Lynette H

July - Aug 2014 at the Royal Opera House

161 posts in this topic

Ticket sales for the Mariinsky engagement at the ROH seem surprisingly slow. The Firebird mixed bill is close to sold out as are a couple of the Swan Lakes, but there is still good availability for a number of performances (more than 100 seats available showing on the web site for many dates at present). This is quite a surprise, unlike previous visits.

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Given that the start of the tour is two weeks away, it is surprising to see so many tickets available, though most of the unsold seats are up in the Amphitheatre. Does the Mariinsky lack for familiar names? Are people worried that more cast changes may be coming? (I would think that Tereshkina's Swan Lake on August 13 would be an easy sell, but by the late stages of a tour, original casting has often gone out the window.) Are audiences so fond of the Royal Ballet's own productions that Lavrovsky's Romeo & Juliet, Balanchine's Midsummer Night's Dream and Ratmansky's Cinderella are of little interest to them?

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Are audiences so fond of the Royal Ballet's own productions that Lavrovsky's Romeo & Juliet, Balanchine's Midsummer Night's Dream and Ratmansky's Cinderella are of little interest to them?

Probably yeah, but to be honest, what's there to like about Ratmansky's Cinderella? I was meant to go and see it with Maria Shirinkina and Vladimir Shklyarov, but because she's now on maternity leave, that's not going to happen now. I was only going for the dancers, not the production.

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Does the Mariinsky lack for familiar names? Are people worried that more cast changes may be coming?

If the names of Lopatkina and Vishneva are not considered "familiar", then which are?

Two years ago Mariinsky came to California with a block of «Swan Lakes». Not a single one of the 6 I saw was sold out. The principals were Kondaurova, Skoryk and Kolegova (Stepanova was dancing one of the four Big Swans and Spanish Dance). Up to the beginning of each show one still could buy tickets for any one of them. From California Fateev went to Washington, D.C., with just Ratmansky's «Cinderella», nothing else. That was an unforgivable blunder: scores who came to see the "great ballet company" were irritated, many were leaving during the intermission. Compared to that the repertoire of the London tour must be considered attractive.

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If the names of Lopatkina and Vishneva are not considered "familiar", then which are?

I would have thought so too, but many tickets for Lopatkina's Titania remain unsold.

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I went to the Washington DC Mariinsky Swan Lake's in Feb of this year. Every performance was sold out, even though none of the Big Guns (Lopatkina, Kondaurova, Vishneva, Tereshkina) performed.

In contrast, when the Mariinsky brought Ratmansky's Cinderella a few years ago to DC, they were giving out discount offers to unload unsold tickets.

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Ekaterina will be very pleased upon learning that in the U.S she is counted among "the Big Guns".

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Kondaurova is a great favorite with US audiences. Unfortunately, not all Bolshoi and Mariinsky dancers we fall in love with here get the same respect as at home, but many of us are happy that she's risen.

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... her last «Swan Lake» showed something I did not expect and wasn't ready for, something we haven't been seeing on the ballet stages for ages, not in terms of "pyrotechnics" — in terms of the profundity of feeling expressed in the utmost delicate and nuanced manner entirely within the idiom of classical dance. Last Sunday she embodied the unhappiness and fragility of Odette as I can't recall ever seeing. Her "white acts" were not about "beautiful lines" but about vulnerable nobility of feeling and suffering. I still can't find proper words for what I saw on Sunday, the experience was so overwhelming and transforming. Now I would risk saying, it affected me more than seeing Ulyana Lopatkina at the height of her artistic powers in the same role.

I already wanted to see her in this role, and now I am dying to!

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I sat in the first box to the left of the coaches' box for every performance I attended, and it was interesting that Kondaurova sat in the coaches' box many times while I was there. I can't say she sat there every night, but I saw her quite often. I figured she was learning the role of Marguerite, but then she sat there for possibly all 3 Bayaderes, a role she has danced many times to my knowledge.

I actually think she has a very strong on-stage personality so she is best at things like Street Dancer, Carmen, Odile, Myrthe, and Medora. If I were in charge of casting I would never cast her as Giselle, for example. But maybe she would surprise me and would be able to be "gentle." I like her, so I don't mean this as a criticism. I just think she is a very strong personality which actually limits her in the roles she fits (my personal opinion).

But for her fans, in person she looks very glamorous without seeming to try!!! Her style is very European and someone that makes heads turn. She is someone you do not miss in a crowd.

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The official Mariinsky tour poster on the wall of the Royal Opera House (Yulia Stepanova has become the "face" of the tour)

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Casting for early August at the Mariinsky theatre is up, meaning we can see who will surely NOT be in London.

David Zaleyev, Elena Yevseyeva and Sofya Ivanova-Skoblikova all have Swan Lake pas de trois in their repertoire, but won't be dancing on the tour.

Novikova and Kolegova seem to be the ones who have to guard the home theatre, but it's nice that they get to dance a little more now. (Also, Oksana Bondareva and Kristina Shapran get to dance lead roles, and there also is the guest performance by Veronika Part)

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Tonight the first «Swan Lake»:

Rothbart - Konstantin Zveryov

The Prince’s Friends - Ekaterina Ivannikova, Nadezhda Batoeva, Kim Kimin

Cygnets - Anastasia Asaben, Oksana Marchuk, Anastasia Mikheikina, Elena Firsova

Big Swans - Viktoria Brilyova, Alisa Sodolyova, Yulianna Chereshkevich, Zlata Yalinich

Two Swans - Viktoria Krasnokutskaya, Anastasia Nikitina

Spanish Dance - Viktoria Brilyova, Anastasia Petushkova, Yaroslav Pushkov, Kamil Yangurazov

Neapolitan Dance - Anna Lavrinenko, Alexei Nedviga

Hungarian Dance - Olga Belik, Boris Zhurikov

Mazurka - Ksenia Dubrovina, Elena Androsova, Ekaterina Bondarenko, Maria Shevyakova, Dmitri Sharapov, Roman Belyakov, Maxim Petrov, Vadim Belyaev

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In terms of finesse and image construction, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that Stepanova's third «Swan Lake» was a historical performance. I simply can't remember seeing anything comparable. Yulia's upper body was absolutely magnetic throughout, her wrists and hands undulating and fluttering like wings of a butterfly.

Next to me a very seasoned British balletomane was comparing what she was seeing with the last year's Smirnova's «Swan Lake» while making some very perceptive comments about Stepanova's Odile. That was indeed the greatest surprise for me. In her two previous «Swan Lakes» Yulia was searching, on her third attempt she found it: the adagio of the Black Pas de deux was among the finest I ever saw.

Xander Parish was a better partner than on the two previous occasions, in their duets that were much smoother he was mostly invisible, which is in a way a compliment. In particular, the White Pas de deux was very delicate and smooth. Yulia's delicate touch predictably didn't deliver the punch and excitement in the variations of Odile that technicians à la Tereshkina can deliver. I can see in the future, however, a highly polished elegance instead of showmanship.

The last act was again as fine as on July 6 (and that was a revelation), with the Waking up-Apotheosis a tad more convincing.

After the two White and the Black act there was a deafening thunderous applause.

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Thank you for your report, wish I could've been there and I'm glad to hear the audience loved it. Did anyone stand out in the minor roles?

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The thing that struck me when I saw her on July 6 was that she was the first Odette that made me like the final act and find it interesting. She conveyed a sense of being crushed, so you felt for her. And after Rothbart was defeated she was radiant.

Thank you for your report! I am very interested in following her career!

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Thank you for the report. And how lucky you are to witness this historical moment. I wish the MT will also take her on other tours frequently :)

Same question: what about the minor parts? Were Nikitina and Krasnokutskaya the two swans in the second performance? It would just be amazing to see both of them, as well as Marchuk, Brileva, Batoeva, Petushkova, Bondarenko, Chereshkovich and Sodoleva all in the same performance, and of course, Yulia Stepanova.

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Saturday, August 2 matinée

Odette & Odile - Yulia Stepanova

Prince Siegfried - Xander Parish

Rothbart - Andrei Ermakov

The Prince's Friends - Anastasia Nikitina, Nadezhda Gonchar, Vasily Tkachenko

Cygnets - Anastasia Asaben, Oksana Marchuk, Anastasia Mikheikina, Elena Firsova

Big Swans - Viktoria Brilyova, Alisa Sodolyova, Yulianna Chereshkevich, Zlata Yalinich

Two Swans - Nadezhda Batoeva, Nadezhda Gonchar

Spanish Dance - Viktoria Brilyova, Anastasia Petushkova, Yaroslav Pushkov, Kamil Yangurazov

Neapolitan Dance - Oksana Marchuk, Oleg Demchenko

Hungarian Dance - Ksenia Dubrovina, Kirill Leontyev

Mazurka - Olga Belik, Elena Androsova, Ekaterina Bondarenko, Maria Shevyakova, Dmitri Sharapov, Roman Belyakov, Maxim Petrov, Vadim Belyaev

The Pas de trois of the First Act wasn't memorable. Nikitina the only one refined of the three.

The Cygnets, the Big Swans and the corps de ballet in the White acts were what you come to expect from Mariinsky (their Grishko pointes were distinctly noisy on the ROH stage surface). Compared to the phenomenal expansiveness and amount of nuance in Stepanova's interpretation they felt subdued and remote as if all the Swans were immersed in a state of trance.

Ermakov was razor sharp as Rothbart, on one occasion the flap of his wing entangling Odette so tight that Yulia freed herself from his embrace with difficulty.

The Saturday evening cast identical to the Friday night except for the two principals and Filip Styopin replacing Kim Kimin in Pas de trois.

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The Sat eve pd3 man was Filipp Stepin, on Fri eve it was Kimin Kim. Both were excellent and much better than Vasily Tkachenko at the Sat matinee.

For me, Yulia's best act was the final one, her "fluttering and undulating" hands were really quite extraordinary. I'm disappointed she only has one performance because I felt that in Acts 1 & 2 she was quite tense, her performance was more relaxed at the rehearsal. Unfortunately,I didn't think she and her partner were well suited. I also saw Skorik/Askerov Act 1 on Friday evening and Tereshkina/Shklyarov gave a masterclass on stage on Saturday evening.

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The Sat eve pd3 man was Filipp Stepin, on Fri eve it was Kimin Kim. Both were excellent and much better than Vasily Tkachenko at the Sat matinee.For me, Yulia's best act was the final one, her "fluttering and undulating" hands were really quite extraordinary. I'm disappointed she only has one performance because I felt that in Acts 1 & 2 she was quite tense, her performance was more relaxed at the rehearsal. Unfortunately,I didn't think she and her partner were well suited. I also saw Skorik/Askerov Act 1 on Friday evening and Tereshkina/Shklyarov gave a masterclass on stage on Saturday evening.

Sorry for the oversight re. Styopin. I didn't mention Tkachenko since I don't like mentioning in public disappointing performances. Yulia didn't seem to me tense which is not to say that she possibly felt more relaxed at the rehearsal. In the last act Yulia has already reached near-perfection. I never saw this better done.

My impression is that yesterday's performance could have been on the other hand affected by too many distractions that Parish is daily facing in London. On June 6 he was in love with Odette, yesterday I had an impression his thoughts were elsewhere.

In «Swan Lake» I value more tenderness, delicacy of movement and, honestly, going for fireworks in a few variations often associates in my mind with vulgarity. Some time ago I realized that I would give up all the fouetté in the world for the "poetry of wrists".

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The Sat eve pd3 man was Filipp Stepin, on Fri eve it was Kimin Kim. Both were excellent and much better than Vasily Tkachenko at the Sat matinee.For me, Yulia's best act was the final one, her "fluttering and undulating" hands were really quite extraordinary. I'm disappointed she only has one performance because I felt that in Acts 1 & 2 she was quite tense, her performance was more relaxed at the rehearsal. Unfortunately,I didn't think she and her partner were well suited. I also saw Skorik/Askerov Act 1 on Friday evening and Tereshkina/Shklyarov gave a masterclass on stage on Saturday evening.

Sorry for the oversight re. Styopin. I didn't mention Tkachenko since I don't like mentioning in public disappointing performances. Yulia didn't seem to me tense which is not to say that she possibly felt more relaxed at the rehearsal. In the last act Yulia has already reached near-perfection. I never saw this better done.

My impression is that yestarday's performance could have been on the other hand affected by too many distractions that Parish is daily facing in London. On June 6 he was in love with Odette, yesterday I had an impression his thoughts were elsewhere.

In «Swan Lake» I value more tenderness, delicacy of movement and, honestly, going for fireworks in a few variations often associates in my mind with vulgarity. Some time ago I realized that I would give up all the fouetté in the world for the "poetry of wrists".

I didn't think she was tense either and I was sitting near enough to the stage to see her face clearly. There was certainly no tension in her movement - far from it; the softness and fluidity of her movement is one of the defining characteristics of her dancing.

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Fair enough re Tkachenko, his performance was perfectly respectable though, just not in the class of the other two. I understand what you mean by vulgarity but I didn't see it in Tereshkina/Shklyarov. They didn't overstep the boundaries & their performance was less about fireworks for the sake of it & more about artistry.

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They certainly form a very cohesive couple, both have been given countless opportunities to perfect that. I remember how impressed, initially, I was when seeing their «Don Quixote» in the Spring, yet my Petersburg friends surprised me by questioning the Artistry of what I saw. Confronted with it, and watching Teryoshkina/Shklyarov a few more times, I accept they were right, and I am not taking away anything from Teryoshkina's technical mastery.

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Interesting to hear that. Living in London for many years I am inevitably more used to watching the Royal Ballet where acting & emoting are an important part of performances. When I first saw Mariinsky years ago it seemed odd and remote to me, I just didn't get it, but as I watch more I see that dancers speak with their body although I think I still prefer more obvious emotional style in a performance. Is what I call this remote style what your St Petersburg friends mean by "Artistry" or is it simply showiness ? Who has Artistry at the company today ? Is it this that russian ballet lovers think is disappearing from Mariinsky ?

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