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Kirov-Mariinsky Ballet in London


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#46 Kate B

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 05:53 AM

Thanks for the info, Marc! I looked at my prgramme again, and there is a biography for Elvira Tarassova! :) I guess I must have missed it because you're right, the photo looks nothing like her! I am also glad that you agree that she is a good soloist.

I was intrigued by you mentioning that Tatiana Tkachenko made a very good Lilac Fairy. I can imagine her in the role and hopefully one day they will bring Sleeping Beauty to London and I will see her in it!

Also, considering the fact she had not had very long to learn Medora, she did a fantastic job, and this only backs up my point that she is probably one to watch for the future.

I love balletalert! You learn so much! :)

#47 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 06:13 AM

Kate, sorry it wasn't clear, but it is Kunakova, Tkachenko's teacher, who was a great Lilac Fairy :).

#48 Kate B

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 02:06 PM

Oops! I guess she would be happier if she was asked to play Aurora. :wink: She'd make a good Aurora, too! :shrug:

#49 Alymer

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 03:31 PM

Very, very late I'm keeping my promise to write something about the Kirov. Unexpectedly I saw the first performance of Corsaire as well as the second night when Miss Vishneva graced us with her high extensions and brilliant smiles.
On that first night I thought the company looked extremely tired and somewhat overwhelmed by their schedule of performances. Shishov was a rather tentative Conrad - immeasurably better the second night, Zakharova was straqining so much she became positively grotesque at moments and while Sarafanov as Ali and Korsakov as Lankadem performed their variations beautifully, neither of them made much effect. It was only little Irina Golub as an odalisque who really brought life to the performance for me. Beautiful,, musical, seemingly effortless dancing,; like a bird singing.
Things had settled by the second performance - presumably everyone had enjoyed a decent night's sleep without any early calls. This was the only time I saw Zelensky all season. I felt he's now outgrown the role of Ali. He's too much the leading man to be anyone's slave and I wonder he doesn't move across to dance Conrad. I was also sorry that his spectacular variation consisted mainly of 'trick' steps. I remember when he could bring the house down simply by performing the choreography as set.
The highlight of the season for me was Bayadere and I should say here that it was far more interesting having read what other people had posted here about the production, in particular what Doug wrote.
I saw all three casts and enjoyed the production more every time I saw it. For me the ballet gained hugely, the structure was clear, there was logic to the story and to the sequence of dances. Moments when you said to yourself "I wonder why he/she does that?" became obvious. And was I glad to see the back of the Golden God.
I think we had the entire production with the exception of one dance in the second act. There is a group of women in the procession with golden headdresses and yellow skirts who did nothing but process and I guess they must have some kind of number.
Going back to what Doug wrote about the Shades, as far as I couold tell they do exactly the same version as always. The one exception was that Pavlenko's final entrance was very like what he described as being in the notation .... jump into arabesque, rond de jambe en l'air. All the other Nikya's did the standard Kirov version.
Of the ballerinas I probably liked Pavlenko best; very pure, sincere dancing and the poor girl had just risen from her sick bed. But all had something to offer. Likewise all the Solor's; Fadeyev I think gave the best all round performance, Sarafanov danced exquistly and acted well - but he does look about 12 years old which is something of a disadvantage. Kolb is not a dancer I particularly care for but his dancing was all you could wish for, his acting very detailed and his agonized run across the stage after Nikya's shade in Act 3 was mind-blowing. But to sum up,
To mention other casts and other roles would take all night and endless space, so I'll just say that most were good, some excellent.
I didn't see the 'Noces' programme, and on the whole I'm glad. I first saw that with Beriosova as the bride and Dowell as one of the leaders of the festivities, and I suspect it would be hard for anything to match that.
I did though, enjoy the Contrasts programme or at least some of it. Serenade was fine with Sologub, Golub and Gumerova partnered by Korsuntsev and Baranov, both gentlemen somewhat outclassed by the ladies I thought. Rite, I originally saw with Joffrey some 15 years ago. I didn't believe in it then and I found it still less credible this time around.
Etudes though, was great. It's a ballet I love and although the Kirov is still finding its way around the piece, rather like driving a new car - nothing's quite easy and natural yet, I thought they did it proud. It was especially good to see the men of the corps de ballet getting a chance to show off their technique on stage. Zakharova was great in the ballerina role - less good perhaps in the Romantic section which I find a bit of a bore anyway. And as for Fadeyev and Sarafanov, well perhaps they weren't quite Bruhn and Flindt, but you'd travel a long way to see better. Fadeyev's turns were sensational and I think it will be a long time before I see anything more exhilarating, precise and beautiful than Sarafanov in the last sequence of beaten steps. Really terrific. I hope the company keeps performing it.
Finally, I have to say just how awful the sightlines are at Covent Garden. I sat in the stalls, stalls circle side, balcony side and towards the centre, and never had a view without an obstruction. And I'm reasonably tall. Frankly, they should have pulled the place down and built a decent theatre.

#50 doug

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Posted 19 August 2003 - 09:58 PM

Alymer, thank you so much for your detailed comments about the Shades scene. I appreciate knowing part what was danced in the coda. I could kick myself for not getting to New York to see it when it played there. Glad you enjoyed it.

#51 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 01:41 AM

Thank you for sharing your impressions about the Mariinsky season, Alymer.

La Bayadère was indeed given complete, with the exception of (as said above) the number with the yellow, Balineselike girls, opening the dances in the 2nd Act. For some reason they hardly ever perform this on tours. The girls did take part in the procession, though, but didn’t dance.
As for the coda of the Shades Act, they seem to perform it both ways now (even Pavlenko sometimes does the old, standard version).

As a general impression I think that in spite of the often good dancing that was on display during this tour, very little came across as of any dramatic consequence within the ballets. Best example is probably Corsaire where all generally danced well, but in fact as you mention without much effect.

Quite agree about the sightlines in this theatre. As far as anybody complains, you need to look hard for finding a seat from where you have a comfortable view (having to pay £ 45-50 to see less than half of the stage makes it even harder to accept). That definitely was a huge mistake.

#52 Viviane

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 02:34 AM

Alymer, I enjoyed your 'Kirov season in a nutshell' thoroughly :) The more your impressions and vision is spot-on ! I too, am enjoying 'La Bayadère' more and more.
Marc, I'm surprised to read that the openingdance of the 2nd.Act is only performed in their homecountry !? It would be interesting to know what's the reason.

Speaking about the ROH sightlines : this is indeed a big let-down. Every time I'm there I'm annoyed by it. It's obvious one has chosen -along with a conservative restoration- for the highest possible number of seats without taking into concern the confort these are bringing to the spectator. This is a point of view that's no longer favorised in todays approach of architectural conservation. I can't imagine this idea found his source in the architects-masterplan for the site.
For the "Contrasts"-programme, I had a 45£ seat at the Balcony...and I had to stand the whole time to see the dancers :wink: I'm pretty convinced to travel more to Paris next season !
I also have serious doubts about the safety precautions they used : it takes too much time to evacuate the theatre when you're sitting on the right-side.
In Italy there was an uproar when one heard that only a part of the original auditorium of Milan's 'La Scala' will be conserved. I'm looking forward to see the result !

#53 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 20 August 2003 - 03:20 AM

Viviane, it's quite common for the Mariinsky to drop dances or sections from their productions while on tour. We had this all the time with the old Soviet versions of La Bayadère and Sleeping Beauty (and even with the new-old Beauty). It can be for obvious manpower (or lack thereof) reasons, but have no idea why they don't perform the little dance of the Balineselike girls, as there is really nothing to it (Although as far as I remember the girls who paraded in London weren't even Mariinsky).

#54 Alexandra

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Posted 25 August 2003 - 09:58 AM

I'm coming very late to this thread, but wanted to thank Alymer for taking the time to write -- I love your "rather like driving a new car." What a perfect image for many a good company taking on a new ballet.

I'm surprised to read about the sight lines at Covent Garden. I would think there would be an uproar since so many seats have poor views!

Thanks to everyone who wrote about the Kirov, from those of us who couldn't be there. In DC, unfortunately, we're getting their new Nutcracker and Swan Lake, and ABT's La Bayadere.


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