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Author:  Gavin Roebuck [ Thu May 08, 2008 4:30 pm ]
Post subject:  MIKHAILOVSKY BALLET First Visit to UK

Hello -
I have posted information in the press release section about this exciting first visit to the UK.

I was asked to see if this company could come to London a few weeks ago and after seeing them in their beautiful home theatre in St Petersburg am thrilled to help them come to the London Coliseum where I danced years ago.

I will add news, respond to questions if I can, and perhaps post a prize draw for Critical Dance readers to win tickets as time goes on so please do keep checking this topic.

Listings Information:
Mikhailovsky Ballet 22 - 27 July 2008
London Coliseum 8 St Martins Lane London WC2N 4ES .
Box Office Tel: 0871 911 0200
Tuesday 22 July - Thursday 24 July at 7.30 + Thursday Matinee at 2.00
Tickets: from £10 to £75
Friday 25 July 7.30 Saturday 26 July 2.00 and 7.30
Tickets from £10 to £70
Le Halte de Cavalerie, Divertissements, and Paquita
Sunday 27 July 3.00
Tickets from £10 to £65

Author:  Cassandra [ Fri May 09, 2008 3:04 am ]
Post subject: 

I've never even heard of this company, Natalia N, do you have any information?

Normally its only top flight companies, Bolshoi, Kirov, NYCB etc that get to the Coliseum, so this is puzzling.

Author:  Gavin Roebuck [ Fri May 09, 2008 3:48 am ]
Post subject: 

Perhaps this information will help you:
Founded in 1833 and named after Grand Duke Mikhail, brother of Tsar Nicholas 1st, the Mikhailovsky Theatre is renowned for its ballet, opera and theatre productions. During its history the theatre has also been called the Maly Theatre with the famous Maly ballet being founded in 1933. In 1989 the Maly was again renamed, this time after the Russian composer Modest Moussorgsky. In 2007 the theatre got its original name back – the Mikhailovsky Theatre – and it celebrates its 175 anniversary in November 2008.

Author:  Cassandra [ Fri May 09, 2008 6:17 am ]
Post subject: 

Thank you, yes of course I've heard of the Maly and knew about the change of name to Mussorgsky but hadn't realized it had changed its name yet again.

Am I right in thinking that Farouk Ruzimatov is now director there and that dear Alla Osipenko is ballet mistress?

Author:  Gavin Roebuck [ Fri May 09, 2008 1:57 pm ]
Post subject: 

Correct and Farouk Ruzimatov said how much he is looking forward to visiting London again and - yes Alla Osipenko is a repetiteur and she is also appearing in Spartacus as Elaida.

Author:  Tahor [ Sun May 11, 2008 1:56 pm ]
Post subject: 


This is wonderful news that Osipenko will return to the stage in London, I am surprised, delighted and very excited to hear this. Wow! The whole tour is wonderful news.

Gavin you seem to have direct connections with the company and with Farouk, so please can I make a plea to you to pass onto the powers that be? Many of us here are desperate to see Sabina Yapparova and Andrei Yakhnuk on this tour, to dance a Giselle and also something in the mixed programme. As I am sure you know this couple joined this company last year from the Tachkin ballet, so they are very familiar to UK audiences and extremely loved. Sabina is a Prima Ballerina of the finest order, a very special and beautiful dancer, and her husband Andrei has developed into a refined and noble Prince. They are a great partnership.

They made their debut in Giselle in South Africa with SPBT, and then left before the following return to the UK, so we never saw it here. Sabina is ideal physically for Giselle, and I assume they must dance it with their new company. We were all so sad when they left SPBT, for the selfish reason that we thought we would hardly ever see them dance in the UK again - although of course the move must have been good for their careers. But now we have a chance to see them again. Do you know if they will come? There are 3 performances of Giselle, so room for them to do one. Please Gavin could you communicate this feedback straight back to Farouk, and also the impresario, I am sure the company will ensure they have performances if it is known there are balletomanes here that await them. We would all be very grateful if you can let us know here within this thread - indeed it would be very helpful Gavin to assist with booking if you can post the principal casting for the entire week as soon as you have it announced, night by night for the principal roles.

By the way who is the impresario for this tour - is it Hochhausers or Artsworld or ?

Looking forward to some news on what you can do to try to ensure Sabina and Andrei are included - although the intention may well be to bring them already. They are such super dancers.

Author:  Gavin Roebuck [ Sun May 11, 2008 2:46 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank you for your interest.
The latest casting information - which is subject to change - is on my site.

Casting information updates will be on my site, given to the London Coliseum and as they become more certain posted here by me.

None of the dancers in this company should disappoint which is why I am happy to be instrumental in this their first visit to Britain.

Author:  Tahor [ Sun May 11, 2008 3:21 pm ]
Post subject: 

Dear Gavin,

Thank you for your note - I have just looked at your provisional casting on your site.

How very disappointing however to see Sabina and Andrei not listed for a Giselle – my hope was that perhaps they would do the matinee. It is of course wonderful that the company will be here, but as you know it is not as straightforward to say “none of the dancers in this company should disappoint”. Whilst I am sure that may well be the case, you will know that ballet fans follow certain dancers, and all dancers are unique. I was so happy when I saw the company will come, because I felt this were a chance for this couple to return to the UK.

We all understand that on a short tour there cannot be room for everyone – however as promoter it may well be worth thinking about the box office value of bringing a cast that is already well known and extremely popular in the UK, as opposed to two dancers for the matinee who are totally unknown here. I would imagine that Farouk is not necessarily aware of how popular this couple are in the UK. I know of many people who would travel to London especially to see them. I hope word can be fed back to the company management by yourself Gavin – Alla herself will be aware of this fact, and she adores them both. As you say current casting is provisional, so there is time for this to change.

It is wonderful the company is coming here, and I congratulate you on fixing it, but considering dancers have short careers and this may be the only chance to catch this couple here for many years, it will be a bitter irony for their many 100’s of admirers in the UK if their new company comes to London without them dancing principal roles.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun May 18, 2008 6:23 am ]
Post subject: 

While this is not part of the company's UK tour, I thought to post it here as it is their Spartacus:

Maly-Mussorgsky/Mikhailovsky Ballet
Mikhailovsky Theatre
St. Petersburg, Russia
16 May 2008
By Catherine Pawlick

Under the artistic direction of Farukh Ruzimatov, choreographer Georgy Kovtyn’s new production of “Spartacus”, which first premiered on April 29 at the Mikhailovsky Theatre, is a full-length entertainment extravaganza. With elaborate gilded sets and matching gold costumes by the Vozrozhdenie Company, and an onstage opera chorus under the direction of Vladimir Stolpovskikh, almost nothing is left out of this version of the Khatchaturian classic.

From the first curtain, which reveals the end of our story – Spartacus strung up high on a crucifix with chains between two stone buildings that move together, forcing his disappearance – to the first scene inside the coliseum, where any number of dancers, performers, warriors, and contortionists perform in a massive crowd scene, all done to the background of operatic singing by members of the onstage choir, “Spartacus” starts off on a grand scale. The choreography also starts out with a bang – high, stage-sweeping jumps, difficult lifts, and allegro virtually from start to finish, no matter who is dancing. This production is not for the weak of heart or limb. Unfortunately, its strengths stop there, and those looking for emotional depth or a dramatic connection to the artists will be left disappointed. But those hoping for an evening full of entertainment, and more than their fill of onstage sword fighting or massive crowd scenes, will be pleased.

Two exceptions to the dramatic weaknesses came from the two leading women who danced on the evening of May 16. Vera Arbuzova of the Eifman Ballet, danced Spartacus’ girlfriend/lover, Valeria, with depth and passion. Recalling Bessmertnova with a similar tendency to bent wrists, Arbuzova drew the most applause of the evening after her anguished parting pas de deux with Spartacus, danced by Marat Shemnunov. Though both dancers debuted in the role that evening, Arbuzova delivered the stronger emotional message. Shemnunov, impossibly tall, seemed almost too lengthy for the stage; it was as if his internal energy didn’t quite reach the ends of his limbs in what could have been explosive jumps and turns. He danced well, but one couldn’t help but see how fitting Ruzimatov himself would have been in this fiery role.

As Crassus’ girlfriend, Tatiana Miltseva, a beautiful petite blonde with amazing flexibility and a clever knack for fanfare, also drew attention, partly for her spot center stage in nearly every scene. After numerous gymnastic pas de deux with Crassus, danced with conviction and consistency by Dmitry Shadrukhin, she then danced several extensive pas with Kriks, Spartacus’ fellow gladiator, danced by Andrey Masloboev. Beautiful to behold, Miltseva deserves kudos for endless energy and undying smiles. Her stage presence was notable throughout the evening.
The other attention magnet was the live tiger brought onstage first in a cage, and then by leash. Perhaps a theatrical trick, the looming feline was hardly a pussycat, and added a Roman feel to the rest of the ancient atmosphere.

The corps de ballet also deserves recognition for executing the often complex and presumably exhausting choreography. This production proceeds in high-energy mode from start to finish. Of particular note were several groups of male dancers who performed interludes in warrior dress in the Second Act: Alexei Suznetsov, Maksim Eremeev, Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Gavrish. Likewise, the women of the Mikhailovsky displayed some lovely arabesque lines and clean technical execution.

While clear from one viewing that not every dancer in the company is of the same caliber – there is a wide range of capability across the board -- the overall impression for one not skilled in ballet technique will nonetheless be adequate. The single jarring inadequacy was the role of Pompei, performed by Andrey Bregvadze who could neither pointe his feet nor straighten his knees. He looked as if he had stumbled onstage by accident, leaving one puzzled as to why he received a leading (mostly mime) role. The rest of the troupe danced well.

For purely entertainment value, this production of “Spartacus” is worth seeing. As Ruzimatov’s first full-length work at the Mikhailovsky, he has much to be proud of. “Spartacus” gives no reason for psychological reflection, but it is a broad-scale diversion that displays the capabilities of this newly reborn ballet company.

Karen Dourgaryan conducted the orchestra.

Author:  Gavin Roebuck [ Thu May 22, 2008 10:22 am ]
Post subject: 

Spartacus is very much part of their tour. Booking for it is now open at the London Coliseum Tel:0871 911 0200 or online on

Author:  Buddy [ Sat May 24, 2008 11:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks, Gavin, for helping make what should be some very fine performances possible.

According to the booking information Anastasia Matvienko will be dancing Giselle. It doesn't say which night. This is a performance that I would really like to see.

Author:  Gavin Roebuck [ Mon May 26, 2008 7:44 am ]
Post subject: 

Casting is subject to change:

Cast for the Mikhailovsky London Season (update 26 June 08)

22 Jul 2008

Matvyenko Denis, Shemiunov Marat, Perren Irina, Matvyenko Anastasya, Morozov Denis

23 Jul 2008

Turko Alexey, Kasyanenko Andrey, Arbuzova Vera, Perren Irina, Masloboev Andrey

24 Jul 2008

Spartacus matinee
Matvyenko Denis, Shemiunov Marat, Perren Irina, Matvyenko Anastasya, Morozov Denis

Spartacus evening
Turko Alexey, Kasyanenko Andrey, Borchenko Ekaterina, Perren Irina, Masloboev Andrey

25 Jul 2008

Matvyenko Anastasya
Matvyenko Denis

26 Jul 2008

Giselle matinee
Shestakova Oksana
Sivakov Mikhail

Giselle evening
Perren Irina
Matvyenko Denis

27 Jul 2008

Denis Matvyenko, Irina Perren, Ekaterina Borchenko, Matvyenko Anastasya, Shemiunov Marat, Anastasya Lomachenkova, Anton Ploom, Sabina Yapparova and others

Author:  Gavin Roebuck [ Wed May 28, 2008 4:08 am ]
Post subject: 

Hello- The website with all the info and some photos is now online:

Author:  Gavin Roebuck [ Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:11 am ]
Post subject: 

For more information about this company and the London Visit go to :

To buy Tickets, Children's tickets and group discounts see

Film Clip:

Article and photo about London visit:

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:11 am ]
Post subject:  First night performance of Spartacus

Mikhailovsky Ballet
Coliseum, London
22nd July 2008

The St Petersburg based Mikhailovsky Ballet has never visited London before, which is an odd fact given the company’s long and illustrious history, last night however they arrived with a bang. Opening with a new version of Spartacus might seem a little risky seeing how familiar London ballet audiences are with the Bolshoi’s Grigorovich version, but although one couldn’t help making comparisons with that production; the Mikhailovsky Spartacus is totally different in approach. This Spartacus is pure blockbuster and looks inspired by Cecil B De Mille, it can’t quite boast a cast of thousands, but the vast number of dancers, singers and extras filling the Coliseum stage to capacity was hugely impressive.

There is something vaguely Soviet about the production and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, but the ghost of the ‘dramballet’ lingers in this production with its seething animated crowds, imposing sets and attention to historical detail. The story line is a straightforward telling of historical facts with gladiator Spartacus revolting against the Roman Empire and raising an army of slaves before being defeated by the Roman general Crassus and meeting his death by crucifixion. The familiar Khachaturian music is embellished by some numbers I’m unfamiliar with such as a flute solo for the ballet’s opening, where Spartacus stands in a Samson-like pose pushing against closing walls that appear to crush him. Some of the orchestration sounded different too but in the notes on the music in the programme there is reference to the fact that in the earlier productions changes were made to the score that were never sanctioned by the composer. One of the biggest musical changes to this production is the use of an onstage chorus that serves a double function of giving the music a new depth of feeling and adding to the numbers on stage.

The choreography by George Kovtun is very driven by the music and there is an awful lot of it as this is a ballet with barely a pause for breath and not only is the cast dancing flat out, they are frequently shouting and whooping along with the action at the same time. The sheer dynamism of this company is just astonishing and I have to admit to feeling a little exhausted at the end simply sitting in the audience watching them. Of course no ballet exists that gives more opportunities to the male dancers and the men in this company are mightily impressive with perhaps the highest testosterone levels ever produced by a classical company. The ladies of the company were equally good in a variety of roles, not just the standard slave girls and Roman matrons but Amazonian gladiators swooping across the stage with their male counterparts.

Denis Matvienko danced the role of Spartacus looking a little bit like Kirk Douglas in the Stanley Kubrick film. He is a dancer of strong personality, ideal for this type of role and seemed to identify with the character he was portraying: he doesn’t flinch from the heroics and maintains unbelievable energy levels from beginning to end. Irina Perren danced the role of Spartacus’s beloved, called Valeria in this production, but had perhaps a slightly reduced role compared to the prominence of her counterpart in the Grigorovich version. Perren is a gifted dancer with a beautiful line and a creamy smooth quality of movement and is able to engage your sympathy throughout. The final scene with Valeria standing before the dying Spartacus lashed to a St Andrew’s cross and surrounded by the battlefield detritus of squirming bodies was deeply moving. There is one other major character in this version of the ballet, Spartacus’s fellow rebel gladiator, Crixus (there is also a Crixus in the Kubrick film). Danced sympathetically by the brilliant Denis Morozov, Crixus is a man of all too human failings whose passion for the tantalizing Sabina leads to disaster. The Romans were led by Marat Shemiunov who played Crassus as an imperial wonder-boy and star of the Roman legions; he is handsome and arrogant and accepts the homage of the multitudes as his divine right. As his mistress, Sabina, Anastasia Matvienko damn near steals the show: carnal, exotic and ravishingly beautiful as she schemes and seduces whilst dancing up a storm.

Inevitably there will be comparisons with the Bolshoi’s version of this ballet, though of course the London critics in the main are disdainful of all Grigorovich’s work. This ballet has just two acts but the running time is roughly equal to that of the Bolshoi production, both companies tell the same tale but the Mikhailovsky Spartacus doesn’t include introspective ‘soliloquies’ that break up the action and take us into the minds of the chief protagonists. Apart from these differences there are some similarities in the choreography as Kovtun also employs a lot of near acrobatic lifts in the pas de deux of both central couples. There were of course other versions of this ballet around pre Grigorovich and the very interesting choreography by Leonid Jacobson is still performed occasionally. For me the Grigorovich Spartacus and the Kovtun Spartacus are as different as chalk and cheese, but what the two have most in common is that both are undoubted crowd-pleasers. Last night the action was interrupted by applause throughout with the audience going crazy at the end. The lavish spectacle coupled with Khachaturian’s thrilling music, make this a memorable night out; whether the ballet is a great work of art, time will tell, but it will certainly stick in the memory.

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