therefore mistakes creep in.

I did miss the mime sequences between Carabosse , the fairies and the Queen.Because there was no Lilac Fairy the big mime sequence is lost,this is a core piece of the ballet at least some of it should have been included - if it was i must have blinked as i missed it.

Founded in 1994 this young company features some of Russias brightest and gited dancers , some of which are graduates from the Vaganova School.I noticed from the programme that some of the major parts were danced by members of the corps de ballet,not soloists or principals.They are still touring the UK until22nd February , so if you get the chance to see them i would recommend you go and see them.

Okay thats it..bit long?? not sure what i should have put in and what i should have left out?If there are any spelling mistakes i apologise as i haven't had time to proof read it!!

<small>[ 16 January 2003, 07:23 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Jan 16, 2003 6:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

Many, many thanks Sugar Plum for this detailed and considered report of the Edinburgh performance, which is much appreciated.

I particularly like the fact that you point out the difficulties that the venue presented for the Company. Your heart has to go out to these touring Russian companies chasing round the country and taking ballet to some places (not Edinburgh of course) that rarely, if ever, see it. I shall look out for them.

<small>[ 16 January 2003, 07:35 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Jan 18, 2003 9:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

Sleeping Beauty
By Mary Brennan for The Herald (Edinburgh)

St Petersburg Ballet Theatre is certainly carving out a niche for itself on the UK touring circuit. Its winter schedule has seen the dancers on the road since early November, with four major classical ballets - Giselle, Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty - in the travel bags. It's the last work that the company has brought on a return trip to Edinburgh, timing it nicely so as to catch the seasonal interest in fairytales and shows with a dash of lavish spectacle to their name. So, cue lashings of gold trimming, exuberant plumes, and costumes that, like the handsome, painted backdrops, are almost overly rich in detail.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Nov 26, 2004 12:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

Swan Lake
By Sharon Cribbin for The Stage

Founded in 1994 by Konstantin Tatchkin, the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre are celebrating their tenth anniversary with a tour of the UK.

Debuting their production in The Helix in Dublin, they do appear slightly cramped by the modest stage size, with the corps de ballet occasionally appearing to have to curtail some of the choreography. However, the opulent backdrops and stunning costume design beautifully enhances the spectacle. Many of the supporting cast produce some stand out moments, particularly Dmitry Shevtsov as the Jester, who provides some memorable moments of sublime physical comedy.

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The Nutcracker
By Sharon Cribbin for The Stage

A traditional interpretation of the Nutcracker is the second of the two ballets being performed in Dublin as part of the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre’s tenth anniversary tour.

Many recent productions of this ballet have sought to update this festive if somewhat abstract story but this production proves that there is still something about this popular ballet to enchant children and adults alike.

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Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Nov 30, 2004 10:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

La Bayadere
St Petersburg Ballet Theatre
Grand Theatre
29th November 2004

For a touring company to attempt the full-length “La Bayadere” is a very brave undertaking. It is also something of a gamble considering the limited resources of a smaller troupe compared with the major companies. So, a gamble that paid off? Yes – but only just.

Last night St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre showed us their new production of “La Bayadere” at it’s British premiere in Wolverhampton, only their second performance following a preview in their hometown. This was, with the addition of one extra scene at the end, a very traditional Russian/Soviet version similar to the Kirov’s, though I was unable to ascertain who exactly was responsible for the staging. The sets were pretty standard 19th century style with the usual confusion of Hindu/Buddhist/Taoist imagery. The costumes on the whole were very attractive though the odd pointed headdresses for the girls in the second act classical pas were rather unflattering and the usual parrots were in this instance enormous grey birds with red crests that seemed like a cross between owls and cockatoos. The golden God wore a strange golden cat suit, presumably because he has to double up in other roles in such a small group, and the traditional gold paint would take too long to both apply and remove. Generally though, the production looked quite handsome.

Dancing the pivotal role of Nikiya, Irina Kolesnikova made an excellent impression in a role that suits her to perfection. She is possessed of the ‘grand manner’ and her only failing is she looked a little too regal to be a humble temple dancer. When she faced up to Gamzatti it was Kolesnikova who appeared the more stately. Her partner on this occasion was Dmitri Akulinin who frankly looked out of his depth and doesn’t have the technique for Solor, a role demanding a mix of both lyricism and virtuosity. As Nikiya’s love rival, Gamzatti, Diana Madysheva made a very good stab at the part and will no doubt improve with experience. The all-important corps de ballet coped reasonable well, but there is room for improvement throughout the ballet. The Kingdom of the Shades was inhabited by only sixteen shades instead of the usual thirty two, but the faster than is now familiar tempo for the penchee arabesques did simplify things for the girls and by the way, this was the tempo the Kirov corps danced to thirty years ago. I believe it was Nureyev who decided it would look more beautiful slowed down.

It was the final act that sprung the biggest surprise of the evening, and in my opinion it was also the biggest mistake. It opens with the familiar scene of Solor smoking his opium pipe, while the fakir tries to distract him with a snake-charming act before imagining himself in Kingdom of the Shades. Without the final Destruction of the Temple act, the ballet should end with Nikiya and Solor reunited in the world of dreams. This version ends quite differently though, with an added scene in which Solor awakes in despair. He dismisses the fakir who exits hurriedly leaving behind his snake in a linen bag. Solor makes his decision to join Nikiya and commits suicide by plunging his hand into the bag. As ballet deaths go, it is pretty feeble: even worse than Hilarion’s death in Giselle where he is dispatched by being pushed into the wings. This is a serious error of judgement on someone’s part and this ineffectual scene needs to be cut.

I hope I haven’t seemed unduly harsh on what is after all a valiant attempt to mount a blockbuster of a ballet, this new acquisition clearly needs to settle down and a few minor changes need to be made. The dancers were clearly enjoying themselves in their new roles and with more familiarity with the steps they will improve to do the ballet justice. I’m very much looking forward to seeing this Bayadere later in the tour when I’m sure the dancers will be giving an excellent account of themselves

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Tue Nov 30, 2004 11:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

Thanks a lot for this nteresting review Cassandra. As you say - hats off to the Company for getting away from the touring company standards. I wonder if this is the first time that "La Bayadere" has been performed in Wolverhampton?

Author:  sugar plum fairy [ Fri Dec 03, 2004 2:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

I wanted to go and see some of the performances they are doing in the new year , but for some strange reason they haven't been asked back to the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh...i have asked why not despite sell out performances,no reply as yet!

<small>[ 03 December 2004, 03:58 AM: Message edited by: sugar plum fairy ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Dec 04, 2004 3:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

La Bayadère
By Allen Robertson for The Times.

WHEN it comes to battling the odds, most of us tend to favour David over Goliath. So it’s little wonder that Konstantin Tatchkin’s plucky St Petersburg Ballet Theatre, a mere ten years old this month, has already become something of a favourite, not just here but in Australia and Japan as well.

The company is on a 15-week British tour, and for its visit to Wolverhampton this week it unveiled a new production of La Bayadère, a sumptuous classic first seen in St Petersburg in 1877.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Dec 04, 2004 10:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

Who Bayadères wins
It may be short on principals, but the youthful enthusiasm of St Petersburg Ballet Theatre seduces David Dougill in The Times.

St Petersburg Ballet Theatre, now 10 years old, is a regular and popular visitor to Britain, and it doesn’t stint on its coverage. You have to hand it to these dancers for their sheer hard work. This latest UK tour has brought them here for 15 weeks, and when they get a day off, it’s spent travelling from one end of the country to another.

The company’s handsome productions of the Tchaikovsky classics are back, augmented by a brand-new acquisition, Petipa’s Indian spectacular La Bayadère (music by Minkus).

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Author:  kurinuku [ Sun Dec 05, 2004 12:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre


The Financial Times
December 04, 2004

The schedule looks exhausting and the company shuttles from city to city with very traditional stagings.

Author:  Diana [ Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

From the St. Petersburg Times,

On the road

By Kevin Ng
Photo by FOR SPT / FOR SPT

LONDON - Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the St. Petersburg Ballet Theater, a commercial troupe founded in 1994 by the impresario Konstantin Tatchkin, embarked last November on a 14-week extensive provincial tour of Britain.
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Author:  ripowam [ Tue Feb 08, 2005 2:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

Alla Osipenko is Kolesnikova's coach; has this been mentioned? Probably she's traveling with them.

<small>[ 08 February 2005, 10:59 PM: Message edited by: ripowam ]</small>

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Tue Feb 08, 2005 7:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

Yes, Osipenko is present in the UK for this tour, as well as in last year's tour.

By the way, Osipenko was unforgettable in the film "Russian Ark" set in the Hermitage Museum.

<small>[ 09 February 2005, 06:21 PM: Message edited by: Kevin Ng ]</small>

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Feb 09, 2005 5:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

In his review Kevin mentions twice that St.P. B.T. scene-stealer, Sabina Yapporova, who has now danced her first principal role with the company. She appeared as Masha in "The Nutcracker" in Reading last week, and although I wasn't present myself, I'm told she did so well that she was given another performance shortly after and will be dancing the role regularly from now on. Like Kolesnikova, Yapporova is being coached by the illustrious Alla Ossipenko.

I am also puzzled as to the apparent rationing of Yuri Gloukhikh's performances (by the way he has changed his name recently and after the present tour will be known as Yuri Mirov), certainly he is dancing as well as ever. His debut as Solor in Buxton was inhibited by the size of the stage and, being a perfectionist by nature, he asked me not to write about his performance. Nevertheless a local critic described his performance as "towering".

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Feb 15, 2005 9:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre

On Friday and Saturday I was in Norwich to catch up with the company’s production of “La Bayadere” which I first saw on the opening night in Wolverhampton. I considered it a brave attempt at the time and hoped performance standards would improve, as the dancers grew more accustomed to what is an entirely new work for them. Towards the end of the tour the entire troupe appears to have settled down well in this difficult ballet and the minor shortcomings I noted on the first night have proved themselves to be nothing more then teething problems.

Irina Kolesnikova’s Nikiya was excellent from the start, but her first performance in Wolverhampton was undermined by very unstable support from her Solor, Dmitri Akulinin. Now however Akulinin’s partnering has improved almost out of recognition making their duets look smoother and less of a white-knuckle ride for his ballerina. In fact I actually questioned Akulinin’s suitability for the role in the first place, but he has plainly worked hard at his deficiencies and now looks a very credible Solor, the fact that he is tall, dark and handsome doesn’t come amiss either.

Kolesnikova’s usual partner, Yuri Gloukikh, appeared with the very young Eleonora Adeyeva, a dancer who tried valiantly to catch all the nuances of the role of Nikiya, but hasn’t yet developed a strong enough technique for the part. Gloukhikh himself was in fine form, but is never totally at ease on smaller stages, as he is a dancer who needs a lot of space to be seen at his best.

The Gamzatti I saw in Wolverhampton, Diana Madsheva, was a real find, an attractive girl with a robust technique who looked as if she was a real rival for Solor’s attentions, unfortunately she wasn’t scheduled to dance this weekend and I saw instead, Olga Ovchinikova and Liliya Akhmetshina, making their debuts in the role on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon respectively. Both are experienced soloists within the company and I was very impressed with Ovchinnikova when she danced the lead in “The Nutcracker” a couple of weeks ago. Although both dancers appeared beset by nervousness, I felt they had a lot of potential and were able to bring out some of the intrinsic spite of the character they were playing.

I am rather annoyed that the Indian Dance with the drum dancer and pas de deux couple don’t seem to merit a mention on the cast sheet, as they are terrific. Drum dancer Artur Martirosian I recognize as the young bundle of energy that always stands out from the rest, but the wigs and make up of the other two make identification difficult. This number was performed with such gusto that the audience fairly erupted when the dancers took their bows. Hopefully this oversight will be rectified in the future and their names will appear on the programme.

The corps de ballet is very able, with minimal wobble in the shades scene and unlike their compatriots at the Kirov, they dance almost silently with no noise from heavy blocks to intrude on the sense of poetry that this scene invariably creates.

I still have reservations about Solor’s suicide scene with a snake though; after all he is supposed to die of natural causes when the temple collapses on him and Gamzatti at their wedding. With the omission of that final act it would be better to finish with the shades rather than the present anti climax.

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