I've just received the following details of the UK performances of the Kirov this year. Although not dancing in London on this occasion, both these 'north of Watford' venues are first rate.
THE KIROV BALLET ON TOUR
PRESENTED BY VICTOR HOCHHAUSER
Tuesday, May 13 – Saturday, May 24, 2008
Lowry Theatre, Salford: May 13 – 17
Birmingham Hippodrome: May 20 – 24
A feast of dance with Balanchine’s shimmering Jewels, a Gala Evening of balletic fireworks and hot Spanish passion in Don Quixote
One of the World’s great ballet companies, The Kirov Ballet from the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, returns to Britain for a two week tour to Salford and Birmingham from May 13 – 24, 2008. The company’s visit is in association with Victor Hochhauser.
The Kirov will perform at The Lowry, Salford from Tuesday May 13 to Saturday, May 17 followed by its first ever visit to Birmingham Hippodrome: (Tuesday, May 20 to Saturday, May 24) as part of the city’s International Dance Festival Birmingham 2008.
The 200-year-old Russian company, under the Artistic Direction of Valery Gergiev and Ballet Director Makhar Vaziev, the will perform two full-length ballets – Balanchine’s shimmering Jewels and Don Quixote, one of the highlights of the classical canon, as well as a Gala Evening of balletic fireworks.
For its UK tour, the company will be led by the exquisite Uliana Lopatkina. She is joined by principal dancers Viktoria Tereshkina, Anton Korsakov, Andrian Fadeyev, Sofia Gumerova, Alina Somova, Igor Kolb, Anton Korsakov and Leonid Sarafanov and the company’s ravishing corps de ballet.
George Balanchine’s Jewels
George Balanchine is justly regarded as one of the greatest twentieth century choreographers. Trained in St. Petersburg’s Imperial Ballet – much later to become the Kirov - he settled in the United States where he reinvented the language of ballet for the new century.
His sublime three-act ballet Jewels, which opens the Kirov’s Birmingham season is a heavenly succession of stylistically diverse classical divertissements which take their tone from the jewels they are named after. Elegant and romantic for Emeralds (set to Fauré), hot and jazzy for Rubies (set to Stravinsky) and glittering and aristocratic for Diamonds (set to Tchaikovsky).
Balanchine created Jewels for his own New York City Ballet, but the Kirov was the first company in Europe to stage all three acts in the same evening. The Kirov production recreates Peter Harvey’s original décor – a shimmering cascade of jewels suspended in mid air – and the dancers wear magnificently bejewelled costumes based on the originals by fashionable New York designer Karinska.
First seen in London in 2000, this Kirov production of Jewels left critics and audiences literally reeling with delight.
The Kirov’s Gala Programme promises a box of delights for ballet lovers, including Fokine’s romantic one-act ballet, Chopiniana (sometimes known as Les Sylphides) and the sublime Kingdom of the Shades from Act III of La Bayadère which shows the Kirov’s legendary corps de ballet off to perfection. The middle course of this splendid feast includes Fokine’s dreamy Le Spectre de la Rose and a dazzling sequence of balletic set pieces.
Don Quixote is one of the sunniest ballet’s in the Kirov’s rich classical repertoire. Created by classical ballet’s greatest choreographer, Marius Petipa, it tells the story of the rocky romance between Kitri, the playful daughter of a social-climbing innkeeper, and her lover Basilio, a barber who is handsome – but broke.
Based on Alexander Gorsky’s 1900 production, this colourful Kirov production bristles with authentic Spanish dances, bullfighters and gypsies – all portrayed with an exquisite blend of wit and bravura. Its vivid Spanish settings have also been faithfully reproduced from the legendary turn-of-the-century production.