Kirov Ballet's San Francisco opener reviewed by Ann Murphy Kirov Ballet's opener a brilliant, thrilling spectacle (to cut to the chase: Vishneva did not do Firebird)
The program opened with Fokine's dreamy "Chopiniana,"(better known as "Les Sylphides"), a plotless dance that distills the essence of Romantic-era ballet despite minimal virtuosic footwork, set to five piano pieces by Chopin. This was followed by the once exotic and still fiercely libidinous "Scheherazade," choreographed to a haunting, symphonic suite by Rimsky-Korsakov. The program ended with a riveting production of "Firebird," a dream-like narrative ballet based on a Russian fairy tale about faith, purification and mythic love set to Stravinsky's score.
Created between 1909 and 1910 and first staged in Paris, these three dances helped revolutionize ballet with their unprecedented fusion of music, dance and decor. "Scheherazade" and "Firebird" once shocked and captivated audiences,
the former with its sexuality and the latter with its exoticism. While contemporary audiences may be imperturbable, the sheer kinesthetic wizardry of these ballets, and the brilliance of their spectacle in an age when almost nothing impresses theatergoers, testify to their structural genius and movement invention.
Another review of the Kirov, by Mary Ellen Hunt in the Contra Costa Times:
Kirov worth the long wait
A CERTAIN kind of ineffable grandeur descends upon Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall this week with the return of Russia's Kirov Ballet and Orchestra to the Bay Area after a 12-year hiatus.
The opening program Tuesday night offered not just imperial flourishes but a magisterial sweep, by way of three works from one of the 20th century's most influential choreographers, Mikhail Fokine.
Accompanied by its home orchestra -- under the baton of general director Valery Gergiev for two-thirds of the program -- and with sets as beautiful as they were elaborate for every ballet, the Kirov put its best foot forward. To judge by the cheers from the audience, this impressive display was surely worth the extra effort and expense.
And another reveiw, by Asya Passinsky Ballet Toes Line Between Old and New
Graceful, pink-tutu'd ballerinas chasséing across the stage of "Swan Lake"—this was the creation of the legendary Kirov Ballet. Now, for the first time in 12 years, the world-renowned company is back in the Bay Area, accompanied by the Kirov Orchestra.
Tuesday night marked the debut of the first of two programs, which consists of three separate one-act ballets choreographed by Mikhail Fokine in the early 20th century: "Chopiniana," "Scheherazade" and "The Firebird."
"Chopiniana," set to music by Frederic Chopin, began the evening as the most traditional, classical Russian ballet. The corps de ballet, dressed in long, white, flowing gowns, had numerous opportunities to showcase their unparalleled technique. One moment all the dancers stood still, the next they began moving as one body, their movements perfectly coinciding. The effect was like looking at a painting liquefying and coming alive for one breath.
"Graceful, pink-tutu'd ballerinas" in Swan Lake. No wonder Fokine rebelled!