Natalia

2012/2013 Mariinsky Ballet Season: General News, etc.

356 posts in this topic

Just got back from seeing the Little Humpbacked Horse (Ratmansky's) at the Mariinsky II theatre.

Osmolkina was DIVINE!!! She made this ballet better than it is, in my opinion. She did the Ratmansky version of Italian Fouettes wonderfully. Not sure how else to describe them. They aren't exactly Italian Fouettes but she turns and one foot never touches the ground. There are also hops on demi-pointe several times.

Zyuzin was good but not as good as Sarafanov in this role. Zyuzin did turns in 2nd instead of the turns Sarafanov did. But Zyuzin's boyish puppy dog look was perfect for the role! He acted very well. I find him a little too "Boy Next Door" for princely roles but his face and temperament are perfect for Ivan.

Gumerova was a bit disappointing when I compare her to Kondaurova as Sea Queen. Gumerova did not have as fluid an upper body and I think it is especially important for the Sea Queen.

There is a new dancer (or one I never heard of) Trofim Malanov who looks a little stiff! He and Smekalov played the big horses and sea horses and Smekalov showed how it is done!

Islom Bauradov was deliciously evil as the Gentleman of the Bedchamber.

Vladislav Shumakov had a great debut as the humpbacked horse. His solos were very good.

The boiling water is no longer clear with moving bubbles. Now it is cloudy and bubbles sitting on top like a bubble bath. It helps the transformation of Ivan to come off more smoothly but no longer looks like it is boiling.

Some will disagree with me for saying this but I liked the interior (lobby) of M-2. It was nicer than I thought, and the 4th level had a gallery of costumes which was nice. I got to go to the terrace on top before the show, but I don't think the view is all that great. The exterior of M-2 is very ugly but the lobby (mainly due to the gold onyx) is nice, I think. The actual inside (seating area) is bland and I don't love it or hate it.

The acoustics (at least from the second row) sounded great.

The historic theatre is still much more beautiful, but I thought the new M-2 looked better than many American performing arts centers. I saw lots of empty seats though. The seats are much more comfortable than in the historic theatre. You have tons of leg room!

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Performance of LHH sounds lovely--very much hope I can see Osmolkina one day. I have a question about Mariinsky II though: Were you sitting in the second row downstairs (that is, orchestra seats)? I was curious if you can see the floor and the dancers' feet from that close. (I realize it's different depending on one's height, but I was wondering what your experience was.)

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Performance of LHH sounds lovely--very much hope I can see Osmolkina one day. I have a question about Mariinsky II though: Were you sitting in the second row downstairs (that is, orchestra seats)? I was curious if you can see the floor and the dancers' feet from that close. (I realize it's different depending on one's height, but I was wondering what your experience was.)

Yes, 2nd row of orchestra is where I sat, and I saw feet without problem. However I noticed the first few rows are level so a tall person could block your view. After the 4th or 5th row the orchestra seats are raked and start to go up. So it is better to sit in Row 5 probably. I chose using the online diagram and it looked like the seats started farther away from the stage because the pit is large so it looked like row 2 was far enough back but I think Row 5 or 6 might be better. I liked seeing the faces up close though.

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Performance of LHH sounds lovely--very much hope I can see Osmolkina one day. I have a question about Mariinsky II though: Were you sitting in the second row downstairs (that is, orchestra seats)? I was curious if you can see the floor and the dancers' feet from that close. (I realize it's different depending on one's height, but I was wondering what your experience was.)

Yes, 2nd row of orchestra is where I sat, and I saw feet without problem. However I noticed the first few rows are level so a tall person could block your view. After the 4th or 5th row the orchestra seats are raked and start to go up. So it is better to sit in Row 5 probably. I chose using the online diagram and it looked like the seats started farther away from the stage because the pit is large so it looked like row 2 was far enough back but I think Row 5 or 6 might be better. I liked seeing the faces up close though.

Thank you. Looking forward to hearing about other performances you see...

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Performance of LHH sounds lovely--very much hope I can see Osmolkina one day. I have a question about Mariinsky II though: Were you sitting in the second row downstairs (that is, orchestra seats)? I was curious if you can see the floor and the dancers' feet from that close. (I realize it's different depending on one's height, but I was wondering what your experience was.)

Yes, 2nd row of orchestra is where I sat, and I saw feet without problem. However I noticed the first few rows are level so a tall person could block your view. After the 4th or 5th row the orchestra seats are raked and start to go up. So it is better to sit in Row 5 probably. I chose using the online diagram and it looked like the seats started farther away from the stage because the pit is large so it looked like row 2 was far enough back but I think Row 5 or 6 might be better. I liked seeing the faces up close though.

Thank you. Looking forward to hearing about other performances you see...

I have another Humpbacked Horse with Anastasia Kolegova and Sergeyev and then Giselle with Somovs and fly home Thursday. As much as I love it here, I am ready to go home and hug my dog! My partner says she killed a chicken that somehow got in our backyard the other day. She is a boxer/lab and loves to hunt (father was a boxer and mother was a lab). Some fools have chickens that walk loose around the neighborhood, and it is a historic neighborhood near downtown!!! Not really a farming area!!! So I am not paying to replace the chicken!!!!

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Another wonderful night! Tonight was another performance of The Little Humpbacked Horse at the M-2. Anastasia Kolegova is a favorite. She has to be the most beautiful (face) ballerina at the Mariinsky, in my personal opinion. She has a reserved stage presence usually so I was unsure if she could make the more "pop" moments of LHBH work, but she did better than I imagined. She was as good as Osmolkina, but in different ways! More later. Have met a friend out at a bar tonight.

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I wanted to make some comments about last night that I didn't have time to make until now. Both Humpbacked Horse casts (last night and the night before) were strong, and I would tie Osmolkina and Kolegova. Both were terrific as the Tsar Maiden. They both are technically strong, charming, and incredible upper body and seaweed flowing arms. To me that is a Mariinsky trademark and even the men have it to an extent. if the seaweed's not flowing I look at the bio and usually that explains it (not Vaganova trained or did not train the whole time at Vaganova). The only thing Kolegova has over Osmolkina is that Kolegova is a stunning beauty that probably turns most men's heads when she enters a room!

I actually preferred Maxim Zyuzin's Ivan better than Alexander Sergeyev's Ivan. Sergeyev looks like a stronger technician, but Zyuzin had a boyish charm and dramatic commitment that made you care about Ivan.

Grigory Popov was the better humpbacked horse, but Shumakov had a solid debut in the role the night before. I believe Popov has danced it many times, and it shows. His entrechats during the boiling cauldron scene were amazing!

I felt Petushkova was a much better Mare and Sea Queen than Gumerova the night before.

The rest of last night's cast was the same otherwise.

Tonight I see Somova's return as Giselle, and I have to say I might not report on it because it always causes attacks on her no matter how she dances. It will depend on my mood whether I report.

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I think she is saying all the things we are worried about.

Giselle tonight was very nice. I know how many feel about Somova, and I wasn't going to post and cause people to fight, but here goes: I thought she was lovely tonight. A couple of grand jetes had her legs coming more into a upward curve rather than straight horizontal so some will complain about that, but I thought her acting and dancing were great. The audience seemed mostly Russian (all other nights I heard lots of other languages), and they loved her. I know I am going to be beat up for liking her!

Ivanchenko was sort of himself and all that implies. I think he would be wonderful if someone gave him 5 espressos before going onstage because he is very capable. He just seems lethargic.

In contrast, Smekalov as Hans was very dramatic and high energy!!! Promote this guy!!!

Kampa was much better tonight than in the past. Her Queen of the Dryads last week was really sad, in my opinion, but tonight she had a good night for her. But there are better Myrthas in the company. But I do want to give her credit for improving.

Yevseyeva was smooth as silk in the peasant pas de deux!!! She handled the turns that end with the two linking arms as if it were the easiest thing in the world!

Timofeyev partnered her wonderfully, and was also terrific in his variation. I saw him as I walked back to my hotel, and I said, "Bravo!" and he smiled and said, "Spasiba!" These little moments like that are fun!

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I am finally home and had a full night's rest and long shower. I was upgraded to Business class on Air France coming home. Heavenly! I could turn the seat into a bed and lie down completely. What a spectacular way to end my trip! Real glasses for wine. Real silverware. White tablecloths....I wish Air France could take over all American airlines and implement their style and class. Even when I have flown Coach (and that is what I was supposed to fly this time), Coach has more room and also you are treated better on Air France than any American airline.

Anyway, the reason for posting is that I forgot to mention that seeing the Mariinsky corps in Giselle was amazing! I mean, you just can't take your eye off them! It is like the loveliest thing in the world!!! It becomes really hard when the lead dancers are dancing with the corps dancing in the background because you want to see both things even if the corps is repeating the same steps. It is mesmerizing.

The audience at Somova's Giselle was very different (from my impression) than the other shows. It felt more like a truly Russian audience as opposed to tourists. Maybe because the White Nights festival was officially over. I don't know.

The two shows at M-2 (both Little Humpbacked Horse) had lots of empty seats, but, in contrast, the historic theatre was always totally packed. I wonder if this is how it will always be. One of the clerks at my hotel told me she thought the M-2 was horrible. I told her that I know it has been controversial and I understood why someone would not like it.

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Glad you had a good time. Thanks for your reports.

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Glad you had a good time. Thanks for your reports.

Thanks! Sorry I can not give exact technical details (not a dancer), but I try my best to describe what I saw. I had so much fun once again.

And a tip to everyone: Mamaliga restaurant (Caucasian food) behind the Kazan Cathedral is AMAZING!!! I discovered it last time and went several times on this trip. Do not pass up the opportunity to eat there. I think I have eaten there a total of 5 times altogether, and ever meal was to die for.......

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Upgraded to business class? The ballet gods are smiling on you. Glad you had a great trip.

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Upgraded to business class? The ballet gods are smiling on you. Glad you had a great trip.

Yes, I have NO IDEA how that happened. I was handing the guy my boarding pass and he stopped and started doing something in the computer and printed a new boarding pass for me and said I was upgraded. I was thrilled. The only other time such a thing happened was when the airline delayed a flight which caused me to miss a connecting flight to San Francisco and take a different, much later flight. And that made sense to upgrade then. This time was for absolutely no reason! It was like winning the lottery!!!!

It was a good trip, and for anyone reading, I posted a topic under Everything Else ballet called "tidbits" to let you all know about side ballet things on the trip. But since they were not Mariinsky related I did not post here, but since St. Petersburg in general is sort of Mariinsky-related, I might have been able to post here. Not sure.

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Bart - Enjoyed your reports very much and will take a look at tidbits since St Petersburg has moved way up on my bucket list. Upgrade on Air France and 8 ballets in a week - life doesn't get much better than that!

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Bart - Enjoyed your reports very much and will take a look at tidbits since St Petersburg has moved way up on my bucket list. Upgrade on Air France and 8 ballets in a week - life doesn't get much better than that!

Thanks, Kristen! It was a great time!!!!

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Thanks also, Birdsall, for your reviews and your description of the city at another topic.



Now it's Official !


Olga Esina -- Guest Principal.


Brava ! flowers.gif




(This news was unofficially posted by Catherine Pawlick at Critical Dance several days ago with a recent confirmation alert at the Mariinka forum)


I was really hoping that something like this would happen. For those who don't know, she is a Vaganova (Mariinsky school, more or less) graduate. She has been a First Soloist with the Vienna State Ballet since 2006. I've felt, since the first time that I saw her several years ago at a benefit gala, that she belongs at the Mariinsky.


I think that she is one of the most beautiful dancers today, and although I still feel that Svetlana Zakharova's Giselle at this year's Festival was possibly the finest performance of *Anything* that I've ever seen, Olga Esina's Swan Lake was possibly the Festival's *Most Beautiful*.


Added:


This news was apparently officially posted in russian before Catherine Pawlick's post of Aug. 4 (making her report official), but I didn't see it at the Mariinsky's english language site.

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Olga Esina dances the last act variation in the Mariinsky's commercially released Don Quixote (Novikova and Sarafanov). So I assume she was a member of the Mariinsky at one point and left for Vienna and now she is back. Someone who knows her history more, please correct me if I am wrong.

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The strange thing is that the Mikhailovsky, for example, hires famous dancers like Marcelo Gomes and Polina Semionova as "Guest Principals"

Meanwhile, the Mariinsky hires Olga Esina as "Guest Principal." Nothing against her. But why?

The Bolshoi hires famous David Hallberg to join the troupe. The Mariinsky hires Keenan Kampa to join its troupe.

It makes sense to hire famous brand names to join as regular members or as "Guest Principals," but I think it is strange to hire non-famous people to supplement your troupe when there are so many good "home team" members waiting and able.......

Basically, big names probably help create interest and sell tickets. So hiring big names to make news sort of makes good business sense. Names that are not household names do not create sudden interest or more ticket sales. So what is the point when there are so many talented people already in the Mariinsky?

It sure seems like the Bolshoi and the Mikhailovsky understand this. They hire BIG NAMES when they go outside of their troupe. The Mariinsky does not make sense in this respect.

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You are absolutely correct, Birdsall. I didn't know this and overlooked it when posting the news. Olga Esina apparently did dance with the Mariinsky for a year or two before going to the Vienna State Ballet.


From the Mariinsky site again:


Olga Esina


"Graduated from the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet in 2004. Was invited to join the Mariinsky Ballet the same year, and has appeared at the Mariinsky Theatre as Odette-Odile (Swan Lake; choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, revised version by Konstantin Sergeyev), Calliope (Apollo; choreography by George Balanchine), the Queen of the Dryads (Don Quixote; choreography by Alexander Gorsky) and the Lilac Fairy (The Sleeping Beauty; choreography by Marius Petipa, revised version by Konstantin Sergeyev)."





As for why the Mariinsky has made her a Guest Principal, not being one of the "famous brand names," she does have Mariinsky roots and they also have apparently found out how * Really Great She Really Is ! *. flowers.gif


Maybe she grew, maybe she was just overlooked. The Mariinsky has so much amazing talent that this can happen.


Added:


The site says that she "has appeared at the Mariinsky Theatre as Odette-Odile (Swan Lake....". Based on the secondary roles that they also list, I'm assuming that they mean this year's guest appearance at the Mariinsky Festival.

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