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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:42 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:17 am
Posts: 374
Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Last night, five debuts in "Giselle":

....Kampa, the first American to join the troupe, (she has only been here since June 7th!) debuted in Act Two .....


Thanks, Catherine. Rasta Thomas joined the Mariinsky in 2000/01 season as a regular member of the troupe (2nd Soloist, I believe)...so he was actually the first U.S. Citizen on the roster. Among his roles was Jeune Homme et la Morte, opposite Lopatkina. Then-AD of the Mariinsky Ballet, Makhar Vasiyev, asked Rasta to join the troupe after Rasta's guest performance in the Final Gala of the First Mariinsky Ballet Festival in winter 2000.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 5:02 pm
Posts: 1436
Location: USA-Switzerland
I know that direct linking to Mariinsky internet video clips is not encouraged here and I can certainly respect and accept this since the Mariinsky apparently would prefer to have it that way.

Still I would really like to make reference to some videos without sending you there. These once again are of Alina Somova.

Until about a year ago I rarely returned to an Alina Somova video on the internet for a second viewing. I'm not saying that they weren't a valid documentation, but they just didn't represent what I was seeing her do so beautifully on stage over a period of seven years or more.

Around March of this year a poster named "rafzak61" has put a series of video clips of Alina Somova on the internet. This is about the only information that I'll give you except that the videos are labelled in russian, so might have to use Google translate to try to find them. I would add that the quality of this filming is not professional.

Not only do these videos come the closest yet to the Alina Somova that I've seen on stage, but they surpass that. In these clips she now shows a 'Surety' that I've not seen before. Not only that, but she has a 'Charm', a sense of character and identity that is delightful and heart-touching along with a 'dynamic' that to me is almost breathtaking. It's almost at times as if she is going to take off and 'Etherealize'.

I think that folks who will be lucky enough to see her perform live in the near future, may well be seeing something Very, Very Special.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:53 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1713
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Hi Natalia,

Yes, I know about Rasta...but was he there for more than a season? I'm not discounting it and maybe should have rephrased -- she's the first young (time to climb the ranks, ie not being hired in as a soloist) and first female American to be hired into the company.

A few notes on recent performances:

1) Jakobson's Spartacus (July 4, 2012)
This was the first time I was able to see this version of "Spartak" as my schedule didnt have me here for the premiere last year. I was hesitant to attend based on some of the dancers' own commentary, but I am very glad I did. Certainly this is not a ballerina's ballet -- no pointe shoes, not even ballet slippers, and most of the choreography is done in parallel positions, turned in. There is more acting (and fencing) than actual dancing, but the production does a fantastic job of transmitting the aura of the era and the idea of these poor slaves being beaten to death for the entertainment of the nobility at the time.
I was lucky to see Sofia Gumerova as the distraught and lovelorn Phrygia; her dramatic presentation was touching and she was the epitomy of grace in this role. Daria Pavlenko as Aegina -- again recalling Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra -- a perfectly conniving lover of both Crassus and Harmodius. Alexander Sergeyev did a fine job as Harmodius, so we were treated to the married couple's onstage partnership once more. His utter bewilderment when the guards enter and arrest him spoke volumes, both in terms of his own acting talent and the clear portrayal Pavlenko gave in her own role.
I can't imagine a better Spartacus than Danila Korsuntsev in this version. With a beard/mustache added for the role, he epitomized the lean, ambitious slave.
The production runs long at 3 and a half hours but much of that were overly-long intermissions. I would certainly see this lovely work again.

2) Swan Lake with Kondaurova and Ivanchenko (July 5)
Romanchikov as Rothbart -- a crowd pleaser. No doubt will be on the US West Coast stops.
Konstantin Ivkin as a stunning jumper in the pas de trois -- a boy with more ballon than anyone else in the company.

Kondaurova was pristine and beautiful -- barring two times when Ivanchenko somehow managed to fuddle the supported pirouettes. I wasnt sure what went wrong. But she is in her element in a substantial classical role like this - gentle and beautiful as Odette, and sheer evil as Odile. At the moment when Siegfried pledged his love in Act II, she laughed so believably, tossing the flowers in his face, that one forgot for a moment that she was acting. The fouettes were perfect, all 32 of them. In fact, what wasn't perfect, it's hard to imagine.

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


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:17 am
Posts: 374
Thanks for the reports, Catherine. Keenan is the first female. Rasta was very young - 19 or 20 - during his one full season on the Mariinsky roster. [He was 16 or 17 during the 1998 Jackson IBC, but was allowed to compete as a senior and earned the Sr Gold Medal.] The Pointe Magazine interview (by Hannah ???? - forgot last name of interviewer; met her in DC but only recall first name!) explains. Although backed-up by Vasiev, he didn't exactly get the 'welcome wagon' from Mariinsky rank-and-file dancers. Since Keenan attended the Vaganova Academy, she should already have friends among the corps ladies and teachers/coaches. It should be a more pleasant experience.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky 2011-2012 Season (229th season)
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:12 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1713
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Hi Natalia,
Thanks for the information. Yes Keenan has more contacts here and speaks some Russian which will also be helpful.

Sadly the 229th season has completed in terms of ballet performances. All that remains is opera and My Fair Lady. The last months here have been extremely enjoyable with such a showering of fantastic, inspiring dancing. My thanks and appreciation to all of the dancers for their hard work and here is to the 230th season!

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


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