Lynette H

July - Aug 2014 at the Royal Opera House

161 posts in this topic

We don't know if he did, although most of the time a choreographer of Ratmansky's reknown does pick or at least influence the choices heavily, but he doesn't have to have seen her on stage to cast anyone.

It is a norm everywhere that the (living) choreographer has a say (and often his voice is deciding) in the casting decisions when the premiere of one of his creations is being prepared by whatever company. The premiere of «DSCH» at Mariinsky was prepared in the Spring 2013 when Renata Shakirova could not have been even considered as she was a 7th grader at the Vaganova Academy.

From that premiere, by the way, I remember how remarkable Svetlana Ivanova was (compared to others).

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It depends on the company and the choreographer and how much each wants the work to be performed given the demands/requirements of the other. It depends upon availability of dancers, especially in a mixed bill program and when only part of the company is on tour, and on time constraints. Stagers can have the same authority or lack of it. It is my guess that Ratmansky trusts his wife implicitly and gives her free reign and/or they discuss and come up with a decision together, when it is their decision to make.

According to your own post in the Vaganova graduation thread, "Concerning Shakirova: over the last two years Renata has been given multiple opportunities to perform with the Mariinsky troupe (she is expected to dance, for example, on July 17 in Concerto DSCH). This explains the level of assuredness and ease she is displaying on stage." The 2013 premiere was less than two years ago, and he and/or his wife might have very well seen her then.

On the other hand, Ratmansky didn't have to see Shakirova dance during the time of the premiere, nor did his wife. They've both got eyes, ears, and wide networks, and if Shakirova had been cast as a 7th-grader or 8th-grader, she may have come to their attention through management, colleagues, video, etc., or she may have been cast on the basis of class as late as the casting process.

We won't know who cast her unless there is official news about it. If he did cast Shakirova, she would have appealed to him or to his wife, if she did the casting.

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It is a norm everywhere that the (living) choreographer has a say (and often his voice is deciding) in the casting decisions

I was going to say that it would be tricky for a dead choreographer to make casting decisions, but I suppose they could have left instructions.

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To clear a possible misunderstanding: seeing Shakirova's name in the cast for «DSCH» didn't surprise me at all and, of course, I remember that she was dancing «DSCH» in July. In my original post I simply said that she didn't impress me on August 12. I saw her on several occasions before, so I know her as a dancer quite well.

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Not exactly. "Lowly Coryphée", Svetlana Ivanova, absent in London, was the highlight of previous «DSCH» performances.

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Renata Shakirova has the distinction of being the ONLY Vaganova student not even in her graduate year to be given solo roles with the Mariinsky - amongst her roles are Florine, Little Swan, Juliet's Friend, Amor. lead girl in Rubies, soloist in Concerto DSCH, Terpsichore. She has a resume most corps and coryphee dancers must envy. .

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Thanks so much for the link to the performance -- we're seeing this here in Seattle again next spring and I'm very glad to get another look in advance!

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Thanks so much for the link to the performance -- we're seeing this here in Seattle again next spring and I'm very glad to get another look in advance!

I've just looked at parts of the DSCH video, but I believe that I saw the same cast in St. Petersburg in April about two months later. If you like what you see here, sandik, I think you'll like it live much better. Once again the performance I saw seemed much more alive as almost all real performances have been compared to their video recordings. I was delighted with the vibrance of it all, Kimin Kim being outstanding. A beautiful contrast was Svetlana Ivanova, who did not appear in London in the central duet, but was a portrait in calm and loveliness as well as handling being flipped around with remarkably fine agility.

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Thanks so much for the link to the performance -- we're seeing this here in Seattle again next spring and I'm very glad to get another look in advance!

I've just looked at parts of the DSCH video, but I believe that I saw the same cast in St. Petersburg in April about two months later. If you like what you see here, sandik, I think you'll like it live much better. Once again the performance I saw seemed much more alive as almost all real performances have been compared to their video recordings. I was delighted with the vibrance of it all, Kimin Kim being outstanding. A beautiful contrast was Svetlana Ivanova, who did not appear in London in the central duet, but was a portrait in calm and loveliness as well as handling being flipped around with remarkably fine agility.

Live is indeed almost always better. PNB added this to their rep in 2011 and I'm so glad to be getting another go at it.

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I also had really good glasses and a view from the stalls circle. Anyway, if the Mariinsky said it was Kamil then the photo of him on the Mariinsky website can't be right for sure that wasn't the guy doing those jumps.....

You're right. The photo in the programme and on the website absolutely does not look like the photo I took. But who am I to argue with the Mariinsky.

I also saw DSCH, and also have seen Kamil Yangurazov dancing many times. He is tall, dark haired with distinctive facial features. He was in that performance but it was definitely not him doing those high jumps. From the photograph I would say it is Boris Zhurilov, who is in the corps and more usually seen in character roles. What a shame when he is such a good jumper.

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I've left London and didn't get to see Cinderella. Would love to hear about it as well as the last 2 Swan Lakes.

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Tiara, Shakirova is not the only Vaganova student to be given solo role with the Mariinsky ballet. Ksenia Ziganshina danced Amor in her 7th grade and danced the principal role of Masha in Nutcracker in her 9th grade (with the company - not with the school). Even though I agree that it is not a lot compared to Shakirova.

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Tiara, Shakirova is not the only Vaganova student to be given solo role with the Mariinsky ballet. Ksenia Ziganshina danced Amor in her 7th grade and danced the principal role of Masha in Nutcracker in her 9th grade (with the company - not with the school). Even though I agree that it is not a lot compared to Shakirova.

OH - you are right! I completely forgot about Zhiganshina doing Amor and Masha! And also there is Nika Tshvitaria who danced Florine. I suppose what I mean is - she has danced far MORE roles than any other student has done before, because this is a huge amount of roles that she already has - not just one or two - and she also was taken on tour to dance in a solo role, which I think no Vaganova student has done before. She has already got a very impressive resume, as I said, that all corps dancers and many coryphees, must envy.

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Hi everybody!

I've just come back from a weekend trip to London where I saw the Mariinsky performing in Ratmansky's Cinderella last night (7:30pm on 16th August) and I thought it only fitting that I give my own review of that performance. So, let's roll!

Well I have to admit, I went to this performance thinking I was going to absolutely HATE this modernist production of the ballet version of one of my favourite fairy tales, but amazingly - and I'm really surprised to be saying this - I actually had a really good time! smile.png

Did I enjoy the performance? I certainly did! Everybody was absolutely wonderful!

Did I like the production? No, this production is ugly and I really do prefer a traditional version of Cinderella.

Would I go and see it again? Maybe, but depending solely on who's dancing the lead roles.

Do I think the Mariinsky should keep this version in their repertoire? Probably not. They need another traditional version like they had in the past.

I actually found Alexei Ratmanksy's choreography very interesting - it was a good blend of traditional classical and modern ballet, so yeah, it certainly wasn't as bad as I thought or as I had been led to believe. Though while I do think it's very interesting, I just don't feel that these sort of modernist approaches are appropriate for fairy tale ballets. It was a good effort from Ratmansky, but it would've been better if he had stuck to a more traditional version.

So, what made me enjoy myself? The dancers of course! Even in very weird ballet productions, they still shine, but I was particularly lucky because of the cast that were performing that night. The cast list was the following:

Cinderella - Nadezhda Batoeva (Batoeva was replacing Maria Shirinkina, who is currently on maternity leave)

The Prince - Vladimir Shklyarov

The Stepmother - Anastasia Petushkova

Khudishka - Margarita Frolova

Kubishka - Ekaterina Ivannikova

The Fairy-Tramp - Elena Bazhenova

Cinderella's Mother - Maria Shevyakova

Cinderella's Father - Andrei Yakovlev

Spring - Vasily Tkachenko

Summer - Anton Pimonov

Autumn - Konstantin Ivkin

Winter - Kamil Yangurazov

Dance teachers - Viktoria Brilyova and Yuri Smekalov

Hairdressers/Searchers - Denis Zainetdinov, Grigory Popov and Fydor Murashov

Female dancer - Zlata Yalinich

Male dancer - Alexei Tyutyunnik

All the dancers did a brilliant job, I was really impressed! Nadezhda Batoeva was delightful as Cinderella, but I couldn't help missing Maria Shirinkina; this was supposed my first time seeing her dance live and I was gutted when that didn't happen, but nature made its call lol. I have seen footage of Shirinkina and I think she's wonderful; she always has such a lovely presence on stage that you can't help, but like her. I've seen footage of her in this Cinderella and I thought she did a great job, so I was looking forward to seeing her in this role. Batoeva, however, was very charming in her performance and I enjoyed her, though I do feel from what I've seen that Shirinkina is better in this role; I think she both dances and acts it better. But it was still a pleasure to see Batoeva performing and as I said, I really liked her.

The big highlight of the evening for me, however, was Vladimir Shklyarov as the Prince; in fact, I was so happy to be seeing him perform live that I actually applauded him when he made his entrance in Act 2 lol! He is a brilliant dancer and actor; such a strong performer and he was just fantastic in this performance! Nothing negative to be said about him, nothing at all. Although, having said that, the only thing I can comment on negatively regarding his performance was the partnership between him and Batoeva; as far as partnerships go, I didn't feel this was a very strong one. In fact, I think Shklyarov very nearly dropped Batoeva during their first pas de deux, but luckily, nobody had any accident of any kind. So yeah, this wasn't a very good pairing here; maybe Shklyarov was missing dancing with his wife as originally planned or maybe it was just one of those things where the pairing just didn't quite click, but despite that, it didn't spoil the performance. smile.png

Of course, Anastasia Petushkova, Ekaterina Ivannikova and Margarita Frolova as the Stepmother and Stepsisters earned the most laughter from the audience, even I was laughing; they were so funny! The comedy in this production was very enjoyable; it reminded me of the comedy brought to the Ashton version by the Ugly Stepsisters lol! In fact, this made me want to see more comedy in the Mariinsky repertoire so, maybe it's time they bring in La Fille mal Gardee...!

Viktoria Brilyova and Yuri Smekalov (who I very briefly met earlier that day) were delightfully entertaining as the dance teachers and one very clever gentleman sitting in my row pointed out that Smekalov was donning the Patrick Swayze look in Act 1, which is very true! Lol!

Now the one thing I did NOT like about the libretto of this version was the portrayal of the Fairy Godmother and the Four Season Fairies. Instead of a beautiful, elegant Fairy Godmother, we've got a Fairy-Tramp, danced wonderfully by Elena Bazhenova, but not an impressive option to replace the Fairy Godmother with! And then we've got the Four Seasons... I did NOT like them being danced by men instead of women, although all four guys did marvellous jobs. The whole point of the Four Season Fairies is that they're supposed to help Cinderella get ready for the ball, but nope instead of four beautiful fairies of the seasons, in this version, we've got the Four Season Weirdos and I really didn't get what they were supposed to be doing...! And DON'T get me started on those atrocious things they and their girls have to wear that people actually call "costumes"!

Overall, I had a really good time. I had only booked my ticket so I could see Shirinkina and Shklyarov dancing together; it wasn't the production I was interested in and then when Shirinkina fell pregnant, I actually decided that I didn't want to go any more, but I'm glad I still went in the end. Hopefully, I'll get to see Shirinkina perform live sometime in the future after she's had her baby.

But no, I was really taken by surprise; Ratmansky's Cinderella really isn't as bad as I thought it was or as people have made it out to be and I can definitely say that the rest of the audience really enjoyed themselves. Although unfortunately, the evening didn't end so well for some people, including myself, because it's not very nice when you're left waiting for ages at the stage door for certain dancers and they never even come out! Bloody hell, that was awful! Well, maybe next time...

In conclusion, it was certainly a pleasure and an honour to see the Mariinsky perform live for the first time and hopefully one day soon, I'll get to see them perform in St Petersburg. smile.png

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Prokofiev's score is more attuned to the Grimm version of the fairy tale, where Cinderella's stepsisters cut off various part of their feet to fit into the slipper and are discovered when blood fills their stockings. It sounds like Ratmansky wasn't trying to reconcile the tough parts of the score by trying to reconcile them to tiaras.

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Prokofiev's score is more attuned to the Grimm version of the fairy tale, where Cinderella's stepsisters cut off various part of their feet to fit into the slipper and are discovered when blood fills their stockings. It sounds like Ratmansky wasn't trying to reconcile the tough parts of the score by trying to reconcile them to tiaras.

Oh I know about the Brothers Grimm version, which is very gruesome in places, but Prokofiev's score follows the original Charles Perrault version, which is the version of the fairy tale I prefer.

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I think Batoeva is a terrific dancer but she is relegated to small roles. Cinderella is the only lead role she has done, I believe. I could be wrong.

I do not like Ratmansky's Cinderella overall, but there are some interesting moments and someone like Batoeva makes a huge difference, I suspect. You saw one of the best young dancers!

The worst part of Conderella is that Ratmansky fails to utilize the famous and glorious Mariinsky corps de ballet (he just gives them silly dancing).

I have seen Batoeva as a Big Swan, and she danced the mini-variation that does a lot of Odette-like poses. I think she will one day be a gorgeous Odette.

You saw one of the Mariinsky's best dancers, in my opinion. That is the problem at the Mariinsky. The most incredible ones are usually in small roles. Sometimes they take your breath away while the principals cause you to fall asleep.

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You saw one of the Mariinsky's best dancers, in my opinion. That is the problem at the Mariinsky. The most incredible ones are usually in small roles. Sometimes they take your breath away while the principals cause you to fall asleep.

Oh yes Birdsall, thanks for reminding me! I hated the dancing for the corps de ballet in Act 2, especially that bloody conga line; I can't believe I even forgot about that! Maybe that's why because I didn't want to remember it! Lol!

I also wasn't too keen on the Spanish brothel and the gay bar.

And yes like I said, I really liked Batoeva; she was really terrific. smile.png

And you're right, I did see some of the Mariinsky's best dancers because they were all fantastic and well, we did have brilliants dancers in the principal roles in this performance.

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The prostitutes (female and male ) or whatever they were are unnecessary. However, the female prostitutes are finally a chance to see the famous Mariinsky upper bodies (several dancers dancing with the famous style ). Cinderella has a lot of upper body dancing too, but it is always nice to see multiple dancers dancing that way together.

Ratmansky dropped the ball on this ballet!

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The prostitutes (female and male ) or whatever they were are unnecessary. However, the female prostitutes are finally a chance to see the famous Mariinsky upper bodies (several dancers dancing with the famous style ). Cinderella has a lot of upper body dancing too, but it is always nice to see multiple dancers dancing that way together.

Ratmansky dropped the ball on this ballet!

He did indeed, didn't he? But he did add some nice touches and I think he could stage a more traditional version while retaining some of the elements from this version. There are moments in this version that are very moving, like Cinderella's entrance to the ball and I like the ending of the Act 2 pas de deux of Cinderella and the Prince.

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The dancers made up for the bad parts and weirdness of this production and that was good enough for me.

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Oh I know about the Brothers Grimm version, which is very gruesome in places, but Prokofiev's score follows the original Charles Perrault version, which is the version of the fairy tale I prefer.

Perhaps Prokofiev follows the Perreault storyline, but the character of the score is alternately lyrical and bitter, unlike Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty": it was written during WWII after Prokofiev returned to the USSR in the mid-1930's, and by then he realized a warm embrace by Soviet authorities was not what he was going to get, regardless of what he was told before he moved back home.

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Oh dear, I actually don't know anything about Prokofiev's life; the only thing I know about him is that he died of a brain haemorrhage on the same day as Stalin, aged 64.

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