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 Post subject: Kirov in LA - Vainonen's "Nutcracker" Dec. 17 - 20
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:07 pm 
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Just starting a thread as this is fast approaching!

Los Angeles, Music Center/Nutcracker

December 17th @ 7:30PM performance:
Stahlbaum, Pyotr Stasyunas
His wife, Elena Bazhenova
Masha, Evgenia Obraztsova
Luisa, TBA
Franz, Vera Garbuz
Drosselmeyer, Fyodor Lopukhov
The grandmother, Olga Balinskaya
The grandfather, Andrey Ushakov
The nanny, Vanda Lubkovskaya
The Nutcracker, Vera Garbuz
Masha the Princess, Evgenia Obraztsova
The Nutcracker Prince, Vladimir Shklyarov
Clown, Denis Firsov
Doll, Yulia Kasenkova
Blackmoor, Rafael Musin
The Mouse King, Pyotr Stasyunas
Waltz of the Snowflakes, Lilia Lishuk, Svetlana Siplatova
Dances in Act III:
Spanish Dance, Yulia Slivkina, Sergey Kononenko
Eastern Dance, Elena Bazhenova
Chinese Dance, Yulia Kasenkova, Mikhail Berdichevsky
Trepak, Lira Khuslamova, Natalia Dzevulskaya, Ilya Petrov
Pas de trios, Elena Evseeva, Maya Dumchenko, Vasily Tkachenko
Waltz of the Flowers, Ksenia Dubrovina, Denis Firsov, Svetlana Siplatova, Sergey Popov, Anastassia Nikitina, Alexander Klimov, Lilia Lishuk, Sergey Umanets

Cast for December 18th @ 2PM performance:
Stahlbaum, Pyotr Stasyunas
His wife, Elena Bazhenova
Masha, Irina Golub
Luisa, TBA
Franz, Vera Garbuz
Drosselmeyer, Fyodor Lopukhov
The grandmother, Olga Balinskaya
The grandfather, Andrey Ushakov
The nanny, Vanda Lubkovskaya
The Nutcracker, Vera Garbuz
Masha the Princess, Irina Golub
The Nutcracker Prince, Alexander Sergeev
Clown, Denis Firsov
Doll, Yulia Kasenkova
Blackmoor, Rafael Musin
The Mouse King, Pyotr Stasyunas
Waltz of the Snowflakes, Lilia Lishuk, Svetlana Siplatova
Dances in Act III:
Spanish Dance, Yulia Slivkina, Sergey Kononenko
Eastern Dance, Elena Bazhenova
Chinese Dance, Yulia Kasenkova, Mikhail Berdichevsky
Trepak, Lira Khuslamova, Natalia Dzevulskaya, Ilya Petrov
Pas de trios, Elena Evseeva, Maya Dumchenko, Vasily Tkachenko
Waltz of the Flowers, Ksenia Dubrovina, Denis Firsov, Svetlana Siplatova, Sergey Popov, Anastassia Nikitina, Alexander Klimov, Lilia Lishuk, Sergey Umanets

Cast for December 18th @ 7:30PM performance:
Stahlbaum, Pyotr Stasyunas
His wife, Elena Bazhenova
Masha, Ekaterina Osmolkina
Luisa, TBA
Franz, Vera Garbuz
Drosselmeyer, Fyodor Lopukhov
The grandmother, Olga Balinskaya
The grandfather, Andrey Ushakov
The nanny, Vanda Lubkovskaya
The Nutcracker, Vera Garbuz
Masha the Princess, Ekaterina Osmolkina
The Nutcracker Prince, Igor Kolb
Clown, Denis Firsov
Doll, Yulia Kasenkova
Blackmoor, Rafael Musin
The Mouse King, Pyotr Stasyunas
Waltz of the Snowflakes, Lilia Lishuk, Svetlana Siplatova
Dances in Act III:
Spanish Dance, Yulia Slivkina, Sergey Kononenko
Eastern Dance, Elena Bazhenova
Chinese Dance, Yulia Kasenkova, Mikhail Berdichevsky
Trepak, Lira Khuslamova, Natalia Dzevulskaya, Ilya Petrov
Pas de trios, Elena Evseeva, Maya Dumchenko, Vasily Tkachenko
Waltz of the Flowers, Ksenia Dubrovina, Denis Firsov, Svetlana Siplatova, Sergey Popov, Anastassia Nikitina, Alexander Klimov, Lilia Lishuk, Sergey Umanets

Cast for December 19th @ 7:30PM performance:
Stahlbaum, Pyotr Stasyunas
His wife, Elena Bazhenova
Masha, Evgenia Obraztsova
Luisa, TBA
Franz, Vera Garbuz
Drosselmeyer, Fyodor Lopukhov
The grandmother, Olga Balinskaya
The grandfather, Andrey Ushakov
The nanny, Vanda Lubkovskaya
The Nutcracker, Vera Garbuz
Masha the Princess, Evgenia Obraztsova
The Nutcracker Prince, Vladimir Schklyarov
Clown, Denis Firsov
Doll, Yulia Kasenkova
Blackmoor, Rafael Musin
The Mouse King, Pyotr Stasyunas
Waltz of the Snowflakes, Lilia Lishuk, Svetlana Siplatova
Dances in Act III:
Spanish Dance, Yulia Slivkina, Sergey Kononenko
Eastern Dance, Elena Bazhenova
Chinese Dance, Yulia Kasenkova, Mikhail Berdichevsky
Trepak, Lira Khuslamova, Natalia Dzevulskaya, Ilya Petrov
Pas de trios, Elena Evseeva, Maya Dumchenko, Vasily Tkachenko
Waltz of the Flowers, Ksenia Dubrovina, Denis Firsov, Svetlana Siplatova, Sergey Popov, Anastassia Nikitina, Alexander Klimov, Lilia Lishuk, Sergey Umanets

Cast for December 20th @ 2PM performance:
Stahlbaum, Pyotr Stasyunas
His wife, Elena Bazhenova
Masha, Irina Golub
Luisa, TBA
Franz, Vera Garbuz
Drosselmeyer, Fyodor Lopukhov
The grandmother, Olga Balinskaya
The grandfather, Andrey Ushakov
The nanny, Vanda Lubkovskaya
The Nutcracker, Vera Garbuz
Masha the Princess, Irina Golub
The Nutcracker Prince, Alexander Sergeev
Clown, Denis Firsov
Doll, Yulia Kasenkova
Blackmoor, Rafael Musin
The Mouse King, Pyotr Stasyunas
Waltz of the Snowflakes, Lilia Lishuk, Svetlana Siplatova
Dances in Act III:
Spanish Dance, Yulia Slivkina, Sergey Kononenko
Eastern Dance, Elena Bazhenova
Chinese Dance, Yulia Kasenkova, Mikhail Berdichevsky
Trepak, Lira Khuslamova, Natalia Dzevulskaya, Ilya Petrov
Pas de trios, Elena Evseeva, Maya Dumchenko, Vasily Tkachenko
Waltz of the Flowers, Ksenia Dubrovina, Denis Firsov, Svetlana Siplatova, Sergey Popov, Anastassia Nikitina, Alexander Klimov, Lilia Lishuk, Sergey Umanets

Cast for December 20th @ 7:30PM performance:
Stahlbaum, Pyotr Stasyunas
His wife, Elena Bazhenova
Masha, Ekaterina Osmolkina
Luisa, TBA
Franz, Vera Garbuz
Drosselmeyer, Fyodor Lopukhov
The grandmother, Olga Balinskaya
The grandfather, Andrey Ushakov
The nanny, Vanda Lubkovskaya
The Nutcracker, Vera Garbuz
Masha the Princess, Ekaterina Osmolkina
The Nutcracker Prince, Igor Kolb
Clown, Denis Firsov
Doll, Yulia Kasenkova
Blackmoor, Rafael Musin
The Mouse King, Pyotr Stasyunas
Waltz of the Snowflakes, Lilia Lishuk, Svetlana Siplatova
Dances in Act III:
Spanish Dance, Yulia Slivkina, Sergey Kononenko
Eastern Dance, Elena Bazhenova
Chinese Dance, Yulia Kasenkova, Mikhail Berdichevsky
Trepak, Lira Khuslamova, Natalia Dzevulskaya, Ilya Petrov
Pas de trios, Elena Evseeva, Maya Dumchenko, Vasily Tkachenko
Waltz of the Flowers, Ksenia Dubrovina, Denis Firsov, Svetlana Siplatova, Sergey Popov, Anastassia Nikitina, Alexander Klimov, Lilia Lishuk, Sergey Umanets

*Edited to reflect latest casting lists from Los Angeles' Music Center press. Of note is that Dumchenko will be on the tour, which is a pleasant treat in store for everyone. And Alexander Sergeev's happy addition to the casting is heaven sent.


Last edited by Catherine Pawlick on Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:00 pm 
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I have a question: what version of Shchelkunchik will MT use for its Los Angeles Music Center performances? Will it be the Vassily Vainonen version? Or will it be the highly surreal Mikhail Shemyakin version? (American audiences so used to the famous Balanchine version that is the basis for all those Christmas Nutcracker performances will get a shock of a lifetime once they see the Shemyakin version of this ballet. :shock: )


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:24 am 
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Hi Sacto,

As the title of the thread suggests, it is Vainonen's version.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:57 am 
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I have that version on DVD and definitely enjoy it. :) The only difference from the version Americans know and love is the lack of the Sugar Plum Fairy....


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:57 am 
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Yeah, hard to say which is more enjoyable. Both have their benefits. It's strange to see the little Masha - big Masha transformation the first few times, and you do miss the Sugar Plum. But I actually think I now prefer the Vainonen version in many ways. (I don't care for Chemiakin's at all however, neither costumes nor choreography.)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:15 am 
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Thanks for this. I could not help but notice:

Maya Dumchenko -- once a great Juliet, Aurora, etc. -- only in the Flutes Pas de Trois, whch is normally a children's dance? Sad. Glad that she is being allowed to tour, though.

On the other hand...

VERY happy to see Evgenia Obraztsova opening the tour as the leading ballerina.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:47 pm 
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NN -- VERY VALID point. Sad... Then again, they are using the entire company rather than the Vaganova students. So from that point of view, every role is being viewed as "professional" (you could argue, perhaps?). But we all know Dumchenko could dance Masha... which begs the question why she isn't cast as such at least once.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:43 pm 
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I'm also very happy that Obratzova will appear, and open! This is excellent news! Also, I'm very happy that Sergeev is also included. Until today, I was seriously debating whether to even bother booking. Now, I will go! Let's hope that the Masha line-up survives. I certainly hope they don't pack the newest "Principal Dancer" at the 11th hour, and hold the audiences hostage.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:51 pm 
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Well given that the beginning of the Baden Baden tour (Dec. 23) almost overlaps the end of LA, (and they typically need a day to adjust), I doubt they're going to be doing that kind of international tossing about...but it remains to be seen of course!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 7:56 pm 
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I have the Chemyakin version on DVD and I was really openly wondering was this ballet choreographed by the Wachowski brothers or Quentin Tarantino--that's how strange it was. You really had to wonder what was the reaction of American audiences when this version was actually performed in Washington, DC at the Kennedy Center about five years ago.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:30 am 
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It received standing ovations in DC. It is a lushly-designed, 'de luxe' production, danced by a big-name Russian troupe. That's enough for DC KennCen Opera House audiences -- different from true balletomanes, of which there are also plenty in the DC area...so no offense intended. True balletomanes know what I mean -- either (a) business types for whom a seat at the opera house is de rigeur, even if they have no idea what's going on onstage -- what matters is phoney entertaining of clients -- or (b) Congressional Aides who use their bosses' freebie box seats. Neither of those two types usually know a tutu from a tuba.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:58 am 
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NataliaN wrote:
It received standing ovations in DC. It is a lushly-designed, 'de luxe' production, danced by a big-name Russian troupe. That's enough for DC KennCen Opera House audiences -- different from true balletomanes, of which there are also plenty in the DC area...so no offense intended. True balletomanes know what I mean -- either (a) business types for whom a seat at the opera house is de rigeur, even if they have no idea what's going on onstage -- what matters is phoney entertaining of clients -- or (b) Congressional Aides who use their bosses' freebie box seats. Neither of those two types usually know a tutu from a tuba.


From your description it sounds like the majority of the audience that saw that performance wasn't your "regular" audience of balletomanes like you get in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco or other really large American cities. But still, I have both the Vainonen and Shemyakin versions on DVD and Shemyakin version is going to be frustrating to watch for all those Americans whose once-per-year experience with ballet is the Balanchine version we all know and love.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:30 am 
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Just a reminder that this run begins tomorrow. Hopefully we will hear from some local LA-ers about the performances.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:40 am 
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The Maryinsky opened a six performance “Nutcracker” run last night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion, at the Los Angeles Music Center. This “Nutcracker” engagement is the Maryinsky’s first here in 13 years, since the Vainonen production’s last showing, and 16 years since their Los Angeles debut of this production. Significantly, in 1992 the Maryinsky gave that debut engagement as a gift to the city, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ballet’s premiere. At that time, dancers such as Larissa Lezhnina, Victor Baranov, Igor Zelensky, Irina Zhelonkina, Elvira Tarasova and Zhanna Ayupova were on roster. Yesterday evening, Yevgenya Obratzova and Vladimir Shyklyarov danced the premiere to a sold out house.

Obratzova was a diamond of technical brilliance. That said, her acting was full of nuance and minute detail. But even this is an oversimplification. Masha is one of her signature roles at this stage of her young career. It poses no challenges for her, yet happily for the audience, she doesn’t finesse anything and leaves nothing to chance. She dances, as Preobrazhenska said, “ . . . for the balconies.” Obratzova has that rare gift that the great interpreters of this role, such as Maximova, Kirkland, Lezhnina et.al had, over and above brilliant technique: Plausible, childlike vulnerability. In Act 1 Scene 1 Yevgenya was truly a child; truly believable. In Act 2 in the midst of her dream she was as diaphanous as the moon itself. In Act 3 she was the princess of the fairy tale, full of dignity, taste, delicacy, grace and majesty.

In contrast, In Act 2 Shklyarov was surprising last night; he was very tentative after his transformation. The pas de deux was well executed, the lifts and grand jetes were wonderful. But Yevgenya seemed to be the only one of the two who was “on.” When he completed the high demands of the opening pas de deux before the Snowflakes, at the very end he overbalanced while kneeling, before he kissed Yevgenya’s hand. He saved himself before he went forward and recovered well enough, but the ‘moment’ was (a little) marred. I have to note that immediately before this, he had held Yevgenya aloft in an extended one arm lift, upon the final bars of Tchaikovsky’s Snowflake intro, which was greatly appreciated by the audience with shouts of ‘brava.’ He woke up in Act 3, with a daring rendition of his variation, and presented his ballerina with the utmost care and enthusiasm.

The Maryinsky corps of 24 snowflakes were wonderful. However, Shklyarov’s slight mishap, lead to another slight mishap: At the beginning of the waltz, in the first circle of the pattern series, one of the ladies slipped and nearly went down. Not only did she stay on her feet, but neither she nor her colleagues broke rhythm, formation or line. This can happen at anytime, on any stage, anywhere to anyone. The whole is as great as the sum of its parts: This is a testament to the training and professionalism of this great corps de ballet. Well done for a good save to the anonymous corps member – otherwise there might've been a chain reaction. The Two Snowflakes, Lilia Lishuk and Svetlana Siplatova were quite good terre a terre and airborn, but their landings were very audible.

Young children from local ballet schools were employed for the opening segment and the battle scene. They were well rehearsed and truly joyful to be apart of the performance. Pyotr Stasyunas (Drosselmeyer to Lezhnina’s 1992 Los Angeles appearance), and Elena Bazhenova were the doting Stahlbaums. Stasyunas also doubled as a malevolent Mouse King. “Luisa” was uncredited in the booklet, but this little girl really projected. Vera Garbuz’ “Franz” was the typical bad little brother. Olga Balinskaya and Andrei Ushakov’s grandparents were stiffer than required for their segment. Yulia Kasenkova’s Doll was adorable, and Denis Firsov’s Clown and Raphael Musin’s Blackmoor were very energetic. The Spanish Dance of Yuliya Slivkina and Sergei Kononenko was well executed. Bazhenova’s Eastern Dance was one of the highlights of Act 3: She cast a spell over the audience in a dance which IMO is probably the least imaginative of Vainonen’s production. Kasenkova and Mikhail Berdichevsky were outstanding in the Chinese Dance. Lira Khuslamova, Natalya Dzevulskaya and Ilya Petrov danced the Trepak with the requisite passion and fire.

The Pas de Trois (Flutes) saw the welcome return of Maya Dumchenko. It was wonderful to see her onstage, and she danced beautifully! Yet she seemed like to me like a “stranger in the wrong paradise.” Dumchenko is a high caliber ballerina: This extremely minor assignment simply doesn’t do her any justice; she's wasted in it. It would have been wonderful for her have been assigned one performance as Masha during this run. I’m simply grateful that she was onstage at all, and allowed to make this tour. Elena Evseeva and Vasily Tkachenko were her exceptional counterparts. The Flower Waltz was well executed, graceful and stately. Obratzova, Shklyarov and company received a 5 minute standing ovation :arrow: brava Maryiinsky! :D Thursday and Saturday's matinees will be lead by Irina Golub and Alexander Sergeev. Friday evening will be lead again by Obratzova and Shklyarov, and Thursday and Saturday evening will be lead by Ekaterina Osmolkina and Igor Kolb. The supporting casts remain unchanged.

The Music Corner:
Pavel Bubelnikov lead the Maryinsky Orchestra, and conducted the score with style, attention to detail, lyricism and passion. Once again, Bubelnikov was attired in his favorite black silk pyjamas, only this time he also donned matching cowboy boots.

Other Trivia:
Before the Act 3 divertissement began, one of the male Flowers had an loud conversation with another colleague just as they put down the pink block stools for the ladies to sit on. That’s a no no during a performance. There should be absolute silence onstage, in the wings and backstage. The "stage craft" was rather poor in the darkened segments: You could actually see the scene changes, as well as dancers and stagehands moving props. One could also see Obratzova run back to her bed and lay down just before the end of the performance. This wasn’t the case in 1992.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:25 pm 
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Thank you, Cygne, for this fabulous report!

Another triumph for Yevgenia Obraztsova, the Mariinsky's TRUE young Prima Ballerina (de facto)! [What a miracle that The Gymnast was not thrust upon Los Angeles!]

Maya Dumchenko - Indeed a waste of ballerina-level talents but, as you note, at least she made the trip.

Ah...you mention Lishuk and Siplatova as the two demi-solo Snowflakes. They are among the 16 -- count 'em, 16! -- recent graduates from the Vaganova Class of '08 who were picked-up by the company. Glad to see that some of the most recent graduates are already touring.


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