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NYC Season

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#76 Helene



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Posted 12 July 2011 - 09:14 PM

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.

#77 Goldfish17



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Posted 13 July 2011 - 06:38 AM

Here are a few other links I found:

Tiny thumbnail pics of the gala here:

Thank you for the link! There are couple of pictures of Gabriel Prokofiev, the grandson of Sergei Prokofiev.
Gabriel was a DJ at the Gala.

#78 YID


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Posted 13 July 2011 - 06:52 AM

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

#79 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 03:31 PM

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.

#80 abatt


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Posted 13 July 2011 - 06:46 PM

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.

#81 Batsuchan


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Posted 13 July 2011 - 07:53 PM

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!

#82 Waelsung


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Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:03 PM

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.

#83 Amour


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Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:18 PM

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!!

#84 atm711


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Posted 14 July 2011 - 03:23 AM

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:

#85 canbelto


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Posted 14 July 2011 - 09:55 AM

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.

#86 Helene



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Posted 14 July 2011 - 03:54 PM

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.

#87 angelica


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Posted 14 July 2011 - 06:44 PM

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?

#88 Jayne


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Posted 14 July 2011 - 07:26 PM

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.

#89 mimsyb


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Posted 14 July 2011 - 08:02 PM

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.

#90 Batsuchan


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Posted 14 July 2011 - 08:17 PM

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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