abatt

Mariinsky at the Kennedy Center 2013-2014

143 posts in this topic

Welcome to BalletAlert, kika.

You do not yet have 10 substantive posts, so you do not yet have access to personal messaging. Any potential seller can reach you through the CONTACT US link at the top, right-hand side of the screen. The admins will be happy to forward messages to you. However, it might be more timely if you're willing to provide an email address here. That risks spam, but it's up to you.

PS: If you get in, I hope you report on it.

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you for the info Carbro. (I suppose I should get to work on the 10 "substantive" posts...)

Share this post


Link to post

I logged in out of curiosity to see what seats were available. On the first two nights, they have four seats together in the back row, far side of the first tier. That's it. Does Kennedy Center accept donations of tickets people can't use? That might explain it. Nothing else is available for the run, but if other donations come in, that might change.

Those tickets must have disappeared quickly, because I've been checking regularly for the past couple of weeks. I ended up buying a standing room ticket for tonight (Tuesday). There were 4 remaining after I bought mine (the SRO tickets can be bought in person or via phone but not online after 10am the day of the performance, with the exception that SRO tickets can be bought on Saturday for the Sunday performance).

Share this post


Link to post
There is a video clip that I just found of Alina Somova and Alexander Sergeyev in Cinderella ("золушка" -- Алина Сомова). Although Anastasia Matvienko (with Alexander Sergeyev) is listed at the Mariinsky site for that evening (November 14, 2013) it looks like Alina Somova may have appeared instead.


Of all the video clips that I've seen of Alina Somova, the one of her Cinderella from a couple years ago is perhaps the most enchanting. For one thing, there are several very beautiful duets. In the current clip, Alina Somova has returned from maternity leave. Her dancing is lovely and like Svetlana Zakharova, when she returned, Alina Somova has a lovely maturity of expression. Hopefully this will be evident in tonight's Swan Lake and those attending will be witnessing a most beautiful performance.

Share this post


Link to post

Opening night had a rehearsal feel to it. Not at all crisp or clean. Both the leads struggled (e.g., by my count there were only 23 true fouettes).

Share this post


Link to post

Opening night had a rehearsal feel to it. Not at all crisp or clean. Both the leads struggled (e.g., by my count there were only 23 true fouettes).

Although I have never heard of anyone counting fouettes during a performance of Swan Lake, as if it is an Olympic event, I know that both Alina Somova and Viktoria Tereshkina, are the best Mariinsky ballerinas at executing fouettes. I went to Youtube to look at Tereshkina's most recent Don Quixote and went to the video where she does fouettes. Tereshkina used every 4 counts as 2 single and one double, resulting in 24 fouettes,.but 32 revolutions. Alina Somova, prior to her pregnancy, and Tereshkina also, normally would have done more double fouettes than that. I have often seen Somova do single, double, every time, which would result in even fewer fouettes, but definitely not less revolutions.Unless a dancer wants to purposely, slow down the music to fit in 32 fouettes, being with the music is a much higher priority than 32 fouettes and with many double fouettes, 32 fouettes is not possible without slowing down the music and making the fouettes seem dead slow.

Share this post


Link to post

I debated whether or not to use my ticket for last night's opener, given casting changes since I bought it. Despite the awful weather outside, I *did* go last night and was rewarded with mostly-pleasant surprises.

A#1: I never thought I'd live to write this but...Alina Somova is now - finally! - an extraordinarily beautiful Odette and, despite still-clunky fouettes, a delicious Odile. Sensitive, musical, engaged with her Siegfried, even improved in her turn-out. I have never been quite as impressed with a dancer's dramatic improvements as I am with Somova. And I'm not just referring to her 5 extra kilos, dark-brown hair and enhanced lipstick. smile.png

BRAVA, ALINA SOMOVA! (there - I did it! She deserves it.)

On the other hand, Vladimir Schklyarov was a little underwhelming, including visible errors in the A1 garden-party scene and some tension in his lifts, omitting one very famous lift across the stage in the middle of the sc2 "White PDD." Schklyarov's ridiculous 'bubble-top' wig (a-la Ivanchenko on other tours) did not help. Why not wear his own youthful hair? Honestly, I hardly recognized our Siegfried at first.

The A1 Pas de Trois was danced (mostly) cleanly and charmingly by Gonchar, Nikitina and Alexei Popov, who displays long beautiful lines.

The audience went wild for the evening's Jester, Vladislav Shumakov, who, like A.Popov, has glorious long lines...but that's atypical for a Mariinsky Jester.

To me, the outstanding male soloist of the night was Andrei Yermakov as Von Rothbart. Magnificent! This guy should be dancing Siegfried and other princely roles, not masked characters.

Kudos for the female corps of swans, especially the Cygnets (left to right: Firsova, Ivanova, Marchuk & Mikheikina) and Four Big Swans (Brileva, Stepanova, Vasnetsova and Sodoleva). The Act3 "Two Big Swans" were OK, although Viktoria Krasnokutskaya, in the 2nd little solo within the Valse Bluette, had some jerky off-balance moments. (Gonchar, in the first little solo, was lovely, smooth.)

Stand-outs in the A2 national dances were Anna Lavrinenko and Alexei Nedviga in the Neapolitan Dance.

Audience went crazy at the end, with an instant-standing-ovation for the troupe.

I'm looking forward to tonight's cast changes (Kolegova/Zyuzin...and hot-shot newcomer Ernest Latipov in the Pas de Trois), as well as tomorrow's 3rd cast of Yesina/Askerov.

Share this post


Link to post

Opening night had a rehearsal feel to it. Not at all crisp or clean. Both the leads struggled (e.g., by my count there were only 23 true fouettes).

Although I have never heard of anyone counting fouettes during a performance of Swan Lake, as if it is an Olympic event,

I was just using that as an example (when you're standing in the back of the theater, you tend to do strange things smile.png ). Both of them were visibly wobbling on several occasions. I was surprised to see them listed as principal dancers. Vladimir Schklyarov, who played Prince Siegfried, was lacking in dramatic skills, so that many movements, especially arm movements, looked very stiff and unnatural. For me, this ruined the show.

On the other hand, the large ensemble sequences in the first act were impressive (though perhaps I was biased due to the number of extremely pretty women in the corps smile.png ). The guy who played Rothbart danced with great passion, what I expect from a Russian dancer. Unfortunately, in the MB's version Rothbart is a small role (at least compared to the Colorado Ballet's version).

Share this post


Link to post

Hello from D.C.! Natalia, sorry I missed you last night. For any ballet alert people who want to meet up at intermission, meet up spot is the JFK bust or the orchestra level. I'll be going tonight, Thurs and Friday.

I have to agree w. Natalia. Somova is vastly improved as an artist. There is a new maturity in her performance. She did a beautiful job last night. The only thing that still bothers me is the strange way she does her fouettes. Her adagio work was especially impressive. I did not count them, but I would note that she did some doubles (and maybe a triple?) fouettes in the Black Swan section. I was not so impressed w. Schklyarov. Last night he seemed like he was out of it. He improved somewhat during the black swan act, but overall it was not an impressive display. Have to agree that the Joker and Rothbart were wonderful. They easily eclipsed Schklyarov. Among the supporting players, I very much enjoyed one of the female Spanish dancers.

Share this post


Link to post

Abatt, even though we could not meet yesterday, it seems like we are in total agreement. re. Spanish Ladies - the one in the dark dress was Sheviakova and the one in the light dress was Petushkova...who should go back to being her natural brunette self, as that blonde wig did nothing for her.

Somova began the fouettes with 'single-single-double...single-single-double.' There were no triples. The second half were all singles, punched out in a rather mechanical manner but, hey, she punched them out, then finished with rather ungainly 4th-position pose. This was the only part of the performance that reminded us of the old Somova.

Oh, I forgot to mention another positive: Somova hardly mugged her old smile at the audience. Rather, we saw the old hee-haw smile only when Siegfried proposed to Odile, which made the big laughing smile appropriate.

I usually buy tix in the uppermost tier, way to the side near wall, to save $$$ (so if people closer to the aisle don't get up for intermission, I have to push my way through). I wish that I could snap my fingers and jump down to the Kennedy bust for meet ups at intermission...will definitely try. At least, will look for folks, to say 'hi,' before I go up to take my seat. smile.png

Share this post


Link to post

Hi everyone,

I attended last night's peformance as well and do not have too much time to write now but wanted to share a few thoughts. Overall I enjoyed the performance very much, but I thought that the first act in particular looked a bit off in places. Shklyarov seemed off during the first act but I actually thought that he danced quite well in the remaining acts.

This was my first time to see Alina Somova and I chose the casting precisely because I had read so many different points of view about her dancing and was very curious to see for myself what she was all about. I have to say that it was a strange experience for me because I found some parts of her dancing to be so very exquisite (her Odette, and especially the pas de deux, brought my friend and I to tears), yet throughout the performance there would be technical issues that would distract me from what was otherwise a gorgeous interpretation. What bothered most was that each time she did pique turns, it looked as if her working leg in posse was almost completely turned in, and at times it seemed she was compensating for a turned in leg by sickling her foot. I still need to try to get my head around the performance and do not have the benefit of seeing throughout the years how her interpretations and technique may have changed/improved. But it struck me as very unusual to see a principal dancer of her caliber taking these kinds of technical liberties. That said, I admired her passion, energy and artistry very much--I would much rather see this kind of performance than a passionless performance from a dancer afraid to take risks.

Shumakov's brilliant dancing and personality as the Joker practically stole the show for me last night. I enjoyed the corps very much as well although at times during Act II I thought some of the dancers looked a bit stiff.

More later--would love to hear more impressions of Somova's dancing last night.

Ashley

Share this post


Link to post

So glad to hear that Somova has improved - now I'm REALLY looking forward to this weekend. Strange to hear all the reports about Schklyarov's difficulties - that's very unusual. He is usually spot on technically and a very good actor.

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you Natalia your report! I am extremely happy to hear that Somova has greatly improved! I am so glad to learn that this was a personal best performance for her. May she continue to go from strength to strength not only in this role but the rest of her repertoire. Brava Alina flowers.gif!

Share this post


Link to post

I agree with Natalia and abatt. Somova is vastly improved. Her technique is so much cleaner than when I saw her five or six years ago. She has grown as an artist. I found her performance very moving, especially as Odette. I'm not going to make a point of seeing her, but after last night I don't think I will run to exchange my tickets the way I used to.

Sklyarov was bit remote, but I think he warmed up as the performance went on (and how cute was he giving his first and second bouquets to Alina), and he technique was gorgeous, as per usual. I was very impressed with Popov in the pd3.


This was my first time to see Alina Somova and I chose the casting precisely because I had read so many different points of view about her dancing and was very curious to see for myself what she was all about. I have to say that it was a strange experience for me because I found some parts of her dancing to be so very exquisite (her Odette, and especially the pas de deux, brought my friend and I to tears), yet throughout the performance there would be technical issues that would distract me from what was otherwise a gorgeous interpretation. What bothered most was that each time she did pique turns, it looked as if her working leg in posse was almost completely turned in, and at times it seemed she was compensating for a turned in leg by sickling her foot. I still need to try to get my head around the performance and do not have the benefit of seeing throughout the years how her interpretations and technique may have changed/improved. But it struck me as very unusual to see a principal dancer of her caliber taking these kinds of technical liberties. That said, I admired her passion, energy and artistry very much--I would much rather see this kind of performance than a passionless performance from a dancer afraid to take risks.

Loss of turnout (not just in passe but in arabesque derriere) and sickled feet are not technical liberties. They are poor technique. But she's clearly working on improving, which counts for something IMO.

I didn't think the fouettes were too bad (I will never get used to Russian fouettes -- they look so jerky!) but she did nearly back up on the throne while doing them. For me her weakest moment technically was the start of the Odile variation. She collapses inward on turns (I think she lets her shoulders cave in), which made that very difficult beginning to the variation not so attractive. Plus she made the sequence significantly easier - no en tournant in the pas de bourrees and no frappes at all.

Share this post


Link to post

I was a bit surprised that the lone American on the company's roster, Keenan Kampa, is not on this tour. Also, no Xander Parish, the British member of the troupe, who often dances the Swan lake pas de trois. Very odd. On the other hand, the playbill lists newcomer Alexandra Somova ("lil' sister") as a member of the corps.

I'm guessing that those-not-here went to Copenhagen earlier this month. Fateev is 'spreading the wealth' for touring opportunities, it seems.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm surprised to hear that the overhead diagonal lifts in Act 2 were omitted. I had read reports of tours from other cities that mentioned the omission of the Act 2 lifts but thought that was a one-off thing. Is it now standard practice to omit the Act 2 lifts?

As for the post-baby Somova, here's a video that shows that indeed, she seems to have gained some weight and also muscle tone in her upper and lower body.

Share this post


Link to post

….I found some parts of her dancing to be so very exquisite (her Odette, and especially the pas de deux, brought my friend and I to tears)….

I've had the great pleasure of seeing only fine live performances by Alina Somova over the years.

Not to ignore the rest of your post, Ashley, but of all her qualities, your choice of words, "so very exquisite", is what keeps me glued to her. I hope that she shines brighter and brighter in this regard. I group her with Ulyana Lopatkina, Oxana Skorik, Olga Esina and others at the Mariinsky because of their long-lined, airy and dreamlike beauty. I'm so glad that so many enjoyed her performance and there should be very fine ones as well from Anastasia Kolegova and Olga Esina.

Share this post


Link to post

I saw last night's performance with Somova and Shklyarov and also the afternoon rehearsal with Kolegova and Zyuzin.



Had not seen Somova dance in the last three years. She's developed artistically. Her Odette was elegant and emotional, and very detailed. Many individual moments where she used everything-- arms, head, eyes and tempo--to express Odette. She has more control of her flexibilty, and made use of it with some exquisitely felt attitudes and a really perfect yearning stretch of upper body. I don't know if it was always there, but she has a glamorous stage presence and I noticed it last night. She has that glow about her.



Opening night of a tour is difficult. She had great energy and attack, but sometimes, as Odile, it looked a bit out of control. The fouettes were fast and became somewhat wild-looking, and with an incompletely stretched working leg after the first few singles and doubles (the Russian a la seconde style can be awkward) and, some of Odile's attitude turns were too fast and "spinny" and instead of clearly stopping, she just took the energy from the fast turn straight into the next moment, so your eye picks up that something is wrong and finessed, rather than mastered. It broke the integrity of the variation for a moment or two. Maybe by Friday things will settle. She had a striking balance in a very high split a la seconde developpe in the pas de deux, but a member of the audience emitted an exclamation ("ooooohhhh!") while it was still being held (I think), so perhaps we missed an extra-long balance. She had some gorgeous gleaming Odile moments, but I did more especially like her Odette.



Along with others here, I also notice the turned-in passe in the pique turns. But in fact many of the Russian dancers in various companies do the same. It's as if for a moment they stop being classically-trained dancers, and step up on their pointes and spin around on one leg for fun. It's eccentric, and you get used to it as part of the deal, along with the sometimes thudding landings which last night made the corps at times sound like a herd.



Shklyarov is pleasant-looking on stage and has beautiful lines, but he seemed a bit "not quite on" last night. The jumps were nice, but the turns were forced and his performance seemed a bit vague and far away. I remember him running a lot, and some elegant arabesques, and some good jumps, but he never really danced. A wonderful performer having an off night maybe. In any case, I did muse on what a great partner last night's von Rothbart might be for Somova.



In the Spanish variation both girls were good, particularly the blonde (on right). I don't know these dancers' names, alas. As one of the two swans, Gonchar had some beautifully smooth and lyrical moments, especially on the diagonal.



The jester was, for me, a joy to watch. He has good lines and nice feet, and his dancing had an ease and elasticity to it, with beautiful jumps and no jarring landings nor forced turns. He also had a perfectly mischievous stage presence. He was playful and naturally virtuosic, rather than determinedly showy. I remember some particularly high beautiful tours in cleanly-placed passe.



In the afternoon I saw Kolegova and Szusin rehearse. It always seems slightly unfair to comment much on reheasals, as dancers may be marking and you don't really know how they will look when they actually perform the role. Kolegova has a pretty face framed with dark hair, like a Disney fairy-tale beauty. She seemed to have a very solid and attractive technique, soft Odette arms and nice lines. I really admired her technique and quiet strength and control. In rehearsal (in performance who knows) she seemed aloof and introverted, but not necessarily in a way that expresses Odette. But she was nice to just watch for awhile. After a few minutes my attention strayed to corps members and I noticed some talented young dancers, which is always reassuring.



All in all it was a good experience yesterday. I do wish I had waited until later in the run. I laugh as I remember that opening night was in past years usually eventful in silly ways, with dropped chalices, small slippery stumbles in variations, and late entrances. It never really bothered me as long as there was good dancing anyway. But as Somova seems to have grown so much, I wish I had seen her later in the run, on the chance that after opening night she may settle down and really show the extent of her development.

Share this post


Link to post

She has that glow about her.

I saw Alina Somova at the stage door several years ago in London after performing a long Swan Lake and she was exactly the same in real life (and extremely nice and attentive to those wishing autographs and conversation.)

Share this post


Link to post

I was a bit surprised that the lone American on the company's roster, Keenan Kampa, is not on this tour. Also, no Xander Parish, the British member of the troupe, who often dances the Swan lake pas de trois. Very odd. On the other hand, the playbill lists newcomer Alexandra Somova ("lil' sister") as a member of the corps.

I'm guessing that those-not-here went to Copenhagen earlier this month. Fateev is 'spreading the wealth' for touring opportunities, it seems.

Kampa just had hip surgery- don't know how long she'll be out for but expect it might be a while.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm surprised to hear that the overhead diagonal lifts in Act 2 were omitted. I had read reports of tours from other cities that mentioned the omission of the Act 2 lifts but thought that was a one-off thing. Is it now standard practice to omit the Act 2 lifts?

So sorry to hear about Keenan's hip surgery, amiaow. I hope that she has a speedy and very successful recovery.
In regard to the overhead lifts, at the last nine Mariinsky Festivals I believe that they've always been performed by both home and guest artists (including the one Festival when Swan Lake was performed six times!). This is my only knowledge of what might happen on the home stage.
I was at one Chicago string, 2006, and only one of the three ballerinas did them. I got a feeing that they were taking it easy on that tour. Alina Somova did them in London in 2011. As I recall one ballerina did them in one out of three performances while the other two did them both times in Costa Mesa, 2013. In Naples, Italy last autumn, I believe two of the three ballerinas omitted them. My guess is that it's more likely to occur in places that aren't familiar with the Mariinsky. I don't mean to imply that they lower their standards overall, because from what I've seen they don't. This is the only major technical challenge that I've noticed omitted.
Is that more than you ever wanted to know about this? Just trying to keep the ball rolling until we start hearing about the next performance. happy.png
Added comment:
Rock the house, Anastasia !

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks so much for your perspectives on Somova--very helpful since as a first time viewer, you only get a snapshot and not the full picture. What an exquisite Odette and, yes, with some technical issues as Odile, but it does mean a lot that she has improved so much over the years. I have had many opportunities to follow NYCB and ABT through the years but have seen very little of the Russian companies and so do not have the same perspective on or knowledge of their style or dancers. I have to say that I tend to favor the American companies but I think it may be because it is just logistically easier to follow them and become familiar with their individual dancers at all levels in the company. So I very much appreciate hearing the perspectives of others who love and know the Russian dancers so well.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm surprised to hear that the overhead diagonal lifts in Act 2 were omitted. I had read reports of tours from other cities that mentioned the omission of the Act 2 lifts but thought that was a one-off thing. Is it now standard practice to omit the Act 2 lifts?

So sorry to hear about Keenan's hip surgery, amiaow. I hope that she has a speedy and very successful recovery.

In regard to the overhead lifts, at the last nine Mariinsky Festivals I believe that they've always been performed by both home and guest artists (including the one Festival when Swan Lake was performed six times!). This is my only knowledge of what might happen on the home stage.

I was at one Chicago string, 2006, and only one of the three ballerinas did them. I got a feeing that they were taking it easy on that tour. Alina Somova did them in London in 2011. As I recall one ballerina did them in one out of three performances while the other two did them both times in Costa Mesa, 2013. In Naples, Italy last autumn, I believe two of the three ballerinas omitted them. My guess is that it's more likely to occur in places that aren't familiar with the Mariinsky. I don't mean to imply that they lower their standards overall, because from what I've seen they don't. This is the only major technical challenge that I've noticed omitted.

Is that more than you ever wanted to know about this? Just trying to keep the ball rolling until we start hearing about the next performance. :happy:

Added comment:

Rock the house, Anastasia !

Thanks Buddy! It's interesting that they're always performed at home but seem to be at the dancers' discretion on tour. It's kind of an iconic move too.

Share this post


Link to post

Day 2 (Wednesday): I was much happier with the pair of Anastasia Kolegova and Maxim Zyuzin. None of the off-balance stumbling that plagued the Tuesday pair. Zyuzin made all the movements seem natural, as opposed to Vladimir Shkyarov, who danced like someone who was just learning the part.

Share this post


Link to post