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Kirov's AD, Vaziyev, to resign?


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48 replies to this topic

#16 ngitanjali

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 06:53 AM

The gymnasts in the crowd were probably dancing tastelessly for happiness. ::grumble::

Honestly though, I think that someone else, with an idea of taste (Ratmansky, where are you???) and innovative ideas needs to come in. I don't want to see 300 Swan Lakes, but I do want to see 20 and other ballets, all done Well.

#17 delibes

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 01:22 PM

On from Catherine's post about transliteration, Vaziev should really be with a 'zee' rather than an 'es' as the sound is distinctly the zee letter, not the s. However as in the name Plisetskaya, there are those who write the 's' sound with two 'ss' to make the sharp unvocalised sound, and Kshessinskaya the same. The problem arises that in English 's' can have both the 'ss' and the 'z' sound. Many people seeing Plisetskaya would instinctly turn the s into a z.

But on the 'iev' question - there are two problems here. If we wrote Vaziev consistently with the way we write 'Nureyev' would we not write Vaziyev? And re the 'v', if you have the wonderfully funny Caryl Brahms book 'A Bullet in the Ballet', you will see that Stroganoff is the company's director (as in Diaghileff - the old-fashioned spelling). This only reflects the care that Europeans took at first to get the sounds right - the 'v' sounds like 'ff' at the end of the word. (You see how they put an 'h' after the 'g' in 'Diaghileff' -- it is because in English and French 'g' before 'i' becomes softened, like 'ginger' or 'gte', and they wanted to help us get it right.) Beef Stroganoff seems, perhaps for sentimental reasons, to have retained the 'ff', where now Stroganov would, I think, be acceptable as in Romanov.

On the subject of Matilde Kshesinskaya, one of the hardest-to-transliterate names, her original name would be spelled in English as 'Matilda Krzhesinska', as her father was Polish. I am assuming that the Kshesinskaya (or the short version Kshessinska) was the French version as the Tsar's court only spoke French. She is not, by the way, Kchessinska, which I have seen from time to time. KCH would have different letters in Cyrillic. Also it is Matilda, or French-version Matilde, not Mathilda.

The Tchaikovsky/ Chekhov anomaly arises from the fact that Russian names were first Europeanised into French, whose alphabet does not have the same sounds as the English. 'Ch' in French would be 'sh' in English - as in 'Chat'/ cat or 'Chopin' - so I suppose that Chaikovsky would be pronounced 'Shaikovsky'. So they put the T first. Maybe the English cottoned onto Chekhov before the French did and were happy to transliterate the sound into Ch as in Church. (Nureyev became Noureev in French - just to confuse matters further). I do not know how the French write 'Chekhov', with a T? Also there is the Polish factor, that 'w' can sound like 'v', so you see Tchaikowsky.

Where we get into deep water is the Shch and Io (= Yo, but not as in Yo bruv/my man) sounds. According to my studies, there is no real reason, as far as I can see, why Rodion Shchedrin (the composer and husband of Plisetskaya) should not be Roden Schedrin - as we routinely write Gorbachev, not Gorbachyoff as per pronunciation, and we write Soloviev and Vishneva, when actually the sound should make them Soloviyoff and Vishnyova, and we often write Khruschev, when it should probably be Khrushchyoff. I think that my conclusion has to be that we should just go with the flow and do as the French do with consistency. I now wish that I had not begun this.

#18 bart

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 01:57 PM

I now wish that I had not begun this.

No, no, no. It's fascinating! It helps us with pronunciation ... and also when Googling.

I especially appreciate your insights into French transliteration.

Thanks also to Catherine, earlier in the thread. It always thrills me to see the way ballet people are often so knowledgeable about many fields.

#19 vrsfanatic

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 02:23 PM

Well delibes, this has definitely brought a big laugh to my day. So glad you have posted. I actually had this conversation at work yesterday with two Russian colleagues who came to the same conclusion you have posted. In short, the answer lay in the deep history of Russia and the French influence that Alexander the Great has left the Russian people.

...I think that my conclusion has to be that we should just go with the flow and do as the French do with consistency.


I love this! Thank you so very much! :thumbsup: :bow:

#20 bart

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 02:28 PM

Going with the flow sounds good to me. It certainly seems okay for he US's two biggest companies. ABT dances to Tchaikovsky, NYCB to Tschaikovsy.

The NYCB website says the following about its Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux:

Language: French
Pronounced: chi-kov-ski pah deuh dew
Meaning: A dance for two set to the music of Peter Ilyich Tschaikovsky

You have to love the pronunciation.

#21 carbro

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 03:49 PM

Going with the flow sounds good to me. It certainly seems okay for he US's two biggest companies. ABT dances to Tchaikovsky, NYCB to Tschaikovsy.

The NYCB website says the following about its Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux:

Language: French
Pronounced: chi-kov-ski pah deuh dew
Meaning: A dance for two set to the music of Peter Ilyich Tschaikovsky

You have to love the pronunciation.

"Deuh"?? As in :thumbsup: ?

Ouch! :bow:

#22 Catherine

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 02:25 AM

Actually it is the "dew" that is more bothersome in my book -- No french pronunciation of "deux" is "dew".
Although fondu could be phonetically transliterated as fon-dew.

A travesty they actually wrote that!

I have often heard the "tchii" at the beginning of Tchaikovsky when spoken by Russians. This makes sense as, in Russian, the first syllable of a word is very very very rarely accented (unlike in English), and an unaccented vowel is declined/spoken differently than an accented vowel. Open vowel sounds in Russian (A, for example) are never pronounced as A unless the accent is on that very syllable. So it would be Tchi-KOV-sky rather than TCHAI-kov-sky (or Tchai KOV sky) but in either case the emphasis shouldn't be on the first syllable. In sum I've heard that first syllable said both ways here.

To the previous question -- the government wouldn't announce anything as this was Vasiyev/Vasiev/Vaziev/Vaziyev's (however you prefer to spell it) zayavlenie but I also haven't seen anything official following his announcement either.

#23 delibes

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 06:29 AM

There is a whole lot of strange spellings/ transliterations from the Diaghilev/ Dyaguileff Ballets Russes time. Sergeev can come out as Sergueff, nowadays Sergeyev, and I guess that 'Serge' with the soft 'ge' sound was the result of French people having a stab at saying 'Sergei'. We presumably also owe to that time the kind-of-misspelling of Nijinsky. In Russian to English direct, as prounounced, he should be written Nizhinsky. But the French 'j' sound is the same as what we write in English as 'zh', so we inherited the French Nijinsky spelling from his first European transliteration, even though it makes us speak it with a hard 'j' as in 'Jump'. I have heard horseracing folk pronounce the name more accurately when talking of a famous racehorse by that name, using the soft 'zh' sound.

Also his first name, directly transliterated from Russian-to-English 'Vatslav', started with its original Polish 'Vaclav', where the Polish 'c' is pronounced 'ts'. This was perfectly transliterated into the Russian 'ts' character, but in French maybe it was taken as the Russian 'c' (which is pronounced 's') and therefore became 'Vaslav' in the French version, and therefore the standard English version, which makes two mispronunciations in one name. I think some people even sometimes say 'Vaklav', reading the 'c' as hard one, when they are for example talking of Vaclav Havel. So Vatslav/ Vaslav/ Vaklav = vats it all about?

incidentally many famous ballet dancers' names can be translated amusingly, as several Russian surnames are close to adjectival, and not always flatteringly. Yuliana Lopatkina's surname means 'little spade', or even 'little digger'. Diana Vishneva means 'Cherry girl'. Bessmertnova means 'immortal, undying'. Volochkova has an homonymical relationship to 'svolochka', a very rude diminutive of 'pig' . Zelensky means 'green man'. Nizhinsky/ Nijinsky means 'low to the ground, short', which is rather suitable for his height. Diaghil is the herb angelica, though I am not sure whether Diaghilev was the most angelic of men. Lopukhov means 'simpleton'. Lifar's name associates with the word 'lif' or 'lifchik', meaning bosom or bra. I am quite taken by the English homonymical aspect of 'lifchik' (bra) and the strong pictorial association of Lifar lifting a lady's, erm, chicks. Khrushchev means the son of a cockchafer. Talk about being born with a disadvantage.

#24 Ostrich

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 08:44 AM

Yes, and I believe 'Baryshnikov' means 'horse thief' and Tsikaridze's name is related to 'evening star' ('tsiskari'). And I once knew what Nureyev meant, but now I forgot. Something nice I think...
And what, to get back to some semblance of the original topic, does Vasiyev/Vasiev(whatever) mean?

#25 bart

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 11:03 AM

Bessmertnova means 'immortal, undying'.

Yes!!!

Nizhinky/ Nijinsky means 'low to the ground, short', which is rather suitable for his height

But not for his jumps.

#26 Natalia

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 11:35 AM

Perhaps we could get this topic back on track? :)

So it appears, according to today's NYTimes -- as per the March 28 '08 Links forum -- that Vaziyev is still waffling and may very well leave after the current season. So the cheer-leaders at the post-festival party last Sunday may be groaning in a month or two? Awwwwww...the emotion of it all!

#27 delibes

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 11:41 AM

The verb Baryshnichat means to profiteer, usually in horsedealing. A person who does it is a Baryshnik. Ov (or ev) at the end means, son of. Nureyev is son-of-Nur or Nuri, a Russified Turkish name meaning 'light, or pale'. http://mirslovarei.com (in Russian) has a comprehensive list. Vaziev is not in the list, but I suppose that it might be a Turkic version of Vasiliev (Basil = king) type names, such as son-of-the king. Makhar means blessed. But Valery means strong. Tsiskaridze is Georgian, and derives from 'Tsiskari', a very old Georgian name meaning dawn. One of Balanchine's nephews is apparently a ballet dancer called Tsiskara Balanchivadze. See http://www.opentext.ge/art/BALANCH.HTM

#28 bart

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 11:51 AM

Sounds like the issue is more one of "when" rather than "how."

According to the Times,

The Kirovs director, Makhar Vaziev, has given conflicting signals about whether he was leaving the company, saying as recently as Wednesday night that he was retiring, said Sergei Danilian, the companys promoter in New York. “One day hes in; one day hes out,” Mr. Danilian said. The Maryinskys overall director, the conductor Valery Gergiev, said in an interview that he fully expected to Mr. Vaziev to come to New York. He acknowledged Mr. Vaziev was “not totally happy,” and he said Mr. Vaziev told him he would discuss retiring this summer, once the busy Kirov season is over.



#29 Catherine

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Posted 29 March 2008 - 09:37 AM

I saw the NY Times article and have to say, I was perplexed! Why make that announcement at the Astoria and then contradict it less than a week later? (It is strange tomorrow will be one week, it seems like it was a month ago already!)

I can only interpret this to mean he is still serious about leaving and I suppose the Astoria announcement was made in order to ease immediate concerns (ie. they will have a director on the NY tour). Actually (as is very common in mass media today) the article does not say he is NOT coming to NYC and I did see his name on the flight lists (which left today, the 29th). It is clear he is not happy and has not been happy for some time, and the reasons for that unhappiness inside the MT are not changing, erego he wants to make a change and do something about it (ie leave). I personally would presume not to see him this fall, but it will be a lot of back and forth until we hit that point. I cannot see him truly leaving before the season ends though. Just intuition. And to his credit, I suppose, he is sticking to the initial plan -- therefore the zayavlenie, in essence, holds, and the date is TBD.

#30 delibes

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 05:18 AM

An article in a St Petersburg weekly GOROD on April 7th about the Kirov/Vaziev turmoil is strongly critical of Valeriy Gergiev, the conductor and theatre's overall artistic chief. Irina Gubskaya writes that it is not at all clear that the ballerina Ul'yana Lopatkina has the company's support as the next ballet artitic director, as when she was officially designated "director" of the American tour -- with the prospect of "the company directorship" in due course -- it aroused an "indignant flurry" or "upset" inside the company. This was said to be why the dancers were so noticeably relieved on the eve of the tour that Vaziev was announced as still in position. This turmoil has been reignited since, in America, as Gergiev "urgently" called up Igor Zelensky to dance in the US, abandoning his planned performances in the Mikhailovski theatre in St Petersburg. This is seen as indicating favour for Zelensky as Kirov company leader and currying favour with American audiences. The absence of Vaziev when the company arrived in the US is said to have astonished the producer Sergey Danilian, who would have been expected to know all about it, but didn't.

M eanwhile, Gergiev's pronouncements on the ballet's general aspect have unearthed that he dislikes Forsythe ballets being done in the Kirov, thinking that they are "not of our tradition", and he also disapproves of several recent new productions there. (It isn't stated whether this includes the "reconstructions") . He has lately shown interest in Yuriy Grigorovich, but the writer comments with heavy irony that apparently Maestro doesn't know about the existence of "foreign" classical ballet, such as Bournonville.

She also remarks that if Gergiev is now making blanket criticisms of the ballet policy -- which she says he did also in America, 5 years ago -- he himself is accounted as the policy's author, being the theatre's artistic director and in part the ballet's artistic director, a policy which Vaziev has only carried out for him since he himself has always been denied the title and job of artistic leader. The policy is: Petipa, Balanchine, leading contemporary ballet choreographers, and a smattering of Russians (yet not so far any interest in earlier "golden age" Soviet choreographers). If Gergiev disapproves of this, says the writer, he has made no alternative proposals. However Gergiev has mentioned that he longed, from childhood, to see a ballet based on 'The Tsar's Bride', has talked with Alexey Ratmansky about new productions, and he has, to give him his due, recalled some older stars of recent times, eg Makhalina, to pass on their experience.

For Vaziev the writer has a lot of sympathy. She says that all mistakes will be put down to his account, including of course Gergiev's -- since "Gergiev can hardly be wrong".


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