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Le Corsaire at The Kennedy Center


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#31 Natalia

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 10:30 AM

....

As for Schipulina..... I can't imagine that her Medora would be a total write-off.


Not at all. She is competent...a nice "house ballerina" but, IMO, not in the league of Alexandrova and Osipova or even Krysanova.

YID, I too noticed that the Osipova switch to the Saturday matinee meant that Anna Nikulina's big chance as medora was not to be. Honestly, I would have preferred Nikulina in place of Osipova on the night of the 19th. So, in the end, Schipulina gets three Medoras and Nikulina gets zero. Bummer.

#32 Helene

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 06:06 PM

I'd like to remind everyone who is going to see "Le Corsaire" in Washington, DC next week about Mikhail's great posts on the production from 2007:

Synopsis with dances and composers
List of links to MP3 files for "Pas des eventailes"
More details on the music


and Marc Haegeman's photos:
http://www.for-balle...rsaire2007.html
http://www.for-balle...aire2007-2.html

#33 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 10:07 PM

....

As for Schipulina..... I can't imagine that her Medora would be a total write-off.


Not at all. She is competent...a nice "house ballerina" but, IMO, not in the league of Alexandrova and Osipova or even Krysanova.

YID, I too noticed that the Osipova switch to the Saturday matinee meant that Anna Nikulina's big chance as medora was not to be. Honestly, I would have preferred Nikulina in place of Osipova on the night of the 19th. So, in the end, Schipulina gets three Medoras and Nikulina gets zero. Bummer.


Why bummer? Count your blessings, America.

#34 Natalia

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 10:04 AM

[....
Why bummer? Count your blessings, America.


Schipulina Overload, that's why. And I now see that Shipulina replaces Nikulina in Chapel Hill, too (Swan Lake of 13 June).

#35 Natalia

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 06:01 AM

Quick note that I attended last night's chat with Yuri Burlaka, moderated by DC critic George Jackson.

During the course of the long but interesting chat and Q&A, Burlaka divulged that he plans to recreate the complete ca-1900 SLEEPING BEAUTY by Gorsky-after-Petipa for the reopening of the main Bolshoi Theater during the 2010/2011 season. [He specifically said 2011...so the latter part of that season.]

Also, in response to my question, Burlaka said that the upcoming ESMERALDA reconstruction (currently planned for early December 2009) will be the 1899 2nd Petipa edition of St Petersburg, in which Mathilde Kchessinskaya first danced the title role. It's the version for which Burlaka could find the most information/notes to allow a full reconstruction. As much as Burlaka would have loved to have been able to recreate the 1844 Romantic version by Perrot that opened in London and starred Grisi, or the 1880s 1st Petipa version for V. Zucchi in St Petersburg, he does not have sufficient materials to do so. Hence, it's the 1899 'Petipa 2 version' that we will be seeing in Dec '09. This is the version that formed the basis for the Gusev-Vecheslova-Boyarchikov editions of the 1950s/60s that could be seen at the Maly-Mikhailovsky Theater of StP until fairly recently. However, as he did in the 2007 CORSAIRE, Burlaka will aim to strip-out all Soviet additions, e.g., I am guessing that we will NOT be seeing the 1935 Vaganova 'Diana and Acteon' episode in Act II.

p.s. In a few minutes I'm heading to the Dress Rehearsal at the KennCen, followed by tonight's opening CORSAIRE with Alexandrova/Tsiskaridze. I am very eager to find out who'll be dancing the important secondary roles of Pas d'Esclave, three Odalisques, etc. For example, will Osipova dance her amazing 3rd Odalisque tonight, with the diagonal of 2ple-pirouettes en l'air, as I saw her do in London 2007? Will Vasiliev/Kaptsova dance the Act I Pas d'Esclave?

#36 bingham

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 09:58 AM

What would be the difference bet the Marynsky-Vikharev reconstruction and the Gorsky-Petipa version?



#37 carbro

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 11:39 AM

I had a ticket and bus reservations and had eagerly looked forward to tonight's performance. Fate intervened, and it ain't gonna happen, so I will devour your report, Natalia, as well as those of others who attend.

Thanks for the notes on Burlaka's talk.

#38 Natalia

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 01:40 PM

Sorry about that, carbro! You'll surely get reports not only from me but also at least three other BTers who I saw this afternoon at the rehearsal, incl. YID, Jack Reed and new member Karen, who I just met.

Bingham, that's the subject for a thesis and I have about 5 minutes to write a report on this afternoon's dress reh, so it will come later. Promise.

Dress Rehearsal -

We were treated to a complete (3 acts, all scenes) rehearsal with all dancers from the 2nd cast ('my' Ekaterina Schipulina as Medora and tall Ruslan Skortsov as Conrad), all sets, full orchestra, partial costumes but no wigs and make-up. Most of the main numbers were danced fully, with some marking from the male soloists. Yuri Burlaka called-out orders through a mike. A female coach could be heard directing the female corps, during the Jardin Anime. Alexander Petukhov corralled the extras and assisted Burlaka, all the while miming the role of the chief eunuch.

I've seen this production live in London/2007 and the KennCen stage's dimensions are comparable to the London Coliseum and, in fact, the New Bolshoi stage. In other words: Cramped! Nonetheless, the big set pieces were very impressive, including a 'tight' Jardin Anime with at least 75 people and foliage on the stage. Local kids did a great job in the Jardin and other scenes that call for children.

We all knew that there would be cuts but Burlaka has done major surgery on Act III, deleting Ratmansky's masterful Pas d'Eventails in its entirety!!! (That's the Pas of the Fans to Drigo music, for Medora, Gulnare, a cavalier and a corps of ladies. In London, only the male variation was deleted.) What's more, as in London, the Act I Pas d'Esclave is missing the adagio that usually precedes the variations. Even with the 20-25 minutes worth of cuts, the production runs about three hours, counting two 20-minute intermissions.

Schipulina was fine, if off-axis on her pirouettes. To be fair, I love her 1st arabesques -- like classical sculpture! She danced a delightful 'petit corsaire' variation en travestie, during the cave scene; this is a gem of a varietion that is cut from almost all other versions, e.g., Mariinsky, ABT, etc. Skvortsov had problems with the slow tempo, making him seem very tired at the end of his variations. I am sure it will be fixed by performance time. We had two Gulnares this afternoon -- a brunette with blue eyes and bangs (maybe Anastasia Meskova?)* in most scenes BUT a divine Nina Kaptsova in the Jardin Anime. The Pas d'Esclave was nicely performed by blonde Anastasia Stashkevich and bravura soloist Dennis Medvedev. The three Odalisques included Olga Stebletsova in the 1st variation; the other two not readily recognizable although I will guess Anna Tikhomirova in #2 and Anna Leonova in #3. Kudos to Andrei Merkuriev as Birbanto, with tall blonde Anna Antropova as his lady. Gennadi Yanin is precious as Lankedem, the old merchant and keeper of Medora.

It was a wonderful dress rehearsal...much more than I had expected. In the past, we sometimes got to see just two acts of a ballet in such rehearsals. Here we saw it all, including the impressive storm and ship-sinking finale.

Edited to add: In the playbill obtained at tonight's program, only two Gulnares are listed for this run -- Kaptsova and Krysanova...but the lady who danced at most of the dress rehearsal did not look at all like Ekaterina Krysanova. Krysanova DID dance 2nd Odalisque tonight, though...looking like herself. So who was the mystery Gulnare at the rehearsal?

#39 Sacto1654

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 04:12 PM

During the course of the long but interesting chat and Q&A, Burlaka divulged that he plans to recreate the complete ca-1900 SLEEPING BEAUTY by Gorsky-after-Petipa for the reopening of the main Bolshoi Theater during the 2010/2011 season. [He specifically said 2011...so the latter part of that season.]


Now THAT is something I want to see. And unlike the 1890 reconstruction done at the Mariinsky Theatre, hopefully the reconstruction of the 1900 Gorsky version will actually STAY in the Bolshoi repertoire for a while--please? :)

#40 Natalia

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 06:44 PM

Just back from tonight's performance starring Maria Alexandrova and Nikolai Tsiskaridze -- both superstars in today's international Balletic Pantheon. They did not disappoint -- Alexandrova's Medora displaying a secure technique and poetic flow that made everything look almost too easy. Effortless beauty. Tsiskaridze exuded star charisma to the hilt and lots of energy in his few dancing segments. The famous pdd solo contained some altered steps to fit his needs but it was beautiful nonetheless. I prefer to see slightly watered steps to a huff-and-puff struggle. Tsiskaridze is a wise performer.

My personal fave of the night, though, was Nina Kaptsova as Gulnare...surely the Bolshoi's most under-rated female soloist. She almost stole the show from Alexandrova in the Jardin Anime, IMO, due to her angelic charm -- the Bolshoi's answer to Obraztsova! -- and crisp technique, playing with the orchestra. The most musical soloist of the night, by far. Anastasia Stashkevich and high-flying Denis Medvedev wowed us in the Pas d'Esclave, despite some iffy swan lifts. The three Odalisques were all crisp and secure -- Stebletsova, Krysanova (ending her variation with a gorgeous 3ple pirouette), and Leonova -- in that order. Chinara Alizade and (again) Anastasia Stashkevich led the Jardin's choryphees in a delectable and rarely-performed pizzicatto number.

The Bolshoi's female corps de ballet really came into its own in this production...finally coming closer to the Mariinsky's, while the latter gradually loses its edge. Their Jardin Anime and other group numbers were admirable. The male corps was as passionate and energetic as ever. Andrei Merkuriev led the pirates as a Birbanto with brio.

Those 'in the know' will lament the excision of Alexei Ratmansky's gorgeous 'Pas d'Eventails' (Dance of the Fans) from the original 2007 edition of this production...but there was still plenty of grandiose dancing on view to make everybody happy.

Welcome Back to DC, Bolshoi!

#41 Jack Reed

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 08:08 PM

(from Washington, DC) Agreed, right through. Kaptsova, it might be added, is a little on the small side, compared especially to Alexandrova and Tsiskaridze; somehow, this made her just that much more taking, for me. This entire production, from top to bottom, is of such admirable quality of craftsmanship, that the cut of half of III is something of a shock. After all the effort to restore or recreate in the most authentic manner, etc., then to leave it out -- is somebody not clear on the concept? Is it an absolute requirement the performance not run past 10:30? If you didn't know there were a 20-minute cut in III, you would still notice -- well, the perfect cooking metaphor isn't coming to me, but the ingredients are of similar quality to the first two acts but the subtle balance and inspired variety in the mix is all off in III. I'm glad we got what we got, though. Very impressive.

Do I need to see it again? No, not really. I get more from less, from the work of another choreographer, who took up sometime after the people who made this, or something very like it, left off. Just a thought, for those who know my Balanchine addiction and might wonder how such a person would take to this. I was more than impressed, I had a very good time in the theatre this evening!

#42 Natalia

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 02:01 AM

So glad that we agreed, Jack. By the way, the Pas d' Eventails in Act III was one of the brand-new additions to the ballet when this revival premiered in July 2007 in Moscow. The choreography is totally Ratmansky to Drigo's music for the one-act ballet Enchanted Garden. However, Ratmansky crafted it very much in the Petipa manner, Ratmansky being so in tune with the esthetic. In particular, the entree waltz for female corps and a lilting pas de quatre galop for some of the choryphees could fool the wisest Petipa specialist into believing that it is 'genuine Petipa.' Ratmansky was almost the balletic equivalent of a master forger of Rembrandt paintings! Hence, I am extremely saddened by the excision. And, as you say, there is a mime-only rushed feeling to the present Act III..."Let's race towards the big boat-sinking scene!" So much academic dancing in Acts I and II and, suddenly, practically no dancing in the last act.

I believe that the Pas d'Eventails is a victim to today's economic hardships. The Kennedy Center would have had to pay overtime to all of the unions if the show went past a certain time, as per union contracts. With unionized backstage crews, dressers, prop men, orchestra, etc....well, you do the math. I absolutely do not buy the argument by some that the 2007 shows contained "too much dancing." One idiotic comment by Clement Crisp ("too many dances..it could use some judicious editing...") should not have ruined the party for the rest of us. In London 2007, I heard nothing but praise for that Pas d'Eventails from theatergoers who sat around me at performances.

#43 bingham

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 03:15 AM

So glad that we agreed, Jack. By the way, the Pas d' Eventails in Act III was one of the brand-new additions to the ballet when this revival premiered in July 2007 in Moscow. The choreography is totally Ratmansky to Drigo's music for the one-act ballet Enchanted Garden. However, Ratmansky crafted it very much in the Petipa manner, Ratmansky being so in tune with the esthetic. In particular, the entree waltz for female corps and a lilting pas de quatre galop for some of the choryphees could fool the wisest Petipa specialist into believing that it is 'genuine Petipa.' Ratmansky was almost the balletic equivalent of a master forger of Rembrandt paintings! Hence, I am extremely saddened by the excision. And, as you say, there is a mime-only rushed feeling to the present Act III..."Let's race towards the big boat-sinking scene!" So much academic dancing in Acts I and II and, suddenly, practically no dancing in what's left of Act III.

I believe that the Pas d'Eventails is a victim to today's economic hardships. The Kennedy Center would have had to pay overtime to all of the unions if the show went past a certain time, as per union contracts. With unionized backstage crews, dressers, prop men, orchestra, etc....well, you do the math. I absolutely do not buy the argument by some that the 2007 shows contained "too much dancing." One idiotic comment by Clement Crisp should not have ruined the party for the rest of us. In London 2007, I heard nothing but praise for that Pas d'Eventails from theatergoers who sat around me at performances.

Would the Pas stand as a one-act ballet?Maybe, Ratmansky can expand it for ABT.

#44 Mashinka

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 04:35 AM

Many, many thanks for your Bolshoi posts. I adore the Bolshoi's Corsaire and consider the Alexandrova /Tsiskaridze cast by far the best, as they really brought a sense of romantic era poetry to the roles when I saw them in London. Hopefully the Pas d' Eventails exclusion is just temporary as it is a thing of great beauty regardless of who choreographed it.

One idiotic comment by Clement Crisp should not have ruined the party for the rest of us.


Agreed. Crisp is very far from infallible.

#45 Natalia

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 04:38 AM

Bingham, it could certainly be a stand-alone gala piece, IMO. It calls for two female and one male principals/soloists + a small corps of ladies.

By the way, it wasn't until I saw the tour's roster on the Palybill last night that I realized that ONLY THREE Bolshoi Principals have made the tour and we saw two of them last night: Alexandrova and Tsiskarize (who will not appear again). The 3rd one is Volchkov. All of the rest -- Osipova, Vasiliev, Shipulina, etc. -- come from the various Soloist ranks. Where are Zakharova, Lunkina, Antonicheva, Gracheva, etc.? Another indicator of today's economic woes, I suspect. [However, Gracheva is listed as a coach on the tour, so she may be around.]


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