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Maryinsky Festival in St. Petersburg


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#1 Kevin Ng

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Posted 12 March 2002 - 08:00 AM

What a feast of dancing there is on offer in this Festival - 10 performances with a different programme every night. There is more variety than in the Kirov's London seasons. I wrote on the new Cinderella last Saturday in another thread.

On Sunday night, the Bolshoi star Nikolai Tsiskaridze brought the house down with his electrifying performance as the Golden Slave in Scheherazade. Vladimir Malakhov danced stylishly as the poet in Chopiniana and gave a touching performance in Petrushka. Daria Pavlenko danced beautifully in the Prelude in Chopiniana.

Last night I saw for the first time the Kirov's new production of Nutcracker (choreographed by Kirill Simonov) which was premiered in the Maryinsky Festival last year. I remember that NO7 reviewed it in length here last year.

Whatever the faults of this production, it was redeemed by the marvellous dancing, as usual, of the Kirov company. Daria Pavlenko danced the Snow Queen with grandeur. Natalia Sologub portrayed Masha's teenage innocence with feeling, and in the grand pas de deux in Act 2 her dancing shone with brilliance. She coped well with the many off-centred pirouettes in her solo choreographed by Simonov. And she was lucky in having Andrian Fadeyev as her partner.

I have long admired Fadeyev's pure classical style since I first saw him in the Kirov's 1997 London season. Fadeyev was sublime as the Nutcracker Prince. His performance was truly classical, had grace and harmony. His solo, with many quick jumps packed in a sequence in Simonov's choreography, was seemlessly danced as if in one phrase. What musicality! I greatly look forward to his Romeo on Saturday with the Paris Opera Ballet etoile Aurelie Dupont.

Kevin Ng,
Hotel Astoria, St. Petersburg

[ March 15, 2002, 08:06 AM: Message edited by: Kevin Ng ]

#2 vrsfanatic

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Posted 12 March 2002 - 08:09 AM

Thank you Kevin for the update on the events in St. Petersburg! Again, reading your review has been absolutely enjoyable! Wish so much I where there. Give my best to all who may remember me! Keep the reviews coming.

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 13 March 2002 - 12:41 AM

Clement Crisp reports from St. Petersburg:

East and west, Fokine is best

quote:


Winter still has its grip on St Petersburg. There is ice on the Neva, the canals are frozen, and brilliant sun alternates with driving snow and frozen pavements. The gold spire of the Admiralty building catches the wintry light, and so it does in Alexandre Benois' design for the fair in Petrushka, one of the works in the second Mariinsky Ballet Festival which began last weekend. Ten evenings, foreign stars - several from the Paris Opera - and programming which shows how the Kirov troupe is bridging the two worlds implicit in its own miraculous history and in the need for fresh creative ideas, especially from the west.



#4 Kevin Ng

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Posted 15 March 2002 - 08:05 AM

Manon on Wed. was led by a stellar cast - Diana Vishneva and Manuel Legris. Vishneva was absolutely splendid in the title role. She was totally immersed in the role, and her acting was richly nuanced. Her solo in Madame's salon was beautifully danced. Vishneva was more moving in the role than Svetlana Zakharova whom I saw in London last summer. Legris's beauty of line in adagio - in those arabesque penchees - recalled Dowell, the creator of the role of Des Grieux. It was a marvellous partnership.

Le Corsaire the night before was grandly danced. Svetlana Zakharova displayed her iron-clad technique as Medora, and Elvira Tarasova danced marvellously as Gulnara. Igor Kolb dazzled as Ali, though slightly lacking in charisma. In the Jardin Anime scene, the corps de ballet was enhanced by six pairs of students from the Vaganova Academy, unlike at Covent Garden. And there were three fountains in the Maryinsky Theatre instead of two in London. Irina Golub was delightful as the first odalisque.

Tonight, Nicolas Le Riche will dance The Prodigal Son with Daria Pavlenko in the Balanchine programme. Manuel Legris will dance Rubies with Vishneva.

[ March 16, 2002, 03:26 AM: Message edited by: Kevin Ng ]

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 17 March 2002 - 11:19 PM

Gulyara Sadykh-zade on the Kirov's new Cinderella, from the St. Petersburg Times -- interesting background on Ratmansky's career and analysis of the current repertory, as well as a full description of the ballet:

the return of 'cinderella'

quote:


Since that time, Ratmansky has gained a reputation as the country's most promising young choreographer, one with a gift for combing his romantic inclinations with a rare ability to step back from established dance devices, to turn them this way and that and, in doing so, to draw from them new images and new content.

Ratmansky's choreographic instincts pull him toward miniatures rather than grand-scale affairs, toward precise and graphically strict pictures. His works lack the integrity and expressiveness of the previous generation of ballet masters. This may be why he ultimately declined to choreograph Mikhail Shemyakin's "The Nutcracker" last season.



#6 Kevin Ng

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Posted 18 March 2002 - 03:20 AM

There were many memorable performances to be seen over the weekend. Manuel Legris was splendid as the soloist in Rubies partnering Diana Vishneva, who once again confirmed my opinion that she is the finest Rubies ballerina anywhere at present. (Vishneva, incidentally, is on the cover of the latest issue of the Russian magazine "Ballet Art" which was just published last weekend.)

Nicolas Le Riche won ovations for his moving performance of The Prodigal Son, and Daria Pavlenko was alluring as the Siren. Vladimir Malakhov danced beautifully as Des Grieux in Manon, and the ending when he cried after Manon's death was truly heart-breaking.

Natalia Sologub was dancing at almost every performance - in the two Neumeier ballets yesterday afternooon, in the Waltz in Serenade, and as Lescaut's mistress in Manon. Vasily Sherbakov danced impressively as Lescaut. Irina Golub made two outstanding debuts - as the Russian ballerina in Serenade, and in the Troubador pas de deux in the Lavrovsky Romeo and Juliet.

Aurelie Dupont was a lyrical and moving Juliet, well matched with Andrian Fadeyev. Their pas de deux were poetic. Fadeyev's acting was richly nuanced. The tragic ending was heart-rending. Fadeyev also showed his dramatic intensity as the composer Schnitke in Neumeier's Sounds of Empty Pages.

[ March 19, 2002, 03:36 AM: Message edited by: Kevin Ng ]

#7 Dale

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Posted 18 March 2002 - 07:28 AM

Kevin, thank you for the reviews. It's the next-best thing to being there, which, unfortuntely, I can't. I can imagine, especially after seeing an ultra serious, glacial Diamond in D.C. and as a fearsome demi-soloist wilis in Giselle, that Pavlenko would be excellent as the Siren. Can you tell what made La Riche's performance so admired?

quote:


Originally posted by Kevin Ng:
There were many memorable performances to be seen over the weeekend. Manuel Legris was splendid as the soloist in Rubies partnering Diana Vishneva, who once again confirmed my opinion that she is the finest Rubies ballerina anywhere at present.

Kevin, have you seen NYCB's Miranda Weese in Rubies? As the saying goes, there is more than one way to skin a cat. I've seen Vishneva in the ballet and she is extremely good. It's a perfect part for her, allowing her to play the appealing showgirl.

But Weese also is exquisite in the role -- technically assured, physically beautiful and playfully witty. She approaches the part like a glamorous '30s heroine in a sophisticated play or film.

Cargill wrote of her 1998 performance in Dance View, "Miranda Weese and Damian Woetzel danced the lead couple. Weese has a completely different approach to the role than the joyful, straightforward performance of Patricia McBride. Weese danced with an air of detachment, rather like a fashion model. It came across as almost a take-off on the Siren from The Prodigal Son, with the slightly oriental arms and snakey positions. Weese danced the role with the unconscious superiority and supreme assurance only a truly beautiful woman can have, but her witty timing and sharp dancing seemed at the same time to be subtly mocking this attitude. I don't know whether this multi-layered approach was intentional, but it was very funny."

And Laura Jacobs wrote in a overview/review of Jewels in 1998 for the New Criterion, "Weese in “Rubies” was another story. While Margaret Tracey had great glitter, she tired visibly, showing chinks. Wendy Whelan had wit and snap, yet there was no sense of seduction, or, as critic Robert Greskovic put it, “no silk.” Weese, however, put silky and sinful together, adding her own prancing élan. The longer she was on stage, the stronger and more tonally secure she got— and she took the audience with her. I’ve never seen a bare back used to such effect in this ballet. It somehow magnified her serenely correct carriage, which in turn called attention to her reserves of stillness, a facet of true musicality and something very rare in ballet today (though it didn’t used to be rare). In start-and-stop “Rubies,” Weese used her ability to really stop (versus the usual pause), and showed what a decisive, dramatic impact a full stop can have. In the three Jewels I saw, “Rubies” was the ballet that caught the audience—its energies are cracklingly coherent in the computer age— and it was Weese’s “Rubies” that plugged in."

Jewels, especially Rubies, is an extremely popular ballet now and there are many strong peroformers doing the McBride part.

#8 Estelle

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Posted 18 March 2002 - 08:39 AM

Thanks for the review, Kevin. I saw Legris in "Rubies" twice (once with Isabelle Guérin and once with Delphine Moussin), and I think that it's a role that suits him perfectly.

Dale, thanks for the quotes about "Rubies". Have "Emeralds" and "Diamonds" ever been performed alone too, or is "Rubies" the only part which can be performed separately? Actually, I preferred it when I saw it inside the whole ballet, it provided a good contrast with the other two parts.

#9 Dale

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Posted 18 March 2002 - 09:03 AM

NYCB has performed Diamond alone for an All-Tchiakovsky evening. And I think Cincinnati Ballet has done so as well. I've never seen Emeralds by itself, but performing it on its own might allow viewers to really focus on it. It's strange, but people new to Jewels (or at least the ones I bring to Jewels) always say Rubies, "Oh, that was the best. The first part was boring." And then they are blown away but the sheer magnitude of Diamonds and rave about it when the evening is over. But the more they watch ballet, Emeralds becomes the part that haunts them.

#10 Estelle

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Posted 18 March 2002 - 10:29 AM

Well, after the performance of "Rubies" that I saw yesterday in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, I heard a lady "that was so beautiful, but what a bizarre music"... smile.gif

#11 Dale

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Posted 23 March 2002 - 01:41 AM

A link to photoes from the festival:

http://www.ballet.co...ry&day=&lang=en


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