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Giselle At the Kennedy Center - Feb 2011

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In response to Elizaveta, same first name as Cheprasova, who danced Friday night peasant pas de deux, it is easy to distinguish between Dasha Vasnetsova and Oksana Skorik. Dasha is the beautiful girl, who enters first on the audience's right side and stands on the left side and does the second solo. Oksana is not the beautiful one who enters on the left side and stands on the right side and does the first solo.

WOW. Having just gotten back from the Sat matinee performance I have to say that Oksana Skorik looked rtaher beautiful, although Vasnetsova's dancing certainly had a lighter, more delicate sheen to it. Skorik has darker hair and lighter skin and she did dance the first solo.

The program indicated that Anastasia Petushkova was dancing Myrtha but it sure looked like Kondaurova to me. Who ever it was, she was beautiful.

Tereshkina & Shklyarov were wonderful, her dancing is so pure and he showed beautiful elevation, perfect line and great acting skills. They were both particularly good in the second act where she was spectral & wraithlike.

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Thanks nysusan, alexa1aa, and Ilya for your thoughts! It is wonderful to hear positive reviews of Alina Somova. Forgive me for using the words "stuck" but I have encountered such an overwhelmingly negative appraisal of her dancing here. Until I see her perform live, I'll refrain from passing judgment.

Next time I will also sit closer, so I can better appreciate the acting necessary to Giselle

Alexa1aa, how did you mean Skorik is not beautiful? I certainly could not make out faces from the back balcony, but from their photos, both girls look extraordinarily lovely, and I must say the same for their dancing. I could make out the lighter skin tone of the two, so now I know which is which (thanks nysusan!).

Good to hear everyone's thoughts! :thanks:

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Hi everyone. I made my annual journey to the Kennedy Center this week to see Giselle. Thank goodness we had good weather this year. Last year was a disaster because of the blizzard that occurred during the week the Kirov was at the Kennedy Center. I saw the performances on Tues, Wed. and Thurs. Vishneva was my favorite of the three Giselles. I thought her second act was sublime and moving. Vishneva's first act was underpowered. The Washington Post reviewer attributed this to Vishneva's creation of a character who was frail. I attribute it to the possibility that Vishneva was concerned about her stamina, and was saving up her energy for Act II. Vishneva has the market cornered on the portrayal of death/consumption/betrayal. The last time I had seen Somova was at City Center in NY a few years ago. At that time, I was very disappointed by Somova because of the way she hyper-extended her limbs, thereby grossly distorting her line. I was pleasantly surprised on Wed. to see that she has tamed these excesses, and has blossomed into a much better dancer than the one I recall from past performances. I enjoyed Tereshkina's performance as well, but it did not move me. I thought the male leads on Tues and Thurs. were both excellent. I didn't really care for Somova's partner. He did a good job partnering Somova, but beyond that I didn't feel like he had much presence or very good technical abilities. Kondourova was fantastic as Myrta.

Looking forward to learning what the Kirov will do at the Kennedy Center next year. I keep hoping that they will make a visit to NYC, but I'm not holding my breath.

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In response to Elizaveta, same first name as Cheprasova, who danced Friday night peasant pas de deux, it is easy to distinguish between Dasha Vasnetsova and Oksana Skorik. Dasha is the beautiful girl, who enters first on the audience's right side and stands on the left side and does the second solo. Oksana is not the beautiful one who enters on the left side and stands on the right side and does the first solo.

WOW. Having just gotten back from the Sat matinee performance I have to say that Oksana Skorik looked rtaher beautiful, although Vasnetsova's dancing certainly had a lighter, more delicate sheen to it. Skorik has darker hair and lighter skin and she did dance the first solo.

The program indicated that Anastasia Petushkova was dancing Myrtha but it sure looked like Kondaurova to me. Who ever it was, she was beautiful.

Tereshkina & Shklyarov were wonderful, her dancing is so pure and he showed beautiful elevation, perfect line and great acting skills. They were both particularly good in the second act where she was spectral & wraithlike.

Petushkova was ill so Kondaurova performed both times on Saturday. I was talking about their faces in terms of beauty. Vasnetsova has an exceptional face and Oksana is plainer.

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Thanks nysusan, alexa1aa, and Ilya for your thoughts! It is wonderful to hear positive reviews of Alina Somova. Forgive me for using the words "stuck" but I have encountered such an overwhelmingly negative appraisal of her dancing here. Until I see her perform live, I'll refrain from passing judgment.

Next time I will also sit closer, so I can better appreciate the acting necessary to Giselle

Alexa1aa, how did you mean Skorik is not beautiful? I certainly could not make out faces from the back balcony, but from their photos, both girls look extraordinarily lovely, and I must say the same for their dancing. I could make out the lighter skin tone of the two, so now I know which is which (thanks nysusan!).

Good to hear everyone's thoughts! :thanks:

I responded to nysusan that I expressed beauty solely in their faces. Vasnetsova has an exceptional face and Oksana is plainer. Both dancers have different talents that distinguish them, so both can be described as beautiful dancers, but I think that Vasnetsova would win a beauty contest.

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Tatiana Terehova-Berezhnaya who now coaches Alina Somova was one of the greatest Myrtas of the Mariinsky,only second to Alla Shelest.

But closer to end of her tenure with the Mariinsky she did dance Giselle and appeared in this part at the Kennedy Center in the early nineties(c.1991 or1992) and was quite a lovely Giselle,though most likely inferior to her own Myrta.

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Quick notes --

Sorry to have missed YID and nysusan at the statue but had to go up to 2nd tier, so couldn't wait past certain time. Maybe try again today 1pm-ish to 1:15?

On Shklyarov's special A1 variation - This is indeed Drigo by K. Sergeyev. VERY Spanish-Mediterranean flavored so, IMO, ridiculous for this setting but, hey, the dancer can select what he wants to dance. Nowadays, this variation is often used as the male variation for PAQUITA GRAND PAS...most recently in the Nov 2008 Yuri Burlaka staging/'revival' of Petipa's 1880s PGP. It was danced by Ruslan Skorvtsov and other Bolshoi leading men at the time. It was also danced by Igor Kolb in the 2003 PAQUITA GRAND PAS as the New National Theater Ballet in Tokyo (famous film with Vishneva as Paquita). The notes of the Nov 2008 Bolshoi-Burlaka version indicate that Drigo composed this music for the 1902 Mariinsky revival of LA SOURCE but that due to its Spanish flavor, it was often interpolated to PAQUITA.

What's up with blonde ballerinas now dying their hair brown or black? First Darci Kistler of NYCB (just before retiring) and Michele Wiles of ABT...now Somova and 'Big Red' Kondaurova, who has now become 'Big Dark Brown'! Awww... :)

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Tatiana Terehova-Berezhnaya who now coaches Alina Somova was one of Mariinsky's greatest Myrtas,second only to Alla Shelest, but closer to the end of her career she did in fact dance Giselle and was quite a lovely one,though in all probability inferior to her own Myrta.As Giselle she appeared at the Kennedy Center in 1991 or 1992( don't remember tge exact year ).

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Thanks Natalia for the report :clapping:! Hi Alexaa1a! Terekhova did dance Giselle, as did Madame Vazieva, (Olga Tchyenchikova), Somova's first coach. However, the role came too late to both of them. Terekhova was more convincing and prolific as Myrtha, because the innocent peasant maid didn't suit her temperament; therefore she danced it only a few times. IMO she was the best Myrtha of her generation. Chenchikova made her Giselle debut near the end of her career. Both ballerinas were of the heroic mold but Terekhova was the superior actress and aerial; Tchyenchikova wasn't.

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Back from the final GISELLE. Gotta hand it to Vishneva - exquisite performance, especially on the emotional front. OK, so Tereshkina bested her technically and came pretty darn close in emotion too

Finally - why no curtain calls? The appreciative audiences at all four of my performances would have stayed on. Is it now too costly to shine a spotlight for curtain calls?

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I was wondering the same about the curtain calls--especially since I have seen enough ballets in Europe and Russia to know that the leads get AT LEAST a few curtain calls (I think there were 7 or so for one Swan Lake at Mariinsky in St. Pete in 2002). Hope the dancers didn't think American audiences aren't appreciative (and totally blown away). I always get frustrated at the people who try to jet the moment the music stops. :angry2:

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Elizaveta, the KennCen always did curtain calls before, e.g., MANY calls for Osipova and Vasiliev in DON Q, for example. Come to think of it, there were curtain calls for the four leads in ABT's BRIGHT STREAM a few weeks ago!

I notice one other strange thing during this Mariinsky run: No pre-curtain announcement about silencing cell phones and not using cameras. (And no announcements about cast changes that didn't make the little slip of paper in the playbill...but I wasn't expecting that. :) )

Maybe something was going on with the unions? Heaven knows...but something was up.

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Natalia, thanks for the report. A question -- Diana's Act Two from the two times I've seen her and the Tokyo video is fairly consistent in characterization. Her Act Two has always been very ghostly, stern, a real Wili-in-training who faces off with the Queen of Wilis. But in Act One I find she's toned down a lot of the "wild child" characterization over the years, and her Act One Giselle is now shier and more timid. What was she like this time?

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Tatiana Terehova-Berezhnaya who coaches Alina Somova now,though a magnifisent Myrta,in fact one of Mariinsky's greatest,second only to Alla Shelest,did dance Giselle towards the end of her career and was a lovely one.In early nineties she appeared as Giselle during Mariinsky tour at the Kennedy Center.

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Natalia, thanks for the report. A question -- Diana's Act Two from the two times I've seen her and the Tokyo video is fairly consistent in characterization. Her Act Two has always been very ghostly, stern, a real Wili-in-training who faces off with the Queen of Wilis. But in Act One I find she's toned down a lot of the "wild child" characterization over the years, and her Act One Giselle is now shier and more timid. What was she like this time?

She was the shy, reserved type in Act I at the Tues. performance. In fact, she did not seem to be dancing full out in Act I, in my opinion. Act II, however, was incredible.

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Alina Somova is currently vastly superior to ever star ballerina in the world and I recently spent several weeks at the Bolshoi Theatre, viewing company class, rehearsals and performances, so the Bolshoi has nobody at Alina's level and none of the current Mariinsky stars can approach her.

Are you seriously saying that a dancer considered by audiences and her peers as a bad joke is the world's best?

I have also seen classes by the Bolshoi (and Kirov) and watched both companies over a period of 37 years and in that time I have never seen in either company a principal dancer so lacking in line, musicality, technique, acting ability and artistic taste. The only ability she has over others is the ability to display her crotch at every opportunity no matter how inappropriate choreographically. She has become a byword for low standards and tasteless presentation and in her last London performances was greeted with a scarcity of applause that marked a nadir in the long-standing appreciation of Russian dancing in that city.

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Natalia, thanks for the report. A question -- Diana's Act Two from the two times I've seen her and the Tokyo video is fairly consistent in characterization. Her Act Two has always been very ghostly, stern, a real Wili-in-training who faces off with the Queen of Wilis. But in Act One I find she's toned down a lot of the "wild child" characterization over the years, and her Act One Giselle is now shier and more timid. What was she like this time?

Hi, Canbelto - Yesterday, Vishneva danced A1 with far more gusto than what was reviewed or described of the Tuesday performance. The Mad Scene, for ex., was truly electric. Earlier, she was quite perky in her exchanges with Albrecht (without occasionally mugging to the audience, as did Somova!). A2 was a true contrast as Vishneva was so ethereal, as you say, yet technically brilliant - the best of the initial A2 solos (going round and round at furious pace), for ex. (Terioshkina, IMO, danced the best of the A2 PDD solos, though...best elevation.)

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.... She has become a byword for low standards and tasteless presentation and in her last London performances was greeted with a scarcity of applause that marked a nadir in the long-standing appreciation of Russian dancing in that city.

This reminds me of the embarrassingly light applause last Friday for one of Somova's A2 solos. The embarrassment was doubled because in the middle of the sparse applause there was one lone male voice shouting 'bravo!'...and one set of hands down in the Orchestra section furiously applauding in the middle of her A1 solo's hops...reminding me of the paid clacque guys in Petersburg. Embarrassing and funny at the same time. The biggest applause on Friday was for Timofeev in the Peasant pdd, esp his 2nd solo. However, the standing-o and generous applause for the full troupe at the end of Friday's performance -- at all performances, truly -- was genuine...making the lack of curtain calls baffling.

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p.s. I noticed that, as per the printed programme, the character role of the Duke was to have been the great V. Ponomarev (a member of the company for almost 50 straight years!) but he was always replaced by F. Lopukhov here in DC. I hope that he is OK...he is missed!

p.s.s. Also VERY much missed was the lady who perhaps is the best of the current Mariinsky ballerinas essaying Giselle, Evgenia Obraztsova, who was in Berlin performing in the Malakhov Galas. AND let's not forget that the best Giselle from the last run of GISELLES by this company at the KennCen -- Daria Pavlenko -- didn't come this time either, although she is still recovering from the long period of maternity leave and injuries, slowly working her way back to pointe-shoe roles.

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.... She has become a byword for low standards and tasteless presentation and in her last London performances was greeted with a scarcity of applause that marked a nadir in the long-standing appreciation of Russian dancing in that city.

This reminds me of the embarrassingly light applause last Friday for one of Somova's A2 solos. The embarrassment was doubled because in the middle of the sparse applause there was one lone male voice shouting 'bravo!'...and one set of hands down in the Orchestra section furiously applauding in the middle of her A1 solo's hops...reminding me of the paid clacque guys in Petersburg. Embarrassing and funny at the same time.

Finished her Act 2 'Risen from the Grave solo' by banging into the row of corps girls.

:huh:. The voice and hands probably belong to Yuri Fateev. Natalia, there's one thing that you mentioned that she still hasn't gotten right yet, and that's spotting and stage craft. We all know that Giselle is supposed to be dead and a spirit in Act 2 - but is she blind as well? I've seen her live on several occaisions, and Somova has a problem of being unable to navigate around a corps de ballet, especially when finishing a variation by the wings. It's happened in "Beauty," "Don Q," "Le Corsaire," "Lake," and "Bayadere." I've seen it. If one is first in line on stage left or right, that dancer is in danger of being hit by her in passing or exiting the stage. It's hard to adjust to a different stage for a week or a small season, but real pros are able to do this. This isn't Somova's first time at the rodeo - or Kennedy, so I don't think it's too much to ask that she learn to master finishing passages cleanly and without incident.

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Natalia - so sorry we missed you this weekend - YID and I got there early on Sunday but still didn't see you. Next time.

Just briefly - Diana's act 1 on Sunday did not seem underpowered at all to me, she danced full out and was wonderful. She has toned down the wildness the past few times I've seen her to the point where she now presents a fairly traditional Giselle (not a bad thing IMO). Her hops on point were so delicate, her pique turns furiously fast. She was shy in Act 1 but not too shy, she was actually very girlish and very infatuated with Fadeyev's Albrecht. In Act 2 she was a wraith, though I wouldn't have called her presence stern. Loving, but no longer of this world. I thought this was the best Giselle I've seen from her since that unbelievable outing with Malakhov at ABT 4-5 years ago. Tereshkina & Lopatkina were both great, but the Vishneva/Fadeyev pairing was the one that truly broke my heart.

I thought Tereshkina/ Shklarov were very, very good and I loved Vicky's second act - very ghostly with amazing technique and line - but her 1st act characterization was of the really painfully shy variety and I found it a bit much.

Lopatkina was the big question mark for me, I wondered how she would pull off the 1st act. Her dancing is always gorgeous, she is one of those ballerinas whose every move is perfection and I actually sometimes find that a bit distracting. I thought her 1st act was lovely - she was a sweet,demure Giselle but not particularly shy. She was a relatively normal girl who had a weak heart. Strangely enough her 2nd act didn't really move me. Every move had a gorgeous flow to it but she seemed too real, too flesh and blood - I didn't get the feeling that she was a spirit.

It was wonderful to finally see Shirinkina in the PPD with Shklyarov on Sunday. What a beautiful little doll of a dancer. However I must agree that Martinyuk was my favorite of the 3 women who danced the PPD.

Finally - Natalia - after the show at one point I found myself about a foot away from the ballerina who danced Myrtha. People were whispering Iosofidi but they were mostly speaking Russian so I'm not sure if they knew her or were just surmising it was her. She was very tall with chin length black hair, slightly strong features and she did look a bit on the older side. I've only seen Iosofidi once before so I really don't know if it was her.

And...wishing my favorite, Dasha Pavlenko a speedy, full recovery, can't wait for her to reclaim her old roles and start touring again!!!

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.....Finally - Natalia - after the show at one point I found myself about a foot away from the ballerina who danced Myrtha. People were whispering Iosofidi but they were mostly speaking Russian so I'm not sure if they knew her or were just surmising it was her. She was very tall with chin length black hair, slightly strong features and she did look a bit on the older side. I've only seen Iosofidi once before so I really don't know if it was her.....

Thanks, nysusan. Must have been Iosifidi, after all. It's just that she had a different "stage hairdo/wig" on Friday night (softer wisps around the forehead), which threw me off yesterday. I was about to guess Tatiana Serova - another Myrtha from the past - but she did not come on the tour and, besides, rarely dances even at home. So I'll leave it at Iosifidi.

Did you catch Lopatkina dancing certain passages too quickly (including the ballottes in Act I)...way, WAY off the beat of the music? It's as if she were trying to signal to the conductor to speed up. I could see a dancer doing that once or even twice, but she did it many times. (And this is Mariinsky conductor, directing the KennCen Opera House Orch!)

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ah, what a great week it was.

To start off - I'd Kill the Kennedy Center orchestra. They Scewed up way too much. They were WAY TOO SLOW in act 2 on Lopatkina night (I sensed it, and then Chistyakova confirmed it). They had a lot of problem with Tempo of the Orchestra that week whole time. and to Natalia's comment about the conductor being a Mariinsky conductor, my reply will be, well a jockey can only sting/beat a horse as much as he wishes, but if the horse is not inclined to speed up - what would you do?

Actually on Sunday, they were slow for Vishneva in Act 2 at times (but not as badly as on Sat.night). So, to defend Lopatkina act 2 - a non-emotional Korsunsev and "sleeping" orchestra did not contribute to the best outcome.

Describing the performances - I'd agree with NYSUSAN and Elizaveta.

I'd prefer not to rank the 3 i've seen (Vishneva, Lopatkina, Tereshkina) They are all a bit different (oh, i've seen Somova dress-rehearsal and switched tickets ;-)). But out of 2 Vishneva/Fadeev preformances, the Tuesday was more moving. and i kept weeping in Act 2 of Tereshkina/Shklyarov. I adored Fadeev's performances (so happy that he's back dancing). I very much enjoyed Shklyarov & Shirinkina Pa De Deux.

And it was Iosifidi (I was shocked how tall she was), as per people greeting her back-stage.

Lovely lovely lovely - the whole run.

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Thanks nysusan, alexa1aa, and Ilya for your thoughts! It is wonderful to hear positive reviews of Alina Somova. Forgive me for using the words "stuck" but I have encountered such an overwhelmingly negative appraisal of her dancing here. Until I see her perform live, I'll refrain from passing judgment.

Elizaveta, one would indeed not think much of Ms. Somova based solely on the opinions expressed by several posters on this board. However, positive opinions have been expressed, among others, by two different Ballet Directors of the Mariinsky (the current one and the previous one), Alexei Ratmansky, Maya Plisetskaya, the jury of last year's Golden Mask awards, and the New York Times in the review of last Wednesday's performance. As much as I like this board, positive views voiced elsewhere made me curious enough to attend her performance, and I am glad that I did.

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How does one have the emotional fortitude to watch Giselle so many times in a single week? I cannot make it through the dvd without taking a break. I am in tears simply thinking about it, and I have a pain in my heart. I rarely can get through Act 2 in a single sitting.

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