Crisis at the Kirov Ballet?
Posted 15 December 2003 - 10:00 PM
What is your theater like? Is the stage big enough to hold the sets (when the Paris Opera Balletwas here, even the SF Opera House was too small, and thetemple had to be put flat on hte ground, with no staircase -- so when Nikiya made her entrance, she could not point her foot and announce herself... the Shades scene had t do without at least one layer of backdrop, so it looked quite peculiar.....
and if they'd come to Zellerbach, where the Kirov danced, there would have been even less room....
SO I was thinking maybe wwe didn't get Bayadee because it wouldn't fit into Zellerbach..
Though maybe that wasn't it at all - -and anyway, the maryinsky may not have as big a stage as the palais garnier.....
But what is YOUR theater like? DId hte production look good?
Posted 15 December 2003 - 10:15 PM
Posted 16 December 2003 - 04:31 AM
Obviously I can't speak for the whole of London, but I don't suppose I was the only one whose criticism was driven mainly by disappointment. We know from the Royal Ballet's best performances that Les Noces is one of the great masterpieces of the twentieth century, and the prospect of seeing it done by a great Russian company was very exciting: far from going along to pick it apart or to sniff, I was hoping to see it looking even greater. Then the curtain went up and we saw that they hadn't even finished learning the steps.
And even bringing a strongly performed Les Noces to London is risky. The English have a very strong relationship with this ballet. They were primed to pick it apart (not as good as the home team they sniffed, it is understandable considering the lineage of their own version0. ..... (although there might be as much of an arguement as to how they do Balanchine, the Etudes and Sacre as the Nijinska).
There was, also, a lot of disappointment with Sacre, and I wasn't very impressed myself with the way they did Etudes, though others like it.
Posted 16 December 2003 - 11:52 AM
Posted 17 December 2003 - 06:37 PM
The Kirov is concluding its Japanese tour tonight, and will be in Washington DC
next week through New Year's. The company has been on the road since June.
That's just too much. The company is exhausted. When they brought "Les Noces," "Etudes" and "Rite of Spring" to London, who could expect that they would turn in exemplary performances with minimal preparation and rehearsal? That's unrealistic. What is expected is competence and professionalism for the prices that the audience pays.
Vaziev is not a choreographer nor a good administrator, and this is the problem.
Y. Grigorovich in the 50s & 60s, and O. Vinogradov were at least choreographers. There are similarities between Grigorovich and Vinogradov: They were
both stage producers more than composers of steps, and they were autocrats. Their choreography illustrated rather than interpreted the music. A great choreographer interprets the music building on the old language, a new dialect of steps. Balanchine and Ashton did this. They created steps.
Also, when you divide the choice roles of the classical repertory between two ballerinas, as Vaziev has done, there's bound to be friction backstage. IMO I don't think Zakharova is a big loss to the Kirov stylistically or artistically. She's better
suited to the Bolshoi with her iconoclastic stage persona. She easily takes Volochkova's place & Vishneva would be perfect for NYCB. IMO, what Gergiev needs to do now is aggresively court Boris Eifman, not to leave his company, but to come and assist, as well as others such as Forsythe, Bourne and Eks, to come and create. Gergiev should open the doors of the Maryinsky with an open invitation to the best choreographers in Europe to come and work. Gergiev can showcase NEW works during the Maryinsky festival more agressively encouraging choreographic competions, etc. Ratmansky is a regretable loss, but Eifman is at least his equal.
Posted 22 December 2003 - 11:36 AM
I don't believe either that Eifman or an invasion of the European choreographers (controversial for anybody who still cares for classical ballet) you mention could in any way be a solution for the Mariinsky. Let's not forget that in the last years they had plenty of "new" choreography (Balanchine, Nijinska, MacMillan, Neumeier, Ratmansky, Simonov...), and as it seems far too much for their own good already. I would suggest to give them the time to digest what they acquired, let them really become "the home of Balanchine", and let them work on their own magnificent heritage (it's rich, but delicate enough so it needs attention), instead of producing yet another doubtful escapade in novelty.
Finally, it's beyond me why anybody with an "iconoclastic" stage persona would be more suited for the Bolshoi Ballet than for the Mariinsky, and I really don't get your comparison of Zakharova with Volochkova.
Posted 24 December 2003 - 02:10 PM
to do what needs to be done for the company. Vaziev needs more freedom, and
Gergiev needs to give this to him. Gergiev probably considers the ballet company a poor stepchild to the opera - his baby. I didn't consider that they should digest what they have already before taking on more stuff - of course, this is logical. Also, you're right, 'iconoclastic' is the wrong word. I'm comparing Zakharova with Volochkova artistically; IMO I think of them as non-conformists. Zakharova seems determined to distort line and style with her hyperextensions and introverted approach to the classics. Whereas, with Volochkova I base my verdict on the first hand opinions of someone who would know best her strengths and weaknesses - Ekaterina Maximova her (former?) coach. (Please see Bolshoi threads on 'Volochkova' et al.).
Happy Holidays to all!
Posted 24 December 2003 - 05:57 PM
While I was trying to find some time in my pre-Christmas bustle to reply to your first posting, Marc had already done it. Still I would like, Cygnet, to object to at least two of your points.
The first one is about Zakharova not being “a big loss to the Kirov stylistically or artistically”. In my opinion, a ballerina of Zakharova’s calibre would have been a great loss to any company. Although I don’t think she has matured as an actress yet ( she is still 24), however, she has a uniquely beautiful body, exquisite feet and arms and on the top of it her technique is outstanding. The beauty of her line and her gracefulness are exceptional. All this allows her to be called, as they do it in Mariinsky, an “Imperial ballerina”. Her departure to Moscow was one of the reasons why the Kirov’s Maestro became enraged with the ballet management.
Zakharova always keeps herself in excellent form and is a modest and quiet person, therefore I am completely taken aback by your suggestion that “she easily takes Volochkova's place”. Those who know these two ballerinas well would not even put their names on the same written line.
The second point. Your advice to Maestro to invite “the best choreographers in Europe” made me shudder at the mere thought of it. Isn’t your list too excessive? To invite all that lot to “create” in Mariinsky would be the best way to destroy the unique classical company as we know it. Crisis at the Kirov? They only have a problem with some aspects of management but Vaziev can be praised at least for creating a quite diverse repertoire for the company, and Mariinsky dancers proved that they can dance anything. However, “to open the doors” and flood their repertoire with supermodern choreography will be wrong. There are numerous companies in the world who dance 'creations' by avangardistic choreographers, some of them featuring on your list. Ask those companies to dance The Kingdom of Shades or Chopiniana – and what will you get?
Please let Mariinsky remain the guardian of that most specialised form of art which is called CLASSICAL BALLET.
Where the management problem is concerned I am sure it will be solved soon.
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