Birdsall

2014 White Nights Festival at the Mariinsky

139 posts in this topic

They finally started posting the White Nights June info on the website this past Thursday, and today they finished posting July.

I am planning to return to St. Petersburg from July 5-16. If anyone will be there seeing shows at the Mariinsky let me know. Would love to meet. I already plan to meet at least one person from Ballet Alert already.

I bought tickets for Swan Lake, Marguerite and Armand/Chopiniana/In the Night twice, La Sylphide, 3 Bayaderes (one with Smirnova guesting and it looks like Gergiev is conducting 2 of them with Tereshkina, which could mean a videotaping for dvd in the future.....he usually doesn't conduct ballets unless they plan to videotape it), and the Igor Zelensky Gala (Carmen Suite and Scheherazade).

Since nothing good is playing on July 10 I might take the bullet train to Moscow to see Onegin at the Bolshoi, although I don't know if I want that stress yet or not (believe it or not, I HATE to travel). I would like to go to the Bolshoi Theatre once in my life and also get a pic of myself in front of St. Basil's Cathedral for Facebook, but to tell you the truth I really only care about St. Petersburg and the Mariinsky, but I suppose I should go to Moscow eventually at least to say I went!!!! LOL

I am trying to finish seeing all classical ballets at the Mariinsky before they close it for renovation. Who knows what will happen? The Fenice in Venice, Italy burned to the ground when it was closed years ago for renovation. Of course, they rebuilt it but.......so.....I am hurrying up......

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Birdsall, I would skip the trip to Moscow and spend one evening living the way people from St. Petersburg people do during the long, sunlit evenings. You can save Moscow for an future trip, at the beginning or end, so you can spend a day or two there. There's even a boat (small) that travels between the two cities over the river, stopping at a least one monastery along the way.

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Birdsall, I would skip the trip to Moscow and spend one evening living the way people from St. Petersburg people do during the long, sunlit evenings. You can save Moscow for an future trip, at the beginning or end, so you can spend a day or two there. There's even a boat (small) that travels between the two cities over the river, stopping at a least one monastery along the way.

Since I posted earlier today a friend in St. Petersburg is already planning to go with me for the day to Moscow on July 10, and we will see Onegin together and take a sleeping train back to St. Petersburg. I only have mild interest in Moscow and the Bolshoi so one day will actually be enough for me even if I hardly see anything. I am that odd person who would rather watch a dvd of a place than travel there normally. St. Petersburg, Russia is the only place that gets me out of the country nowadays and only because of ballet. Every other place in the world rates popping in a travel dvd as absurd as that sounds (my friends do not understand this, but I think I am the only person on earth who feels that the Mona Lisa is easier to contemplate in a book than in the Louvre in Paris behind glass and crowed with tourists all around it). I hate crowds! And the previous two trips I kept trying to make it to Moscow and never could b/c it meant either making the trip way too long (because too many ballets at the Mariinsky I wanted to see).....attaching Moscow before or after doesn't seem to work for me, b/c if I spend more time in Russia I would rather add another Mariinsky ballet before or after instead of a trip to Moscow before or after, so I think the only way I am going to see Moscow and the Bolshoi is to cram it in on a day when nothing is playing at the Mariinsky. After this ultra short trip to Moscow I will probably never go to Moscow ever again. I know this is a crazy thing to say. I suspect there will be many more week-long trips to St. Petersburg in contrast.

Don't worry. Last two trips I partied (danced and met people) and had a taste of how Russians spend their evenings. This trip will be window shopping and people watching, napping and going to the Mariinsky at night, maybe a bar afterward and chatting with new people using Google Translate on my phone unless they speak English. Then, sleeping in and repeat....

There is absolutely nothing like sitting in the Mariinsky's historic theatre. For me it is so magical. If that ever burns to the ground I probably will stop going. Seeing things at the Mariinsky II is not the same. I know we should be focused on the dancing on the stage, but OMG.....the Mariinsky setting is better than chocolate!

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Sounds like you will have a wonderful time. Chopiniana with the "Kirov" has been one of my great ballet-going experiences. I bet the company still dances it gorgeously.

The historic theater is ... well ... the most enchanting theater in the world. I don't know that I will get to see it again (certainly not before the renovation), but I am happy picturing you there Birdsall.

My summer ballet going, the ballet-gods and universe willing, will in fact be restricted to the Bolshoi!

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There are indications that the July 14 performance of La Bayadère will be broadcast to cinemas, though the Mariinsky does tend to fly by the seat of its pants with those transmissions. (Remember the 3D Swan Lake scheduled for February 14, 2013, which ultimately took place on June 6?)

http://www.more2screen.com/our-content/now-booking/mariinsky-festival-on-screen/la-bayadere/

You are so right about flying by the seat of its pants! And no rhyme or reason. August schedule has been posted for a while, but June was posted on Thursday and July on Saturday. Crazy!

And this is the first I have heard about this broadcast to cinemas! They aren't publicizing it much!

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Sounds like you will have a wonderful time. Chopiniana with the "Kirov" has been one of my great ballet-going experiences. I bet the company still dances it gorgeously.

The historic theater is ... well ... the most enchanting theater in the world. I don't know that I will get to see it again (certainly not before the renovation), but I am happy picturing you there Birdsall.

My summer ballet going, the ballet-gods and universe willing, will in fact be restricted to the Bolshoi!

I agree with you so much about the historic theatre. I knew it from opera dvds for years, but then when I was actually there it was incredible. Even better in person. It is like entering a beautiful, fantasy world. Each night I would occasionally look around and take my eyes off the stage for split seconds to take it all in and remind myself where I was, and it was hard to believe I was actually there.

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(....but I think I am the only person on earth who feels that the Mona Lisa is easier to contemplate in a book than in the Louvre in Paris behind glass and crowed with tourists all around it).

When a real life Mona Lisa stands in front of the painted one, I find it to be quite an experience.

Something similar can be said about the ballet. When the artists actually become the Living work of art, it can really be quite an experience.

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There's no where in the world I've been as beautiful as St. Petersburg, but don't knock Moscow (or the Bolshoi) until you've tried it! It's a very exciting city. There are lots of crowds, but there are beautiful and wonderful things as well. I recommend a boat trip along the Moskva and/or a look at the Kremlin churches (though if you don't like crowds that'll be difficult). And the Bolshoi is really an incredibly good company to see.

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There's no where in the world I've been as beautiful as St. Petersburg, but don't knock Moscow (or the Bolshoi) until you've tried it! It's a very exciting city. There are lots of crowds, but there are beautiful and wonderful things as well. I recommend a boat trip along the Moskva and/or a look at the Kremlin churches (though if you don't like crowds that'll be difficult). And the Bolshoi is really an incredibly good company to see.

Thanks for these comments, Swanilda. I’ve been to Saint Petersburg ten years in a row, but I’ve never been to Moscow. Each year I hope to make the trip. I waited for the fast train to be put in place and for the Bolshoi to reopen. Since then I’ve been waiting for a performance that ties in with the Mariinsky Festival. Hasn’t happened yet, but I’m sure it will. And I agree with you totally. "And the Bolshoi is really an incredibly good company to see.”

Added comment:

​You can now get a three year tourist visa making visits much easier and itineraries completely flexible.

And, by the way, having been inside for various performances, I'm coming to like the new Mariinsky Theatre very much. The public spaces, although essentially streamlined modern, are absolutely beautiful. The extensive use of wood in the auditorium gives a very warm feeling. The use of decoration is lovely. The translucent amber-like wall in the lobby is vibrant and magnificent. Visibility seems fine. Acoustics seem fine. And the auditorium is indeed comfortable and homey, which is exactly what the architects' previous performing arts centers have been praised for.

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Ulyana Lopatkina last night at Mariinsky as Nikiya was breathtaking. A "priestess" in the Temple of High Arts, like Ulanova and Pavlova before her. I often remind ballerinas with big aspirations that to become a truly great artist you cannot afford any moment of "prose" when you are on stage, that you must keep oneself as far as possible from banality in life, you must strive for and cultivate Beauty around yourself. That Beauty you will later show on stage. Even how you enter and leave the stage will set you apart from merely "dancers". These were my thoughts after watching Lopatkina yesterday.

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After 24 hours of traveling with two fractured ribs and on pain medication I arrived at 5:30pm Russian time and checked into my hotel near the Mariinsky and went over and got a ticket for tonight's program: Le Carnaval and The Young Lady and the Hooligan. I had not planned to see it because it would be last minute and I would be exhausted but I didn't feel bad so I went.

Le Carnaval is such a light, frothy ballet with so little substance, in my opinion. However, it is a pretty ballet. Margarita Frolova and Alexei Popov were delightful as Columbine and Harlequin. Yana Selina was a stand out as Papillon

The Young Lady and the Hooligan is the type of hokey ballet that only works if you have Svetlana Ivanova and Kuznetsov giving their all and truly believing in the work. Viktoria Krasnokutskaya and Anton Korsakov did nothing wrong. They just didn't live and breathe their roles like the two mentioned. I simply couldn't believe Korsakov as the leader of a group of thugs. I could tell both leads were trying their hardest but neither was believable in their roles. The Young Lady and the Hooligan comes off as dated and melodramatic if the leads do not have the gravitas that Ivanova and Kuznetsov have. I felt like I was watching The Jr. Young Lady and the Jr. Hooligan.

However, I still enjoyed getting a chance to see this Soviet ballet that is not done in the West.

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Regarding the "lack of substance", Akim Volynsky wrote in February 1912 the following.

The music of «Carnaval» is tied to the subtle sound of piano and the most delicate harmonic lyricism. Nothing here can or really wants to be materialized in a visible image. (...) dancing would only consolidate a fluid idea that provides nothing specific but rather suggests a whole world of mood.

Nevertheless, Fokine wants to pour this light, this air, and these silvery, heavenly mirages into the form of ballet.

Volynsky goes on assessing how successful Fokine was (in his opinion he was not) and in the concluding paragraph of his long review Schumann, Ballet, and Fokine, he has this glowing description of Tamara Karsavina's performance.

Karsavina plays Columbine. In a skirt with light flounces covered with beautifully drawn little cherries, a light kerchief, and nightcap, she makes a most charming genre picture. With Harlequin she dances several pas de deux on pointe that are delicate, soft, and graceful. Her childlike gestures are affecting, and her sparkling, delicate feet, shod in dark shoes without heals, are beautiful.

[Akim Volynsky. Ballet's Magic Kingdom · Selected Writings on Dance in Russia 1911-1925. Yale University Press 2008, pp.23-24]

I am glad you noticed Svetlana Ivanova. A remarkable ballerina, a secret glory of Mariinsky, a perennial coryphée, she spent 18 years in the corps de ballet. For me Ivanova is a glaring example of a truly deserving Russian ballerina not receiving even a tiny fraction of the praise or attention the Western critics have been pouring on some heavily promoted "international stars".

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I think there is nothing more beautiful than seeing Swan Lake at the Mariinsky Theatre. I know the place shouldn't matter, but to me it does. Seeing all the dancers on stage dancing with the Vaganova style in that jewel box setting makes the legato arms and fluid upper bodies all make sense. A unique style not even found at the Bolshoi that is almost magical! And in that theatre even more magical!

I worry that Swan Lake could eventually move to M-2 in the future. Sleeping Beauty continues to only show at M-2 since they placed it there. Swan Lake goes back and forth so far. What makes me worried is the M-2 fire curtain has a lake with one large white feather ! So the powers that be may want Swan Lake to play there more and more to get people to go to M-2 (I went to M-2 three times and it was only half full each time while the historic theatre looks sold out every time)!

So hurry and see Swan Lake at the historic house before something bad happens!!! To me you have not seen them do Swan Lake until you've seen them do it in the historic gorgeous theatre!!!!

Tonight Yulia Stepanova danced her 2nd ever Swan Lake and she is a young dancer who has a very strong presence on stage. Her Odile is as confident and "bitchy" as Tereshkina's. Her Odette has the swan-like arms only Vaganova trained dancers seem to have. My favorite moment is when Odette lifts one leg and totally falls back as Siegfried catches her. Stepanova's arms and hands undulated after the fall into his arms. Many more famous dancers even Mariinsky ones do not add this detail (Lopatkina does).

Basically, this is a dancer who I think will get better and better as she does this role because she is already adding details many other more famous dancers do not. I know someone asked on this forum about the frappes during Odile's variation and Fateyev claimed no one at Mariinsky can do them (apparently as a sarcastic joke). Well, Stepanova did them. The only mistake I saw was during Odile's variation. It looked like an almost stumble after the first renverse but she made up for it in the second excellent one. The audience loved her !

The only other problems I saw was during partnering, and it often looked like she and Xander Parish were not a great match. To me this was especially noticeable during overhead assisted turns. I am not a dancer so I don't know whose fault this was, but it did look like she was aiming to do more turns but something slowed her down.

In his solos Parish was very good and he acted well, but Andrei Yermakov as Rothbart blew the house down leaping and spinning like a legend!!! I want to see Yermakov dance Siegfried one day! He almost stole the show whenever he came on stage !!! He seemed more comfortable lifting Stepanova also!

During the prince's friends pas de trois the two females were complete opposites. Nadezhda Batoeva was all elegance and beauty showing her solid Vaganova training. The upper body is where you see the difference. Nadezhda Gonchar is a solid dancer from the waist down but could have been an American dancer if only looking at her from the waist up! Stiff and not as elegant as most Mariinsky dancers, in my opinion. Kimin Kim did a strange couple of moves at the beginning of his variation. Normally he is great, but whatever he interpolated looked very awkward to me. I think he should keep it traditional. I can 't really explain b/c it took me by surprise what he did.

Well, off to bed....can't think anymore. Still on pain medicine for my fractured ribs and have to be ready at 8am to go visit Novgorod!

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Birdsall-Thanks for writing about the performances you are seeing, and hope you feel better soon...

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That was a tremendous performance by Yulia.

After Ulyana Lopatkina, she is currently the most artistic, most refined in purely ballet terms, ballerina at Mariinsky or, even, anywhere — when one thinks of dancers of her age — articulating every movement, possessing enormous stage presence. The trembling soul of Odette is singing with Yulia's entire body. Every single one of her future appearances in «Swan Lake» promisses to become an event.

Her arms, her hands, her wrists, are more than "pure Vaganova school". Lyudmila Safronova, Yulia's teacher at ARB, was particularly proud that she was able to imbue Yulia's limbs with the best qualities of the Petersburg and the French schools.

Xander Parish projected well a noble and understated in a typically British manner image of a young Prince. His limited experience, on the other hand, was clearly noticible in his partnering, still a pronounced improvement over his debut in March. Other than that I think he and Yulia could make a very touching and subtle couple in the future, if they are given a chance, of course, for repeated performances. One has to take into account that this was only their second time together. Andrei Ermakov, in comparison, has already become a very seasoned partner, he has acquired enormous partnering experience over the last two-three years.

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Mathilde K.,

Will you be at Tuesday's Chopiniana/In the Night:Marguerite and Armand? I will be there as well as every other ballet until July 16. If you want to meet, let me know!

Bart Birdsall

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Thanks, Drew! It was the worst time for me to break ribs. I took my dog to the dog park, and she and another dog ran into the back of my legs sending my legs flying into the air and I crashed on my back. I was yelling in pain for minutes and could not get up for a while. It happened a week ago. Just starting to feel better. Swan Lake kept my mind off the pain last night. LOL

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Bart (birdsall) thanks for all your reports. I'm looking forward to more. Bad timing on the dog park incident- OWW! Hoping my cat, Giselle, doesn't knock me to the floor.

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Thanks, Kristen! I have been sleeping a lot in between walks around the city. The pain killers make me drowsy.

Just saw a triple bill: Chopiniana, In the Night, and the Mariinsky's premiere of Marguerite and Armand.

I will review after seeing the same program tomorrow with a different cast.

I like Ashton ballets from what I've seen, but Marguerite and Armand is not a favorite Ashton which is strange since I love La Traviata !!!

But tonight Lopatkina made the ballet seem better and deeper than it was. I can't wait to see Tereshkina to compare/contrast!

Last night I saw the Yacobsen Ballet in Swan Lake at the Alexandrinsky Theatre but haven't had time to write about it either. Trying to sleep as much as I can in hopes my ribs heal faster and then I cut myself off the pain killers in the afternoon so I won't fall asleep at the ballet!!!

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Hi Bart, sorry to hear about your ribs. That's such an unpleasant injury, as it hurts with every breath you take (and I don't mean the Sting song either!). Glad it didn't prevent your trip to Russia though.

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Thanks, kbarber! It has made the trip more difficult. That is for sure. But while in the Mariinsky Theatre I forget my pain for a while. I am glad I have seen all the sights of the city that I wanted to see on the previous trips so that it doesn't upset me to take it easy. Today all I did was rest in my hotel room for the most part.

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When you are feeling up to it...please do write about what you are seeing!

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Chopiniana was great last night! OMG! The flowing legato arms of everyone! Like watching true fairies!

Lopatkina was great as Marguerite the previous night !

More later!

Off to Moscow for the day!

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