I was very gratefully able to see almost every performance this year.
Some Personal Highlights
Some year’s there is a Festival performance that I consider among the best that I’ve ever seen. These have included Ulyana Lopatkina’s Swan Lake and both Alina Cojocaru and Svetlana Zakharova’s Giselle. Other performances perhaps of this level were Viktoria Tereshkina, Yekaterina Kondaurova, Gillian Murphy and Olga Esina's Swan Lake, all of Alina Cojocaru's other four full length classics and Yekaterina Kondaurova’s performance of all the leads in George Balanchine’s Jewels trilogy last year.
This year there were Two unqualified ‘Greatest Performances’ —
Alina Somova’s ’The Swan’ (Fokine)
Diana Vishneva’s Woman In A Room (Carlson)
’The Swan’ (Fokine) — Subtly and Remarkably Original. Flawlessly Presented and Compellingly Poetic.
La Bayadere — Beautifully performed and consistently fine throughout. The best I’ve seen her do until her ’Swan’ several days later.
She also did very well the second night in Sylvia, with a total of two full length works and one shorter one, making her perhaps the star artist this year. Last year Yekaterina Kondaurova seemed to be performing almost every night, to the extent that I was calling the Festival (to myself) The Yekaterina Kondaurova International Ballet Festival.
Woman In A Room (Carlson) — Probably the finest ‘modern’ dance performance that I’ve ever seen. Her use of everything from standing still to the finest of ballet motion could make it a model for the expanding of lyrically beautiful dance into the entire range of theatrical expression.
Swan Lake — The best that I’ve seen her do. Magnificent !
Swan Lake — Precious and Charming ! A pure delight of a performance !
Giselle — Poetically beautiful in her presentation and technically fine and highly enjoyable in her dancing.
Seven Sonatas (Ratmansky) — Once again she created her own world of beautiful dance and compelling enchantment as only she can do. She’s among my several favorite ballerinas in the world today and one of its greatest. It was wonderful to finally see her here and I hope that it will happen again often.
Sylvia (Ashton) — Wonderfully crafted with the fineness of each nuance.
La Bayadere, Infra (McGregor) and Concerto DSCH (Ratmanksy) — He can switch from classical to modern with ease and equal proficiency. He’s a one of a kind artistic phenomenon of the highest order !
Sylvia (Ashton) — He is Shakespearian in his presence and masculinely elegant in his motion.
Symphony in C (Balanchine) — A finely crafted dancer with a subtle essence of nobility.
There are, of course, so many more outstanding artists and performances that deserve mention.
Once again, this was one of the finest overall Mariinsky Festivals that I’ve seen in ten years.