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Kirov - North American Tour, Autumn 2006Orange Cty., Chicago, Ottawa, Boston


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#76 nysusan

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 09:59 PM

I wrote the last post on the train out to Boston, heading there to see the Kirov one last time. I'm so glad I decided to make the trip. From the moment Daria Pavlenko bourreed out on stage and stopped in her tracks, terrified by Zelensky’s Prince Siegfried you knew this was a different Daria Pavlenko from the one who had danced the role just a week ago in Chicago with Sarafanov. She had been great then, but today she was in another zone entirely. The electricity coursed through her veins and out into the audience.

Long story short – this had been an on again off again proposition. She was originally scheduled to dance the matinee, then I heard that she had withdrawn from the tour and hadn’t even gone to Boston with the company. The casting inserts said it would be Lopatkina & Zelensky but right before the curtain went up there was an announcement that it would be Pavlenko.

This was the kind of performance that takes your breath away. In the 3rd act she stumbled out of a turn, and nobody cared. Her 32 fouettes were completed decently, but nothing more – and nobody cared because we all loved her Odile with that enchanting smile – first mischievous, then haughty and finally triumphant. Zelensky must still be nursing his injury because they skipped a lot of the big lifts – and nobody missed them. Instead of the overhead lifts in the first lakeside scene he turned her in arabesque penchee. They skipped the big climatic lift at the end – and nobody cared. I think they substituted a series of pique arabesques punctuated by desperate embraces as they made their way through the 2 lines of swans but I wouldn’t swear to it – I was so entranced by the spell they cast I couldn’t take time away from watching the action to actually analyze what they were doing. This was an incredible performance – one that sent chills down your spine and left you with goosebumps.

Last week what struck me most about her performance was her beautiful legato phrasing, the softness and perfect integration of her dancing with poses stretching and changing and flowing into movement. Today what struck me was the way that this subtle, lyrical style of dancing was wed to some of the most powerful emotion I’d ever seen on a stage. Not in an over the top dramatic way, either. It’s hard to explain, because she did act – she just didn’t overact & she acted with her body, with her steps as well as with her face. It was total integration, total commitment.

A couple of examples – at the end of the first lakeside scene when she turned back into a swan, her desperation not to leave Siegfried was so strong that she reached for him with her entire body and thru the tips of her fingers as the power of von Rothbarts spell was tugging the rest of her in the opposite direction. She clung to her dream and fought for it until she was absolutely forced her back into her swan body and back to the lake. I thought she was going to be torn apart by the force she was exerting in opposite directions. As the last act was approaching the finale, again, the desperation her arms expressed as she was caressing & clinging to Siegfried just broke your heart. When it was over and von Rothbart lay defeated she gave us my favorite version of the Kirov ending, the one I saw from her the last time I witnessed a Swan Lake of this caliber. Battered & defeated she lay on the floor and as Siegfried tenderly lifted her up she looked around with a tremulous, disbelieving look. First down at von Rothbart, then up at Siegfried, then down again at her hands and then this incredulous look came over her face as she realized that her nightmare was over. Her face this afternoon is the best argument I can think of in favor of the happy ending

#77 Amour

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 11:15 PM

I just returned from Boston having seen the Kirov's Saturday night performance of Swan Lake. I'm sorry to say that I found it a dull and disappointing affair. The worst was Somova - she lacks both the overall technique and the emotional depth to dance Odette/Odile properly (or interestingly)and relies on her extensions to please the crowd. As nysusan has previously pointed out, her dancing occasionally has no flow and, what I found most astonishing in a company like the Kirov, was how atrocious her fouettes were in the third act - I have simply never seen any fouettes that bad. Igor Kolb gave a decent performance as the Prince and Maxim Chashchegorov, as Rothbart, was one of the few cast members who looked alive (although he has little to do in this version of Swan Lake). Most disappointing, though, was that the corps also danced rather lifelessly throughout. Where, I wondered, was the perfect alignment, the musicality,the stage presence, etc.? Some of my perception may have been enhanced be the poor sight lines at the Wang; even though I was in the front portion of the orchestra, (and close to the center), I occasionally could not see what was happening at the right side of the stage. It also seemed I never had a proper view of the corps, when they are in their lines and formations in the second and fourth acts. The end result was that the performance I saw made me appreciate ABT all the more and feel a bit sorry that I travelled from NY just to see the Kirov.

#78 WindFlyer

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 07:25 PM

Thank you, nysusan for your excellent review... I really wish I got a chance to see Daria in a role as demanding as O/O. Even in Ondina (where I last saw her) the qualities you describe below were in evidence:

...Today what struck me was the way that this subtle, lyrical style of dancing was wed to some of the most powerful emotion I’d ever seen on a stage. Not in an over the top dramatic way, either. It’s hard to explain, because she did act – she just didn’t overact & she acted with her body, with her steps as well as with her face. It was total integration, total commitment...

...Her face this afternoon is the best argument I can think of in favor of the happy ending

I'll have to take your word on this one, as I've never been a great fan of this happy ending :)


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