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Mariinsky in DC

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DON QUIXOTE - 3 of 7

Mariinsky Theater Ballet

January 15, 2009

Kennedy Center Opera House

The Casting, as per 'corrections insert' to the printed Playbill:

Kitri - Viktoria Tereshkina

Basil - Andrian Fadeev

Flower Seller Girls - Yana Selina and Xenia Dubrovina

Espada - Karen Ioanissian

Street Dancer - Alexandra Iosifidi

Gypsy Lead female - Ryu Ji-Yeon

Gypsy Lead male - Islom Baimuradov

Dryad Queen - Ekaterina Kondaurova

Amour - Valeria Martinyuk

Mercedes (tavern lady in red) - Elena Bazhenova

Act 4 Fandango Leads - Yulia Smirnova-Slivkina & "Karen Ioanissian"...but it was a very big tall, blonde guy [later identified as Sergei Popov, who is not on the tour roster]

Act 4 Bridesmaid Variation - Tatyana Tkachenko

Don Q - Vladimir Ponomaryev

Sancho - Stanislav Burov

Lorenzo, Kitri's father - Igor Petrov

Gamache - Soslan Kulaev

The Review

Viktoria Tereshkina became Principal Ballerina with the troupe just a few months ago. Tonight we saw why. Tereshkina was EXTRAORDINARY in style, musicality, & technique -- final fouete had SIX creamy turns...the Act I 'castanet solo' ended with a triple then a rock-steady pose. She danced the ultra-difficult and rare 'Dudinskaya Variation' in the Dream Scene perfectly with no hesitations, perfect positions, all in time to the music. Aristocratically tasteful. A true ballerina, like the Kirov-Mariinsky used to 'make 'em' consistently until recently. Compared to Diana Vishneva, I still give 'the edge' to Vishneva, as she has a more natural 'espanola charm' as a Kitri & 'total package,' but Tereshkina is still extraordinary in technique and musicality.

Handsome blonde Andrian Fadeev absolutely held his own as Basil. He delighted with comic acting -- the best 'death' mime scene so far -- with dashing leaps and 'endless' Cuban-style pirouettes.

The Character Hit of the night: 'The Energizer Gypsy King' Islom Baimuratov. He danced 'gypsy' like a LOCO POSSESSED. Ryu Ji-Yeon was right with him as a spirited Gypsy Queen.

Alexander Sergeev was a no-show as Espada but, in his place, we got another elegant newcomer: Karen Ioanisian, who drew many 'bravos' especially for his Tavern Scene solo.

Tatiana Tkachenko spot-on as the Act 4 Bridesmaid, even better than last night; that girl is finally getting it together and should be wearing the tutu of Kitri very soon.

The corps was exquisitely united. The troupe has peppered its ranks with some notable ladies who, in some cases, have already danced major leading roles back home, such as Daria Vasnetsova, who essayed Odette/Odile last fall and led Chopiniana and Serenade at City Center/NYC last April. Would you like to spot this lovely tall brunette with the flashing eyes when you come to the Kennedy Center this weekend? She dances with the cluster of "Four Tall Dryads" in lightest-blue tutus -- second from the left when they stand in a line, during the coda of the Dream...her cluster also includes dark-blonde Elena Androsova, light-blonde Evgenia Dolmatova and (I think) reddish-hair Maria Shevyakova, who was also in Vishneva's 'Beauty in Motion' tour. [Vasnetsova is also the 'bridesmaid' in the salmon-peach satin/black trim tutu in the intro to the Wedding PDD.]

The important lilac-tutued cluster of "Three Little Dryads" are also exceptional young dancers. They do a little 'pas de trois' at the beginning of the Dream Coda; left to right, they are Maria Shirinkina, Ekaterina Ivannikova (also in Vishneva's 'Beauty in Motion') and Anna Lavrichenko (exotic almond-shaped eyes; ya can't miss her!). ALL three have danced solo roles back home.

Some credit for corps gents, too: the two demi-solo matadors who partner the two Flower Girls & take curtain calls after the tavern scene are -- I think -- Rafael Musin & Fedor Murashov. [Hey, it ain't easy to tell when they wear wide-brimmed hats!]

Pavel Bubelnikov led the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra.

Next up: Diana Vishneva's 2nd and final performance in the run, tonight.

Natalia Nabatova

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....Kondourova was fine, but lacked warmth and any connection to her fellow dancers or the audience. ......

Bluejay, you are not alone in thinking this..read McCaulay's review, above, where he terms her a sphinx or Cleopatra. Kondaurova *is* aloof...but on purpose. That is her 'on stage' style - sexy, snooty model type. Think her 'Tall girl' in In the Middle Somewhat Elevated. In Don Q, she is supposed to be a Queen - the Queen of the Dryads. Queens aren't supposed to be smiley-smiley.

Sorry that you don't get Vishneva but that's OK. Again, you are not alone. However, Vishneva is at the absolute peakof her powers right now -- at age 30/31, still strong on technique but now fully developed as an actress. Let's delight in it while we can. And still that RAVISHING face that had everybody in St Petersburg gah-gah when she burst onto the scene in 1994, with an entire year left of studies at the Vaganova! 'Beauty in Motion' for sure! Some try to 'paint on' a face; Vishneva has it! :(

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Can anyone explain to me why anyone would want to do a jeté like this? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...hpid=artsliving

Is it just an example of the "more must be better" school? Or could some poet here illuminate the aesthetic value of it enough for me to appreciate the line?

It is absolutely disgusting.

Sorry, i try to be measured on here, but that is just hideous!

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That is so frightening, I have to hide. I may not come out for a while.

I know, I know. I shuddered when I saw that photo yesterday. Her legs look they are following a shallow "U" shaped line. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

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She danced the ultra-difficult and rare 'Dudinskaya Variation' in the Dream Scene - perfectly - no hesitations, no ugly angles, all in time to the music.

In the dream scene?

No comment on the newspaper photo. :wub:

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....

In the dream scene?

....

Yes, Mme. Hermine. You may have seen the Russian-TV/commercial video ca 1988 about Natalia Dudinskaya, Dialogue on the Stage. In it, she tells how this rare Drigo music came to light in her younger days. It was interpolated into DON Q then (1930s or 40s). The Mariinsky orchestral scores of this piece are still titled with hand-written "Variation for Dudinskaya" on the cover. That 1988 documentary features Kullik dancing the piece, by the way...."moya lubimaya uchilistsa, Margarita Kullik...my dear favorite student..." Dudinskaya introduces the piece, in that sweet little voice of hers. :wub:

You can imagine my sheer JOY when, during the 1st intermission at the Kennedy Center, I could hear the xylophone player in the pit practicing the initial tinkling, bell-like tones of the music...I said to myself "Yessss!!!!" So far, on this tour, only Tereshkina has attempted this gem of a variation. I wonder if Obrazsova will perform it tomorrow?

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That is certainly a hideous picture, but the caption describing her as a 'technical marvel' made me feel even more uneasy. Acrobat: yes. Technically proficient classical dance? Absolutely not.

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Hello, i am all for meeting up during intermission on saturday matinee.

I went to Wednesday and Thursday - totally agree about Thursday - WHAT a delight, shouted BRAVO numerous times. What a show.

I actually found Somova much more tamed this time. Yes, she's not musical at all (and for that i still have this memory of Tereshkina "playing music" with her feet in releves in last scene, as if it were HER and not musicians who punched the cords. And technically she was MUCH more solid and stronger.

And coming back to Wednesday night - I guess Shklyarov STOLE the show, i could not keep my eyes off him, so much more polished and precise, and what fire and artistry, and balloon in jumps.

A cute detail. His wife Evgenia waited for him after performance and they went to the hotel together. She looked like the sweetest purest kindest and so light of a child in her fur-trimmed hood. Such a sweet person.

Back to Somova, at least she tamed her elevations, and her arm and hands got softer, and no pointedly elevated chin (in most of the parts). there were slipped, but much better than under "tutorship" of Mrs. Vasiev ;_))

hope to see you all on Saturday (god clear the road to and in DC ;-))

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Thanks, YID! Glad to hear that there was an 'Evgenia sighting' - whew!!!! No nasty surprises at tomorrow's matinee. :innocent:

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Let's delight in it while we can. And still that RAVISHING face that had everybody in St Petersburg gah-gah when she burst onto the scene in 1994, with an entire year left of studies at the Vaganova! 'Beauty in Motion' for sure! Some try to 'paint on' a face; Vishneva has it! :innocent:

That's a wonderful comment about Vishneva's face and so true. Her features are larger than life, particularly her eyes and this is terribly effective on stage.

I don't think she's a classical beauty off stage but once she's on stage, her face lights up the whole theater. She's lucky, you have to be born with that.

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DON QUIXOTE - 4 of 7

Mariinsky Theater Ballet

January 16, 2009

Kennedy Center Opera House

The Casting, as per 'corrections insert' to the printed Playbill:

Kitri - Diana Vishneva

Basil - Yevgeni Ivanchenko

Flower Seller Girls - Yana Selina and Xenia Dubrovina

Espada - Konstantin Sverev

Street Dancer - Ekaterina Kondaurova (in place of orig-scheduled A. Iosifidi, who did 1st 3 shows)

Gypsy Lead female - Julia Smirnova-Slivkina

Gypsy Lead male - Islom "The Energizer" Baimuradov

Dryad Queen - Ekaterina Kondaurova

Amour - Elena Yushkovskaya

Mercedes (tavern lady in red) - Elena Bazhenova

Act 4 Fandango Leads - Yulia Smirnova-Slivkina & Karen Ioanissian

Act 4 Bridesmaid Variation - Anastasia Nikitina (in place of T. Tkachenko)

Don Q - Vladimir Ponomaryev

Sancho - Stanislav Burov

Lorenzo, Kitri's father - Igor Petrov

Gamache - Soslan Kulaev

The Review

In my review of Tuesday's opener, I wrote that it was a "Diana is On" night. Not so last night -- Diana Vishneva was off...and her horrendous 32 fouetes, going off point every-other-one and traveling forward quickly, nearly landed her in the orchestra pit. Still, all of her 'basics' -- her brio, general strength & speed, beauty, intense musicality, comic acting brilliance -- saved her, to garner many 'bravos!' and a huge instant standing-o at the end of the show. Thank goodness that the Kennedy Center audience knows that it's the Big Picture that counts!

As Basil, Yevgeni Ivanchenko has lovely lines & elegance, as we pointed out at the opener. He usually has the power to lift ballerinas with ease, which failed him tonight. There was not one steady lift of Vishneva tonight, as he struggled, never quite reaching the apex of a lift, having to put her down roughly at times, in both the ActI 'tambourine lifts' and the Act 4 pdd. This, added to his robotic acting, made for a blase Basil.

Unlike the opening night, Anastasia Nikitina performed a disastrous Act4 Bridesmaid Variation. Perhaps she was asked to substitute Tkachenko at the last minute, thus making her jittery? Sorry to report that she was sloppy throughout. She could not do a single double-pirouette-a-la-seconde cleanly.

Even her final diagonal of assemble jumps barely got off the ground. BUT, to her credit, she *is* musical (unlike Somova) and has softened the frozen grin from the opening night. Finally -- and forgive me for this but it was noticeable to many folks with whom I spoke after the show -- her 'wing bones' protruding from her upper back are distracting.

And now the positives, for there were many...

Islom "The Energizer" Baimuratov again essayed his incomparable Gypsy King, this time with lovely Julia Smirnova as his lady. This number consistently brings down the house, especially when The Energizer is on the scene.

Ekaterina Kondaurova did 'double duty' tonight -- not only the 4th consecutive Dryad Queen of the run but also her 1st Street Dancer in DC. As the latter, she bested Alexandra Iosifidi in the precision of her pointe work. The USA adores this tall, gorgeous redhead. With good reason. It's only a matter of time that she will be guesting with the New York City Ballet, if there is any justice on this earth!

As at the opener, newcomer Konstantin Zverev was electrifying as Espada -- those deep arches of his back during the Cape Solo of Act I!

Now some words for Yana Selina, one of the two Flower Girls during the entire run. She was recently elevated to Second Soloist after 10 years languishing as a Choryphee. We balletomanes could not comprehend the injustice. Yana Selina, for years, was to the Mariinsky what Emmanuel Thibault is to the Paris Opera Ballet -- the potential Etoile who was never promoted. No longer the case -- she has been 100% brilliant in every show. Case in point: her extraordinarily fast and precise diagonal of chainees during the Tavern Scene. WOW!

Finally -- a tribute to our Don Quixote and Eternal King-Champion of Mariinsky Character Principals: Vladimir Ponomaryov. He is the veteran of the troupe, having graduated from the Vaganova Academy in 1964. It would not be Don Q without him...or Bakh Fontan without his Girei...or Bayadere without his High Priest...or R&J without his Lord Capulet. He is a magnetic, powerful presence whenever he is on the stage. What's best: the CONVICTION with which he acts a role time and time again. How many times has this man followed 'Dulcinea' in that famous diagonal in the Dream Scene, flapping his arms like a windmill, starring in awe? Vladimir Ponomaryev always convinces me that this is natural -- as if he is truly inspired by his Dulcinea. May he grace the Mariinsky stage -- and our Kennedy Center, on tours -- for many years to come. Bravo - bravo!

Next, today, is a double-header: Obraztsova/Shklyarov at the matinee, followed by -- if I DARE -- Somova/Ivanchenko at night. The 7th and final show, with Tereshkina/Fadeev, is tomorrow afternoon. So it's four down & three to go in this DON Q Marathon Week.

Natalia Nabatova

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Thank you Natalia for the review. I can't wait to see it myself.

I have one ticket available for Sunday Jan 18 130pm seat tr1 f122 free!! It was for my ballet teacher but since the inaguration bridge closings this Sunday she won't be driving up here from Richmond VA. I will be using the DC Metro to get to the Kennedy Center. I will be at the bust of Pres. Kennedy in the lobby before the show don't let this ticket go to waste. My email is (deleted)

I also have one ticket available for the sold out show of Les Ballets Trockadero at the Alden Theatre McClean, Va(2 miles west of WashDC) Monday Jan.26 8pm free!! It's the Trocks first tour stop of the US in 2009. I offer it to Natalia first if she would like to review their comic ballet, otherwise you can take this ticket along with the DonQ ticket, but please use it. It was for a Boston Ballet freind who can't make it.

I do have PM privilege. Please use the PM feature now working for my account.

Steve.

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As always I cannot hold a candle to Natalia's descriptions, but here are a few of my impressions from Thursday night (Tereshkina/Fadeev) and this afternoon (Obraztsova/Shklyarov).

I must agree with the newspaper reviewers that the production overall seemed a bit "flat". I am not sure how to describe it beyond that--DonQ should be very bouncy, lively, and fun (I gather that it is the "kids' ballet", much like Nut here). The dancing in both performances was very, very good, but overall it was just a bit flat.

Missing were the puppet show in the second (? gypsy camp) act and also the reprise or encore-like bit at the end which I seem to recall turns into bows-with-music in Russian theaters (am I recalling correctly, Natalia?).

I expected to like Obraztsova better, and she certainly has the perkiness that I associate with Kitri. She was a delight. Tereshkina, however, was stunning--I can see her as a great Odette/Odile, with emphasis on the latter part of the role. Her technique is so strong that it became a tool or instrument rather than a challenge, so that nothing looked hard. Fantastic.

I liked both Basils very much as well, though I could swear that they did completely different variations. Fadeevl did a remarkable sequence of pirouette-double tour-pirouette-double tour and also some tour-assembles (or some close relative thereof) at about a 45 degree angle. Shklyarov showed some leisurely (in a good way) double cabrioles.

So, did the two Basils do different variations?

Another Russia/US question: in the one-armed lift in the first act, the music stops completely for a moment. I seem to recall that Russian audiences applaud, and it's as if Basil won't put Kitri down until there's applause. And here...dead silence.

All in all, I was very happy to have seen two performances with great casts all around.

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Re: the puppet show--that is not performed on tour because there are no Vaganova Academy students to perform it. I miss seeing it, though.

It sounds as if Fadeyev inserted a rivoltade or two into his variation? He did that when I saw him in Giselle--he performs that step beautifully.

Thank you for the Obraztsova report--I had wanted to see her today but ended up being unable to.

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It seems like the Bolshoi used local students for the puppet show. But I can see how it would add complication to cast it.

The men's variations looked different in a number of ways--I'm curious about how much customizing was going on.

I don't think Shklyarov did the pirouette-double tour series at all, for example.

I though a revoltade was one of those sort crazy looking jumps with the legs NOT in a closed position (and done by one of the other men, though I forget which one). Must find some video and figure it out...

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Thanks for your superb report, koshka, and for beating me to the punch on Obraztsova! :blush: I just got back from my double header today -- Obraztsova/Shklyarov in the afternoon and "2nd Somova/3rd Ivanchenko" in the evening. I'm about to post something...a quickie, which I'll expand tomorrow. I am a bit sleepy right now. :wub:

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*two-in-one report*

DON QUIXOTE - 5 of 7

Mariinsky Theater Ballet

January 17, 2009 matinee

Kennedy Center Opera House

The Casting, as per 'corrections insert' to the printed Playbill:

Kitri - Evgenia Obraztsova

Basil - Vladimir Shklyarov

Flower Seller Girls - Yana Selina and Xenia Dubrovina

Espada - Karen Ioanissian

Street Dancer - Tatyana Tkachenko

Gypsy Lead female - Ryu Ji-yeon

Gypsy Lead male - Fedor Murashov

Dryad Queen - Ekaterina Kondaurova

Amour - Elena Yushkovskaya

Mercedes (tavern lady in red) - Elena Bazhenova

Act 4 Fandango Leads - Yulia Smirnova-Slivkina & Sergei Popov

Act 4 Bridesmaid Variation - Anastasia Nikitina

Don Q - Vladimir Ponomaryev

Sancho - Stanislav Burov

Lorenzo, Kitri's father - Igor Petrov

Gamache - Soslan Kulaev

The Review

***This is the performance that I had most anticipated and it did not disappoint. In fact, it was a TOTAL DELIGHT. Evgenia Obraztsova is, quite simply, the perfect incarnation of the frisky Kitri. WOW! WOW! WOW! Perfect petite physique, GORGEOUS face, crystalline technique, decent comic acting (not quite Vishneva yet), musicality to beat the band...obraztsova sang with movement today! She is simply so cute, adorable, hugable! Ok, so she had one tiny off-point moment near the end of the 32 fouettes -- which were peperred with doubles -- but she instantly got back on pointe and ended with one more double, to a volley of 'bravos!' from the audience, which was simply gah-gah for her and her Basil...

Vladimir Shklyarov -- LIBERATED from the albatross of his first performance's Kitri, he soared with his true ballerina today! My 'highlight moment' of the performance came from his Act 4 pdd solo: the final diagonal of double-tours, each one landing in soft-plied gorgeous arabesque, held long enough for us to admire each arabesque for a second or so. WOW-WEE!!!!!!! ZOWEEEE!!!!

Tatyana Tkachenko delivered a gentler Street Dancer than Iosifidi and Kondaurova, at earlier performances, but she was the most precise with the choreography. Fedor Murashov's first Gypsy King was dynamic if not quite Islom Baimuratov. Sergei Popov was finally identified as the tall, blonde 'mystery fandango guy' from two days ago...although he is still not listed on the roster of dancers for this tour. Debutante Anastasia Nikitina did a better job today as the Bridesmaid in Act 4 than last night; at least she managed her basic steps today.

***

My hubby, Vadim, and I were delighted to have met both nysusan & YID between the shows. :wub:

***

DON QUIXOTE - 6 of 7

Mariinsky Theater Ballet

January 17, 2009 - evening

Kennedy Center Opera House

The Casting, as per 'corrections insert' to the printed Playbill:

Kitri - Alina Somova

Basil - Yevgeni Ivanchenko

Flower Seller Girls - Yana Selina and Xenia Dubrovina

Espada - Konstantin Sverev

Street Dancer - Ekaterina Kondaurova

Gypsy Lead female - Julia Smirnova-Slivkina

Gypsy Lead male - Rafael Mussin

Dryad Queen - Ekaterina Kondaurova

Amour - Valeria Martinyuk

Mercedes (tavern lady in red) - Elena Bazhenova

Act 4 Fandango Leads - Yulia Smirnova-Slivkina & Karen Ioanissian

Act 4 Bridesmaid Variation - Tatyana Tkachenko

Don Q - Vladimir Ponomaryev

Sancho - Stanislav Burov

Lorenzo, Kitri's father - Igor Petrov

Gamache - Soslan Kulaev

The Review

I dared...and I am happy that I DID go to the 2nd "Somova performance" after the disastrous first one on Wednesday, as she was markedly better, especially in the 32 fouettes, which she churned with a bit more turn-out than usual. [she must have been practicing these for the past 72 hours!] Nonetheless, she is still a shadow of what a Kitri must be -- wrong proportions, weak acting, zero musicality -- she beat her white fan on the floor louder than before...but at the wrong beats!!!

This was 'miscasting night' with both leads, as Yevgeni Ivanchenko is never-ever a Basil. He is too mature a presence, for starters. He is robotic in his delivery. Technique-wise, he uses his long elegant lines to great effect but is merely a competent jumper and turner, sans spark. One of the Mariinsky's 'house porteurs,' he could barely manage adequate lifts tonight and, in a couple of spots in Act I, nearly dumped Somova.

The hit of the night was, yet again, Konstantin Sverev as Espada. This guy has star power in abundance.

Edited to add: nysusan, I read your review below and totally agree with you on the sparkle and majesty of Karen Ioanissian in everything he does -- Espada in the afternoon, then Fandango Couple in the evening. I am hoping that Islom 'The Energizer' Baimuratov will be cast in something at Sunday's closer, so that you can see him and compare a bit.

This was the first performance that I saw up-close, in the Orchestra Section, center-5th row...close enough to see the knobs on Somova's shoulder joints. (Sorry - could not help it!) Sitting up-close also allows me to admire the subtleties of the mime from the comic-character dancer Soslan Kulaev, who has essayed Kitri's wealthy suitor, Gamache, at each performance. His fussy-finicky mannerisms are spot-on and hilarious.

Can somebody please tell me what happened with Don Q's horse and Sancho's donkey? They were AWOL at the evening performance; have appeared in every other show thus far. Maybe they've been requisitioned for the Obama Inaugural Parade?

For the record: There was a standing-o and many 'bravos' for Somova/Ivanchenko. HOWEVER, sitting next to me in the expensive front-orchestra seats was one of the loudest screamers for Somova...a guy who, earlier, had asked me "Who wrote the music?" ...then...."Who is Ludwig Minkus?" 'Nuf said. :wub:

Next and last up: Tereskina/Fadeev tomorrow (Sunday) and, hopefully, 'Islom The Energizer.' :blush: Hard to believe that the Don Q Marathon Week is almost over!!!

Natalia Nabatova

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Can't wait to read your full reports Natalia!

Well, the second of my three Don Q's is over, and let me start by saying that I also thought that Somova was…OK. Not great, but not awful. I thought most of her performance was adequate, like what you'd expect from a "house" ballerina at a major company. What I liked most was the very beginning of her variation in the dream sequence. She started out with a beautiful, creamy epaulment, but it faded away pretty quickly. I also thought she looked fine in the final "wedding" pdd. Where she really paled in comparison with Obraztsova (who I saw at the matinee) was in the first act. Part of the problem was surely due to being pared with Ivanchenko – he is simply horribly miscast in this. I find him unsuited to the role due to his physique (too tall, he's elegant, but that's not what this role calls for), skills (beautiful line but not a virtuoso, unimpressive jump, not a fast turner etc) and temperament (cute/funny/engaging? Hardly – wooden is more like it). There was no chemistry between them but even if there had been – Somova simply didn't have the charm of Obraztsova and she didn't execute the steps in a way that suited the character. I guess what I really feel is lacking in her dancing is control and variation in the accent of the steps – she throws her leg up but doesn't control the speed or tension with which it goes up or comes down, and she doesn't vary the timing. I find it very boring & lacking in nuance & musicality. Despite some wonderful performances from secondary characters, without charismatic leads the whole evening seemed rather flat.

On the other hand, I thought Obraztsova and Sklyarov were superb. They had wonderful chemistry (no surprise there) and were totally caught up in their characters and each other. He was a joy to watch with a great jump, great legs period. (Koshka – I don't recall him or Ivanchenko doing the pirouette double tour sequence). She was absolutely adorable, and her dancing was very, very strong. She tossed off multiple pirouettes effortlessly, but there was also great spring and sparkle in her pirouettes and developees, and the way she timed them emphasized the flirtatiousness of the character. You know, she'd whip through the first few revolutions like lightning and then slow the last one down and let it linger with an adoring glance thrown at her Basilio. If you want to get very picky you could say that she listed a bit in some of the very fast supported pirouette sequences (Somova was much more vertical on hers) and there was a bobble in the middle of her fouettee sequence (no bobble for Somova but there was that constant kick and she took a tour of the stage for the about the last half). Obraztsova also displayed very high extensions, almost as high as Somova's – but hers were beautiful & harmonious.

I really enjoyed both Tkachenko (mat) & Kondaurova (eve) as the street dancer and was thrilled to see Big Red's Dryad Queen at both performances. I don't know what Macauley was watching (I think he just hates academic classical ballet), but she didn't seem the least bit bored to me. She was perfect in the role.

Happiest discovery of this tour – Karen Ioanissian. Wow! He was absolutely stunning as Espada in the matinee, tall, lithe with long lines but also a great jumper & turner. For me, he had just the right combination of tension and release in his movements, all stretched to the max and then brought back in and held at just the right moment for maximum effect. Then at the evening performance he was great fun to watch in the Fandango. It's more of a character dance, but he really danced it full out. I want to see more of him!

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Thanks for the reports. I intended to go originally but for a variety of reasons couldn't make it. I wish I had been there though. :clapping:

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DON QUIXOTE - 7 of 7

Mariinsky Theater Ballet

January 16, 2009

Kennedy Center Opera House

The Casting, as per 'corrections insert' to the printed Playbill:

Kitri - Viktoria Tereshkina

Basil - Andrian Fadeev

Flower Seller Girls - Yana Selina and Xenia Dubrovina

Espada - Islom Baimuradov

Street Dancer - Alexandra Iosifidi

Gypsy Lead female - Ryu Ji-Eun

Gypsy Lead male - Fedor Murashov

Dryad Queen - Alina Somova

Amour - Elena Yushkovskaya

Mercedes (tavern lady in red) - Elena Bazhenova

Act 4 Fandango Leads - Yulia Smirnova-Slivkina & Karen Ioanissian

Act 4 Bridesmaid Variation - Ekaterina Kondaurova

Don Q - Vladimir Ponomaryev

Sancho - Stanislav Burov

Lorenzo, Kitri's father - Igor Petrov

Gamache - Soslan Kulaev

The Review

The packed-to-capacity Kennedy Center audience was treated to perhaps the most fabulous and 'electric' performance of the entire run -- thanks to the perfect blend of technical wizardry, Mariinsky Elegance, and effective comic acting by principals Viktoria Tereshkina and Andrian Fadeev. This would have been THE performance of the run for all of those reasons; instead, it ended in a shocker -- the fall of Andrian Fadeev at the start of the Coda of the PDD in Act4, as I've reported on another thread. He never came back out after hobbling into the audience-left front wing. His long-time coach, and company Acting Artistic Director, Yuri Fateev, jumped out of his seat and ran backstage. Then the Orchestra, under the batton of Pavel Bubelnikov, reprised the beginning of the Coda's music -- the music to which Fadeev had fallen two minutes earlier -- and out came Tereshkina, face saddened, to perform THE MOST BRILLAINT and PERFECT sequence of 32 fouettes in the run, peppered with triples and doubles, fan held at a different position for each triple. Well, the audienced gave her the most roaring cheer of the run.

After the 32 fouettes, the orchestra at first continued with Fadeev's-Basil's music for what would be his solo sequence of pirouettes a-la-seconde...then it faded. An awkward moment when all people on stage did not quite know what to do. The Coda of the PDD was never completed. Then the orchestra played the final minute or so of the ballet -- the scene in which Lorenzo (Kitri's father) usually motions first to Kitri, then to Basil, to come to center-stage, joining their hands, then turning the young couple to the audience. The pair then usually strike a pose as the corps cheers and the curtain falls. Not so today. Instead, Kitri-Tereshkina stood alone in the center of the stage...her father, Lorenzo, did not have a Basil with whom his daughter could join hands. Curtain down. No Fadeev - no Basil. Lots of tears/sadness seen on cast members' faces during the bows. Huge standing-o for the entire cast, even though Fadeev never came back out.

I've never seen anything like it in my years of ballet going.

So what had transpired earlier in this final performance? Mostly great things...and one not-so-great: I had "pulled Wonka's Golden Ticket." Indeed, after six perfect and elegant Dryad Queens by Ekaterina Kondaurova in earlier performances, we were "treated" to one more salvo from Alina Somova -- this time as Dryad Queen! This one solo was an accumulation of all of the "principal" dancer's ills -- a Reader's Digest Condensed Compendium of Balletic Abominations -- in one 2-minute solo. In short, Somova 'let loose' and went for beyond-180 at each develope in the solo, then almost fell - lost control - in the penultimate Italian fouette. All with a smug look. Earlier, in the diagonal in which the Dryad Queen executes traveling backward stag leaps as the Don holds her hand, Somova grinned at the audience with each kick, ignoring the Don! Geez, Louise...

Luckily, everything else on view was magnificent, prior to Fadeev's accident-- including (Thank You, Mariinsky Casting Gods!) one more look at Islom "The Energizer" Baimuratov as Espada, the toreador. This is, honest-to-goodness, THE most exciting "character" of an Espada on the planet. Baimuradov drew wild cheers and 'bravos' after both his Cape Diagonal in Act I and his solo in Act III.

Prior to this run, I had never paid much attention to the Mariinsky's Act IV "Fandango" group dance. That will never-ever be the case again. Those snare-drum beats will ring in my head for a long time, as I remember today's rendition, led by beauteaous Julia Smirnova (who did all performances) and elegant gent Karen Ioanissian, who is surely destined for greatness -- as either a Danseur Noble or Character artist, he could do either one. Bravi, to 'The Fandangos'! :clapping:

Finally, a huge collective "BRAVI TUTTI!" and DA SVIDANYA to the Mariinsky Ballet for an unforgettable run of DON Qs in DC. The final drama with Fadeev's sad fall does not blemish the happiness and spirit that the company has given to Washington audiences in the midst of these historic Presidential Inauguration celebrations.

Natalia Nabatova

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Brief note to say that I have now updated my 7th and final review of the run (edited the above message, posted at 5:30 pm after returning home with the news of Fadeev's injury).

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Natalia, I agree - the Tereshkina/Fadeev performance was wonderful, until the awful accident at the end. She had it all - firecracker technique combined with wonderfully expressive characterizations. Her leaps & turns were fabulous, supported pirouettes all perfectly vertical, and how she was able to pull off a series of perfect, fast fouttees after just watching her partner go down at the end of his variation is beyond me, but she did. I loved her conception of Kitri - not the adorable, irresistible charmer like Obraztsova, instead a confident, fiery, irresistible WOMAN!!!

I was also glad I got to see Islom Baimuradow. His Espada was awesome! He looked & danced so much like the Espada I loved at the Sat matinee that I thought they had made an unannounced substitution . However Natalia & YID had it right - when Ioannissian came out to do the 3rd act Fandango it was clear that they are 2 different people with a few years between them - but with similar looks, technique and approach to the roles. All 3 Espadas I saw were outstanding, but in addition to thrilling dancing, unbelievable backbends & cape work Baimuradow had incredible intensity and worked in all those little details that made Espada a fully fleshed out character.

Natalia, I’m glad that you singled out Solam Kulaev’s Gamache. I also found myself watching him a lot, especially on Saturday night when I wasn’t thrilled with the principals and the production started to drag. He does bring great detail to what is usually a thankless role. His Gamache may has been a pompous fop, but he was no fool!

This was a great run. I don’t think the Kirov’s DQ is my favorite, those honors still go to the Bolshoi. But, even so, with strong leads, strong & deep casting in all the secondary & character roles and their amazing corps de ballet (who are still wonderful, even with all of the new faces) it was great fun!

And, as a footnote - it was great fun to be in DC during all the pre-inauguration festivities. It made getting to and from the theatre a little challenging - but I was prepared for that possibility and made sure I was within walking distance to everywhere I needed to be. As hundreds of thousands of people streamed into Washinton the feelings of joy and hopefulness were palpable. Despite the crowds, it was a great place to be!

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I hope this isn't off topic--but since we're discussing the Kirov's Don Q--while it hasn't been "reconstructed" in any way, has the Kirov Don Q changed in any major way--design or choreography, since the 1902 famous Gorsky version it basically--from what I can tell--still is? (I almost wonder why Sergeyev and others never touched it back when it seemed everything was being changed in some way)?

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A quick note to say that Andrian Fadeev is back in Russia, receiving treatment for his injury in Sunday's closer. Here's wishing him a speedy recovery and a quick return to the stage! :wub:

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