Natalia

Kirov 'Bayadere' at Kennedy Center, Jan. 2008

40 posts in this topic

Non-subscription sales for the January 22/27, 2008, run of 'Bayadere' performances began today. Casting has not yet been announced but it's a pretty good guess that the 'pre-tour try-out' performances at the Mariinsky in November -- the final performances of the work before the production's sets & costumes are shipped to DC -- portend the casting that we will see here in DC. They are:

Nov. 10 cast: Somova as Nikiya/Kosuntsev as Solor (Gamzatti not named)

Nov. 29 cast: Tereshkina as Nikiya/Novikova as Gamzatti/Sarafanov as Solor

No other Bayadere has been presented at the Mariinsky during the present season. So the above two casts are "it" for Bayadere at the Mariinsky this season, so far. I would assume & hope that either Lopatkina or Pavlenko (or both) will also essay the role of Nikiya in DC.

Edited to add (one of those 'slow news days' at home):

Performers who have essayed leading roles of Bayadere at the Mariinsky since Sept. '05, from most to least often, are -

NIKIYA

Lopatkina - 5 performances since Sept '05

Tereshkina - 5 (also dances Gamzatti)

Nioradze - 2

Somova - 2 (newest Nikiya - since Sept 06)

Vishneva - 2 (her usually-accurate website does not list DC performances)

Pavlenko - 1 (a lone performance in Sept '05)

GAMZATTI

Osmolkina - 5

Tkachenko - 4

Tereshkina - 2 (also dances Nikiya)

Novikova - 2 (newest Gamzatti - since May '07)

Golub - 1

Tarasova - 1

SOLOR

Sarafanov - 4

Kolb - 3

Zelensky - 3 (no longer with company)

Korsuntsev - 2

Korsakov - 1

Fadeev - 1

Lobukhin - 1

Semionov - 1 (no longer with company)

This is as per the Mariinsky site's playbills which may not reflect last-minute changes in casting.

So there you have it. The soloists in DC will most likely be the dancers who have performed the roles most often, most recently. I might add that there is a possibility that if Lopatkina dances in DC, her Solor might be the newest addition to the male soloist ranks, Ivan Kozlov, who partners the ballerina in Giselle & other recent ballets. There is also a small chance that we may see the newest female soloist, Anastasia Kolegova, who would be making her U.S. debut with the troupe (should she come). While she has not danced Nikiya or Gamzatti yet with the K-M, she may very well have danced the roles with one of her old companies (St P. Ballet of Tachkin or the Lithuanian Natl Ballet).

Share this post


Link to post
Zelensky - 3 (no longer with company)
Grrrrrrr. :bow: I was looking forward to seeing him during the City Center season.

He's still on the company's website, for what that's worth. For that matter, so is Ayupova.

Share this post


Link to post

This is a very disappointing analysis. Even more so exactly because it does make sense. If the Nikiyas are limited to Somova and Tereshkina, I will have to :bow: cancel my hotel reservation and sell my tickets. I do want to see Tereshkina, but she alone does not justify a trip to D.C. for me. And I'm not interested in seeing Somova at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Zelensky - 3 (no longer with company)
Grrrrrrr. :bow: I was looking forward to seeing him during the City Center season.

He's still on the company's website, for what that's worth. For that matter, so is Ayupova.

For what it's worth he was dancing with the Mariinsky on a tour less than a month ago. He closed all nights with Corsaire pdd, partnering Terioshkina. He's in very good form, much better than 2003 when I last saw him dance. I don't know what he'll be doing in 3 months though... :bow:

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for the additional feedback, folks. Zelensky has been the A.D. of the large troupe in Novosibirsk, Russia, for the last year-and-a-half and, yes, he occasionally dusts-off his tights for guest appearances on tour, usually to partner 'the tall gals' such as Lopatkina. However, now that Lopatkina has brought-out Kozlov to be her main classical partner, I would bet that we'll see Kozlov or Korsuntsev as UL's most likely Solor in DC.

Just because Lopatkina has not danced Nikiya since last May/June means nothing. She has been known to 'miraculously' jump into old roles, a-la Fall 2005 when she danced Lilac Fairy for the first time in years in the USA....or, even more dramatically, this past spring, when she returned to the title role of Giselle after over a decade! So a nine-month gap between performances of a role is no big deal in Mariinsky terms.

I would bet on four Nikiyas in DC: Lopatkina, Somova, Tereshkina and (yes) Nioradze, who is having a 'renaissance' of sorts this fall at the Mariinsky.

Share this post


Link to post

Diana Vishneva has confirmed on her website that she's planning to dance Nikiya with the Kirov in Washington D.C. on Jan. 22.

Share this post


Link to post
And I'm not interested in seeing Somova at all.

Why?

Share this post


Link to post

>>And I'm not interested in seeing Somova at all.

>Why?

Ok.... I just read many comments re Somova's dancing under BT's Kirov coming to NYC section...

Somova doesn't seem ready yet for all the attention and parts she's getting... And I'll never understand why Pavlenko has received so little.... I thought Pavlenko was a dream-come-true when I last saw her in Jewels at the Met.

Share this post


Link to post
>>And I'm not interested in seeing Somova at all.

>Why?

Ample evidence on YouTube, too.

Share this post


Link to post
This is a very disappointing analysis. , I will have to :angry2: cancel my hotel reservation and sell my tickets. I do want to see Tereshkina, but she alone does not justify a trip to D.C. for me. And I'm not interested in seeing Somova at all.

I've never seen Somova and sort of thought, "oh she can't be that bad" I watched a couple of clips and , yes , she is THAT bad :D

I hope she ends up as the last act in any of the Kirov performances I see next Feb..... at least I can get out early.

A while back, something asked for a description of "line". Well to take it from a negative side, here's a dancer that has NONE :FIREdevil:

Share this post


Link to post

I have never seen Somova and was assuming that these criticisms involved some sort of subtle or esoteric question of technique, or were basically a matter of personal taste. That is, until I saw the clip from a 2007 performance of Sleeping Beauty ("Rose Adagio," on YouTube). :D

I almost never criticize dancers, preferring to ignore them if I don't like their work. I also assume a certain level of technical proficiency from dancers in major companies. I did not expect, however, to see a performance that reminded me of the painful opera debut of Susan Alexander in Citizen Kane. I was embarassed for the dancer and had to stop watching. I also decided not to watch any of the other available clips.

What explains something like this on the stage of a great international company? Favoritism can't be a sufficient explanation. Can it? It seems dreadfully unfair to the dancer, not to mention the audience.

Share this post


Link to post

I just watched the Rose Adagio bart mentions. Yes, pretty ghastly. To stabilize my karma, I watched some Lopatkina.

Most ballerinas with extreme extensions have good to great jumps (Guillem, Zakarova, Vishneva) but this girl barely gets off the ground.

So distorted.

Share this post


Link to post
And I'm not interested in seeing Somova at all.

Why?

Well, I saw her O/O last year in Boston and thought it was an abomination. I also saw quite a few video clips on youtube and on Russian TV and really don't feel like watching them all over again. Especially when I have to travel to a different city, pay for hotel and incur other expenses, not to mention the cost of my ticket.

Somova is being pushed down our collective throat by the Kirov mangement because they think she's exactly what we want and what we will pay to see. There's only one way to prove them wrong.

Share this post


Link to post

It seems to me that by casting her on the first night, the Kirov is lining her up to be shot down by the New York critics. Perhaps it will prove to be the reality check for the company that it so badly needs right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Somova is being pushed down our collective throat by the Kirov mangement because they think she's exactly what we want and what we will pay to see.
And is this working with the ticket-buyers? I realize that some audiences crave extreme extensions, contortions, and possibly a bit of bizarre arm-waving, etc.. But even these were not done particularly well. It looked like parody. Who IS the audience for this? And how do the traditional audiences respond?

I'm sorry for my puzzlement, but I have not seen the Kirov live for quite a while, and I cannot square the images I saw in this clip from Rose Adagio with what I read about the company elsewhere (including Ballet Talk) and have observed on relatively recent dvds.

Are there two Kirovs, operating in parallel but non-connecting universes?

Share this post


Link to post
Somova is being pushed down our collective throat by the Kirov mangement because they think she's exactly what we want and what we will pay to see.
And is this working with the ticket-buyers? I realize that some audiences crave extreme extensions, contortions, and possibly a bit of bizarre arm-waving, etc.. But even these were not done particularly well. It looked like parody. Who IS the audience for this? And how do the traditional audiences respond?

I'm sorry for my puzzlement, but I have not seen the Kirov live for quite a while, and I cannot square the images I saw in this clip from Rose Adagio with what I read about the company elsewhere (including Ballet Talk) and have observed on relatively recent dvds.

Are there two Kirovs, operating in parallel but non-connecting universes?

The traditional audiences, (i.e. Lopatkina, Obratzova, Pavlenko and Vishneva's fans), generally avoid the opera house when it's a Somova night. Her nights are usually first nights or mid-week, or weekends when the tourists buy up the most

expensive seats in 'orchestra.' The Czar's Box level and upper tier crowd, aren't as forgiving as the tourists. Also, they aren't as close as the tourists are to the line of fire.

Re: the Youtube tape, I stopped counting mistakes at #15 in the Rose Adage alone. Her "entrance" was :speechless-smiley-003:!!!!. I mean, we're not talking about technical survival here. She lacks sufficient strength in her right foot for the balances, notice the persistent wobble. She is allowed to insert the Sergeyev penchees into the 1890 notation after the first set of balances, and at the end of the final promenade. Vishneva, Obratzova, Tereshkina, Gumerova, Novikova, Dumchenko - none of them take this liberty in the Reconstruction. She hits 182 degrees with every developpe and every penchee in the Adage. Her tutu hits her tiara during the diagonal balances with the King's Violinists. Mind you, this was not her debut; this was taped in January > two years after her Los Angeles debut in Fall 2005, so there's no excuse for these egregious mistakes, or this 're-dux' of the 'script.' What really bothers me is that audiences worldwide who have never experienced the true Maryinsky/Petersburg style, will see Somova, and erroneously conclude that they've seen & experienced a legitimate exponent and purveyor of the Vaganova/Petersburg School - not so.

For those of you out there who like to live dangerously, the rest of her faux Act 1 can be viewed on Mad-About-Maryinsky and Dropshots. The variation was impossible and painful to watch: Her lack of turnout is most pronounced

here; there's nowhere for her to hide - it's on display for all to see. Picture this: After she pricks her finger, the ensemble onstage is in their proper place, as the choreography dictates. She, on the other hand, realizes that King Papa and Queen Mama are standing stage right by the wings, and she is front and center in the middle of the stage. Imagine her surprise when she raises her right hand to dad - AND HE'S NOT THERE! It dawns ( :lightbulb: ) on her that she's in the wrong spot. So, she does a very hasty, and very sloppy "grande jete" to get over to them, then she gets back into position - again (!) and proffers her hand so that his majesty can examine her "boo-boo." And through all of this Tchaikovsky soldiers on leaving her behind. Gaffes like these can't be concealed, OK?

What is the antidote for Somova? I suggest viewing any of the following: The 1983 Kolpakova/Berezhnoi, the 1989 Lezhnina/Ruzimatov, the Asylmuratova/Zaklinsky, the Sizova/Soloviev, or the Semenyaka/Fadeyechev dvds - these helped me through the withdrawals.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, I just watched the Youtube Somova "Rose Adagio" and it is about what I expected. I have never seen her dance live or on tape. She is constantly breaking up the line and distorting the steps to show off her rubbery, double-jointed, hyper-extended limbs - it's all about 6 o'clock ecart├ęs with her and kicking the back of her head or tucking her leg behind her ear. This is a poor man's Zakharova as I correctly discerned.

Clearly the current management was deeply stung over the defection of Svetlana Zakharova, a pretty blonde with long hyperextended limbs. They had created her, pushed her, promoted her fast - made her into a star and what did she do? Ran out on them and joined the Bolshoi. So what do they do? They say "Well, we made you... we can make another!" So here she is, world, Alina Somova trying to outdo Zakharova. It isn't just that she is being pushed into all the leading roles too soon, her dancing is being pushed totally into the wrong direction by the management and coaches. There is clearly good physical ability and some talent there - not much artistry or musicality. But every bad habit and mannerism is being played up until she is just a mess. Now Zakharova wasn't a great Aurora either and neither was Guillem. These hyperextended girls usually do better as Giselle or in "Swan Lake" or "Don Quixote". Also girls with 180 degree extensions usually can't balance to save their lives. But the extensions seem to be all that Somova has here - the jumps aren't great, she really isn't doing true balances holding onto the Princes and the pirouettes are sloppy but have potential.

I actually feel sorry for her because she could be good if she was directed to be something other than an acrobatic act.

Share this post


Link to post

The Rose Adagio clip that left us all :speechless-smiley-003: is rated at 4 out of 5 stars. So apparently there are people out there who like that sort of thing. If you read the comments you'll find that there are a few fans so loyal that they will bully and abuse anyone who dares write a dissenting opinion.

Many of her fans must be ballet students. Extreme extension is like a fetish for them and they tend to overlook more subtle qualities. As for the general audience most people have a very vague idea of how classical ballet should look like. Kirov is a brand name and if it's the Kirov then it must be good, no? The ones who know and care, the traditional audience that you mention, are too civilized to publicly show displeasure in a dancer. Ballet audiences are too polite.

She would probably be interesting to watch in ballet moderne, Forsythe, things made on her body - individuality and weirdness can be refreshing things - but putting her in Sleeping Beauty is too much. One has to wonder what is the point of researching and presenting a production that tries to recreate the first presentation of this canon of balletic classicism when you are going to cast so unclassical a dancer as Aurora.

A sad thing is that I remember how when I was a student we watched on tv a clip of Guillem in the Grand pas classique and our perception of what was possible, desirable and aesthetically pleasing in ballet, and also what we should strive for, was changed in the space of 10 minutes. We were that impressionable. I hate to think how watching Somova might impress a young student.

(a clarification: i'm not comparing Guillem with Somova as dancers, just the effect of watching something extreme and unknown)

Share this post


Link to post
I hate to think how watching Somova might impress a young student.

I have bad news to report: It has already begun. My friend in St. Petersburg

attended "Silenzio," Vishneva's solo evening last month. She emailed me and

told me that during the intermission, Somova herself was walking around along

with the rest of the audience in the foyer. A little girl, that my friend recognized

as a second year student, was standing next to my friend, holding her mother's hand.

The child spotted Somova, as if this were a star sighting, and excitedly

whispered to her mother, " . . . That's Somova, the lady with blonde hair!"

If the youngsters at the Academy revere her, that doesn't bode well for

the future.

Share this post


Link to post
The Rose Adagio clip that left us all :speechless-smiley-003: is rated at 4 out of 5 stars. So apparently there are people out there who like that sort of thing.

That doesn't surprise me. What surprises and puzzles me is how coaches born and bred to the Kirov style could countenance deviations so extreme as to be heretical. Does growing up on good taste not breed at least a modicum of good taste? Apparently not. The Kirov style isn't taught and viewed in a cultural vacuum.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm very surprised too about the student training, considering how tasteful Altynai Asylmuratova always was...and she is the head of the Vaganova Academy!

However, I am completely ignorant on these matters, was Somova always so..."Rose Adaigo" like? Or did she possess a modicum of taste when she graduated? BTW: Somova's coach, Tchenchikova, correct? She was rather...lovely in her extensions, here is another surprise.

I'm not at all excited about seeing Somova in anything other than Forsythe. We used to complain about Zakharova's extensions, but...this is too much, no?

Share this post


Link to post

I think there has to be a strong distinction made between Zakharova, a dancer I'm not too fond of, and Somova. Zakharova is not to my tastes because I find her rather cold. But she's a real dancer, and, in the right roles, can be very impressive, even if she'll never be a favorite.

The Somova I've seen from YouTube makes me think she shouldn't even be in the corps de ballet. The way her legs flop wildly, without any muscular control, her absolute lack of any elevation, and, most of all, her totally charmless stage persona, make her Rose Adagio just an absolute :speechless-smiley-003: nightmare. Then there's the smaller details, like how she can never seem to figure out whether to keep her legs bent or straight, the frantic way she grabs onto the princes' hands, her port-te-bras (or lack thereof), are just yuck yuck yuck. Her hands always seem like they are reaching for her feet.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm with those who think the problem is way beyond hyper-extension (though that 190-degree split in the air early in the clip did make me blink). Every appendage seems to be out of control at one point or other. The early port de bras looks like something Edward Gorey might have concocted in order to satirize an imitator of an imitator of Balanchine.

Cygnet, that description of Somova missing her mark (and her father), adding some choreography to shift her position, and getting out of sync with the score is brilliant! :speechless-smiley-003:

Share this post


Link to post
I'm with those who think the problem is way beyond hyper-extension
I don't think anyone complains about the hyperextension per se. Polina Semionova also has crazy hyperextension but she has everything under control. I've never heard anyone complain in such a way about her.

Somova must have had some good qualities to begin with - I seem to remember she won a medal in a well known competition some years ago (not sure when/where) and I can't imagine she was flapping and flopping around in this manner back then. Perhaps now she is overindulged :dunno:

Ultimately, she has a right to dance however she pleases and the audiences will judge her accordingly. We can only hope she wont "inspire" others with her example.

Hate to disillusion you, but in all probability almost all the complimentary comments and accompanying hate postings are from the same person using different aliases.

Mashinka thanks for the background info. I had no idea about all that. I'm very naive. Still, more than 6000 users viewed the clip and judging from the rating only a handful were sufficiently disturbed to click and rate it as low as possible.

Regarding the youtube comments you're right, I tried to stop looking at them when I came across someone who wrote "Ewww disgusting!" about Kolpakova whom I revere. But it's a perverse compulsion, I always wonder what people are saying and end up looking.

Share this post


Link to post
I'm very surprised too about the student training, considering how tasteful Altynai Asylmuratova always was...and she is the head of the Vaganova Academy!

However, I am completely ignorant on these matters, was Somova always so..."Rose Adaigo" like? Or did she possess a modicum of taste when she graduated?

I think you can find her graduation performance up on youtube. At least it was there a few weeks ago. I'd say it was pretty much the same.

Share this post


Link to post