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#211 Helene

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 12:09 PM

Many thanks, Fosca, for you reports from Baden-Baden and the casting information.

#212 Shirabyoshi

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 12:31 PM

Apologies if this is too emotional; but the thread has wandered about a bit already, so I thought it might not be a wholly inappropriate place in which to express certain miseries -- and fears.

As a new ballet fan I had actual physical palpitations when I read, just a short time after my Great Ballet Revelation of 2012, that the Mariinsky would be doing "Swan Lake" in California.

Then I researched the soloists whose names were on the list for the tour.

If I'd been guaranteed a week of *real Mariinsky performances*, I'd have flown out there and gone to every single one, whatever the cost. As it was I stayed home watching YouTube and eating Nutella out of a jar with a spoon in an orgy of bitterness.

Though I've been following this thread with interest, it seems in some ways to be the wrong discussion. One thing I knew without having to be told, one thing that should be obvious even to the meanest intellect (I'm looking at you, Mr Fateyev): if a woman is dancing leading roles with the Mariinsky, at home or abroad, on a big stage or a tiny one, as a regular headliner or as an emergency substitute, the worst thing any balletomane should be able to say about her is: "She's very good, but not really in the style I like." If all the talk is about her technique, even in the context of her not being as weak as she used to be, or having had a surprisingly good night last night, it's... well, I think it's the wrong discussion. We ought to be able to take the soundness of her technique for granted, as something that needn't even be mentioned save in technical discussions, and concentrate instead upon the subtleties of her own individual artistry and what is new or nostalgic about her interpretations.

That this standard can no longer be depended upon in the performances of what ought to be the world's leading ballet company makes me inexpressibly sad. Every fibre of my being cries out that I am meant to be a Mariinsky fan. But where is the Mariinsky? Will I ever actually see it, except by serendipitous chance? Can I depend upon the strength of the school underpinning a resurgence of traditional values in the company, under different management, at an unspecified point in the future? Or am I just... too late?

War is peace, freedom is slavery, Oxana Skorik is a Mariinsky ballerina.

I feel so very, very cheated.

#213 Tiara

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 02:53 PM

War is peace, freedom is slavery, Oxana Skorik is a Mariinsky ballerina.

I feel so very, very cheated.


I agree! BRAVO for this great comment!!!

#214 Birdsall

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 03:21 PM

If I'd been guaranteed a week of *real Mariinsky performances*, I'd have flown out there and gone to every single one, whatever the cost. As it was I stayed home watching YouTube and eating Nutella out of a jar with a spoon in an orgy of bitterness.



This statement made me laugh my head off! Great visual of nutella in a jar! LOL I know you were not trying to be funny, but this is funny.

I have read so much now about the Mariinsky (Kirov) and it was apparently unthinkable in past times to worry about casting. Someone posted on here that she never ever worried when going to the Kirov even if the casting did not include her favorites. Seeing the Kirov always meant outstanding dancing b/c the dancers had years of Vaganova training, and they were always examples of top notch dancing. Now there is lots of worry and wondering whether to buy tickets. That is indeed sad at the change. There are some commercial videos (not enough) that capture the Kirov before things got crazy. I do think the corps is still excellent and many of the soloists are excellent, but there are some that are not really what we want or expect from the Mariinsky. Maybe Gergiev and Fateyev will read these online forums and eventually realize that they should rely more on the actual coaches concerning who is ready to dance this or that role, but I think Russia is trying desperately to become capitalist, and money is all that matters (just guessing). The arts always suffer when only money is the concern.

#215 Helene

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 03:47 PM

As much as I agree with critics who are aghast at the changes in the Kirov/Mariinsky, not all of the great dancers and coaches from the last Golden Age agree. That may make me sad -- I remember how disappointed I was when the great Flamenco singer Cameron mentored and chamioned the then-emerging star of Nuevo Flamenco, Nina Pastori; when I heard her, I wanted to cry from boredom -- but they speak from their own authority.

#216 Tiara

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 05:08 PM

War is peace, freedom is slavery, Oxana Skorik is a Mariinsky ballerina.

I feel so very, very cheated.

Yes, you have indeed been cheated. We all have. The Mariinsky Theatre still contains the greatest dancers in the world, but unfortunately, these are not given the chance to dance. There are numerous unfair casting practices, many of which were recently mentioned in an open letter from the dancers to Gergiev. The same dancers get given the same roles time after time, while talented ballerinas in the corps and, indeed, at all levels, are ignored. Any person wanting to see true representatives of Mariinsky style can be assured they are still there - but you will often have to look at corps and coryphee level to see them. During the last few years, there have been a stream of talented dancers who have all graduated and gone elsewhere - Smirnova, Shapran, Strelkov, Lebedev - as well as dancers such as Obraztsova and Lobukhin who have left the company, largely because of unfair casting practices. If all of these dancers were still with the company and dancing the roles they should be, then the Mariinsky would be seen in all its true glory. But the fact is that audiences are being cheated as you say, because we are not being given the chance too see the dancers we should be. Oxana Skorik and Keenan Kampa are most unfairly being given the dancing opportunities that many gifted ballerinas such as Stepanova, Batoeva, Nikitina, Vasnetsova and many others should have had years ago. They as well as us are being cheated.

#217 Drew

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:50 PM

]

I have read so much now about the Mariinsky (Kirov) and it was apparently unthinkable in past times to worry about casting. Someone posted on here that she never ever worried when going to the Kirov even if the casting did not include her favorites. Seeing the Kirov always meant outstanding dancing b/c the dancers had years of Vaganova training, and they were always examples of top notch dancing. Now there is lots of worry and wondering whether to buy tickets.


I think you may be alluding to a post I wrote (?) which does make me feel that perhaps I should re-underline that those comments were based solely on seeing the company intermittently on tour. Perhaps I should have taken into account too that cold-war era tours of the major Russian companies to the U.S.were, in all likelihood, cast to the hilt. I think it's fair to say THAT era is over except perhaps for New York. But yes, I did feel that the standards were consistently very high.

But that was some time ago and I don't see the current problems/controversies as something that only began in the last few years. I'm not saying there are not real problems now. I'm persuaded there are and that they are serious. Only that it seems to me that some of the problems the company is struggling with can't be solved by getting rid of this or that person or more casting of this or that talented ballerina, because they arise from the complexities--artistic as well as financial--of the post-Soviet reality. (And all great companies seem to have ups and downs, waves of good leadership and good luck and waves of bad.)

By the by: I saw some exquisite performances of Les Sylphides during two different tours in the 80's--didn't necessarily think all the leads were geniuses, but did think they all had a profound understanding of the ballet--and then I learned that fans who had seen the company in the 60's were decidedly underwhelmed. They thought the company's performances of Sylphides had declined: an anecdote that allows for several different interpretations when thinking about the current era from 'fans are always dis-satisfied' to 'gee I wish I had seen them in the 60s' to 'companies must change over time, it's not necessarily good or bad' to 'ups and downs are part of a company's life' and I'm sure several others.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that I think obituaries for the Mariinsky are decidedly premature.

Skorik: I recently tumbled over the documentary about her on youtube. I watched the first few minutes, but the rather overwrought opening credits were a bit of a turn off. It almost seemed like a parody of a movie about the horrors of ballet and ballet mothers--I guess Gypsy didn't know how lucky she had it...

#218 Fosca

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:02 AM

Please could you give a full cast list as I would like to know who all the leads were?


Here's the whole evening - Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, 27.12.2012

Pas de quatre
Kondaurova, Yevseyeva, Vasnetosova, Krasnokutskaya

Talisman Pdd
Osmolkina - Sergeyev

Tarantella
Gonchar - Stepin

Tchaikovsky Pdd
Shirinkina - Ivanchenko

Grand Pas Classique
Kondaurova - Askerov

Parting (ch: Yuri Smekalov)
Yevseyeva - Sergeyev

DQ Pdd
Martynyuk - Stepin (should have been Shklyarov, dropped out last minute)

Subject to change (ch: Lightfoot León)
Vishneva - Merkuriev
Pimonov, Nedviga, Petrov, Zainetdinov

Kingdom of the Shades (with costumes and backdrop from the reconstruction)
Skorik - Korsuntzev
Shirinkina, Gonchar, Vasnetsova

#219 Fosca

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:22 AM

Just some impressions about the evening, very personal I fear: as much as I love all the Mariinsky women (almost all), the situation with the men is getting desperate somehow. They're all fine, correct, in style, but so slow, so lackluster - where's the Ruzimatov/Zelensky/Fadeyev quality? Stepin was fine in Tarantella, but you need more energy and pizazz for DQ. Askerov is tall, young, bright, good partner, looks promising, but you really can't tell after one pdd. The dancing of some of the ladies like Gonchar or Martynyk looked a little seasoned, and though it's the end of the year a gala should not feel like tiresome routine.
I adore Kondaurova, but the Grand Pas Classique is not made for her. I like Russian dancers in modern choreography, though neither Vishneva nor Merkuriev got the fluent, elegant style of NDT or the dark undertones of the piece. Never mind, it's interesting to see them do it in their very special way.

#220 Birdsall

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:10 AM

By the by: I saw some exquisite performances of Les Sylphides during two different tours in the 80's--didn't necessarily think all the leads were geniuses, but did think they all had a profound understanding of the ballet--and then I learned that fans who had seen the company in the 60's were decidedly underwhelmed. They thought the company's performances of Sylphides had declined: an anecdote that allows for several different interpretations when thinking about the current era from 'fans are always dis-satisfied' to 'gee I wish I had seen them in the 60s' to 'companies must change over time, it's not necessarily good or bad' to 'ups and downs are part of a company's life' and I'm sure several others.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that I think obituaries for the Mariinsky are decidedly premature.

Skorik: I recently tumbled over the documentary about her on youtube. I watched the first few minutes, but the rather overwrought opening credits were a bit of a turn off. It almost seemed like a parody of a movie about the horrors of ballet and ballet mothers--I guess Gypsy didn't know how lucky she had it...



Thanks for your take on the situation. I hope you are right. You made me feel a bit better. Going in March and keeping fingers crossed.

I also was turned off by the opening of that film and a friend said that the film was sort of staged to make things look worse than they were. But who knows? It is probably similar to how reality shows in America are always somewhat staged.

#221 Tiara

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 09:24 AM

Just some impressions about the evening, very personal I fear: as much as I love all the Mariinsky women (almost all), the situation with the men is getting desperate somehow. They're all fine, correct, in style, but so slow, so lackluster - where's the Ruzimatov/Zelensky/Fadeyev quality? Stepin was fine in Tarantella, but you need more energy and pizazz for DQ. Askerov is tall, young, bright, good partner, looks promising, but you really can't tell after one pdd. The dancing of some of the ladies like Gonchar or Martynyk looked a little seasoned, and though it's the end of the year a gala should not feel like tiresome routine.
I adore Kondaurova, but the Grand Pas Classique is not made for her. I like Russian dancers in modern choreography, though neither Vishneva nor Merkuriev got the fluent, elegant style of NDT or the dark undertones of the piece. Never mind, it's interesting to see them do it in their very special way.

There are some amazing boys in the corps atm. Latipov, who just joined this season, is a very exciting prospect. I saw his Talisman recently and he has wonderful jump and great turns, very graceful with a lot of crowd pleasing charm. I liked him a great deal. Ivkin, also in corps, is another exciting male dancer, with the most astonishing ballon and elevation. Popov is also very good, as is Tkachenko (coryphee) and Ermakov (2nd soloist.) All deseve more chances. Maybe Stepin was having an off night? Usually his dancing is full of panache. However, amongst the principals you are right and they are definitely a lacklustre bunch, especially Ivanchenko and Kolb. Kolb really needs to hang up his prince boots straightaway and Ivanchenko also. Ilya Kuznetsov has all the panache and passion for any role, but he is never given a chance to dance principal roles, but I saw his Spartacus debut recently and it was outstanding. Same as for the women, the Mariinsky management just needs to give dancing opportunities to the right men, and stop favouring the dull/past it/inadequate ones.

#222 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 10:21 AM

Reading this thread I'm now convinced that I don't have to go to Russia to see the current best company of the world. If so, where then...? ABT...? Paris..? Somewhere around the Caribbean maybe...?

#223 Tara

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 10:41 AM

Reading this thread I'm now convinced that I don't have to go to Russia to see the current best company of the world. If so, where then...? ABT...? Paris..? Somewhere around the Caribbean maybe...?


My two cents....Paris.

#224 Tiara

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:42 PM


Reading this thread I'm now convinced that I don't have to go to Russia to see the current best company of the world. If so, where then...? ABT...? Paris..? Somewhere around the Caribbean maybe...?


My two cents....Paris.

No - not Paris, despite all the complaints that have been made on this thread, the Mariinsky is still the greatest company in the world, to the extent that I believe that any Mariinsky corps dancer would be a soloist in any other company in the world. Also, I would rather see the Mariinsky with Kampa or Skorik dancing Nikiya, Giselle or Odette/Odile, than any other company in the world with any other ballerina. Even with these two ballerinas dancing, imo the Mariinsky is still better than any other company in the world. It is very noticeable the extent to which ballerinas from other companies are both technically and artistically inferior to Mariinsky dancers when seen as guest artists in, for example, the Mariinsky Festival. Not only do the guest ballerinas look completely out of place, but but imo they even look inferior to the corps ballerinas, who would perform their principal/guest roles far better .

#225 Tiara

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:55 PM


Reading this thread I'm now convinced that I don't have to go to Russia to see the current best company of the world. If so, where then...? ABT...? Paris..? Somewhere around the Caribbean maybe...?


My two cents....Paris.

When Ganio performed at the Mariinsky Festival with Novikova, he raved about Aurelie Dupont, and Novikova famously said that she would not be good enough for the Mariinsky corps.


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