CriticalDance Forum

Mikhailovsky Ballet visit London July 2010
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Author:  Francis Timlin [ Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mikhailovsky Ballet visit London July 2010

Judith Mackrell reviews "Laurencia" in The Guardian.

The Guardian

Author:  Cassandra [ Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:53 am ]
Post subject:  Mikhailovsky Gala Programme

A hugely entertaining matinee programme from the Mikhailovsky on Sunday kicked off with Petipa’s Le Halte de Cavalerie, a delicious relic from ballet’s golden past that seduces everyone fortunate enough to see it. The goings on when a cavalry unit descends on a rural community and the officers all take a shine to the village flirt, may sound tame but the comedy-rich performances and authentic choreography make this rarely seen work the highlight of the afternoon, and for all the classical accomplishments of the dancers it is Andrei Bregvadze’s extravagantly absurd comedy colonel who steals everyone’s thunder with his portrayal of an aging lothario: pure genius.

In total contrast to Le Halte de Cavalerie Slava Samodurov’s new ballet In a Minor Key was a pared down modern work that furthered choreographic ideas that the choreographer has explored in the past. Samodurov loves music from the rococo era and in this work he cleverly adapts that music to starkly modern and starkly beautiful movements, only here and there referring back to the music’s origins, such as when the male dancers appear to practice their fencing with invisible épées. I imagine this style of dancing is unfamiliar territory to the Mikhailovsky dancers, but they coped well outside of their comfort zone proving just how versatile this troupe has the potential to become.

The divertissements that concluded the programme were all splendidly performed but it was the opening Polonaise and Cracovienne from the second act of the opera Ivan Susanin (sometimes known as A Life for the Tsar) that I enjoyed most. An opera unfamiliar in general with British audiences almost the entire second act is danced, packed in fact with both national and more classical items, a bit off topic but I wish we could see that amazing opera in the UK.

A pas de deux from the company’s own highly colourful version of Spartacus was next, but it was the duet for Crassus and his girl rather than with the eponymous hero: think sexy Italian 1950’s sword and sandal epics and it just about sums this piece up. Fairy Doll which followed was quite a contrast with cheeky doll Sabina Yapparova being pursued by two virtuosic Pierrots. Next was a very neat Aurora from Maria Kochetkova partnered by sleek sure-footed Andrei Yakhnyuk and the final item was Spring Waters with its leaps and catches and spectacular lifts. Sadly there was only one performance of this excellent programme, hopefully they will repeat it next time they visit.

Author:  Gavin Roebuck [ Sat Jul 24, 2010 5:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mikhailovsky Ballet visit London July 2010

A great season with a good audience response - thank you. The company have enjoyed the London visit including the newly married couple principals Marat Shemiunov and Irina Perren - almost a honeymoon.

Laurencia London video clip :

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mikhailovsky Ballet visit London July 2010

Royal Ballet Principal Dancer Tamara Rojo performed "Swan Lake" as guest artist with the Mikhailovsky Ballet on Thursday, July 22. Jeffery Taylor reviews the performance in the Sunday Express.

Sunday Express

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mikhailovsky Ballet visit London July 2010

Zoe Anderson reviews "Cipollino" for The Independent.

The Independent

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mikhailovsky Ballet visit London July 2010

I'm very pleased Zoe Anderson took the trouble to review Cipollino, although created for children it holds a special place in the Russian repertoire and has entertained generations of Russian kids. Rather surprisingly it has been danced by some of the biggest names there, for example when I first saw Cipollino in Moscow Nikolai Tsiskaridze played the role of Prince Cherry, apparently it is great fun to dance so easy to recruit company stars to appear in it. I have to say it is a work I never imagined I would see in London and must thank the Mikhailovsky for this imaginative piece of programming.

Author:  Cassandra [ Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:32 am ]
Post subject:  Laurencia

Like the Bolshoi’s Spartacus the ballet Laurencia is about real events; an uprising in 15th century Spain against a local aggressor and therefore a gift for a Soviet choreographer enabling Don Q style dancing alongside revolutionary fervour. The ballet has a real pedigree as the famous pas de six has travelled well as a gala showpiece and the work is famous for being the launch pad of a very young Rudolf Nureyev. This version staged by Misha Messerer is a pared down version of the Chaboukiani original and tells the story of a wicked military commander who considers local village woman merely chattels for his lust. However one of his victims, Laurencia, goads the villagers into action and after storming the castle they collectively kill their oppressor.

Alternatively sunny and dramatic, I enjoyed this ballet a lot and although it’s not a work that would bear repeated viewings, it’s a piece that I would definitely want to return to from time to time if only to see what other casts would make of the roles. The Mikhailovsky gave two performances only, with two different casts, and it is fair to say that I enjoyed both casts equally. On the first night Laurencia was danced by Irina Perren and on the second by Ekaterina Borchenko, on the whole Perren gave the most rounded performance but Borchenko summoned up more fury when urging her friends to avenge her violation. As her lover, Frondoso, first cast Denis Matvienko darkened his hair to play a fiery Spaniard and handled his castanets with aplomb whereas the following night Marat Shemiunov was made up to look like the roles creator, Chaboukiani, complete with moustache, both dancers attacked the choreography with panache. In the other roles Sabina Yapparova’s vivacity made her stand out as Laurencia’s friend Pascuala and the two young men in the pas de six Nikolai Korypaev and Andrei Yakhnyuk were especially noteworthy dancing with perfect synchronicity.

The music was something of a pastiche of pseudo Spanish ballet numbers but I thought it very easy on the ear. The composer was Alexander Krein, virtually unknown today but he was another sad victim of the Soviet censors who turned to writing theatre music after Jewish music was banned. Krein came from a family of Klezmer musicians and it seems that the music he wrote based on his Jewish heritage was once highly thought of, though sadly it now languishes unperformed: nice to think that this ballet rescues him from obscurity to some extent.

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