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drb

Ulyana Lopatkina

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There's a wonderful interview of Mariinsky Swan Ulyana Lopatkina in ballet.comagazine this month:

http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_05/ju...w_lopatkina.htm

Included is a beautiful, large photo of her Odile, and one of her with her three year old daughter. I've read that she's Russia's Assoluta, but have never seen her when the Kirov/Mariinsky has visited New York. Are there any eyewitnesses to her Odette/Odile who can describe what it is about her that is so special?

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Thanks for posting that, drb. Those photos are great, and it is interesting to read about her opinion on the 6 o'clock extension (especially with the recent discussion about it on this board) and the neoclassical repertoire.

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She is very tiny, with beautiful arms and hands.

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She is very tiny,

Actually, she's rather tall.

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I'd be interested to hear whether people find her emotionally expressive or cold and calculating. The reviews I've read make it sound as if she is remote to the point of ignoring everyone else onstage, but Ismene Brown found her very effective.

She seems to be extremely intelligent and thoughtful based on the interview, but sometimes people who think too much aren't very moving artists.

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She is very tiny,

Actually, she's rather tall.

She has a tiny build. I have seen her dance. I didn't think she seemed tall.

She has a very expressive face, too.

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I'd be interested to hear whether people find her emotionally expressive or cold and calculating.  The reviews I've read make it sound as if she is remote to the point of ignoring everyone else onstage, but Ismene Brown found her very effective. 

Clement Crisp, from yesterday's Links says

" She has claimed this role over a decade with an interpretation that has acquired a thrilling resonance. Here is the Princesse Lointaine as swan, the enchantress Odile as icon, the dance as haiku, molto adagio the dynamic norm, a reading more expansive in timing than I have seen with any other ballerina. It is intensely personal, as if she poses a series of questions to herself about the nature of the role, and about the ballet itself."

...and goes on to describe a very personal, internalised performance. It may just be that she is boring to some, profoundly deep to others: a little like responses to McKerrow's Giselle over the years.

About the size issue: perhaps her trunk is slight but her limbs are long?

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Lopatkina is both tall and long limbed. My guess is that she is five foot eight or nine. She stood next to me watching a performance from the wings recently and that is what I judge her height to be compared to my own.

When young, she was painfully thin but since experiencing motherhood her physique has improved noticeably. I am sorry that she now dyes her fair hair dark though, as it gives her a somewhat hard look at times.

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The reviews of her in London have been quite mixed. All enjoy her technique, but questioning the interpretation. Someone said to me that he felt 'cold' through the Swan Lake performance, others have been fully involved and enraptured. Beyond the news links, there's posters' views of her, as well as the other Odettes/Odiles (including Somova!) in the current London run here:

Kirov Swan Lake, London

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All right, after reading that thread on Ballet.co, I simply must see Lopatkina as Odette! Unfortunately the Kirov has already brought Swan Lake to the Kennedy Center recently...I wonder when they'll bring it again, along with the restored Sleeping Beauty.

Mashinka, I wonder if Lopatkina dyed her hair to have more of an effect onstage?

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I would have to agree with those that say she is rather tall. I have stood right next to her (she was involved in a conversation with my daughter's teacher) and she is quite thin, with fine bones, but very TALL. I think Mashinka may even be reporting her size in inches a little on the conservative side. I would venture a guess at 5ft 10 in., as that is the height of my daughter's teacher, and Lopatkina was wearing flats. She also is beautiful and intelligent and has perfect skin.

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I would have to agree with those that say she is rather tall....  I would venture a guess at 5ft 10 in....

Yes, she is at least 5'10". I believe she is the tallest ballerina the Kirov has ever had.

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She was magnificent in Diamonds when the kirov came to Berkeley a few years ago.

Dreamy and very mysterious in the adagio, brilliant and witty in the scherzo (and the only ballerina who could handle the scherzo -- Pavlenko, who was gorgeous in the adage, looked behindhand and, well, tired, in it)....

She was also a fiery Zobeide.....

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She was magnificent in Diamonds when the kirov came to Berkeley a few years ago.

Dreamy and very mysterious in the adagio, brilliant and witty in the scherzo (and the only ballerina who could handle the scherzo ...

Thanks for the info, Paul. Ballet.co magazine's August issue has an in-depth interview with her, after a recent Swan Lake performance:

http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_05/au...a_lopatkina.htm

An excerpt:

“Basically speaking dancing is very hard work” says Uliana Lopatkina, whose breathtaking performance in the dual role of Odette/Odile last week emphasised yet again her position as the current world’s greatest female classical ballet dancer. So adored in her native country, which venerates dancers with almost the same passion we reserve for footballers, Lopatkina, 31, is dubbed by the Press as The Soul of Russia.

Talking to her backstage dressed in a simple black trouser suit, her only jewellery small silver ear loops and her short auburn hair pinned behind her ears with plastic combs, it is clear where her sanctification comes from. Unlike the Imperial ballerinas building empires on diamonds thrown by adoring Tsars, Lopatkina’s power base is the strength of her own convictions. Her deeply religious beliefs inherited from her mother are widely known.

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Here are five fairly large photos of Lopatkina as Nikaya.  Two appended photos are of Lunkina in DQ.  Click on each to make large.

http://www.bolshoi.net/photos/brajnikov/page-lopatkina.htm

Wonderful photos, thanks for the link. Is that Zelensky with her in the Shades scene?

I was so excited when I heard that the Kirov was bringing Bayadere to DC in June, I figured the chances were good that Lopatkina would come for the engagement. Now that they've switched the schedule to Giselle & the Forsythe program, I don't know. I don't think she dances in any of the Forsythe pieces, and while I'm sure whe'd be a great Mytha, it's not the same as seeing her Nikaya...

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There's a wonderful interview of Mariinsky Swan Ulyana Lopatkina in ballet.comagazine this month:

http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_05/ju...w_lopatkina.htm

Included is a beautiful, large photo of her Odile, and one of her with her three year old daughter.  I've read that she's Russia's Assoluta, but have never seen her when the Kirov/Mariinsky has visited New York.  Are there any eyewitnesses to her Odette/Odile who can describe what it is about her that is so special?

I found her Act I Odette extraordinary in technical control and plastique with few of

the eccentricities of line that I was expecting. I did however find an absence of the kind of emotional yearning as Odette, that I grew up with watching Beriosova, or the unforgettable memory images of the plastique of Osipenko. For me her Odile lacked characterisation and her technique though strong, was not impeccable in the tour de force expected in this act. Lopatkina is certainly one of the tallest dancers to essay ballerina roles I have ever seen and she is expert in disguising this through the general fluidity of movement. Historically speaking only Legnani and Kschessinskaya in Russia Have been given the accolade of Prima Ballerina Assoluta though some writers have said that Plisetskaya inherited this mantle from Ulanova. Fonteyn was the Assoluta of the Royal Ballet and perhaps Dudinskaya, Kopakova and Alonso would seem natural candidates for this title. It is of course a subject that could run and run on any website, if posters do not separate personal prejudice, for proper understanding of the status of the title.

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"Is that Zelensky with her in the Shades scene?"

Yes, NYSusan. Igor IS tall, but he seems an inch or so taller than she is in pointes. Makes one wonder if she's really circa 5' 10" tall, as suggested earlier in this topic. Of course she may have small feet. This could be another example of a dancer appearing "Larger-than-Life!" In any case, they look great together in that photo: both seem to be in a deep spiritual state.

If only she'd visit NYCB and perform alongside Maria Kowroski! I wonder if anyone happened to see them together when Maria guested at the Mariinsky....

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Igor IS tall, but he seems an inch or so taller than she is in pointes.  Makes one wonder if she's really circa 5' 10" tall, as suggested earlier in this topic. 

It is a puzzlement, going by that picture! I've seen Lopatkina informally, and was told before I saw her that she was indeed at least 5'10", which I could attest to when I actually saw her. Zelensky is very tall, I'm not sure how much in feet and inches, but I've seen him informally, too. Yet, this picture indeed seems to "shorten" her. :)

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"Is that Zelensky with her in the Shades scene?"

Yes, NYSusan.  Igor IS tall, but he seems an inch or so taller than she is in pointes.  Makes one wonder if she's really circa 5' 10" tall, as suggested earlier in this topic.  Of course she may have small feet.  This could be another example of a dancer appearing "Larger-than-Life!"  In any case, they look great together in that photo: both seem to be in a deep spiritual state.

If only she'd visit NYCB and perform alongside Maria Kowroski!  I wonder if anyone happened to see them together when Maria guested at the Mariinsky....

In my opinion she neither has small feet or small hands, but she remains entirely different from most dancers and may yet become a ballerina to compare with earlier generations. She appears to be quite serious and intelligent from her answers in published interviews and is certainly the tallest femal Kirov dancer I have seen in the last 44 years. apart of course from the ertswhile Kirov dancer Volochkova.

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so is she the "grand prima" of the Mariinksy? Is she the "Prima Ballerina Asoluta"?

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so is she the "grand prima" of the Mariinksy? Is she the "Prima Ballerina Asoluta"?

I would say she is regarded by the St Petersburg audience as the "grand prima", but with her extremely narrow repertoire, it's difficult to see her as an "assoluta" in the conventional sense.

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so is she the "grand prima" of the Mariinksy? Is she the "Prima Ballerina Asoluta"?

I would say she is regarded by the St Petersburg audience as the "grand prima", but with her extremely narrow repertoire, it's difficult to see her as an "assoluta" in the conventional sense.

narrow repretiore?

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narrow repretiore?

Yes, she doesn't dance certain of the traditional 'ballerina' roles such as Sleeping Beauty or Giselle and she very much rations her appearances. On the plus side she has a better idea of what suits her and what doesn't than many other principal dancers. Personaly though, I think the results when someone is 'cast against type' can be rather interesting.

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I'd say Uliana is the de jure PB of the MT; Diana is her de facto counterpart.

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