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Mariinsky Ballet in London August 2009Link to Programme and Booking details


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#61 DeborahB

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 07:18 AM

Has anyone from BT actually attended any of the performances yet? It seems as though only links to newspaper reviews have been posted so far (please correct me if wrong). Thanks to all of those who have posted those links, but I'm dying to hear about Obraztsova's performance from a BT'er, especially considering the rave review from the newspaper! :D


I'm in London and will be going to the "Homage to Balanchine" performance tonight (can't wait!), and "Sleeping Beauty" on Sat. night.
Will report back (as best as I can considering I've only seen this company once or twice).

The performance is sold out tonight. It got rave reviews everywhere.
They are performing:
"Serenade"
"Rubies" (from "Jewels")
"Symphony in C"

#62 DeborahB

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 02:54 PM

I'm going to keep this brief but I really had a nice evening at the Mariinsky. The Royal Opera House was packed.
The first ballet, "Serenade" didn't get quite the ovation I thought it would. The dancers -- although lovely -- didn't dance off the beat (any of them) and
they don't lift their legs (the woman) as high (the extensions aren't, well, extended). Their upper body is, of course, beautiful.
The lead ballerina (I always think of Kyra Nichols doing this ballet) doesn't take her hair down, and in general did not wow me (although she was quite good). I didn't get the emotional wallop that I always get from NYCB.
I enjoyed it, but I didn't love as I usually do.
I'm sorry I'm not adding the casting, but it's late here and I have an early morning meeting.

"Rubies" was a bit all over the place -- i.e. the jumps/lack of jumps/non-flexed feet etc. The ballerina who does Ashley Bouder's part -- as I think of it now -- doesn't get her leg up very high, nor do the dancers hold the poses for very long.There were quite a few bent legs too (when they should have been straight. This was true for all three ballets). Many of the dancers (women and men) "set up" the spins and turns. I always find that distracting. Some of the women have plastered smiles on their faces too (seemed strange); the men are much more natural. Variations were also cut (which did bother me . This was especially true in "Symphony in C"). It seems like I'm nitpicking, but overall I liked it a lot (although not as much as NYCB's, MCB etc.).
The audience seemed to like this ballet more than "Serenade" (the applause was more generous).

"Symphony in C" was better. The lead male (a corps member) was terrific (although he cut a couple of the harder combinations). And the corps, in general, was excellent the entire evening.
The orchestra was also superb. This ballet simply knocked the audience off their seat. The Mariinsky did a very good job with this one, but it wasn't an A (or even an A plus) for me. That said, the overall impression was excellent. The audience went nuts at the curtain -- they applauded for more than 5 minutes, whistled and more (not very usual for London. At least not at the Royal). The dancers seemed very pleased.

I'll be seeing "Sleeping Beauty" on Sat. night.
I'll try to read up on the individual dancers by then, but I'm sure the program is listed (tonight's) on the Royal Opera Houses website.

#63 DeborahB

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 09:21 PM

Here's the main casting for "Homage to Balanchine":

"Serenade" -- Ekaterina Kondaurova, Daniil Korsuntsev (excellent!), Ekaterina Ivvanikova, Daria Vasnetsova and Denis Firsov.

** Note: Staged by Karin von Aroldingen and Francia Russell

"Rubies" -- Irina Golub (lovely technique but seemed a bit tense. Had a strange smile throughout too), Denis Matvienko, Yuliana Chereshkevich (she's in the corps; I thought she was quite good) and then
Fedor Murashov, Alexi Nedviga, Anton Pimonov and Maxim Krebtov (all in the corp. Strong dancers).

** Note: Staged by Karin von Aroldingen, Sarah Leland, Elyse Borne and Sean Lavery.

"Symphony in C" -- Alina Somova (the "one" that everyone is talking about. She's their newest "star" principal She's blond and very beautiful. You can't help but watch her), Maxim Zuzin, Ekaterina Kondaurova, Evgeny Ivanchenko, Elena Evseeva, Vladimir Shklyarov (I thought he was terrific),
Evgenia Obraztsova, Kirill Safin.

** Note: Colleen Neary staged this.

#64 DeborahB

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 09:33 PM

Sorry for all of the posts everyone.
I do want to add that this is only the second time (the first time was years ago at the NY State Theatre, as it was called then)
that I've seen the Mariinsky (Kirov). I don't have a lot of points of reference.
However, overall I was much more impressed than I'd thought I'd be.
And unlike some of the criticism in this thread (earlier), I very much liked Alina Somova.

The corps, in particular, was incredbily impressive. Ditto the orchestra (and the pianist for "Rubies" -- Ludmila Sveshnikova).

Although I do see the Royal Ballet at least once a year here, I just adore the Royal Opera House too.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow night!

#65 nysusan

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 07:04 AM

Sorry for all of the posts everyone.


Don't apologize, keep posting! It's good to have first hand reports from BTers. Glad you're enjoying the Mariinsky, they are my favorite company. Blasphemy for a New Yorker, I know. But even though you saw the Balanchine program, their heritage & style are so different from the NYCB that there's hardly any basis for comparison.

That said, take a good look at how they dance the fairy variations in the prologue tonight and then compare it to NYCB's performance style when they revive their SB this winter. Its a perfect illustration of the differences in the style and point of view of the 2 companies.

How did you like Kondaurova? After the Mariinsky's City Center run she and Terishkina were on just about every NYCB fan's "guest artist" wish list. I can just imagine her in the 2nd movement of Bizet.

I'm so jealous that you're in London for this engagement but then, I'll be in Central Park for Morphoses tonight! Enjoy!

#66 DeborahB

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 07:42 AM

Did you like Kondaurova? After the Mariinsky's City Center run she and Terishkina were on just about every NYCB fan's "guest artist" wish list. I can just imagine her in the 2nd movement of Bizet.

I'm so jealous that you're in London for this engagement but then, I'll be in Central Park for Morphoses tonight! Enjoy!


She was great, Susan! But again, since I only saw this one performance I don't feel educated enough on the Mariinsky to say too much.
I will post again tomorrow night after "Sleeping Beauty." (tonight I head to the National Theatre for "All's Well..."
Clare Higgins is in it and I love her!).

I can't believe I'll be missing Morphoses tonight! You know how much I love them. Oh well, I intend to go to every performance at City Center.

Have fun tonight!!

#67 carbro

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 12:10 PM

A note about Somova. During Mariinsky's City Center season Balanchine program, I barely recognized her as the awkward, unmusical dancer I'd seen in the Petipa. She seemed much more comfortable dancing those roles. I don't wonder that you're having a bit of cognitive dissonance.

Thanks so much for your reports, Deborah! I'll be looking for Susan at Morphoses tonight, but will be thinking of you in London and wishing, like you, that I could be in both places.

#68 DeborahB

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 03:17 PM

Tonight I saw "The Sleeping Beauty."
Alina Somova was Aurora, Leonid Sarafanov was Prince Desire, Islom Baimuradov was Carabosse (the first male Carabosse that I've seen)
and Ekaterina Kondaurova was The Lilac Fairy.

Once again the Royal Opera House was packed to the rafters (including standing room).
Tonight they didn't seem to be in love with Somova (they certainly were -- and so was I - in "Homage to Balanchine.").
I did think she had a lot of problems in this performance (balance, extensions, some calf shakiness etc.). I kept thinking that Sterling Hyltin (from NYCB) would have been perfect in this role.
However, Somova continued to look beautiful, and perhaps she was having an off night.

Islom Baimuradov (a soloist) was a truly fantastic Carabosse. It was the best performance of this role that I've ever seen (note: I haven't seen that many, but have seen quite a few). Ekaterina Kodaurova was a breathtaking Lilac Fairy. Everything about her performance was brilliant -- her lines, her upper body, her legs, her arms, her presence in general. Unfortunately, the Lilac Fairy is not on stage very much in the 4th act (3 intermissions. Far too long a night). I truly hope she does make some guest artists appearances (as Susan wrote earlier). I want to see more of her!

I'm saving the best for last -- Leonid Sarafanov. He looks about 15 (and resembles D. Simkin from ABT), but is so brilliant that his youth (I have no idea how old he is) is an afterthought. His solos were magnificent (and received the biggest cheers of the night at the Royal Opera House); he is an excellent (truly) partner, and is totally invested in the role. I need to see more of this dancer as well (field trip to St. Petersburg perhaps? Just kidding!). I adore him!

Honorable mention goes to corps members Maria Shirinkina (Princess Florine) and Maxim Zuzin (The Bluebird). They were terrific.
Ksenia Ostreikovskaya (The White Cat) and Fedor Murashov (Puss-in-Boots) -- both in the corps -- were also very good.
I was disappointed with Vladimir Ponomarev (a soloist) as "The King." He looked bored most of the time. His Queen (in the corps), Elena Bazhenova, was better but I kept wishing that Dena Abergel (again from NYCB) would pop in (she does a great Queen).

The ballet started at 7:35 pm and got out at 10:50 pm. There were four acts and three (long) intermissions. In my opinion they could have combined the "Prologue" and "Act I" to cut down these endless intermissions. I have a few other small quibbles (no need to mention) but I will also say that the orchestra was superb, and the sets and costumes were outstanding (truly gorgeous!).

The audience was not as enthusiastic about this ballet as compared to "Homage to Balanchine." But there were exceptions (again, huge and much deserved ovation for Leonid Sarafanov, as well as a very nice reception for Ekaterina Kondaurova, Islom Baimuradov and a few others, including the orchestra!).

I was also extremely impressed with the audience! They actually pay attention! I didn't hear even a hint of a whisper (and certainly
didn't hear any talking). Honestly, this is true when I see the Royal Ballet too. Plus most audience members got dressed up. That was an additional pleasure! Finally, there were plenty of young people there (in their 20's. Most looked like they were on dates) as well as oldsters like me (I'm 52); I saw many snazzy elderly (80's perhaps) couples as well. Not one cell phone went off either! Bravo audience members!

I'm heading back to NYC tomorrow but I'm so glad I was able to see two performances (as well as a bunch of plays) of the wonderful Mariinsky. Next time I'm in London (December), I'll be seeing The Royal do "The Nutcracker." (I've actually never seen their version so it might be fun).

#69 ami1436

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 03:44 PM

DeborahB, your notes on the audience made me smile. :( I lived in England for most of my 20s, as a grad student, and spent way too much time doing things related to ballet, much to the dismay of my supervisors! There was a group of us that took advantage of student offers, cheap seats in standing/the back of the amphi, etc....... We went to the ballet because we loved it and we loved the Royal. I admit that if I was standing I'd often dress more 'comfortably' for sure.... but the few times I got nice seats, I most definitely dressed nicely! I get tired of the idea that if young people are at the theater they are going to be rowdy and dismissive. Grrrr!

In any case, regarding Somova and SB -- remember that the RB audience is fairly protective of their version, including the lovely mime... I haven't been able to stomach Somova since I first saw her. I admit I had the same first reaction to both her and Zakharova -- whose face was plastered on the front of Mariinsky programme in London a few years ago: 'Wow, so pretty, can't wait to see them dance'.... after seeing them dance, not so much, for all the reasons that have been hashed out here. That said, I can see Somova's overall approach perhaps being more suited for Balanchine (or Forsythe!), rather than Petipa.

#70 Helene

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 04:46 PM

DeborahB, it sounds like you had a wonderful time in London! Many thanks for your reports, and have a safe trip home.

#71 sejacko

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 04:13 AM

I saw the SB matinee yesterday. What struck me was how the whole thing had been unnecessarily truncated. Huge chunks were simply omitted (eg. Act 1 went straight into the Waltz - unforgivable!) and many individual numbers shortened. I felt a bit short-changed at the end of it all. Is this really how they perform "their" Sergeyev version? (or perhaps only when they're on tour?)

Oh and yes, I also missed the lovely mime sequences that we've become accustomed to in the RB versions.

#72 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 05:05 AM

I saw the SB matinee yesterday. What struck me was how the whole thing had been unnecessarily truncated. Huge chunks were simply omitted (eg. Act 1 went straight into the Waltz - unforgivable!) and many individual numbers shortened. I felt a bit short-changed at the end of it all. Is this really how they perform "their" Sergeyev version? (or perhaps only when they're on tour?)

Oh and yes, I also missed the lovely mime sequences that we've become accustomed to in the RB versions.


It's the touring version. It has always been truncated, more or less. Every time they came they cut something else.
In Amsterdam, last month, we were served a severely mutilated Beauty, nothing to do with the original anymore. Makes it hard to judge the production this way.

#73 Mashinka

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 01:10 AM

Possibly more truncated than usual, for example Red Riding Hood & the Wolf were listed and named on the programme but didn't actually dance. The third act diverts were just jewels, blue birds and the cats whereas in the past the Kirov used to also give us the ogres & boys plus Cinderella & Prince. These arrived as guests but didn't actually perform this time around.

The ROH endless intervals may be to blame as the Friday night SB finished after 11pm. The matinee and (I presume) the evening performance on Saturday cut the curtain calls between acts to make the programme shorter.

#74 DeborahB

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 04:49 AM

Possibly more truncated than usual, for example Red Riding Hood & the Wolf were listed and named on the programme but didn't actually dance. The third act diverts were just jewels, blue birds and the cats whereas in the past the Kirov used to also give us the ogres & boys plus Cinderella & Prince. These arrived as guests but didn't actually perform this time around.

The ROH endless intervals may be to blame as the Friday night SB finished after 11pm. The matinee and (I presume) the evening performance on Saturday cut the curtain calls between acts to make the programme shorter.



I thought it was very odd that Red Riding Hood & The Wolf were listed, and did appear on stage (albeit briefly), but then didn't dance (although they did come out at the end as well). But since I'm not very familiar with the Mariinsky (or Petipa's version of SB), I thought this might have been normal.

I went Sat. night and it didn't get out until 10:50-10:55 pm (and started at 7:30pm). That's just nuts!
The intervals seemed endless, and there were too many front of stage bows (not warranted or demanded by the audience either)
during the performance.

However, I was still thrilled to be at the ROH and seeing the Mariinsky.

#75 Cygnet

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 08:20 AM

Thank you so much DeborahB for your on site reviews! I wish I could have been there. Except for a few outstanding
performances, on the whole, the media & eyewitness reviews for this engagement were mixed at best. IMO, I think the next time the Maryinsky comes to Covent Garden, the management and producers should bring ballets that won't conflict with British tradition or British sensibilities :(. You don't come to the Land of Shakespeare, or the House of MacMillan & Ashton with a "mediocre" "Romeo & Juliet," however its historic value as the original production. If you do, you don't open (or close) the season with an unproven debutante. Moreover, you don't come to Covent Garden with the mimeless Sergeyev "Beauty," after the sumptuous 1890 or Oliver Messel reconstructions. The program was decided before Vaziev's departure. However, there was plenty of time to carefully reconsider the schedule and the casting. Next time, Fateev needs to do some serious homework and research his host audience.

Personally, I highly recommend the full length Sergeyev "Raymonda," "Giselle," Lacotte's version of "Ondine," a Balanchine program and the brand new "Little Humpbacked Horse." I would've booked & travelled for that type of schedule. IMO, these and the Balanchine ballets that were given, would have been far superior to the programs that were presented. "LHH, " and "Ondine" are definitely worth touring. The Maryinsky's "Giselle" always works (theoretically - it depends who is leading the cast and the chemistry with the Albrecht). Plus the "Giselle," "Ondine," Balanchine mixed bill and "LHH," would have ended before the trains stopped service for the night. The ROH tries to end performances around 10:30 p.m.ish, or a little after. "Beauty" & "R & J" run 3.5 hours with the long intervals; "Swan Lake" is only slighty shorter. The Sergeyev "Raymonda" full-length is rarely given at home, let alone abroad, but it would be a novelty for London. London has seen Grigorovich's complete version with the Bolshoi.


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