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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 11:23 am 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
June Gala Concerts
The Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia
20 and 23 June, 2011
By Catherine Pawlick

In addition to its claim as the birthplace to the greatest names in classical ballet, The Mariinsky Theatre also remains the uncontested frontrunner for the most refined and highly trained corps de ballet in the world. That fact was celebrated in a gala concert honoring corps de ballet pedagogue, Nina Ukhova, on June 20, featuring three short works that paraded the best of the Mariinsky ensemble work in front of a packed house.

The Mariinsky dancers performed “Serenade, ” the first ballet Balanchine created in America, and one of his finest works, with clarity and soul, filling the steps with a depth that underlined the ballet’s already enigmatic aura. Ekaterina Kondaurova danced the lead with lyricism and lightness, a freedom in her dancing that made it all look effortless, even through the shifts into off-balance retire passes, and hops in arabesque. Her pas de deux with Evgeny Ivanchenko filled with moments of musical indulgence. Ekaterina Osmolkina, only months on stage after her maternity leave, looked in perfect form in the pas de deux and solo work. Osmolkina’s sheer joy on stage in the numerous sautés and jetés is an added element to her performance, which has suffered no loss of line or technique since her break from the theatre. Evgeny Ivanchenko partnered the ladies, offering an abstract, nameless face to the “Dark Angel” section, in which he promenaded Ksenia Ostreikovskaya on her one-legged arabesque like a potter carefully shaping his clay. Svetlana Ivanova stood out with perfect form among the six girls who intertwine arms in the short adagio section that later gains speed and swiftness. The final scene with Kondaurova lifted high above like an offering to the heavens, reaching towards the upstage light, seemed to whisper the secrets of Balanchine’s message in a way that only Mariinsky dancers can relay onstage.

Alina Somova joined Danila Korsuntsev along with the full corps de ballet to perform the White Adagio from “Swan Lake” as the second ballet on the program. Although Somova’s ability to keep adagio lines cleaner than allegro is clear, unfortunately a stray right hand with bent wrist and stiffened fingers distracted from the overall image. The excerpt began nicely but quickly shifted to stale, dry execution. Somova eliminated the glissades in the initial entrance and more than one retiré revealed a sickled ankle in extension; pointed feet were absent in the overhead lifts. An elderly woman sitting near me had worked with the Kirov Ballet for 25 years promptly announced the absence of “soul” in the duet, and in addition to the technical glitches, one had to agree with her; the absence of emotional interplay between the soloists made for lovely moments of technique, at times, but missing was the essence of a Swan princess and a man willing to give her his whole heart. Korsuntsev’s partnering was faultless however, and he did emit an interest in the queen of his heart, that seemed to not be fully returned. The four big swans brought refreshment by means of Viktoria Brilyeva and Daria Vasnetsova, among others; this sequence is among the most pleasurable to watch in the entire act, for the “long-stemmed roses” that dance it never fail to emit elegance and tight musicality. The four little swans, including Svetlana Ivanova, Yana Selina, Valeria Martinouk and Elizaveta Cherpasova, were sprightly, their execution crisply synchronized.

The forty minutes of nonstop pyrotechnics that fills the ballet “Etudes” was a fitting closure for the evening, but one that taxes the dancers to the hilt. The Mariinsky, of course, is trained for nothing but this sort of high-level, nonstop, physical energy output and they met the challenge with stunning grace. Viktoria Tereshkina’s mastery of virtuosity made her an easy choice for lead soloist, and she moved through the entire ballet with grace and a smile. Vladimir Schklyarov indulged in the stage-as-playground concept, as he is wont to do, drawing heavy applause from the audience for his energy and artistic delivery, snapping his fingers high above his head in the finale, his cabrioles high and sharp, pulling off four pirouettes with ease and perfect placement. The evening as a whole underlined the valuable contributions of the overworked and underpaid Mariinsky corps de ballet, wherein each dancer could rightfully be deemed a ballerina (or danseur noble) in their own right.

Just three nights later, on June 23, Diana Vishneva celebrated 15 years on stage the Mariinsky with her own gala concert, or benefice. The tradition of benefice, which began decades ago at the Kirov Theatre, was initially done in honor of a jubilee year for a star performer, the entire proceeds of ticket sales for that evening purportedly going to the performer rather than the theatre. Whether or not that protocol remains the case today is unclear, but tickets for Vishneva’s evening were sold out instantly. Her program choice drew attention in Russia for its uniqueness: Vishneva decided to bring Martha Graham’s work to the Mariinsky Theatre for the very first time. “Labyrinth” is a short ballet that depicts the myth of Ariadne attempting to escape from the Labyrinth, wherein the Minotaur resides. Under the threat of being eaten as one of his victims, Ariadne manages to slay the Minotaur and find her way out of the maze. Followers of the Mariinsky may argue that such works are best done elsewhere, and there is something to that point of view. The purism of Russian classical ballet training is unmatched, and watching finely honed bodies move through simpler choreography seems, at times, a waste of such elite artists. On the other hand, the honor to the Graham legacy, of finally being performed on the Mariinsky stage is an honor indeed.

The tribal drumbeat, flutters of little steps on the floor, and the Minotaur – a hugely muscled man wearing a cap of bull’s horns – form abstract images. Vishneva’s Ariadne traces her steps carefully along a rope on the floor, and takes refuge in a “V” – shaped metal platform downstage. The fitted bodice and long skirt of her costume emphasize the Graham legwork, full of torso curls and isolated movements. Their pas de deux “battle” is won when tiny Ariadne, standing on the Minotaur’s thighs, somehow manages to vanquish his strength with her own. The performance drew great applause, but there were more tasty dishes on offer in the evening’s program.

In the second act, current Vaganova Graduate Olga Smirnova, who has agreed to join the Bolshoi Ballet in her first season this fall, danced with Sergei Strelkov in Asaf Messerer’s “Melody,” set to music by Antonin Dvorzak. Smirnova’s already polished lines, lithe arms, beautifully arched feet, and ability to draw music out of her body to the end of every singing note are part of this promising young dancer’s internal spark.

The arguable favorite in this section, following Svetlana Lunkina's performance of the "Russian" dance set to Tchaikovsky, was the appearance of the ultra-agile, endlessly fluid Desmond Richardson, as he curled his lean frame through the detailed choreography of Dwight Roden's "Plach" (which may well be titled "Cry" in English, the program listed only the Russian title for this work). Richardson's body is a work of art itself, a mass of lean, finely honed muscles combined with a degree of flexibility and grace that is almost unseen on stages today. His nonstop variation was the only one that brought repeat curtain calls in the first two thirds of the evening; the audience loved him.

Following the almost parodied rendition of “The Dying Swan” by Vladimir Malakhov, choreographed by Mairo de Candia, Vishneva’s appearance in “La Dame Aux Camellias” with Roberto Bolle was the crowning piece in the second part of the evening. Passion, longing, love, despair, urgency – all were demonstrated by both artists in the wrenching pas de deux set to Chopin’s gorgeous ballade. The last section of the evening featured a suave and debonair Alexander Sergeyev in the pas de deux from Ratmansky’s “Cinderella” alongside Evgenia Obratsova, while the other pieces included Ekaterina Osmolkina and Semyon Chudin in the pas de deux from “ Giselle;” Anastasia Matvienko with Konstantin Zverev in the pas de deux from Benjamin Millipied’s recent premiere of “ Without;” and Sofia Gumerova in a rare (for recent months) appearance on stage in the dramatic, heavily acted pas de deux from Leonid Jacobson’s “Spartacus” alongside Ilya Kuznetsov. Vishneva’s closing piece for the evening, the final pas de deux from Prejlocaj’s “Le Park”, danced with Vladimir Malakhov, underlined her own preferences for edgy, modern works, even within the confines of the Mariinsky Theatre.

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Author, "Vaganova Today: The Preservation of Pedagogical Tradition" (available on amazon.com)


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:01 am 
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Location: USA-Switzerland
The Dancers Lighter Than Air

"The Longer Stemmed Roses"
(Catherine's beautiful description)

viewtopic.php?f=31&t=34671

These are perhaps the next artistic sisters who will grace the Dreamlands of Ulyana Lopatkina and others.

These are, for me, the Linear Ethereals of the Mariinsky. Theirs is a Lyrical Loveliness and Airy Transcendence.

My personal list would include Alina Somova, Ekaterina Kondaurova, Daria Vasnetsova, Oxana Skorik....


The Shorter Stemmed Stem Roses -- The Butterflies

They are also of the Ethereal.

I would include Ekaterina Osmolkina, Svetlana Ivanova, Evgenia Obraztsova, Maria Shirinkina....


There are so many wonderful Mariinsky artists, but these few for the moment are some of the artists that occupy my mind as the Dancers Lighter Than Air of The Mariinsky.

Maybe some others here would like to list some of the Mariinsky artists that reach them personally and perhaps mention some of the qualities or characteristics that make them so personally touching.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:50 am 
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Location: USA-Switzerland
Dancers Lighter Than Air

Alina Somova

She continues to enchant me as much as any of the remarkable Mariinsky dancers. As I mentioned above, I can comfortably place her in a grouping of the taller Ethereals at the Mariinsky. My most recent viewings of her have been at this year's Mariinsky Festival, dancing George Balanchine's "Diamonds" (and several other briefer appearances), and at last year's Festival, dancing Aurora in "The Sleeping Beauty."

The characteristics, as I have often mentioned, that have captivated me the most are her 'Basic' Gracefulness, Airiness and Loveliness. This to me is the core of her artistic being and has been since I first viewed her almost six years ago.

The 'Sum' (I guess I really have to emphasize this word) of all her elements always adds up to something extremely special and beautiful when I have seen her.

There have been two things that I have sensed the most in the last year. One is a definite Refinement and the other is a meticulous Exploration of and attention to nuance and detail.

In the performances that I have most recently seen, there has been a sense of restraint letting her Essential Loveliness become all the more noticeable and compelling.

She also seemed to be constantly Exploring or searching for exact and distinct detail and expression. Again this is sort of a refining process, but of the new and undiscovered. Sometimes she seems more certain, but the fascination is with the intent as well as with the result. The attempt always points the way to something new and distinctly beautiful. The successes are statements of extreme Loveliness. In her recent performance of "Diamonds" along with a breathtakingly beautiful sense of flow was a sculpturally compelling Articulation of moves that has to be seen live in real dimensions to really be appreciated.

I truly believe, based on what I have seen, that this wonderful artist is going to continue to grow and bloom in the most beautiful and ethereal manner.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:54 pm 
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Posts: 1713
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
(Transferring Buddy's post from the 2011-2012 season to this thread, where it still pertains) :


Quote:
Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:08 am

Here is an introduction to the current tour of Brazil from the Mariinsky site. There is a picture of the Theatro Municipal in São Paulo, which I thought was the Mariinsky itself (see picture below of Mariinsky) until I noticed the modern building alongside.

http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/news1/news1/24_228august/

"The programme for the tour includes the Mariinsky Theatre’s legendary production of Swan Lake with choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. During the tour, the role of Odette-Odile will be performed by Yekaterina Kondaurova, Anastasia Kolegova, Anastasia Matvienko and Oxana Skorik while the role of Prince Siegfried will be danced by Yevgeny Ivanchenko, Danila Korsuntsev, Denis Matvienko and Maxim Zyuzin."

I'm so glad to see that Anastasia Kolegova will be dancing Odette-Odile. I loved her as the Lilac Fairy at the Mariinsky Festival ! Also great to see Oxana Skorik's name as well as Yekaterina Kondaurova and Anastasia Matvienko's.

The company will be performing for over two weeks, after almost three weeks in London and about a week in New York. I thought August was their vacation month, Catherine. (There are no performances listed for August and the beginning of September in Saint Petersburg.) Besides being 'performing angels' they must be made of iron.

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:56 pm 
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Posts: 1713
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
To comment on the vacation issue -- yes typically August is their month off. But this year the new season doesn't begin until September 29, so it looks like they will have a shortened "month" off of only 19 days. Of course, the dancers not on the tour will be vacationing already.

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season
PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:22 pm 
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Posts: 1436
Location: USA-Switzerland
Hi Catherine. Did you notice the picture of the Theatro Municipal in São Paulo, Brazil? For me, it has an amazing resemblance to the Mariinsky. (Mariinsky picture on the bottom left of the same page)

http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/news1/news1/24_228august/

"In 1903, construction began, and São Paulo gained one of the best venues in the world for the presentation of theatre productions, mainly operas. As it was customary in those days, the majority of the materials was imported from Europe, and the architectural reference was Teatro alla Scala of Milan."
http://www.wayfaring.info/wp-content/up ... lano-3.jpg

I see a much greater resemblance to the Mariinsky than to the Theatro alla Scala. Another interesting 'coincidence.' The names of the assisting architects of the Theatro Municipal in São Paulo are Cláudio Rossi and Domiziano Rossi. The architect, Carlo Rossi, designed many of the famous tsarist buildings in Saint Petersburg, but I have been unable to find any connections on the internet between him and Cláudio and Domiziano Rossi.

In any case, I hope that everyone had a fine time at the São Paulo performances. They should have been outstanding.

Added: Paris Opera 1875 (Possibly the most 'Glamorous' of them all!)
http://cdn.dipity.com/uploads/events/e9 ... e23_1M.png


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:11 pm 
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Posts: 1436
Location: USA-Switzerland
First of all, Congratulations, Catherine, on the release of your new book, "Vaganova Today." It has already received much praise and enthusiastic response on the internet. I wish you much success.

For a currently active and very supportive discussion of the book....

http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/ind ... e-pawlick/


It's a beautiful desert-mountainy day where I am this weekend. It's a partly cloudy day and the mountainsides are alive in nuances of shade and light. It both stays the same and it is constantly changing.

A fair amount has been written, especially in the English press, about how well the Mariinsky handled its performances of the works of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins this year in London. This is not traditional Mariinsky material, yet the Mariinsky artists seemed to have 'grown' as a result of these performances and the works seem to have grown as well, having received such fine interpretations.

It's like the light on the mountains, a shining world of beautiful changes and nuances. And it also is a world of growth. I think back to the marvelous performances of "Le Parc" at the Mariinsky Festival in April and how well this new material and this new interpretation suited each other. I've viewed the video of the original "Le Parc" by the Paris Opera Ballet and the work presented at the Mariinsky Festival seems to have been noticeably refined and modified by Angelin Preljocaj. I would guess that this involved a maturing point of view and an accommodation to the Mariinsky sensitivities. I thought that it worked extremely well. On the Mariinsky's part, it showed once again, as in the recent Balanchine/Robbins performances in London, how well these artists can adapt to new situations. "Le Parc," to me, is an abstraction of realities, masterfully fitted together by Angelin Preljocaj, which required a somewhat new way of seeing things and responding for the Mariinsky dancers, and they handled it beautifully.

I have also recently seen George Balanchine works (and others) performed so differently and brilliantly by the Miami City Ballet and I've been watching dvd's of George Balanchine's dancers from the 70's doing such high energy 'modernisticly abstract' works as "Stravinsky Violin Concerto" and I wonder how the Mariinsky would handle these today along with works by William Forsythe (which they've done) and Twyla Tharp. How would these works mesh with the sensitivities of the Mariinsky? One thing that I've felt most in watching more abstract modern work is that it remains the Actual Presence of Human Beauty that makes it so meaningful, ties it all together, gives it its heartful significance, its soul. Whereas a painting can represent human beauty, a performance or a dance * Is (!) * Human Beauty. The Mariinsky dancers certainly have more than enough artistry, beauty and soul to be a part of any of this.

George Balanchine stated that other artists would continue to perform his works, but they would never do it the way that he would have done it. This seems so perfectly illustrated already in the lovable, high energy, high-artistry of the Miami City Ballet and in the beautifully dreamlike interpretations by the Mariinsky. I wonder how George Balanchine would react to all this? How would you react if someone took your work and 'made it their own'?

So it all seems like a process of changes and nuances. I think that the Mariinsky and the Miami City Ballet are doing a wonderful job and I thoroughly appreciate and enjoy what they are doing. Yet, I still have to wonder what George Balanchine would be thinking if he were still alive and what he would answer with in new material. Interestingly, Suzanne Farrell is sort of doing this for him as she very selectively stages his works and rediscovers and restages some of his 'forgotten' works adding her own very significant insights. But then, so is Edward Villella (another former George Balanchine star) with the Miami City Ballet. And so perhaps is the Mariinsky with its common heritage.

There's a lot of fun and interesting stuff to think about here and look forward to as the world of dance artistry moves on. With Balanchine/Robbins and "Le Parc" the Mariinsky, for one, has shown that it can maintain its own remarkable identity and also move sensitively and excitingly into new perceptions and ways of living beauty.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:56 pm 
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I have to notice that while I've been extolling the way that the Mariinsky seems to be moving into the future, Catherine's book has been released 'extolling' the 'traditional and historic' (if I can use these words) heart of the Mariinsky and the exact means by which this has come into being and continues to flourish. Maybe Catherine could define her vision and intent much more clearly.

It's sort of a coincidence. I happen to be so enthused with the Mariinsky's marvelous move into 'new worlds' at the moment because it is only within the last several weeks that I viewed this happening so clearly. The London Balanchine/ Robbins performances.

If it seems that Catherine, Cassandra and others, each with their own distinct perceptions, and I are sometimes going at cross purposes, I don't believe that this is really the case. None of us would be discussing the Mariinsky at all if it weren't for the magnficent structure that the Mariinsky has constructed over a long history of amazing development that Catherine, Cassandra and others want so rightly to see preserved and continued at the highest standards possible.

It might sometimes seem as if I am very strong on change, perhaps because of my strong support of Alina Somova, Svetlana Zakharova (now at the Bolshoi) and others. This is true to a certain extent. Things just don't stand still and I'll be the first to admit that I can't sit still. Change simply to have a change, is what it sometimes may simply amount to. But much more important, I also believe in growing for the better.

But when something is already so Beautiful 'you may not really want to mess with it.' If you do change it, you may want to do it very carefully and this is perhaps what Catherine, Cassandra and others wish for very much. I would rather let them speak for themselves if and when they may wish to do so.

Another quick 'in regard to' Alina Somova. As much as I am so impressed by her huge range of talent, I have to admit, as I've done before, to Loving what I see as her Refined and Graceful (but very much her own) Artistic Core. I think that Refinement and Grace are what many here consider to be an ideal and I share much of this feeling. I dream of an Alina Somova that will have as pure an 'Angel's' Essence' as possible, 'Surrounded and Enhanced' by all her other remarkable means of expression.

This by all means would reflect back to the meticulous, time developed artistry that many here treasure so greatly and this would apply equally to all the wonderful artists at the Mariinsky, each still being her or his own distinctly valuable self.

I think that we all agree on a desire to seen 'Angel-like Beauty' as prevalent as possible at the Mariinsky. Tradition, method, vision are all essential parts of the equation.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:21 pm 
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Location: USA-Switzerland
Today, probably more than ever before, I feel that

***** Enchantment *****

is what this is all about.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky Ballet 2010-2011 Season
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:16 am 
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Posts: 36
Catherine Pawlick wrote:
June Gala Concerts
The Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia
20 and 23 June, 2011
By Catherine Pawlick



Alina Somova joined Danila Korsuntsev along with the full corps de ballet to perform the White Adagio from “Swan Lake” as the second ballet on the program. Although Somova’s ability to keep adagio lines cleaner than allegro is clear, unfortunately a stray right hand with bent wrist and stiffened fingers distracted from the overall image. The excerpt began nicely but quickly shifted to stale, dry execution. Somova eliminated the glissades in the initial entrance and more than one retiré revealed a sickled ankle in extension; pointed feet were absent in the overhead lifts. An elderly woman sitting near me had worked with the Kirov Ballet for 25 years promptly announced the absence of “soul” in the duet, and in addition to the technical glitches, one had to agree with her; the absence of emotional interplay between the soloists made for lovely moments of technique, at times, but missing was the essence of a Swan princess and a man willing to give her his whole heart. Korsuntsev’s partnering was faultless however, and he did emit an interest in the queen of his heart, that seemed to not be fully returned. The four big swans brought refreshment by means of Viktoria Brilyeva and Daria Vasnetsova, among others; this sequence is among the most pleasurable to watch in the entire act, for the “long-stemmed roses” that dance it never fail to emit elegance and tight musicality. The four little swans, including Svetlana Ivanova, Yana Selina, Valeria Martinouk and Elizaveta Cherpasova, were sprightly, their execution crisply synchronized.
.
I was watching a video on YouTube recently, and I saw Somova dancing the Odette adagio with Korsuntsev that you saw them dancing in the Ukhova Gala, which you reviewed here in June 2011. The adagio is at the end of this video link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlYZsHz-0rM&feature=plcp

How do Somova and Korsuntsev compare to that Ukhova Gala?


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