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Mariinsky: NYCCApril 1-20, 2008


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#166 papeetepatrick

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 04:42 PM

Alina Somova has lovely lyrical qualities, even ballerina qualities, but I don't think she can yet carry a ballet, and certainly not "Ballet Imperial." (Unless one loves her, and when one loves a dancer, the choices and development are what are most interesting. I could see why someone would make that choice.)


Feel totally different about this, to my great surprise. All the things sz said about Somova, in opposition to most, in the early ballets or Petipa and Fokine days and nights seemed to be Somova for me in 'Ballet Imperial.' I couldn't believe it, because I still thinks she looks soggy and numbed (at least with Nytol or Sominex) in those awful Auroro YouTubes. Interesting that you would say you thought Kondaurova was the 'first 21st century Kirov ballerina'. It occurred to me that that is what Somova will be, and I also agree with sz that she will do 'Diamonds.' Since nobody answered my query about Agnes Letestu and whether she became able to do 'Diamonds' or if somebody else also dances it at POB, I will just say that Ms. Letestu is not even there on the POB DVD, and she literally ruins the otherwise fabulous POB Jewels. I can't see 'the big mess' the Somova is accused of making this afternoon, I thought she glittered in a way I thought absolutely impossible--I had been given this ticket as a birthday present last year and then had chosen the particular performance because I wanted to see Vishneva. I realized I would probably hate Somova after what many had said on here and what I had thought of those godawful YouTubes. I was totally disappointed, and therefore startled that I think what it may possibly be is this: The talent is so huge (going along with sz's 'extreme dancer' term), that it does go out of control a lot as it developa. So, yes, as Helene says 'Unless one loves her.' I do, and though even I could see some things that didn't work, she was not unmusical, the high extensions were never distracting, her body is one of the most beautiful ballerina bodies I have ever seen, and it is capable of doing things that other bodies are not doing. She was not mostly messy today IMO, and she glittered enough to blind someone like me had this been something I was prone to. She was sublime in her spring season. Too many grins is the only one of the annoyances posted by many that were way too frequent. That piece doesn't need a cheerleader face for it, but she is A STAR, and will probably become a great Balanchine ballerina instead of Petipa.

What was a HUGE MESS was the piano-playing of the concerto, Ludmila Somebody (they announced it, i believe) made absolute mud when she was not playing with the orchestra. Didn't anybody hear this? It was GHASTLY. Because this is a charming Balanchine work and even at the much-maligned NYCB orchestra at least the soloist always sounded like he/she was not about to run out of gas at any moment. I mean, this is one of those times one resents censorship of ordinary four-letter words at the BT. Hideous.

I also didn't think the secondary soloist and her two men were very Balanchinian, and there were many male dancers throughout the afternoon I thought lacking in much of the spirit of Balanchine as I had thought I understood it from NYCB. But most of the men did not interest me very much, only Schklyarov.

Loved Kondaurova and Tereschkina in 'Serenade', and thought this much better than I'd ever seen it elsewhere. Ms. Tereschkina is what I was glad to see most, I wanted to see one of the ones more in line with traditional Kirov as has been spoken of much here. Also loved Kondaurova in 'Rubies', and also Schklyarov especially. I think someone said something about one of the lead male dancers in 'Rubies' too wiry to get the jazzy americanisms of 'Rubies.' A number of them seemed like they hadn't descended from ABFAB's Patsy's '400 years of potato diet' , or when they had, they weren't really charismatic. Not so, the Schklyarov, who is almost too pulchritudinous for anyone's own good. I didn't even notice Novikova, wondered if she needed another partner, or perhaps my jaded sensibilities just can't see this kind of dancer. I can't say I saw any of the McBride that others are talking about. I never really looked at her though. My other bad taste acc. to BT, Galina Mezentseva, made me do the same thing with Odette/Odile on the video, even though Konstantin Zaklinsky is much prettier than she is. Mezentseva looks just like a Politburo wife when she's not in character, but I never quit looking at her as either Odette or Odile, and I thought I wouldn't like her Odette because the Odile is so brazen. Well, I did. And although Novikova was cute, I looked Mr. Schklyarov the whole time--he's got Nureyev attributes and is fabulous.

I sat next to a most wonderful young woman who i've invited to Ballet Talk. She knows tons about ballet, and is a huge fan of Ananiashvili in particular. She wasn't quite as familiar with 'Jewels' as with some other ballets, and we were talking about it--she thought there was a 4th Jewel--Amethysts. We had quite a laugh over that and I told her it was very, very important to come to BT, and that I would be signalling by writing about the missing jewel, the Amethysts.

After the POB set for 'Rubies' (and especially for 'Diamonds' too), they all look harlotish after such perfect understatement, not least some of those candy-box effects at NYCB that people do the ooh-ing and ahh-ing about. But THIS--the Kirov has the tackiest 'Rubies' set I've ever seen. It all looks like 14th Street Xmas Style and the backdrop looks like the 3 dollar cloth pictures drawn on cheap black velvet. I couldn't even believe it. I guess it was a great 'Rubies' I saw today, but while I loved Kondaurova, I guess I'd want to see Ms. Novikova with somebody less charismatic.

Well, this thread among all i've read at BT within 2 years has by far the most animalism about it. Tribute probably to the excitement that the Kirov causes more than any other company. But all the fast shuttle-trips by Natalia, the constant controversy over Somova, hideous audience conduct (I saw none today that was as bad as much I've been victim of at NYCB), canbelto's audience member from hell (but whose line "Are those programs different, or are you just taking pleasure in reading the same program three times?" is so inane as to be nearly immortal... nysusan's many enthusiastic posts, FauxPas's always sensitive and thoughtful pieces (he can even see what I see in Ms. Mezentseva), Haglund's super-brash statements full of energy.

I now have enough material to write 'The Balletomane' from this thread alone!

#167 canbelto

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 06:25 PM

I'm so sorry I missed a whole weekend of performances. I was going to today's performance, but first my cat got struck by an awful infection, and then I fell victim to a nasty cold and was a total mess. Thanks for all the great reviews. :)

#168 Helene

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 06:37 PM

What was a HUGE MESS was the piano-playing of the concerto, Ludmila Somebody (they announced it, i believe) made absolute mud when she was not playing with the orchestra. Didn't anybody hear this? It was GHASTLY. Because this is a charming Balanchine work and even at the much-maligned NYCB orchestra at least the soloist always sounded like he/she was not about to run out of gas at any moment.

HUGE MESS justly describes Lyudmilla Sveshnikova's performance of Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 this afternoon. I thought at first that a string on the piano snapped or went sourly out of tune, but her playing for the rest of the piece was all over the place.

I had admired her playing the other night, though.

#169 Andre Yew

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 09:34 PM

FYI, I just posted some info in the videos section about finding Kondaurova/Tereshkina's In the middle on Youtube:

http://ballettalk.in...p...st&p=225354

--Andre

#170 atm711

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 03:21 AM

* - I've sat in all spots during this run and can say that Rear Mezz is where you get the worst of them.


Perhaps it's sitting in the 'rear mezz'--the worst seats in the house. I have been coming to this theatre since the Ballet Russe days, and learned early on not to sit there. (It reminds me of the St. James Theatre; the same long, high crowded seats). In my salad days I sat in the 2nd balcony and had excellent views; I could not understand why the Kirov did not use the 2nd balcony----when I looked at the crowded upper Mezz (I was lucky to be in Row A; slightly to the side since the best part of that r ow was reserved) and saw all those good seats going to waste.

#171 Catherine

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 03:53 AM

Andre (replying to your comment, to my comment, back a bit on page 10 of this thread). I think you may have said it best, about hiding SFB's weaknesses. The thing is, if you can even make that comment about any ballet company, doesn't that say something about said company? I am sure there ARE ballets they excel in that do mask their weaknesses. (I really have no idea what happens on their tours though. Maybe different casting and/or different rep? They sure won't do a Swan Lake in Paris that is for sure!) And I also think you're right in the supposition that no American company at present can do justice to the classical repertoire, period. I think that's the main difference. You want to see a classic, do not bother with the Stateside companies. You want to see anything else, then go for it. That has become my more general approach in recent years at least.

Also, SanderO,

Seems as if the consensus is that Russian audiences are rather poorly behaved. Is that sort of thing common in Russia as well? Audience manners vary from house to house, country to country, don't they?


Just to underline NataliaN's point. Here in St. Petersburg there are very clear, very well understood rules inside the Mariinsky Theatre by all of the locals. Tourists are not always aware of these rules, but as soon as the tourists leave and the fall season begins here, you notice a HUGE difference in the way the dancers onstage are treated. Then around this time of year the tourists become a disproportionately large percentage of the audience, and that remains until end of the season.

In high tourist season you get:

1) more/constant flash photographs during the performance
2) more bravos/applause at inopportune moments, or applause when there should be none
3) more talking/whispering*/candy unwrapping.

*ALthough it is never very bad in this theatre noise-wise, there is simply an increase between April and August.

A relative of mine is working in Havana. She told me the Cubans talk throughout the performance, run up and sit in the aisles, there is zero regard for the sound level, as if they are at home with the television on. She can't stand it. What's more is they have some incredible dancers there. But the crowd is also very generous and appreciative -- they go wild for the quadruple fouettes and the balances held for an eternity (Viengsay). They're just plain noisy.

#172 Catherine

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 03:55 AM

HUGE MESS justly describes Lyudmilla Sveshnikova's performance of Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 this afternoon. I thought at first that a string on the piano snapped or went sourly out of tune, but her playing for the rest of the piece was all over the place.

I had admired her playing the other night, though.


That's too bad. I wonder what happened? At least you heard her on a "good" night. Here, she is typically VERY reliable and VERY brilliant in any performances. It must have been the odd off night or some technical difficulty. Both audience and dancers respect her highly here.

#173 Natalia

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 04:27 AM

Still in NYC...stayin' on for tonight's big YAGP gala (Osipova, Semionova, Ueno et al)...and just had my breakfast at the busy Park Cafe close to my hotel and City Center...the same Park Cafe in which I saw Sarafanov and other Kirov colleagues have late-night supper after a performance the other night. :) While reading this morning's NTTimes at the Park Cafe, I spotted the review of this final Balanchine program by the much-maligned Alastair Macauley. OK - I now declare that Macauley has saved himself in my mind after singling-out our Big Red as his favorite Kirov dancer ("....I enjoyed and admired no dancer more than the bewitchingly elegant Ekaterina Kondaurova...."). Yessssss!!!!!!!!

I won't try to do links -- just have the hard copy with me...a hard copy with a glorious page-length color pic of Big Red and the four demi guys from Rubies.

#174 Helene

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 06:44 AM

Here's the link

http://www.nytimes.c...amp;oref=slogin

but let no good deed go unpunished: left to right, would you please ID the four demi men?

#175 Helene

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 06:51 AM

And I also think you're right in the supposition that no American company at present can do justice to the classical repertoire, period. I think that's the main difference. You want to see a classic, do not bother with the Stateside companies. You want to see anything else, then go for it. That has become my more general approach in recent years at least.

One could also say that the Kirov shouldn't touch Balanchine and should stick to Petipa, but that, too, precludes so many moments of beauty and revelation.

#176 ami1436

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 07:04 AM

Question: Are Gaynor Mindens taking over the Mariinsky as they are with ABT? Several of the ladies are 'GM Artists', and as with all shoes, I don't always feel (both from seeing the Mariinsky and seeing pictures), that they are right for everyone. Somova's are sometimes glaringly apparent in photos. According to the GM website, those who use them include:
Somova
Big Red
Gonchar
Novikova
Obraztova

I'm curious! I'm obsessed with dancer's favourite shoes, and am, perhaps naively, surprised to see so many from the Mariinsky wearing shoes 'of the future'!

#177 canbelto

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 07:04 AM

And I also think you're right in the supposition that no American company at present can do justice to the classical repertoire, period. I think that's the main difference. You want to see a classic, do not bother with the Stateside companies. You want to see anything else, then go for it. That has become my more general approach in recent years at least.


I have to disagree. To write off all American companies as being unable to do justice to the classical repertoire is simplistic and even unfair to the great gains U.S. companies have made in classical repertoire. Will their corps de ballet ever be as beautiful and uniform as the Mariinsky or Paris Opera Ballet? Probably not, but that doesn't mean all the efforts have gone to waste.

#178 sz

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 07:13 AM

What I meant by "a bit messy".... was that neither Somova or the other soloist lead (Osmokina), or most of the female corps, at Sunday's performance did any of the required beats, of Ballet Imperial. The brissee volees (sp?) were barely there and the other beats were non existent. The only female dancer who did all the beats was Gonchar.... but then there were far many other probs with her dancing.

NYCB is far better at the foot work.... but at this point, I don't really care.... but I couldn't help noticing that it looks messy to fudge them, if you know they're suppose to be there.

It's not just Somova.... and her problem with tiny footwork/beats has much to do with her extreme hyper extended legs and large-ish feet. She doesn't have the small feet that NYCB's, tall Tess Reichlen has. It will be a challenge for Somova to conquer beats, but I have no doubt she will... And in Diamonds she will not have to do any!!!!!! Suzanne Farrell had awful beats too.... Life goes on. But that's what I meant by "a bit messy."

#179 rg

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 07:14 AM

but let no good deed go unpunished: left to right, would you please ID the four demi men?


more or less guessing here: the second from left w/ receding hairline is vasili shcherbakov; the second from right is anton pimonov?
as i say, these are really just guesses by process of elimination, etc.

#180 drb

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 07:36 AM

I believe that Maxim Khrebtov is on our far left (stage right).


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