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Mariinsky under Fateyev


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#76 Natalia

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 12:01 PM

Stepanova is clearly talented, but bravissima to Kondaurova: what mesmerizing authority.


It seems rather unfair to Shirinkina to have her debut during an opening night--a kind of favoritism that could effectively hurt her if she needs some seasoning in the role. I hope she does do really well, as she definitely caught my eye the one time I saw her and she seems a natural 'Cinderella.' But yes, it's a bit odd.

...Shrinkina is an interesting choice for the opening night reviewers, since she's a dancer who has generated interest and isn't a dancer they've seen every tour, ....


Shirinkina was on the most recent Kennedy Center tour -- leading Chopiniana (jete solo and pdd). DC and all of N. America have seen Shirinkina often since she appeared in the April 2008 NY City Center season, her first with the MT after having been acquired from Perm. She is a capable dancer, if not spectacular. Her 'star' is helped by her private and professional partnership with one Vladimir Schkyarov, no doubt. But she is capable and should fare nicely as Cinderella. I wouldn't want to see her as Aurora or Odette/Odile or Nikiya...but Cindrella is within Shirinkina's means...but, good grief, the opening night of a big tour, in front of reviewers?

The MIRACLE of the KennCen casting is that Somova is not getting opening night and not being subjected to the critics...which may explain that. [And may explain why Somova was kept off the Edinburgh Festival tour altogether. The irony is that Cinderella is her best starring role, IMO & where she had the best chance of garnering truly positive reviews. Go figure.]

#77 Helene

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 12:09 PM

One tour <> every tour.

Carrying a full-length ballet is also another kettle of fish. The build-up to one is good for her and good for the company.

#78 Natalia

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 12:21 PM

Almost every freakin' North American tour since April '08 has had Shirinkina...especially if Schklyarov is also on the roster and even if he is not.

#79 Helene

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 12:23 PM

Well, then, she must be prepared for Opening Night if she's an old pro at carrying full-length ballets on tour and has been reviewed regularly.

#80 Tiara

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 01:30 PM

According to the Mariinsky website, Novikova now replaces Tereshkina for the opening night Raymonda. I also read, but I cannot remember where now, that she, Somova and Matvienko may not dance in America, so Somova's Washington Cinderella will be recast, as will be her, Tereshkina's and Matvienko's Swan Lakes in California. This would seem to be an excellent opportunity for Yuri Fateyev to revive his bored ballet audiences with some new and much-deserved casting of underappreciated ballerinas. A Marchuk CInderella and a Stepanova Swan Lake would both be wonderful substitutes.

#81 ksk04

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 02:01 PM

[Somova]will be recast, as will be her, Tereshkina's and Matvienko's Swan Lakes in California.


Any further info on this would be greatly appreciated by several of us!

#82 Natalia

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 02:37 PM

According to the Mariinsky website, Novikova now replaces Tereshkina for the opening night Raymonda. .....


This is major and a fitting acknowledgement of Novikova's accomplishments in Milan last year. I wonder if she will dance the sequence of 30 entrechats-six during her Act II solo, as in Milan? What a treat for St. Petersburg balletomanes!

So DC will once again be a "Somova No-Fly Zone"? Hmmm... She may be substituted by Pavlenko as Cinderella, I am guessing, as Somova was scheduled to be partnered by Sergeev, who is Pavlenko's real-life partner/husband. Golub is another possibility, having danced the role a couple of times. Or Vishneva, if she reconsiders going to DC and doesn't have other commitments; she is a busy lady, although she has only one performance (a Giselle on Oct 21) scheduled so far during the USA tour period. Not too many other current ballerinas on the Mariinsky roster have danced Cinderella...just Vishneva, Golub, Pavlenko, Somova and Osmolkina.


As for the Swan Lakes in California, it would be so appropriate if the company's greatest Odette-Odile -- Lopatkina -- would be cast. It's absurd that the Mariinsky's Prima Ballerina was omitted from the tour.

I hope that none of the replaced dancers are out due to injury but that the changes were made due to common sense and a wish to 'right past wrongs.'

#83 Tiara

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 01:25 AM

Almost every freakin' North American tour since April '08 has had Shirinkina...especially if Schklyarov is also on the roster and even if he is not.

I happen to like Maria Shirinkina very much and consider her to be a lovely lyrical classical ballerina with some of the most beautiful arms in the Mariinsky. She is not a bravura, virtuoso type ballerina, but she has not been cast as one, and I personally found her very effective and loved her performances as Giselle, Syuimbike, Shirin, Masha and others. I think Cinderella will be a very good role for her and wish her every success.

Shirinkina graduated from an 8 year ballet programme in Perm and joined Mariinsky Theatre immediately after her graduation in 2006. At that time, Vaziev was ballet director and many will say that he used the youngsters in good roles, too much, to the detriment of veterans with great experience. However, Shirinkina cannot be blamed for taking her opportunities. In this environment which Shirinkina entered, in her first Mariinsky Festival, during her first season in spring 2007, she danced the role of Amor in Don Quixote, which featured Natalia Osipova, Leonid Sarafanov and Alina Somova. Nowadays, Vaganova graduates cannot dance in their first Mariinsky Festival at such an early age as Shirinkina, since in 2007, Vaganova changed to a 9 year program.

The youth lover, Vaziev, has been replaced by Fateyev, who seems to not comprehend that there are differences in the stage talent of the young dancers.. He seems to think that all dancers need time to develop as professionals, but now they are starting one year older than previously because of Vaganova's 9 year program, replacing the 8 years that always existed since Vaganova died. In addition, because of Vaganova entrance requirements on height, many students now start later meaning that some graduate at as old as 20 or 21, which hardly ever happened before. Marchuk graduated at an older age than Maria Shirinkina and with the exception of Martynyuk, it is not possible to find a more suited dancer for Amor, than Marchuk. Marchuk has never danced Amor and she will now enter her 3rd Mariinsky season, after going through Vaganova's long 9 year programme.

Something must be seriously wrong with Fateyev if he is unable to give a relatively easy role, Amor, to a dancer with such amazing natural gifts for that role. We are not talking about Giselle which requires much more skill and diverse talents than Amor, a role which any good Vaganova student can dance. Don Quixote is scheduled for 19th and 28th October, and would be a wonderful opportunity for Fateyev to give this lovely dancer her chance in the role.

#84 Natalia

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 05:14 AM

Tiara, I also admire Shirinkina in soft, non-bravura, Zhanna Ayupova-style roles like Chopiniana or Emeralds. I haven't been quite convinced of her dramatic and comedic abilities yet, or the ability to carry a 3-act ballet, so let's see how she fares as Cinderella. On the other hand, Marchuk (like the now-gone Obraztsova) is such a firecracker and sunbeam of JOY on stage - not to mention extraordinary dancer -- that it is truly absurd that she is not even being given Amour in DQ...yet her fellow-graduate, Keenan Kampa, who did not even make the troupe after graduation, is taken aboard this summer and immediately being given featured roles (2 wilis, for starters). Go figure.

#85 Tiara

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 06:51 AM

I thought this video clip, just uploaded today on YouTube, was particularly appropriate at this point in the discussion.



As everyone knows, in the 1930s, George Balanchine took three unknown young ballerinas, Irina Baranova, Tamara Toumanova and Tatiana Riabouchinska, and made them the stars of his Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo. Two of these baby ballerinas were only 12 at the time, and Riabouchinska was 14. They performed a huge variety of roles and were so successful that critics of the day said, "Ballet exists again."

In my opinion, in the Mariinsky today there are equally talented ballerinas, who should have been given opportunities at a young age, as soon as they graduated into the company. Both Yulia Stepanova and Oksana Marchuk are phenomenal ballerinas, stars-in-waiting, yet at 22, they are already ten years older than these Ballets Russes ballerinas. It seems that unless she has financial or political backing, or is a "foreign" dancer imported into the company, a ballerina must wait until her mid 20s to get any principal roles. This is a ridiculous state of affairs.

The Mariinsky corps de ballet is overflowing with young, talented ballerinas. Yuri Fateyev has it within his power to have his own generation of star Baby Ballerinas, and reaffirm his company's status as the greatest in the world, yet he does not have the vision or inclination or ability to see this.

In my opinion, both Stepanova and Marchuk should be promoted, given the roles they deserve straightaway and turned into the stars they should rightfully be.

#86 Mashinka

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 07:48 AM

So is this thread about mis-management by Fateev or simply a plea for more performances by personal favourites?

If the former there is an 'elephant in the room' situation at the Kirov - I know what it is and I'm damned sure some of the posters here do too, as long as the casting racket continues don't expect anything from the company other than a slow slide into mediocrity.

#87 Cordelia

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:04 AM

Interesting talk about Marinsky which I had no idea was that bad in terms of management. I didn't know about the young dancers being discussed here, so had to go look them up on youtube. Skorik I knew from that infamous video. But after watching Shirinkina's videos, I think she also needs to work on technique. Her Aurora was technically subpar and seemed ballet schoolish not ballerina with gravitas for the role. Marchuk is charming and if she has the technique would make a better Aurora than Shirinkina. Stepanova I suspect would have to starve herself if she is to get lead roles in Petipa ballets. Too bad because she is the best one out of the ones discussed here.

#88 Natalia

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:05 AM

... Stepanova I suspect would have to starve herself if she is to get lead roles in Petipa ballets. ....


Cordelia, that's what I was trying to say diplomatically when I wrote, above, that she is 'large-ish at the top.' Thirty years ago, the womanliness would not have been a big deal. This fits in with the topic of this thread, in that Mariinsky Theater's Central Casting prefers one mold (GuillemClone = Lopatkina/Zakharova/Somova/Skorik/Kampa) to all other looks. One could even say that it began with a near-contemporary (a senior?) to Guillem - Galina Mezentseva, in the mid-80s. So it is really a trend and not the sudden fault of Fateev. By the way, I have nothing against 'The Mold' (hyper-elongated look) when the instrument belongs to a true artist, like Guillem, Lopatkina and Zakharova. The problem came about 10 yrs ago when 'The Mold' became more important than the artistry.

#89 Tiara

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:28 AM

With regard to the general physical type required by Mariinsky management, when Yuri Fateyev came to give a lecture to students at the Washington DC Kirov Academy, he brought with him Maria Shirinkina and Ekaterina Kondaurova. He told the students that the most important thing to be ballet dancer is to be skinny. Obviously what Vaganova Academy in SPB has always been known for - fabulous flowing arms and upper body, plus artists that dance with their soul and have exceptional technique, are not relevant when compared to being skinny. It seems the statement about Yulia Stepanova is true, because Fateyev prefers string beans with no talent to a "true artist" with a womanly body.

#90 Birdsall

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:37 AM

Question: This string bean look (which I like on some dancers)......is this a look that the company wants simply b/c the company prefers that look and wants to be known for dancers with this look, or is it because they think the public expects that look? If they think the public wants that look I know people who prefer a more womanly look. I think Stepanova is beautiful. I think many people would. If they think the public wants that look in dancers, I am not sure they are correct.


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