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Bolshoi premiere of Cranko's "Onegin"

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This is just killing me. I've waited all year in the hopes of seeing Hallberg in Moscow, and I have tickets for the 17th and 20th - such joy! Only to have it dashed away.

Tickets for the 21st are still available.

I am considering it, but even buying third balcony seats pushes my student budget to the limit (and beyond). The only seats available now are all 6300 or 7000 R.

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Strange, I wonder why Zakharova opted out.

I hope videos surface of these performances! I wish all the dancers the best, and for audiences to see great performances. smile.png

I would consider myself very lucky to see any of those dancers live... perhaps some day!

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If Izvestia's anonymous source is to be believed, if the casting "had been in the decision of the stagers, the ballerina, 'known for her respectful attitude toward colleagues,' would have agreed with it. However, according to the publication's source, the ballerina believes that artistic interests in this case were not primary, and the stagers gave in to pressure from the ballet company's leadership, which wished to see in the first cast other dancers, 'who are currently being promoted especially actively.'" The press office of the Stuttgart Ballet insists that the casting decisions were made by Reid Anderson, though apparently he had not yet arrived in Moscow at the time they were announced.

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If Zakharova dropped out because she was angry she didn't get first cast, then she is clearly a very petty individual.

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If Zakharova dropped out because she was angry she didn't get first cast, then she is clearly a very petty individual.

Indeed! It also reflects a callous attitude toward fans who no doubt would like to see her anywhere, anytime. She should consider Sara Lane's approach in SB: take that performance and knock everybody's socks off!

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Anderson Speaks: http://izvestia.ru/news/553183

He seems to claim responsibility for the casting arguing that his priority and duty is to the Cranko choreography and not to any singular individual or to conventional casting traditions.....

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Reid Anderson's version of events.

- In announcing the refusal of Svetlana Zakharova to dance in Onegin, the Bolshoi spokeswoman said that the theater "had no influence over the selection of artists, and all casts were determined by the stagers, in particular, Stuttgart Ballet director Reid Anderson." However, in a February interview with Izvestia Bolshoi Ballet artistic director Sergei Filin, responding to a question about preparations for the premiere, said: "The final lists of artists will be determined by myself and Reid Anderson." What really happened?

- I made the decisions, discussed them with Sergei Filin, and we confirmed them together.

- Were you in contact with Sergei Filin during rehearsals for Onegin?

- Yes.

- Sergei Filin left Moscow in February and has not yet returned. In the spring you brought the Stuttgart Ballet to Moscow on tour and gave an interview to our newspaper. Speaking about the preparations for Onegin, you said that auditions took place January and that now, at the end of April, rehearsals were taking place, but that you were not participating. Since then you have not been in Moscow. You approved the casts and their sequence without seeing the dancers in action?

- When I came to get acquainted with the company a few months ago, I managed to see all the dancers. My assistants [Agneta and Victor Valcu] remained in Moscow to rehearse the ballet with them. Based on their reports and accounts all casts were definitively decided. I will be in Moscow next week for the final rehearsals. I have also seen many Bolshoi dancers in other productions, so I have an idea of ​​some of them.

- At the Bolshoi Theater there are certain traditions, in particular, the first night of a premiere, as a rule, is danced by principals. When you mount Cranko ballets, do you pay attention to the traditions of companies?

- My main priority is that Cranko ballets are staged, rehearsed and performed accurately. I do not take into account the hierarchy of any company. So artists have to make compromises in order to preserve the image of John Cranko’s ballets. I selected artists as I thought necessary for the best performance of their roles. Svetlana Zakharova was cast. If the traditions of the Bolshoi Theater imply that any dancer can demand to be included in the first cast or interfere with casting decisions, then no, I do not stick to these traditions. My understanding of the traditions of the Bolshoi Theater is that regardless of cast sequence or dancer rank, absolutely everyone dances with complete dedication and the full use of their own artistic potential, with absolute respect for the choreographer’s vision and at highest level of quality.

- Have there been similar scandals in your productions of the Cranko heritage?

- No, never. But I do not think a scandal took place here either.

http://izvestia.ru/news/553183

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If Zakharova dropped out because she was angry she didn't get first cast, then she is clearly a very petty individual.

Zakharova had 2. Now Obraztsova has 3 including the final with Hallberg. Smirnova was moved out of the final and not increased to 3. Does this make Onegin casting winner Obraztsova?

Yes, absolutely. But I think Ms Smirnova's name is now even bigger because of all this free PR.

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If Zakharova dropped out because she was angry she didn't get first cast, then she is clearly a very petty individual.

I agree... she herself has been promoted ahead of others constantly throughout her career. Now it is the turn of someone else, such is life.

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If Zakharova dropped out because she was angry she didn't get first cast, then she is clearly a very petty individual.

I agree... she herself has been promoted ahead of others constantly throughout her career. Now it is the turn of someone else, such is life.

I have been Zakharova's long time fan, but her quitting Onegin was disgraceful. When the stars getting aging they should help the young dancers to build their carrier, just like what she herself received in her early year in Mariinsky. Maybe her reaction was just part of bolshoi's or even Russian's tradition? I don't know and I really hope it's not. I would like to see new faces rising when the older generation fades out gradually.

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Reid Anderson's words :

- My main priority is that Cranko ballets are staged, rehearsed and performed accurately. I do not take into account the hierarchy of any company. So artists have to make compromises in order to preserve the image of John Cranko’s ballets.

that make me think of comments from Maya Plisetskaya on Bolero:

flowers.gif

What is the accuracy in re-producing of a ballet, anyway?

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If what we have heard is true, then I don't think Zahkharova should have walked out--of course she doesn't get to decide these things. But that said,I do not think she should be characterized as an aging ballerina whose time it has come to "fade." She could quite certainly have danced the opening and no-one would have blinked or said "she is too old to be a good Tatiana."

To speak more generally, I like to see the next brilliant young ballerina as much as anyone--in fact I am dying to see Smirnova--but companies need to value mature ballerinas at the height of their careers. Nor do I think the way Zakharova was pushed forward super early at the Mariinsky was always to her benefit. She became a better dancer when she left the Mariinsky a little later in her career and started working at the Bolshoi.

In fact, whether or not the Bolshoi administration was involved in this decision, I could not help wondering if the heads of the Bolshoi were not just as happy to avoid giving Halberg the opening Onegin--that is, if they might prefer not to have the company's first performance of Pushkin's iconic hero danced by the American who has been away for a year. And (speculating further), who knows? perhaps as much for his own sake as anything else. Surely critics (and god knows who else) would be waiting to pounce and quite indifferent to Hallberg's success in the role in the United States. The source material is sacred territory for Russian culture even if it's Cranko's ballet and the Stuttgart's signature.

(As an aside: I hope that Vishneva's Bolero was more exciting in the theater than it looked on the video posted above.)

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If what we have heard is true, then I don't think Zahkharova should have walked out--of course she doesn't get to decide these things. But that said,I do not think she should be characterized as an aging ballerina whose time it has come to "fade." She could quite certainly have danced the opening and no-one would have blinked or said "she is too old to be a good Tatiana."

To speak more generally, I like to see the next brilliant young ballerina as much as anyone--in fact I am dying to see Smirnova--but companies need to value mature ballerinas at the height of their careers. Nor do I think the way Zakharova was pushed forward super early at the Mariinsky was always to her benefit. She became a better dancer when she left the Mariinsky a little later in her career and started working at the Bolshoi.

In fact, whether or not the Bolshoi administration was involved in this decision, I could not help wondering if the heads of the Bolshoi were not just as happy to avoid giving Halberg the opening Onegin--that is, if they might prefer not to have the company's first performance of Pushkin's iconic hero danced by the American who has been away for a year. And (speculating further), who knows? perhaps as much for his own sake as anything else. Surely critics (and god knows who else) would be waiting to pounce and quite indifferent to Hallberg's success in the role in the United States. The source material is sacred territory for Russian culture even if it's Cranko's ballet and the Stuttgart's signature.

(As an aside: I hope that Vishneva's Bolero was more exciting in the theater than it looked on the video posted above.)

I do agree that pushing dancers too early isn't always a great thing, but seeing as Zakharova herself benefited from these policies, then maybe she should be more wise and understand it is now the turn of someone else and take it with a grain of salt. I also agree maturing stars should have their place and be appreciated, though that is another topic so I won't go on about it in this context.

I contrast Zakharova's behavior to someone like Obraztsova, who at least appears to be grateful to dance period, even if she is principal and not first cast. Maybe that is the difference between having had to climb the ranks versus having been given everything from the start, who knows. It may build a different character/tough skin to deal with casting decisions that don't always go "your way".

I think Zakharova should have danced it, and she most likely would have done well and appeared to have handled the whole affair with grace and dignity. Of course this is just my opinion.

In the end, this just created more publicity for Smirnova and ended up giving Obraztsova more chances to dance it... good for them I guess.

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...In fact, whether or not the Bolshoi administration was involved in this decision, I could not help wondering if the heads of the Bolshoi were not just as happy to avoid giving Halberg the opening Onegin--that is, if they might prefer not to have the company's first performance of Pushkin's iconic hero danced by the American who has been away for a year....

(As an aside: I hope that Vishneva's Bolero was more exciting in the theater than it looked on the video posted above.)

i agree with Drew that David Hallberg is less likely to attract the proverbial "knives" if he doesn't dance opening night. He also seems to be very gracious to other dancers, including his partners, and has a low maintenance personality, so I think that bodes well for him.

I watched that video and thought Diana Vishneva looked mechanical, lacking in passion (boy I never thought I would type that about Ms Vishneva!)

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Don't forget: Zakharova used to be a member of the ruling party fraction in the Duma (Russian parliament), which, I think, explains a lot in her behavior and attitude. She sees herself not only as a ballet star but also as a Big Boss, so for her getting the opening night is not just a seniority issue, but the indication of her overall status with the company. That's why, imho, she just could not afford to take 'no' for an answer.

Somebody mentioned Lane's approach but just imagine what would happen if S.L. were a congresswoman (let's say, the head of the Means and Appropriations Committee :) ) and were still denied a role she craved to perform. Would she just wait humbly? Or would she use her connections on the Capitol Hill or even in the White House to get her way?

Nah, only in Russia :)

P.S. It is now very interesting to see who will be opening the tours in London and New York. The administration will not have the excuse of 'this is the decision of the Cranko people' anymore, so they can't hide behind it no longer. Neither can Zakharova, of course, which makes both sides' positions much more difficult.

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Bolshoi should have followed ABT Nutcracker example, the first night was "preview" (Part & Gomes, if memory served), the second night was "premier" (Murphy & Hallberg), problem solved.

I don't understand why there's so much drama for a second-rated ballet.

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Bolshoi should have followed ABT Nutcracker example, the first night was "preview" (Part & Gomes, if memory served), the second night was "premier" (Murphy & Hallberg), problem solved.

I don't understand why there's so much drama for a second-rated ballet.

I laughed a little reading your last sentence. 'Cause there's never any unnecessary drama at the Bolshoi wink1.gif .

Anyway, I do sort of doubt they are thinking of Onegin as second-rate--even if they should be--and, whatever one thinks of it, Tatianna is not just any old heroine to a Russian audience...

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I totally disagree that Onegin is a second-rate ballet.

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You beat me to it Katherine! I too disagree that Onegin is anything other than a first rate ballet!

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In fact, whether or not the Bolshoi administration was involved in this decision, I could not help wondering if the heads of the Bolshoi were not just as happy to avoid giving Halberg the opening Onegin--that is, if they might prefer not to have the company's first performance of Pushkin's iconic hero danced by the American who has been away for a year. And (speculating further), who knows? perhaps as much for his own sake as anything else. Surely critics (and god knows who else) would be waiting to pounce and quite indifferent to Hallberg's success in the role in the United States. The source material is sacred territory for Russian culture even if it's Cranko's ballet and the Stuttgart's signature.

Did Zakharova select her partner for herself ?

Do prima-ballerinas or big stars at Bolshoi usually have the advantage to choose whom they want to dance with ?

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P.S. It is now very interesting to see who will be opening the tours in London and New York. The administration will not have the excuse of 'this is the decision of the Cranko people' anymore, so they can't hide behind it no longer. Neither can Zakharova, of course, which makes both sides' positions much more difficult.

Here's part of the answer. The Bolshoi has just posted a video, presumably made for domestic consumption, about its forthcoming visit to London. It's all about Smirnova, which has the potential to tick off not only Zakharova, but also every other principal ballerina on the tour.

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is it a Freudian slip? Mr. Iksanov at 1:36 referred to Smirnova as a principal. (...we'll present a new rising star. it's just 2 years since she joined and has earned a distinguished position in this large company, became a prinicipal, who has the biggest future.....)... as of NOW, the Bolshoi web-site listed her as a 2nd soloist.....

about Zakharova, imho, i support her for walking out of the cluster of intrigues and too much merky waters in the company. Shame on what's happenning to the ballet in Russia, however, it's a reflection of what's happenning in the country. Money makes the (russia) world go round.

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Did Zakharova select her partner for herself ?

Do prima-ballerinas or big stars at Bolshoi usually have the advantage to choose whom they want to dance with ?

The Bolshoi's daily news dispatch today included an interview with Olga Smirnova about preparations for Onegin. She said that the Сranko repetiteurs tried different combinations of dancers before deciding which pairings would work best. She also noted that her initial partner was not ultimately cast in the ballet.

Hallberg arrived in Moscow late, so he would not have participated in this process, but he's danced the ballet before. It's entirely possible that Zakharova spent part of the rehearsal process learning the choreography with the Bolshoi's other Onegins, and that ultimately she was paired with Hallberg almost by default, since, as far as I know, he hasn't danced much, if at all, with the Bolshoi's other Tatianas.

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