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Mariinsky: NYCCApril 1-20, 2008


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#31 Natalia

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 09:31 AM

Thanks for all of the reviews on last night's program. I won't be getting my next 'Kirov Fix' 'til next Wednesday. Can I survive? (ha-ha)

papeeteepatrick - There is one -- make that two -- other decently-sized opera houses in greater NYC: the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Either theater would have probably worked better as a venue for the Kirov Ballet than City Center...but perhaps they cost more to rent. Ardani has a long-standing tradition of presenting ballet at CityCenter (Eifman and such), so they probably get a good deal due to the years of steady business.

#32 papeetepatrick

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 09:54 AM

Thanks, Natalia, that helps a lot, and I might have remembered given that I've been to performances at both fairly recently--but probably hadn't because with really big companies like ABT and Kirov, I hadn't thought through that it might be something a bit more practical than that NYCC was the only alternative, this place they would have to 'squeeze into.' In 2005, I saw Martha Graham NY season at both NYCC and NJPAC, and did enjoy the NYCC one better only because there was a live orchestra. I guess I would say Martha Graham Company does not seem too cramped at City Center, it may be the one time I really thought the place had some charm, and you do get a feeling of history when you see the old 'Errand into the Maze' and 'Appalachian Spring' there. Saw V. Redgrave in 'Hecuba' at BAM, but had forgotten that Pina Bausch and other companies do perform there.

Still would like to know what the story is for NYStateTheater in July and August. That is probably expensive, too, and the Universal Ballet, as I remember, rents it for only a couple of days.

Enjoying all these reviews though, can't wait to see Vishneva from my uncomfortable seats!

#33 liebs

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 10:24 AM

The State Theater is very expensive and frequently Lincoln Center Festival uses it for non-dance events. The theatre is fully unionized and that adds to the cost. Also about two weeks every summer is spent cleaning and refurbishing the theatre as it gets very hard use during the year.

#34 FauxPas

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 10:50 AM

I remember seeing the Bolshoi perform at the NY State Theater about eight years ago and the "Giselle" seemed cramped there. The sets were designed for the huge Bolshoi stage and the flats and ground pieces were so pushed so far downstage you could see the light units behind the upstage set pieces from the upper balconies. Obviously the depth of the Bolshoi stage meant that those set pieces were much further back and the angle obscured the lights behind them. I believe that one of the provisos for the Bolshoi's return two summers ago was that they would be allowed to dance at the Metropolitan Opera House. The unspoken comment was that the Kirov-Mariinsky because of Gergiev and the Mariinsky's relationship with the Met has had a monopoly on the Met's facilities.

For me it has been a major source of irritation that the Royal Ballet, Bolshoi and Kirov have toured extensively in the last decade due to renovations at their home theaters yet their NY exposure has been limited. I read on this board about all these tours to Washington, D.C. and Orange County and L.A. and wonder "why not here?". Especially when the Met Opera house has been dark and unused for several summers. Funding is one thing and corporate sponsorships will be harder to come by in the future, I suspect.

One upside about City Center - I felt very close and intimate with the dancers from my mid-mezzanine front seat. I could see the faces without opera glasses. Try that at the Met in the Family Circle.

#35 canbelto

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 05:23 PM

Maybe they should just have an agreement. Alistair MacCauley avoids reviewing full length ballets, especially those choreographed by Petipa. I'm really tired of his relentlessly negative comments.

#36 nysusan

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 07:08 PM

Still would like to know what the story is for NYStateTheater in July and August. That is probably expensive, too, and the Universal Ballet, as I remember, rents it for only a couple of days.

Enjoying all these reviews though, can't wait to see Vishneva from my uncomfortable seats!



As others have mentioned, even though the stage at the State Theater is bigger than the City Center stage it's still pretty small for big productions. I missed the Bolshoi's visit but I saw the National Ballet of Cuba's Don Q there a few years ago and it definitely looked cramped. In addition to the cost factor you also have to remember that very few "cultural" events are scheduled for July or August in NY - much of the population that can afford to escape the city in the summer heads out of town as soon as school is out, and even those who stay often head for the Hamptons or the Jersey shore, even if only for weekends. Makes it hard to fill those big theaters.

As to the suitability of BAM or NJPAC - I've never been to the Jersey venue but the stage at BAM didn't seem any bigger than the State Theater to me, maybe even smaller. But I only saw Nina's company there and it was hard to tell.

I'm exhausted and will let someone else offer a description of the last night of the Petipa program - except to say that Tereshkina was SPECTACULAR in Raymonda, and Paquita suited Somova better than anything I've seen her do previously. I don't think I'll ever be a fan but with the exception of her fouettes she was fine and both her dancing and her demeanor seemed appropriate to the piece.

Edited to add- the insert slip in tonight's program says that Kolb is replacing Korsuntsev as the Golden Slave tomorrow night and Zelensky is replacing Kolb at the Sunday matinee. I love Kolb, but am so glad we're going to see Zelensky, too! Yana Selina replaces Golub in Spectre on 4/4 and 4/5 at 8 and Nadhezda Gonchar gets the Sunday matinee (she also danced the first variation in tonight's Paquita).

#37 drb

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 07:49 PM

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tonight Viktoria Tereshkina played Raymonda. The corps, throughout the evening, seemed to have made peace, well, perhaps detante, with City Center's stage, and also have, perhaps, shed jet-lag. Danila Korsuntsev, likewise, and his solo work gained accordingly. What I gather was an atypical Big Smile with Lopatkina, was not the case with Tereshkina. Very focused on expressing her character's purity with a like fidelity to classicism, one could absolutely believe she was Raymonda. In the adagio she did one 180, but it looked perfectly natural, not showy. This time, according to the insert (which, being the same as before, otherwise lost its validity tonight), the solo was taken by Nadezhda Gonchar.

The surprise of the evening was Alina Somova in Paquita. Unlike her opening night's deer-in-the-headlights look, she seemed more at ease. I wonder how much of her opening night was natural shock from Mr. Vaziev's choice not to travel. I would assume much of her most-favored status would have come from his support? While still showing a tense jaw, her dancing was less extreme, with more clarity. Tonight's audience had an obviously greater proportion of true ballet fans. Just as Tereshkina's entrance earlier was well-applauded, so was not Ms. Somova's. She had two 180s in the adagio, but somehow less disconnection. One sensed she was striving to limit her leg-height thereafter, most of the time, and never approached 180 throughout the rest of her performance. She stayed relatively calm, as gradually the audience began warming to her.
But the huge story was with the five variations. The insert was clearly off. But in the second, blue, variation magic happened. One person who refused to compromise with the space (more on that in the third work) was Big Red, Ekaterina Kondaurova. The long variation seemed to grow and grow in grandeur and by its end the audience refused to stop applause and cheers till management (if there is any) had no choice but to send her back out to bask in it. Yet Viktoria Tereshkina's fifth surpassed even this! Even one more bonus call still! This was surely the most powerful audience response I've seen in the two days. And very much merited.
The crowd was heated up and continued to up appreciation for Ms. Somova. The diagonal of jetes, exciting (but not in the way she sometimes excites), some height, was very well received. Partner Anton Korsakov also turned in a virtuoso solo. Her final fouettees, many more multiples than Vishneva on opening night was also thrilling, 'though the very large, wide, swinging motion of her working leg did seem very different. Yet, in its own way, this also added to the excitement. But wouldn't, as a steady diet. The audience rewarded her. While it would really be better if she were placed under the absolute dominion of, say, Irina Kolpakova (after all, ABT is losing its Russian...) for a solid year, at least this performance gave some hope that classical restraint could be possible and most surely rewarding.
Well, I like underdogs (rooted for Davidson in college BB's Big Dance).

Goddess Diana Vishneva's Shades was a dream, literally. I think I've seen all her ABT Bayaderes, and they are all different, as were each of her Shades. Without a whole performance to create a dramatic arc, she clearly built one for just this one act, and very much in cahoots with Solor Yevgeny Ivanchenko. She struck an absolutely frozen pose for her first momentary appearance, then danced with supreme unawareness, purely the object of his hallucination. When she returned for the scarf duet her visage softened, so subtle, so slightly, still not quite real, not quite there, not quite aware. Yet somehow she became Hope. Then a magnificent solo by Ivanchenko. So different from Sarafanov. Some virtuosity of course. But this was a Man. Specifically a real General, with a real general's absolute obedience to his King. Perhaps the very traits that had attracted Nikiya to this man could also give reason for forgiveness. Out came Diana. She could see him. She could feel him. She knew him. And she could love him. Redemption was granted.
The trio of bayaderes were those of opening night. But at greater ease with the stage. Yet the third, Kondaurova, danced without compromise. I was farther up tonight and though I thought I could see all the stage: at the end of her jet-fueled last diagonal part of her disappeared from sight, at extreme stage right. But not in the pit! How Balanchine would love this ballerina!

#38 Panda

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 08:15 PM

I went to see Kirov on the first night. I now know I am a minority. I LOVED Somova's Nikia, though I have never liked Gillem's a la second toward her ear. Her jump was also phenomenal. And I thought she is very elegant and musical. Just she is very young and not polished yet. I saw her big potential. I really want to see her Balanchine work.

I was dissappinted with Vishneva. She has recetnly become somehow sloppy to do steps. She used to be more intensed. She might need to rest....

Whatsoever, I enjoyed the performance very much. I felt "this is the classical ballet", which I fell in love when I was 8 years old. It ,of course, includes these character dances. Nobody except Russian can dance Mazrka, unfortunately. ( I am not Russian,though)

I personally think the relation between executing steps and music is the essence of the excitement of Kirov performance. And also the posture of the upper body. Glacious!!!

#39 Natalia

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 03:35 AM

...I LOVED Somova's Nikia,..... Just she is very young and not polished yet. .....


Good grief, for how years are we going to hear this "she is young - give her time" stuff? Somova is entering early-middle age in Ballerina Time -- 23 yrs old. The polish should have happened a long time ago.

So it appears, from reviews of last night, that she has gone back to the semi-restraint that she displayed at the Kennedy Center two months ago. Whoop-dee-doo! Sorry but I hold my Kirov ballerinas to a higher standard.

Delighted to read that Kondaurova and Tereshkina continue to shine in the most positive manner. They are worthy of our bravos. We don't have to say, "They are so young. Give them time."

p.s. to drb: Big Red...I love it! I could picture her as a guest at NYCB, for sure!

#40 sz

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 11:24 AM

April 1, 2008 Performance

Panda, et al.,

Never be hesitant to add your differing opinions. Variety makes websites fun!

I went to see The Kirov on the opening night at City Center as well.

I did miss the folk claps in the Kirov's Raymonda (pas de dix), but the orchestra (reduced size) more than made up for anything that was lacking. The orchestra was a great pleasure all evening adding such richness and beauty to every ballet.

Raymonda: I'm not a fan of Lopatkina, though she managed a few lovely, spontaneously impressive movements. One in particular, I don't think most would have noticed, but it was how delicately and with full controlled balance, she placed her passe working leg into fifth on pointe, at the beginning of her variation, when the folk, hand clapping usually takes command. She only did this once, but it was quite breathtaking and regal. Other than that, Lopatkina left me cold. Her dancing seemed "old." However, her male partner, Korsuntsev was a tall, fresh, handsome, big-mover dancer, with beautiful long legs and feet. The stage looked much too small for him. The two soloist females, especially the first (Selina?), were excellent.

I loved the Kirov corps in all three ballets. Such elegant lines, beautiful legs, feet, arms, with a bit of flare in pushing past the limits of their fine Russian, classical training. Ditto the soloists. It's not that fussy, super clean stuff... They're classical but with an approach not too unlike NYCB, where the best dancers take risks with what is usually expected and correctly pleasant. My ideal dancer would be one trained in both the Vaganova and Balanchine styles --

Paquita: I've stopped being a fan of Vishneva for awhile now, though she accomplished a good, strong performance of Paquita on opening night here. She's very pretty, but.... yes, a bit sloppy too. No matter, there were plenty of exciting and beautiful female soloists to watch. And Fadeev, Vishneva's partner, was a real, hunky charmer with a fine, strong technique to match.

Bayadere: My favorite male dancer of the night: Sarafanov(WOW!!!!). Talk about pushing the extremes of what's possible in ballet, the ballet body, on top of brilliant technique and sexiness in an elegant, youthful style. Sarafanov was the most fascinating male I've ever seen in this ballet.

Samova: Most here do not like her AT ALL. But perhaps because of my years at NYCB, I have a great appreciation/understanding for why the Kirov does love Samova and why they push her into roles she's not quite ready for. It's that Samova's an extreme dancer who is still growing into her extreme body. I do agree that she could tame some of her extreme lines a bit to focus on other ingredients of whatever ballet she is dancing. But at the same time, I love that she is VERY extreme, and not quite in control of her talent's possibilities. Her lines, her quirks, are interesting.... and she is not without technique.

In Bayadere some of her lines were stunningly executed, eg, when she did her first huge a la seconde into arabesque gently, without the slightest forced adjustment, to whisper into Sarafanov's ear. My heart skipped a beat. It was unearthly gorgeous in execution, with perfect lines and a hauntingly dream in feeling. But then the second time, Samova executed the same movement with a matter of fact harshness.

I think Samova was definitely having an off night, overall, for whatever reasons.....but I'm still looking forward to seeing her again. She executed very difficult steps in Bayadere just fine -- ones that Veronika Part has not even come close to executing well yet. It would take too long to list them all here. So, no, I don't think Samova is just about her extreme extensions. She has a jump, those grande jetes from one corner of the stage to the next were striking. Her arabesque turns were strong if a bit nervous to both sides. Ditto pirouettes done both right and left. And she did the double pirouettes into arabesque facing the audience without coming off of pointe when she reached arabesque (for a second). Many ballerinas just come down to a flat landing.

Special mention should also be given to the stunning first soloist in Raymonda and the first corps girl out onto the stage in Bayadere(!!)...(I think it was Yana Selina). She was as beautiful as I've ever seen in those parts. And Kondaurova, a strikingly tall, lyrical redhead easily distracted me from others on the stage. I'd like to see Kondaurova in Bayadere's female lead one day...

Anyway, I enjoyed this performance very much. Wish I could go every night --

#41 canbelto

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 12:49 PM

I'll be there tonight for the Fokine program. Anyone else going to be there?
As for Somova, I also wish the comparisons to Sylvie Guillem would stop. Sylvie could be extreme with her extensions BUT she had musicality, she had line, she had breathtaking technique, and she was also capable of striking the most beautiful classical positions. I disagree with some of the artistic choices she's made, but I'd never put her in the same breath as Somova, really.

#42 Natalia

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 01:10 PM

.... I'd like to see Kondaurova in Bayadere's female lead one day...


sz, Kondaurova *did* dance Nikiya in 'Shades' at the Kennedy Center five years ago (March 2003), when the Kirov participated in a special 'International Ballet Festival' at the Eisenhower Theater (as the main KennCen Opera House was being renovated back than). It was a very cramped stage, even smaller than City Center; only 18 shades! At that time, we thought that Kondaurova was being pushed too soon; it was but her first or second season with the troupe but she still made a positive impact. Then she never was asked to dance Nikiya again. Now she seems to be finally coming into her own in a more mature manner. Hopefully she will once again be allowed to dance Nikiya - not just 'Shades' but the full ballet.

As a reminder of the "first sighting" of Kondaurova in the USA years ago - here is a link to a review of the Festival from our own Alexandra Tomalonis (writing for DanceMagazine at the time). Go to the last paragraph:

http://www.encyclope.....shington 2003

p.s. To put things into perspective, Kondaurova graduated two years before Somova, meaning that Kondaurova must be about 25 now....absolutely in what should be the 'prime years' of her career. Time to get a move on!

#43 canbelto

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 07:56 PM

I returned from the Fokine evening and it was beautiful! Chopiniana is another one of those ballets the Kirov dances as if it were in their blood. The beauty and harmony of the corps de ballet is breathtaking. Anton Korsakov was a bit dull as the poet (then again, most Poets are rather dull), but Yulia Bolshakova and Ekaterina Osmolkina were exquisite. Bolshakova's dark hair, dark eyes, and willowy figure give her an eerie resemblance to Anna Pavlova.
Spectre with the wrong dancers can look awful silly very quickly (exhibit A: watch Farukh Ruzimatov in the Nina and Friends video). But Igor Kolb's elevation, line, and style made the miniature work. His Spectre also had a recklessness that was fun to watch. He swung the Girl (Nadezha Gonchar) so quickly that she almost tripped and fell.
Uliana Lopatkina's Dying Swan was beautiful, great boneless arms. In the tradition of so many Swans, she milked the curtain calls for all they were worth.
Scheherazade. The Kirov spared no expense with the sets, which is probably why the intermission took about 30-40 minutes. But it was well worth the wait. :smilie_mondieu:, HOT HOT HOT! Igor Kolb and Diana Vishneva positively sizzled in their duets. Diana used her almost insanely pliant back to suggest the exotic dancer. Huge ovations for both Kolb and Diana at the end, well deserved.
Overall, a great tribute to Mikhail Fokine, who I dare say would have been very proud.

#44 nysusan

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 09:04 PM

... His Spectre also had a recklessness that was fun to watch. He swung the Girl (Nadezha Gonchar) so quickly that she almost tripped and fell.


That was Yana Selina in Spectre tonight ( I know, you need a scorecard to keep up). I agree that Korsakov was a little dull. Somehow he impressed me more when he was dancing soloist roles like the Swan Lake pas de trois or the peasant pas de deux in Giselle. I thought Osmolkina was beautiful, absolutely pristine & lighter than air, but I had some reservations about Bolshakova. Some of what she did in the prelude was really beautiful but there was something very overdone about it, too. All the head movement & some of her epaulment seemed forced, or perhaps too much like acting rather movement that emanated from the music.

Selina replaced Golub as the third soloist (the program says she danced Valse Op 70 #1) and the style of movement seemed so natural to her it felt like she really was a sylph hearing the call of the breeze through the trees. She was also charming as the girl in Spectre.

Whoever had the idea of casting Kolb in Spectre and Shehezerade on the same night was a genius. Two virtuoso roles with such different modes of expression - he was brilliant in both. And Diana proved yet again that she is perhaps the greatest dancing actress since Makarova. They tore up the stage together.

#45 Natalia

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 09:33 PM

Thanks so much for posting these early reports on the first of the Fokine programs, canbelto & nysusan! Sounds like dream casting for each of the ballets.


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