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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:09 pm 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
A lot of Petersburger's flock to see this version at the MT. So i find the American views of the production interesting as I can see arguments for both sides. On the one hand, it's a non-classical, abstract approach that offers a lot of acting opportunity. If you go with that in mind -- not expecting a tutu ballet etc-- then it is a different experience. However, given that this is the Mariinsky I can see how people might be upset to not have seen more classical "ballet" in the performance. I think this version has a place, (and as I said it's quite popular in Russia), but I also think (at least excerpts from) the classical Sergeyev version should be shown more often. Sasha Sergeyev did dance that pas de deux (Serg version) with Obratsova in the past year for a divertissements evening and it was stunning.

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:14 am 
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My husband Vadim, who lives in DC, attended last night's Pavlenko/Sergeev performance and sent me a full report. I'll copy-and-paste here (and with a little typo cleaning up!):

One word: Extraordinary!

This is the first time that I've enjoyed sitting through this sad production, the stars were so great. Pavlenko is slimmer and more sculpted (obvious in chiseled face, clavicles-upper chest, arms) than ever before, including the time that we saw her dance Swan Lake in Boston, 2006. No doubt about it now: Pavlenko is BACK! The ballerina is extraordinary in her acting and fluid dancing, a perfect mix of acting the pathos of the role and technique. Sasha Sergeev is, BY FAR, the BEST Prince of the run - best Prince I've seen in this role, including the wonderful Merkuriev, Matvienko and Kolb we saw in Russia. (For starters, he's ditched the stupid white bow time that made earlier princes look like milkmen!) Sergeev absolutely soared in his entrance and was, by far, most secure and relaxed partner. Audience GASPED in midst of his ballroom solo and barely could contain applause in middle.

In the three key pas de deux (two in Act II and one at the end of the ballet) Dasha and Sasha MELTED into one another. This was hair-raising stuff. Palpable love. I was almost a little embarrassed, as if I was intruding on their private moment. Dasha's acting was, as Obraztsova used to do, so subtle...no Vishneva googly-eyed mugging that made the ballet unbearable whenever I saw her in it (despite DV's wonderful dancing and beautiful face, of course).

Other highlights that made this cast special:
The STAR among the others was Margarita Frolova as the skinny sister (the role originated in 2002 by now-star Terioshkina; Frolova should also be an eventual star). Frolova not only has lovely dancing but THE most expressive face on the whole stage. I also admired all four Season Fairies, esp Maxim Zyuzin as Autumn; the other capable fairies were Ilya Petrov as Spring, Boris Zhurilov as Summer (subbing for Alexei Popov...the only change to the printed playbill), and Andrei Solovyov as Winter. Nadezhda Batoeva and Islom Baimuradov impressed as the Dance Teacher pair, as did a GORGEOUS/GLAMOROUS Viktoria Brileva as the leader of the female 'dancers' (not to say 'hookers') in Act III. Kudos, too, to Yuri Smekalov as leader of the 'male dancers.'

The weak point of the night -- besides the awful production, in general -- was Gumerova overdoing the mugging and slapstick (so boring!) as the Stepmother. Then again, this is thankless role.

Keenan Kampa was spotted among the ballroom guests because she is very tall and wears huge fake cow lashes. She and (I think) Lavrinenko had some small 'pas de deux moments' with the Prince before Pavlenko's arrival at the ball. It's also interesting that the Kennedy Center playbill lists Kampa as Choryphee and all of the dancers who supposedly were promoted before California tour - including many who performed substantial roles last night, such as Ivannikova as the chubby sister, or Batoeva as Dancing Teacher -- are back to being corps. Odd. (Maybe the Kennedy Center printers got the early version of the company rankings, before the switches in early October?)

But the night belonged to Pavlenko and Sergeev, A Pair to Die For! What a shame that there was no bouquet of roses. The instant standing ovation and bravos from the audience more than made up for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:52 am 
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Thank you Natalia for your excellent report! I am ecstatic that Dasha Pavlenko and her husband Sasha Sergeev were so well received in "Cinderella!" It is rare when they are paired together, let alone on tour together. It's even more rare for her to be onstage at all. This is wonderful news! Also, now that it's confirmed that she is in excellent shape, it would be wonderful for her to resume her rightful place in her rank in the classics - namely O/O in "Swan Lake," Giselle, "Raymonda," and "Bayadere," just to name a few. I am also very happy that she will be making her debuts in the leading roles of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," when she returns to Petersburg. Her's has been an excrutiatingly long overdue comeback. Plus, I'm ITA that Alexander Sergeev should currently be a frequently cast leading male, (i.e.) a Principal. The audience's reception ought to serve Sasha greatly as Yuri Fateev considers his next promotions. We can only hope this will be the case. Brava Sergeevs! Brava Mariinsky :D !


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:14 pm 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Likewise Natalia, thank you so much for sharing your (husband)'s impressions! I have to say, his description matches the performance I saw the first time Dasha and Sasha were paired in these same roles on the Mariinsky stage, before they married. I too during that performance felt as if I was intruding on a personal moment, so deep and electric was their passion. It really far surpassed any other dancers, even in other ballets (Romeo) in terms of acting, feeling, and expression. I"m also so thrilled that audiences have once again seen Daria Pavlenko (even if, sadly, the West Coast was deprived of the honor). She is a great talent and it's a true blessing to the audience that she was allowed to come on this tour and perform! I am guessing other viewers in DC will wish she had been cast in more performances during this run, but as it is, she has spellbound yet another section of the viewing public. To that I say hooray :-)
I am so glad she got a standing ovation - probably deserves all of the flowers in the DC greater metropolitan area :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:17 pm 
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Location: USA-Switzerland
It's also my feeling that this work needs a very captivating ballerina to make it suceed, which is my opinion about Alexei Ratmansky's "The Bright Stream" as well. At the very beginning of my ballet watching, about ten years ago, I signed on to see all six of Alexei Ratmansky's Cinderellas in DC. The two with Diana Vishneva were definitely the highlight for me. She was different then. With Igor Kolb, who, as I like to say, is great for keeping energetic ballerinas from flying off the stage, she performed the most amazing ballet acrobatics that I've ever seen.

Alina Somova, whose internet video clips doing this I was glued to for months, could have offered a different but equally compelling performance. Maybe that's one of the things that the Mariinsky had in mind when they scheduled this.

Very glad to hear that your husband,Vadim, liked Daria Pavlenko and her husband, Alexander Sergeyev, as much he did, Natalia. I've also seen Maria Shirinkina, who I consider essentially a delicate ballerina, unexpectedly punch her way through works that required it. Ekaterina Osmolkina, I've seen steal the moment from one of the Mariinsky super spacemen of the time, so she could be very interesting.

As for your husband, Vadim's, ability to write reviews, Natalia....

Move Over Clement Crisp and Alastair Macaulay !!

Hope that your international adventures are going as well as possible. It is wonderful that, because of the internet, you can keep in close touch with what's going on and even lead the discussion.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 6:00 am 
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Thanks, Buddy. Thanks to internet (including Skype, my favorite invention!), it's possible to stay in touch while being on the other hemisphere. At least DC and Lima are just one time-zone away...in 2 weeks' time, the same time zone!

Shirinkina debuted the role of Cinderella just now, at the Kennedy Center. I'm sorry to have missed that, too. If the company goes to NYC in summer 2013 (still unofficially being discussed among dancers, from what Vadim gathered), I may be able to arrange my long-overdue Mariinsky Fix. If that happens, hopefully the troupe will go to NYC with more than a bunch of Ratmansky ballets, as last time....how about some full-lenth Petipas for the East Coast of the USA?


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:48 am 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
The USA could use more Petipa, I won't argue with that! :-) But then we return to the perennial question regarding what they can actually pack on planes and lug over the Atlantic. Beauty's sets I think are cumbersome (many different scenes); and we just had Swan Lake here (although that's not to prevent NYC from seeing it next summer in theory at least). Hmm I dont know. I think we should create a wish list of "what I want the Mariinsky to perform on US tours" and post it here :-)

I will start it off with Raymonda, not because the full length production is super fantastic (it's rather uneven, but that also makes it interesting) but because the US hasn't seen this company do this classic ...
Also maybe a sets issue but what about Bayadere?

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:06 am 
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Location: USA-Switzerland
Swan Lake would be a must for the rest of the country. Giselle would be a good choice. Not much set involved as I recall.

Giselle is short and Act II is one of the most beautiful ever. I saw the Bolshoi perform the entire Giselle in London with another ballet. This was the first and only time that I've seen any company do this. It was combined with a Balanchine ballet (Ballet Imperial??) It worked very well for me both time wise and in contrast. I think that the Mariinsky is developing a very fine, Mariinsky orientated take on Balanchine which might go over very well in the US. It certainly has been very successful in London and at the Saint Petersburg Festivals. Doing one of these or some other short work with Giselle could be fine.

Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote (a hoot!) would be fine for children as well, but could involve a lot a sets, etc. as Catherine has suggested.

Doing a series of combined short works, Act II Giselle, the Shades Act from La Bayadere, Les Syphides, Balanchine, etc. like they did in NYC a few years ago could work well again.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:39 pm 
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Location: USA-Switzerland
Added thought.

If we are making lists or wish lists in regard to this topic, what about Alexei Ratmansky suggestions.

Of the limited number of his works that I've seen, Russian Seasons is perhaps a favorite.

For me, there are essences of brilliance in his work. Russian Seasons seemed to make this the most apparent. It again depended on who was performing. I've seen it more than once and it was a performance by the Bolshoi in London that really impressed me and seemed to make apparent so many interesting elements that Alexei Ratmansky is capable of highlighting, exploring and illustrating.

The duets and solos for the lead ballerina in Cinderella were surely exciting as performed by Diana Vishneva about ten years ago, and are beautiful, compelling and charming when performed by Alina Somova today.

I also recall very much enjoying a male performance in Dreams of Japan, for which he won the 1999 Golden Mask for Best Choreographer.

Here are some interesting comments about him from The Ballet Bag

"Dancing soon took him out of Eastern Europe to various companies in the West where he was exposed to different choreographers and styles. Absorbing all these influences he started developing his own choreographic language, a personal mix of influences by Petipa, Bournonville, Ashton, Balanchine and Tudor woven into narrative or abstract choreography.

"For Ratmansky, classical ballet can be kept alive as long as its human content is relevant, narrative being a particular trait in his works. Ratmansky often mentions that while for George Balanchine, one of his influences, it was all about the steps and abstraction, for him the steps are part of a conversation that blends craft and passion.

"His works are considered musical and fluid, probably a direct influence from his experience with Bournonville. He considers his choreography to be instinctive, the product of an analytical reaction to the score and physical response to the music (he used to put on music and film himself to observe how his body reacted naturally). That explains his preference for a more naturalistic port de bras, open chested stands, patterns that are circling, dynamic and constantly shifting, with suggestions of folk dance, as is the case with his Russian Seasons.

http://www.theballetbag.com/2009/11/12/ratmansky/


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:43 pm 
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Location: Chicago, USA
Cinderella. Saturday mat. FANTASTIC!!!

More later.

[ Post made via Mobile Device ] Image


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:37 pm 
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Location: USA-Switzerland
While we anxiously await Willie's enthusiastic report on the second performance led by Daria Pavlenko and Alexander Sergeyev, here is about the only reference I've found to either Maria Shirinkina or Ekaterina Osmolkina. It's from Sarah Kaufman at the Washington Post and seems quite complimentary.

"Ratmansky reserved all aspects of warmth and beauty for two characters alone: Cinderella and her prince. His mistreated heroine dreams only vaguely of love. Her great hope, as Maria Shirinkina made clear in this role Tuesday, was for freedom. In a world of tight, clenched body language, freedom equates to grace. And so we saw Shirinkina tentatively soften and round her movements in her first solo, and then produce a glorious, full-blown unfolding of grace in her dance at the ball with Vladimir Shklyarov’s prince."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertain ... story.html

Added comment:

When I said in a post above that I've seen Maria Shirinkina, whom I consider essentially a delicate ballerina, unexpectedly punch her way through works that required it, I was thinking more of Diana Vishneva's brilliant and athletically exciting performance from years ago. I probably could have thought more about the gentle grace also involved as apparently shown very effectively by Daria Pavlenko, Maria Shirinkina and I'm sure Ekaterina Osmolkina.


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:19 pm 
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Yes, Willie, as time permits, we all eagerly await your post! :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:05 pm 
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Please let me slip this in here. I watched the internet video clip of Alina Somova dancing the ballroom duet with Alexander Sergeyev (Daria Pavlenko's husband) for the first time in quite awhile. I've been particularly intrigued by one paragraph describing Alexei Ratmansky from The Ballet Bag that I posted yesterday.

"He considers his choreography to be instinctive, the product of an analytical reaction to the score and physical response to the *music* (he used to put on *music* and film himself to observe how his body reacted naturally)." [I added the *s].

The *Music*, I've read in several sources, is probably the main focus of Alexei Ratmansky's choreography. He has referred to going back to work on a piece as his return to the music. So when I read...."he used to put on *music* and film himself to observe how his body reacted naturally", I wanted to see if this showed up in an actual performance. For Daria Pavlenko (from another internet video clip), I would say that it does, because of the beautiful clarity of her motion.

For Alina Somova, I might go as far as to say that it doesn't. At least it's not that apparent. She does something different. She *Uses* the music.

Alina Somova -- *Uses* the Music -- To Take Flight -- and What A Flight It Is !

Based on my video watching, I would say that if you ever have a chance to see her perform this -- Go !


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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:07 pm 
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Buddy yes, thanks for the other list suggestion of Ratmansky Ballets. I *adore* Desyatnikov's music - first became acquainted with it via Alexei Miroshnichenko's Swann's Way, performed by Sergeyev and Novikova for a festival several years back. I have not been able to see "Seasons" yet however, as I wasn't in Moscow or NYC when it was performed. It's one I"d love to attend given the chance. I would say maybe the Mariinsky should perform this work at the festival? ALthough I know for 2013 Ratmansky's other new work, the Shostakovich ballet, is going to be performed at the Mariinsky (you heard it from me first!)

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 Post subject: Re: Mariinsky to Kennedy Center in Washington, DC: Oct 16-21
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:02 am 
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Catherine, Ratmansky has choreographed more than one Schostakovich ballet, the latest being 'Symphony no. 9' that premiered at ABT a couple of nights ago. The one to be danced by the Mariinsky is Concerto DSCH, created for the NYCB in 2008. It is a winner - my favorite Ratmansky ballet by a mile! (I love him when he sticks to pure-dance ballets and doesn't cheapen and/or mock full-evening classics and old-fashioned romantic glamour.) Although it's an ensemble work, Concerto DSCH has a role for a super-virtuoso female (role created by NYCB's technical phenom, Ashley Bouder). It will be interesting to see who, among the Mariinsky's female dancers, is cast in that. Maybe Novikova? Martinyuk? (Terioshkina, if she were not 'with child.') The 'Bouder character' dances with two virtuoso males; as Sarafanov no longers dances with the Mariinsky, maybe these will be Zyuzin and Schklyarov...Latypov, if Feteev would allow it for one just graduated? (Batalov would have been ideal a few yrs ago.) The other leads are a 'long, lean lyrical' couple, danced by Whelan/Millepied at the premiere in NY...and I would almost wager, this early, that this will go to Skoryk/Askerov, although Pavlenko/Sergeev would be divine in this. If 'age prejudice' were not a factor, Lopatkina and Korsuntsev would also be great. Let's see, months from now, if I made correct predictions!

As for touring in the eastern US, Ardani (the usual presenter) has been asking for simpler and simpler (fewer sets and costumes) ballets to tour because East-coast theatrical backstage unions cost so much overtime when eleborate sets and costumes are involved. That's why, of all classical ballets, the Kennedy Center got a re-run of Giselle two years ago (two acts, not three), even though the same ballet was at the KenCen 4 yrs earlier. Also why the minimalist Cinders came now (also a repeat from a few yrs ago)...not even Swan Lake, which could have been packed and flown to DC from San Fco, just like it was packed and flown rom LA to SFco quickly. That's also why ABT recently ditched its lovely-but-elaborate designs for Corsaire, instead going for a more minimalist look (based more on projections than true scenery)...too expensive to tour a full-length ballet with traditional elaborate sets.

The Mariinsky's Bayadere DID tour Canada in 2011 and was in DC in 2008. But arts funding has gone even further into the hole, so I doubt that the East Coast of the USA -- with highest wages for unions -- will see elaborate rich productions any time soon. The only two 'foreign' troupes in DC this entire season are/were the Mariinsky and the Canadians -- the later with a production of Alice that depends greatly on projections, rather than hard, true scenery.

So I honestly have no 'wish list' for future Mariinsky tours to the USA because I know that the ballets that I want to see -- Shuraleh, Spartacus, Raymonda and the old Vikharev-Petipa reconstructions -- are prohibitive in the USA, for various reasons (not just economical). Not much choice but to travel either to Russia or, perhaps, London, when there seems to be a bigger touring budget when the Hochausers are presenters.


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