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St. Petersburg Conservatoire - Pavillon d'Armide, etc.

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March 3, 2002 - Diaghilev Double Bill:

'Pavillon d'Armide' - Nikita Dolgushin's reconstruction of the Fokine ballet with Bakst designs (full costumes; a 'hint' of the sets...maybe someday the full set can be reconstructed????). Complete Scherepnin score, played by the WONDERFUL orchestra of the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire.


'Pulcinella' - new reconstruction by Konstantin Shuvaschev, with Picasso designs. Stravinsky score played in full, including vocal soloists.

I'll add to this review later 'cause I'm a bit tired. Suffice to say that it was quite a treat to see these little-performed masterpieces of the Diaghilev Era. [Yes, technically, 'Pavillon' is pre-Diaghilev, premiering in St. Petes ca-1908, before the western tours.]

This is a wonderful, chamber-sized ballet troupe. [Take note, Washington Ballet - no reason why, if the powers that be so choose, you cannot be dancing such important reconstructions! hint-hint...although I'm really happy with WB's most recent programs, so I won't digress any further...]

Armide was danced by a classical sprite named Anna Fokina (any relation to THE Fokines?) & the Nijinsky role of the favorite slave was danced with brio & a VERY high jump by Kamil Nurligyanov. But I most admired, in this ballet, the restrained elegance & classical long physique of Sergei Golivin in the leading role of the Viscount. *HINT-THEORY - I think I know why this ballet 'Doesn't play in the USofA' - could it be that those little 'black sambos' holding the ostrich feathers or some of the other character dances hinting at 'exotic indigenous peoples' may not be PC enough for the west? If so then...OK, I'll bit my lip...but there are times when I feel nauseated by all of the PC-correctedness in the west. I hope that Russia never loses its innocent view of exotic peoples & locales, if presented lovingly, as it is in these ballets. [Alexandra - perhaps here is a topic for another forum if we dare? Have the arts in America become to 'PC-conscious'?]

The 'Pulcinella' was a HUGE surprise for me. What a gorgeous, atypical Stravinsky score...very Italian-carnivalesque! [Didn't NYCB-Balanchine have a version of this ballet?] It is very comedia dell-arte &, right now, I'm fading fast so I'll only mention the gorgeous dancing of Natalia Bashkirtseva as the pretty heroine Pimpinella and a Baryshnikov look-alike (in face & body type), Dmitri Lisenko, in the jovial title role.

This is one of several wonderful ballet troupes in this city that are hardly ever visited by foreign tourists, who usually go only to the Mariinsky or Maly. I hope to report on several other of these hidden treasures in future days/weeks.

- Jeannie Szoradi

St. Petersburg, Rossiya

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Please, get some rest, but then TELL US MORE..... I am SO eager to hear --

what is the choreography like for Pavillon -- how is it laid out, is it effective, what are hte high points, how are they prepared?

is hte little moor featured? There's such a creature in Strauss's opera ROsenkavalier, a darling boy, and the PC police haven't objected to his presence yet...... thank god.

A few years back, the Oakland ballet tried dancing hte moor in Petrouchka in blue-face, which was ludicrous -- and especially unnecessary, since hte dancer characterized him so well, he was actually LISTENING to the sloshing sound inside his coconut, you could see him get all upset by it and weren't at all surprised when he started attacking it with his scimitar..... They did Petrouchka very well here, with real character feeling, the bear was wonderful, the hopak during he mummers episode, and wonderful crescendo to the butter-week crowd scenes, the maids sweeping their scarves in the air as that big tune welled up and took over.

Actually, you may be interested to know, Oakland Ballet danced a number of those ballets -- Sheherezade...

So what was Pulcinella like?

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