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Kirov-Mariinsky "Giselles" in DC


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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 05:37 AM

Friday night's performance wasn't perfect, but there were some lovely moments and I was darned glad to be there :blink: Full (or nearly full) and happy house for Pavlenko and Kolb. Did anyone go?

#2 nysusan

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 08:07 PM

Ok, I'll start. Iíve been to the first 3 Giselles (so far), but Iíve also been trying to cram in a few of the DC sights between performances!

The production - There are some things I like very much about this production, other things I prefer the ABT way (thatís the only other production Iím particularly familiar with). Most notably, Myrthaís role is MUCH better in this production, itís a much bigger role and Tereshkina danced it divinely at all 3 performances so far. I donít know where to start describing her Ė the beautiful romantic epaulment, the soaring leaps, the long, articulate feet. And what a contrast in style from ABTís approach, where Myrtha tends to be danced in a hard, brittle fashion. Tereshkina had the most gorgeous romantic flow to her movement, and especially her opening solo was tinged with sadness & regret. Yet she commanded both the stage and the Wilis unquestionably. I will never forget it.

The choreography in the second act looked more classical than what Iím used to (more Petipa maybe) Ė more flowing patterns for the corps and really beautiful visually but somehow I havenít found it as moving as ABTís version.

Peasant pas de deux Ė I will refer to the ballerina who danced this as Osmolkina since she was listed in the program and no replacements were announced at any of the 3 performances ( judging from her photo on the Mariinsky website it could have been her - if anyone knows who is was, do tell). There were several flubs the first night Ė Shklyarov failed to get her up into a shoulder lift at the start of the pas de deux, and she stumbled a couple times before getting her confidence back. Their partnering continued to improve, the 2nd performance was much better and the 3rd was really lovely. Her dancing was strong, and she was very charming. He was great Ė really beautiful with high, soft jumps Ė something in his amplitude reminded me of Gomes, though his looks and demeanor were very different. Definitely a dancer to watch.

The principals Ė
Pavlenko and Kolb were very, very good but not great IMO. Perhaps it was too much to ask coming a day after Iíd just seen a great Vishneva/Malakhov performance, or maybe it was because I didnít love Kolb and Pavlenko might have been just a tad off her game. Her technique was awesome, her characterization fine but it just didnít all come together for me. Iím not giving up on her yet, though. The first time I saw her in Swan Lake after a very good opening night performance she completely blew me away with one of the greatest Swan Lakes Iíd ever seen at the Sunday matinee, so Iím reserving any further comments till after tomorrowís performance!

Golub/Fadeyev Ė this was an interesting combination. He was wonderful, a really beautiful dancer with perfect danseur noble proportions. He looked a little short (next to Bathilde, anyway) but had a long, elegant line. Golubís technique was nowhere near Pavlenkoís Ė her dancing wasnít as fluid or as secure but it was more than good enough. Her 1st act Giselle was a sweet, flirtatious, gullible girl. Not the deepest interpretation, but perfectly valid. My problem with Golub was that I didnít see much change in her personality or her dancing in the 2nd act. Herís was the most flesh and blood 2nd act Giselle Iíve ever seen. She really did not convey a sense of weightlessness or the spirituality that you would hope for, nor did I really see that beautiful curved romantic line.

Novikova/Sarafanov - they absolutely triumphed tonight. Just when I was starting to think that maybe watching 6 performances of Giselle in 5 days might be overkill and it was making me a bit too critical I sat back in my chair and saw magic performed right before my eyes. Iíve had mixed feelings before about Sarafanov Ė tonight he was brilliant. For starters, partnering must always be addressed with Sarafanov and tonight there were no obvious partnering problems. His leaps soared, his grand jetes were high and light. He did some turns in attitude and the height of his back leg was just incredible, as was the ease with which he tossed everything off. But it wasnít just technique, his acting was really good, he and Novikova looked great together and had great chemistry. They also really had the details of the story worked out well, and were the most dramatic and moving of the 3 casts I saw. She came on in the 1st act young, fresh, simple & childlike. Not childlike in a foolish way but in an innocent way, and when she realized Albrechtís duplicity it just destroyed her. In the second act that innocence was gone and she was pure forgiveness. Her dancing was very strong and her 2nd act was beautifully ethereal and romantic but really, this was the kind of performance that robs you of your senses, where you have to stop analyzing and just give yourself up to it. I hope someone else can describe it in more detail Ė thatís all I can manage.

One other note - DC audiences can be strange. They really went crazy for tonight's performance, but they kept applauding at the most innapropriate places - all night long!

#3 Hans

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 01:28 PM

I saw the Golub-Fadeyev cast Saturday afternoon, and let me just say that if you haven't seen the Kirov do Giselle, you are really missing out. No other production I've seen includes all the details of this one, and the mime (such as it is) is beautifully done. Golub has lovely technique without (and I feel I can't emphasize this enough) extreme extensions. High extensions, yes. Vulgar, no.

Fadeyev, too, did not exaggerate, although he did an extremely impressive and beautiful double rivoltade in Act II.

I also have good things to say about Ekaterina Osmolkina, who impressed me last year as Gulnara in Le Corsaire and in the second variation the year before in the Act I pas de trois from Swan Lake. She's one who does have extreme extensions, but she still (somehow) has a light and lovely jump, good control of her pirouettes, and good port de bras.

I was less impressed with Victor Shklyarov. Although he has silent landings and perfectly clean double tours, I could have done without the choreography changes that were obviously there to show off his tricks.

Alina Somova [NOTE: It was actually Viktoria Terioshkina; see Waelsung's post directly below] as Myrtha was unfortunately the dim spot in this production. Between her weak and floppy movements, almost total lack of a jump, and her determination to get her legs as high as they could possibly go regardless of aesthetics or even good technique, what ought to have been one of the highlights of the ballet was a mess.

As always, the real star of this ballet was the corps. In Act I, every one of them had a specific character as a villager, and they handled the mime scenes beautifully. In Act II, they moved as one, including some lovely and very difficult effects.

#4 Waelsung

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Posted 18 June 2006 - 10:10 PM

Alina Somova as Myrtha was unfortunately the dim spot in this production. Between her weak and floppy movements, almost total lack of a jump, and her determination to get her legs as high as they could possibly go regardless of aesthetics or even good technique, what ought to have been one of the highlights of the ballet was a mess.


Sorry, but it was Tereshkina. Unfortunately, the program did not make any note of this substitution.

#5 Cygnet

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 09:23 AM

The production - There are some things I like very much about this production, other things I prefer the ABT way (thatís the only other production Iím particularly familiar with). Most notably, Myrthaís role is MUCH better in this production, itís a much bigger role and Tereshkina danced it divinely at all 3 performances so far. I donít know where to start describing her Ė the beautiful romantic epaulment, the soaring leaps, the long, articulate feet. And what a contrast in style from ABTís approach, where Myrtha tends to be danced in a hard, brittle fashion. Tereshkina had the most gorgeous romantic flow to her movement, and especially her opening solo was tinged with sadness & regret. Yet she commanded both the stage and the Wilis unquestionably. I will never forget it.


Hi NYSusan! Thank you for your review. I'm so glad to here that Tereshkina was wonderful as Myrtha!

The principals Ė
Pavlenko and Kolb were very, very good but not great IMO. Perhaps it was too much to ask coming a day after Iíd just seen a great Vishneva/Malakhov performance, or maybe it was because I didnít love Kolb and Pavlenko might have been just a tad off her game. Her technique was awesome, her characterization fine but it just didnít all come together for me. Iím not giving up on her yet, though. The first time I saw her in Swan Lake after a very good opening night performance she completely blew me away with one of the greatest Swan Lakes Iíd ever seen at the Sunday matinee, so Iím reserving any further comments till after tomorrowís performance!



That's a fair assessment. But, remember: You're looking at ABT's production as opposed to the Maryinsky's production - which the latter, IMO, is more authentic and detailed in it's concept, logistics and execution. Also, the Pavlenko/Kolb pairing is obviously VERY VERY different from the Vishneva/Malakhov pairing. Having seen both ballerinas, IMO Vishneva's approach vs. Pavlenko's approach is like comparing a Vodka Gimlet to a bottle of Chateux Margaux.

#6 Hans

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 02:23 PM

Thanks for the correction, Waelsung; one never does know with the Kirov, does one? :dry: And I was sitting rather high up in the second tier, so it was difficult to see.

I would like to add that this performance of Giselle provides more proof against the idea that Russian dancers are slow. The tempi for most of the dances were just as speedy as those used by ABT and SFB, and it was all done with perfectly pointed feet, stretched knees, and heels on the floor.

#7 Waelsung

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 04:41 PM

one never does know with the Kirov, does one? :dry:


Absolutely - I was really surprised they never acknowledged the substitution. Let's say, at the Met, where these things also happen relatively often, if there are any changes in the cast, they insert a little piece of paper in the program stating who is replacing whom. I'm always looking at the programs with dread, scared to see the white paper sticking out of it. But still - not announcing the change is even worse than that and terribly unfair to the performers as well as the audience.

#8 Kanawha

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 06:03 PM

I was at the Friday night performance and there is very little I can add to the reviews already posted here. I've enjoyed reading them all. I will say I found Act II very moving. I was most impressed by Tereshkina's Myrtha above all and it was wonderful to see the Kirov's production again. (Weren't they at the Kennedy Center in the early nineties with their Giselle?)

But, I wondered if anyone noticed what happened when the bouquets were brought out during the bows?

Two of the Kennedy Center ushers brought out three bouquets. I presume they were meant for Pavlenko, Kolb, and Tereshkina. Unfortunately, the ushers handed Tereshkina's to the conductor who had come on stage by then. He looked surprised but graciously undid the wrapping and poured the flowers into the orchestra pit to share the accolades with his musicians. It was a noble move but I felt bad for our very deserving Myrtha who went bouquet-less.

I wish I could have been in NYC for the ABT Giselles too. There were so many wonderful things going on this past weekend and I wanted to enjoy them all!

#9 Buddy

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 10:39 AM

Daria Pavlenko----A Dream

Giselle June 16-18, 2006 Washington DC

For me this was Daria Pavlenko's event.

The rest of the Cast?

I couldn't begin to list all the wonderful performers that I saw. I will try to discuss some of them at another time.

It seemed like March again (Mariinsky Festival and Bolshoi Swan Lake in England). My reaction was much the same.

This time it was Giselle performed by the Kirov-Mariinsky in Washington DC and by Diana Vishneva, Vladimir Malakov and Veronika Part with the ABT in New York City.

Wonderful! Amazing! Wonderful!

Are we possibly in a new Golden Age of Ballet?

Uliana Lopatkina, Diana Vishneva and Alina Cojocaru for example are incredible and getting better.

For me another Star arose last week.

Daria Pavlenko.

In my very limited viewing experience of three years, I have had the wonderful fortune to see many excellent perfomances. I may have set a world record for the number of Giselles ever seen in this amount of time. I loved every one of them.

Two ballet performances have left me 'Speechless'!

(I wasn't totally speechless because I was still able to say, "I'm Speechless!")

The first of these was Uliana Lopatkina's Swan Lake at the Mariinsky Festival last March.

The second was Daria Pavlenko's Giselle this past week.

What did she do that was so great?

For one thing--She danced the Grand Pas de Deux.

I can't visualize anyone 'ever' doing it any better!

The only way that I can suggest to describe it is to imagine taking one of the greatest dramatic actresses 'ever' and making her a prima ballerina for an evening.

This performance was infused with the highest level of dramatic excellence from the look on her face to the dancing at the tips of her feet. Her lines were drama. Her dancing flowed wonderfully with drama.

It was... Beautiful! Amazing! Mesmerizing!

I saw her perform twice. I would say that she did equally well both times.

The first night she 'Performed' with compelling drama.

In the second performance she 'Lived' the part in some scenes.

Details I just wasn't noticing.

For me it was...

The Totality Of Moves And Expression--The Images Created--The Flow--The Over-All Enchantment.

A few fleeting details. These were instances, nuances, differences.

Instances. One time she snapped herself into a 'swooning fall' so fast that I was amazed that Igor Kolb was able to catch her in time. (I sense that Igor Kolb is an extremely reliable partner to have for risk taking. I felt this way twice before when I saw him dance with Diana Vishneva.) Another time I was very impressed by how far out she leaned in her 'supported arabesques' (?) in the Grand Pas de Deux.

Nuances. She a second time caressed Bathilde's gown as they were entering the house.

Differences. I think that she may have added some more complex footwork to the first Act II duet.

After her incredible second performance at the end of Act I and the curtain had come down, the applause was intense and 'wow' equivalents filtered through the audience. Applause for both of the Giselles in which she and Igor Kolb appeared was intense. (All four Giselles performances were enthusiastically applauded.) Their second performance received four curtain calls. (The norm was two or three.)

I don't know what Universe Daria Pavlenko inhabited, but she might have found Uliana Lopatkina out there as well.

I do know that Daria Pavlenko is human.

I know this because I talked to her for a few moments in Saint Petersburg last March and she was unassumingly lovely.

#10 Natalia

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 11:07 AM

I'll second what Buddy wrote. Daria Pavlenko was, quite simply, the best Giselle I've ever seen, all around -- technique, subtle acting, weightlessness in the Act II pdd, etc. Pavlenko brought to life the well-known photos of the divine Olga Spessivtseva in the 1920s! Alina Cojocaru -- at the '03 Mariinsky Festival -- was a compelling and adorable child-woman...but Pavlenko was a real, suffering woman in Act I and a divine spirit in Act II. I'm still basking in the glow and memories of last Friday night's remarkable performance!

The other two Giselles this weekend -- Irina Golub at the Saturday matinee and Olesya Novikova that evening -- were fine, if not outstanding. Novikova's technique was admirable. Golub -- a capable second soloist -- is the more color-by-numbers, unnatural Giselle, e.g., careful little hug of her mother, Bertha, at just the right time in the music, while Pavlenko & Novikova surprised mom with a big, sincere bear hug. Golub, I'm afraid, dances everything as 'Fairy Doll.' Too much calculated cutesiness, making pretty faces at audience. Furthermore, Golub's technique in the Act I solo was rusty, e.g., free foot goes down in the middle of the double pirouette. On the other hand, Novikova has the capacity & technique to become a truly wonderful Giselle, in time.

Andrian Fadeev, dancing with Golub, was the most satisfying, natural Albrecht of them all. Fadeev is the Kirov's most believable prince & superb-yet-understated technician. Igor Kolb, with Pavlenko, danced gloriously -- incredible extension & highly-arched feet, a-la Malakhov! -- but acted in an old-fashioned, D.W. Griffith Productions manner. It would have been divine to have seen Fadeev's Albrecht with Pavlenko's Giselle. Leonid Sarafanov, usually a bravura specialist, acquitted himself quite well with Novikova, in a role that calls for minimal bravura; it's wonderful to see Sarafanov's marked improvements in his partnering skills and general acting, during the past two years. I saw it in 'Ondine' last March & now in 'Giselle.' Bravo to him!

Ekaterina Osmolkina & Vladimir Shklyarov were magnificent in Peasant pdd at all performances, both ever-wondrous in their solos, he improving on Friday's partnering snafoo while attempting to lift Osmolkina into a swan position on his shoulder. [The lift was perfect at subsequent performances.]

Viktoria Tereshkina is THE Myrtha of our generation. Absolutely in the same league as Van Hamel, Mason and Terekhova of years past. Tereshkina's soaring jetes and high, crisp entrechats-six are in a class of their own, not to mention her appropriately icy-cold acting in this role. Tereshkina's Myrtha will send shivers down any philandering man's spine! Special kudos to Nadezhda Gonchar &, especially, Tatyana Tkachenko as Moyna & Zulma at all performances.

In both acts, the corps de ballet danced impeccably. For example, no corps can perform that 'wave' while standing in diagonal, during Hans' death, like the Kirov Willis!

The Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra played the Adam score very well, although I wish that the Kirov-Mariinsky conductor, M. Agrest, would have looked at the stage happenings every now and then. At several points in the run, dancers were adjusting steps to keep pace with the conductor. It should be the other way around -- conductor adjusts to dancer, right?

But the run belongs to DARIA PAVLENKO, who has truly earned her spot at the pinnacle of the Mariinsky's ballerina roster.

#11 ami1436

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 12:15 PM

Thank you both, Buddy and Natalia, for such lovely reviews. When I've seen Pavlenko live, it's been mainly in Neoclassical works... I would have loved to see this. I have this stupid summer schedule which means I'm missing the Kirov in the U.S. and London... argh!

But again, thank you!

(and a p.s. - my opinion is that Cojocaru's Giselle 'grew up' this season. Remarkable, and helped by a remarkable partnership.)

#12 chiapuris

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 01:15 PM

Thanks Buddy and Natalia, for making your reviews about Daria Pavlenko
almost palpable experiences.

The next best thing to being there!

#13 Buddy

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 10:37 AM

Ami and chiapuris, thank you. It seems that Natalia and I both had the need to express what an "extraordinary" performance Daria Pavlenko actually gave.

I had seen her several times before and I was hoping to be enchanted by an etherial presence and a wonderful display of talent, but I never expected to see the "Remarkable Depth" to which she is capable of carrying a performance.

Also very impressive to me was her and Olesya Novikova's complete change of persona on stage. I have seen both these women off stage and I have to say that they are both exceptionally and 'smilingly', (joyfully) beautiful! When it came to their being on stage, as beautiful as their Giselles appeared, not for one moment did they resemble their actual selves.

So maybe let's take a look at the Olesya Novikova-Leonid Sarafanov performance after all too briefly commenting on Igor Kolb. As I implied before he seems like a rock solid, secure partner. His portrayal was fine. He is known for his gracefulness and I noticed it more this time than I have in the past.

Olesya Novikova and Leonid Sarafanov seem to go very well together. I have read someone's comment that Sarafanov's technical prowess tends to bring out a more committed performance from Novikova. I felt that also. They blended together. Early on they had moments of Fonteyn-Nureyev-Les Sylphides harmony. (This is what I use as a standard, based on the "An Evening With The Royal Ballet" video.)

She danced beautifully with very clean moves. Her Vishnevian technical abilities were noteworthy from the beginning. Her's was a lovely portrayal.

In regard to Leonid Sarafanov let me 'break' almost reverent 'character' for a moment and be a bit lighthearted.

I have seen Leonid Sarafanov before and I was postured properly, but when he walked on stage I had to smile. It was like, "What is this cute little boy doing here?" I gather that this is not an uncommon reaction. I really couldn't stop smiling (to myself anyway) as he moved around the stage with Novikova.

Then of course it happens.

He did a Jump.

The reaction is something like... "Uhm. Aha! Yes!! Uhm!"

Then they do a jump together and she (who seems like a fine jumper) is somewhere down here with us and he is somewhere 'up there', floating, almost not quite willing to acknowledge the laws of gravity.

I somewhat feel that all Leonid Sarafanov has to do is to take a jump now and then to secure his place in dance history.

How he will develope his characterization I'm not sure, but maybe everyone doesn't have to be able to do Shakespeare on the ballet stage. He was sort of a pleasant breeze in the midst of so much seriousness, as was the Peasant Pas d Deux, which I hope to take a quick look at later.

In any case it would seem that his aerial-dancing has to be acknowledged as being something quite special.

I will try and relate some more in a future posting.

#14 Buddy

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 09:01 AM

A very brief look at a parallel world.

Giselle

NYC June 14, 2006

Diana Vishneva. Vladimir Malakhov. Veronika Part.


Diana Vishneva.

Her performance was Wonderful! Check the ABT discussion at this forum for overwhelming confirmation.

She Was Beautifully Everywhere Doing Everything !


Vladimir Malakhov.

For me this is the best 'dramatic' portrayal of Albrecht (live or video) that I have seen---- Michelangelesque. His dancing was very good. In his Act II solo he did a series of jumps with a very impressive back bend after each jump. Reminiscent of a Nikolai Tsiskaridze Giselle video clip that I once saw.

Veronika Part.

I have wanted to see her for several years. Formerly of the Kirov-Mariinsky, she did very good dancing as Myrtha at the matinee with another cast. Great jumps!

Beautiful Wonderful Stage Presence !

I was literally glued to her while she was standing perfectly still, using my theater glasses, and simultaneously watching the Act II pdds out of the naked corner of my left eye. It worked pretty well actually.

'Suggestedly' Required Reading. James Wolcott's very entertaining article--"Finally, A Reason To Go On Living--Veronika Part".

http://jameswolcott....lly_a_reaso.php


Back to Washington.

Irina Golub and Adrian Fadeyev did another fine Giselle and Albrecht.

Irina Golub had a long, flowing, willowy presentation. I like the effort that she tries to put into her characterizations. I noticed this particularly in Washington last year when she performed Cinderella. She really tried for maximum dramatic effect at certain moments and it was very touching. On a more personal note, she seemed to have a lovely little child's look on her face at times in Act II and when Fadeyev picked her up at the very end of Act II she looked totally at peace in his arms.

Adrian Fedeyev is a very likeable performer. He had very good graceful jumps. On one off-center tour en l'air he almost fell, because it was so powerful. It was a magnificent effort. He also had very fine tight 5th position landings.


I will try to finish up next time.

This will include Wili 'Queens'. Yes, there were two. Also a look at the delightful Peasant Pas de Deux.

#15 Buddy

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 05:23 PM

Anyone who doesn't know who performed the second Myrtha at the last performance only, would you like to take a guess?


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