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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2003 3:38 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I think I know how the Conrad mistake might have happened. I have a copy of the press night memo that was sent out for before the start of the season. That included Ilya Kuznetsov as the lead, as originally announced.

I can believe that Jenny Gilbert took this along on the night and looked at the wrong sheet when she was making her notes. For most companies this would not be a problem, but of course for the Kirov it lead to a bad mistake. As Shisov, the replacement for Kuznetsov, wore a headband, this would not have helped to sound alarm bells. Jenny Gilbert joins a large group who have made similar mistakes, I'm afraid, which includes Clement Crisp and, at the other end of the critical firmament, myself.

I for one will excuse Ms Gilbert as she is a critic with a wide range of interests and is prepared to ask the question, "What is the artist trying to achieve," as opposed to the more common, "What do I think the artist should be trying to achieve."

<small>[ 01 August 2003, 05:48 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2003 10:56 am 
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Posts: 186
Location: Great Britain
I expect from ballet critics who write for national newspapers to do their work professionally. We can disagree with their opinion of the production but at least the information they give must be trustworthy. Why is it excusable for a critic to look at wrong papers and to mix dancers' names? The best way to check them is to look at the cast list.
I would like to know where Jenny Gilbert looked when she 'promoted' Sarafanov to the rank of a graduate of the Vaganova Academy? Nobody tried yet to defend that.
Sorry, I can not share your liberal views on critics' responsibility and to defend indefensible. Let's call a spade a spade.


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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2003 11:07 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I guess it's for the same reason that we understand when from time to time even the best dancers fall or fail in a difficult series of steps or a fine choreographer makes a disappointing work.

coda, I agree the Conrad error was a bad mistake and the Sarafanov one an example of sloppy journalism. I hope someone will bring these errors to Jenny Gilbert's attention, as she should know about them. Dance is such a marginal art form, it is by no means certain that anyone has.

Will I be more cautious about relying on her research? Yes, to some extent. But as I said I am aware that Clement Crisp, a renowned ballet archivist, has made at least one similar mistake. Does it mean that I will stop reading Jenny Gilbert or value less her appraisal of dance? No, it won't.

<small>[ 01 August 2003, 01:41 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2003 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Le Corsaire - latest casting

The principal dancers are as follows (subject to change):

9 Aug MATINEE - Tatiana Tkachenko (Medora), Elvira Tarasova (Gulnara), Vladimir Shishov (Conrad) & Anton Korsakov (Ali)

9 Aug EVENING - Svetlana Zakharova (Medora), Irina Zhelonkina (Gulnara), Vladimir Shishov (Conrad) & Igor Zelensky (Ali)


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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 10:05 am 
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Location: London
Ruzimatov not dancing?


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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 9:57 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1746
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
You know, I wanted to add my two cents' about Jenny Gilbert's mistake. My issue would not be with the fact that she (or any other writer)misreferenced a dancer, especially if it was the case of a substitution being made on a not-well-known individual or company. Mistakes, as already noted above, do occur.

However.

This is the Kirov.

If the newspaper's writer doesn't know the company well enough to be able to recognize the dancers on stage, my argument would be that another reviewer should be given the job. There are PLENTY of talented writers who know dance companies inside and out, and are not given the voice or chance to publish a public review for pay... and meanwhile the reviewers on payroll with a local paper can toss something off to the tune of "my opinion" or "my mistake" when, I think, the former may not be valid given the reviewer's credentials, and the latter is inexusable when it is a professional journalist's job to avoid mistakes of this (arguable) magnitude.

I agree with Stuart-- it won't change whose reviews I read either. It will however, with repeat inconsistencies or errors, make me discount those reviewers' opinions in the future. For example, when reviewers repeatedly promote local troupes over touring companies, discounting the quality of individual performances on both ends-- to me that's sloppy journalism that lacks integrity.

I can't comment on Ms. Gilbert's journalistic style as I don't routinely read her works. But in general terms, I believe if an employed journalist is making errors (repeatedly), the paper's editors need to rethink who they're having cover the reviews, be it dance, food, movies, or anything else. Reviewers are paid for their supposedly expert opinions on a particular subject. If they're not skilled in that one area, then give the job to someone who is.

<small>[ 04 August 2003, 11:58 PM: Message edited by: Catherine Pawlick ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 4:33 am 
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Location: London UK
Catherine, the "best" error I ever read in a newspaper was from a London critic, one Sarah Frater, who was under the impression she had seen the (very) late Alexander Gorsky dance the Don Q pas de deux with the Bolshoi Ballet at Drury Lane. We London ballet fans are still howling with laughter over that one!

Seriously though, I think standards have been slipping badly over the years, certainly here in the UK where a rather cavalier attitude to accuracy seems to have developed. Perhaps the best thing is to ignore the newspapers altogether and stick to reading the reviews on Criticaldance where the standard of criticism is usually a lot higher.


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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 6:59 am 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Cassandra, I completely agree. I've already reached that point too! I can assure you the same situation happens here in San Francisco as well. I do believe the dance web sites offer a more accurate, in depth, well-researched mountain of information and insight than most local newspapers can. I'm hoping this means the start of a trend for the better in print publications, but if not... thank god for computers is all i can say!

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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 11:56 pm 
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Location: London
Cassandra - a great vote of confidence on CD - thanks for that. It seems that the newspaper reviewers increasingly write for the non-dance world. I believe they once appealed across the board but I can see more sensationalism in many of them as if the writing is an end in itself and the reader may not ever go to see dance - he merely reads the reviews. Many of Clement Crisp's reviews are like that. Working in an investment bank, I see most of my colleagues with the FT. I ask them whether they read Crisp's reviews. The ballet-goers do not. The others do. I am not making this up to fit my view. That really is how it is. One of my senior bosses repeatedly asks why Crisp doesn't like any of the European ballet companies (other than Kirov if you consider Kirov European rather than Russian!) and I become quite irritated. He doesn't like modern European ballet companies. Well he's not giving me a balanced view, says the boss. But, he adds - i love the way he writes and keep reading the articles - they are very funny. This person never goes to the ballet so on this occasion ticket sales are not affected.

The beauty of dance websites is 1. you can tap in when you like and the article is easy to find. We who do the links know how difficult it is to find the dance articles on the web sites sometimes; 2. you get a range of views and so a balanced view from which you can draw your conclusions; 3. any mistakes are instantly picked up; 4. the reader can comment too.


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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2003 4:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2003 12:01 am
Posts: 64
Location: Paris
Although I am acquainted, en passant, with Clement Crisp, it goes no further than that, and accordingly, what follows does not express a personal inclination.

When in an Attack Mode, our Clement is unbeatable. Because he is fearless.

That is precisely why everyone would like to get rid of him. Shut him up ! He has taken on the Modern Art Lobby. He has punctured many a ballooning bubble of bubble-gum.

Disagree as one may with many of his views – most especially, when he goes all doddery praising something – Clement Crisp is not a toady.

Indeed, in any major press outlet, he is now virtually the last person left, who will state, baldly (by the bye, he IS bald) what is actually ON STAGE if he does not like it.

I find that a great quality. And in fifty years, one can be fairly certain that people will still be reading Clement’s collected reviews. Notably those written in a full-fledged Attack Mode.


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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2003 12:12 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Casting for Le Corsaire, 9th August Matinee

Cast

Conrad Vladimir Shishov

Medora Tatiana Tkachenko

Gulnara Elvira Tarasova

Ali Anton Korsakov

Lankadem Mikhail Lobukhin

Birbanto Islom Baimuradov

Seid Pasha Vladimir Ponomarev

Forban Galina Rakhmanova
Natalia Tsyplakova
Polina Rassadina
Igor Nikitin
Andrei Yakovlev

Odalisques Nadezhda Gonchar
Daria Sukhorukova
Elena Sheshina

Algerian Dance Elena Bazhenova

Arab Dance Polina Rassadina

and Artists of The Kirov Ballet

Approximate timings:
Act I 33 minutes
Interval 25 minutes
Act II 30 minutes
Interval 25 minutes
Act III 29 minutes

<small>[ 08 August 2003, 08:47 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2003 6:44 am 
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Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Casting for Le Corsaire, 9th August evening

Cast

Conrad Vladimir Shishov

Medora Sofia Gumerova

Gulnara Irina Zhelonkina

Ali Igor Zelensky

Lankadem Andrian Fadeyev

Birbanto Islom Baimuradov

Seid Pasha Vladimir Ponomarev

Forban Elena Bazhenova
Natalia Tsyplakova
Polina Rassadina
Igor Nikitin
Andrei Yakovlev

Odalisques Yana Selina
Daria Sukhorukova
Elena Sheshina

Algerian Dance Elena Bazhenova

Arab Dance Galina Rakhmanova

and Artists of The Kirov Ballet

Approximate timings:
Act I 33 minutes
Interval 25 minutes
Act II 30 minutes
Interval 25 minutes
Act III 29 minutes


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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2003 5:56 am 
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Posts: 1640
Location: London UK
After seeing the Kirov’s Le Corsaire on Saturday afternoon, I thought it was about time I read the Byron original to see just how much of Byron remains in the ballet.

Well, the names are the same: Conrad, Medora and Gulnare and the location is the same too i.e. somewhere in the Greek islands and there is also a Pasha, but that’s it. Byron’s Conrad is a brooding complex figure who seems to bear more than a little resemblance to Lord B. himself

Quote:
“Sunburnt his cheek, his forehead high and pale
The sable curls in wild profusion veil”
And personality wise:

Quote:
“There was a laughing devil in his sneer
That raised emotions both of rage and fear”
The story: Conrad the corsair, plans a raid on the palace of his old enemy the Pasha and distracts the Pasha from the imminent attack by posing as a pilgrim lately escaped from Conrad’s pirate lair. (That bit at least sounds familiar) On being rumbled Conrad fights his way free to signal his men to attack (can’t you just picture Errol Flynn at this point?). The pirates land and destroy everything they see, but as they proceed to burn the palace they hear the screams of the Pasha’s women, trapped in the Harem. Conrad leads the rescue and carries the beautiful Gulnare, the Pasha’s favourite, to safety through the flames. The Pasha’s troops counter-attack though and Conrad is taken prisoner. While locked in a prison tower and awaiting death by torture, Conrad is visited by Gulnare who has fallen in love with him, but Conrad is faithful to his wife, Medora. Gulnare then bribes the guards and herself stabs the Pasha to death. Although he is appalled by what she has done, Gulnare has saved Conrad from certain death and they escape together to his island lair. En route Conrad rewards Gulnare with a kiss. When he reaches home however he discovers Medora has died, presumably of sorrow on hearing of his capture. Conrad is distraught with grief and simply disappears never to be seen again.

Quote:
“He left a corsair’s name to other times,
Link’d with one virtue and a thousand crimes.”
Out of that they made a ballet, but where all those slave girls and the shipwreck came from I don’t know, certainly not from Byron. The fact that Le Corsaire is credited with no fewer than five composers matters not a jot to me as in my opinion there is little to beat those 19th century hacks when it came to a good tune. I genuinely love them all. So I go to watch the ballet in a sit back and enjoy mode and the measure of my enjoyment rests solely on how well the ballet is danced.

The performance on Saturday afternoon featured a new face in the role of Medora. Tatiana Tkachenko is a mere twenty years or so and seemed to relish the opportunity of portraying the ballet’s heroine. An unusually attractive girl, Tkachenko is ideal for this role and brings a glamour to it, which is just what this ballet needs. She has an admirably strong technique too and it wasn’t difficult for her to dominate the performance as none of the other featured dancers seemed to be projecting much personality on this occasion, perhaps on the last day of what must have been a fevered schedule for them they were starting to display the strain.


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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2003 12:17 am 
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Posts: 2172
Location: London
Thanks for that Cassandra - very loosely based on Byron then. Byron clearly wasn't happy ever after enough.

Tkachenko is clearly one to watch.


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 Post subject: Re: "Le Corsaire" in London 2003
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2003 12:51 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I love it:

'Can they smell my fear?'
Rock critic Kitty Empire checks out the Kirov at Covent Garden for The Observer.

I know nothing of ballet. That's why I am here, collecting my ticket for a matinée of the Kirov Ballet's production of Le Corsaire, on one of the last days of the company's residency at the Royal Opera House in London's hellacious Covent Garden (bad mimes, worse buskers, hyperthermic tourists).

It's 36 degrees, and if nothing else, the world famous Kirov troupe will at least provide decent (if pricey at £45 a pop) air conditioning. With any luck, they might even be 'good'.

click for more


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