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Mariinsky: NYCCApril 1-20, 2008


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#46 Haglund's

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 06:35 AM

Yana Selina may be my new favorite. Such modesty and beauty right down to the tips of her fingers. Her warmth radiated all the way back to (unfortunately) row Q in the rear mezz. Sylphides was lovely, if a bit cramped. Anton Korsakov made a concentrated effort with the steps but did not add much depth to the poet. When I trained my power binocs on him, he seemed quite young.

Kolb in Spectre didn't sweep me into the fantasy, but Selina sure did. Kolb has this interesting and sometimes seductive animal quality about his dancing that was extremely appealing in Scheherazade, but it didn't work for me in Spectre. Selina, on the other hand, was simply magical. Such beautiful arms and hands that were so perfectly Fokine.

It was only the second time that I'd seen a live performance of The Dying Swan, and oh my, Lopatkina made me a believer. She created some stunning images most notably upstage with her back to the audience and arms raised and twisted above her head. Having watched plenty of videos of this piece, I'd prepared myself for some over-the-top death scene, but it never came. Lopatkina was truly beautiful in every aspect. She got the most sustained audience reaction of the evening.

#47 drb

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 03:34 PM

The White Nights Gala: Sunday, April 6, 2008
The Tsar attends.

When Zobeide Vishneva called out her Golden Slave, suddenly an impressive performance of Sheherazade became one to be cherished forever. Igor Zelensky burst on the scene, and everything was there: elevation, multiple power turns and leaps, clarity of style, perfection of technique, stamina, and monumental charisma and expressive depth. I have not seen male dancing at this level at any previous time this week. Together, this couple burned.

Many may remember this dancer as NYCB's young Prince, so many years ago. Retired??? The fountain of youth must be in Novosibirsk. So, Prince Igor? No way. Sometimes a prince grows into a Tsar.

Still, mention must be made of Vladimir Ponomarev's profoundly drawn Shah, moving, commanding, and complex. Diana's death scene with him was truly noble. We don't grow this type here... . Before this closing dance? Well, I have never been able to see Fokine. I forgot.

#48 FauxPas

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 05:09 PM

Fokine Bill: Sunday matinee 4/6/2008

Chopiniana: The whole greater than the sum of the soloist parts. Gorgeous corps in perfect style and unity breathing together. Yevgeny Ivanchenko as the Poet very romantic and fluid in line, elegant yet not effete. Nadezhda Gonchar was very fine dancing the Valse Op. 70 with strong footwork and creamy phrasing. Yuliya Bolshakova I think was a little off-toe with some shaky footwork but still delivered an evocative performance. Daria Vasnetsova was strong in her variation. I may be mixing up the women with all the changes in the casting and not knowing these soloists at all. All the ladies were good but sometimes missed images or effects in the choreography - little things like pausing a moment just before a jetée to give a sense of flight or letting an arm linger a bit in the air before launching another step. Subtle things that a Makarova or Alicia Markova would nail. Still as a group they were lovely and well-balanced.

Le Spectre de la Rose: Gonchar returned to fine effect as the Young Girl. Leonid Sarafanov has flashy technique but allowed himself to be less muscular and more aerial and feline as the Spectre. Not the highest jump I have ever seen but smoothly executed with lots of distance. Well performed but not unforgettable due to some missing nuances.

The Dying Swan: Lopatkina is touted in the program notes as the finest contemporary Russian interpreter of the Dying Swan. She did not disappoint. First of all: the arms - seemingly dominating her whole physique like the wings of a bird. She definitely has a certain stoicism and restraint - never descending to hysteria or bathos. Lots of nuance and atmosphere here and she definitely spoke to the audience.

Scheherazade: Again dancing with a great deal of commitment and style - which this piece of semi-kitsch desperately needs. My first thought was "why do they need a virtuoso ballerina like Vishneva in a character dancing role like Zobeide?" The answer is sheer overwhelming glamor, charisma and dramatic authority. Diana looked like some kind of glittering serpent with her boneless, sinuous movement. She radiated allure and decadence. The final scene where she decided to take her life than go on in the harem was a clearly delineated tragedy. Igor Zelensky returned for what is probably his farewell to New York. He is looking more mature and substantial even beefy as in beefcake - but as in muscular, powerful but not awkward. His brooding sexual magnetism here reminded me of the late Alexander Godunov. He is still very strong technically with great jumps and very fast tours a la seconde. Maybe not as absolutely sharp as fifteen years ago but no lack of stamina and power. Zelensky's Golden Slave has no hint of the androgyny that Nijinsky brought to the role but was pure masculine power and sex. Fokine's more loosely structured style here suited him giving the freedom to shape the movements to his body and strengths. I don't remember Zelensky ever giving a dramatic performance that impressed me but here he did impress me with his strong presence and attack. Great chemistry with Vishneva. The corps and character dancers and mime seemed really into the spirit of the piece and having a lot of fun with it.

Gergiev came out at the end and presented a bouquet to Vishneva and took bows with the company, I guess to let everyone know that someone is in charge.

Some general notes: unlike the Petipa grand pas which looked cramped on the City Center stage, the Fokine Bill ballets look very good in a smaller stage with the intimacy adding to the impact of the pieces. Probably not too different from many theaters where Diaghilev's company performed them. The orchestra played very well for all three ballets.

#49 nysusan

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 05:22 PM

Did anyone notice if Gergiev conducted for Shehezerade? When he came out during the bows I assumed that he had conducted the orchestra but I'm embarrassed to say that if it was him I must not have noticed when I applauded the conductor & orchestra before Shehezerade started..

#50 FauxPas

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 05:42 PM

I have a quick question for those who attended on Wednesday and Thursday: in "Paquita" the Paquitas on the second and third performance had also performed solos on the opening night: Somova and Tereshkina. In the later performances, did the ballerinas keep their solos or were they replaced? Did they dance two solos including Paquita's "harp variation" or did they cut the earlier variation? The program listed no alternate ballerinas.

#51 tpc

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 05:46 PM

I have a quick question for those who attended on Wednesday and Thursday: in "Paquita" the Paquitas on the second and third performance had also performed solos on the opening night: Somova and Tereshkina. In the later performances, did the ballerinas keep their solos or were they replaced? Did they dance two solos including Paquita's "harp variation" or did they cut the earlier variation? The program listed no alternate ballerinas.


I attended Tues and Thurs performances. I believe Tereshkina performed a different variation on Thurs, in fact the variation done by Vishneva (lead ballerina in white) on Tues.

#52 Ceeszi

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 06:51 PM

What a beautiful afternoon at City Center - so much beauty and so much variety in the program!

Chopiniana (Les Sylphides) was performed in a very dreamy and ethereal style. It lulled me into such a state of relaxation that I almost nodded off. This is no fault of the performers - it's just such a dreamy ballet. Yevgeny Ivanchenko was the Poet or Young Man surrounded by all the beautiful sylphides. He was good, but he landed very heavy on all his leaps and jumps. According to the insert in the Playbill, we saw Daria Vasnetsova in the Mazurka and Valse, Yulia Bolshakova in the Prelude and Nadezhda Gonchar in the closing Waltz. Of the three, I felt that Gonchar was the standout. The corps was lovely - just one little glitch when they all came together - one girl got bumped and had to put her hand on the floor to steady herself. Could this have been one of the affects of the small stage? But overall, a beautiful performance.

After the intermission, we had Le Spectre de La Rose with Nadezhda Gonchar and Leonid Sarafanov. This was Gonchar's second performance of the day. Sarafanov landed his leaps without a sound. To me, it seemed that his character was masculine enough to stir romantic feelings in the young woman's heart, but at the same time, he kept making those arm gestures that reminded us that he was still a rose. It's a very unusual role.

Then came The Dying Swan. I was expecting something - maybe something along the lines of Ananiashvili, but instead Uliana Lopatkina showed us something completely different and it was magnificent! Instead of the exaggerated arm movements, Lopatkina showed us a graceful, fighting, and then accepting of death swan. It was one of those moments where I felt that I had stopped breathing and I was breathing with her. Absolutely breathtaking! I wanted it to go on much longer and I wanted Lopatkina's ovation to go on and on.

The third act gave us Scheherazade. I had no idea what to expect. Rimsky-Korsakov's gorgeous music wafted over us as we were looking at a scrim of Arabia and then the curtain opened upon the royal harem. Diana Vishneva was hiding in the corner. Then, with the departure of the Shah the keys to the rotal harem were opened. Once Igor Zelensky entered as the Golden Slave, the fireworks really started. Vishneva and Zelensky gave us a sexually charged, erotic, tension-filled ballet. They seemed to melt into each other's bodies. Diana was not wearing toe shoes, but she used that incredible back of hers to project her passion to the last row of City Center. Zelensky's leaps were incredible! But, this belonged to Diana. What an incredible death scene! I was drained at the end of this one. And once again, Diana has left me in awe!

The afternoon flew by - I wanted it to go on and on. But so much beauty and excitement!

#53 carbro

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 07:10 PM

I have a quick question for those who attended on Wednesday and Thursday: in "Paquita" the Paquitas on the second and third performance had also performed solos on the opening night: Somova and Tereshkina. In the later performances, did the ballerinas keep their solos or were they replaced? Did they dance two solos including Paquita's "harp variation" or did they cut the earlier variation? The program listed no alternate ballerinas.

I attended Tues and Thurs performances. I believe Tereshkina performed a different variation on Thurs, in fact the variation done by Vishneva (lead ballerina in white) on Tues.

I was there Tues & Wed but not Thur. On Wed., Tereshkina (in white) repeated the same variation she did on Tuesday (with that flying diagonal of grands jetes), and the final variation performed by Vishneva on Tuesday was omitted on Wednesday.

More later.

#54 tpc

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 08:52 PM

I have a quick question for those who attended on Wednesday and Thursday: in "Paquita" the Paquitas on the second and third performance had also performed solos on the opening night: Somova and Tereshkina. In the later performances, did the ballerinas keep their solos or were they replaced? Did they dance two solos including Paquita's "harp variation" or did they cut the earlier variation? The program listed no alternate ballerinas.

I attended Tues and Thurs performances. I believe Tereshkina performed a different variation on Thurs, in fact the variation done by Vishneva (lead ballerina in white) on Tues.

I was there Tues & Wed but not Thur. On Wed., Tereshkina (in white) repeated the same variation she did on Tuesday (with that flying diagonal of grands jetes), and the final variation performed by Vishneva on Tuesday was omitted on Wednesday.

More later.


On Thurs the variation with the diagonal of grand jetes was done by Somova (in white tutu).

#55 mariinskyfan

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 06:28 AM

I have a quick question for those who attended on Wednesday and Thursday: in "Paquita" the Paquitas on the second and third performance had also performed solos on the opening night: Somova and Tereshkina. In the later performances, did the ballerinas keep their solos or were they replaced? Did they dance two solos including Paquita's "harp variation" or did they cut the earlier variation? The program listed no alternate ballerinas.


I was there on thursday. Tereshkina did the harp variation (with 3 triple pirouettes en dedans btw!!!!), and Somova did the jumping variation, and was replaced in the first variation that she normally does. I understand that Tereshkina was amazing in the jumping variation on the other nights.

#56 YID

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 06:34 AM

Did anyone notice if Gergiev conducted for Shehezerade? When he came out during the bows I assumed that he had conducted the orchestra but I'm embarrassed to say that if it was him I must not have noticed when I applauded the conductor & orchestra before Shehezerade started..

I asked the orchestra people, and they said ( but don't put me accountable for that ;-)) that Gergiev directed the last act (Sheherezade), I was just curius to find out what was played before the Shopeniana curtains went up. The answer was Shopin (Mazurka?), the tune that opens the state radio in Poland....

#57 zerbinetta

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 12:37 PM

Did anyone notice if Gergiev conducted for Shehezerade? When he came out during the bows I assumed that he had conducted the orchestra but I'm embarrassed to say that if it was him I must not have noticed when I applauded the conductor & orchestra before Shehezerade started..

I asked the orchestra people, and they said ( but don't put me accountable for that ;-)) that Gergiev directed the last act (Sheherezade), I was just curius to find out what was played before the Shopeniana curtains went up. The answer was Shopin (Mazurka?), the tune that opens the state radio in Poland....


Gergiev did conduct the Scheherazade Sunday afternoon. It was slightly faster, somewhat louder and a good deal less accurate than the night before under Sinkevich.

I too would guess that Gergiev is doing some damage control.

Chopin's Military March is the piece played before the Chopiniana curtain opens.

Edited to add: I should have mentioned that Gergiev has been in NY to conduct performances of The Gambler at the Metropolitan Opera.

#58 Ilya

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 04:35 PM

The overture to Chopiniana is Chopin's Polonaise in A major, op. 40 no. 1, "Militaire"

#59 Ilya

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 04:39 PM

By the way, does anyone know if Chopiniana+Spectre+Swan was also conducted by Gergiev Sunday afternoon, or did he do Sheherazade only? I had a mezzanine seat with no view of the orchestra.

#60 drb

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 05:10 PM

As posted on BT October 30, Gergiev was just scheduled to conduct Scheherazade, and Zelensky to dance, for the White Nights Gala. So perhaps this was not for damage control, but to help sell $25,000 tables at the post-performance event.


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