8th International Ballet Festival, Mariinsky Theatre, Mar 13-23performance reviews
Posted 25 March 2008 - 05:54 PM
Posted 26 March 2008 - 04:45 AM
Posted 26 March 2008 - 06:32 PM
21 March 2008
Odette/Odile Ulyana Lopatkina
Siegfried Evgeny Ivanchenko
Rothbart Ilya Kuznetsov
Jester Grigory Popov
Ulyana Lopatkina's Swan Lake was certainly planned as the culmination
of the six performances of the ballet at the 8th International Ballet Festival this year.
I have seen Ms Lopatkina as the swan queen only once before, at the 6th festival
of the Mariinsky in 2006, when she performed Odette/Odile with Jose Martinez of the POB as Siegfried. At that time I had written:
“Ulyana Lopatkina as Odette-Odile remains a standard by which others are measured. To me she seems the definitive Swan Queen. The reason is that she 'nails' her performance with clarity of motion, precision of means, and command of space.
In the supported adagio of the first lakeside scene, every pas' line design was brought to completion with a definitive placement of the head. The overall effect of the completed design became expressively powerful; that, in turn, translated into emotional content.” ………
…….“Lopatkina's Odile created a brilliant silhouette in her black tutu decorated with red stones. Her Odile, while etching in space a sharp presence, had the illusive quality of a phantasm.”
On the basis of the recollection of the earlier performance, I offer my comments on this year's performance. The performance of 21 March 2008 seemed, in both scenes, to be an off night.
The lakeside scene, while finely etched as design, seemed to proceed at a glacial pace. While Ivanchenko offered solid support in the lifts, all beautifully executed, there was an infelicitous moment in the finger pirouettes, occurring after the first one, untypically a double, when, somehow Lopatkina lost her equilibrium momentarily.
Another infelicitous moment occured in the variation's opening sequence of ronds de jambe, when after the second one, there was an unsteady shift of balance to the other leg. Mishaps, while seeming minor and inconsequential, marred the flow and the pulse of the dance phrases. And mishaps, I was told, are not typical of Ms Lopatkina's performances. But off-nights happen.
In the Odile pas de deux there was loss of verticality during supported pirouettes.
In the coda, by the fourth or fifth fouette, the conductor, M. Sinkevitch, had to slow down the tempo drastically so there was a semblance of concord between dancer and music.
Swan Lakes have other riches beside the stellar roles of the protagonist/antagonist female and the prince. Swan Lakes have the riches offered by the corps of swans/women. And the Mariinsky company's corps de ballet offers riches unparalleled worldwide.
The swans and the cygnets in the second and fourth scenes offered us the choreographic vision of Ivanov in Sergeyev's production with the finely tuned musicality of their uniform schooling, the luscious plasticity of movement inherent in their classical training, and the selectivity of body type that results from the Mariinsky system of developing professional artists. Kudos to them all.
The little swans continued to enchant, night after night, no matter who danced them. Tonight's cast were Elisaveta Cheprasova, Svetlana Ivanova (always a standout), Elena Chmil, Valeria Martynuk.
The two swans in the fourth scene, Daria Vasnetsova and Ekaterina Kondaurova, danced their solos with distinction, and on different nights.
In the third scene character dances, Alisa Sokolova had a debut tonight in Spanish; she danced with Polina Rassadina, Islom Baimuradov, Alexander Sergeyev.
Ms Lopatkina was very warmly received by the audience, with many flowers and many curtain calls.
(Edited for clarity)
Posted 29 March 2008 - 06:40 PM
Yes drb, THANK YOU so much for posting the link. I won't be able to attend the Kirov at City Center--how awful is that! I haven't seen them live for 20yrs! Therefore, these so-welcome videos have helped to allay my tears, and change them to a smile. What a gift BT members are to us all.
Posted 31 March 2008 - 03:49 AM
Libretto: Mikhail Fokine
Music: Robert Schumann
Choreography: Mikhail Fokine
Sets and Costumes: Leon Bakst
Reconstruction: Sergei Vikharev (after notes of Mikhail Fokine)
Columbine Yevgenia Obraztsova
Harlequin Vladimir Shklyarov
Chiarina Marianna Pavlova
Eusebius Sergei Salikov
Florestan Sergei Popov
Estrella Yevgenia Dolmatova
Papillon Yana Selina
Pantalone Stanislav Burov
Pierrot Islom Baimuradov
The program of the 22nd was the most delightful of the 2008 festival evenings.
The revival/reconstruction of Le Carnaval was, for me, the highlight of the festival. I found it an enchanting production; not that I could compare it to any other since I had seen none, but that it fulfilled everything I believed it would be.
I've had a lifelong admiration for the Schumann score. The early history of the ballet, with its 1910 Paris premiere featuring Nijinsky, Karsavina, Bolm (as well as Schollar, Fokina, Nijinska, Cecchetti and Kussov) has held a fascination for me.
My appreciation for Vikharev's reconstruction is enormous. Congratulations to him and all who were involved in this production. I can honestly say I found the work thrilling.
The setting, the ante-chamber of a ballroom, a deep blue curtain with a gold frieze at the top, and two striped little settees (exactly as described by C. Beaumont's Complete Book of Ballets -1951-) was recreated by Mikhail Shishlianikov, beautifully lit by Alexander Naumov and Mikhail Shishlianikov and with the elegant costume designs of Bakst recreated by Tatiana Noginova.
The cast was superb, down to the last waltzer and last philistine.
Obraztsova and Shklyarov sparkled as the central commedia del arte pair of Columbine and Harlequin, she with the beckoning forefinger and delicate bourees, he with his shaking head and carefree leaps and dazzling pirouettes.
Baimuradov created a moving portrait of pathos and loneliness as Pierrot, a truly wonderful performance.
Yana Selina charmed as Papillon, “a vivacious lady, all high spirits and fluttering ribbons” [Beaumont, p. 699]
Pavlova, and Dolmatova, and Burov, and Salikov and Popov, all gave outstanding performances in this delicate, seemingly simple, treasure of a ballet.
Bravo Vikharev. Bravo Mariinsky.
(edited to add a name)
More on the rest of the program in another installment.
Posted 02 April 2008 - 05:15 AM
Choreography Christopher Wheeldon
Music Franz Schubert
Costumes Jean-Marc Puissant
Lighting Antonio Marques
The second ballet after Le Carnaval was Wheeldon's “pièce d'occasion” made in 2007 for the Kings of Dance tour and danced here with one of the original cast members, Angel Corella.
The bright, virtuosic choreography suited the Mariinsky dancers very well. Among them was a principal dancer (Fadeyev), a first soloist (Lobukhin), and a newly promoted second soloist (Sergeyev) --although the Mariinsky website still listed him as a member of the corps de ballet.
The spontaneity of Corella's stage persona endeared him quickly to the Mariinsky audience, especially his bravura aerial work designed on him, which brought much applause in immediate reaction.
I found especially pleasing the dancing of Sergeyev, with his total command of space, leaving afterimages of his long lines and virile plasticity.
I also enjoyed the strong attack of Lobukhin's dancing, fully articulated movements replete with details of gesture.
An excellent performance by the whole cast.
Schubert's orchestrated chamber music made a fitting accompaniment to Wheeldon's choreography and was nobly conducted by Pavel Bubelnikov.
Le Reveil de Flore (1894)
Choreography Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov
Reconstruction by Sergei Vikharev
Music Riccardo Drigo
Flore Yevgenia Obraztsova
Aurore Yana Selina
Diane Svetlana Ivanova
Hebe Natalia Sharapova
Zephyre Vladimir Shkliarov
Apollon Victor Baranov
Aquilon Sergei Kononenko
Cupidon Valeria Martynuk
Mercure Alexei Timofeyev
Ganimede Salikh Bikchurin
Le Reveil de Flore, Vikharev's reconstruction of the choreography of Petipa and Ivanov includes the reconstruction of the original decors of Mikhail Bocharov and the original costumes of Yevgeny Ponomaryov.
Altogether it is a striking visual and aural experience, an immersion into the imperial Russian ballet and its ethos, having been created as a celebration of a specific royal family wedding. This is a ballet that only the Mariinsky company, with its distinguished feeder school dating back to imperial times, could carry off successfully.
And it does so with distinction. The exemplary cast led by Obraztsova and Shklyarov had outstanding performances throughout.
Of special note were Svetlana Ivanova as Diana, in the opening scene of the work. Her promenade in arabesque en fondu en dedans, repeated three times with different arms, was notable for its academic purity, as was her entire performance.
Valeria Martynuk was notable for the freshness she brings to Cupid, making her steps look like they were just invented.
Alexei Timofeyev's Mercury was dashing, and danced with a fine musicality.
Some of the choreography in the latter half of the work, seemed to me to have been fine-tuned for the benefit of the protagonists. Or maybe I noticed details that I missed in the first two performances of the work last year.
Obraztsova and Shklyarov were splendid in this ballet, as they were indeed in the stylistically very different work of Fokine, earlier in the evening.
I look forward to future performances from both of them.
This is the last 2008 festival performance for me.
Tomorrow, the day of the gala, we fly home.
Posted 02 April 2008 - 08:33 AM
Posted 03 May 2008 - 02:01 AM
Posted 04 May 2008 - 07:53 AM
I've been following your BT tour diary, and have been enjoying your perceptions and reviews of the performances you saw all over the EU map. What amazes me is not only your critically sophisticated take on what you saw, but the fact that you can recall it all to share with us. You also must be an indefatigable traveler!
Posted 22 May 2008 - 02:55 PM
There is a marvelous 6-part program about the 8th annual International Ballet Festival that was just put up on youtube; it has clips from seemingly all the performances. It can be found by putting in the keywords "Mariinsky International Ballet Festival."
Posted 22 May 2008 - 03:48 PM
Posted 22 May 2008 - 04:41 PM
ETA: Also in the ballet with Kondourova is Maxim Zyuzin, who was also terrific at City Center, and, if I'm close to transliterating properly, Islam Baymuradov (sp?). (The Mariinsky site is down right now, so I can't check.) She doesn't seem to care who ravishes her on the table Then she has to dance on white astroturf... Then she turns into a doll... Then Zyuzin attacks her with the doll of herself... Which he seems to regret later...
Edited again to add that Maria Alexandrova also performs Odette at the end of Part 2 with final pose at the beginning of Part 3. Then there's a rehearsal of Viktoria Tereshkina with Angel Corella, then into their performance, with occasional cuts to rehearsal and back. Then Rojo, who does a 15-minute balance in the Black Swan Pas de Deux, and does triples among the fouettes.
Posted 22 May 2008 - 06:36 PM
Please come back to NYC soon.
Posted 27 May 2008 - 08:21 PM
I just saw that and it was magnificent! Why can't they do that on A&E or PBS?
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