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Mariinsky Live 3D Cine-cast of Swan Lake, June 6

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I agree with much of what was written above. The length was interminable because they started late and they added all of these interviews. Vodianova was a disaster as the host. The lighting was horrible. It diminished the entire experience of seeing the ballet.

I thought Kondourova was beautifully fluid and tender as Odette. Her extension is gorgeous. Except for those two slips (she did not fall though!), she gave a marvelous performance. Her nerves seemed to settle down by the time the Black Swan section started. I'm also not sure whether one of those slips could be attributed to parter Askerov. Askerov was slightly stiff, but he danced his own solos very well. Some of the partnering, though, was a little off. (The more ballet I see, the more I am convinced that ABT's Gomes is one of the greatest dance actors of his generation.) Xander Parish is a gorgeous dancer. I've always wanted to see Kondourova do SL, so despite the various negatives of the film, I was happy that I attended.

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Sounds as badly directed as the Osipova/Sarafanov Giselle. I'm very sorry to hear this and a little less sorry to have missed the performance. I wish they would use the production team that does Britain's Royal Ballet productions as these seem generally well thought out and sensitively shot, but perhaps there are diplomatic issues that would block this? Why on earth isn't there a competent director & crew for shooting the Maryinsky? This is a country famous for its love of ballet!

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We just read in yesterday's paper, our cinema was showing Swan Lake Live at the Mariinsky, on June 6 6:30.

The pair was the wondrous Ekaterina Kondaurova and Timur Askerov .

the pddtrois was Xander Parish, N Batoeva, M Shirinkina.

Tha cinematography was amateurish. Gergiev's kept telling us that the photography was 3D and told us we were getting to see the NEW stage.

We didn't. What a disaster. The narrator who was introduced by the conductor as a gorgeous model, was a gorgeous model but had no preparation whatsoever to talk about Tschaikovsky or of ballet. (She forgot Kondaurova's name while the interviewee's husband , Islom, gave her the name.)

Kondaurova, after some slips, brought forth her prodigious virtuosic tachnique to accomplish the Odette/Odile feats.

Askerov seems wooden.

Can't fault the dancers.

Gergiev needs to get first rate technical personnel.

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Thanks Chiapuris for this report. I'm surprised and shocked that Academy Award winning "Avatar" director, James Cameron's cinematography was "amateurish." Kondaurova is a superlative Odette/Odile. Timur Askerov is a slight upgrade from Yevgeny Ivanchenko, but really, Kondaurova deserves a Siegfried who has a pulse. Personally, I think that Maestro Gergiev's gimmicky use of his Ballet, and the apparent disdain he has for the company explains the il-informed, il-prepared spokesmodel, the lack of first rate technical personnel to match the much hyped and ballyhooed upgrades of the Mariinsky 2, and his complete misuse of this new opera house as a glorified Rave Cinema.

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Who was listed as director of the broadcast? I suspect the film had two things going against it. One would be James Cameron's team, instead of a crew that specializes in filming live theater performances. I don't blame cameramen who are following instructions. I blame the director for choosing lousy shots, and since there are multiple films of this production available for reference, there's no excuse for not mapping out a good plan.

The other problem was probably Valery Gergiev, who does not specialize in conducting live ballets. I remember a terrible moment in the Mariinsky's 3D Nutcracker at the end of Act 1, when the snowflakes seemed to be totally lost as they made their exit. It was probably the only time I'd ever seen the Mariinsky's corps completely out of sync and off the music. I figured it had to have been Gergiev's fault and that it wouldn't have happened with a journeyman ballet conductor on the podium.

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Thanks, chiapuris. Between your report and those of others on another thread, I don't feel so bad about having missed it due to prior commitments. The technical bloopers and poor filming are particularly puzzling given that Russia has such a fine cinematic history, e.g., the Land of Sergei Eisenstein, Bondarchuk's War and Peace, Mosfilm, etc.

Kondaurova deserved better.

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This clip made its way to youtube... At least Vodianova's dress was easy on the eyes...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hYYfDmQUOs&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I was actually sitting in the box next to the one in which the interviews were conducted--not the one you see in background but the one on the other side. The people immediately next to the interview box had to wait to sit down until the end of intermission so it was a bit of musical chairs for a few minutes and, since the boxes are already overcrowded, it was quite a crush as we all stood waiting to get into our proper seats. However, it was fun to be right next to the filming and especially enjoyable to see the artists that close up (and likewise Gergiev during the next intermission). Now that my stage door days are over I almost never see them that way.

During the interviews we could only hear Vodianova not the artists being interviewed. I think she looked quite a bit prettier in real life, as indeed did her dress as well. I can see here that the interviews were fairly lame, especially for a balletomane, but as best I could tell everyone in our box (a mix of Americans and Russians) seemed to find it somewhat exciting to be right next to the filming and we all applauded Vodianova as she left her box and she gave us a charming smile. So...uh...I had a great time with it.

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You will have a really cool memory of that performance, Drew!!!!

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I wonder if it wasn't a practice run for the what they might do for the Olympics. Not sure why they all were having trouble. Was it because they were speaking in English and had memorized their lines and were trying to work off teleprompters? She seemed to have cards in her lap but in the interview before the show they seemed to following something near the camera, perhaps above it. I want to say it wasn't a teleprompter because of the strange pauses in the middle of the sentences, unless the operator wasn't very practiced... As if the prompter operator didn't know enough English to follow along and was waiting to hear that finishing pause before feeding them the next line.

I can't seem to access the Black Swan odd footage anymore, It seemed as if there was a crane shot that was very beautiful and I wished they had used more of these. Other shots were not bad, but seemed a little too wide and thereby losing some strength. There were some poor timing choices for cutting wide, diminishing the height of lifts or the energy of the moment. I feel like they had planned to use more crane shots but were warned off of it, but I have no idea really what was happening. It is just that they seemed to have someone beautifully sensitive to framing on a camera not used very often.

But still, faming could have been like this... (though I am still hoping something was off with the transfer to youtube and that they didn't really cut off the dancer's head. )

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I wish they would use the production team that does Britain's Royal Ballet productions as these seem generally well thought out and sensitively shot, but perhaps there are diplomatic issues that would block this?

To answer your question and mine, the film was directed by Ross MacGibbon, who has oodles of experience shooting the Royal Ballet, and he had an English crew. http://londondance.com/articles/interviews/ross-macgibbon-ballet-3d-live-screen/ So my best guess is that the crane made him temporarily take leave of his senses. At one point, I think at the beginning of the csardas, he even had his "boom mic in the shot" moment where the moving crane was visible at the top of the frame.

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Good lord! I wonder if communications were on the fritz. Something seemed to be putting everyone off their game.

Somewhere in the Ballet Videos etc. forum, perhaps we should put up a list of current dance movie directors and their credits. It might be enlightening to see. There is such an art to presenting ballet on screen. Some do it so very well. I sometimes strongly encourage people to come to the Ballet in Cinema screenings because in my locale this is the only chance they will have to see some of the great productions... but I was burned on the Osipova-Saravanov Giselle and now really hesitate to talk the films up. On the other hand, I regretted not getting everyone out to see the Coppelia. Hard to know in advance, but a list of credits could be a helpful predictor.

Look... Ross MacGibbon even directed a 1996 Mariinsky Swan Lake: http://www.fandango....ography/p278672. And in the article you linked, he says "It will be the sixth production of Swan Lake that I will have directed and I love filming it each and every time.".

I don't know if this is the same production but the same dancers are listed. I don't know.. Ideally, I would have had the camera on the fouett├ęs gradually come in closer and keep her dead center even if she started to drift, but there aren't major gaffes. I wonder if he had the same crew, even if it were an English crew. Is there somewhere to see the full credits? (apologies if I'm not hunting them down effectively). Here's a list of dancer credits, but no camera credits. http://www.mariinsky...et-portrait.pdf Speaking of which, no one has said anything about John Hurt's narration... did it not happen?

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Amy, I like your idea about a credits page, but I wish it would be extended to all genres of dance on film -- I was writing about music videos earlier in the year, and had a miserable time trying to track down simple information (choreographer, performers, director) about some very main stream videos. I know this is a tangential query, but if anyone here knows where I should be looking for those kind of credits, please let me know.

Now, back to the main topic.

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I agree with all the previous posts, but I as most surprised at the bobbles between Kondaurova and Askerov. Nerves? Not sure what happened there. I much more enjoyed her as Odile. She was wonderful there.

I was not impressed with the hostess/narrator. Blech. I also found it VERY long. I understand that this is a 'live' performance, but when it is taped live, cut out the intermissions. We just stood around the movie theater (which was sadly almost empty) waiting, and then waited longer through the 'interviews'.

This is the second ballet movie I have taken my students to and I find the intermissions too long for them. They would do better with the 'electricity' of a full audience during the intermissions, but this was ploddingly long.

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I may be wrong about this, but I don't think they edit the live stream when they broadcast with a tape delay. That's been my experience with the Met in HD "Encores." These are generally edited when they are later shown on PBS, with most, if not all of the interviews at the end or cut.

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I may be wrong about this, but I don't think they edit the live stream when they broadcast with a tape delay. That's been my experience with the Bolshoi "live" ballets -- we're on tape delay in Pacific Time -- and the Met in HD "Encores." The latter are generally edited when they are later shown on PBS, with most, if not all of the interviews at the end or cut.

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The length of these intermissions reminded me of a documentary I saw called Bringing Back Balanchine, relating to NYCB's visit to the Mariinsky Theater a few years ago. During that visit, Gergiev conducted the orchestra, and the intermission was extremely long. I recall Peter Martins making some kind of joke about the fact that he would love to have Gergiev conduct at a NYCB performance in NY, but the intermissions at NYCB are only 20 minutes. So it appears that interminable intermissions are part of the Gergiev modus operandi.

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One way of dealing with intermissions is to delay the start of a transmission. When an opera or ballet is broadcast "live" in many countries, the broadcast actually begins with a delay of 30-45 minutes, which often allows for the elimination of intermissions altogether. During the 100th anniversary performance of The Rite of Spring in Paris, conducted by Gergiev, the "live" online transmission actually started 50 minutes later than the announced start time at the theater, and a pre-recorded intermission feature was still included. With Gergiev on the podium I guess the broadcasters wanted to be super sure that there would be no "dead air."

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I do think that during assisted turns she often looked like she might fall over and that could very well be Askerov's fault. But who knows? I do not think Askerov has the Vaganova/Mariinsky style anyway and he doesn't seem like a very good partner. He does some good things on his own but overall I think they should have picked another male to play Prince Siegfried.

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I'm wondering if Askerov was Kondaurova's choice for that all-important cinemas performance (potentially a DVD in which to be immortalized)? Her usual Siegfried or Solor is Ivanchenko who, for all of his faults, at least is a solid partner. As for Askerov, one can't help wonder if he would have been as klutzy if his usual Odette, Skorik, would have been dancing. (wink) Sometimes it's all about familiarity with a partner, months of experience together, etc.

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I'm wondering if Askerov was Kondaurova's choice for that all-important cinemas performance (potentially a DVD in which to be immortalized)? Her usual Siegfried or Solor is Ivanchenko who, for all of his faults, at least is a solid partner. As for Askerov, one can't help wonder if he would have been as klutzy if his usual Odette, Skorik, would have been dancing. (wink) Sometimes it's all about familiarity with a partner, months of experience together, etc.

I doubt that Askerov would have been her first choice, or that she even had a choice; but what's to be done? You keep your head down, do your job and get on with the show. As I stated in a related thread, Katya Kondaurova deserves a Siegfried who has a pulse. This performance is going to be shown in wide release in Russia starting

June 18: http://www.mariinsky...s2/07_230june1/

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