Kirov Bayaderes in Ottawa, Feb 2011
Posted 24 February 2011 - 02:09 PM
Posted 24 February 2011 - 02:20 PM
Another interesting thing about this tour: This is a super-young corps de ballet. Practically all of the 'stars' of the last three Vaganova Academy Graduation Classes ('08, '09 and '10) are here - even more than the many who we saw in the DC 'Giselles' corps last week. Only a handful of corps veterans (like Prokofieva, Bazhitova, S. Ivanova, Lubkovskaya, Ostreikovskaya) are here to keep the lines straight, so to speak. A lot of 'shade leaders' of the past, like Androssova and Selina, are not here. So this will be my first live look at all of last year's graduates, such as Brileva. Yeah!
Posted 24 February 2011 - 03:55 PM
I'm quite interested in seeing Somova actually. From the clips I have seen of her, somehow I feel there's always a disconnection from the story or the characters she protrays, just my opinion. She's very easy on the eyes as a dancer, but sometimes it just doesn't cut it. I wonder if she has matured more as an artist, that's what I'm curious about.
Posted 24 February 2011 - 04:03 PM
little-junkie, from where I come from, Somova is a genuine artist. But, and here it is... if you are looking for a more traditional style with rounded arms and such, this is not your dancer. Alina Somova is a bit of a maverick and is determined to walk her own path.
Posted 24 February 2011 - 04:18 PM
Posted 24 February 2011 - 04:21 PM
Posted 24 February 2011 - 07:01 PM
Natalia, please let us know about Somova's performance after, I'd be all ears.
Sure thing. I'll probably post on Monday, after I get back to DC. I've promised my husband to NOT take the laptop...but we ARE taking our skates, to try-out the amazing Rideau Canal, the world's longest frozen skateway. [The ice is supposed to be in good condition, according to the website! It's 7.8 km long! http://www.ottawatou...-canal-skateway ] Canal begins next to our hotel (Lord Elgin), which is next to the theater. Hopefully I won't injure myself before performances, either tomorrow afternoon or Sunday morning.
p.s. - Yes, we know that the skates have to go with the checked luggage. That's the only reason why I won't be doing carry-on.
Natalia, you're going to have a such great time! My husband (another hockey nut) and I skated the canal a few years ago with another couple. It was freezing - the coldest I've ever been - but so much fun!!! Have a great time and let me know if you decide to go to Toronto, I'll be there for Fri & Sat nights and the Sun matinee. There's been no casting posted on the Sony Center site so we can only hope the Ardani casting holds for SL...
Posted 25 February 2011 - 03:27 AM
Posted 26 February 2011 - 06:09 AM
Opening performance review (with rehearsal pictures and short video clip):
Interview with Diana Vishneva :
Posted 28 February 2011 - 05:26 AM
Bayaderes in Ottawa = The 'Kirov' of Old is BACK!
Overview: Magnificent, every performance. The Mariinsky corps (about 50% different from the crew who went to DC last week) is absolutely on the way back up. Spot-on 32 (yes, 32, not 24, as in most tours) Shades. Incredible divertissements. Even the small 'cluster dances' of Act I (Fire Girls, Jampe Girls, Fakirs-fire guys) were cleaner and more perfect than I've seen them since the early 1990s. Honestly. I thought that I was in a time capsule...the Kirov is back. Not a moment cut, as in the Kennedy Center or London. This was the greatest tour experience I've had with this company...EVER. Next-best thing to being in St. Petersburg. Absolutely worth every penny and travel woe to have experienced these three performances at Ottawa's Centre for the Arts.
Three Amazing Nikiyas:
Ekaterina Kondaurova - Kondaurova did not disappoint, for the most part. She is a stately and regal Nikiya...but perhaps, at this early stage in her interpretation, almost too icy in Acts I & II. [I felt sorry for the diminutive Anastasia Matvienko as Gamzatti, who stood absolutely no chance against this Nikiya in the catfight dialog scene!] She is a great poser - magnificently sculptural (a-la Lopatkina, whose Nikiya I've seen elsewhere) but what beautiful sculpture, especially in the slow portion of the Act II basket dance. The quick coda was good but a tad cold. Kondaurova's Nikiya is an amazing beauty but I kept waiting for the warmth and heart, waiting for her 'to let it all hang out.' But all of that was forgiven in her extraordinary Act III (Shades Scene), in which she was academic classical perfection, 'queen size'!
Diana Vishneva - There's no problem with warmth here! She tamed her Act I & II passion enough to display academic precision in Act III (no scarf-solo bobbles, even though both Kondaurova and Terioshkina were more floating and 'controlled'). A classic Vishneva performance. Almost draining in its intensity and passion.
Viktoria Terioshkina - Terioshkina gave us plenty of passion. [A lady sitting near us, who had also attended Kondaurova's matinee the previous day, remarked on the polar differences of passion in their interpretations.] What's more, Terioshkina was, I believe, the absolute-best technician among my three Nikiyas(e.g., Act III scarf solo, with floating triples in each direction -- barely making use of the scarf, letting go early -- then, after scarf released, the solo segment of pirouettes went triple-triple-quadruple, 'easy as pie'!!! WOW! ) However, Terioshkina was so pushing the technical envelope that she suffered a huge fall onto her backside (lower spine area)-- loud gasps from audience -- in the middle of the slow portion of the Act II basket dance. She landed poorly from a very high gnd jete en tournant (2nd diagonal) and went down with a big boom. We thought that she had seriously injured herself and that the performance would have to stop until a replacement Nikiya could warm up. She proved us skeptics wrong. She quickly bounced up and recovered to perform an unbelievably-long balanced arabesque on pointe a mere 30 seconds after the fall!
Three Handsome Solors:
Honestly, I can only think "Shklyarov, Shklyarov, Shklyarov" (Sunday matinee, with Terioshkina) as I type. For Vladimir Shklyarov, this is a Principal-making performance. His spectacular technique (those high leaps in his Act II solo drew gasps from the audience!) + passionate, touching acting + matinee-idol looks = the Perfect Solor. Simply the best I've ever seen 'live' from any Kirov-Mariinsky man. Ever, Zelensky and Sarafanov included. The other two Solors were just fine -- Yevgeni Ivanchenko providing incredible muscle-power with Kondaurova, dancing very well and acting passionately against a frosty Nikiya; and Dennis Matvienko (now sporting brown hair) was somewhat understated with Vishneva but rose to the task in the famous Act II solo.
Two Impressive Gamzattis:
Anastasia Matvienko, seen twice, was "OK" on Saturday afternoon(weakish with Kondaurova) but was quite a different dancer, i.e., she was spot-on spectacular yesterday afternoon, opposite Terioshkina. The Act II solo of the jetes floated and -- especially impressive -- the Italian fouettes, followed by lightning-fast traditional fouettes in the Coda of the Grand Pas drove the audience to a frezy. BRAVA! I have gained a new respect for Anastasia Matvienko.
Anastasia Kolegova was Gamzatti opposite Vishneva on Sat night - pure, beautiful, truly held her own in the 'cat fight' with Nikiya. Spot-on technique in the Act II Grand Pas, if not the 'competition flair' of Matvienko. A beautiful dancer who I haven't seen often enough on tours or at the Mariinsky Festival. After her Saturday-night performance, I wrote in my notebook "Kolegova is the better Gamzatti, overall" but then Matvienko produced that extraordinary performance on Sunday...so I call it a 'draw.'
Soloists and Demi-soloists in smaller roles - So many Gems!:
Beside the 'big 3' major roles, there were many impressive solos:
Super-duper Kudos to Anastasia Petushkova in the Indian Drum Dance, absolutely wowing the audience every time, with Islom Baimuradov or Karen Ioannisian as her partner & the un-credited Vasily Scherbakov as the 'drum boy.' I didn't think that anybody could ever top Irina Gensler (in film) or Galina Rakhmanova (who I've seen live since the 80s), but Petushkova is absolutely 'da ultimate.' This lady could be 'The Pavlova of Modern Dance' or 'The New Isadora,' if given the right material or exposure. Anastasia Petushkova may not have the traditional 'dainty little ballet princess' look but she is an absolute genius for dance. [She and Yevgenia Obraztsova -- not on this tour -- are, to me the two greatest female joys of the current company, Shklyarov is the great classical man, and Ponomaryev is the 'Great Character.' Those four currently-active artists must be bottled for posterity!]
Also super-impressive is the lady who husband & I have nicknamed "The Little General" because, while diminutive in stature, she danced 'big' and absolutely 'nailed' every solo this weekend: Valeria Martynyuk (3 Manus and 3 First Shades). As Manu, the delightful Act II solo balancing a water jug (as two little girls try to catch it), she displayed quick, smooth bourees 'to die for' and comfortably acted with the two little girls from local ballet academies. This is not easy to do but Martynyuk was so gentle and gracious in her work with the girls. Then came the piece de resistance for Valeria Martynyuk: the First Solo Shade, not only in lightning-fast manner, but with every little nuance crisp and sharply articulated...as in a rulebook of Vaganova style, my goodness! (Then I remembered, she was trained by Terekhova at the Academy...what better technical teacher could there be?) Valeria Martynyuk is a miracle of classical perfection, a balm against 21st-century extravagances.
Daria Vasnetsova is ripe for major solo roles, she was so impressive as the 3rd Solo Shade (the ultra-difficult slow dance with the developes-into-pirouettes) on Saturday night. While promising, Yuliana Chereskevich was more tentative than Vasnetsova when she essayed the 3rd Shade. Vasnetsova was also the standout among the four 'Big Bayaderes' in the Act II Grand Pas (the others being Chereskevich, Yulia Stepanova and Victoria Krasnokutskaya). Krasnokutskaya was especially impressive as one of two Jampe Dance demi-soloists...pure joie de vivre in her delivery; I could not help but notice, every time out -- even in the corps in Giselle at the KennCen last week -- that the blonde and smiling Krasnokutskaya, while not the most perfect dancer, has something very special in her delivery. One to watch.
The four Little Bayaderes were also impressive, most notably the angelic Maria Shirinkina (the lone brunette among them) and the ever-elegant Svetlana Ivanova. Elizaveta Cheprassova and Daria Pavlova were also fine...but I wish that the serious Pavlova would smile a bit. [Cheprassova was also good as the 2nd Solo Shade (the one with the high leg beats) at all performances but displays a bit of tension in the neck and chin,]
The two Magdaveyas (Head Fakir - fire guy) were excellent. In the matinees, Grigory Popov displayed wonderful high jumps...but the 'true show-off' among the two was a new name for me in solo roles: Alexander Kulikov, not only a high jumper but extremely flexible and milking every second to the hilt. Bravo!
Sergei Salikov and Sergei Konomenko alternated as the Slave who partners Nikiya in the Act I 'Lotus Adagio' in the Rajah and Gamzatti's palace. Special kudos to Konomenko, who beautifully partnered the ultra-tall Kondaurova in the difficult lifts and carries.
As mentioned earlier, Krasnokutskaya danced in one set of 'Jampe Solo Girls' (with Chereskevich, who did triple-duty of roles here). However, the most-applauded pairing of Jampe Girls was Xenia Ostreikovskaya and Yulia Kasenkova (not Nikitina, as in the playbill), zippy and precise in their mirroring.
Of the two Golden Idols, Philip Styopin was the more musical, while Alexei Timofeev gave it his "technical all" at both performances. Both ran a bit 'out of gas' at the end of the solo.
Finally, a few words for the King of Mariinsky Character Dancers, Vladimir Ponomaryev, the red-robed High Brahmin at all performances. The most veteran of the 150+ members of the troupe (graduating in 1964), Ponomaryev alone is reason to fly to Ottawa, St Petersburg or wherever to see this ballet. I screamed my head off with 'bravos' for this imposing dancing-actor, without whom I would never imagine a performance of the Kirov-Mariinsky's La Bayadere. His over-the-top 'Cecil B. DeMille' style is exactly what such grand 19th-C ballets call for. How lucky for us that he continues to bless us with his special performances.
The three performances that I saw in Ottawa constitute the finest look at the Kirov-Mariinsky that I've seen on tour. The corps is back to 1990s standards...and very close to 1980s. The soloists and principals on view here were among the finest ever seen under one roof...and this is even without many great artists who stayed home, such as Pavlenko, Obraztsova, Novikova and Fadeev.
Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:12 AM
I went to see Sat matinee (Kondaurova & Ivanchenko), Sat evening (Vishneva & Matvienko), and Sun evening (Lopatkina & Korsuntsev).
In a sense, I believe the size of the stage did directly affect the performances. Timofeev, due to the little "stumble" at the end of his Golden Idol solo on Sat evening, held back quite a bit on Sun evening to allow space and maintain his balance with his final jump. Korsuntsev slowed down at the end of his solo, both in Act 2 & 3, for the same purpose. With the scenery, the extras, all the dancers on stage, the place was "stuffed" with very little extra room left. If they have gone full force, they might have gone off the stage easily.
If I "have" to compare all three Nikiyas, I found Vishneva's interpretation extremely moving, especially in Act 2. I couldn't help but felt so sad for her. I won't go any further with the comparison. That was the first time I saw Kondaurova, Ivanchenko, Vishneva, both A and D Matvienko, Lopatkina, and Korsuntsev live on stage, so I was happy.
Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:26 AM
The stage seemed wide enough but not as deep as at the Mariinsky...but maybe that's the illusion of the overall architecture of the auditorium. There certainly was plenty of room to accomodate the 32 shades comfortably (four rows, eight across).
So glad that your first live Kirov experience was so fantastic, little-junkie. You were very lucky. I totally missed Lopatkina/Korsuntsev this time around; would love to read your thoughts on Lopatkina, if you have time!
Posted 28 February 2011 - 09:26 AM
I found there were some small differences between each interpretation of Nikiya, and I enjoyed each personified version. Lopatkina was technically brilliant (not that anyone didn't know already). She and Korsuntsev made you believe that Solor and Nikiya were so much in love in Act 1, so tender and affectionate to each other. Her lines and her feet, ack...I am so envious. When Nikiya attempted to kill Gamzatti, she went over so quickly she almost "blanket" the princess if the servant didn't grab her arm in a nick of time. So I guess she could have killed her, but that's not how the story went
In Act 2, she ran out and saw Solor and Gamzatti together, instead of throwing her wrap backward, she ran up near Rajah and dropped it in front of him. As I said I didn't want to compare, her Nikiya's death (the sorrow dance, the basket dance, and after she got bitten) was ok. Everything was there, acting was reasonably good, but I kept expecting some overwhelming emotions coming from a girl deeply in love, was betrayed, and had that put on dispay to add to the agony and pain. Perhaps I was expecting too much. Her timing was great with Korsuntsev when Nikiya fell to her death, Solor ran up to try to catch her and failed, this reminded me of Giselle in so many ways.
Lopatkina's final diagonal spins across the stage in Act 3 were extremely fast and came to a complete stop at the edge of the right front corner, the audience just went wild. But I think it was the corps that stole the last act.
I totally agree with you that Kolegova completely held her own artistically and technically, in my case on both evenings. She WAS a princess, commanding power over those below her.
Posted 28 February 2011 - 11:20 AM
Thanks so much, Little-Junkie, for your detailed report of the Lopatkina/Korsuntsev performance last night and, of course, all the rest.
Posted 28 February 2011 - 12:10 PM
Just as at the Kennedy Center, there were no end-of-performance curtain calls.
On the positive side, as many performers do not appear in Act III ('Shades'), we had an entire round of bows at the end of Act II. Almost all divertissement performers came out...I write "almost all" because the only exceptions, at all performances, were the Indian Drum Dance soloists (Petushkova, Ioannisian/Baimuratov, Scherbakov); only the eight corps guys of that dance come out to bow at the end of the act. How odd. A fellow fan, who sat near me at one performance, wondered, "Maybe they don't want the Drum Dance soloists to receive greater applause than the principals?" I tend to agree with her because they truly received as loud an applause at the end of their dance as any of the major principals. Is it just a coincidence that the most loudly-cheered divertissement soloists are the only ones missing when all A2 dancers were assembled on the stage? Hmmmm....
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