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Kirov Tour of USA, Fall '08three cities - Giselle & Don Q


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#31 drb

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 02:38 PM

There seems to be nothing to worry about regarding their American Fall Tour: yesterday RIA Novosty ran an article about the tour, even listing the expected lead dancers. By the way, Diana Vishneva was on the list. In fact, she began her comeback with a Swan Lake last week in Ferrara, Italy, and yesterday appeared in Moscow's Fall Gala, dancing a part of her Beauty program. Her site gives her American dates:

Dec 17 2008 Los Angeles: Music Center Nutcracker
Oct 17 2008 Berkeley: Zellerbach Hall Don Quixote
Oct 14 2008 Berkeley: Zellerbach Hall Paquita
Oct 10 2008 Costa Mesa: Segestrom Hall Don Quixote
Oct 8 2008 Costa Mesa: Segerestrum Hall Don Quixote
Oct 5 2008 Chicago: Auditorium Theatre Giselle
Oct 2 2008 Chicago: Auditorium Theatre Giselle



#32 bertram

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 07:15 AM

I will be seeing the Kirov in Costa Mesa, CA in October> Can anyone tell me which Kirov Giselles and Don Q's would be best to see? Would love any opinions/thoughts/advice.

Thanks!


Never buy tickets especially for a dancer when it's the Mariinsky, you will get disappointed because of last-minute cast changes :) But if one had the choice, I'd recommend (in this order):
October 7, 2008 7:30PM Don Quixote Novikova-Sarafanov
October 8, 2008 7:30PM Don Quixote Vishneva-Fadeev

Novikova and Sarafanov are at this moment the best Don Q couple you may get at the Mariinsky. Tereshkina is about as close to Kitri as Lopatkina is to the Blue Angel. As for Giselle, I'd rather buy that second ticket of Don Quixote instead.


I saw Don Q last night. It ended up being Vishneva with Lobukhin instead of Fadeev. Somova was Queen of the Dryads and Osmolkina did the Variation. Costumes were marvelous. There was some other conductor (not Gergiev) and I heard comments that the orchestra was playing too fast, but as a relatively new ballet lover I must say that it was wonderful! I am going to see Giselle on Saturday with Osmolkina and Sarafanov (not Shklyarov) and Somova as Queen of the Willis.

#33 Jack Reed

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 08:13 AM

When they were in Chicago I posted a few personal responses to Vishneva's Giselle:

http://ballettalk.in...showtopic=28096

If any other BTers see this version of it, I'd be glad to read theirs. I can't believe she's not fully recovered, BTW.

#34 YID

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 11:14 AM

Novikova and Sarafanov are at this moment the best Don Q couple you may get at the Mariinsky. Tereshkina is about as close to Kitri as Lopatkina is to the Blue Angel. As for Giselle, I'd rather buy that second ticket of Don Quixote instead.

IMHO, i saw Tereshkina dancing (parts) of Kitri in NYC, in April, you know - and I loved it. I MUCH preferred Tereshkina's Kitri to Vishneva's over-acted one. What's astonising about Viktoria (Tereshkina) is her capacity to get into various role - she's (one of) the BEST actresses (besided her stunning technical virtuoso)....
also, about Lopatkina and Giselle, I love Ulyana, and I admit, i was sceptical of how she'd be as Giselle, but then saw this, and my mind was changed - I'd prefer Uliyana to Diana in that video (officially posted on Chicago's Auditorium site - it's a comment for administrators)...
http://www.auditoriu...Kirov_2008.html
http://abclocal.go.c...ideo?id=6425619
the latter one shows Lopatkina and the live Sheshina & Stepin

#35 Cygnet

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 12:10 AM

I just got in. Victoria means "VICTORY"! Tereshkina triumphed, I mean ROCKED Kitri tonight :)! This is a milestone role for her. Tonight was just one of those nights at the ballet where everything, and I mean everything cooked: She believed in the story, and she danced like there was no tomorrow. Both she and her ardent Basil - Yevgeny Ivanchenko displayed spectacular technique and the kind of pyrotechnics we've become accustomed to in this ballet. And now, for something completely different: The fouttees were doubles and triples, but this combo was executed while fluttering her fan in front of her chest, and then above her head. Take that! Tereshkina is truly a Principal Dancer; she deserves every bit of that title. What energy, what technique, what style! From her first entrance I was perched on the edge of my seat. Her authority, elevation and lightness reminded me of Terekhova's precedent setting Kitri of the former generation. From Act 1 to Act 3, Vicky danced as if fire was under her feet.

The Dream sequence was beautifully executed. Tereshkina's Dulcinea was indeed the Don's ideal and unattainable love. Tereshkina successfully conveyed and projected this. She was light and diaphanous, combining superb classical technique with lyricism. Her variation was faultess, exhibiting marvelous physical control and stamina.

The corps de ballet remains a flawless delight to behold. From the espanolada of their character dancing, down to the expert handling of Act 1, and Act 3 Scene 5 props (fans, goblets & castanets - no one dropped anything :D), to the passion of the Gypsy Dance in Act 2 Scene 2, and the pure academics of Act 2 Scene 3 and Act 3 Scene 6, everyone was on their 'A' game tonight. As always, Vladimir Ponomarev was oustanding as Don Q; Stanislav Burov was hilarious as Sancho Panza; Nikolai Naumov was a strict but doting Lorenzo; Soslan Kulaev was a Project Runway Mr. Gunn of a Gamache; Karen Ioanessian was a magnificent Espada - he also dances a mean Fandango. He was replaced in the Fandango, by an uncredited dancer tonight, although he was listed for both parts. I would LOVE to see him step up to Basil. Katya Kondaurova was sleek and seductive as the Street Dancer; Yulia Kasenkova and Yana Selina were perfectly paired as the Flower Sellers - they moved as one; Elena Yushkovskaya was a delicate and fleet Amour; Yulia Slivkina was a spirited Mercedes; Alisa Sokolova and Mikhail Berdichevsky were passionate Gypsies; Elena Bazhenova's arms were graceful and spellbinding in the Oriental Dance; and Katya Osmolkina was bubbly and precise in the Act 3 Variation.
A++ EVERYONE - EXCELLENT :wink:!

When I read the cast list, and noted the line-up for Act 2 Scene 3, I resolved to have an open mind, hoping, no, - praying for the best. This was a new day; a new opportunity. I pulled Wonka's golden ticket: Somova was assigned Dryad. She's now in her 6th season and a 1st Soloist. I've seen her live (and canned), a number of times in different roles since she was first fast-tracked in 2004. I'll to cut to the chase: In short, ". . . our situation has not improved." (Sean Connery to Harrison Ford in "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade").

Dryad is a soloist role, and the level of difficulty, well, (IMO) is somewhat low compared to the requirements of Petipa's full-length roles. If one commands a strong technique, and sensible artistic temperament, Dryad shouldn't be too difficult - in theory. Having said that, it's problematic when a cameo role devolves into an attempt to try and upstage the ballerina, and becomes a fire-sale, as in the "everything must go" approach to the academic rules. For me, this was a first: A sexually aware Dryad. Somova employed come hither eyes to the errand knight and the audience throughout the scene. Kitri is supposed to be the center of attention in this segment; the Dryad Queen should be authoritative but maintain a subtle presence, and do this without being too conspicuous. Therefore, her interpretation was at best inappropriate in this context.

The Entrée: Her working leg in the supported lifts at the beginning of the segment had a ginormous sway back. The visual effect was the illusion that her left foot might actually touch the man from La Mancha's helmet. The variation was an ear and nerve whacking experience: "Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Madonna, Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!" (Robin Williams to Nathan Lane in "The Birdcage"). The concluding series of Italian fouttees were sur place, but still - there was too much foot to head action. She hit 6:00 p.m. with every developpe, cutting a swath through the air - in half. I heard several people in the hall audibly gasp, (to my ears it sounded like shock rather than awe), and a few said "whoa!" Indeed. And inexplicably, the crowd went wild after her variation, and when she appeared at the Act 2 curtain call.

But why may I ask? Somova didn't mark time, or keep up with Tereshkina, nor did she even try to mirror her in line or execution. Somova was on her own mission. They're supposed to dance together. Tereshkina conscientiously shaped and etched her line with every step. Somova's adjacent arabesques (behind Tereshkina), were on the upbeat, not the downbeat, and they were turned-in penchees - each hitting 1:30 p.m. to Tereshkina's 93 degrees, after Tereshkina had completed the phrase. Tereshkina's grande jetes had wonderful elevation, and reverberated in the hall like three gun shots. Somova's grande jetes followed close behind like Hell follows close behind the 4th Horseman of the Apocolypse :blink:. She had good elevation but distorted (double jointed?) legs. Complete line distortion. There was just no comparison.

Unfortunately, based on this latest viewing, I remain baffled re Somova's position in the company. Of all the female 1st soloists Somova has the least credits in her bio. One would think that by now, she would have at least as many credits as her contemporaries, i.e. Novikova, Obratzova, Golub - not to mention the elder women in that rank. These ladies are competing in, (and for) many roles, demonstrating their versatility in the classical and modern rep, (the latter, such as it is at the Maryinsky). A few of them have logged in over a decade of service in this rank. By comparison, Somova continues to nurse the few roles that she has been given over the past five years, yet she's relentlessly showcased and promoted. My questions are: 1) At this stage of the game, shouldn't she be coming into her own, competing at (or at least), approaching the same technical and artistic level as the other 1st soloists? 2) If not now, then when - (if ever)? and 3) Has anyone in authority noticed this paradox?

The Music Corner & Other Trivia - The Maryinsky Orchestra played Minkus' score with panache: The musicians took us to Spain! For some strange reason, the Maryinsky conductors on tour aren't credited in the program book. I could see that the maestro for the evening was Mikhail Sinkevich. He gets most honorable mention here for conducting with insight, instinct and finesse. Also, the program book luxuriated in the error of putting the corps de ballet's last names before their first names. They didn't do this with the soloists or Principals. For OCPAC, that's another first. I apologize for the length but I'm still excited by tonight's memorable performance! This was a keeper -
one to remember for years to come.

>>>>Standing 'O' for Victoria, Yevgeny and Co. over 6 mins. Brava!!!! :flowers:!!!!

#36 Mashinka

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 01:33 AM

Somova's grande jetes followed close behind like Hell follows close behind the 4thd Horseman of the Apocolypse


Cygnet, you have an inspired turn of phrase :)

I saw this same Kitri/Dryad Queen combination in Salford earlier this year and that's exactly what I witnessed in performance too.

#37 Natalia

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 06:47 AM

I pulled Wonka's golden ticket: Somova was assigned Dryad. ........I remain baffled re Somova's position in the company.


LOL!!!! We now know why her position remains -- she keeps us buzzing and interested in seeing the next episode of Kirov Kapers. I've come to sort-of expect to see her on tours. If she does not show up here in Washington for the DON Qs next January, I will be sorely disappointed. If anything, Somova is not boring. :)

#38 Sacto1654

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 10:55 AM

Having seen Viktoria Tereshkina on video and on YouTube, I think she is definitely on the fast track to become the #1 Principal ballerina of the Mariinsky troupe after Ulyana Lopatkina leaves the scene. And it appears Tereshkina is developing a wide enough repertoire (and have both excellent dancing and on-stage acting skills!) that (in my humble opinion!) the title of prima ballerina assoluta is hers to take maybe 9-10 years from now. :)

#39 Andre Yew

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 05:07 PM

I saw the Tereshkina/Ivanchenko Don Q last night as well, but was not as taken with it.

I've never seen the Kirov's Don Q before, and it struck me as the most straightforward, earnest Don Q, with none of the self-consciousness that you see with ABT, for example. The staging was also delightfully old-fashioned, with Russian-accented mime, acting, and character dancing, but infused with modern-day ballet technique, which fairly exploded in contrast when the whole ensemble started doing a big dance. Act 1 was full of these kinds of contrast. Also, what's up with the belly dancer in the wedding scene? Rather someone dressed as a belly dancer doing leftover choreography from La Bayadere.

The two principals are excellent (forgetting a botched turn in the beginning of Act 1), but the corps was not great last night, especially in the dream sequence. Some heads and arms were askew, looking the wrong way or moving differently, but it was performed at a high level nevertheless. I wonder if the B team is here because they're opening in London next week.

And Kondaurova can do no wrong. It's too bad we only saw her in Act 1 last night. It's funny to think back to when I last saw Tereshkina and Kondaurova together, and it was in NYC in In the middle. What a contrast tonight.

Osmolkina was wonderful, too as we saw her in a small variation at the end. This is what Queen of the Dryads should have looked like, but didn't. Speaking of which ...

Somova was grotesque as the Queen of the Dryads. She has a series of assisted jumps along the diagonal where her back leg goes to attitude. It went way too high, like over 180 degrees. There was no concept of line, only of how high she could get her leg up. She does look stronger, though, but her characters still have that vacant airhead look to them.

Ponomarev's Don Q was excellent, done with subtlety and nobility.

The music was played awfully fast, especially in Act 1.

--Andre

#40 Giannina

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 07:05 PM

I'm with Andre, only more so.

Giannina

#41 Andre Yew

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 10:07 PM

I just saw Vishneva/Fadyeev in Giselle tonight, and am disappointed. With one exception, everyone else was pretty close to sleepwalking it. There were technical problems, including the principals, all over the place, and the corps only looked like its legendary self during the Wili chug. Everywhere else, it was inconsistent, and in some cases they couldn't even keep a straight line or consistent spacing.

That one exception was Kondaurova as Myrtha. Though not the iciest Myrtha one would desire, her magnificent stature, powerful stage presence, and clean technique made up for it all. Tonight's ballet should have been named "Myrtha" instead of "Giselle."

--Andre

#42 Sacto1654

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 08:16 AM

I just saw Vishneva/Fadyeev in Giselle tonight, and am disappointed. With one exception, everyone else was pretty close to sleepwalking it. There were technical problems, including the principals, all over the place, and the corps only looked like its legendary self during the Wili chug. Everywhere else, it was inconsistent, and in some cases they couldn't even keep a straight line or consistent spacing.


The problem with Giselle is that it DEMANDS dancers that are really good in acting roles. Is it small wonder why many old-time Russian balletomanes associate the main role with the legendary Galina Ulanova, considered by many to be the best ballerina with true acting skills? I've seen the movie of Ulanova in Giselle that was filmed in London in the middle 1950's and wow, her acting skills left nothing to be desired. :thumbsup:

#43 bertram

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 06:14 AM

I just saw Vishneva/Fadyeev in Giselle tonight, and am disappointed. With one exception, everyone else was pretty close to sleepwalking it. There were technical problems, including the principals, all over the place, and the corps only looked like its legendary self during the Wili chug. Everywhere else, it was inconsistent, and in some cases they couldn't even keep a straight line or consistent spacing.


The problem with Giselle is that it DEMANDS dancers that are really good in acting roles. Is it small wonder why many old-time Russian balletomanes associate the main role with the legendary Galina Ulanova, considered by many to be the best ballerina with true acting skills? I've seen the movie of Ulanova in Giselle that was filmed in London in the middle 1950's and wow, her acting skills left nothing to be desired. :thumbsup:


I saw the Osmolkina/Sarafanov Giselle yesterday and thought it was wonderful. Osmolkina really seemed transported and transformed: so beautiful and living the part! Sarafanov was fantastic as well. Also, while Somova was listed as Myrtha, it definitely was not her.

#44 Andre Yew

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 09:05 AM

The problem with Giselle is that it DEMANDS dancers that are really good in acting roles.


I agree, which is why my favorite recent stagings of Giselle have been the Royal Ballet's, which seem to bring the drama of any story ballet they do to the forefront.

I saw the Osmolkina/Sarafanov Giselle yesterday and thought it was wonderful. Osmolkina really seemed transported and transformed: so beautiful and living the part! Sarafanov was fantastic as well. Also, while Somova was listed as Myrtha, it definitely was not her.


Yes, this is definitely the couple to see! They had great chemistry (the number of times they made eye contact!), a chilling mad scene, and all the technical ability to pull off their parts. Even more remarkable was their physically committed dancing: people were actually being pushed around, there was real physical contact and force, and I think Osmolkina's head bounced off the floor when Sarafanov (purposely) dropped her after she died. Speaking of Sarafanov, he has improved tremendously as a partner, and is now a pleasure to watch when partnering.

There were so many good things to savor in this performance, but my favorite was Albrecht's renewal of his vows to Giselle by raising his arm and two fingers for the shortest moment right before he collapsed at the end of Act 2. It not only answers the question of what Albrecht's intentions were, but also brings to fore the parallel structure of acts 1 and 2 in the Kirov's staging. Act 1 and 2 are mirrors of each other divided by the line of life and death.

I believe Myrtha was Tkachenko. Not my favorite as her dancing was a bit small scale and coltish, leading one to ask, "Who is this girl dancing in the cemetery late at night, and do her parents know where she is?" instead of trembling in fear. But it was small flaw in this wonderful performance.

--Andre

#45 Cygnet

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 08:13 PM

When "Giselle" is performed with love, care and attention to detail, it's an event. It remains forever new because of what individual dancers bring to the leading roles. This afternoon's (Oct 12) final matinee performance of "Giselle" at OCPAC found the Maryinsky in excellent form. Ekaterina Osmolkina and Evgeny Ivanchenko were a young couple who were truly in love. Carla Fracci once said that the most important thing about this ballet was, " . . . how you look at one another." Osmolkina's peasant girl was human and trusting, and thankfully without mannerisms. She also projected to the back of the hall such an innocent personality: You believed that her whole existence revolved around that yard, and that she had never in her life been too far away from her cottage. Evgeny Ivanchenko's Albrecht adored this Giselle. Ivanchenko's Albrecht was an aristocrat who really wanted to break free from his royal existence. He wanted escape and he found freedom with this Giselle. He conveyed this by blending in with the villagers, and exhibiting his carefree youthfulness, while masterfully concealing his nobility and true identity.

Osmolkina & Ivanchenko were totally happy and content in one another's presence. Osmolkina's and Ivanchenko's acting in Act 1 was particularly praiseworthy. The acting blended seamlessly into the dancing, and the dancing blended seamlessly into the acting. The action of the mime passages were successfully linked with the dancing, and therefore real and spontaneous. Osmolkina's method was especially effective here: We have no idea she has a heart problem, until she simply stops, and slowly touches her chest, then slowly falters. She backed slowly away, eyes locking with Ivanchenko, then gradually catches up with the corps as the make their round rotation.

I can't find enough superlatives to describe the Maryinsky's corps de ballet! In both Acts, they were simply perfect. This afternoon they dressed their lines, moved as one and executed the choreography in unison and with musicality - marvelous! Technically, Osmolkina was light, airy and precise. She had exemplary Romantic ports de bras. Her feet were very articulate in Act 1's variation. Throughout the ballet, she had wonderful ballon; she just seemed to bounce, then float to silent landings. Ivanchenko was well matched with Osmolkina in this respect: He too has articulate feet and precise ballon and his elevation and technique matched her's. Tatiana Gorunova's Berthe was a concerned and over-protective mother. Maxim Khrebtov was Albrecht's neurotic sword-bearer: He was full of worry and anxiety about his master getting caught in both Acts. Elena Bazhenova's Bathilde is every inch the elite noblewoman; Vladimir Ponomarev's Duke of Courland was as majestic as a king. Valeria Martynuk and Alexei Timofeev performed a correct but juiceless > (?) Peasant pas de deux. These two seemed to be phoning in this segment. It was well danced, yes - but by rote, and that included the fixed smiles. Konstantin Zverev's Hans was a selfish, obsessed and jealous stalker. He wants to prove to Giselle that he has her best interests at heart, and that he is the one who really loves her. He was spiteful and vindictive when he revealed Albrecht's true identity and he did it with a sneer on his face. Zverev's Hans enjoyed this immensely. Here's a Hans who hates the "other man" with a visceral hatred. He really didn't understand the tragic consequences of his actions until the curtain fell. When Albrecht ran off the stage, Zverev fell to his knees at Giselle's feet screamed, his head in his hands, his body contracting with sobs.

Osmolkina's mad scene is a measured descent into insanity. She's already laid the foundation. Then slowly but surely, Osmolkina builds upon it, until her 'tower' comes
crashing down. When she's confronted with the truth, she sparingly acknowledges her surroundings, and the people around her. She takes her time, reprising the details of her fateful day. At the conclusion, Osmolkina comes full circle back to the reality of her humiliation, and she flies lifeless into Ivanchenko's arms. Very effective; very believable. One of the best features of her mad scene is the blankness of her large eyes. Osmolkina uses her eyes here to great effect. Ivanchenko realizes what he has done. He runs off in grief.

Act 2 - This afternoon introduced the frightening Wili Queen of Victoria Tereshkina. Her entrance was eerie and most effective. The bourrees were seamless, moving steadily towards the center, then towards the pit, then exiting stage right. Each bourree was (seemed) identical, as if she were standing en pointe moving on a slow moving conveyor belt. IMO she's the best Maryinsky Wili Queen of this generation, as Terekhova was in the former generation. Her opening variation gave the illusion of a spirit in the distance, swinging back and forth like a pendulum in slow motion. Her center work was executed as if it were child's play. Tereshkina has large piercing grey/blue eyes. The lighting was very effective here. I noticed that when she first began the act, her eyes were half closed, as if awakening from the dead for another night. As the night wears on, and as she summons the rest of the Wilis, her eyes opened more. Then, when the ballabile begins her eyes are wide open, like a zombie's. This gave her a slightly crazed expression. This gave me the impression that here is a vampiric and vengeful Wili Queen, with a technique that drips blood. Her authority, elevation, batterie and ballon are just unbelievable! And how were the General's lieutenants? By comparison, Yulia Kasenkova's Monna was rather stiff and earthbound compared to the rest of her deceased sisters, and we could hear it too. Maria Shirikina was light and fleet as Zulma. I almost wished that Shirikina could have doubled as Monna.

Osmolkina's spirit was ecstatic to break free from the constraints of her grave: Her variation illustrated this. Her centerwork adagio was traditional and "old school" as in, no 6:00 p.m. penchees or developpes. She let the dance speak eloquently for itself. The pas de deux was the culmination of their love in Act 1. Ivanchenko gave Osmolkina dream quality support. It was a sublime communion of souls. He loved her to the end. Well done!

The Music Corner And Final Trivia
The Maryinsky Orchestra played the Adam score with sympathy and care, paying special attention to all of the dramatic accents. The uncredited maestro was Pavel Bubelnikov, who (apparently) was in complete simpatico with Osmolkina for the highlights. So, thanks to the program book omission, Mikhail Sinkevich and Pasha Bubelnikov were both here but "officially" not here. The pit microphones seemed to be on 'low,' compared with Thursday night's bombastic amplification for "Don Quixote." I noticed that the inverted name errors of OCPAC's program book included not only the corps de ballet, but the Maryinsky musicians as well. There was a 'noises off' moment during Hans' confrontation with Albrecht & Giselle before the royalty arrived. Something quite large was dropped backstage. Fortunately, no one onstage was phased by it. For this performance, Bubelnikov wore his best black silk p.j.'s alá Gergiev. Osmolkina, Tereshkina, Ivanchenko & Co. received a + 7 minute standing ovation. Brava Maryinsky! :thumbsup:


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