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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 10:33 am 
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
Re: Somova's debut - What Andre said. :-)

No, but really - I thought she was wonderful as Aurora. Bright eyed and dramatically present throughout, and the acting scenes were acted better than the other two Auroras we have seen so far. A really remarkable debut.

This week I've enjoyed Vishneva's radiant and warm stage presence - it was a bright spot in Wednesday's performance, which I found mostly cold, uninspired and boring. It seemed the whole company was walking through the thing on Wednesday night, with the mime not having any clear meaning or purpose other than pre-choreographed motion. THis seemed to have improved as the week went on, but the Kirov's Sergeyev production still has significant dramatic deficiencies (I do actually agree with the LA Times on this one).

Still though, the Kirov has lovely dancers, and it was nice to see all that clean Russian training on stage. The corps was uniform and moved together with a clear sense of style, and those fairy variations were quite nice to watch every night. So, despite the length of each performance (3 hrs 40 minutes!!) I still found something to enjoy each night.

I just now discovered that the Kirov postings were here, in this forum, rather than Ballet in the Americas! Andre kept talking about posting on CD at the performances, but I kept thinking "but there's no thread! otherwise I'd post too!" Here it is...my ignorance...


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2005 10:49 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Quote:
I just now discovered that the Kirov postings were here, in this forum, rather than Ballet in the Americas! Andre kept talking about posting on CD at the performances, but I kept thinking "but there's no thread! otherwise I'd post too!" Here it is...my ignorance...


Good point art - I've added messages in "Ballet in the Americas" and our "Kirov 2005-6" forums, directing people here. Thanks for the helpful feedback.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 10:28 am 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Saturday, Oct 8, 2005
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles

Saturday night gave us the opening night cast of Vishneva, Zelensky, and Lopatkina, and a company that looked and danced refreshed and strongly, if they had been a bit ragged or nervous on Wednesday night. Almost every soloist looked like they could balance forever, and the corps danced with an energy and commitment we had not yet seen. Crowning this was a glorious, almost perfect Rose Adagio, with Vishneva making it look nearly easy. If it's possible, she was even more radiant than her opening night. This was a super-glamourous Aurora coming out for her 16th birthday. Last night was her show.

Lopatkina's subtle Lilac Fairy continues to impress, while Irina Golub gave us a well-danced Diamond fairy with bright attacks and clean footwork.

The few exceptions to last night's exceptional show unfortunately included a tired-looking Zelensky who looked shakey and forced in his Act 2 partnering. The orchestra had inexplicable blending issues, and moments of confusion. And while the individual dancing in Bluebird (Maxim Chaschegorov and Sofia Gumerova) was very fine, and among the best of the week so far, their partnering was a bit rough.

--Andre


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 Post subject: THANK YOU!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 1:56 pm 
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Location: USA
Art, Andre!
Thanks a BILLION! I cherished your every word, I really did :-) Can't wait to see this wonder of the dance world called Kirov Ballet in my neck of the woods.
CONGRATS to Alina Somova on her successfully debut!

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:25 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
A short feature on Diana Vishneva, including a nice picture:

Quote:
Ballet in L.A.: Buzz builds for ballerina
Laura Bleiberg, Orange County Register

On the one hand, there were Russian fire codes to obey.

On the other hand, this was a gala performance in St. Petersburg to celebrate principal dancer Diana Vishneva's 10th anniversary with the Kirov Ballet.

Fire codes - Vishneva. Fire codes - Vishneva. Which force would prevail?

more


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:47 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Sunday, Oct 9, 2005
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles

We saw a new couple on Sunday, with Olesia Novikova dancing Aurora, and Anton Korsakov dancing Desire. Both are compact, strongly built dancers, and Korsakov had danced Bluebird on opening night, so this was quite unlike what we'd seen before. Novikova, like Somova, played up the dramatic aspects of her role. Her debutante ball saw her full of wonder and newfound excitement as she discovered her potential: after each balance in the Rose Adagio, she looked at the audience as if to say, "I can't believe I can do this!" Her dancing in Act I was full of energy, like it was the most exciting thing for her to be there. Her reaction to being pricked was appropriately shocked, and made for a poignant contrast from her earlier excitement and happiness.

Unfortunately, the rest of the performance was a letdown. Her partner, Korsakov, looked like he ruined her dancing several times in Act II with both clumsy partnering and expressionless dancing. While technically very fine, he looked like he was just going through the steps: there was no emotion I could see. Without anything else to see, his un-princely physique became even more noticeable: he looked like a stand-in for a missing danseur noble. It got so bad that after a quick peck to wake up the sleeping Aurora (which was at least not as bad as Sarafanov who looked like he was kissing his sister), Aurora looked like she wanted nothing to do with him.

The energy and chemistry level of both dancers just kept declining through to Act 3, where at the end the both looked like they were just going through the motions. The normally reliable corps had also looked like they'd let go for this performance: while still dancing at a high level, it looked as if they knew this was the last performance, and it was a matinee, so it was OK to, if not phone it in, shout it in from the next room over. We had Elena Vostrotrina reprise her disappointing role as the Lilac Fairy. While able to perform amazing feats of virtuosic steps, her Lilac Fairy had no mystery or depth or much grace to speak of.

The reliable Yana Selina and Anton Lukovkin gave us their wonderful white cat and puss-in-boots routine, while Dmitry Semionov and Ksenia Ostreykovskaya danced a solid Bluebird. Igor Petrov's Carabosse was also good, showing us the musicality of the role: you can hear Carabosse's laughter in the music with Petrov unlike Skripkin, the other Carabosse.

--Andre


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 1:56 pm 
Andre,
Thank you very much for your report on the Sunday matinee show. At long last the Kirov showed us some human frailties :-)
Does anybody plan to go to San Francisco?

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 2:17 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
i'm seeing the kirov tonight in berkeley, so i'll report back tomorrow! if it wasn't such a long ride home, i'd post tonight, but... not going to happen.

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 Post subject: From the SF Chronicle.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 5:19 pm 
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
Quote:
Kirov ballerina ready for challenge of bringing 'Beauty' to Berkeley

Janice Berman, Special to The Chronicle

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Few ballerinas in recent memory have created quite a stir as the Kirov Ballet's Diana Vishneva. Guesting at American Ballet Theatre during its 2005 season at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, Vishneva drew ecstatic reviews for her "Don Quixote," "Giselle," "Ballet Imperial" and "Swan Lake." Now the prima ballerina -- last seen here in 2003 -- is scheduled to dance the leading role, Princess Aurora, in "The Sleeping Beauty" when Cal Performances presents the Kirov Ballet and Orchestra at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley from Wednesday through Sunday.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 3:29 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
Potential sleeper depends on Aurora to keep us wide awake

The Kirov Ballet at Zellerbach Hall
Presented by CalPerformances
October 12, 2005


The Kirov Ballet returned to Berkeley last night with Konstantin Sergeyev’s “The Sleeping Beauty.” Based on Petipa’s choreography and including “fragments” by Fedor Lopukhov, the October 12th performance served as a Diana Vishneva tour de force. Her Aurora proved to be the highlight of the night, and made me glad I traveled via MUNI and BART to see her come of age, draw blood, slumber, and after much beauty rest, find love with a man who wears golden slippers and, thanks to some technical help, hits a bulls-eye on the first attempt.

Vishneva’s interpretation added magic to the air, and while this is normally a fairy’s job, no one could outshine her. She convincingly transformed from 16-year-old ecstatic teen to confused spindle pricker and then wise, love-stricken bride. All eyes followed Vishneva from step to step, and while the corps de ballet’s missteps were minor, they greatly lacked the oomph and zest which Vishneva provided. Uliana Lopatkina’s Lilac Fairy served as a nice balance to Vishneva’s dynamic Aurora. Appropriately bathed in a bright lavender spotlight throughout, Lopatkina displayed steel will and languid limbs, and this Lilac Fairy differed from the sprightly fairies of days gone by; her mature portrayal displayed an urge to provide protection and guidance, a mystical mother figure if you will. Trust me, don’t mess with her or she’ll arabesque you! Carabosse, played rather creepily by Igor Petrov, discovered this on several occasions.

One of Vishneva’s most glorious moments came in Act I where she piquéd into attitude and then relevéd into attitude entournant, adding a side cambré and making the entire movement seem circular and all-encompassing. She continued this sweeping image through each step, and her développés, passés, and pirouettes seemed never ending. This magnified when, dancing with her Prince Desiré (Igor Zelensky), she was on pointe in a low penché with the same spiral-like side cambré, and Zelensky held onto her hip softly while pulling away and promenading her, emphasizing the curve of the movement while displaying trust between the two dancers. Zelensky’s Price combined nobility with humbleness. His dancing, while crisp, contained a natural elegance that shone through constantly, such as in a set of chaîné grand jetés in a large circle, but came to fruition in his partnering sequences. Dancing with Vishneva, he held her softly yet steadily, and they made a spectacular pair onstage.

Other dancers stood out, particularly Yana Selina’s effervescent Lightheartedness Fairy and flirty Puss (the cat), Viktoria Tereshkina's polished Diamond Fairy, and Yana Serebriakova’s shining Sapphire Fairy and poised Courage Fairy. Anton Korsakov’s Blue Bird fluttered about with strong brisés and lovely pointed toes, but his Princess Florina (Yulia Bolshakova) had issues taking flight. The sets added a needed ambiance and featured a sprawling golden gate (not the kind we have in San Francisco), a springtime garden full of greenery, and a sepia-toned forest. In addition, the Orchestra overcame a sloppy Prologue and played well for the remainder of the evening

Vishneva’s Aurora conveyed beauty in an infinite amount ways, but it couldn’t conceal some of the major imperfections. The Kirov brought the older “Beauty,” as their new version doesn’t fit on U.S. stages, yet this one still looked cramped (perhaps due to the multitude of well-coached students on loan from San Francisco Ballet School) on the Zellerbach stage, and at three hours and 40 minutes, this “Beauty” treads on overstaying its welcome. Overall, the dancers looked tired and lacked energy, and it was the three leads, particularly Vishneva’s divine interpretation, that kept me awake and wanting more.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 9:37 am 
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Location: San Francisco
Kirov Ballet makes 'Sleeping Beauty' a feast
Rachel Howard, Special to The San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, October 14, 2005

Quote:
It was a wondrous sight Wednesday night: Diana Vishneva en pointe, her other leg held artfully behind her, the whole perfect sculpture twirling beneath the hand of first one suitor, then another. She seemed incapable of wavering; though turning, she became the still point around which the rest of the world revolved. It was the kind of special effect to make even a seasoned ballet lover say "Ah! So that's what that moment can be."

Fortunately for ticket holders to performances by other casts, the Kirov Ballet's "The Sleeping Beauty," presented by UC Berkeley's Cal Performances through Sunday, isn't dependent on the star power of one internationally ascendant ballerina. Running three hours and 40 minutes, this is an Imperial Russian feast to slowly savor (and you'll want to mill about during each of three intermissions to aid digestion). After all, this 1890 ballet -- the first collaboration between Tchaikovsky and the French-born ballet master Marius Petipa -- originated at the Kirov, and the company has been an authoritative caretaker ever since.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2005 11:37 am 
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Location: San Francisco
Posted on Sat, Oct. 15, 2005

'Beauty' is marred by small blemishes
By Mary Ellen Hunt
Contra Costa Times

Quote:
Entertainment on the grandest scale came to Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall this week with the return of the Kirov Ballet and one of the company's signature works, "The Sleeping Beauty."

Opening night's dream cast -- with Diana Vishneva in the title role, partnered by Igor Zelensky as her Prince, and Uliana Lopatkina as the Lilac Fairy who brings them together -- represented a trio of international star power. Vishneva, in particular, turned what could have been a 3 hour 40 minute ballet marathon into something memorable.

But for those who harbor memories of the Kirov's distilled purity of style -- the breathlessly uniform corps, the cool, calm delivery of technical brilliance -- Wednesday night's show may have been a disappointment. As splendid as it all was, there was a nagging sense that this was not the Kirov as it once was.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2005 4:07 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Yeah, I didn't even bother going -- I heard from enough people that the performances, especially on opening night were marred, a far cry from the "feast" we have come to expect from this company. Word is that the company may not be travelling well... But then again firsthand reports coming in from St Petersburg seem to be spelling the same situation there; of inconsistency through the ranks. Maybe the company is going through a temporary loss of form?

Anyone else thinks the same? I haven't seen them for about a year I think (I remember being bored then), so I do not have a good read of the current situation.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2005 6:46 pm 
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Location: NYC
After a month in Petersburg, I have to say that the company is sadly not in good shape. The casting is completely politicized; merit is a secondary consideration. And there is a frenzied attempt to replace dancers reaching their creative peak in their late '20s with neophytes.
Even the corps looked incoherent in the Bayadere Shades: extensions were here, there, everywhere, in part because so many green young girls have been slotted in.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 7:39 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
I thought they looked very fine in their performances here in SoCal, Wednesday night opening jitters, and the Sunday slack notwithstanding (and both were slight in the grand scheme of things). The corps is a wonder, and working in a totally different league than any American company I've seen, and the big name soloists deserve their marquee billing.

I'm even glad, though I did not enjoy all of their performances, that they're taking chances by casting corps members in the big roles: it gives their performances a unique kind of nervous energy. For example, the best Bluebird (Scherbakov) and one of the best Auroras (Somova) were danced by corps members.

--Andre


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