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Kirov's "La Bayadere" in Washington DC


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#1 Ceeszi

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 09:28 PM

I just got back from a glorious evening at the Kennedy Center. The Kirov put on a magnificent production of La Bayadere. They did their traditional version, which ends with the Kingdom of the Shades - (no temple destruction in this one). The corps was beautiful; the character dances were very entertaining; and we had great performances from our three leads:

Viktoria Terekshina was a wonderful Gamzatti. I've seen the part acted better, but her dancing was beautiful and the audience loved her. I thought she looked a little nervous in the beginning - it looked like she took a little bobble before she started dancing, but once she started - wow! She was a delightful surprise. I saw in the program that she is also dancing Nikiya later in the week.

Andrian Fadeyev was also wonderful as Solor. I have seen him dance twice before (once with Vishneva), so I knew what to expect from him. His solos were great and he partnered Vishneva and Terekshina beautifully.

Diana Vishneva - :) :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:

What can I say? I have seen her as Odette/Odile, Aurora, Juliet, Giselle, and now I have seen her twice as Nikiya. She blows me away every time. She feels every beat of the music and she has such a command of the stage. Her solo in Act II was absolutely heartbreaking. And the whole Kingdom of Shades act made me cry.

There was so much beauty on the stage tonight. What a treat to see the Kirov live. And I have to say it again - I love Diana!!!

#2 Matthew

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 06:36 AM

A sublime performance by the entire company. Vishneva was indeed marvelous, as were Viktoria Terekshina and Andrian Fadeyev. The Dance of the Shades was mesmerizing. Each time the Kirov stages a production at the Kennedy Center, you can expect a first-rate show.

#3 Natalia

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 06:50 AM

It was indeed a spectacular evening....but.....Where, oh where, was Manu??? C'mon Kennedy Center! You can't find two little girls in the DC area who can dance on pointe, to accompany the ballerina who performs this standard -- almost iconic --variation with the pitcher on her head? All else remained intact, including a Golden Idol accompanied by adult females instead of un-PC "Little Black Sambos" that can still be seen in Russia. Best of all: The Elephant, The Cobra and Tony-the-Tiger came on tour!

My quick thoughts, while listing the dancers. As usual with Kirov casting, there are some unannounced substitutions.

****

La Bayadere
Kirov-Mariinsky Ballet
Kennedy Center
January 22, 2008

Nikia - Diana Vishneva (delectably passionate! Technically fine if not spot-on. Lovely, pliant back.)
Solor - Andrian Fadeev (ever-handsome and strong)
Gamzatti - Victoria Tereshkina (move over, Terekhova - a new Ultimate Gamzatti is in da house!)
Golden Idol - Grigory Popov (WOW! One of best ever. Strong, yet s-m-o-o-t-h, with long elegant line.)
High Brahmin - Vladimir Ponomaryev (MY #1 "star" among the night's stars; he carried the performance into the extra-special realm)

Solo Shade 1 - Olesya Novikova (perfection in this solo)
Solo Shade 2 - Nadezhda Gonchar (looking unusually tanned for a shade; fine performance)
Solo Shade 3 - Ekaterina Kondaurova (gorgeous line; one of best ever, almost as good as Michele Wiles' rendition at ABT ca 1999)

Two Lead Jampe Girls - Elena Androssova & Yana Selina (great amplitude; in synch)

Four Little Bayaderes (red/white tutus): Yana Selina, Valeria Martinyuk, Elizaveta Cheprasova & Svetlana Ivanova (I don't think that Ivanova was truly there, unless she has changed a lot)

Four Big Bayaderes (powder-blue tutus) in Grand Pas Classique ensemble: Elena Androssova (the lovely blonde), Yulia Bolshakova, Daria Vasnetsova and -- according to the programme -- Ekaterina Kondaurova. I'm pretty sure that someone else took Kondaurova's place in this dance.

Two Men in Grand Pas Classique ensemble: Sergei Popov (was there - the taller, blondish one) and "Dmitry Pykhachev" (that was definitely not him...but who?)

Indian ("Tom-Tom Dance") lead pair - Ti-Yeon Ryu (gorgeous!...but Galia Rakhmanova is missed) & Islom Baimuradov (definitely he - the human sparkplug!)
Indian Dance Drum Guy - "Vasily Scherbakov"...but it looked like Dmitry Pykhachev to my eyes

Rajah - Petr Statsyunas
Toloragva - Andrei Yakovlev
Aya - Elena Bazhenova (most glamourous slave woman in existence)
Slave (Nikia's partner in Act I adagio) - Sergei Salikov
Magedaveya - Igor Petrov

Corps of Shades - I won't list the 32 shades but I'll note that the female ensemble is packed with recent -- 2005 & 2006 * -- graduates for whom this is the first US tour. They did a great job, performing "as one" as if they'd been with the company for ages. Some of them, such as Maria Chugai and Anna Lavrichenko, are already dancing solos back home.

According to the playbill, most of the above casting remains the same for ALL performances in the run, e.g., same solo shades, same Little & Big Bayaderes, Jampe leads, Golden Idol, High Brahmin, Aya, etc. Changes -- beside the obvious Nikia/Solor/Gamzatti -- are in the Indian Dance girl (Lubov Kozharskaya alternates with Ryu) & the Act I adagio Slave (Konstantin Sverev alternates with Salikov).

I'll be attending two more performances in the run, tonight's edition with Lopatkina/Kozlov/Tkachenko, then Friday night with Somova/Sarafanov/Osmolkina. I look forward to enjoying and comparing these wonderful dancers of the Kirov-Mariinsky.


* note: there was no graduation class in 2007

#4 Mashinka

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 08:02 AM

It was indeed a spectacular evening....but.....Where, oh where, was Manu???


I think the Kirov ditched Manu some years ago as we didn't see her in London last time the Kirov danced Bayadere here, but thankfully she is still a feature in the Bolshoi production.

#5 Natalia

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 08:31 AM

[
I think the Kirov ditched Manu some years ago as we didn't see her in London last time the Kirov danced Bayadere here, but thankfully she is still a feature in the Bolshoi production.


Oh no, Mashinka. Manu is still very much a part of the production at the Kirov-Mariinsky, as I've seen with my own eyes during the past few months. The cut is made just for tours...as are parts of the Sleeping Beauty Act III divertissements...as are Juliet's friends' Act III dance in R&J, etc. when on tour.

A recent "Manu Sighting" at the Mariinsky (June '07), courtesy of "Poduchka's" wonderful website:
http://photofile.nam...duchka/2748707/

Sorry but to even think of the Bolshoi's hack-Bayadere (Grigorovich at his kitschy worst) when discussing the Kirov-Mariinsky's divine production is sacrilege, IMO. (wink) Now if you want to compare Corsaires, then I'm with the Bolshoi. :)

#6 Mashinka

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 08:54 AM

Without wishing to make any comparisons at all about productions, I still feel short changed if its too much trouble for the Kirov to train a pair of kids while on tour whereas it isn't for the Bolshoi.

#7 Natalia

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 09:09 AM

I'm with you, Mashinka. Especially given the number of excellent, pre-professional ballet academies in the DC area. It's not as if we have to bus them in from SAB/New York!

#8 pj

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 01:33 PM

It IS too bad that they were not able to come up with girls for the Manu "little girls." My dd, who is currently studying at the Kirov Academy in DC was one of the "little girls" when the company did this production in Los Angeles a few years ago. I'm certain she would have been very pleased to watch some of her younger classmates at Kirov rehearse this and then perform it. She will greatly miss seeing that portion of the production when she attends on Friday evening.

And I can think of several girls at KAB who would have been able to do this part quite nicely, too!

#9 Natalia

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 01:51 PM

You've stated the obvious, pj, which I did not want to do for fear of offending other fine area schools, such as Washington Ballet, Maryland Youth Ballet and so on. Any of these ballet schools could have provided not only the girls for the Manu Dance but also the Little Sambos, which could have been performed without the blackface.

As un-PC as they look, those Little Sambos add a lot to the Act II ensembles. For example, the Fan Dance (ensemble of women carrying fans) is supposed to incorporate the kids down the middle of the stage. Since there are no kids in DC, the middle of the stage remains empty duirng the final portion of that dance. Very odd looking.

#10 Natalia

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 10:51 PM

La Bayadere
Kirov-Mariinsky Ballet
Kennedy Center
January 23, 2007

Nikia - Uliana Lopatkina
Solor - Ivan Kozlov
Gamzatti - Tatyana Tkachenko

Another magnificent performance but markedly inferior to last night's Vishneva/Fadeev/Tereshkina edition.

Yes, Uliana Lopatkina displayed her divine Stradivarius instrument, superior to Vishneva's or anyone else in the company (or anywhere else on earth, in our lifetime). Two problems: (1) relatively weak technique in the bravura sections, such as the low manege of jetes-renverses in the coda of Shades and (2) too icilly-calculated demeanor. Even my husband, a casual ballet-goer, remarked that Lopatkina "should smile a bit more" when seeing Solor in Act I. Brilliant but cool and calculated. This underscores the excellence of Vishneva's rendition yesterday -- great technique coupled with realistic, soulful acting. Take as an example the Act II "hootchie-kootchie coda with basket" that follows Nikia's adagio solo. While Lopatkina performed in a controlled manner keeping the flowers intact, Vishneva danced with abandon, spilling petals onto the stage.

Lopatkina's uber-long limbs make her the undisputed queen of adagio. Vishneva is superior in technique, raw emotions and allegro-bravura dancing. Both are absolute-delights. How lucky we are in Washington to experience them on consecutive nights!

Ivan Kozlov's Solor improved during the performance but, still, my feeling is that he is not "Kirov-Mariinsky Worthy." His Act II solo -- the famous one with the back cabrioles -- was weak to the point of embarrassment. As I said, he was better later, acquitting himself nicely in the Shades scene. Here's the rub: he is is tall, muscular and handsome -- the perfect partner for the tall Lopatkina. 'Nuf said.

The least said about Tatyana Tkachenko's Gamzatti, the better. Seeing her Ulanovesque looks (not such a bad thing!), I felt as if I were in the 1940s. Nice all-singles fouettes. Slightly-beyond 90-degree jetes in her solo. Nothing embarrassing, mind you. But...after the perfection of Tereshkina last night, the comparisons are inevitable.

Another downer: How could ANY Russian ballet company "miss" with the Act II Indian "Tom-Tom Dance"? Well, the Kirov missed tonight, not because of the men. Lubov Kozharskaya is the only Kirov character dancer who I've ever seen to UNDER-play this dance. Very low jumps. Minimal amplitude. Really, I am puzzled at how weak she was, thus ruining the energy of the dance. Give me Ti-Eun Ryu (last night) or the legendary Galina Rakhmanova any day! [Now I ask myself if this truly was Kozharskaya. The Kozharskaya who I recall from the 2005 Vaganova graduation, dancing to Wagner's Walkyries, had very long limbs, while tonight's dancer was shortish and muscular. Hmmm.]

***Good news: the dancers listed as the four Little and four Big Bayaderes *did* correspond to reality tonight (err...I think)! The Little Bayaderes were the following, left to right: Svetlana Ivanova, Valerya Martinyuk, divine strawberry-blonde Elizaveta Cheprasova & Yana Selina. The Big Bayas were: first two to dance (left to right) Elena Androssova and Ekaterina Kondaurova; second two to dance (l to r) Daria Vasnetsova and (I think) Yulia Bolshakova. [Yup, I have a question mark next to Bolshakova, who I recall as having more of an oriental face when I last saw her..but it could be she.]

The Golden Idol, High Brahmin & 32 Shades all brought down the house, as before. Ekaterina Kondaurova's 3rd Shade solo was even smoother and creamier than last night's. She is closing-in on my #1 trophy for this solo, set to overtake Michele Wiles.

Even an off-night with the Kirov is golden.

#11 Cygnet

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 08:50 AM

Thank you so much Natalia for the insightful and detailed reviews! They are much appreciated! :dunno:

#12 YID

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 10:40 AM

Thank you so much Natalia for the insightful and detailed reviews! They are much appreciated! :dunno:

Thank you Natalia,
I can echo your impressions, since I saw both Tues & Wed performances....though I still liked Lopatkina, they are just very different (for me Lopatkina's Nikia was "smarter" more "royal").
And I was not impressed by Kozlov (after my favorite Fadeyev ;-)). I couldn't resist and asked the dancers after the performance to make sure - it was YANA SELINA, who led the shades entance - WHAT A WONDERFUL JOB - and how much stamina ;-)) impressive and unforgettable...
Looking forward to seeing Fadeyev and Nioradze tonight ;-))... I only wish I could schedule another visit to see Tereshkina as Nikiya...

#13 Mike Gunther

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 12:59 PM

Echoing thanks to our great reviewers! I saw Wednesday's performance - loved it - now I wish I could go back and see the opening night too. I have to say that Tkachenko's Gamzatti did win me over, although maybe if I'd also seen Tereshkina it would have been a different story. I also thought Lopatkina and Kozlov made a good partnership, although soloistically Kozlov seemed a little tired in Act II (saving himself for Act III?).

In the corps' Act III entrance it seemed like everybody had their own ideas about the timing and extension of the arabesques. I thought it could have been much more synchronized, but is that asking for the impossible here? And does anybody else think that the Drum Dance is _way_ over the top? It's almost like it jumped into this ballet from some Las Vegas or Parisian-type revue. Overall, though, a wonderful evening and a great company.

The Wednesday cast repeats Saturday afternoon.

#14 Natalia

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 01:44 PM

....does anybody else think that the Drum Dance is _way_ over the top? It's almost like it jumped into this ballet from some Las Vegas or Parisian-type revue. ...


You saw the low-key, contained version last night, Mike. I am not joking. The female soloist is usually much more explosive and high-flying, making the entire piece zing a lot more. If it is performed properly, the audiences yell 'bravo' and keep bringing the dancers out for extra bows.

The orchestra pounded the drums at full-tilt, though.

I'm sorry to be missing tonight's Bayadere with Nioradze, who rarely performs at the Mariinsky nowadays. Washington is getting a rare treat. Hopefully others will be able to report.

#15 YID

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 12:58 PM

I'm sorry to be missing tonight's Bayadere with Nioradze, who rarely performs at the Mariinsky nowadays. Washington is getting a rare treat. Hopefully others will be able to report.

Nioradze stayed back in Russia, V. Tereshkina danced. I loved it. I am biased, I love Fadeyev, and I guess that also played the role that enjoyed yesterday's dancing. I really LOVE his partnering and ACTING compared to Kozlov. I finally got binoculars and was studying facial expresions of both.... I could see and feel Fadeyev's struggle and agony of letting Nikia down. I also liked how Fadeyev plays the rejection in Act II/Wedding.
I liked Tereshkina and starting to like her more and more. Not me, but my neighbore said that she dared more dangerous spins than Lopatkina. So, now I will be debating whom I liked more Tereshkina or Lopatkina ;-)) Diana did dance with abandone, but her "shade" was just NUMB (or may be that's how it should be, not sure, need to study more). And I love Tereshkina's acting, so truthful, so convincing...
Comparing Golub's and Tckachenko's Gamzati - Golub did a much better job than Tkachenko... However, still Terechkina is by FAR my FAVORITE Gamzatti.

A TOTALLY BAD thing (to my mind) - they did NOT GIVE flowers for the second night in a row ;-((

Two off-topic things, I waited for my neighbore who wanted to give flowers to Viktoria, and Tereshkina is such an approacable humble and sencerely nice person ;-)) a very sweet person, and much prettier without the theatrical make-up ;-))
I saw Peter Quanz, who's choreographes for Kirov, very interesting....


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