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 Post subject: Kirov's Balanchine
PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2000 7:22 am 
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debra craine for the times reviews the kirov's "Jewels" - "Not only do the Kirov<BR> dancers perform Jewels brilliantly (for the most<BR> part) but they also bring an extra classical zing to<BR> the choreography, especially where it most<BR> resembles Petipa, the god of Russian ballet. " <BR> <A HREF="http://www.the-times.co.uk/news/pages/tim/00/06/20/timartdan02002.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.the-times.co.uk/news/pages/tim/00/06/20/timartdan02002.html</A>

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 Post subject: Re: Kirov's Balanchine
PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2000 4:33 am 
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Sadly didn't get to see Jewels - but *everybody* I spoke to who did, said it was "THE" programme of the season. It's nice it is being considered as an entire work again and may have just found a new lease on life, thanks to the Russians.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov's Balanchine
PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2000 9:21 am 
I look forward to both casts for Jewels on Monday and Tue. I would say that both Jewels and The Sleeping Beauty are the highlights of this Kirov season. I put down below my impressions of last week's performances.<P>WEEK 1 OF KIROV'S JUNE SEASON IN LONDON<P>The first week of the Kirov Ballet's season at Covent Garden culminated in <BR>its third programme on Friday - Balanchine's three-act abstract ballet <BR>"Jewels" (1967) which the Kirov actually premiered in St. Petersburg last <BR>October. The beautiful original costumes by Karinska and the gorgeous <BR>original sets have been faithfully reproduced, and this Balanchine ballet <BR>was staged for the Kirov by Karin von Aroldingen and three other ex-New York <BR>City Ballet dancers.<P>JEWELS<P>In the first act "Emeralds", right from the beginning there was a palpable <BR>freshness and vibrancy in the corps de ballet's dancing which was so <BR>exciting to watch. Balanchine was well-known for his fondness of casting <BR>young dancers in the lead roles of his ballets, an admirable practice now <BR>being followed at the Kirov. Stunning was the 19-year-old Veronika Part as <BR>one of the two female soloists. Part's youthfulness and luscious dancing <BR>was a joy. Her cavalier was the tall 18-year-old Dmitry Simeonov who just <BR>graduated last year from the Vaganova Academy. The other couple was <BR>Zhanna Ayupova, who looked totally transformed from her rather lacklustre <BR>Aurora on Thursday afternoon, and the elegant Nikolai Godunov.<P>Excitement continued to mount in "Rubies", which was given a glorious <BR>performance abounding in raw energy. The stellar Diana Vishneva, the <BR>first-cast Aurora on Monday, gave an electrifying performance that brought <BR>the house down. Her sky-high extensions and loose hip joints were <BR>breathtaking. The danseur was Viacheslav Samodurov who dazzled in this <BR>virtuosic role which Balanchine created for Edward Villela. In this ballet, <BR>the Kirov dancers showed clearly that they have become acclimatised to <BR>Balanchine's 20th century classicism which after all was a logical extension <BR>of their 19th century classicism. The other soloist was Maya Dumchenko, <BR>executing with wit her difficult series of flat-foot arabesques penchees.<P>However I was slightly less impressed by their rendition of the final act <BR>"Diamonds". The tempo was on the slow side in the climactic finale. I <BR>haven't seen Suzanne Farrell in this ballerina role with the New York City <BR>Ballet, but my memory of this ballet has been shaped by the divine Kyra <BR>Nichols as the ballerina whom I saw a number of times in New York in the <BR>past decade. The tall Kirov ballerina Uliana Lopatkina has an awesome <BR>technique, especially in the amazing power of her legs in adagio, and in her <BR>rock solid balances on pointe. However she lacked expressiveness. Igor <BR>Zelensky was her splendid partner. Towards the end of the ballet, it was <BR>unforgettable to see him execute his well-centred multiple pirouttes sur <BR>place at such speed.<P>Still this Balanchine evening had a sense of occasion, and being present <BR>one felt as if one was witnessing a significant moment in dance history. <BR>All credit to the Kirov director Makhar Vaziev for bringing this and other <BR>Balanchine ballets into the Kirov's repertory.<P>THE SLEEPING BEAUTY<P>The week commenced with the Kirov's 1890 version of "The Sleeping Beauty", <BR>which was premiered in St. Petersburg in April 1999 and was enthusiastically <BR>received in New York last summer during the company's tour. Makhar Vaziev <BR>engaged the Kirov ballet master and dancer Sergei Vikharev to reconstruct <BR>Petipa's original choreography as recorded by Nicholas Sergeyev, the <BR>regisseur of the Imperial Theatre, based on the Stepanov notation system. <BR>Sergeyev's m****cripts are now housed in thr Harvard Theater Collection, and <BR>are the main source of this Kirov revival. The sets have been reproduced by <BR>Andrei Voitenko from the original designs in the St. Petersburg State Museum <BR>of Theatre and Musical Arts, and the original lavish costumes by Ivan <BR>Vsevolozhsky have been reproduced by Elena Zaitseva.<P>The result was a consummate experience, a glorious feast for the eye in <BR>terms of dancing and the stage picture much enhanced by the lavish costumes <BR>and sets. Every part can now be seen in its proper scale. I think that <BR>this Kirov 1890 "Sleeping Beauty" should now be the definitive production, <BR>with no disrespect to the Royal Ballet's 1946 production which has been the <BR>touchstone of this classic in the West. Petipa's masterpiece at last can be <BR>seen in its full splendour.<P>HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS 1890 CHOREOGRAPHIC TEXT<P>Among my happy discoveries from this new Kirov production is the Prologue <BR>solo danced in pointe shoes by the Lilac Fairy who however wears character <BR>shoes when she sends the whole court to sleep at the end of Act 1. There is <BR>an extended mime scene in the beginning of Act 1 in which the King finally <BR>spares the lives of the knitting women. The Act 1 garland waltz, complete <BR>with students of the Vaganova Academy making their historic first appearance <BR>in London together with the Kirov Ballet, is a masterpiece of harmony.<P>Early in Act 2 there is a delightful Farandole for the peasants. And I like <BR>the part which sees Aurora balancing on a hidden toe-hole in a sea shell <BR>like Venus in Botticelli's painting. At the end of this act the Lilac Fairy <BR>has a mime scene in which she explains to Aurora and the King and Queen <BR>their awakening by Prince Desire, which is missing in other productions. In <BR>Act 3, the Cinderella divertissement (danced only on opening night and cut <BR>in the three other performances)is delightful. And above all the final <BR>apotheosis in the final act with the golden backdrop of Apollo and his <BR>steeds is dazzling.<P>MAIN ROLES IN THE 4 DIFFERENT CASTS<P>I saw all the four performances of this new "Beauty" that week. I don't <BR>experience such balletomania with other ballet companies, but these unique <BR>Kirov dancers have constantly renewed my passion in ballet. Diana Vishneva, <BR>the first night's Aurora, has a ravishing beauty and radiance. Replacing <BR>Altynai Asylmuratova on Thursday night, she was more radiant still, when <BR>partnered by Andrian Fadeyev. That afternoon, Aurora was danced by senior <BR>ballerina Zhanna Ayupova who has lost some of her old physical powers since <BR>I last saw her in the Kirov's "Nutcracker" in London in 1996. Svetlana <BR>Zakharova, the second-cast Aurora, has an unmistakable star quality a la <BR>Sylvie Guillem.<P>As Vishneva's Prince, I found Igor Zelensky's dancing rather indifferent. <BR>Igor Kolb on the second night was preferable to the 20-year-old Anton <BR>Korsakov who looked slightly inexperienced. The finest Prince Desire was <BR>the handsome Andrian Fadeyev, an impeccable danseur with an innate nobility <BR>and a pure classical style.<P>Veronika Part was the most satisfying Lilac Fairy among the three casts. <BR>The King and Queen were admirably danced at every performance by Vladimir <BR>Ponomarev and Nina Borchenko. It must be said that the mime scenes were <BR>admirably done with proper weight by the Kirov dancers. Islom Baimuradov <BR>and Igor Petrov were both superb as Carabosse.<BR>-------<P>P.S.<BR>I am totally exhausted after having seen practically all the Kirov performances every night in the past fortnight! The Kirov still remains my favourite ballet company. Is there another company with so many talented dancers in their late teens and early twenties? <P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Kevin Ng (edited August 02, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov's Balanchine
PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2000 11:06 am 
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Many thanks grace for shifting my posting to the right place - I will delete the original.<P>Itsounds as though you have had an exhilerating, but exhausting two weeks, Kevin. Looking forward to the fuller report you mentioned. Feel free to tell us in as much detail as you have time to do.<P>I flew back into the UK as you returned to Paris Michael. Oh well! Also feel free to be as expansive as time permits on the subject of the Kirov. I am planning to try to get a return ticket for the Tuesday performance of 'Jewels'.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov's Balanchine
PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2000 3:14 pm 
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Hi Stuart,<BR>It's the thing to see...


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov's Balanchine
PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2000 11:39 pm 
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Kevin, looking forward to your promised thoughts on the first part of the Kirov season, when you have the time to write them up.<P>Jewels was spectacular and I was able to see why Vishneva is rated so highly.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov's Balanchine
PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2000 5:31 am 
Stuart, I've now added my thoughts on the Kirov's first week in my earlier message above. I write now on their second round of performances of "Jewels" in the last days of the season.<BR>-------<P>The highlight of the extra performance of "Jewels" in the afternoon of 26 June was the young Daria Pavlenko's debut in the ballerina role of "Diamonds", replacing Uliana Lopatkina after only two days of rehearsals. (The cast was mostly the first cast that danced on 16 June.) True, it wasn't yet a fully formed performance, but there wasn't anything tentative about it. Pavlenko managed all the virtuosic passages with a smooth softness. Igor Zelensky as the cavalier gave his greatest performances this season, much superior to his Siegfried, Solor, and Prince Desire.<P>In the season's final performance on 27 June, there was a change of cast in all the three ballets. In "Emeralds", Maya Dumchenko impressed more as the first female soloist than the first-cast Zhanna Ayupova, and Sofya Gumerova was the second soloist. The whole cast brought out the floating quality of <BR>this elusive ballet.<P>In "Rubies", Andrian Fadeyev was the partner of Diana Vishneva. The charming Fadeyev brought out all the playfulness and fun of this technically demanding Villela role. Vishneva again gave a stellar performance abounding in raw energy.<P>In "Diamonds", the whole company was resplendent in this tribute by<BR>Balanchine to imperial Russia. Svetlana Zakharova gave a luxurious performance in the ballerina role, rich in feelings. Daniil Korsuntsev was her noble cavalier. What a glorious performance to end the 16-day <BR>season! <P><p>[This message has been edited by Kevin Ng (edited August 02, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov's Balanchine
PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2000 10:32 am 
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Kevin, thanks for the review. I get the sense that you enjoyed these performances very much. Would you dare venture a comparison to NYCB or other companies you've seen perform this work?<P>Can I also dare make a suggestion? Would it possible to have three different companies perform this work, one for each movement? Would you have the Kirov perform Diamonds, NYCB perform Rubies, and POB perform Emeralds? Or perhaps Miami should perform Rubies instead of NYCB? Or would that be too bold a statement to make?<P>What would be your dream cast if you could have any dancer from any company dance the principal roles?


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov's Balanchine
PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2000 2:37 pm 
Albrecht, I haven't seen NYCB perform Jewels for a long time, not since 1991. So I don't know how well they perform it as compared to the Kirov last week. But I still think the Kirov danced it very well compared to my memories of the NYCB performances a decade ago. I wish Peter Martins were present in London to see the Kirov's performances!<P>Your idea of having 3 companies perform the 3 ballets is excellent. Yes, the Kirov to do Diamonds, Paris Opera Ballet to do Emeralds, and NYCB or Miami to do Rubies. Though I haven't seen Miami City Ballet in Rubies, it wouldn't surprise me if they do it better than NYCB. <P>My dream cast? Definitely Kyra Nichols as the Diamonds ballerina, with Igor Zelensky. As for Rubies, the Kirov's Diana Vishneva. Emeralds - you can think of a good cast from Paris Opera, who will incidentally stage it next season.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov's Balanchine
PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2000 6:27 pm 
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Whoa! What a concept! Three companies to perform "Jewels" in one night?! The first thing that needs to be... err... ironed out is the ego issue between the different ADs.<P>I saw both NYCB and Miami City Ballet do "Jewels" last year. I also saw NYCB do "Diamonds" by itself and SFB do "Rubies," with an exceptionally flirtatious performance featuring Evelyn Cisneros and her husband Stephen Legate.<P>I can't say who performs each of the movements best but here is my impression of MCB's performance of "Jewels" in Berkeley:<P> <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum4/HTML/000004.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum4/HTML/000004.html</A> <P><BR>Thanks, Kevin, for the review. It's good to know there are companies out there capable of putting on this dance spectacle.


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 Post subject: Re: Kirov's Balanchine
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2000 6:32 pm 
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Kevin Ng has added a postscript to his review of the Kirov:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>In the Kirov's second summer season at Covent Garden in August, there were five more performances of this sumptuous production of "The Sleeping Beauty". The biggest disappointment this time however was that the young dancers in the ballet were not performed by the students from the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg as in June, but instead by students drawn from the Royal Ballet School and the Central Ballet School in London. That certainly made a difference in the Act 1 garland waltz, as the English students lacked the artistic excellence and discipline of the Vaganova students.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><BR><B><A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/reviews/kirov-jewelsbeauty.html" TARGET=_blank>More</A></B>


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