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PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:53 pm 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Right, I'm not saying she was not a talent by graduation time.

I'm saying that she achieved that independently of who her pedagogue was.


Based on a number of recent documentaries done since she returned from her foot injury, I do agree that she trains flat-out to constantly hone her dancing skills. So much so that dancing the O/O role is probably second nature to her.

Which reminds me, when will we see her dance Raymonda again? :)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:29 am 
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Hi Madigan, I enjoyed reading your post as you clearly have your finger on the pulse where the Kirov is concerned and I agree in general with all of your points.

Catherine, I think you are unfair to Matvienko:

Quote:
Matvienko is a performance horse, the competition wonder. Plug her in, turn her on, and she hits it --most of the time-- but the emotion and the aura are not there. I"ve seen her do Grand Pas Classique, In the Night, or (Gamzatti) in Bayadere -- and it's all light years ahead of what most American technicians can do, but again - there's not a lot of drama or emotion coming from her. Still, I would rather watch pure technique than a blotchy performance with some drama -- for that there are dramatic plays .


Just over a year ago I saw her dance almost back-to-back performances in Spartacus and Giselle with the Mikhailovsky company here in London (both of which I reviewed here) and what impressed me more than anything else was her versatility as she is a dancer that it is difficult to categorize. In Spartacus she was as vulgar as the role demanded and in Giselle she danced with great finesse achieving that now rare feat of dramatic believability in the first act together with the technical abilities of the second. Very few dancers can do that now and she impressed me a lot.

Perhaps her switch to the Kirov means she needs to settle in, but I am hugely taken by this dancer and her partnership with her husband, Denis, is remarkable and should be suitably valued in St Petersburg where the pairings of the past (Dudinskaya/Sergeyev anyone?) are not matched amongst the present bunch.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:26 am 
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Hi Cassandra,

Maybe I am being unfair to Matvienko, but I know quite a few Russians who share my point of view, so I also know it's not just me. To clarify one thing, I do believe she's a beautiful dancer -- she has gorgeous legs and a great technique, but I've never seen her emote. Then again -- at the Mariinsky, I've not seen her dance roles with the dramatic bite to them as you saw, roles such as Giselle or Spartacus. I've seen her in divertissements, (Grand Pas Classique, Don Q Grand Pas), "showpiece" pas de deux, and several times as Gamzatti... but not in the roles you mention. I would be very curious to see her Giselle, specifically, as I think that would be a good measurement for her acting chops. So it may be an issue of exposure, or how she fares on tour...I dont know. (Yes Gamzatti is a dramatic role but I wasn't bowled over...)

I do agree with you that there's no one in the MT now that matches some of ballet's greatest couple partnerships -- Maximova/Vasiliev, and the like.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:28 am 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
I do agree with you that there's no one in the MT now that matches some of ballet's greatest couple partnerships -- Maximova/Vasiliev, and the like.


Maximova and Vasiliev set such a high standard for such a partnership that I don't think we'll get anything like it for a long, long time. :( But fortunately, the peak of their careers coincided just when the Boshoi troupe frequently toured outside the Soviet Union, and as such they're much-beloved on both sides of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War days.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:34 am 
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Quote:
quote"Catherine Pawlick",

Maybe I am being unfair to Matvienko, but I know quite a few Russians who share my point of view, so I also know it's not just me. To clarify one thing, I do believe she's a beautiful dancer -- she has gorgeous legs and a great technique, but I've never seen her emote.


I agree. For example, I've seen Nastya Matvienko's O/O, which in the Maryinsky is the "measure of a female principal," and IMO her's was a boiler plate interpretation, with little characterization. IMO her approach would be better suited to the Bolshoi's Grigorovich production, or Nureyev's POB production. The Mikhailovsky is an excellent company, but on the "larger" stage of the Maryinsky, one has to project quite a bit more than what she's is used to doing. Perhaps with time and more showings her tentative approach will change.

Quote:
Then again -- at the Mariinsky, I've not seen her dance roles with the dramatic bite to them as you saw, roles such as Giselle or Spartacus. I've seen her in divertissements, (Grand Pas Classique, Don Q Grand Pas), "showpiece" pas de deux, and several times as Gamzatti... but not in the roles you mention. I would be very curious to see her Giselle, specifically, as I think that would be a good measurement for her acting chops. So it may be an issue of exposure, or how she fares on tour...I dont know. (Yes Gamzatti is a dramatic role but I wasn't bowled over...)


Frequent, (or rare) casting at home and on tour has alot to do with how they present themselves onstage; Nastya's no different. It effects dancers either positively (they rise to the challenge), or negatively. She received the high honor of dancing the current season's first "Swan Lake" on Oct 8. This was her first big "test" in this theatre, not her debut in the role. It was her debut in this production in this theatre. She passed, so she may or may not get more exposure. The Maryinsky management is unpredictable and in many cases unorthodox in their decisions.

Quote:
I do agree with you that there's no one in the MT now that matches some of ballet's greatest couple partnerships -- Maximova/Vasiliev, and the like.


I agree. However professional and proficient the Matvienkos are, as Maryinsky "outsiders" they aren't as revered as the Sergeyev/Dudinskaya, Kolpakova/Semyonov and Asylmuratova/Zaklinsky partnerships. Furthermore, as "outsiders" they probably won't be. Denis left for the Bolshoi, and now he's come back with a wife in tow. They've given her a spot among the 1st soloists - a demotion but still a coveted spot. It's unspoken by those on the inside looking in, but the dancers know who has and has not worked their way up through the ranks. In some glaring cases there are names, such as Osmolkina, Dumchenko, and Zhelonkina who have vegetated as 1sts for years. Loyalty means alot to the Maryinsky management. Kostya Sergeyev and Natalya Dudinskaya were the first couple of Soviet ballet in late 40s and 50s, but the advent of Maximova and Vasiliev eclipsed them all. As great as these three Kirov-Maryinsky partnerships were, they were by no means as famous, as decorated or as prolific as Katya and Volodya's partnership.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:28 pm 
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Of interest, there is a new program on the 13th:

http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/pla ... 13/2_1900/

That will include works by Yuri Smekalov and Alexei Miroshnichenko.

Miroschnichenko, for those who aren't aware, was recently awarded the position of artistic director in Perm.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:22 pm 
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Cygne wrote:
Quote:
quote"Catherine Pawlick",

I agree. However professional and proficient the Matvienkos are, as Maryinsky "outsiders" they aren't as revered as the Sergeyev/Dudinskaya, Kolpakova/Semyonov and Asylmuratova/Zaklinsky partnerships. Furthermore, as "outsiders" they probably won't be. Denis left for the Bolshoi, and now he's come back with a wife in tow. They've given her a spot among the 1st soloists - a demotion but still a coveted spot. It's unspoken by those on the inside looking in, but the dancers know who has and has not worked their way up through the ranks. In some glaring cases there are names, such as Osmolkina, Dumchenko, and Zhelonkina who have vegetated as 1sts for years. Loyalty means alot to the Maryinsky management. Kostya Sergeyev and Natalya Dudinskaya were the first couple of Soviet ballet in late 40s and 50s, but the advent of Maximova and Vasiliev eclipsed them all. As great as these three Kirov-Maryinsky partnerships were, they were by no means as famous, as decorated or as prolific as Katya and Volodya's partnership.


Of the current run of husband-wife teams, I never fail to crack up at the idea of Katya K./Lilac and Islom/Carabosse. Way to settle domestic disputes, if any, in the open, with the rigged outcome of victory for the wife. Terekhova and Berezhnoi as Diana and Actaeon are also unintendedly funny if we dig out what happened to Actaeon in Greek mythology. For some reason, often it is the wife who is the more distinguished of the two . . .

Back to the graver matter of Mariinsky roulette of roles and repertoire.

Cygne: Yes, O/O is the measure, or at least the commonly perceived measure, even outside Mariinsky. That may explain why Alexandrova, who is just as musical and virtuosic as Zakharova, sometimes got shortchanged next to her.

I am also surprised that being a great O/O is not enough for becoming a principal (e.g., Yulia Bolshakova). At Mariinsky, the role percolates down even to the junior ranks: Somova and Vasnestova all debuted when they were barely a cut above the corps. And did Kolpakova ever dance in O/O? (okay, okay, she is the only and only Irina . . . )

On the other hand, as far as I can remember, only principals danced the female lead of Paquita on tours. Is that also the case for home performances? On the current roster, only Daria Pavlenko has not danced the lead among the female principals. Nor has any of the First Soloists. In contrast, the juniors easily got to dance Masha, Giselle, Aurora, Kitri, etc., even though they are just as challenging as Paquita. So . . . is Paquita the secret principal role?

[edited for typo]


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:55 pm 
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Hi Madigan,

My personal opinion/observation only: but in the past five years, the Mariinsky has not once performed Paquita at home. I was out of town last month, and they MAY have done it then, but between May 2004 and September 2009, for sure, they did not perform it. Which is frustrating, bc I adore that ballet, there is so much pure classical technique on display with such a wide range of potential for musical expression (legato, allegro etc). They do it often on tour, esp in Japan -- in fact I think they do it almost annually in Japan (!) -- but rarely on the West Coast of the USA and (I believe) rarely in the USA generally speaking.

So whatever the secret is, I don't think it's Paquita. :wink:

I do think how the dancers are accepted in London, for some reason, carries great weight within the MT. Daria Pavlenko was promoted just after debuting in Bayadere at Covent Garden. And often the words of Clement Crisp can set a Mariinsky dancer on the track upwards within the company. He commented just this past spring (it was either last fall or this spring, I lose track of time), on Kondaurova, for example. Not immediately, but promotion OFTEN follows when someone guests in London... so that's one possibility.

p.s. In Russia there is a saying: The man is the head of the family, but the woman is the neck. Same applies to your examples I think. The woman, really, wins in the end :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:04 am 
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[quote="Madigan
Quote:
Of the current run of husband-wife teams, I never fail to crack up at the idea of Katya K./Lilac and Islom/Carabosse. Way to settle domestic disputes, if any, in the open, with the rigged outcome of victory for the wife.


Katya K and Islom were top notch in Middle Duet too, but sadly their respective reps willl rarely coincide to see them together very often. I know I was out on a limb in liking The Golden Age, but I loved those two as the Film Star and the gay sportsman who took her fancy.

Quote:
For some reason, often it is the wife who is the more distinguished of the two . . .


Too true! The coupling of Nunez and Soares at Covent Garden proves your point exactly.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 12:18 pm 
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You all talk about O/O being necessary for promotion for the ladies. Is there a comparable role for the men?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:46 pm 
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“Kostya Sergeyev and Natalya Dudinskaya were the first couple of Soviet ballet in late 40s and 50s, but the advent of Maximova and Vasiliev eclipsed them all.”

In my opinion, truly great stage partnerships are when partners are supplementing each other’s personalities and can create together something so outstanding that is surpasses their achievements with any other partners. The best examples are Fonteyn-Nureyev and Maximova-Vasiliev.

The partnership of Sergeyev & Dudinskaya was outstanding but it was of a different kind – they were united by marriage, companionship and as a management team. They were brilliant on stage together and separately. However, Dudinskaya was no less dazzling with any other partner. Whatever she did while performing with Sergeyev – she could achieve with others: Chabukiani, Bregvadze, Shavrov, Kaplan, Makarov, etc.

It was different with Sergeyev. Before the 2WW he danced his leading roles with Ulanova. Their manner, lyrical style, responsiveness to each other created a unique romantic partnership. It ended with Ulanova’s move to Moscow. They both confessed many years later that dancing with each other and feeling and understanding of each other was remarkably easy for them. Sergeyev even stopped dancing Romeo after Ulanova’s departure. When they were reunited, already in their late 40s, at Robert Gerbek’s jubilee for just one performance of R & J, Sergeyev said jokingly to Ulanova: “You know, Galya, that you are not a real Juliet – you had several Romeos. I am, on the contrary, a real Romeo – I’ve never had any other Juliet.”

I can see, Cygne, that you love Russian ballet and know a lot about it. Just a word about Sergeyev’s name, which you used – ‘Kostya’. We, ballet lovers, love to use diminutives of dancers’ first names: Rudy, Katya, Volodya, Natasha, etc. However, I don’t remember anyone using ‘Kostya’. Talking of him everyone used his full name - ‘Konstantin Mikhailovich’. Only ‘Kotik’ was used sometimes by those who knew that it was Dudinskaya’s name for him.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:19 pm 
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Madigan wrote:
And did Kolpakova ever dance in O/O? (okay, okay, she is the only and only Irina . . . )


Hi Madigan!

Yes! Kolpakova danced O/O, (as did Maximova), but both of them did so only a very few times. In their heyday, emploi still mattered and was enforced. Both ballerinas were petite ladies, but at that time, height was not a hindrance to attain "Swan Lake." Of the two, Maximova was the more extroverted onstage. Also, of the two, Maximova was the superior actress.

Kolpakova was an ideal soubrette/virtuoso hybrid as was Maximova. Kolpakova brought flawless technique and the pure academicis to every role in her repertoire. She had great authority, and was the most intuitive ballerina, but she wasn't an extrovert onstage. In ballets like "Giselle" and "Swan Lake" that non-dramatic stage persona doesn't always work. She danced Giselle with the young Nureyev, her husband Semyonov, Soloviev, and after him, the young Baryshnikov.

Kolpakova also danced Cinderella, and Masha. She tried Kitri (full-length and then only Act 3's pdd), Nikiya (Act 3 only), and later on in her career, (late 30s - mid 40s), she essayed Juliet. However, her domain was academic dance, not the tragic roles (Juliet, Giselle, Nikiya, O/O), or the slapstick comedy of "Don Q." Kolpakova was also a gifted Romantic ballerina. Where Giselle's Act 1 dramatics eluded her, she excelled in Act 2. She was perfect in "Chopiniana," the Sylph in "La Sylphide," "Pas de Quatre," & "Le Papillion." Her signature roles were Aurora first and Raymonda second. Had she had the opportunity, IMO Kolpakova would have been magnificent in Balanchine's "Diamonds," and "Theme & Variations," as these would have perfectly showcased her flawless techinque.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:36 am 
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Thanks for the loving post on Kolpakova, Cygne!

I am very excited to hear that Lopatkina danced Goleizovsky's Russkaya (is it the same piece Chenchikova danced for the London recording?)--hope it won't be known as the ready-for-retirement warm-up piece. Still, much, much better than something brow-knitting like Trois Gnossiennes . . .

I still remember fragments of Scriabiana from childhood--almost something out of a dream. (Maximova's Mazurka from the set is on Youtube.) His pas de deuxs take the shape of Canova statues and inhabit the lands of Fokine and folkore.

I hope that either Bolshoi or Kirov will revive more of Kasian Goleizovsky's work. Everybody and everybody's mom are doing Balanchine, Forsythe, etc., but I doubt anyone else could dance Goleizovsky except for the Russians. He is a true Russian avant-garde in search of new forms and primitive roots, whereas Balanchine, however brilliant he is, sometimes stereotypes Russianness. In the latter, the form of Russian dance collapses into either a languid adagio a la LO, or phalanxes of couples polonaising down the stage. That is a more spectacle than a vision as unveiled by KG, who fascinates the viewer with the mysticism in the Russian tradition, rather than impresses him with grandeur a la Russe.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:36 am 
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Thanks for the loving post on Kolpakova, Cygne!

I am very excited to hear that Lopatkina danced Goleizovsky's Russkaya (is it the same piece Chenchikova danced for the London recording?)--hope it won't be known as the ready-for-retirement warm-up. Still, much, much better than something brow-knitting piece like Trois Gnossiennes . . .

I still remember fragments of Scriabiana from childhood--almost something out of a dream. (Maximova's Mazurka from the set is on Youtube.) His pas de deuxs take the shape of Canova statues and inhabit the lands of Fokine and folkore.

I hope that either Bolshoi or Kirov will revive more of Kasian Goleizovsky's work. Everybody and everybody's mom are doing Balanchine, Forsythe, etc., but I doubt anyone else could dance Goleizovsky except for the Russians. He is a true Russian avant-garde in search of new forms and primitive roots, whereas Balanchine, however brilliant he is, sometimes stereotypes Russianness. In the latter, the form of Russian dance collapses into either a languid adagio a la LO, or phalanxes of couples polonaising down the stage. That is a more spectacle than a vision as unveiled by KG, who fascinates me with the mysticism in the Russian tradition, rather than impresses me with grandeur a la Russe.

His choice of music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTTHm1KWrj4 for Scriabiana can do more justice to his vision than my words can.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:56 pm 
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I second Catherine's opinion of Anastasia Matvienko. Time and time again, she has failed to impress me except as a plug-in technical ballerina...and not always that 'clean' in her execution, either. [Although she obviously was clean at competitions.] Her MT debut as Gamzatti at last year's Mariinsky Festival was a non-event. Sorry but I'm not the greatest admirer of either one of The Matvienki and am not that thrilled that they have managed to shoehorn themselves onto the roster of the Mariinsky.

If they were that outstanding, Denis would still be a principal at the Bolshoi and Anastasia would have been welcomed to join their ranks. The standards at the Mariinsky are obviously lower than at the Bolshoi...or perhaps spots on the roster are more easily - ahum - "obtained" at the Mariinsky?


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