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Natalia

Zhanna Ayupova's retirement

21 posts in this topic

In the midst of congratulating all of the Kirov dancers who have been promoted, we did not notice that one of the most beloved of Kirov ballerinas -- certainly beloved on overseas tours -- is off the roster: Zhanna Ayupova. I will definitely miss the delicate elegance of this ballerina. Thank goodness that she was recently filmed in one of her greatest roles, the lead of Balanchine's Emeralds....but when will that film ever be released?

Also recently removed from the roster are Principal Viktor Baranov, 1st soloist Veronika Ivanova and Character Principal Galina Rakhmanova. Ah but "The King" Vladimir Ponomaryev remains, thank goodness. :off topic:

I may have missed other recently-retired notables. Whoever keeps tabs -- please enlighten us further.

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Ayupova was a breed apart; she will be sorely missed! I first saw her

as the second soloist in the "Swan Lake" pdt during the 1986 North American

tour, then went on to witness her Masha, Raymonda, Odette/Odile, Aurora,

and most recently, Emeralds. In live performance, she was grace personified.

Hopefully the Maryinsky's "Jewels" will be released soon. POB's version is available;

and it would be nice to compare both companies in this ballet. Perhaps the POB

dvd has been a consideration for holding back the Maryinsky version. (?)

Thankfully, Zhanna's exemplary and regal Aurora has been preserved, (although in

snippets :blushing: ), on the dvd "Sacred Stage." She is also featured as the Girl in

"Le Spectre de la Rose," on the "Kirov Celebrates Nijinsky" dvd, filmed during

the Fall 2002 visit to Paris' Theatre de Chatelet. A sublime Prima Ballerina!

Zhanna, thank you for sharing your gift with us :off topic:!

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A breed apart -- well put, Cygnet.

I can't help but notice that Ayupova's "retirement" has been without fanfare or announcement. I actually admire her quiet beauty even more for this -- no big gala to announce her departure from the stage as many ballerinas would insist on having. She remains an image of the old School Kirov that once was. Although I saw her perform not more than a handful of times here in St. Petersburg in the past four years, she nonetheless will be missed!

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Well put. Although it does not excuse there not being a Farewell Gala for Ayupova, the fact remains that St. Petersburg does not have a great tradition (or any tradition?) of having Farewell Galas like we have in the West. Assylmuratova was simply removed from the roster in 02/03, for example. Russia has lots of anniversary galas during a career (Vishneva's 10th, for ex.) and lots of "Tribute To" galas well after retirement (umpteen tributes to Dudinskaya, Zubkovskaya, etc.) but none for great dancers at the exact time of retirement. Maybe it's a cultural thing - a fear about "ending" something???

Did Ulanova and Plisetskaya have true Farewell Galas at the Bolshoi when each retired from regular performing? If anybody was there or knows of those galas, please let us know.

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Good questions, Natalia. I'm also curious to know the answers. I am guessing it could well be a cultural thing about ending, as that's the only explanation I can think of ...

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I never had the chance to see Zyupova live, and now I never will. :clapping: She remains one of my favorite dancers to watch on video.

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Mikhail Messerer, ballet master of the Mikhailovsky Ballet, has asked Ayupova to be a coach for his company. (Dancing Times, September 2009, p.63).

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Good for her--but they could really use her at the Mariinsky, whether they know it or not.

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Ayupova was a favorite always, but also, for me, among those Natalia mentions, Veronika Ivanova--a lovely dancer, and (as I remember her at least) very much an exemplar of "old school" Kirov purity of style.

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Ayupova was a favorite always, but also, for me, among those Natalia mentions, Veronika Ivanova--a lovely dancer, and (as I remember her at least) very much an exemplar of "old school" Kirov purity of style.

Off-Topic but Related: Ivanova's long-time partner (husband?), Nikita Sheglov, is coaching the boys in next year's Vaganova Academy graduation class. The group includes Alexander Saveliev, one of the most promising young male classical dancers since Vladimir Schklyarov's graduation a few years ago. Keep the name in the back of our minds.

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Good for her--but they could really use her at the Mariinsky, whether they know it or not.

What I've heard from my Petersburg friends is shocking. Ayupova did want to coach in Mariinsky but director Yuri Fateyev said that he doesn't need her. Losing her was great mistake and it seems that management will repeat it and another wonderful dancer will share Zhanna's fate. Yulia Makhalina wants to be Mariinsky coach but as Ayupova she was refused by Fateyev. My source in theatre says that it's possible that because of him she will leave company. I've seen her coaching Tatiana Tkachenko in documentary "Sacred Stage: The Mariinsky Theater" and from what she says it seems that she really enjoys it and manages it very well. Losing another coach from "old Kirov school" can't be good for Mariinsky. There are many wonderful girls among 2009 and 2010 graduates, like Frolova, Brileva, Stepanova, Batoeva and others and they would benefit having these dancers as their teachers. What is happening now in the company really makes me sad. I've heard many critics about Fateyev and now I know they are reasonable.

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Hi Bianca and welcome to BT!

Yes it's a tragic situation. The company is in dire straights artistically. The traditionalists, of whom Ayupova and Makhalina represent, are being thrown away by Yuri Fateev. IMHO Fateev is as confused as he can be.

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Cygnet, Yuri Fateev isn't just confused he is incompetent and it is time for some sort of official explanation as to why Acting Director Fateev hasn't yet been replaced with a director with proven abilities.

I hope Ayupova's tenure at the Mikhailovsky is secure as I have heard from a Spanish Ballet fan that Nacho Duato has wrecking tendencies where classical companies are concerned.

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Cygnet, Yuri Fateev isn't just confused he is incompetent and it is time for some sort of official explanation as to why Acting Director Fateev hasn't yet been replaced with a director with proven abilities.

Well, that would be a question to pose to Gergiev, no? I wonder what his answer would be. I'm not really cetain of this but perhaps because of all the touring the opera troupe of the theater does and all the outside conducting dates Gergiev has, (he's in NYC right now conducting a new Met production of Boris which opens tonight) he has to parcel out his personal attention carefully in tiny doses and is content to leave major issues with subordinates as long as there are no disasters.

This is very much the kind of complaint that has been increasingly lodged with the Domingo machine with regards to his very hands off management of the Los Angeles Opera and Washington National Opera. There are constant cries that he simply can't be reached to make decisions and it's left to his deputies to solve (or ignore) problems. With the reorganization at Kennedy Center in DC, he has announced his resignation. His contract at LAO has been renewed in spite of an unheard of situation some months ago where the company almost shut down because of a cash flow problem. Only an emergency loan of 14 million from the county government kept the day to day operation running. One has to ask here if anyone is responsible for such basic functions as cash flow.

Similarly, the Boston Symphony has been making a lot of noise over the unavailability of James Levine, mostly because of his absences (in this case due to health issues). Comments on the same issue are occasionally raised at the Met, but much less noisily. He is still really loved there.

So perhaps as long as the foreign bookings come in for the MT ballet troupe, and there is no persistent criticism at home, and as I understand it the Russian press is still very much muzzled, Gergiev may take the position things are "just fine".

All this is just some conjecture on my part but certainly I see a lot of administration by performing arts organizations where a charismatic name is head of multiple organizations and is effectively spread very thin.

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So perhaps as long as the foreign bookings come in for the MT ballet troupe, and there is no persistent criticism at home, and as I understand it the Russian press is still very much muzzled, Gergiev may take the position things are "just fine".

Not so much muzzled as just very partisan in this instance, but I agree with your comments re high profile conductors.

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Thankfully, Zhanna's exemplary and regal Aurora has been preserved, (although in

snippets :blushing: ), on the dvd "Sacred Stage." She is also featured as the Girl in

"Le Spectre de la Rose," on the "Kirov Celebrates Nijinsky" dvd, filmed during

the Fall 2002 visit to Paris' Theatre de Chatelet.

Also as Calliope in a truncated Apollo during NYCB's Balanchine Celebration in 1993.

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Mashinka wrote:

Cygnet, Yuri Fateev isn't just confused he is incompetent ...

Yes; he's that too :dry:.

&

... and it is time for some sort of official explanation as to why Acting Director Fateev hasn't yet been replaced with a director with proven abilities.

It's either indifference or laziness. This is my own opinion, but I don't think Gergiev even wants to make an announcement for a search. Either he's paying attention, and doesn't mind the mediocrity, or he's not paying attention, and turning a blind eye to the situation. He has a full plate, and he doesn't have the time or seem to have the inclination to do anything about it. If it's the latter, he's the amateur, inexpert layperson that he says he is, and therefore doesn't want to make a direct decision on something of which he's stated he's "no expert."

I mentioned before that Gergiev is an autocrat and likes 'yes' men. Fateev is his 'yes' man. Vaziev argued, allowed millions to be spent on Vikharev's reconstructions that he was going to shelve anyway, lost dancers such as Merkuriev, Dmitri Semionov (Polina's brother), Zakharova and Natalia Sologub, (to name a few), and Vaziev didn't produce results when it mattered to Gergiev.

Gergiev went head to head with the Bolshoi in London a few summers ago when he

pushed his Shostakovich program. The disaster of Noah Gelber's version of "Golden Age," (after the Bolshoi's successful showing of Grigorovich's production a few years earlier), and the infamous "Swan Lake" marathon during the Ballet Festival a few years ago - with no premieres - finally did Vaziev in. For these and many other reasons, Vaziev is AD at La Scala right now.

Why should Gergiev change Fateev for a question mark who isn't a programmed droid? He won't do it. Furthermore, since Gergiev is so ubiquitous, and jet sets all over the world during the year, he won't leave the ballet of his theatre in the hands of anyone who thinks for himself, takes initiative, or questions his authority.

& Richard53dog wrote:

Well, that would be a question to pose to Gergiev, no? I wonder what his answer would be ...

As long as Maestro Inc. is in charge, it's status quo until further notice. Gergiev delegates tasks. His main concern is the Mariinsky Opera and Orchestra, the Ballet has always been secondary to him. So, with the music and the singers, he's hands-on; with the ballet he's hands-off. Fateev has settled into being Deputy Director, and he's no longer acting. IMO there are too many cooks in the kitchen assisting him in keeping an eye on the dance and the dancers. For example, look at Fateev's supporting cast: http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/company/ballet/balmanage/. Will the real ballet director please stand up? Are these 'bodyguards' supposed to make him bullet proof? This long list speaks to his confusion and incompetence. How many assistant directors of the ballet does one company need? As a result you have a potpourri of factions and "visions," which makes for low morale and, depending on who is center stage, low quality product. If it weren't for the consistently high standards of the corps de ballet and the Vaganova Academy, well, you fill in the blank...

... So perhaps as long as the foreign bookings come in for the MT ballet troupe,

If Fateev continues to cast certain dancers, and this includes the usual suspect,

(:huh:), he should expect significant box office push-back, sooner rather than later. These, loss of demand and box office are probably the only things that Gergiev may notice and take action on. What kind of action he'll take is anyone's guess. Until then, it is what it is. At this point, one has to wonder, how bad does it have to get?

... and there is no persistent criticism at home, and as I understand it the Russian press is still very much muzzled, Gergiev may take the position things are "just fine".

I'd say "muzzled" is an understatement. Journalism has always been an unhealthy profession in Russia. Those who openly dissent or vigorously investigate have fatal "accidents" or are MIA. Dance criticism is slightly less jingoistic. It's very unfortunate, because few dance critics have the spine to speak truth to power ie. review exactly what they see onstage. The official site Mariinka.org illustrates the same tendancies among it's members. Those critics who butter up the Mariinsky press office, (and management's favorites) get press tickets, backstage access and are invited to the Ballet & White Night Festival receptions. Then there are the claques that some dancers pay to support and cheer them during performances. For entry applause and extended ovations, (whether warranted or not), I call that extortion. Befuddled Fateev is running this system. He's a ballet master who aims to please Gergiev, certain coaches and the factions. It's crazy.

All this is just some conjecture on my part but certainly I see a lot of administration by performing arts organizations where a charismatic name is head of multiple organizations and is effectively spread very thin.

I totally agree. Gergiev is spread too thin, and Fateev is spread too thick.

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I just received my "Jewels" Blue-ray in the mail this morning from Amazon.com. YAY!!! :clapping:

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Welcome to BalletAlert!, BlueRose. I hope that, once you've had a chance to watch the video, you'll post a few reactions. You can add them to our thread about it here.

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The official site Mariinka.org illustrates the same tendancies among it's members.

just a correction - it's not the official site, just a name. the official site is http://www.mariinsky.ru/en

In russia the ".ru" is a typical domain ending.

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