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Premiere of Balanchine's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" a

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The Mariinsky Ballet has announced the opening night and second casts for their premiere

of Balanchine's wonderful ballet. Victoria Tereshkina will be the Mariinsky's first Titania

and will alternate the role with Ekaterina Kondaurova. Kondaurova will also dance Hippolyta

and alternate with Alexandra Iosifidi. There will only be two performances during the current

White Nights Festival.

http://www.mariinsky...012/6/6/1_1900/

http://www.mariinsky...012/6/7/1_1900/

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That sounds like superb casting!

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Hmmmm, not so quickly...although I agree 100% with the two Titanias, the two Pucks (I. Petrov and V. Tkachenko), and one of the Oberons (Zverev).

Something very important is missing from the cast lists: the leading couple dancing the gorgeous and difficult classical pas de deux in Act II.

Nice start with two potentially great Titanias, though.

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My fave Mariinsky ballerinas as Titania! And Kondaurova is doubling as Hippolyta, too!

I, too, am curious about the pivotal casting of the Act II Divert.

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Natalia is SO right -- that is a ballerina role of the first importance. That is the most beautiful classical choreography in the whole ballet. Nothing of Titania's is so purely beautiful, though much is delightful [like the pdd with the donkey]

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I think that the Midsummer Act II Pas de deux is second to none in the Balanchine rep, on par with Symphony in C second movement.

It's also a far more difficult role to get right than Titania, in my opinion.

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It also has to be a small ballerina with a big danseur -- or at least , that helps. Kent was not tall, and d'Amboise was a VERY large man -- which created overtones of protection on his part, and heavenly delicacy on hers. Ayupova would have been ideal....

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It was originally Verdy/Ludlow.

I disagree that the ballerina has to be small. Kyra Nichols, for example, was quite stunning and Darci Kistler was luminous in it, although Heather Watts gave my favorite performance of it. Watts wasn't that small either: she just looked shorter by comparison to the very tall dancers in the company.

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NYCB's Jennifer Ringer was very beautiful in the A2 pdd lead. She infused the seemingly-technical role with romantic soul, as I would have imagined Violette Verdy did at the premiere.

As the Mariinsky's leading man 'in his prime' right now is Vladimir Schklyarov, and as he has not been assigned Oberon, I am guessing that he is the likely opening-night A2 PDD male. His recent partner (in life and on stage), Maria Shirinkina, would be a good contender for the female A2 PDD lead. It better NOT be "Ms X."(guess who); I don't think that the Balanchine Trust would allow it.

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Heather Watts gave my favorite performance of it. Watts wasn't that small either: she just looked shorter by comparison to the very tall dancers in the company.

Mine too! I wasn't a huge Watts fan but she was absolutely beautiful to watch in that pas de deux. (She was a great Dewdrop, too.) Watts described herself as a "medium" in an interview somewhere.

ETA: When I'm purchasing a ticket based on casting alone (vs one driven by the calendar) I always base my decision on who's dancing in the Divertissement. Unlike more traditional story ballets, Balanchine's Midsummer doesn't hand the final pas de deux -- the one that crystallizes a ballet's "moral tone" (for lack of a better word) or its picture of ideal love -- to the lead couple. A less-than-optimal Divertissement ballerina can therefore undermine Midsummer just as much as a less-than-optimal Aurora can undermine Sleeping Beauty. And I don't think I've ever seen a "bad" Titania in that sense.

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Olivier Wevers made his farewell to Pacific Northwest Ballet in that pas de deux, dancing with Kaori Nakamura. It was a stellar performance of a wonderful duet.

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Adam Luders did as well, partnering

Nichols.

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Well, five days to go and still no mention on the MT website of the dancers of the A2 PDD...not even a mention of the roles and a 'tbd' next to it.

I am now wondering if perhaps the Balanchine Trust has approved a 'doubling up' of roles...i.e., Titania and Oberon will dance the PDD? Balanchine was very much against it but, according to Nancy Goldner (in Balanchine Variations), somebody told her that this once occured in Switzerland in the early 1970s because, apparently, Balanchine adored the dancer cast as Titania and wanted to see more of her. (!)

It would be very much "the Mariinsky Way" to push for this. How can the Prima Ballerina barely appear in A2 and concede the biggest classical dance of the night to another ballerina?

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If the Act II pas de deux is the biggest neoclassical role of the night and is recognized as such, the Prima can dance that (and the rest of the divertissement) instead of Titania. Doubling up makes little sense dramatically because of the stark contrast in the relationships.

.

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But Viktoria Terioshkina would be perfect for the PDD...and Titania. (Kondaurova also, perhaps, but she is quite tall for the PDD, IMO.) I am thinking that this is what Fateev is cooking up. Oh, would Petersburg be so lucky and not have to see "Ms X" making a travesty of the sublime PDD!

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Tershkina would make s great Act II PDD women in Kondaurova's performances of Titania and vice versa, and I don't see a need for a gimmick that undermines the drama, but I also don't think the Balanchine stagers dictate casting, even now, although they might argue their case strongly.

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Yes but Balanchine himself allowed Titania to be the A2 PDD lead in the same performance, in Switzerland in the 70s (as per Goldner's book). It's crazy but there is precedence, apparently blessed by Balancine himself because he loved a particular ballerina in Switzerland.

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There may have been times in the past when accommodations have been made, for all kinds of reasons, but one of the wonderful things about Balanchine's MSND is the plethora of roles for principal level women -- it's a great way to see a wide variety of artists on stage. Casting Titania and the Divert with the same woman would mean passing up that opportunity. I'd be surprised if an artistic director would do something that implied the company didn't have enough artists to fully cast the production.

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O Helene, I do not think Tereshkina would be good for the act 2 pdd -- Nothing against Tereshkina, she is a magnificent dancer, and truly classical, but her qualities are all wrong -- it needs to me someone small and moonstruck, like Allegra Kent-- Obrastsova would be excellent [but hasn't she left the company]? Pavlenko, Ayupova type. She needs to be someone who never telegraphs what's coming.

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Obraztsova has joined the Bolshoi.

I always think of Tereshkina as the opposite: a dancer who keeps feelings close to the chest. She's always reminded me of Nichols, whom I loved in the role. I prefer the long legged, cool bones, but it speaks differently to everyone.

its Ayupova still dancing? I've only seen her 1993 Calliope from the Balanchine Celebration.

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The Mariinsky web has just revealed the names of the PDD couples! Good news -- it's not 'Ms X' (we're in the clear). Bad news -- it's 'Junior Ms X' - SKORIK - for night 1.

Night 1 - Skorik & Zverev

Night 2 - Shirinkina & Styopin

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its Ayupova still dancing? I've only seen her 1993 Calliope from the Balanchine Celebration.

I believe she is coaching now at the Mikhailovsky...

(Lovely dancer, never saw her in Balanchine, but perfect as first of the six fairies in Sleeping Beauty -- Sergeyev version I think -- and in Les Sylphides...)

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Mariinsky's MSND already showed up on a popular video site apparantly shoot by an audience member. I am not up to date with forum policy regarding posting links to such videos so I am not posting the links. It may be unfair to judge from such videos but from what I have seen its MSNB looked very odd compared with NYCB's. Tempo were too slow, dancing/acting were too mannered..., it didn't have the free flows that NYCB does. May be something were lost in translation, in a video posted by MT, the stager mentioned the dancers kept saying yes even though she had a feeling they did not completely understand the instructions. Act II looked very Petipa with those big pancake tutus. BTW what's the house policy regarding taking pictures and video at MT?

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Mussel, I am guessing that the Mariinsky house policy is the same as any other theater on earth but some people get away with it.

YouTubes are allowed on BA. I found the following showing the first-cast in the culmination of the Wedding March that opens Act II. Kondaurova (as Hyppolita) is in the middle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQg18Tpb9NQ&feature=relmfu

My sister in law attended both performances. As expected, Kondaurova and Terioshkina were magnificent. Askerov was better-than-expected as Oberon. A major surprise was Svetlana Ivanova as the Lead Butterfly (both nights).

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THanks, Natalia, for posting that noble fragment.

Beautiful placement of the head!

WOuld love to see more. Please post more as it turns up.

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