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Kirov's Fokine programme


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#1 NO7

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Posted 05 July 2001 - 10:26 AM

I wish to do it later the summary of the past four glorious weeks of the Kirov's season in London in this new thread. But at the time being, there are a few thoughts of the Fokine programme last night.
The Kirov presented for the first night their final programme, the Ballet of Fokine--a great combination of dance and pantomime. The company showed the supreme lyricism in dance in Chopiniana and the ultimate sense of theatricality in Scheherazade and the Firebird.
In Chopiniana, we had superb casts; Ayupova (Mazurka), Zhelonkina(Waltz), Pavlenko(Prelude), and Kolb(the Youth), together filled the dance with poetic yearning. I have watched the sensational Scheherazade quite a few times, but never get tired of it, especially last night I was impressed by the captivating allure of Diana Vishneva who replaced Lopatkina. Her Zobeide was divinely sensual, majestic, and beautiful. Vishneva's interpretation was slightly different from that of the seductive Yulia Makhalina and sophisticated Altynai Asylmuratova in the same role. The Golden Slave was the magnificent Ruzimatov (who else!?!)who danced with powerful expression. This is, I believe, his signature role. The Firebird is probably the least of my favourites in the Fokine's heritage (I think the finale should be revived), but Irma Nioradze who, although a bit brisk, was technically accurate, vivid, and bird-like in her dancing, made the piece a joy to watch, at least for once!

[ 07-05-2001: Message edited by: NO7 ]

[ 07-06-2001: Message edited by: NO7 ]

#2 Natalia

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Posted 05 July 2001 - 01:17 PM

Thanks for that review, NO7!

I'm intrigued by something that you wrote regarding the ballet 'Firebird.' You mentioned that you wish that the finale would be revived. Does this mean that the Kirov no longer performs the final scene in which Ivan & the Beautiful Tsarevna, plus the ladies & knights, are reunited, slowly acsending the steps leading to the castle? What on earth does the Kirov do now - end the ballet with the breaking of the egg?

#3 Juliet

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Posted 05 July 2001 - 02:40 PM

I'm with Jeannie--what finale do they do if not the one she mentioned?

Glad to hear your impressions of the different casts--I like this program and am always happy when it is presented. Don't throw eggs at me, I *like* Sheherezade pdd--I've seen Lopatkina and Asylmuratova recently, but always liked it when I was growing up: that sort of female was always vastly more appealing to me than Odette! Better costume, for one thing..... ;)

#4 Ann

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Posted 05 July 2001 - 04:10 PM

I saw the Fokine programme last night, and whilst 'Chopiniana' remains unchanged from earlier Kirov viewings, I did think both 'Scheherazade' and 'Firebird' were disappointing. Since both were 'reconstructions' by Andris Liepa and Isabelle Fokine, perhaps the blame lays at their door. 'Firebird' in particular was a mess, and couldn't even be saved by Irma Nioradze's thrilling technical and dramatic skills.

I thought it was a bit of a limp end to the Kirov's triumpant season here in London - better if they'd gone out on 'Jewels'.

#5 Juliet

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Posted 05 July 2001 - 05:23 PM

Oh oh....Isabelle Fokine.

I am surprised that she is working with them--after that "Fighting over Fokine" documentary I saw, I would not think that she would be invited to do much....

However, it takes many different spoons to stir a soup pot and I guess she has her point of view, not to mention having to make a living.

#6 Guest_amalinovski_*

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Posted 06 July 2001 - 03:52 AM

Isabelle Fokine was indeed working with Kirov on these ballets; I saw a documentary about it on French television, showing her on stage rehearsing with dancers.
I don't know whether she is in good or bad relations with Kirov, but anyway they had no choice but to work with her, since she has the copyright for her father's ballets.

#7 NO7

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Posted 06 July 2001 - 04:40 AM

Yes! Jeannie
The finale is exactly the same as what you described. And that is what I'm not so impressed. :P I wish it would have more dances or something else.

Last night, Irma Nioradze was like a femme fatale in Scheherazade, and Tatiana Amosova showed some splendid arm movements in the Firebird, but there's nothing behind her steps, say, emotionless.

[ 07-06-2001: Message edited by: NO7 ]

#8 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 July 2001 - 05:02 AM

Part of the reason that the finale to "Firebird" looks like that is that there were supposed to be some stage machinery effects that didn't make it past the first night. Here, the Firebird was supposed to appear above the scene on some sort of contraption that creaked, groaned, and gave every indication of giving way at any moment. It ended up on the "cutting room floor" along with the Spirits of Light and Darkness and their horses.

And Isabelle is Mikhail Fokine's granddaughter, not his daughter.

#9 Guest_amalinovski_*

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Posted 06 July 2001 - 09:32 AM

Oops...thank you, Mel; of course, "granddaughter" was what I had in mind...

#10 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 July 2001 - 09:31 PM

I wouldn't have said anything otherwise, A.M., but I did study with her pop, Vitale Mikhailovitch. ;) Wonderful avuncular old gent!

#11 NO7

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Posted 07 July 2001 - 05:38 AM

It eventually comes to the last day of the Kirov's season. Forgot to mention that there is a fabulous blue curtain 'Les Saisons Russe' with caricatures of the characters in Scheherazade, Petrushka, and the Firebird in it. (I'm very forgetful, please anyone tell me if this existed last year in London?)
Whether or not this season's considered successful, based on watching twenty performances out of twenty eight, here is the summary of my impressions:

Best performances: Symphony in C, Diamonds (Jewels)
Best staging: Sleeping Beauty
Least impressive: Manon (of course!)
Most moving: strange enough, Manon with Ayupova and Zelensky
Most enjoyable: Le Corsaire, Homage to Balanchine
Best males: Igor Zelensky and Igor Kolb in whatever they danced!
Very impressive females: Veronika Part in all Balanchine's ballets and Sofia Gumerova in Le Corsaire
Male on the rise: definitely Dmitry Semionov and Maxim Krebtov
Female on the rise: the one and only Irina Golub (but I'm not saying she's most impressive!)
Queens of the Kirov: Uliana Lopatkina in Diamonds (she's not as good as I expected in Swan Lake unfortunately), Diana Vishneva in Rubies and Scheherazade
Dancer of the season: Ilya Kuznetsov; without him I'm afraid the Kirov couldn't get through the end! He was overused this season.

[ 07-07-2001: Message edited by: NO7 ]

#12 Alexandra

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Posted 07 July 2001 - 10:55 AM

Thank you for that, NO7. I liked reading your summary -- that must have been fun to do :P

(And a huge thanks to all of you for giving us a thread on the Kirov performances

A word on the staging Fokine question, we published an interview with Isabelle Fokine by Robert Greskovic in DanceView several years ago, and while she certainly sounded sincere and reverential, she had not actually had much experience coaching or staging. That's an interview I should put up on the main site, and will some day :)

#13 Salome

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Posted 08 July 2001 - 12:18 PM

along with the Spirits of Light and Darkness and their horses.

Now there's something that could be revived, they may only have lasted for two performances but if the Kirov want to be absolutely faithful to Fokine's original idea, and with some strategically placed air conditioning........
Or maybe not! ;)

#14 Alexandra

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Posted 08 July 2001 - 12:48 PM

Amy, thanks for the clarification (re "formerly Salome") I couldn't figure out who "Amy S" with so many posts was! Welcome again!

#15 felursus

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Posted 08 July 2001 - 11:54 PM

No7 mentions the Salons Russes curtain: it was certainly used when the Kirov brought that programme to New York a couple of years ago.


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