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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 3:55 pm 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Thank you ~ I'll be there Thursday night. I'm really looking forward to it as well! (too bad we'll miss each other! I haven't met many of the CD forum crowd yet in person!)

<small>[ 09 April 2003, 05:55 PM: Message edited by: Catherine Pawlick ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 3:57 pm 
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Perhaps Azlan would up for hosting an SF/Bay Area CD food and drink fest at some point!?!?!?

A thought,

D


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 4:50 pm 
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ha ha, not a bad idea. He's been known to in the past! ;) (hint hint...)

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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 5:14 pm 
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Location: SF CA
Just getting back to the multipal/tag-team casting. I was in a Nutcraker one year where the director could not choose between 3 casts to dance the Snow Pas for the performances in Las Vegas. She had all 3 couples share the role. It was comical. Quality, nope not at all. Her reason was she did not want any of the dancers to quit.

Great idea David and Catherine.....Azlan are you listening?


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 5:56 pm 
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Yes?

I think I'm going either Thu or Fri...


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2003 1:18 am 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Quote:
Tchaikovsky with a twist

Lewis Segal, LA Times

Those who think that the dancing is all that matters in productions of 19th century classics might have changed their minds if they'd spent the weekend with the Perm State Ballet at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.

Two full-length Tchaikovsky masterworks, conducted with equal authority by Valery Platonov and played by the Perm orchestra with urgency and a sense of singing tone, found Russia's third-largest company battling against a familiar, dilapidated "Swan Lake" but making a new, exemplary "Sleeping Beauty" into one of the year's indispensable ballet experiences.
more


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2003 12:10 pm 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
I'll preface this by saying:

Do not walk, RUN to the Perm Ballet this weekend before they leave the Bay Area!!
+++

Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theatre - "The Sleeping Beauty"
Flint Center for the Performing Arts - Cupertino, CA
April 11, 2003
By Catherine Pawlick

Tchaikovsky's score to "The Sleeping Beauty" never fails to revitalize the imagination and soothe the soul. As an accompaniment to the ballet of the same name, the work becomes even higher art. That was exactly what the Tchaikovsky Perm Ballet Theatre, with their full symphony orchestra, offered during their Bay Area debut Thursday night: an impressive performance steeped in cultural and artistic tradition. For any balletomane seeking a reprise from the season's less traditional local fanfare, or for a curious supporter of the arts, the Perm Ballet is clearly one of Russia's jewels: rarely seen in America, but amazingly brilliant and not to be missed.

There is something about a Russian orchestra playing one of its own composers' scores to the backdrop of a homegrown Russian ballet company that oozes tradition. It's something we lack in America, and an element of Russian culture that is worthy of national pride. It was this deep tradition that visited Flint Center Thursday night for the opening of Perm Ballet's four-day Bay Area run. The company of 125 dancers presented the full-length, three-act "Sleeping Beauty" ballet with levels of style and technical proficiency from which even the Maryinsky dancers might take heed.

When the curtain opens in the Prologue, we're given a glimpse of the infant Sleeping Beauty's palace. Members of the court enter dressed in rich chocolate-brown velvet gowns and waistcoats, making way for the King and Queen, parents of the newborn Beauty. The scene sets the tone, timeframe and story line perfectly. From there, the five Fairies enter with the corps members, all in exquisite tutus and perfectly synchronized, stepping together, pausing in fifth position on demi pointe (in pointe shoes, mind you) and then lowering into their designated tendu positions. This is detail to a degree that most major ballet companies don't have. It's a minor point in overall training that makes a big difference.

The Fairies bestow their gifts on the baby Aurora, one by one. These variations were by-the-book classical, true to Petipa's choreography and, on dancers with such finely tuned physiques, very pleasing to watch.

Unfortunately it was difficult to discern who danced what, based only on the program. Thursday night's Candide, Elena Levine, danced the hops on pointe to tendu, followed by a temps de flêche with impressive flexibility and strength; likewise the Canari qui chante, or yellow fairy, danced by Nadezhda Vasilkova, brought smiles to the audience.

The Fairy variations were followed by the Lilac Fairy, danced by Yulia Machkino, a strong, regal, but smooth dancer with an approachable, kind aura fitting for the lead fairy role. The piqué arabesques in her solo variation were perfectly placed, and the series of sissones into double pirouettes flawless. She danced with a consistent thick fluidity and grace that matched her role well. Of note as well were the simple sauté arabesques done by all of the Fairies at one point: every standing leg leaves the floor, foot fully pointed and on the music. The benefits of sharing similar training are evident -- and even more stunning -- at moments like these.

Indeed, at the Perm Ballet, uniformity isn't reserved for the corps de ballet. True to Kirov form -- or perhaps one should say, Perm style -- the entire company is exquisite. There is something about watching a ballet company with members that have followed the same training that makes for a much more pleasant visual experience than those companies with the mix-match of dancer backgrounds. It is refreshing, because it is so rare. The soloists dance together, mirroring the same lines and attention to physical detail in one another. The corps de ballet continues this pattern: not a head is out of place, not an arm mis-aligned, no leg less than fully turned out. And during movement, no leg higher is or lower than the next. This was consistent throughout the evening. Coming from the fanfare and variety produced by so many American companies, Perm Ballet is Russian dancing at its best, and the troupe has much to be proud of.

Several other scenes cannot pass unmentioned. Despite a lighting team that was slow to its feet Thursday night, Carabosse, danced by Oleg Posokhin with an entourage of evil bats, was dark enough to be despised, but visible enough to still be seen. There were moments however when it was hard to view other members of the cast during the Carabosse visits, and one hopes the Flint Center lighting team can correct that for the rest of the Perm's performances.

Before Act One begins, we're given a brief mime sequence somewhere within the palace walls that suggests the repercussions of Carabosse's curse upon the palace. Four chatty chambermaids are knitting with the forbidden spindles, and caught by the King's magistrate. King and Queen enter and are given the evidence. In a moment of regal anger, the King sentences them to be hanged, but the Queen implores him to spare the maids, and he does. This reviewer doesn't recall seeing this scene in other versions of the ballet, but it added a continuity of story line that was helpful.

When the curtain did open on Act One, we were greeted with a garland scene that recalled visions of the same scene in Grace Kelly's documentary, "The Children of Theatre Street". Twelve waltzing couples in pale pink skirts waltz to the music of one of Tchaikovsky's most memorable sections. The choreography may seem slow here to those who haven't seen it before, but there is ample time to watch the design formation of garlands overhead, and to revel again at Perm technical precision.

The Jewels Thursday night were equally sparkling, though the Sapphire, danced by Tatiana Orlova, stood out from the foursome due to her long graceful lines. The Diamond, Tatiana Bolshukhina, was sharp and quick in her darting jetés to plié arabesque.

Our Bluebird couple was danced by Sergei Mershin, a well-muscled smooth jumper, and Yaroslava Araptanova, a graceful, sure Florina with careful, super-clean steps. Their pas de deux and variations were impressive despite the audience's rather embarrassing lack-of-reaction throughout.

Natalia Moiseeva presented a calmly radiant Aurora, thrilled to be celebrating her 16th birthday, and with poise befitting a real princess. Exuding youth and happiness when faced with a line of suitors, she mimed to her parents that all she wanted to do was dance for them. Ms. Moiseeva has a strength and turning ability remniscent of the Kirov's Irina Tchistyakova (tight, clean and reliable), the flexibility and supple feet of Sylvie Guillem (but with better control), and an ebullience similar to Maximova's, but clearly all her own. Her split jetés were delivered with Bolshoi-like abandon, but tempered by Kirov-like control. Her dramatic interpretation of Aurora was well-approached and well-delivered. She is a mature ballerina with an endless array of talents, and is a sheer pleasure to watch.

Ms. Moiseeva's Prince Desire, both onstage and off, was real-life husband Vitaliy Poleschuk. Tall, slim, and also with regal bearing, his first variation in the second act hunting scene was incumbered only by his footwear, a pair of pale blue boots that matched his costume. His lines are long, jumps smooth, and acting ability strong. In his visit with the Lilac Fairy in the same scene, he clearly portrayed that despite his noble birth, something was missing: he sought a woman to love. Ms. Moiseeva in the same scene was a fleeting vision of youthful beauty as she crossed in and out of the rows of the corps de ballet.

Prince Desire's dream, of course, comes true -- although isn't until Act Three, the wedding scene, that we really get to see him dance with Aurora. And in this case the ballet seemed to save the best for last.

Ms. Moiseeva's piqué penchés were splits on pointe, showing off her beautiful lines and flexibility. Her turns were an essay in physics: unbelievably upright, one would imagine she was being spun from some invisible heaven-bound axis, the quantity of rotations limited only by the music, not by her balance.

Mr. Poleschuk partnered her with sureness and ease. All of their partnering was exquisite, certainly well-rehearsed, and flawless. Their presentation of the pas de deux suggests a deep foundation of trust and mutual understanding that only the best ballet partnerships manage to achieve. The couple sealed off the performance with a real kiss in her final piqué arabesque penchée, adding a sweet personal touch just before the curtain went down.

To those who might argue a three-hour ballet is too long, the counter arguments are plenty. First and foremost, "The Sleeping Beauty" is a classic, one that has been performed for over a century and no doubt will continue to be. Petipa's famous choreography has a timelessness that preserves the story's setting without sacrificing line or form. Added to all of this is ample room for Aurora to express her own personality. And this is where Perm, thanks to Ms. Moiseeva and Mr. Poleschuk, sets itself apart.

It is hard to believe how spoiled Bay Area fans of Russian Ballet were in the early '90s. It seemed as if every season brought us a visit from one of Russia's main companies to the San Francisco Opera House. Prior to the Perm's visit, our most recent Russian guests were the members of the Bolshoi Ballet last October in Berkeley. With this tour, the Perm Ballet proves its worthiness in sharing the ranks with both the Maryinksy and the Bolshoi as highly professional, technically superb classical ballet companies.

And with all of this culture, and more than a few glimpses at balletic perfection thrown their way, the American audience didn't know what to do. Whereas a performance in a Russian city would have found loud "bravo"'s sprinkled throughout, applause at every pause (for the audiences know the ballets inside and out), and a slew of curtain calls, Thursday night's American audience lacked the sort of reaction that these performers deserved. It wasn't until the end of Act Three when a few whistles and a few standees started to appear. Thankfully, the Perm Ballet received the ovation they deserved, but it took quite a while for the audience to get to that point. And we're thus reminded why they're the performers ... ever giving, and then giving some more, often without receiving the level of appreciation they deserve.

In these times of economic downturn, political crises and the like, most of us can use some refreshment. Perm Ballet brings that in large quantities. For balletomanes tired of the less-than-impressive standards brought by the much lauded diversity in so many American companies, Perm Ballet is a relief. For everyone else, their performance will be one you will never forget. It is a shame that their tour to the Bay Area will be so short, but one can hope this means more frequent visits in the future.

<small>[ 11 April 2003, 05:59 PM: Message edited by: Catherine Pawlick ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2003 1:30 am 
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Location: SF Bay Area
I enjoyed it. But I have a few qualms, including the tempo -- I guess the traditional version is slower than what one sees these days?

And one thing about the audience, Catherine. This is not a sophisticated crowd in Cupertino and surrounding suburbs -- in fact, my biggest qualms are with them!

Whenever at the Flint Center, I always (and I mean always) hear a cellphone go off and people chattering during the performance. Friday was an exceptional night, with no less than three cellphones going off, people chattering and giggling in front of me and behind me, kids walking up and down the aisles (one with blinking shoes), audiences leaving during a scenery change because they thought it was the intermission, audiences leaving en masse during the applause, doors opening to corridor light and closing with a whack during the performance, a security guard prowling around replete with jingling keys, and ushers not doing a thing to maintain decorum (in most professional theaters, you know the ushers will clamp down on any disorderly behaviour faster than you can say, "Behave or leave"). And to top it all off, I overheard at least half a dozen people in the audience say It's amazing how they can stand on their toes. (!!!!!)

The Flint Center has to get its policy of action down pat to clean up this problem if they expect people to pay $40 to $60-plus for a ticket.

More notes on the dancing later... :)

<small>[ 12 April 2003, 11:33 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2003 3:20 am 
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Azlan, you forgot to mention the person in the front row of the orchestra level taking pictures with the flash on!!!!!!!

Yes, the tempos were quick,which I didn't mind most of the time. And the color scheme of the costumes was a bit odd at times. I mean the Lilac Fairy with a lilac tutu-lilac wig and carrying lilacs! Hit us over the head or what?? haha

However, the dancing was gorgeous and Catherine's review above echoes how I felt about this wonderful company. Unfortunately we had no idea who was dancing most of the roles because the program listed all who would be dancing this weekend without indicating who was on for which performance. I do believe the married couple that Catherine interviewed danced the Bluebird pas and they -particularly she- were wonderful!!

D


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2003 11:07 am 
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Oh, yes, I forgot about that flash photographer in the front row! At Davis Symphony Hall, I recall an usher confiscating with force a camera away from an audience member -- they are serious about keeping decorum there. Thanks for reminding me about the nightmare evening at Flint Center!

And here's the word from the local press:

Quote:
'Beauty' gives a sleepy performance

Octavio Roca, SF Chronicle Dance Critic

There is so much that is beautiful about the Perm State Ballet's production of "The Sleeping Beauty" that it may seem ungrateful to say that it was also a very dull show. But there you are. Thursday night's opening seemed endless, even though the score was cut to just under three hours. <a href=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/04/12/DD288476.DTL target=_blank>More</a>
&nbsp

Quote:
Russia's touring Perm Ballet shows how `Sleeping Beauty' should be done

Anita Amirrezvani, San Jose Mercury News

When it's done right, nothing is quite as splendid as Russian ballet. <a href=http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/living/5618581.htm target=_blank>More</a>


<small>[ 12 April 2003, 01:11 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2003 12:44 pm 
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Azlan - don't worry. Thursday night was no different. My companion was constantly distracted by the self-same cellphones, coughing, talking, hacking, wheezing, entering and exiting going on throughout the evening. It is disturbing. I think it's partly Flint Center's responsibility, but as you noted, a large part is also due to the unsophisticated audience. That they didn't know when to applaud was a clue to me that they were either probably trying to be respectful, or, having not seen much ballet at all, had no point of comparison for the prowess of Perm. In an Opera House audience, for example, there would have been applause throughout BlueBird pas (at least during the coda) and they got hardly anything...

I have to say I was so riveted most of the time that I was able to block out most of the distractions. But they were still there!

To David's point, I was lucky enough to receive a press version program that noted which dancers listed were dancing that night, and Natalia and Vitaliy were definitely Thursday night's Aurora and Desire -- so it would make casting sense if they trade off, and V&N did BlueBird pas the next night. I'm tempted to go back before they leave!

<small>[ 12 April 2003, 03:08 PM: Message edited by: Catherine Pawlick ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2003 6:02 pm 
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:) This thread is turning into one about unruly audience... I think we should probably continue that discussion here:

The Other Half - the Audience


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2003 7:14 pm 
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I loved the show. Yes, I agree some of the costumes were a bit much especially the overcladding of the men in Act 1.

I think all serious balletomanes should see this production.

However I have a couple of warnings: 1) the aforementioned audience and 2) you have to view this production on its own historical merit and not compare to modern productions.


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2003 7:51 pm 
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Octavio Roca wrote, "Poleshuk was a zero as Aurora's goofy Prince Desire, incompetent in pantomime and frankly not all that exciting in pirouettes." So what did he mean by "goofy?" What's the point of saying something like that without explaining it? Are we to assume that "goofy" means incompetent in pantomime and not exciting in pirouettes?


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 Post subject: Re: Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet Theater
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2003 8:04 pm 
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I had the same question, djb.

Having sat in the same row as Mr. Roca at the premier, I know we had the same view of Vitaliy Poleschuk. And while Vitaliy is certainly no Faruk (Ruzimatov), he had a composed demeanor and solid turns. I do think that wearing the boots he wore might have distracted from his dancing somewhat, but I don't think he was lacking in any sense of the word.

"Goofy" must surely refer to a perception of costume, and not to a personality. How can one be goofy, unless he's a jester in "Romeo"? In fact, I was very impressed at the "princely" aura he projected in the dream sequence. He carried himself regally and he just *looked* like a prince (at least in my personal idea of what a prince might be like). :)

Mr. Poleschuk's partnering of Natalia was also one of the surest examples of a well-rehearsed pair I've ever seen. He knew exactly where to place her without visible difficulty or visible transition. He knew where her weight would be and that made for just impeccable timing. What more can I say? I was impressed, and I don't believe "name papers" necessarily hold the definitive word on a performance.

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