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Kirov-Mariinsky Ballet in London


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#1 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 09:03 AM

The site of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden already posted a somewhat different, second version of the casting list for the Kirov tour in London. http://www.royaloper...aoca=24&aocr=27
Nothing to surprise us, but still a slightly bizarre line-up. Absent from this tour seem to be Zhanna Ayupova, Irma Nioradze, Yulia Makhalina, and of course Uliana Lopatkina and Maya Dumchenko. Diana Vishneva is now listed for one performance only, "Le Corsaire" in the beginning of the season. For the remainder the performances are more or less "divided" among Svetlana Zakharova, Daria Pavlenko, and Sofia Gumerova. While Xenia Ostreikovskaya, Natalia Sologub, and the new faces for London Ekaterina Kondaurova, Viktoria Tereshkina, and Daria Sukhorukova dance some principal roles as well.
There will be a strong contingent of men with Farukh Ruzimatov, Igor Zelensky, Danila Korsuntsev, Igor Kolb, Andrian Fadeyev, Ilya Kuznetsov, Anton Korsakov, while Leonid Sarafanov and Vladimir Shishov also seem to get more prominence.

The company will present its three recently acquired ballets: "Rite of Spring", "Les noces", and "Etudes".

Any comments?

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 26 June 2003 - 09:44 AM

I do hope someone goes and reports. Ekaterina Kondaurova is the young debutante I saw here in Washington do "Shades" and I thought her very promising. (And, while Pavlenko isn't one of the "big stars" I'd rather see her than some of her more prominent sisters :D )

#3 Kate B

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Posted 27 June 2003 - 12:37 AM

I am going to Swan Lake and La Bayadere. I've seen the Kirov do these before and I was knocked out last time, so I'm pretty excited about going again! I will do my best to report on them!

#4 Tracey

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Posted 27 June 2003 - 01:10 AM

Kate, I'm jealous! I was looking at trying to come up for one of the La Bayadere performances, but Paul can't get the time off (and he won't let me travel back on my own that late - not even going to broach the subject with him!) and I can't believe the prices! They want 45 for our usual 25 seats, so I was even prepared to go in the slips and watch 'half' a performance!

Next time I guess......:)

Have fun, let us know what it's like.

Tracey

#5 Naoko S

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Posted 29 June 2003 - 11:46 AM

Tracey, as a regular 'slips' goer, I just wanted to say a word - it's not really bad as long as you can get earlier numbers in the slips. For instance this time round I could book Nos. either 1, 2 or 3 in the front row of the slips and am convinced this is the best value seat at 8.5 quid (remember even Standing area costs 15 quid?). You can get a pretty good view from there - only losing the side of the stage you're on. All the same it's a shame you won't be able to make it....

About casting info. - it's very odd indeed; even 'reinstated' Vishneva (I'd say so as in Japan she officially pulled off the scheduled performances for the very reason of joining Kirov's London tour!) will not be dancing on the first night. Makhalina's absence now is rather dissapointing although she's not my particular favourite, to be replaced in Scherazade by another promising (?) Coryphee, Tkachenko (who's she?). With this line-up all my expectations are on Pavlenko; as long as she's coming there's something to look forward to.....

#6 Tracey

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Posted 30 June 2003 - 03:30 AM

Thank you Naoko, I'll remember that for the future.

Tracey

#7 Natalia

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Posted 30 June 2003 - 07:43 AM

Naoko - Tat'jana Tkachenko is one of the brightest lights among the up-and-coming Kirov dancers. New Yorkers may remember her vivacious Street Dancer in the opening 'Don Quixote' one year ago. However...I have a hard time picturing T.T. as a Scheherazade, as she is a shortish soubrete type of gal...not at all in the Makhalina or Ilze Liepa or Alexandra Gronskaya mold. Sort of like Reese Witherspoon as Cleopatra?

#8 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 12:43 AM

With the season opening in Covent Garden today, it's time to bump this thread up. We're all waiting for your reports! :unsure:

#9 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 05:16 AM

Not that it will surprise anybody, but there are already some important cast changes for the first two programs. Ilya Kuznetsov is not in London for the moment.
Daria Pavlenko is indisposed and there is only a small chance she will dance at all on this tour. For her scheduled Swan Lake on July 25 she is replaced by Sofia Gumerova.

#10 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 25 July 2003 - 05:45 AM

If the Kirov way with Le Corsaire is still highly enjoyable in general, the performance I saw on Wednesday night at Covent Garden couldn't make me forget performances from previous seasons, led by Asylmuratova, Terekhova, Chenchikova, Nioradze or Makhalina.
It was precisely the leading lady who left much to be desired. Sofia Gumerova was a lacklustre Medora. She had some moments of grace in the final act, but most of what came before was painfully insignificant. The effort it took her to get through the pas de trois was far too obvious, the steps were delivered without any authority, let alone imagination, while in the market scene she got completely drowned by the surroundings. Most of all her character is totally uninteresting and I kept wondering why on earth these guys ever came back to save her from the harem.
Veteran Elvira Tarassova cut a much more interesting Gulnara, danced strongly, even though, there were moments she simplified the choreography in the pas d'Esclave.
The men were on the whole satisfying: Shishov made a solid, well-danced Conrad and if only he could create a rapport with his Medora, his character could become interesting. Igor Kolb may lack the exotic quality for Ali, but he danced with panache, commitment, and joy. Andrian Fadeyev was an excellent Lankedem, and even if he cannot dispell memories of Zaklinsky or Zavialov in the role, his character was alive and witty. Above all he danced superbly in the pas d'Esclave. Islom Baimuradov was by far the best Birbanto I have ever seen.
There was a time when the three odaliques in the 3rd Act were girls of exactly the same heighth, yet now this doesn't seem to matter anymore, with Sukhorukova towering over Gonchar and Tkachenko. None of them was really interesting, but Sukhorukova hurling herself about was properly appalling. They all seemed to dance pretty much on their own, attacking the variations as competition numbers and talking while they were performing.
There were fine supporting roles from Ponomarev as the lusty pasha, from Rassadina and Rakhmanova in the character dances. Corps de ballet dancing was fair and maestro Boris Gruzin provided excellent support.

#11 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 27 July 2003 - 02:44 AM

Things clearly fell into place on the opening night's Swan Lake, led by superstar couple Svetlana Zakharova and Igor Zelensky. The corps showed impeccable lines and the whole ensemble breathed an air of authority. The pas de trois highlighted some great dancing, mainly thanks to light-footed Irina Zhelonkina and Anton Korsakov.
I haven't seen that many Swan Lakes from the Kirov where the prince has the edge over his Odette-Odile, but in this case I felt he had. Igor Zelensky, slimmer and with a much more attractive haircut, in one of his most inspired moments, made the most ravishing of princes, beautifully danced and above all moving with a great feel for dramatic detail, disproving the often heard criticism that prince Siegfried in K. Sergeyev's version is nothing but a cardboard character. He might be in the hands of many dancers, but not this night with Zelensky. He partnered with loving care and attentiveness, and that he skipped the lifts really seemed unimportant when there was so much else happening.
Zelensky definitely sparked Zakharova off and the duets had a sincerity and warmth not often seen with her. It wasn't the emotionalism we had with Pavlenko and Kolb (Zakharova's dramatic range is far too limited for that), but on the whole it was a highly satisfying partnership.
On her own there was the usual weird phrasing and accentuation, with a tendency to over-emphasize positions instead of showing the flow of the movement, particularly noticeable in the variations. Although in a lesser degree than in some of her other roles (like Le Corsaire) Zakharova's dancing has far too many of the "Wow!" moments of technical bravura, and an overall view seems to be absent. Dramatic or emotional climaxes are only tentative, and even look shy, as in the final scene of the White act, where in spite that Zelensky's pulled out all the stops, she slipped into the wings without much fuss.

The second night's Swan Lake was by comparison a non-event, because of the leading couple Sofia Gumerova and Danila Korsuntsev, adequate, but utterly dull.

#12 scuffite

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Posted 27 July 2003 - 06:11 AM

Marc, I will be in London from August 8. The only Kirov performances on from August 9 are Le Corsaire for both matinee and evening. If the casting is not changed (and assuming that there are still tickets), would you recommend the matinee or the evening performance? I am thinking matinee would be preferable? Thank you!

#13 Alexandra

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Posted 27 July 2003 - 07:06 AM

Thanks for those reports, Marc. The "Corsaire" does sound dispiriting and matches what I've gotten from friends in emails (with promises to post -- are you out there today? :D ) I haven't heard any reports about "Swan Lake" yet and so was all the more glad to read yours. In the performances I've seen from him, I've found Zelensky uneven, yet I've always thought the potential was there, and am very glad to read he was in such good form.

Londoners or traveling Kirov watchers? What did you think?

#14 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 27 July 2003 - 12:59 PM

Hard to choose for you, Scuffite, but I would take the evening performance, as the closing nights of the Kirov seasons always have something special - but I hope you will still find any tickets; they are really selling well and the final performances will definitely sell out (if they haven't already).

I much enjoyed the final Swan Lake (of the first run) led by Natalia Sologub and Igor Kolb. Sologub was especially interesting as Odile, with a superbly danced variation, in fact very classical, happily avoiding all tricks and excesses found with other dancers. I found her Odette dramatically more uneven and at times there was some hardness in her delivery, but she is definitely a Swan to look out for in the future.
The magic of the Pavlenko-Kolb partnership wasn't repeated, but let's say there were a lot of interesting ideas, as in the final scene of the White Act (something which couldn't be said of the previous night with Gumerova and Korsuntsev) and with some more rehearsing the adages can turn out a lot better than they did last night. Kolb was excellent again, even though his character was less complete and consistent than with Pavlenko.

It's funny that they really didn't succeed all that well in Corsaire this time. It used to be one of their most entertaining night's out - not so long ago.

#15 scuffite

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Posted 27 July 2003 - 08:43 PM

Thank you Marc. Not sure about the evening but the matinee still has single seats left. Still checking .....

I just read Clement Crisp's review of Le Corsaire by the Kirov in London. About Svetlana Zakharova, "so compelling in other ballets, tears into the role like an arrow, and kills it stone dead". The 2 male leads get better reviews though - "As the hero, Conrad, we had the unexepected debut of Vladimir Shishov, dancing handsomely and looking handsome, with the young and very gifted Leonid Sarafanov as his side-kick, Ali." This is the very same cast that will be doing the closing.


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