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Mariinsky under Fateyev


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#1 Birdsall

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 03:12 PM

I read with interest in another topic thread, (but I can't find it) how the Mariinsky is no longer the best classical ballet company, and it is starting to do a lot of modern stuff. Is Yuri Fateyev at fault? Is he the one who makes decisions to focus on modern repertoire?

I would think everyone in the world who takes a trip to Russia is interested in seeing the Mariinsky Ballet in Swan Lake or Giselle or even a Soviet ballet, but I wonder if anyone really wants to see them do a modern piece. Their arms, etc. are perfect for the classics and their training has historically been for the classics.

How does everyone feel about the direction the Mariinsky is taking under Fateyev?

#2 YID

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 07:36 AM

[size=1][you may be opening a bag of worms] [/size][size=3]i will just express my humble personal opinion (of a biased lover of russian classical ballet).[/size]
[size=3]I still consider Mariinsky the best classical ballet company, and took a trip on purpose to watch its classical productions in April this year ([size=2]DQ, Bachtisarai fountains, Jewels, Nutcracker, Raymonda, 2 ballet concerts, and 2 Lopatkina galas in Moscow[/size]). They don't do a lot of modern stuff (they don't do a lot of anything - and that's [[size=2]what i read from russian forums[/size]] the fault of Gergiev who can't care less for ballet, its' a foster child of Mariinsky company. The fault of Mr Fateyev ([size=2]who's considered an expert in Balanchin staging there[/size]], so the fault of Mr Fateyev is poor casting and partnering decisions, favoritism of certain dancers and blocking opportunities for principal dancer - as a result, the outflow of lots of great dancers from the ballet company. My heart cries for casting in Costa Mesa,CA with Swan Lake as I would love to see some (Tereshkina, Kondaurova, alas Lopatkina is not on tour) but would avoid to see Skorik. How do i feel about the direction the Mariinsky is taking under Fateyev? I AM NOT HAPPY.[/size]
[size=3]I wish and pray a more caring more accomplished and less selfish individual runs it as a REAL director ([size=2]remind you, he's still an Acting director - but gosh how he act, or mis-acts[/size])[/size]

#3 Mashinka

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 08:05 AM

I'd like to second what YID has said. Under Fateev the Kirov has lost Sarafanov and Obraztsova and uber talented Smirnova didn't even consider the company a good career move. Casting and the promotion of certain dancers is a bad joke, and yes, he remains merely acting director with even ballet-phobe Gergiev recognizing that Fateev is second rate.

#4 Tiara

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 10:15 AM

Yuri Fateyev is responsible for many of the ills that have befallen the Mariinsky and the direction the repertoire is taking is just one example of his ill judgement, in my opinion. As if the truly dreadful Simonov Nutcracker wasn't bad enough, when there is a beautiful Vainonen Nutcracker in the repertoire, the humdrum Ratmansky ballets are featured at home and abroad. Personally I dislike Le Parc also and then we are promised Wheeldon, Forsythe etc. Mme Vaganova must be rolling in her grave. The Mariinsky is a wonderful classical ballet company with a centuries old tradition of purity in its style and yet its dancers are not showcased in ballets that would best show off their wonderful technique. Rather than bring in all these modern ballets, why not Coppelia or La Fille Mal Gardee, or Laurencia, or some Ashton or MacMillan is something "new" is required? Mr Fateyev is allowing this wonderful company to lose its direction. Furthermore, his dancers are leaving the sinking ship in droves. Not just Sarafanov among the men, but also Mikhail Lobukhin forced to go to the Bolshoi to get much deserved principal status, and the hugely talented recent graduates Lebedev and Strelkov who he "lost" to the Mikhailovsky. The amazing Andrei Batalov is allowed to stagnate as a First Soloist and has never been given the principal roles he deserved. Not to mention Obraztsova whowent to the Bolshoi to become the prima she should have been long ago and also recent graduates Smirnova and Shapran whose talent also should have graced the Mariinsky . The list of lost potential goes on and on.... What on earth is going on with the Mariinsky management? Why are they allowing this to happen? It spells disaster for the Mariinsky and all who love it. Yuri Fateyev has a lot to answer for.

#5 alexaa1a

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 11:26 AM

Mariinsky Theatre will become known as the morgue of classical ballet, instead of being known as the museum of classical ballet.

#6 Birdsall

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 12:33 PM

Maybe Gergiev is also at fault for declining standards at the Mariinsky! I just went to see the September schedule of the Mariinsky online, and *My Fair Lady* is scheduled. That shocks me! That is an enjoyable musical, but it does not belong at a grand opera house, in my personal opinion. Others may disagree (Lyric Opera of Chicago tends to stage things like Showboat and this season Oklahoma), but I don't think the Met would stage *My Fair Lady*....maybe that is yet to come! I think La Scala has staged Westside Story. Maybe these "musicals" seem exotic to Europeans. I don't know, but to me it is not very promising to see that type of rep staged at the world's opera houses!

#7 Tiara

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 03:07 AM

Birdsall - well whoever is responsible, I hope they realize that the ballet public at least is very unhappy (And you are completely right - My Fair Lady in the repertoire of the world-class Mariinsky Theatre is just a joke - no matter how much I love "The Street Where You Live"!) It's as though the management is dumbing down the theatre as a whole in an attempt to reel in the paying public no matter what. But even worse is the feeling that the ballet management just does not care about the way in which it (mis)uses the talented dancers the Mariinsky has actually managed to keep. The list of crimes against dancers is endless. There are so many examples I can only mention a few here ... but worst is Andrei Batalov, who should have been a superstar with his virtuoso ability - sidelined and forgotten; wonderful First Soloists Novikova and Osmolkina only ever given, I think, one Swan Lake each, beautiful Anastasia Kolegova, who is underused and hardly ever dances Giselle on her home stage; Second Soloist Yana Selina, who is cast as the perpetual variation girl, sometimes twice in an evening, when she should have been given fewer but more important roles, which would then free up her many roles for others. Amongst the men, the best actor in the Mariinsky, Ilya Kuznetsov, is hardly ever used for principal roles, whereas Ivanchenko, who cannot act at all, is all too prevalent. Not to mention the corps de ballet, which is bursting with talent and contains several dancers which, if they had gone to the Bolshoi, would have been fast-tracked to stardom. Casting is just terrible. Principal dancer Alina Somova not given any role at all in the recent Midsummer Night's Dream? Tiny Maria Shirinkina paired with very tall Konstantin Zverev in Giselle? Shklyarov with statuesque Kondaurova? I really can't understand what the management is thinking. Even in the smaller roles - Prince's Friends in Swan Lake, or the Peasant Pas in Giselle, the same dancers are used over and over again without variation. Where is the drive and dynamism in management that that this magnificent company needs to keep it in its rightful place at the pinnacle of world ballet? To me it smacks of laziness, unoriginality and just plain uncaring. I truly feel sorry for the Mariinsky dancers.

#8 Tiara

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 03:32 AM

I just checked the Mariinsky website, and Mr Fateyev's title is actually listed as Deputy Director of the Ballet Company of the Mariinsky Theatre
Ballet Master.


#9 bianca

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 03:42 AM

Tiara said almost all I wanted to say about Fateyev's policy. There's also ruining Mariinsky ballet tradition by promoting dancers who are not Vaganova trained. I mean especially two latest Fateyev's favourites, Skorik and Askerov, both getting roles they are not prepared to dance, roles they don't deserve. It would be understandable if Mariinsky was short of talents but it's not, among coryphees and corps de ballet there are some dancers with great potential, especially girls. There's also new name in roster, Kampa, and yes, I know she was trained two years in Vaganova but she's hardly on "full" Vaganova graduates level.
Another crime commited by Fateyev is losing Ayupova who would be great coach for young Mariinsky dancers.

#10 alexaa1a

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 06:18 AM

Anyone who goes to a Mariinsky Ballet performance and buys a program, often will find the name of Sergei Vikharev, among the coaches for that evening's ballet performance. Vikharev was an exceptional male dancer for the Mariinsky, for many years. Since he is still coaching in the company, Mariinsky is clearly his home company..Under the director, who preceded Fateyev, Makhar Vaziev; Vikharev was allowed to restage Sleeping Beauty and Bayadere to the original Petipa version. Reconstruction Bayadere has never been danced under Fateyev and Fateyev has only allowed reconstruction Sleeping Beauty, once or twice..Fateyev hates reconstruction ballets, probably a sign that he dislikes all classics, and the reconstruction Bayadere and Sleeping Beauty by Vikharev, seem dead, like the morgue I said in an earlier response.

Vikharev had to go to Bolshoi to stage his reconstruction Coppelia which would be highly desirable for the many soubrette type ballerinas at Mariinsky and would have been a great role for Obraztsova, who now will get to dance it at Bolshoi. Vikharev could not stage the reconstruction Raymonda at his home, but had to go to Italy and use a Mariinsky ballerina, Olesya Novikova, to dance the role of Raymonda. Even for those who prefer the Sergeyev version of Sleeping Beauty and Bayadere, there are many reasons to dance both versions and since Mariinsky has all the costumes and scenery for these reconstructions, there is no reason why they should not use it.

Fateyev is a great Balanchine fan and almost everyone will agree with the greatness of Balanchine. However, the Mariinsky training is in the classical Petipa tradition and although Balanchine trained at what is now known as the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, Vaganova, herself, began teaching the same year Balanchine graduated, so Vaganova trraining never affected Balanchine. Every time a Balanchine ballet or any other new ballet for Mariinsky is performed, the victim is always a classical ballet or one of the other Mariinsky beloved ballets, like Fountain of Bakhchisarai.These ballets are still performed, but the number of performances each year, gets smaller and smaller. As more Balanchine ( much better than the other new ones) enters and more Forsytthe, Wheeldon, Preljocaj and Ratmansky enters, there will be less classical performances at Mariinsky.

Yes, Mariinsky will become a morgue of classical ballet, when it should be a museum of classical ballet, using the training that Vaganova taught and all the former Mariinsky dancers specialized in..

#11 Birdsall

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 07:46 AM

This is very depressing! I love Balanchine too, but NYCB and MCB are probably best at that rep since that is the training. Mariinsky is best at classical story ballets, so it is a waste to have them do modern things, when they are trained for the classics. I am sure the dancers enjoy doing some modern things to expand their repetoire personally, but everyone goes to the Mariinsky to see the classics. Most tourists will be disappointed if they are in Russia and the Mariinsky is doing Wheeldon!

#12 Helene

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 08:14 AM

Vaganova was many things, but a pure traditionalist she was not. She slashed mime from the classical ballets, a 180 from the idea of reconstructions. She actively adjusted her methodology to support current changes in choreography, and only stopped when she thought the trend had gone too far in the direction of gymnastics/circus.

Somova's prominence in the company, her aesthetic, her technical weaknesses, and the years of awful, artistically suspect coaching of her were Vaziev's brain children.

If Fateev hates reconstructions, he would hardly be the only one: the company's prima, Uliana Lopatkina, leads that faction. The Mariinsky New Year's Eve celebration DVD, which, ironically, features the Wedding Act reconstruction, ends with the chorus onstage in formal wearing, crowned by Lopatkina, in elegant clothing, making a grand entrance worthy of Cinderella in the Ashton, and Gergiev defers to her like a suitor. She's on the record for not liking the reconstruction and not wanting to dance it, so it's easy to do the math.

#13 alexaa1a

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 08:38 AM

The Mariinsky has been using 20th century stagings of Sleeping Beauty and Bayadere, but there are no classical ballets in the repertoire for soubrette type of ballerinas, that would have been perfect for Coppelia. There is no Coppelia and no La Fille Mal Gardee. There are many ballet lovers hoping to see reconstructed Sleeping Beauty and Bayadere in their life, but that is not likely now. However, Fateyev most likely was responsible for Coppelia going to Bolshoi, but maybe it was all Gergiev's decision.
Lopatkina has never danced the full length Aurora on any stage, so she may not like the reconstruction Petipa Sleeping Beauty, but she has never danced Aurora in the Sergeyev version. Does that mean that since Lopatkina refuses to dance Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Gergiev will remove every Sleeping Beauty from the repertoire?

#14 Helene

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 09:46 AM

She dances the Lilac Fairy. I've seen her. We're anyone to remove SB from the repertoire, they would lose her performance.

#15 Birdsall

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 10:30 AM

I have read that Lopatkina's issue with the reconstructions are due to her loyalty toward the Sergeyev versions that she respects and probably loves. I like those versions too. She does an amazing Nikiya and the Slave PDD in the non-reconstruction Bayadere (not sure if that is Sergeyev or Ponomarev/Chabukian)......

I don't know about the others who responded to this topic, but I don't need to have totally faithful Petipa reconstructions (I do like later additions like the Nikiya and the Slave PDD and the Bronze Idol in later versions), but I hope that the Mariinsky will continue to show off their grounding in the classics whether reconstructions or other later versions.

I am not against modern ballet but I find it a bit sad what is going on at the Mariinsky.


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