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In the first scene you mention, I think Anna was supposed to be hallucinating at this point? I thought it was a depiction of a dream of hers—to have both her lover and her family?

As for the second part--I believe she was intercepted by a bunch of servants in the house, and they appeared to be torn between their affection for their former mistress and desire to see her reunited with her son, and their orders to keep her away. They seemed to try to keep her away at first before relenting. At least that's how I interpreted it!

Thank you -- now I understand those two scenes. I'm not sure the first is good theater, but at least I have an idea what the scenario was getting at.

About "Little Humpbacked Horse": If anyone in NY Metro doesn't have tickets for the Saturday matinee, tomorrow afternoon would be a perfect use of a mental health day.

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Sorry for briefness,

WOW- WOW-WOW for yesterday - Bravo Mariinsky, Bravo Tereshkina, Shklyarov, Kondaurova, Tkachenko, Ivanov (Tzar), Smekalov, Selina (Key wet-nurse/nanny) - much nicer music, such passionate dancing - Bravo

Anna Karenina at Schedrin score and Ratmansky choreography is not my cup of tea (though, I'll go to see both Lopatkina & Kondaurova) (i'll hoope to write more later)

Added after Wdn. Matinee.... second set of WOWs

Same bravos. I kind of liked Baimuratov better (the only thing better in Smekalov was that meditative yogic pose).

and OMG, whom to choose, whom to prefer? Obraztsova is such an amazing dancer. But i can't choose whom i like better, is it OK? Tereshkina was more tom-boyish and spiky, and Obraztsova was more princess-like. Both have gorgeous lines and gorgeous technic, musicality, characterisation.

I think the chemistry was a bit better with Obraztsova (but with Tereshkina Shklyrov was not tired and did extra tricks)

Shame that the program didn't report that the Humpback horse was the same GREAT Tkachenko... bravo... and off to Lopatkina

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What a difference a day makes! I really enjoyed "The Little Humpbacked Horse"! It's not quite "The Bright Stream," but after last night's desolate "Anna Karenina," it was quite a relief. Really, I would not have guessed it was the same composer at all.

I absolutely, loved, loved Vladimir Shkylarov as Ivan! So winsome and charming. All the lightning-fast beats of the legs he did and center split leaps at the end of Act II were phenomenal! I cannot wait to see him again tomorrow!! (Can we borrow him for ABT???)

I just got back from the Wed matinee performance of "The Little Humpbacked Horse" : Shklyarov was delightful -- a beautiful dancer with charm to burn. If I were an AD in need of an imported male principal, I sure would be running around behind him waving a pen and a contract. The guy would be total box office catnip. Loved Obraztsova's Tsar Maiden, too. Vasily Tkachenko danced the Humpbacked Horse instead of Grigory Popov, and was very winning -- TLHH is often asked to match Ivan step-for-step, and while Tkachenko isn't quite the dancer Shklyarov is, he held his own, even when Shklyarov had the charm dialed up to 11.

The costumes are awful and the sets look like they were slapped together in a middle school shop class. I suspect the production was intended to look whimsical, but it just looks bargain basement. The decision to screen-print cartoonish gypsy faces onto the gypsy dancers' overly baggy t-shirt style tops is only one of several bad ideas. The Princess of the Sea's sea-weed skirt was nice, though.

I wouldn't necessarily want to cut Shchedrin's score, but the ballet as it stands could either use some tightening or a bit more invention. (Sometimes it looks as if Ratmansky is at a loss as to how to fill up the sixteen bars of music he has left before the next transition.) But there's great stuff in it, too. The scene with the Tsar and the Wet Nurses and the underwater scene definitely put me in mind of "Namouna," however, which has become my favorite Ratmansky to date.

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What a difference a ballerina makes. I'm just back from Lopatkina's Anna K. She was thrilling. She was so much more passionate than Vishneva. The chemistry between Lopatkina and her partners made this performance much more compelling than Vishneva's. Lopatkina's gorgeous lines, magnificent extensions and supple spine intensified the drama. Brava! The house was packed. I now understand why Russians regard her with such reverence.

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With tonight's "Anna Karenina," I felt not only like I was seeing a completely different interpretation, but indeed, a completely different story altogether!

On Monday, Vishneva played Anna as a woman who is well aware of society's rules, but suffers from an excess of passion. She is torn between the love of her life and her family (mainly her beloved son), and in the end, she dies a victim of cruel, narrow-minded society. Unfortunately, I felt like this interpretation fell completely flat on its face on Monday in Act I. I felt like Vishneva had all this passion bottled up inside, but neither the music nor the choreography were giving her anyway to release it. In addition, to make this interpretation work, she needed an equally-ardent Vronsky, and the chemistry between her and Smekalov was simply not there. And all the anguish and torment she displayed just made the music seem even bleaker.

Tonight, however, perhaps because I knew what to expect with the music--or perhaps because of Lopatkina's interpretation--I didn't mind the score at all, and may have even found bits of it charming. (How did I miss the piano solo the first time?)

Lopatkina's Anna was a completely different woman altogether. In Vishneva's hands, the role seemed thin, but paradoxically, Lopatkina seemed to embrace that superficiality, and it made the role work for me. Her Anna was not a deeply-thoughtful, deeply-feeling type. Instead, she reminded me of a Madame Bovary--a bored, rather vapid woman who makes the foolish mistake of having an affair and gets exactly what she deserves in the end. Instead of a tragedy, a Grand Morality Lesson!

It also helped that she and Smekalov looked much better together--their faces kind of match, and their heights are closer, and I'm guessing they are quite comfortable dancing these roles together. And although Smekalov had seemed oddly wooden on Monday, today his temperament seemed to match Lopatkina's perfectly. Their affair is not about all-consuming passion, it's about a young smitten soldier and a silly bored housewife looking for a good time. Indeed, at the end of Act I they didn't need some big, passionate pas de deux--they're just having a swell time!

Thus, Act I totally worked for me--and it didn't feel dreary at all!

In Act II, however, this interpretation worked less well for me. The problem with the ditzy housewife is that she doesn't elicit much sympathy from me. To me, Vishneva's Anna seemed very cognizant of the transgressions she was committing, the seriousness of the act and the consequences, while Lopatkina's Anna never fully understood the consequences of her actions, never let them weigh on her soul (or so it seemed to me). So while I found Vishneva's reunion with her son to be terribly moving--at last! a chance to release that bottled-up passion!!!--Lopatkina's reunion seemed rather perfunctory. It was a little too cheery and not guilt-ridden enough for me--"Mommy's back! Oh you look well! Oh, and I guess I'll be going again!" Then, in the opera scene, Lopatkina looked like a chagrined child, starting to understand that "uh-oh, maybe this affair was not a good idea," whereas Vishneva kept her head high, desperately trying not to crumble and reveal her humiliation and despair. And thus, at the end, when Vishneva rushed to her death, I felt some pity for her, Lopatkina's Anna seemed to get her just deserts. Vishneva's Anna tried to be a victim, Lopatkina's Anna is the sinner who gets punished.

So while I wasn't moved at all, I certainly felt like tonight's performance made a lot more sense to me, fit the choreography and music better, and was significantly more satisfying.

After seeing tonight's show, I really wonder how different Vishneva's performance would have looked with Konstantin Zverev, her original Vronsky. If he had played a super-passionate Vronsky opposite her Anna, I think it might have looked completely different.

I am now extremely curious to see how Kondaurova plays her Anna!!

**

I also saw today's "The Little Humpbacked Horse" and I completely agree with YID. I can't choose between Tereshkina and Obraztsova--they were both fantastic, and very different!

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I absolutely loved, loved, LOVED Lopatkina in tonight Anna Karenina. The beauty, the poetry, the lyricism she brings to the role are simply unparalleled.

Every performance this lady gives is the stuff the legends are made of.

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I absolutely loved, loved, LOVED Lopatkina in tonight Anna Karenina. The beauty, the poetry, the lyricism she brings to the role are simply unparalleled.

Every performance this lady gives is the stuff the legends are made of.

Absolutely agree with this and everything else positive that was said about Wednesday night's Anna Karenina. Lopatkina was stupendous - she WAS Anna. On Monday,Vishneva looked more like she was going through the steps. Lopatkina was living the role; she is a deeply moving, thoughtful and gorgeous dancer. A true, true artist. I also thought that Svetlana Ivanova as Kitty was more classical and enjoyable than Obratsova was on Monday. While on Monday I found Anna Karenina rather tedious, tonight I could really see the choreography. It actually isn't a dull ballet at all (maybe not Ratmansky's best but not bad). I think the Shchedrin score is still not as danceable as I would like but the orchestra plays it beautifully. For me, Lopatkina saved this ballet. I'm ready now to get tickets to see her Carmen (although I have tickets for Friday with Vishneva). I know that she is not a naturally sexy dancer but if she can save what I thought was a dull ballet I'm sure she can make any ballet terrific!!

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Lopatkina gave a gripping performance. She was the only Anna I saw (or wanted to see)--I imagine Vishneva's performance was much like her Manon. If it was'nt for her performance I would have regretted paying such a high price for a ticket. What an uneven ballet--it should have been laid to rest. (Some compared it to 'On The Dnieper'---no way! that narrative was concise and lean, "Anna" rambles on--and on--and on) It also had the most ignominious entrance for a ballerina I have seen. Was that Anna in the casket?--no, look closer, she is on the side of the stage on her knees, embracing her son. I had the impression that the audience did not know the star performer was on stage. The very dramatic ending, I am sorry to say, had a comical effect---as Anna was embracing the train, the Shchedrin score seemed to be blasting out 'choo-choo, choo-choo' :sweatingbullets: The ballet brought out the Russian community in full force.

Enough of these Soviet ballets :wallbash:

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I went to the Wednesday matinee performance and thought the whole ballet was just so charming. Very funny. I loved how Ratmansky parodied the classical variations in the final pas de deux. I fell instantly in love with Vladimir Shklyarov as Ivan the Fool. So good-looking, such a beautiful elegant way of dancing. And funny too. Not just ballet-funny, but laugh out loud funny.

I was a little disappointed with Obraztsova's Tsar Maiden. It's my first time ever seeing her live, after having heard so much about her. She was very sweet and a doll, but people who had seen Tereshkina the night before told me Tereshkina made the Tsar Maiden much more of a goofy tomboy, which is how I think the choreography is supposed to look. I thought Obraztsova did too much of the ingenue smiling. People also told me that Tereshkina was much stronger in the variations.

I thought the character dancers like Vasily Tkachenko (Little Humpbacked Horse) and Andrei Ivanov (Tsar) absolutely made the afternoon, they were so funny and had such great timing.

The sets were disappointing, as were some of the costumes. I liked Ivan's soccer shorts and the Tsar's red Santa-like pajamas but thought the gypsy t-shirts were too much.

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I just got back from the Wed matinee performance of "The Little Humpbacked Horse" : Shklyarov was delightful -- a beautiful dancer with charm to burn. If I were an AD in need of an imported male principal, I sure would be running around behind him waving a pen and a contract. The guy would be total box office catnip.

Reading iwatchthecorps observation that the MCB tour was advertised all over Paris, including on buses, I think that all the Mariinsky needed was to put up a few posters of Shkylarov, and there wouldn't have been an empty seat in the house.

TLHH is often asked to match Ivan step-for-step, and while Tkachenko isn't quite the dancer Shklyarov is, he held his own, even when Shklyarov had the charm dialed up to 11.

Tkachenko isn't the same dancer that Shklyarov is, but I think that's because he has a more gentle quality, which was perfect for the horse.

I'm still on cloud nine from seeing this Tuesday and Wednesday. I loved both Tereshkina's and Obraztsova's Tsar Maiden, so very, very different, Tereshkina a non-nonsense, take-no-prisoners, definitely smarter than he woman, and Obraztsova's gentle, but still as willful, maiden. The contrast was just as big for the dual role of Young Mare/Princess of the Sea: on Tuesday, Yekaterina Kondaurova was all cool, boneless legato as the sea princess; just gorgeous dancing. Anastasia Petushkova performed the role on Wednesday, and she was high-spirited energy. There is a section that is quite gymnastic, where the woman does supported walkovers with the sea horses, and she created an arc of momentum before she did each one, while Kondaurova looked like gravity was an option she didn't choose. The pairings were great, because in each case one dancer had punch and a sense of adventure (Tereshkina, Petushkova) and the other was very smooth (Obratzova, Kondaurova), even if her "color" was different.

The men in this production were incredible: Shklyarov as Ivan the Fool, Vasily Tkachenko as LHH, Yuri Smekalov and Islom Baimuradov as Gentleman of the Bedchamber, the splendid Andrei Ivanov as the Tsar, Soslan Kulaev and Maxim Zyuzin (replacing Konstantin Zverev) as Ivan's brothers, Andrei Yermakov and Kamil Yangurazov as the horses and sea horses. The dancing, mime, acting, and, most of all, the way they sustained their energy and focus and looked individual: it was Murderer's Row all over again.

This ballet has a lot of story line, but it isn't always linear. It's a series of tales of an adventurer, with diversions and stops along the way. The synopsis wasn't always helpful, and it was much clearer the second time I saw it; had I been reared on it, it would have made a lot more sense from the beginning. It's more about the journey and the process than the outcome. The fool is like a boy who has to touch everything or step on every stone along the way. I wouldn't cut a minute or a step.

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Why can't we or don't we train classical dancers like this in the U.S.? Is it because ballet is a treasured art form in Russia but in the U.S., except in a handful of places, it falls into the same category as children's "enrichment" activities such as camp and swim team (not that there's anything wrong with....). Or is it because we lump it in with "dance" of all kinds, such as tap and hip-hop (not that there's anything wrong with....), rather than as a fine art, like classical music and painting?

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well, for starters, we don't subsidize a state ballet, all tuition for Russian nationals to attend ballet school full time, as borders, is subsidized by the state.

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well, for starters, we don't subsidize a state ballet, all tuition for Russian nationals to attend ballet school full time, as borders, is subsidized by the state.

And remember that students are accepted according to a very rigid and demanding physical standard. The "weeding out" process is brutal and early. Only the very talented and brave survive. And the technique taught (Vaganova) is the only thing taught. Not a little of Ceccetti, a bit of RADA, an ounce of French school. It's very specific. The refinement and pedigree shows, even in how they take their bows.

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I guess the third time was the charm for me with "Anna Karenina"--I can't say this ballet will ever be one of my favorites, but I got the performance I was looking for tonight with Ekaterina Kondaurova and Andrei Yermakov.

Though a lot of that might have to do with where I was sitting--on Mon and tonight, I was in the middle of the orchestra near the front and had a very clear view, whereas last night with Lopatkina I was almost at the very back. How different her performance might have been for me if I were seated closer!

However, the one drawback of sitting close--for me at least--is that the music is overpowering. I hated it on Monday; last night, from far away, it was more tolerable, but today, near the front, it was relentlessly dark again.

But the big difference between the prior performances and tonight for me was the Vronsky. To me personally, Andrei Yermakov totally looked the part--he was close to what I think of when I imagine the character in my mind's eye. Very handsome, and a bit boyish. In Act I he seemed somewhat infatuated with Kitty in a way that made me think of Romeo and Rosaline, before he meets Juliet. He looked like he was having fun flirting with her, but wow, when Kondaurova's Anna came in, he just had to have her. To me, he played his Vronsky with a kind of rash impulsiveness (a symptom of his youth), and I really felt like he might explode if he didn't get Anna. I think this worked especially well in the second act--I really felt like he was fighting, fighting, fighting to keep Anna; I believed his despair when he shot himself, and I could feel his frustration when he gave up on her.

In contrast, I had to stretch my imagination to think of Smekalov as Vronsky. At least he complemented Lopatkina well physically and in interpretation, but with Vishneva, I just couldn't really see him as her young lover, and they were definitely not on the same page with the interpretation. Also, Yermakov's technique seemed to be cleaner--his barrel turns were neatly landed, and his pirouettes were nicely centered.

Most of all, Yermakov had great chemistry with Kondaurova. And I loved her as Anna. To my eye, she played her Anna more like Vishneva's (or maybe it felt that way because I was sitting close again). She was a woman consumed by passion and then despair--but this time it worked because she had the chemistry with Vronsky and they were both extremely passionate/fiery. In the pas de deux that closes Act I, she ran straight up to Vronsky, and they just stood there, lip to lip. Here was the passionate release that I was hoping for on Monday! And at the end of the scene, Kondaurova played it very differently--Lopatkina's eyes suddenly widened like she realized "Oh god! What have I done!," whereas with Kondaurova, you could see the comprehension and dread slowly set in. Subtle, but very effective.

In Act II, it was the first time where I felt like Anna felt genuinely pained about hurting her husband. And I think that might be because Islom Baimuradov, who played her husband, is Kondaurova's off-stage husband as well. They had a very natural onstage rapport, and maybe it was because I knew they were married, but I felt like it added something to the ballet--I could see that she cared about him (and he for her), so it added dramatic weight to her dilemna. As YID pointed out to me, Baimuradov seemed gentler with her than the other Anna's--in the first scene in his study when she comes over to try to get him to dance, he kissed her on the cheek, and he didn't do that with the others.

I thought Kondaurova was fantastic in the final scene, and sitting so close with binoculars, I could see her taking these deep breaths in synch with the beat/rhythm of the train, and it was like you could see her heart hammering in synch with the train--very effective.

All in all, a great performance of an okay ballet. As I said before, it was the best one of the three for me, but I really wonder a) how different Monday's performance would have looked with Zverev and b) how different Wednesday's performance would have looked up-close. Ah well. It won't be the end of the world for me if I don't get to see this ballet again. :sweatingbullets:

During the bows, Kondaurova made sure to bring out cute little Roman Surkov (Seryozha) out to take a bow, and once again I thought it was sweet. He's soo adorable!!

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I wouldn't cut a minute or a step.

I agree. I also like the sets and costumes, that are so part of the ambience. I have to mention the fey, whacky humor - Ivan the Fool's Charlie Chaplin/Buster Keaton streak and the Tsar Maiden's screwball comedy Mae West. Pouting and swinging her pony tail around. Then the totally sick humor of the major domo - with his baboon red bottom - of his mime when the Tsar gets boiled. The whole thing has great energy and spirit and at the same time you're sentimentally a little moved when Ivan and the Tsar Maiden finally prevail. It's a pleasure you don't want to analyze - the best kind. Very relaxing to watch, you just switch your mind off. No need to take a scalpel to this wonderful comedy - the flow, pacing, content just work perfectly right now.

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well, for starters, we don't subsidize a state ballet, all tuition for Russian nationals to attend ballet school full time, as borders, is subsidized by the state.

But we do have music conservatories and fine art institutes, which are not state subsidized. I suppose that we just don't value classical ballet the way the Russians and the French do. We are, sadly, a very small niche.

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well, for starters, we don't subsidize a state ballet, all tuition for Russian nationals to attend ballet school full time, as borders, is subsidized by the state.

But we do have music conservatories and fine art institutes, which are not state subsidized. I suppose that we just don't value classical ballet the way the Russians and the French do. We are, sadly, a very small niche.

Its not all about state funding. This discussion may turn into an off-topic, children/arts/sports/ballet upbringing and training in Russia vs US. Having grown up in Russia and going through rythmic gymnastics (sorry not ballet) childhood, and seeing how training happens here, the US kids would not allow for "Russian" style of coaching and drilling (with not hours but long days of drilling, stretching, working, and hearing what may be considered not politically correct by the US standards (with all the US positive reinforcement and affirmative action, where noone left behind)..... Don't misinterprete me, don't take it as Russian coaching being harsh or bad, it's just russian kids take adults teaching much differently than the typical kids in America (with all these US freedoms ;-))

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I am glad I saw all 3 Anna Kareninas, each performance being so different (&sitting in the same seat & borrowed binoculars helped).

I give credit to Diana for pulling it through with a replaced partner and having just 2 rehearsals, and her movement so polished and grand

I saw her interpretation as of a suffering woman, lit up by just her encounters with her son, I didn't see love towards Vronsky, he loved her, he pursued her. She surrendered then became scared and remorseful for what had happened.

I don't want to pick between Lopatkina and Kondaurova, they both were very passionate but different, one portraying a high society, regal woman (Lopatkina)

and Kondaurova moved more willowy, had a softer dancing & younger looking Vronksy (Yermakov). Each of three had slightly different acting in some scenes, adding individual touches, like Lopatkina never pushed Vronsky away when on her death-bed her husband forgave her, she just didn't wave a yes gesture, where Kondaurova & Vishneva waved no, and then when Vronsky left longed for him. The end of act I (love scene) was acted differently. I have to admit that Lopatkina made me cry in her scene when she sneaks in to see her son and then her anguish after that.

I liked Smekalov greatly with Lopatkina, but I really adored Alexei Yermakov dancing; he moved more in Vaganova style, so clean so fluid and soft and still very passionate in Act II.

With exception that I don't pick between Lopatkina & Kondaurova, I would agree with Batsuchan in everything else.

Last comment, I found projecting on the walls very innovative, saving time on moving decorations and compacting the dancing, but I heard from people from sides and above that they don't see it. To wrap up - GREAT company, great ballet-dancers. I didn't like Ratmansky choreography and Shedrin score, I'd prefer Eiffman's version.

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I saw the July 13th Wednesday matinee of The Little Humpbacked Horse with Shklyarov and Obraztsova.

Alexei Ratmansky's The Little Humpbacked Horse is a delightfully joyous ballet, perfect for both children and those who are children at heart. Ratmansky is this generations Frederick Ashton. His choreography for The Little Humpbacked Horse is innovative, whimsical and endlessly witty. Ratmansky has created many vibrant characters for this ballet, including horses and seahorses. His use of mime to tell the story is brilliant, and fortunately all the dancers mime very clearly. The score, composed by Rodion Shchechin, is wonderfully danceable. The crazy costumes and sets add a sort of comic book/cartoon flavor which fits the ballet very well.

Vladimir Shklyarov is engagingly boyish as Ivan the Fool, with enough charisma to light up a thousand stages. His naivety and ability to see life as one big adventure is very endearing. Shklyarov's comic timing is absolutely perfect. And what a phenomenal virtuoso dancer he is! He has outstanding elevation and his air turns and split leaps are beyond superlative. During his final solo, Shklyarov keeps stopping and mimes, "Wait. I can do something even better." And of course he does. The audience is completely with him, every step of the way.

Yevgenia Obraztsova is a sweet but spunky Tsar Maiden. She knows what she wants (Ivan, not the silly old Tsar) and how to get him. As a dancer, Obraztsova stands out for her quicksilver footwork and lyrical musical phrasing. She is also a gifted comedienne and her chemistry with Shklyarov is palpable.

Vasily Tkachenko is an enchantingly impish title character. He keeps up with the bravura dancing of Shklyarov, matching him step for step. The rapport between Tkachenko and Shklyarov is very real and natural.

Andrei Ivanovs portrayl of the foolish Tsar is spot on. His Tsar is a sulky child who has temper tantrums if he doesn't get his way. If possible, Islom Baimuradov is even funnier than Ivanov as the scene stealing Gentleman of the Bedchamber. His oily evilness is delightfully over the top. Baimuradovs every gesture and movement adds to the humor of the ballet.

As enjoyable as The Little Humpbacked Horse is, it could use a few cuts. The group dances performed by the townspeople and gypsies in Act I don't seem to have anything to do with the plot. This is probably why these dances seem to go on forever. That, however, is a very small criticism. Alexei Ratmansky's The Little Humpbacked Horse is a joyously ebullient ballet which should be in the repertoire of ballet companies all over the world.

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I went to see Anna Karenina yesterday, with Kondaurova/Yermakov.

My expectations were very low, after all of the negative reviews. I was especially dreading the music.

I started watching performance very carefully, preparing myself not to be too disappointed.

Towards the end of the first act I realized that I like it very much!

I find Ratmanskys choreography amazingly clean, every step was easy to read, despite of the very complicated emotions/events he had to describe.

Sets were very innovative, beautiful, tasteful!

Dancing was already described by previous posters. Just want to add that Svetlana Ivanova (Kitty) has most gorges feet!

My problem with the music was that it failed to show WHY Anna left her husband, and son, and position in society. There was no part in Shedrins music, showing that Anna fall in love with Vronsky, that this love makes her happy, that it gives her so much pleasure, fuels her passion and mind, and this feeling is actually stronger than anything else!

This problem is crucial to the whole ballet. It makes it, in my mind, incomplete.

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...Just want to add that Svetlana Ivanova (Kitty) has most gorges feet!

sorry, you got me started, I tried very hard to resrtain myself from watching their feet and concentrating on the ballet instead. Sofia Gumerova's feet were stunning (and all natural), and Lopatkina's & Kondaurova's - almost like going to a Museum and admiring art

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I think the chemistry was a bit better with Obraztsova (but with Tereshkina Shklyrov was not tired and did extra tricks)

Shame that the program didn't report that the Humpback horse was the same GREAT Tkachenko... bravo... and off to Lopatkina

Not all of the programs had substitution slips. I did get one each for Monday night (Yuri Smekalov for Konstantin Zverev as Vronsky) and for the Wednesday matinee (Tkachenko for Grigory Popov as the Humpbacked Horse, Maxim Zyuzin for Zverev as Gavrilo, and Andri Soloviev for Andrei Yermakov as one of the Sea Horses), but not for Tuesday night. I didn't realize that Zyuzin replaced Zverev as Gavrilo on Tuesday night as well, until a conversation at intermission, and then I hunted down a slip.

well, for starters, we don't subsidize a state ballet, all tuition for Russian nationals to attend ballet school full time, as borders, is subsidized by the state.

But we do have music conservatories and fine art institutes, which are not state subsidized. I suppose that we just don't value classical ballet the way the Russians and the French do. We are, sadly, a very small niche.

Its not all about state funding. This discussion may turn into an off-topic, children/arts/sports/ballet upbringing and training in Russia vs US. Having grown up in Russia and going through rythmic gymnastics (sorry not ballet) childhood, and seeing how training happens here, the US kids would not allow for "Russian" style of coaching and drilling (with not hours but long days of drilling, stretching, working, and hearing what may be considered not politically correct by the US standards (with all the US positive reinforcement and affirmative action, where noone left behind)..... Don't misinterprete me, don't take it as Russian coaching being harsh or bad, it's just russian kids take adults teaching much differently than the typical kids in America (with all these US freedoms ;-))

I would disagree with this. From all reports Marta Karolyi runs a very tight ship, and gymnastics training with her is as stringent as training at the Vaganova Academy or Paris Opera Ballet School. (Of course, her program is based on the one she and her husband used in Romania.) There is an endless line of parents and kids in the US willing to move to where she is and to put themselves and their children in her hands even though it's her way or the highway, the opposite of politically correct. In a result-oriented society, even when the Cold War mentality had not yet ebbed, Karoly after Nadia Comaneci meant results. The same is the case for figure skating.

I think there has been a cultural difference, and that is that ballet was not considered a reputable profession in the US until well into the 20th century. That is why the Ford Foundation grant for ballet schools in the 1960's, over which Balanchine was given great control, was considered so important: it legitimized ballet, at least for girls, as more than an after-school hobby to help posture. (Sadly, for boys, it is still not generally considered a "real" profession.) Merrill Ashley notes in her memoir how important it was for her parents, who had sacrificed a lot to let her go to School of American Ballet before the grant, to be reassured that ballet had legitimacy. At no time was ballet in the US imperial, state-supported, or centrally subsidized. It did not provide an opportunity for a prestigious position and a living for the children in training/way to feed and support a child, to get a comparably decent living situation, or to be able to help support the family, through money or connections, if the child became employed by the Tsar or the state. There were incentives and rewards in Imperial and Soviet times that did not apply to US, and Balanchine famously was not supposed to go to the Imperial Ballet school at all: his mother sent him to try out for the school with his sister only after the maritime academy wasn't a possibility. His parents didn't care what he did, as long as he had the opportunity for an Imperial living.

Even after Balanchine had a school that almost exclusively fed his company, he said to his dancers right out of his own school, trained by teachers he chose, "Now I will teach you to dance." And as Melissa Hayden said, "You become a Balanchine dancer by dancing Balanchine ballets." That is a different approach than in Russia and France, which produce different kinds of dancers and companies.

I didn't like Ratmansky choreography and Shedrin score, I'd prefer Eiffman's version.

I haven't seen the Eifman version, but from the Eifman I've seen, his choreography would fit the Shchedrin score very well. Ratmansky's, not so much for too much of the ballet.

As for the second part--I believe she was intercepted by a bunch of servants in the house, and they appeared to be torn between their affection for their former mistress and desire to see her reunited with her son, and their orders to keep her away. They seemed to try to keep her away at first before relenting. At least that's how I interpreted it!

Thank you -- now I understand those two scenes. I'm not sure the first is good theater, but at least I have an idea what the scenario was getting at.

I should clarify: at first I did "get" the general idea that the servants were torn, but what I didn't understand what they were "saying" specifically as the scene went on. That's a problem I have with the execution many mime scenes: there an overall feeling, but too few specifics for the music and duration.

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My favorite thing about LHH was that it allowed the Mariinsky to showcase it's great roster of character and demi-charactere dancers that I feel are often left off a tour or relegated to one variation in Swan Lake. LHH has so many opportunities for these types of dancers to shine. Vasily Tkachenko or Andrei Ivanov aren't the "faces" of the Mariinsky but they were absolutely wonderful and I'll remember the energy and humor they brought to the performance for a long time.

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I think there has been a cultural difference, and that is that ballet was not considered a reputable profession in the US until well into the 20th century.

Yes, this is probably a different topic, so I will be brief. You make an excellent point. It was only after the defection of Nureyev and the high profile partnership with Margot Fonteyn that ballet dancers became celebrities. And not always in a good way, as is often the case with "celebrities." And even so, ballet dancers are not as highly regarded in the US as they are in Russia or France. I can't imagine that changing, given the cultural attitudes prevalent in the country today. But thanks for reminding me. I repeat, we are a small niche.

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