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#91 Michael

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 04:27 AM

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.

#92 angelica

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 05:18 AM

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.

#93 YID

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 05:43 AM


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 ;-))

#94 YID

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 06:21 AM

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.

#95 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 07:46 AM

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 generation’s 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 Ivanov’s 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. Baimuradov’s 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.

#96 Goldfish17

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 07:50 AM

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 Ratmansky’s 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 Shedrin’s 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.

#97 YID

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 08:12 AM

...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

#98 Helene

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 09:57 AM

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.

#99 canbelto

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 11:46 AM

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.

#100 angelica

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:34 PM

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.

#101 Balanchinomane

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:43 PM

I love the way they take their bows in character - even when they come in front of the curtain.
What a delightful performance - so full of charm and wit - it's not sold out tomorrow.....

#102 abatt

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 07:53 PM

I thought Carmen Suite was trash. The "choreography", if it can be called that, consists mainly of Vishneva wiggling her hips and standing in sexy poses. It looked like a strip tease act, not a ballet. Why would a virile man like Don Jose wear a hot pink shirt with red polka dots? I don't have my program, but the man who danced the bull fighter role did not have an ounce of charisma. He looked very uncomfortable executing the choreography. Bizet must be turning in his grave. The arrangement of the score butchered it. Awful in every way.

Lopatkina was a dream in the second movement of Symphony in C. She was exquisite and riveting. In fact, the entire cast was wonderful, although Somova lapsed into some of her bad old habits in the first movement with hyperextension of her leg. I thought the tutus were too wide in diameter, and I prefer the all white tutus used at NYCB.

#103 Amour

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 10:13 PM

I thought Carmen Suite was trash. The "choreography", if it can be called that, consists mainly of Vishneva wiggling her hips and standing in sexy poses. It looked like a strip tease act, not a ballet. Why would a virile man like Don Jose wear a hot pink shirt with red polka dots? I don't have my program, but the man who danced the bull fighter role did not have an ounce of charisma. He looked very uncomfortable executing the choreography. Bizet must be turning in his grave. The arrangement of the score butchered it. Awful in every way.

Lopatkina was a dream in the second movement of Symphony in C. She was exquisite and riveting. In fact, the entire cast was wonderful, although Somova lapsed into some of her bad old habits in the first movement with hyperextension of her leg. I thought the tutus were too wide in diameter, and I prefer the all white tutus used at NYCB.

I have to disagree. Having seen most of Carmen Suite on YouTube with Zhakharova I knew what to expect. I think Alonso's choreography is fairly innovative. Alot of emphasis on high extensions and intricate, difficult partnering but really not trash. After all it is a love story. And it is alot less erotic than Roland Petit's version of Carmen. I liked Shchedrin's interpretation of the Bizet score; he modernized it using percussion, different rhythms and xylophones. I also found the set interesting - a high wooden semi-circle (reminiscent of a bullfighting ring) with about 8 high back chairs placed on top. The performances were good. Diana Vishneva was Carmen. Yuri Smekalov was Jose, Toreador was Yvegeny Ivanchenko and the Bull (Fate) Yulia Stepanova. There were also 3 women listed as "tobacco workers: Svetlana Ivanova, Margarita Fronlova and Anna Lavrinenko. I thought Diana was very sexy and dramatic but here looked a little worn out (as she did in Anna K) I really feel how hard she is working to get her extensions up and her back supple. It's not noticeable when she dances with ABT (because of the lower level of dancing) but with these great Mariinsky dancers she suffers a bit in comparison. Smekalov was an ardent Jose but he and Diana didn't really generate enough heat (as in Anna K). Stepanova and the tobacco workers were wonderful, their dancing looking graceful and effortless.

Symphony in C was another triumph. Alina Somova and Andrian Fadeyev were the soloists for the first allegro vivo movement; Ulyana Lopatkina and Daniil Korsuntsev performed the 2nd adagio movement; Yevgenia Obraztsova and Vladimir Shklyarov performed the 3rd Allegro movement and Maria Shirinkina and Alexei Timofeev performed the 4th movement (which appears to be the most difficult). It was great to finally see the company in a "tutu" ballet where the corps can shine and they did shine. Somova seemed to have a hard time keeping up with the music but her partner Fadeyev was outstanding. He has great technique,ballon and musicality. There was only one point where he got behind the music and you could see the frustration with that in his face. Lopatkina is a genius and with her partner Korsuntsev (with whom she regularly dances) did a terrific job with the adagio movement. Although Lopatkina may be the oldest principal ballerina in the company you would never know it by looking at her dance. She moves effortlessly, with great grace, majesty, and beautiful lines. I felt Obraztsova was the most "Balanchinesque" of the soloists - very musical, with great attack and attention to detail, never losing her form in the quickness of the movement. And Maria Shirinkina was a discovery. Although she looks like a teenager, she handled the 4th movement, which is the quickest and has unending pirouettes, very well. At the conclusion, where the 4 female soloists dance together, Somova suffered by being placed next to Lopatkina as Lopatkina's artistry and elegance made the flaws of Somova's upper body (less graceful arms and hands, in particular) very apparent. Still,the company shined in this work and at the end the entire house gave them a great standing ovation.

#104 nysusan

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 05:22 AM

I thought Carmen Suite was trash. The "choreography", if it can be called that, consists mainly of Vishneva wiggling her hips and standing in sexy poses. It looked like a strip tease act, not a ballet. Why would a virile man like Don Jose wear a hot pink shirt with red polka dots? I don't have my program, but the man who danced the bull fighter role did not have an ounce of charisma. He looked very uncomfortable executing the choreography. Bizet must be turning in his grave. The arrangement of the score butchered it. Awful in every way.

Lopatkina was a dream in the second movement of Symphony in C. She was exquisite and riveting. In fact, the entire cast was wonderful, although Somova lapsed into some of her bad old habits in the first movement with hyperextension of her leg. I thought the tutus were too wide in diameter, and I prefer the all white tutus used at NYCB.


I agree on both counts. Carmen was the worst ballet I've seen in a long time - worse than Anna Karenina and even Vishneva couldn't save it. The music was awful , the story muddled (and how is that possible, really?) the choreography banal. The dancing was mostly wonderful but Ivanchenko looked really silly as Escamellio.

I was a bit disappointed in Symphony in C. Lopatkina and Korsuntsev were gorgeous in the 2nd movement and the 3rd movement wasn't bad but I thought the 1st was noticeably off the music (though it was wonderful to see Fadeyev) and the 3rd missed most of the Balanchinian accents. In fact, I thought the whole thing was pretty un-Balanchinian, missing a lot of the humor in the steps and and the music was played too slow. Still, it's great to see these dancers in anything, and especially in a tutu ballet

#105 tutu

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 06:28 AM

I was a bit disappointed in Symphony in C. Lopatkina and Korsuntsev were gorgeous in the 2nd movement and the 3rd movement wasn't bad but I thought the 1st was noticeably off the music (though it was wonderful to see Fadeyev) and the 3rd missed most of the Balanchinian accents. In fact, I thought the whole thing was pretty un-Balanchinian, missing a lot of the humor in the steps and and the music was played too slow. Still, it's great to see these dancers in anything, and especially in a tutu ballet


I'm right with you on this. The dancers are extraordinary, but I came away with a newfound appreciation for the attack, musicality, and speed you see in Balanchine-trained dancers, especially at the corps level.

For the 1st, I think you really need a principal with strong articulation in the lower half, which Somova doesn't have. She seemed woefully miscast. Lopatkina was a revelation in 2nd, a complete dream, and the corps looked best here. Obrazstova was fabulous in 3rd (those feet!), but the corps was kind of a mess (relatively speaking—this is the Mariinsky, after all, and the corps as a whole looks more unified and better-rehearsed than just about any company I've ever seen). All in all, a pretty fantastic showing.


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