Waelsung

Osipova and Vasiliev to leave The Bolshoi

105 posts in this topic

Regarding Petipa and Duato, may I point out that Petipa is dead and not likely to create any new works on either Osipova or Vasiliev?

Duato has the advantage over Petipa there....

Artistic opportunity was a very real reason for Baryshnikov's defection, and he left almost the same repertoire...

Share this post


Link to post

Duato tends to choreography group dances, not showpieces for soloists, regardless of how they might rank the two as choreographers.

Share this post


Link to post

Good for them, they are already established stars so why not try to do something else that interests them. Take ballet out of the equation, it's normal for young professionals to attempt new endeavors not just climb career ladders. Taking risks and having lofty goals are to be expected if you are halfway intelligent or ambitious. Although, I wonder how much of a couple decision this is, because this may benefit one more than the other. So maybe one is sacrificing more in the long run career-wise. Hallberg can still dance with Osipova at ABT.

Share this post


Link to post

I am very wary of this move--I've seen the Mikhailovsky, though pre Duato, and . . . seriously??--but of course I hope for the best for these two extraordinary artists.

Personally I enjoy seeing the greatest dancers in the greatest contexts. If the reports on this board are anything to go by, then Osipova's Swanilda, though excellent at ABT, did not have the same kind of impact it had with the Bolshoi, at least as seen in London. I say this not only because of my own enthusiasm for her two London Swanilda performances, but because of the uniform and, in my opinion, justified ecstasy of the London critics. (Though I enjoyed her so much in the role I can't resist noting that Robert Gottlieb described even her ABT Swanilda as being as satisfying as any Swanilda he had seen and he included Mcbride and Makarova.)

I am also disappointed at the thought of how this must impact the development of a Hallberg-Osipova partnership. ABT does not cast Osipova and Hallberg that much together, and I had high hopes for their developing their partnership at the Bolshoi. Their partnership seems to me (based on the two performances I have seen) of major artistic caliber, truly inspiring to both artists, and arguably taking Hallberg to heights as a performer that he had not reached before, certainly that I had not seen in him.

All in all, I'm a little discombobulated by the news...

Share this post


Link to post

One other thing I was thinking: Osipova and Vasiliev are very "Bolshoi" dancers. They are what many ballet audiences associate with the company -- big, bold style, not the most beautiful classical line, but energy and charisma for days. I've met many balletomanes who've said that they like them because they're a reminder of the "good old" Bolshoi days. This is a real loss for the company.

Share this post


Link to post

Wow, When reading the headline at first (jumping to conclusions) I thought they were leaving for ABT. I'm sure there is more to this story- I feel sorry for their coaches who helped them become what they are today.

Share this post


Link to post

[Admin Beanie On]

This is a contentious topic, which usually requires donning the beanie.

Natalia, as Foreign Correspondent from Ballet Alert!, has given an overview. All but people in the group Editorial Advisors and Natalia in this capacity -- need to provide links from official sources, and that includes me. Statement without citations from official sources have been removed.

[Admin Beanie Off]

Share this post


Link to post

Helene said, and I think this is astute:

Also, what dancers enjoy performing isn't always the greatest work and/or what the audience wants to see them in. Dancers at PNB often cite Nacho Duato's "Jardi Tancat" as one of their favorite things to dance, and audiences here lap it up every time it's presented.

Share this post


Link to post

Helene said, and I think this is astute:

Also, what dancers enjoy performing isn't always the greatest work and/or what the audience wants to see them in. Dancers at PNB often cite Nacho Duato's "Jardi Tancat" as one of their favorite things to dance, and audiences here lap it up every time it's presented.

Well, the Kennedy Center audience did NOT lap it up when PNB danced this little dark work in a 'Ballet Across America' program a few years ago. I really felt sorry that great PNB dancers weren't given a chance to show-off their true classical skills.

Does anyone else on this forum get Rossiya 1 ('pierboye kanal') on their cable TVs? Last night's 9pm (EST in the US) 'Vesti' newscast ended with a meaty, 5-minute reportage on the 'Osipova-Vasiliev Skandal.' It dramatically began by showing O & V's luggage parked in front of the Mik Theater. (ha-ha) Then the theater's owner, Kekhman, escorted them to the rehearsal rooms. There were long interview clips of N & O seated in the brightly-lit auditorium (which used to be a subtle gem...now the Tackiest Theater in Petersburg, IMO). They claim to seek 'artistic freedom' and 'new horizons' with this FIVE-yr contract with the Mikhailovsky. The piece ended with an interview with Mr. Iksanov, the general director of the Bolshoi Theater, who said that he believes this was done 'for money' and that 'like any family, our doors are always open for the day when our children will realize that they must return home.'

EDITED TO ADD LINK TO NEWS REPORT: I found this newer report on the O&V story, also on Rossiya 1...titled 'Last Pas de Deux': http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=630544 Yesterday evening's report was different and, IMO, better, filmed during the daytime, as O&V entered the Mik Theater and did their first warm ups. Hopefully it will appear on YouTube soon.

Share this post


Link to post

p.s. - Trying to put a positive spin on this: The BEST thing, IMO, that could come out of this move would be for the Mikhailovsky to revive its 2010-Messerer version of LAURENCIA for Osipova & Vasiliev (imagine them in this!)....and either tape it for DVD or include it in the 2012 tour to NYC...or both. "All will make sense" if this comes true. Harrrumph! smile.png

I'm not sure if Laurencia stayed in the active rep after Messerer's departure & Duato's arrival. It's on the rep list but, AFAIK, not active this year.

Share this post


Link to post

Regarding Petipa and Duato, may I point out that Petipa is dead ....

I beg your pardon, Amy. Petipa Lives. I saw it in Milan last month, with the glorious revival of the TRUE Petipa Raymonda. I'll take that over a mixed-bill of Nacho Duatos any time. Of course, Duatos are cheaper to produce, so some companies love them.

Share this post


Link to post

Wonderful... I am very excited then to see what new work he creates on these two stars. I wonder what it will be?

Taking my words out of context changes their meaning. It was perfectly clear that I wasn't refering to the viability of the classics.

Share this post


Link to post

I really felt sorry that great PNB dancers weren't given a chance to show-off their true classical skills.

I couldn't agree more, however, what they do best requires more dancers. Carrie Imler and Lucien Postlewaite in "Square Dance", for example, would have shown the company off at its best, but would also have limited the lead roles to two and have required a corps of 12. The Kennedy Center isn't interested in three pas de deux. For a smaller group, I would have taken Paul Gibson's "Piano Dance", a much stronger piece.

There's nothing in "Jardi Tancat" or "Arenal", for example, in which Osipova or Vasiliev would be needed, and Duato's works I've seen on tour with his former company have few chances for a soloist to shine and certainly not star.

Share this post


Link to post

Agreed, Helene. Or Duende or Na Floresta or Por Vos Muero or Remansos (the latter being in the current Bolshoi rep, I believe). Believe it or not, I am not knocking Duato; I like Duato when performed by the sorts of companies on which they were created (NDT and Compania Nacional). I don't like to see classical talent wasted on moderns, just as I would not want to waste time seeing a 'grounded' modern dancer slap-on pointe shoes, performing Dying Swan.

Share this post


Link to post

Wonderful... I am very excited then to see what new work he creates on these two stars. I wonder what it will be?

Taking my words out of context changes their meaning. It was perfectly clear that I wasn't referring to the viability of the classics.

It will indeed be interesting to see what he does with two such virtuosi at his disposal. This could be new territory for all the parties concerned and let's hope they will all benefit.

Share this post


Link to post

When I look at pictures of Natalia with other ballerinas, her thigh muscles look completely different - they are shaped differently, are much more developed, and appear stronger. I was wondering if anyone else noticed this, and if something like this is the likely product of genetics or of a specific type or duration of muscle training.

Share this post


Link to post

In the current season, Vasiliev is still expected to debut 'L'Arlesienne' for the upcoming Roland Petit tribute gala on Dec 28,

A Russian debut: he has already danced l'Arlesienne in Rome, in 2010. He also won an Italian ballet prize for that performance

http://www.danzaedanzaweb.com/premio.html

It seems that their repertoire is already huge, clearly they want more. I hope not too much.

Share this post


Link to post

WOW. So Vasiliev was dancing a lot -- and ballets of great variety. Maybe the thought of working with Yuri Grigorovich for a whole year, preparing Ivan the Terrible, was the straw that broke the camel's back? And Natalia was preparing -- of all things -- Masha in Grigorovich's Nutcracker. (Whoop-dee-dooh!) I could see how the prospect of 'A Year with Grigorovich' must have been depressing. I hand them that one.

So will Grigorovich now turn to (gulp) David Hallberg for Ivan the Terrible? Run, David, Run!!!

Share this post


Link to post

Poor David, to come at such a time must be devastating to him. Some would see it as opportunity, I assume, but it could be very upseting, to someone who is not Machiavellian.

Share this post


Link to post

Here are my translations of quotes from Osipova's teacher as printed in the Russian newspaper Izvestia, see http://www.izvestia.ru/news/506701, followed by my translation of a lengthy interview with Osipova and Vasiliev from Monday November 14, 2011, see http://www.fontanka.ru/2011/11/14/149/. Marina Kondratieva uses an endearing Russian term "rebyata" to refer to Osipova and Vasiliev, which I am not exactly sure how to translate. It falls roughly in between "the kids" and "the guys". Bolshoi's press person Novikova uses the same term in the next article.

I am not a professional interpreter and therefore some of the translations are awkward. (I was striving to be as close as I could to the structure of the original Russian text.) Osipova and Vasiliev are much more well-spoken than my translation might lead you to believe.

While some of what they are saying might be spin, two things are pretty clear from these articles: they are both very thoughtful (and in particular, their decision was clearly very well thought through), and Osipova's teacher was in on it and supportive.

----------------

Excerpts from http://www.izvestia.ru/news/506701

----------------

"If the kids leave, they will have more possibilities for touring," thinks Osipova's teacher Marina Kondratieva.

"They very much want to dance, whereas the Bolshoi is unable to give them as many performances as they would want," says Kondratieva. "The kids are counting on switching to a contract, in order to have more possibilities for touring. They have a lot of offers from other theaters. If they are free from required presence at the Bolshoi, it will be simpler for them. They wanted to do this for a long time, but this moment was being postponed."

---------------

Full interview from http://www.fontanka.ru/2011/11/14/149/

---------------

Why did the best young ballet couple in the country choose Mikhailovsky over Bolshoi?

The biggest theatrical event of the day is the transfer from the capital's Bolshoi to St. Petersburg's Mikhailovsky of the most promising ballet couple of the generation of young masters: Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev. The Bolshoi couldn't name the reasons for the departure of the promising artists---the artists did this themselves, having given the first in St. Petersburg detailed interview to our correspondent.

The spokesperson of the Bolshoi, Yekaterina Novikova, told "Fontanka" that the Bolshoi cannot even guess what specific creative aspects could dissatisfy the artists Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev. "Both Ivan and Natalia came to the company when they were almost children: Ivan at 16, Natalia at 17. The company helped Ivan, who came from Belarus, both with the citizenship and with the apartment. The kids were occupied both in the classical and in the contemporary repertory: they participated in the premiere of Aleksey Ratmansky's ballet "Lost Illusions" to the music of Leonid Desyatnikov. Natalia was supposed to dance in a MacGregor ballet, Ivan has just danced Albrecht in "Giselle". Before that, Ivan danced "Spartacus", Natasha was going to soon have her debut in the "Nutcracker". They had much to look forward to creatively."

In addition, the Bolshoi could not find the answer to the question as to why the young artists have left the home company specifically now, during the times which are not the easiest for the company, when both in the press and in the theatrical circles unfriendly attitudes towards the company reveal themselves too obviously.

To the artists' credit, it must be said that they did not refuse to provide detailed answers to all the questions of Fontanka's correspondent regarding their move from Moscow to St. Petersburg. The artists categorically denied the obvious supposition that Mikhailovsky's director Vladimir Kekhman simply proposed to them advantageous financial conditions; they said that they were guided exclusively by artistic advantages. As a result, a substantive conversation ensued regarding the problems of today's Russian ballet theater in general.

Q: The main question is obvious: Why did you prefer Mikhailovsky to the Bolshoi Theater? Not the Paris Opera and not ABT with which you have serious artistic relationships---the departure there would be understandable---but specifically Mikhailovsky Theater in St Petersburg? This considering the fact that, at the Bolshoi, the historic stage just opened and the new stage is still actively being used---and now here, obviously, there are many possibilities for the development of young artists.

N.O.: It depends on how you look at it. Of course, this is a huge company with a colossal repertory. But if one takes my repertory at the Bolshoi Theater---I have danced practically everything that I could dance here. Everything else that I would like to dance, I am unable to dance at the Bolshoi Theater. Due to various reasons.

Yes, I also have a wonderful repertory at ABT, but one always wants to surprise and please at home, one's own spectators. To please them in "Don Quixote" or "Giselle"? Well I have already pleased them with these. The question remains: what next? And here is where difficulties start. On the one hand, I am having my peak as an artist now, at 25. I need to acquire and dance as much as possible. First of all, of course, the classics. I am not a purely classical ballerina, very controversial for many; but for me the classics are a priority because when I dance them I feel that I develop and become better. I graduated from a classical school and cannot abandon it and go into some deeply contemporary repertoire. Unfortunately, at the Bolshoi Theater I am unable to dance the classics as much as I need.

Q: They don't have enough classical productions?

N.O.: No, how can the Bolshoi Theater not have enough classical productions? However, I danced "La Bayadere" only twice, unfortunately. One can, of course, say that I go to work abroad too often and therefore don't have time to dance everything that I want. Unfortunately, this is yet another problem related to the Bolshoi Theater. The company is huge, it has very many artists, and no one will adjust to fit my schedule. There is no one to blame here, this is the situation. So it happens that at the moments when I feel that I must do a lot, I sit and do nothing. Therefore I need some push, a different place of work, a different repertory. So for me the transfer to Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg is an absolutely thought-through and correct decision, purely artistic.

I.V.: You see, at the Bolshoi Theater it is difficult to change something. If I did well as a heroic dancer---danced in "Spartacus", in "The Flames of Paris", in "Don Quixote"---it's very difficult to break this trend. But I don't want to dance "Spartacus" all my life. I want to dance different things, to dance more, to dance the entire classical repertory. Even if it won't be great, I will be able to do it decently, will be able to apply all my energy and put all my soul in it.

Q: In other words, at the Bolshoi Theater you are constricted by the emploi system?

I.V.: Yes, which you cannot say about European companies where they don't fixate on the emploi. There, if the dancer is an individuality, if he is convincing and talented, he can try everything. Experimenting is very important for an artist. It is forward movement, it is development, otherwise the actor starts standing still.

Q: And here, at the Mikhailovsky Theater, what did they promise you?

I.V.: Here they promised us, first of all, that we are going to dance all the repertory that the company has. In addition, that the ballet director Nacho Duato will make ballets specifically for us. And at the same time, here we have a thing which is very important for an artist-- freedom. That is, if we have invitations to work at companies abroad, we can go there and work without any problems.

Q: At the Bolshoi Theater, are there difficulties with this?

I.V.: At the Bolshoi the priority must always be the Bolshoi. And this is as it should be, because it is the main company of the country. But on the other hand, it is very complicated for artists to plan their artistic life if they find out about the repertory a month in advance, whereas in Europe and America the repertory is planned a year ahead, sometimes even two years. So it happens that if we want to work abroad---which is very important for a dancer's development---then we would be creating problems for the Bolshoi, which we don't want to do.

N.O.: Starting this season, since Sergei Filin became the head of the ballet company, the situation changed for the better: we started finding out about our performances three months in advance. But this still does not solve the problem.

Q. Have you communicated with Nacho Duato yet?

I.V.: Not only communicated, we have already worked together, although not much. It was producer Sergei Danilian's project called "Reflection". Certainly, Nacho Duato is one of the best contemporary choreographers, and the fact that he is creating ballets here and now, and there is a possibility to do it together with him---this is very attractive.

N.O.: Imagine how interesting it was to work at the Bolshoi Theater during Alexei Ratmansky's tenure, when he would create dances for you, when because of him at the Bolshoi Theater there appeared the first shoots of contemporary choreography. How everything was stirring! However, when there is no working choreographer nearby, it's very difficult.

I.V.: The fact that Mikhailovsky has Nacho Duato gives us the possibility to ourselves participate in the creation of a new, world-class choreographic language.

N.O.: And also my position is that I don't want to prove anything to anyone any more. And I never had the goal to become a world star. I want to work, dance, give happiness to people. And on what stage this happens---it's not important to me. And, needless to say, I don't want to participate in any intrigues. And, of course, we hope that we will be listened to, and those ballets that we wanted to dance but couldn't, will appear in the repertory.

Q.: Natasha, you were born, grew up, and studied in Moscow, in Moscow you became a world star, whether you want it or not. Aren't you afraid that you will miss Moscow?

N.O.: Of course I will miss Moscow---the company, the coworkers, the friends, the teachers, with whom, I hope, our relationships will never end. But, on the other hand, we will dance in Moscow, and in Europe, and in America. And we won't have much time for

melancholy. For example, I already have a four-year relationship with ABT---and starting this season, I am already a prima-ballerina at ABT.

Q.: Are you planning to continue the collaboration with the Bolshoi Theater in some form? At the company's press office, I was assured that---I'm quoting---"the company is not going to turn away from the artists who left and will always be glad to see them on their stage in any status".

I.V.: You know, despite the fact that we have been reading all day online that the Bolshoi Theater conducted negotiations with us to make sure that we stay, offered us different forms of collaboration---for example, a guest contract---none of this happened. No negotiations were conducted with us, and are not being conducted until this very moment. There have not been any offers of a guest contract, either. To our great regret. For us it would have been a great honor to perform at the Bolshoi as guest artists.

N.O.: Especially in the productions in which the spectators like us.

Q.: Won't the stage here be small for you---it's significantly smaller than the historic stage of the Bolshoi Theater, and is even smaller than the Mariinsky stage?

I.V.: We have danced "Giselle" on this stage, I danced "Don Quixote". Perhaps there is not much difference whether the stage is big or small. The main thing is how to dance and what to dance.

Q.: I don't have to tell you that the situation at the Bolshoi Theater is not the most stable now, despite its reopening with great fanfare. You yourselves recalled the remarkable contemporary choreographer Ratmansky who headed the ballet company of the Bolshoi in 2004-2008, and then left it for ABT. Nikolai Tsiskaridze has started a scandal in the media, taking it upon himself to discuss, for some reason, the quality of the restoration. Dmitri Chernyakov's premiere of "Ruslan and Lyudmila" had an uneven reception, was met with sometimes unacceptable aggression, and even caused a scandal inside the theater during the day of the premiere. All this smacks of an intrigue against the Bolshoi Theater whose meaning we will find out soon. Doesn't it seem to you that your departure may be construed as part of some campaign against the Bolshoi Theater, that you may become its unwitting participants? If you left at the end of the season, such questions to you would not be raised.

I.V.: Our departure is definitely not connected with any campaign against the Bolshoi. The Bolshoi is a huge thing, it's a great company which will exist forever and to which we do not wish anything bad.

N.O.: As to why we are leaving now---because if we wait until the end of the season, we risk losing interesting offers, contracts. The repertory abroad starts being built in the middle of the previous season, right now. We don't want to lose the next season, because ballet dancer's time is limited and every season counts. And separately I want to say: God save us from being in any campaign against the Bolshoi Theater, against our home. I will never say a bad word about the Bolshoi Theater in my life, because everything that I have professionally was given to me by the Bolshoi Theater. And now everything depends on ourselves. We have acquired our feathers and flew out of the nest. I think that they will easily replace us at the Bolshoi.

Zhanna Zaretskaya,

"Fontanka.ru"

Share this post


Link to post

When I look at pictures of Natalia with other ballerinas, her thigh muscles look completely different - they are shaped differently, are much more developed, and appear stronger. I was wondering if anyone else noticed this, and if something like this is the likely product of genetics or of a specific type or duration of muscle training.

i kept my mouth shut, but you poked it. Actually it's not her thighs per se, it's her calves, the size & shape (you need to see it close to fully grasp it), that both enables the high(est) jump and "keeps her from tutu roles" (aka Swan Lake, Sleeping beauty) (by some russian clasical gurus) as there are other ballerinas with lither and leaner "classical line".... believe me, i feel for her, as i myself (as most humans) can't change our genes.

Share this post


Link to post

Ilya, thank you so much for your kind and generous translations which answer so many questions :flowers: (I love that interviews in the Russian press ask the pointed questions in the first place!)

Osipova and Vasiliev sound intelligent, thoughtful, and articulate in your translation.

Share this post


Link to post

When I look at pictures of Natalia with other ballerinas, her thigh muscles look completely different - they are shaped differently, are much more developed, and appear stronger. I was wondering if anyone else noticed this, and if something like this is the likely product of genetics or of a specific type or duration of muscle training.

i kept my mouth shut, but you poked it. Actually it's not her thighs per se, it's her calves, the size & shape (you need to see it close to fully grasp it), that both enables the high(est) jump and "keeps her from tutu roles" (aka Swan Lake, Sleeping beauty) (by some russian clasical gurus) as there are other ballerinas with lither and leaner "classical line".... believe me, i feel for her, as i myself (as most humans) can't change our genes.

YID, It was not a criticism. I was wondering how to train muscles like that to get power, and I am also interested in how lithe bodies achieve sufficient strength.

Share this post


Link to post

Please, could someone please explain the "Bolshoi emploi system"?

Also, can anyone shed light on the journalist's comment "Dmitri Chernyakov's premiere of 'Ruslan and Lyudmila' had an uneven reception, was met with sometimes unacceptable aggression, and even caused a scandal inside the theater during the day of the premiere."

Share this post


Link to post