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Maria Alexandrova as Odette / Odile


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#1 sophia

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Posted 20 May 2005 - 12:03 PM

I heard that Maria Alexandrova made her debut as Odette / Odile in "Swan Lake" on May 14th. I find that dancer really extraordinary, she is a real marvel to me, "something" I had never seen before ( I discovered her in Paris last year). Did someone hear about her performance?

#2 dachnitsa

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 06:48 AM

On http://www.bolshoi.o...a/alex-swan.htm you may find a (very unflattering) review on Maria Alexandrova' s debut.

Despite living in Moscow I was unfortunately not able to attend the performance so that I cannot gainsay the given opinion.

#3 Natalia

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 09:21 AM

Thanks for the link, dachnitsa.

I suspect that Alexandrova is one of those dancers whose Odette-Odile will be more appreciated by Western audiences. Russian balletomanes are very set in their expectations of the "look" of their Odettes, in particular. They should have an 'angelic' face, softer/less angular lines than Alexandrova.

#4 bart

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 09:37 AM

I'm also grateful for the link, dachnitsa. Boy, those Russian reviewers take no hostages, especially when it comes to body types.

The review makes some interesting points about emploi, which sent me back to a thread on Aesthetic Issues: "Balanchine and Emploi."

The writer (L. Rozum) comments: "Maria Alexandrova's debut leaves much to be desired as well and leaves us to regret that the notion of 'line' or 'emploi' in lost in ballet practice. But parts are still divided into 'categories' -- for demi-charactere dancer and for danceur noble. It should be taken into consideration that not every ballet part will yield to a solist, even a strong and bright one. ... So, perhaps, the management of the Bolshoi shouldn't have complied with the desire of the ballerina who is certainly not destined to do this fantastically complex part. They should have explained everything to her and this way helped her to escape this career fault."

Sound familiar?

#5 carbro

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 11:40 AM

Welcome, dachnitsa, to BalletTalk! And thank you so much for the link. The practice of throwing young dancers into roles before they are ready is, unfortunately, not unknown in the US.

Would you like to stop by our Welcome Page please, and tell us a bit about yourself? As you can see, our Russian forums are very active. Glad you're joining the fray. The more, the merrier!

#6 atm711

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 03:27 AM

I can only describe the review as a hatchet job---is the writer a professional journalist? The writer is an admirer of Bessmertnova, a dancer I was neveer particularly taken with.

#7 ina

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 07:30 AM

I can only describe the review as a hatchet job---is the writer a professional journalist?   The writer is an admirer of Bessmertnova, a dancer I was neveer particularly taken with.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I have never seen the articles of this author, Rozum, in the newspapers or magazines, at least those, which have authority and name in reviewing culture. The articles on the site bolshoi.org can hardly fit the "press" category since they appear only on this virtual resource which, to be frank, is organized and supported by the claque. And Alexandrova is far from being among their favorites.
Of course “Swan Lake” was a challenging experiment for her, which from my point of view didn’t turn out to be 100% successful. Yet it didn’t turn out to be a disaster as one may conclude from Rozum writings. A number of reviews by moscow balletgoers on this subject can be found on http://forum.balet.ru in the Балет110 section. From my opinion Alexandrova with her shining assertiveness is more Raymonda than a Swan, especially in the conventional Russian sense described by Natalia. :) But I hope that some day she will find her own, special way to a convincing Swan. Whatever “writers” write, she is a ballerina.

#8 bart

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 11:03 AM

Ina, I'd love to hear more about "the claque" at the Bolshoi (within the limits of Ballet Talk's no-gossip rules, of course). The Bolshoi.org site is quite elaborate, sophisticated and -- I would think -- difficult to maintain. Well beyond the resources of your usual group of fans.

#9 Mikhail

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 01:24 PM

Bart,
you have a rare chance to obtain a first hand information from the claqueurs themselves. Here is the link to the same site, to the article by Irina Vinogradova (also unknown to the readers of conventional press). It gives the Claque profile in case one reads it cum grano salis:
http://pr.bolshoi.ne...s/iv_230903.htm .
Unfortunately, it is in Russian, may be Natalia will take pains to expound the most ugly parts of it.

#10 Natalia

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 02:37 PM

Thanks, Mikhail. I'll take it home tonight & give it a stab. At quick glance it has some shocking stuff but a lot of it is similar to what I'm aware of in St. Petersburg.

At the Mariinsky, a tall, dark-haired fellow known as "Yevgeni" is the Tsar of the Claquers. Anybody who has spent substantial time at that theater knows exactly of whom I speak. (wink) At the last Mariinsky Festival, tickets were so expensive that Yevgeni was rarely able to move "up" (actually, down to Stalls/Orchestra) from his perch up in the Gallery. We couldn't see him but, yes, we heard him loud and clear!

#11 Cygnet

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 04:01 PM

I can only describe the review as a hatchet job---is the writer a professional journalist?  The writer is an admirer of Bessmertnova, a dancer I was neveer particularly taken with.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I agree, the review was excessive. Alexandrova is an exceptional dancer.
This is a good example of destructive criticism. There's no encouragement at all.
Perhaps Grigorovich's version of SL is not the production she should dance.
And if so, that's okay. Vishneva has danced SL, but not with the Maryinsky. She's going to dance it with ABT, and has danced with the Berlin, the Tokyo and in Italy. These were stylistically valid moves on her part - and wise. Her style is very open, it would look 'different' in the Sergueyev production. This same "reviewer" completely blew Zakharova's May 2005 debut in Raymonda out the water in the same way. This person a) compared Sveta's Raymonda to her coach Semenyaka - wrong, and b) argued that the best coach (?) for Sveta in this ballet should have been Bessmertnova. Not so. IMO Bessmertnova was totally miscast as Raymonda.

#12 bart

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 04:13 PM

Thanks, Mikhail and Natalia. This should be interesting!

#13 Mashinka

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 02:20 AM

What it adds up to is blackmail: if the dancers don't pay up their performances are seriously disrupted. I find their 'manifesto' disgusting.

The writer’s hatred of Alexandrova is intriguing, but when she recalls the fact that Grigorovitch turned down Alexandrova in favour of Volochkova in his Swan Lake (lol) all it signifies is that the elderly Grigorovitch must be losing the plot.

Strange things happen in the Russian dance world these days and many dancers in leading roles probably wouldn't be dancing them elsewhere. Interesting that outside her native country Alexandrova has the critics (professional ones) searching for fresh superlatives to describe her whilst back home all she gets is this undeserved ****.

MB

#14 Natalia

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 06:12 AM

Well, I read a portion of the article last night. The initial portions about the claque payment system are staightforward & honest, e.g. "Mr. N", chief of the Bolshoi claquers, employs a group of sub-claquers, who receive their LIST of instructions every night on how to react to certain dancers, who to cheer/who not to cheer, etc.

What I found appalling in this article -- and the reason why I stopped reading half-way through -- is the downright malicious "news" of Maria Alexandrova's ties to a San Francisco-based group (termed a "sect") whose members supposedly travel often to Moscow & frequent the Bolshoi, cheering loudly for Alexandrova, thus allowing her to get away with not paying-off the claque. Sorry, Mikhail, but I stopped reading there.

Aside from all of the above, I DO know that Russian audiences' taste in ballerinas can differ greatly from, especially, the U.K. and the U.S. Assylmuratova & Ayupova, for example, were never as appreciated at home as much as they were in the West. This doesn't mean that they weren't stars. They never were the GREATEST stars in their own companies, at any given time. At the Bolshoi, Ananiashvili was never quite the star at home as she was (is) in New York...greatly promoted through private means, in private shows in Moscow & St. Pete, but never a huge star of the Bolshoi among the majority of Bolshoi fans.

Somewhat-related sidenote: In modern Russia, to be 'private sector' can still sound a sinister note, even if totally unfounded. This nasty overriding feeling trickles down to the ballet world. :angry2:

Natalia

#15 Mikhail

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 08:50 AM

Well, Natalia,
I share your feelings. Nevertheless, I forced myself to read the article to the end overcoming a natural aversion - it is always better to know whom you are dealing with. Probably, you did not notice that the article consists of three parts – the button to continue is at the end of each part. The first one is “dedicated” to Alexandrova, the second one – to Tsiskaridze (it is written in a similar style as this dancer cut his ties to the claque) and the third one – to "good old days" with Grigorovitch and to the criticism of the current repertory policy of the Bolshoi.

Now you know too the value of the claque criticism and praises (one has to compare positive reviews at their site to professional cries “brava” at the Bolshoi’s performances). Everybody goes his own way. Alexandrova has a lot of honest and passionate admirers in Moscow, not to say about Nina, who always naturally put the audience on “fire”. Altynai or Zhanna were also appreciated by sincere ballet lovers (all four of these ballerinas are between my favorites).

Meanwhile President Putin signed on June 6 a decret (published at the official Kremlin site) honoring Maria Alexandrova and Svetlana Zakharova the titles “Merited Artist of Russia”. This is an official recognition of these two exceptional ballerinas. And to hell with the claque.


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