public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:00 am

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 28 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Makhar Vasiev Takes Post of Director at La Scala
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:36 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1752
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
As reported in Kommersant.ru, the initial unofficial announcement.
http://www.kommersant.ru/doc.aspx?docsid=1052379

The Official Announcement will be made later in November.


Congratulations to Vasiev on his new position!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:37 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1752
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Also here:

http://www.cultradio.ru/doc.html?id=201912&cid=44


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:46 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1752
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Translation of key points: Of note is that his wife Olga will accompany him there and work in the theatre as well. Apparently the offer came in June and after long deliberation, he accepted in late October. The contract is for 3 1/2 years until 2012.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:10 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:54 pm
Posts: 163
Location: Sacramento, CA
Since Vasiev is a fan of "historical reconstruction" of old ballets, does that mean we might actually see an authentic 1895 version of Swan Lake at La Scala in few years? :)

The only downside is that his wife will go with him to Italy, though. That means Ekaterina Kondaurova will lose her coach, and given Kondaurova's fast rise in popularity among serious balletomanes (especially given her triumphant debut performance in Swan Lake just over a week ago), Kondaurova will need a REALLY good coach as a replacement. Why do I think Irina Chistyakova coaching Kondaurova sounds like a great idea? 8)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:25 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1752
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
I would counter that Kondaurova is one of those whose talent is not dependent upon her coach... she is a natural talent and if given opportunity she will go far. Her kind of artistry and intuition I dont think can be taught... it's inbred. Just my opinion.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:12 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:54 pm
Posts: 163
Location: Sacramento, CA
Catherine Pawlick wrote:
I would counter that Kondaurova is one of those whose talent is not dependent upon her coach... she is a natural talent and if given opportunity she will go far. Her kind of artistry and intuition I dont think can be taught... it's inbred. Just my opinion.


I think the same could have been said for Ulyana Lopatkina, yet she had the influence to get Irina Chistyakova (who is technically an "outsider" to MT according to what you said) to coach her. Kondaurova is developing into a really good ballerina and (in my humble opinion!) I do think finding a good coach for her continued development is a must.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:41 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1752
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
I see your point. I guess mine was that, while a good coach certainly can help a great deal, you do have cases of dancers where even the best coach makes no difference (ahem Somova comes to mind in this case). Which is why I"m not too worried about Kondaurova bc I think she will flourish regardless...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:22 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:54 pm
Posts: 163
Location: Sacramento, CA
Catherine Pawlick wrote:
I see your point. I guess mine was that, while a good coach certainly can help a great deal, you do have cases of dancers where even the best coach makes no difference (ahem Somova comes to mind in this case). Which is why I"m not too worried about Kondaurova bc I think she will flourish regardless...


Kondaurova--who I believe is still listed as a Second Soloist (someone at MT needs to promote her to First Soloist post haste! :) )--is one of those talents that could be a great ballerina if coached properly. She appears to be headed towards the same type of dancing roles that Lopatkina is well-known for, hence my suggestion that Irina Chistyakova should be Kondaurova's new coach, whether you agree or not. :) (Which does remind me--who is the most popular ballerina at MT outside of Lopatkina?)

But getting back on topic, it will be very interesting to see what Vasiev does at La Scala. Maybe we'll have really nice corps de ballet performances there, and he could indulge in doing "historical reconstructions" of Petipa ballets without being read the riot act by Russian balletomanes raised during the Soviet era. ;)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:04 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1752
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
Kondaurova--who I believe is still listed as a Second Soloist (someone at MT needs to promote her to First Soloist post haste! )


Yes, and for quite some time now! I could not agree more. Meanwhile others have been promoted. No rhyme or reason to it bc the levels certainly do not relate to the talent!

Quote:
--is one of those talents that could be a great ballerina if coached properly. She appears to be headed towards the same type of dancing roles that Lopatkina is well-known for, hence my suggestion that Irina Chistyakova should be Kondaurova's new coach, whether you agree or not. (Which does remind me--who is the most popular ballerina at MT outside of Lopatkina?)


Do you mean most popular in Russia or elsewhere? I think we know the answer worldwide (or in the USA). That would be Vishneva.

If inside Russia, I got stuck on the term "ballerina" in the western sense of "one who dances ballet" vs the Russian sense of "a top level female dancer of superb mastery" (ie principal level). It would be hard to peg ONE favorite in any case...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:17 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1752
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
p.s. Chistyakova is a fantastic coach of unparalleled knowledge -- it's not that I think it would be BAD if she coached Katya K. I was only saying I think KK is strong enough in her own right in contrast to others who may not be.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:56 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:54 pm
Posts: 163
Location: Sacramento, CA
Catherine Pawlick wrote:
p.s. Chistyakova is a fantastic coach of unparalleled knowledge -- it's not that I think it would be BAD if she coached Katya K. I was only saying I think KK is strong enough in her own right in contrast to others who may not be.


You just made my case for Chistyakova to be Kondaurova's coach. :) Kondaurova appears to be HUGELY talented and under a coach like Chistyakova, Kondaurova could rocket up to "superstar" status like Lopatkina did from the middle 1990's on, in my humble opinion.

By the way, let me rephrase the question: who is the most popular Principal female dancer in the Mariinsky troupe outside of Lopatkina? I think Diana Vishneva's preference for more modern work kind of doesn't sit well with old-time balletomanes in Saint Petersburg. Viktoria Tereshkina is a really good dancer technically, but I just can't see her excite audiences like Kondaurova does (hence my suggestion of "Maya Plisetskaya flashbacks" since both Kondaurova and Plisetskaya are redheads).

But getting back on topic again, ;) do you think the Theatro de La Scala management has the artistic sense and financial means for Vasiev to indulge in doing "historical reconstructions" of Petipa's old ballets as originally performed between 1850 and 1903? I would love to see La Scale do a proper "reconstructed" version of The Awakening of Flora, where the ballerina has a real chance to improvise (I believe when this ballet was originally performed, Mathilde Kschessinskaya, who had the role of Flora, was famous for her improvisational dancing work).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:01 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1752
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
By the way, let me rephrase the question: who is the most popular Principal female dancer in the Mariinsky troupe outside of Lopatkina? I think Diana Vishneva's preference for more modern work kind of doesn't sit well with old-time balletomanes in Saint Petersburg. Viktoria Tereshkina is a really good dancer technically, but I just can't see her excite audiences like Kondaurova does (hence my suggestion of "Maya Plisetskaya flashbacks" since both Kondaurova and Plisetskaya are redheads).


Aha, point about redheads taken. It's true! :-) I have to say that is one thing I love about this city, seeing all the fair-skinned (nonfreckled), natural redheads. You don't find that anywhere else in the world except perhaps Prague. (Maybe Ireland, but I've never been there). And it's surprising to see it on the streets when you're not used to it. But back to the topic...

Many ...shall we say "traditionalists"... (locally) aren't fans of Vishneva. These are people who go to see Swan Lake, not Forsythe. (Of note are the severe critiques of her following her debut in SL by the Russian critics. They don't tolerate that kind of performance from a top "star".) But she does have a big following here as well. It depends on your taste I suppose. Her performance in "Legend of Love" just last Friday got really bad reviews from some of her Russian fans -- they said technically she wasn't up to par and dramatically it was boring. (!) In my humble opinion she is now past her peak and hence the foray into more modern works. She is definitely a genre ballerina and I think a soubrette (Kitri, Rubies, Tchaikovsky Pas, or dramatic ballets like Manon); she doesn't tend to do well in adagio or pure classics...however, I never saw her in her heyday at age 18-20 -- maybe she was much better then, I don't know.

To your question though, many here (again Russian balletgoers who have been frequenting the halls of the Mariinsky for decades now) dislike Tereshkina due to her face. The general assessment seems to be that a ballerina has to have a pretty face as WELL AS a pretty body. I've heard more than one babushka in the theatre saying this! Unlike in the USA where the system tends to go overboard to avoid stereotypes (and thereby lowering standards IMHO), here there are specific criteria for artists, as ballet is a visual art and this is understood. It isn't considered harsh or demeaning to expect a ballerina to be thin and beautiful, or to fire her if she isn't. There also aren't issues of anorexia here to the same extent I've heard/seen in US companies, but then MacDonald's isn't as prevalent either ... yet. :-) And I think this understanding that not everyone is gifted with the talent to become a ballerina with a leading company, that not everyone should, all leads to the generally more revered status of dancers here than in the States. Also just my humble opinion, but it seems that way...


ANYHOW, I mention that only bc it gets to the issue of looks... Tereshkina's technique is amazing but I think her features and this general Russian viewpoint might mean she never achieves the same cult status of Lopatkina. It remains to be seen though -- already she's received her Honored Artist title...

In sum, *my* answer to your question is probably "there isn't one". Pavlenko has sadly been out the past season -- I happen to adore her dancing but many think she is inconsistent (she's frequently compared to Alla Shelest). However, when she is ON she is ON, and I have seen more emotive humanity from that ballerina than from anyone else at the MT, Lopatkina included. She also doesn't have the sort of cult status, untouchable, secretive aura that Lopatkina does. She's more approachable. As for the others: Makhalina is past her prime, as is Nioradze, so they don't factor into the list IMHO. And Zhanna Ayupova is off the roster now.

We've got limited cream at the top at this point :-).
Quote:
But getting back on topic again, do you think the Theatro de La Scala management has the artistic sense and financial means for Vasiev to indulge in doing "historical reconstructions" of Petipa's old ballets as originally performed between 1850 and 1903? I would love to see La Scale do a proper "reconstructed" version of The Awakening of Flora, where the ballerina has a real chance to improvise (I believe when this ballet was originally performed, Mathilde Kschessinskaya, who had the role of Flora, was famous for her improvisational dancing work).


Artistic sense? Wouldn't that be up to Vasiev come January? :D I don't know what his intentions are for the company...

I'm not in a position to comment on their financial situation as I just don't know -- it's not my area of expertise shall we say :-). I don't gather they are a huge company though, and reconstructing any of Petipa's large works would require a large cast typically speaking -- so even if finances supported such a project, and if it was part of Vasiev's plans, would they have the talent in numbers? I don't know.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:33 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:17 am
Posts: 374
Thanks to all for this interesting discussion.

Catherine is spot-on about Tereshkina's major challenge -- her face. I was uneasy mentioning it on another forum for fear of being 'politically incorrect.' But it's a fact - a beautiful face is as important as beautiful body and technique, to Russian balletomanes, as if to say "I don't care how you dance. First show me a beautiful face." For the Vaganova Academy's entrance exams, a little girl's (or boy's) natural face is among the criteria on the basic checklist. That would not even be legal in the United States.

In case folks were silently wondering "How can it be that such a large percentage of Kirov-Mariinsky corps ladies have such beautiful faces?" It's by pre-selection. It's not a coincidence.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:57 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:54 pm
Posts: 163
Location: Sacramento, CA
Wow, I have a lot of commenting to do. I'm going to have to put not my €0.02, but €2.00! :roll:

Quote:
I don't gather they are a huge company though, and reconstructing any of Petipa's large works would require a large cast typically speaking -- so even if finances supported such a project, and if it was part of Vasiev's plans, would they have the talent in numbers?


Having seen La Scala's production of Swan Lake with Roberto Bolle/Svetlana Zakharova on DVD, I think they can pull it off--they certainly have enough dancers in the troupe to do this. That's why I'm hoping Vasiev can actually do a real, authentic 1895 version of this ballet (the version done by the Royal Ballet in the UK is the closest to the 1895 version, but there are still substantial differences in several parts of Acts I and III).

Quote:
I have to say that is one thing I love about this city, seeing all the fair-skinned (nonfreckled), natural redheads.


By the way, I saw just yesterday an online video from a Kultura channel report on Ekaterina Kondaurova. Boy, they weren't kidding about her "flaming" red hair--it just stands out very substantially, :shock: and my suggestion of a "Maya Plisetskaya flashback" isn't so ridiculous after all (despite the fact Kondaurova and Plisetskaya have such distinctly different dancing styles).

Which does remind me--I've noticed that given how popular ballet is in Russia, VGTRK's Kultura channel has a LOT of ballet-related programming. I've talked with a Russian-speaking neighbor near my house who has access to the RTR Planeta international feed through the small-satellite dish DirecTV service and she told me she's seen quite a lot of ballet programming on RTR Planeta, too. (They just showed the October 27, 2008 Ulyana Lopatkina gala which originally aired on Kultura.)

Quote:
To your question though, many here (again Russian balletgoers who have been frequenting the halls of the Mariinsky for decades now) dislike Tereshkina due to her face.


Great--all those "purists" out there. :roll: Mind you, there still a lot of people in Saint Petersburg who still fondly remember the Kirov during the Soviet era, when they had rather extreme standards for purity of line and what a female ballet dancer should look like. They're so used to what Vaganova and Sergeyev choreographed that small wonder MT got read the riot act when they tried to do the historical reconstructions of Sleeping Beauty and La Bayadere.

Quote:
There also aren't issues of anorexia here to the same extent I've heard/seen in US companies, but then MacDonald's isn't as prevalent either ... yet. :)


Funny you mention that because Ulyana Lopatkina in an interview with the Times of London published back in 2005 said this:

The downside is all the McDonald's that have appeared.

Mind you, you do see all those "Teremok" pancake shops and stands all over the city, though.

Quote:
For the Vaganova Academy's entrance exams, a little girl's (or boy's) natural face is among the criteria on the basic checklist.


I've seen the documentary The Children of Theatre Street and you can see that selection process--it's a pretty severe one with all those old-time pedagogues in a panel writing huge amounts of copious notes on each prospective student on who gets accepted into the Academy.

By the way, you can tell that Ulyana Lopatkina was headed for superstar status even way back in 1991--there was a documentary done in 1991 about the Academy that already focused on her back then! :o

Whew, I've said way too much. ;)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:27 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1640
Location: London UK
I am of the opinion that Lopatkina is now also “past her peak” and never truly returned to form after her injury of about five years ago. Lopatkina’s popularity is something of a mystery to me as she doesn’t possess those all round qualities that in my book make a great ballerina and her CV is worryingly slender. The near mystical quality that her dancing once had has now evaporated and has been replaced by a kind of dogged professionalism that although it satisfies the eye, can’t send shivers down the spine anymore. Vishneva was always a far more individual dancer, a long way removed from the Kirov prototype and she is one of the few dancers whose move to the more modern rep I don’t put down to waning technique as she is simply crossing over to what she has always had the potential to do best.

Tereshkina may not have a pretty chocolate-box face, but she’s far from ugly and anyway her dancing is sublime. A couple of months ago I got together with a group of balletomanes of various ages and after a few drinks the question came up of who was the worst dancer you ever saw. The only criteria being that she must have attained principle level or danced principle roles; the name everyone agreed on was that of a pretty blonde who is currently dancing with the Kirov but it was a close run thing, as she was only just ahead of a very beautiful brunette who danced with the Royal Ballet in the 1980’s. The runner up must have been facially one of the loveliest girls to step on a ballet stage, but as a dancer she was bloody awful; in the final analysis we all rated ability far above looks.

Quote:
For the Vaganova Academy's entrance exams, a little girl's (or boy's) natural face is among the criteria on the basic checklist. That would not even be legal in the United States.


I wonder how much potential talent has been lost because of this policy. Even more worrying is that we are discussing a group of dancers in their thirties. Is it a case of the Kirov no longer producing dancers that are capable of dancing longer than their middle years or is it blatant ageism?


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 28 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group