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Giselle At the Kennedy Center - Feb 2011


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#61 Elizaveta

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 04:52 PM

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:

#62 Natalia

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 05:15 PM

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.

#63 canbelto

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 05:33 PM

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?

#64 anink

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 07:11 PM

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.

#65 abatt

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:09 PM

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.

#66 Mashinka

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 02:47 AM

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.

#67 Natalia

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 03:04 AM

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.)

#68 Natalia

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 03:11 AM

.... 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.

#69 Natalia

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 03:40 AM

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.

#70 Cygnet

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 09:43 AM

.... 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.

#71 nysusan

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 09:53 AM

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!!!

#72 Natalia

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:02 AM

.....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!)

#73 YID

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:34 AM

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.

#74 Ilya

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 05:15 AM

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.

#75 puppytreats

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 06:04 AM

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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