I was so very fortunate to have been able to see some of the final performances of this remarkable series, "Swan Lake," Balanchine/Robbins.... I have hardly had a chance to look over the enthusiastic press coverage, but much of the commentary by Clement Crisp has really caught my immediate attention because of its soulful appreciation. He wrote five reviews. Thanks, as usual, Francis, for posting these.
In his first review of Uliana Lopatkina and Daniil Korsuntsev's "Swan Lake," as Catherine has already noted, he says,
"It seems I am writing more of a love-letter than the critical review....we must love the best when we see it."
In his review of the Balanchine/Robbins program he starts out by saying,
"Impeccable dancing. Heart-lifting dancing. As the week ended, the Mariinsky Ballet staged a triple bill of works by Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and made them sublimely their own. Over the past two decades, the company has reclaimed its Old Boy, Balanchine, whose Scotch Symphony and Ballet Imperial were on view, together with Jerome Robbins’s In The Night."
The idea that the Mariinsky has "reclaimed" George Balanchine is one that I feel strongly about after seeing both these performances and could write a great deal about. Is it possible that with its recent, extraordinary interpretation of these works that the Mariinsky has in fact reclaimed George Balanchine and, beyond that, even shown that he is indeed and perhaps always was one of its own ? * In addition, did the Mariinsky actually carry his work to a new level or at least another place of great meaning ? (I would even include Jerome Robbins' "In The Night" in this possibility, based on the extent to which it might have been influenced by and the result of an admiration for George Balanchine). This is an idea that fascinates me and it is, of course, a statement dependent on definitions, degrees and differing points of view, but the future may produce some exciting insights into this way of seeing things.
I so share his sentiments here and commend the beauty with which they are expressed.
"Words that hardly serve to describe a phenomenal performance of In the Night. Three couples, varied in their emotions. Chopin piano music. Love serene (Yevgenia Obraztsova and Filipp Stepin); love more mature (Alina Somova and Yevgeny Ivanchenko); love as anguish and final joy (Ulyana Lopatkina and Danila Korsuntsev). Flawless dancing, born of the music, alert to every possibility, to every emotional breath, exquisite in nuance, from each artist."
I equally share, and I think that Cassandra would totally agree, his praise for Viktoria Tereshkina in "Ballet Imperial." In his comments about Viktoria Tereshkina in "La Bayadere," which I was unable to see, he writes,
".... in this Shades scene, the purity of Tereshkina’s style, the unfailing elegance of her technique, the purity of her line and the sheer brilliancy of her effects (daunting multiple pirouettes shown with an effortless delicacy, an intoxication of clarity that denied any sense of forced bravura) were phenomenal, and testimony to profound artistry. Here is a ballerina of beautiful gifts and I do not recall, after all these years, an interpretation more potent in spirit and style."
I would agree completely with this enthusiastic praise in regard to her performances in "Ballet Imperial" (all aspects) and "Swan Lake" (for her exceptional dancing and touchingly beautiful portrayal of Odette). I would add one more thought in regard to her "style" and "technique." It was Alive and it was Exciting ! I believe that Cassandra expressed similar feelings in her comments about "Ballet Imperial."
Clement Crisp begins his "La Bayadere" review with this comment and ends it with the following. I believe that they apply equally well to all the remarkably wonderful performances that I was able to see.
"There are extraordinary evenings in the theatre when the spell of a performance, the power of an interpretation and a sense of undeniable spirituality revealed by the artists, make for a community of feeling and awareness between stage and public."
"The sum effect was heart-lifting: these are dancers touched by greatness. And so this season, memorably fine, ends on this tremendous note. To the superlative corps de ballet, to the guardian teachers and coaches of these dancers, to Tereshkina and Shklyarov, to Victor and Lilian Hochhauser who make these seasons possible, profoundest gratitude."
* Added comment: From Sarah Frater about the Balanchine/Robbins performances.
"The Mariinsky perform his [George Balanchine] ballets as if he were their own, which of course he is."
[typo corrections made]