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Giselle At the Kennedy Center - Feb 2011


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#46 Elizaveta

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 03:34 PM

I just wanted to share a few thoughts about the Feb 10 Thursday evening (Tereshkina/Shklyarov/Kondaurova) performance, because it was so incredibly exciting to see! I left the theater feeling absolutely blown away, especially by the second act. I'll caveat by saying the last time I saw Mariinsky (then Kirov) was when I was in St. Petersburg in 2002, and this is a company I haven't kept up much, so this was the first time I saw any of these dancers live. And I am by no means a professional or experienced reviewer--just a former ballet dancer and an avid ballet fan!

Act I
From the second balcony, Tereshkina's looks reminded me of Snow White--so pale with striking dark hair. When she began to dance, as lovely as her feet and legs were, I was mesmerized by her upper body, which is the most impressive I've ever seen in a live performance, hands down! Shklyarov was really impressive, both as a dancer and actor (although it's kind of hard to see the acting details from where I was sitting!). I very much enjoyed his 2nd variation, discussed earlier in this topic--but for me this ballet belonged to the women, that is what my eyes and memories have fixated on. The Peasant pas was danced by Valeria Martinyuk and Alexei Timofeev. I really enjoyed Martinyuk's precise, razor sharp style, and her beautifully supple and well-used feet. Her shoes were much much quieter than most of the others', leading me to suspect that she wears Gaynor Mindens--they looked suspiciously as such, even from 2nd balcony, but her beautiful feet made up for this! She seems to be a very solid, petite dancer, and there was never a wobbly moment in her performance. Timofeev did a fine job as her partner, but I can't recall any particular details about his dancing.

I thought Tereshkina's looks served her particularly well in the mad scene, as she did look, well, a bit scary! Here's a question--I haven't seen Giselle performed live in a long while--does she usually tear her hair out while running around? In this version, when she first faints, Bathilda is tending to her, and seemed to remove some clips from her hair, so that when Giselle gets up again, her hair is suddenly down. I wouldn't have noticed this except for an unfortunately distracting moment when Bathilda slid the hair clips to the side of the stage. Why couldn’t she have snuck them into the pocket of her costume instead? At any rate, the acting in this scene was quite good. I got really caught up in the drama, intensity, and well-timed nature of how it was performed.

Act II
As excellent as the first act was, this was the act that really blew me (and the rest of the audience, based on their comments and the uptick in applause) away! Kondaurova’s bourrees, were of course, minuscule, silent, and breathtaking—they alone were worth the price of a ticket. To contrast, her jumps were grand, huge, and solid. But for me, Tereshkina stole this act: Wili-Tereshkina was a revelation, an inhuman, ethereal creature, just incredible! Her arms and upper body really got to do their work in this act—again, they are the most expressive and achingly lovely I’ve ever seen, and like Kondaurova’s bourrees, they alone were also worth the price of the most expensive ticket! This is to say nothing of her supple feet, her rock solid control, and the strength of her jumps. Simply put, I could not believe what an incredible dancer I had the privilege of seeing.

Daria Vasnetsova and Oksana Skorik danced the two lead Wilis, and I was wishing I could tell one from the other, since I saw the documentary featuring Skorik and would have loved to know which one she was. Anyone know if she was mainly on stage right or left? Perhaps if I had read this post before attending, I could have noted that the one with the higher leg was Skorik :wink: They did a fine job, along with the corps, which was exquisitely disciplined and precise throughout.

Clearly I only have good things to say about this performance, but would be interested to read a more critiques by experienced writers. Especially interested to hear about the other castings, and if anyone got stuck with Somova, how did that turn out?

#47 Cygnet

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 08:31 PM

Elizaveta and YID thank you so much for your reports! Brava for Vicky Tereshkina and Katya Kondaurova! I wish I was there but there's was no way to get away from work. Natalia, I can't wait to read your posts on this weekend's performances :).

#48 Ilya

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 09:16 PM

I did see the Wednesday night performance with Ms. Somova and Mr. Ivanchenko. She was impressive: very musical, great arms, great legato dancing, wonderful acting. Very well thought out interpretation, down to every small detail.

#49 alexaa1a

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 05:31 AM

As an ex-dancer and teacher and someone who spoke often with George Balanchine, I am making this comment with many years of ballet experience and viewing. I have seen every Mariinsky Giselle this week, starting with the dress rehearsal on Tuesday, continuing with Vishneva, Somova, Tereshkina and Somova again last night. I applaud Ilya for his accurate appraisal of Somova's Giselle, but his comments are slightly understated. While Olga Spessivtseva is recognized by many as the quintessential Giselle, the interpretation presented by Alina Somova is destined to go down in future ballet history as one the all time great Giselle performances. Having seen her only Mariinsky Theatre Juliet and her last Mariinsky Theatre Nikiya, she has proven to me that her acting ability is her greatest strength, even stronger that her highly criticized extension.
From her entrance from her cottage to the closing curtain, her acting dominated a remarkable performance. She showed such a wide range of emotions and her mad scene was unlike any other mad scene. Her acting is very unique and totally unlike any previous ballerina. You do not need clones of previous ballerinas and Alina does not copy anyone and Terekhova, who never danced Giselle, has done a remarkable job coaching Alina. Having seen Alina's remarkable acting as Juliet and Nikiya in SPB, I expected a superb mad scene and that is what she produced. What i did not expect was the revelation of act 2. It has been many years since I have seen a breath taking Giselle pas de deux and what I saw was mind boggling. Alina was fully entranced as Giselle. she showed such a wide range of emotions and her severe criticism as being unmusical is way off base in her Giselle. Her musicality in the pas de deux brought Giselle to immortality. Her phenomenal adagio work seemed so minor in comparison to her overall interpretation. Her magnificent arms and amazing use of her upper body, thanks to years of Vaganova training, were unlike any other Giselle I have witnessed. I have seen all the great Russian ballerinas of the past 50 years and Maximova, Bessmertnova, Makarova were nothing like this girl, although I loved Natasha and Katya(yes there are 2 Natasha).Her flawless dancing was secondary and unimportant when compared to her historic interpretation.
Having seen Vishneva and Tereshkina this week and having seen Lopatkina recently at her home theatre, i feel sorry for all the ballet fans that did not want to get stuck with Somova. Unfortunately, they will get stuck this week with the scrubs, a sports term for second stringers. 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.

#50 alexaa1a

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 05:56 AM

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.

#51 nysusan

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 01:56 PM

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.

#52 Elizaveta

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 04:05 PM

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:

#53 abatt

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 08:26 PM

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.

#54 alexaa1a

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 08:53 PM


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.

#55 alexaa1a

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 08:57 PM

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.

#56 anink

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 05:14 AM

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.

#57 Natalia

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 06:03 AM

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... :)

#58 anink

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:04 AM

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 ).

#59 Cygnet

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 03:30 PM

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.

#60 Natalia

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 04:35 PM

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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