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2014 White Nights Festival at the Mariinsky


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#16 Drew

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 02:39 PM

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



#17 Mathilde K

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 03:32 PM

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.



#18 Birdsall

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 05:50 PM

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

#19 Birdsall

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 07:23 PM

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

#20 Kristen

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 08:52 AM

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.

#21 Birdsall

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 11:23 AM

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!!!

#22 kbarber

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 12:16 PM

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.

#23 Birdsall

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 06:50 AM

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.

#24 Drew

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 11:15 AM

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



#25 Birdsall

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 06:00 PM

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!

#26 Birdsall

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 02:53 AM

On Monday (Jan. 7) I was walking past the Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg knowing the Yacobsen Ballet was doing Swan Lake but it had already started. I decided to see if I could still get a ticket at a discount since it already started and by my estimate I had already missed the first scene. The man I asked told me to follow him and let me in for free and let me scoot in as the first scene was still going on!

I report this because if anyone is ever in St. Petersburg with nothing playing at the Mariinsky, this troupe was nothing to laugh at. They were not as polished as the Mariinsky but better than American companies I have seen. The sets were not the best and leaps were not as high, and ballerinas were not quite as skinny as Mariinsky dancers, but to my eyes it looked like most of them were Vaganova trained. I really enjoyed it because I went in with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. The audience was made up of Asians and Germans from what I could tell and huge buses waited outside, so this company caters mostly to tourists who simply want to say they saw "Russian Ballet ." Most of them probably have no idea that the Mariinsky is where you get the hard drug! LOL

BUT with that said if you are in SP for business with only one night to spare for a show and the Mariinsky has no ballet that night, this is not a bad company to see.

#27 Birdsall

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 03:15 AM

On July 8 and 9 I saw the triple bill: Chopiniana, In the Night, and Ashton's Marguerite and Armand (premiere at the Mariinsky).

Seeing Chopiniana by the Mariinsky is like witnessing a fairytale kingdom. Those fluttery flowing arms with the corps in sync was so gorgeous. I would say I liked the second night best with Kolegova showing a very delightful and happy main sylph. Her balances were astonishing, and her happy sylph just made it a joy to watch. Ostreikovskaya was a more moody main sylph the first night. However, Xander Parish was better on the first night than Yaroslavl Pushkov who looked like he had a hard time lifting Kolegova.

In the Night is not my favorite ballet but the audience treated it like it was a masterpiece. I enjoyed all 3 couples both nights. This work has a very modern feel to it, yet it is grounded in ballet, so I suspect Russians crave these new works. I will say that Lopatkina (as the fighting woman) found a way to make the flailing arms work better than most. Usually it is ugly. She also blew Skorik's interpretation the night before out of the water.

And that brings me to Marguerite and Armand. The first night Lopatkina lived and breathed the main role timing her coughs and staggering on pointe perfectly to the music. Tereshkina who is a more extroverted performer was good but wasn't quite as "on"....both ballerinas were technically wonderful but you really forgot you were watching a ballet with Lopatkina because she was so smooth and alive in her acting.

Shklyarov (on the second night partnering Tereshkina) was much better than Askerov. So if you wanted a more well matched couple , the second night was better, but if you wanted an amazing performance by a ballerina with a partner who totally faded into the woodwork then the first night was better.

#28 Mathilde K

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 04:38 AM

An excellent report. Reflecting in the most faithful way what indeed took place on both nights. I would like to add a few words about Leonid Jakobson's troupe. It is a distinguished company, in fact. During the Summer it is understandable that they cater to busloads of tourists flocking to see «Swan Lake». During the regular season they present an interesting repertoire, you will meet there top Saint Petersburg ballet experts and critics.



#29 Birdsall

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 10:14 AM

Thanks for the info, Mathilde K.! I am glad the Yacobsen Ballet is considered worth attending since I felt that way too!

Tonight I saw La Sylphide with an Effie who should have played the Sylph and a sylph who should have been a character dancer maybe Madge. I hate to be harsh but to me Nadezhda Gonchar does not seem like a Mariinsky dancer. From the waist down she is technically good which would make her decent for any other ballet company in the world, but from the waist up she is stiff and not flowing and fluttery like most in the company. Almost every corps member would have played a better flowing sylph and her lack of legato arms would be a little more hard to notice maybe in the corps. Although maybe she would stick out more placed with a corps that dances with the same style. I think the Sylph is the total opposite type role for her.

Maria Adzhamova played Effie, and she had the legato arms I love. I think she is labelled a "character dancer" at the Mariinsky but I feel she would have been an incredible sylph.

David Zaleyev made a great debut as James. He did really well in his first big role. Despite his petite frame he acted very masculine so I could buy him as a guy wanting to cheat and throw an old beggar woman out.

I had a great time despite a miscast Sylph (my opinion, of course). Maria Shirinkina was initially announced and her petite size and fluttery, legato arms would have made her a great Sylph. Despite not being Vaganova trained Shirinkina seems to have the upper body of someone who is Vaganova trained.

But even a miscast night at the Mariinsky can be enjoyable. After last night's bright flashy Bolshoi Theatre that almost requires sunglasses it is nice to return to the soft glow of the Mariinsky! This is my opinion once again. I know some people would disagree.

I am praying the soft glow will not be replaced with bright flashiness when the Mariinsky is renovated.

#30 Helene

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 10:21 AM

Japanese ballet fans are among the most committed and knowledgeable I've encountered.  However I would imagine it would be difficult, if not impossible, to score a big block of tickets for tour groups especially during the Festival.




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