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July - Aug 2014 at the Royal Opera House


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#76 abatt

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 07:07 PM

ABT also uses the version of Apollo with the staircase.



#77 annamk

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 11:12 PM

The Royal Ballet also uses the same version with the writhing earth mother and the staircase. I thought Shklyarov was a terrific Apollo, both Apollo and Dream were brilliantly executed. The company is on stunning form and full of great talent.

#78 sasark

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 12:27 AM

I sat in the first box to the left of the coaches' box for every performance I attended ...

 

Bart, which is the coaches' box? What would it correspond to on this seaing plan?

http://tickets.marii...rformance/7604/

 

thanks! Sasha



#79 meunier fan

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 12:41 AM

An instant response to the Mariinsky's Balanchine evening ... and but a few errant scribblings to take for but what they are worth ...

 

The Mariinsky's Balanchine evening was the Company's finest outing thus far in their 2014 London season IMHO.  This is I think entirely understandable given the embracing magic woven inside both pieces selected as created by the master dance maker of the 20th Century.  

 

While not yet scaling the heights of, say, (Peter) Martins, Boal, Hubbe, Finlay or Carreno as Apollo, the exemplary Vladimir Shklyarov was impetuously incisive in his depiction of a young God finding his way in the world.  (Is there a one act ballet with a more inviting narrative than Balanchine and Stravinsky's APOLLO?  I think not.  I only wish that the music had been better played on this occasion.  Methinks that Maestro Gergiev has kept all the best Mariinsky instrumentalists at home under his own baton.)  After attending more than a few of the performances by the Mariinsky team of balletic performers fielded for this particular London sojourn, I have come to believe that Shklyarov and the incandescently gleaming Viktoria Tereshkina (whose Titania in Balanchine's MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM brought to rapid mind the glories of Krya Nichols in the same role - from the warmth of her glittering smile down) are by some distance the strongest on show.  Both did nothing but build on the incisive radiance of their truly outstanding SL performances.  One sees well why Kevin McKenzie has selected them as ABT's 'exchange artists'. The enormity of their skill reaches engagingly beyond time; beyond any geographical boundary.  Both understand and precisely relate the application of their artistry as embellished both off (as well as on) balance as well as adorn their virtuosity by moving 'through rather than 'on' music much as Balanchine dictated.  Sadly a goodly number of their peers do not and struggle to render the 'Balanchinian' magic routine.  Balanchine happily sees that they fail.  Still there is NO question but that Shklyarov and Tereshkina stand out from that crowd. Without hesitation Tereshkina's artistry is a far cry from the uncertain centre of Oxana Skorik, who almost (but not quite) managed to mangle the stunning glory of that masterful pas de deux which beats at the heart of the second act of Balanchine's DREAM, itself but a thrilling extended divertissement in celebration of the impending nuptials.  I, myself, felt naught but sorry for the hard working Konstantin Zverev as her cavalier. 

 

Nancy Goldner in Balanchine Variations quotes the progenitor of ballet as we now understand it as writing:  "It was in studying Apollo that I came first to understand how gestures, like tones in music and shades in painting, have certain family relations."  These could well be appreciated in the rich sharing between Shklyarov and the finely animated Kristina Shapran in what may well be her (very fine) Mariinsky debut. (London audiences have previously appreciated her animated skill at the Coliseum in the title role of Coppelia with the Stanislavsky Ballet aside their current 'guest artist' Sergei Polunin, a former RB principal.)  The stunning central Apollo pas de deux sang through Shapran's guiding limbs as Terpsichore.  It was suffused with a much appreciated adroit finesse.  I was also taken by the bouncing excitement of Nadexhda Batoeva's Polyhymnia and very much look forward to her Cinderella (again in the more than capable hands of Shklyarov) at the final performance of this particular Mariinsky season.   

 

I confess I prefer Ashton's DREAM to Balanchine's (even though the latter does more fulsomely address the Bard's work itself).  That said, I MUCH prefer Balanchine's finely dramatic La Valse to our British master's take.  Horses for courses and all that.  Still it was wonderful to be able to revisit the Balanchine via the splendour of this far more than merely handsome physical production.  I so appreciate that the Mariinsky design team never appear to clutter their stages with scenery, allowing the dance itself to set the scene.  While never touching the diabolical glee of Damian Woetzel's resplendent performance, the talented Vasily Tkachenko rightly glorified in Balanchine's Puck.  Xander Parish came into his own I felt as Demetrius and Anastasia Matvienko (an artist we have previously enjoyed in London with the Mikhailovsky) rendered her stealth - if not her smile - on Hypolita, a role that for me will FOREVER have the name of Monique Meunier emblazoned on its heart.  (Sadly London -  that 'mecca of world dance' according to Sadler's Well's Alistair Spalding - was never given an opportunity to sample Meunier's heady flair.)  What came close to making me cry, however, was the approximations of Timur Askerov's Oberon in that MASTERFULLY extended variation created for Villella in 1962.  How well I remember attending a free seminar at the NY Public Library (Lincoln Center Branch) where Villella himself choked up at watching a film of his performing the same and then spent an unforgettable hour relating details behind the alchemy of its creation.  Last night's audience rightfully applauded Balanchine's genius in the construction of this devilishly difficult feat ... but, oh, that the virtuoso that was Peter Boal could have been been reawakened to show this deserving crowd just how those steps might dazzle in the full flight of their undisputed magic.  Still, one must be grateful that a likeness was there at all I suppose ... and there was - as I said - much in the overall evening to admire throughout.  



#80 Helene

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 03:03 AM

The last time I saw Dance Theatre of Harlem and Royal Ballet of Flanders do "Apollo," it was the longer version. PNB did it as well when Francia Russell staged it, which was until the last time the company performed it a couple of years ago, when Peter Boal staged the later, shorter version he danced with NYCB.  When I get home I'll check which version Ballet Arizona and San Francisco Ballet performed.

 

Edited to add:  Ballet Arizona did the full version that Ib Andersen, who did the staging in 2009, would have danced before Balanchine changed it while working with Baryshnikov.  The San Francisco Ballet production in 2004, which was staged by Jacques d'Amboise "assisted by Sandra Jennings" also has Leto and the Nymphs, but they are listed as "Mother" and "Handmaidens."  The Balanchine Catalogue (print edition) lists the characters as "Leto, Mother of Apollo" and "2 Goddesses."



#81 alexaa1a

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 04:24 AM

 

I sat in the first box to the left of the coaches' box for every performance I attended ...

 

Bart, which is the coaches' box? What would it correspond to on this seaing plan?

http://tickets.marii...rformance/7604/

 

thanks! Sasha

 

The coaches box is inside of loge 1 in Mariinsky stall boxes. Tickets are not for sale in that coaches box (I think the door entrance says loge 0). There is a mini Tsar's box directly next to the stage, which is closer to the stage than the coaches box and also not for sale and not shown in ticket diagram.



#82 Birdsall

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 04:59 AM

 

 

I sat in the first box to the left of the coaches' box for every performance I attended ...

 

Bart, which is the coaches' box? What would it correspond to on this seaing plan?

http://tickets.marii...rformance/7604/

 

thanks! Sasha

 

The coaches box is inside of loge 1 in Mariinsky stall boxes. Tickets are not for sale in that coaches box (I think the door entrance says loge 0). There is a mini Tsar's box directly next to the stage, which is closer to the stage than the coaches box and also not for sale and not shown in ticket diagram.

 

 

Alex is right. I like sitting in Box 1 of the stalls' boxes. They are pricey seats compared to others but after spending so much money to get there, I am not going to sit far back! If I lived there and went often I would sit farther back and save money sometimes. 



#83 sasark

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 07:19 AM

Thank you both!



#84 volcanohunter

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 09:22 AM

An instant response to the Mariinsky's Balanchine evening ... and but a few errant scribblings to take for but what they are worth ...

 

Thanks, meunier fan!



#85 canbelto

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 12:46 PM

Most Apollo performances I've seen recently give me a toothache. Lots of cutesy flirting between Apollo and Terpischore. I hate it -- there should be some aloofness between Apollo and the muses. Old videos of Diana Adams or Suzanne Farrell show how it should be done.

I haven't seen the Mariinsky dance Apollo but I hope it's not ruined by the Terpischore smiling her way through like its a beauty pageant.

#86 Amour

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 03:45 PM

ABT also uses the version of Apollo with the staircase.


ABT has the staircase but not the birth of Apollo with the barefoot earth mother. Technically, what we saw was Apollo Musagete. I believe ABT's version is an intermediate version between this and NYCB's current version of Apollo.

#87 Amour

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 03:52 PM

Tonight's Apollo with Alexander Sergeyev was fantastic! He is every bit as good as Robbie Fairchild or Chase Finlay. I much prefer him to last night with Shklyarov. And no, Canbelto, Kristina did not "smile her way through" Terpsichore. She was superb. The 3 muses together could use a bit more rehearsing (some uneven arabesque heights early on) but generally tonight was pretty much as good as we see at NYCB.

#88 Drew

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 04:33 PM

Thank you Amour and Meunier fan for your reports about the Balanchine evening (and to everyone writing about Mariinsky performances in London). 

 

Though she isn't my Balanchine-ideal as she is my Ivanov-ideal, still...I confess I would give much to see Lopatkina dance with a donkey-headed Bottom. In my mind's eye she is always "a most rare vision."



#89 Buddy

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 04:40 PM

Tonight's Apollo with Alexander Sergeyev was fantastic! He is every bit as good as Robbie Fairchild or Chase Finlay.... And no, Canbelto, Kristina did not "smile her way through" Terpsichore. She was superb. The 3 muses together could use a bit more rehearsing (some uneven arabesque heights early on) but generally tonight was pretty much as good as we see at NYCB.

 

Very glad to hear this about both Kristina Shapran and Alexander Sergeyev. I've posted my admiration for her all over the internet and Alexander Sergeyev is also an extremely talented and highly likable ballet artist.



#90 Amour

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 05:58 PM

I have now seen both the opening night (Aug. 8) and Aug. 9 evening performances of Midsummer. I very much enjoyed them both (there was some overlap in the casting). It was as follows:

Aug. 8. Aug 9

Titania: Viktoria Tereshkina. Uliana Lopatkina
Oberon: Timur Askerov. Filipp Stepin
Bottom: Dmitri Vedeneev. Same
Puck: Vasily Tkachenko Vladislav Shumakov
Hippolyta: Anastasia Matvienko Same
Hermia: Viktoria Krasnokutskaya Same
Lysander: Andrei Yermakov. Yuri Smekalov
Helena: Viktoria Brilyova. Same
Demetrius: Xander Parrish. Kamil Yangurazov
Butterfly: Oxana Marchuk. Same
Theseus: Vadim Belyaev. Same
Divert. PDD: Oxana Skorik, Konstantin Zverev. Same

While I loved the uniformity and loveliness of these dancers I found they had a somewhat lyrical quality to their dancing and, in general, not enough attack. This was particularly true of Lopatkina who seemed to flow through her movement instead of using attack to define a step or pose. In fact, I thought Tereshkina was a better dancer but not as good an actor while Lopatkina, with her very regal bearing, was every bit a Queen (and sometimes a pretty funny one). As an aside I really see NO diminution of Lopatkina's technique or flexibility and certainly not her artistry.

As for Oberon, Filipp Stepin was miles ahead of Askerov in both dancing and acting. His beats were numerous and clean and his solo (though one could see him struggle a bit to keep up with the fast tempo) he did. He was rather comic in how he treated the little boy at the source of friction between Titania and himself. He also partnered Lopatkina very well and they had good chemistry.

As for Puck, neither man can hold a candle to the extreme virtuosity and comic timing that Danny Ulbricht and Herman Cornejo (in The Dream) bring to the role. The audience love Tkachenko but I preferred Shumakov because he really played up the comedy in the role.

Anastasia Matvienko was wonderful both nights. She is great jumper and has rock solid fouettes. My only complaint is that she holds a lot of tension in the front of her neck (you can see it through the opera glasses). Belyaev, a giant of a man was also solid both nights. As for the couples I think I preferred the Aug. 9 men better because the were better actors.

Finally, the divertissement with Oxana Skorik and Konstantin Zverev. After all I have read about how awful Skorik is, I found a rather lovely dancer who just need to strengthen both her core and feet abit. She is blessed with gifts: she is very tall (at least as tall as Lopatkina if not taller) with long arms, legs and neck. She has a lovely line, extreme flexibility of both legs and spine. She has a springy, stretchy jump and nice feet. She's also a good turner. And finally, she kept a radiant smile on her face throughout. All I can say is I wish ABT ballerinas were so "weak". As for Zverev, I know many here like him but he is not my fav. I find he can be a little sloppy about finishing positions, especially pirouettes (but he is a lefty turner which may make things harder.)

Last but not least is Oxana Marchuk. What a lovely dancer with such an infectious smile! Why she is still somewhere in the corps is beyond my comprehension.

To finish, this is a lovely Midsummer, perhaps a somewhat differently danced one, but still very special.


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