Posted 15 June 2006 - 06:18 AM
I went last night (Wednesday, June 14) and it was a dull, flat program. NOTHING like the sparkling two performances that I witnessed in London, one year ago, and in St Petersburg in '04 and '05. It is amazing how a switch in one or two dancers can 'kill' the energy of a ballet. For me, the 'first downer' happened right away with 'Steptext,' when kewpie-doll-faced Irina Golub batted her eyelashes and posed oh-so-carefully as if she were dancing 'Fairy Doll.' The edge was deflated -- like the puncturing of a balloon. Pavlenko, Sologub and Vishneva are miles, miles ahead of Ms Golub in this interpretation.
The second 'downer' was the over-careful (non-risk-taking) dancing of the three girls in 'Vertiginous Thrill.' The absence of Tatiana Tkachenko among the group was noticeable. Oh...and that was Svetlana Ivanova dancing in place of the absent Ekaterina Osmolkina, even though it was not announced to the public.
And what can we say about the 'hissy fit' thrown by Olesya Novikova at the start of the curtain calls for 'Thrill'? Did anyone else notice how all five dancers held hands at the start of the bows, began walking to the footlights, then Novikova angrily shoved Andrian Fadeev's (to her right) hand out of the way...prompting Fadeev and Sarafanov (to her left, still holding the other of her hands) to laugh out loud and visibly. Second curtain call, the entire group was smiling and laughing as Novikova kept a diva face. Hmmm...I don't care what happens backstage but, as an audience member, I should not be witnessing such unprofessionalism on the stage, methinks.
'Sonata' was fine, although Alexander Sergeev didn't come close to matching the greatness of Andrei Ivanov in the leading role of the 'first boy.' I was at the premiere of this ballet in St.P in March 2005 & also saw it in London. The entire gist of the ballet is that the first couple is 'too short & squat,' the second pair 'too tall & lanky,' the third are 'average,' and the fourth 'exemplary.' (Thus the word 'YES' -- or 'DA" in Russian -- lights up when the 4th pair begins to dance.) Sergeev, unlike Ivanov, is too tall and lanky for the leading role, thus upsetting the entire theme of the ballet: imperfectly-proportioned, hard-working dancers trying to exist in this often-cruel and unforgiving world of ballet.
I did not bother to stay to the last ballet, the evening was so flat and mediocre, compared to multiple London & St Petersburg presentations that I had so enjoyed. It's the first -- and hopefully the last -- time that I walk out on the Kirov-Mariinsky Ballet.