Kirov at Opera Royal in Versailles
Posted 16 July 2001 - 04:31 AM
during the 19-th century, had laid the french school foundation of what has now
became a one of the world greatest classical ballets. Neither had Kirov soloists
put their wonderful feet on the stage of Opera Royal in Versailles which had seen
some Kings of France dancing on it.
Last Saturday (I wonder whether they had especially chosen the French National
Holiday Day?..), the Kirov dancers finally joined the Kings.
The venue reminded me a lot about the Mariinsky Theatre in St.Petersbourg; gold
and blue velvet everywhere, with huge paintings on the ceiling. Abundance of wood
panels and decorations gives a fantastic sound, even for a reduced-size orchestra,
conducted by Boris Gruzin.
The venue, however, is more royal by its splendour than by stage size,
and some dancers did complain about being unable to move themselves as they get
used to. Imagine 20 people on the stage half the size of Covent Garden's one,
and you'll understand them.
There was, however, the only piece that required so many dancers, and it was
"Chopiniana" ("Les Sylphides"), presented as the 1st part of the show. The big
and tall Danila Korsuntsev made every effort in order to not to step over corps-
de-ballet (one moment, he avoided very narrowly landing on a girl's foot after
a particularly powerful jump). As for dancing, Korsuntsev managed to partner
attentively (even a bit too pathetically) a delicate Janna Ayupova and joyful
Elvira Tarasova. They left a very light and relaxing impression.
During the pause, I noticed that the auditoruim was almost full (maybe a dozen
of empty seats). They were selling tickets until right before the show, from 200
to 450 FF (15-40 pounds - a bargain by London standards), and the cheapest seats
are just some yards away from the most expensive ones, so it does not really matter
a lot. Remind that it was a French National Holiday night, and people have an
alternative of a huge firework's show in Paris...
The 2nd part was composed of short pieces and some scenes from full-length ballets.
It started with "The Doll Fairy", danced by Irina Jelonkina. She was very nice,
but her two Pierrots (Dmitri Pykhachev and Vasili Scherbakov) almost stealed the
show, with their delightful mimics and high jumps.
Next came "The Carnaval in Venice" (from "Satanilla"), with young Natalia Sologub
and Anton Korsakov. In my opinion, this piece was the less impressive of the performance.
In pas-de-deux, their partnering was far from perfect. They feel easier in solos.
Maybe, this was nervous; they are just too young and need more experience.
Pas-de-deux from "Manon". Well, I was expecting it. And I got a chance my London
friends had not - Ayupova as Manon. Ilya Kuznetsov (again!) was her entranced Des
Grieux. I liked every moment of their acting, but felt a bit disturbed about some
ice-skating-like elements. I never saw a McMillan ballet before, so I assume it's
his style. Another thing I didn't like was the real kissing on stage. I think a
ballet is a formal art, so everything should be expressed by dance and music.
Overall, the piece gave a mixed feeling of ballet and a drama theatre. As I love
both, though, I won't complain! And I now understand Kuznetsov better, when he says
"Manon" is his favourite ballet (see his interview by Kevin Ng on ballet.co - [url="http://"http://www.ballet.co.uk/magazines/yr_01/jul01/interview_ilya_kuznetsov.htm)"]http://www.ballet.co.....kuznetsov.htm)[/url].
Next piece was the one some of my London friends would die for: "Tchaikovsky Pas-
de-deux", with Svetlana Zakharova and Igor Kolb. The strikingly beautiful Zakharova
still abuses her 6-o'clock extensions here and there, but it's difficult not to
admire her frictionless moves. Igor Kolb matured into very confident dancer and
reliable partner, moving with force and power.
The "Dying Swan" left me with mixed feelings. I saw Uliana Lopatkina (who else?)
twice in it before and liked those better. I don't know whether the spectator should
have pity for the dying swan, but this time I didn't feel it at all. Lopatkina
managed to get her technique to such extremes, that it's only possible to admire it
and there is no place for other feelings. Her foot still injured, she used mostly her
arms, moving them at an unbelievable pace and putting them in positions one thinks
impossible for a human being. But I hadn't pity for that swan - it just died too
Good choice for final piece - "Don Quichotte". Irina Golub and Andrei Batalov
created a joyful Spanish atmosphere - especially dark-haired and not too tall
Batalov, who looked really as Latino and moved around with power, like a matador.
Golub was a very nice Kitri, quick and light. The best casting!
The company got three curtain calls at the end.
Some cast remarks: Igor Zelensky didn't come at all, and Vishneva and Ruzimatov
(still announced) are uncertain.
Still under impressions of recent Kirov's ROH season, I only can regret they
hadn't brought any full-length ballet to France.
[ 07-17-2001: Message edited by: A.M. ]
Posted 16 July 2001 - 05:01 AM
I'm so green with envy!
Your description about the venue's decor intriques me as much. I believe its majesty matches that of the Kirov quite well.
BTW, do you have any information who will dance in the second programme?
Posted 16 July 2001 - 05:53 AM
Posted 16 July 2001 - 06:13 AM
Igor Zelensky was guesting in Greece last weekend, which explains his absence from France. It's good to hear that Andrei Batalov, who was absent from the London season, is dancing again with the Kirov. (I heard that he danced Le Corsaire pas de deux in Granada with Elvira Tarasova during the Kirov's tour there a fortnight ago.)
It's interesting that they did Tchaikovsky pdd in Versailles. What a pity that they didn't do it at Covent Garden as part of the all-Balanchine programme. They did include it in Japan last winter.
[ 07-16-2001: Message edited by: Kevin Ng ]
Posted 16 July 2001 - 08:47 AM
I also enjoyed visualizing the performances in that setting--thank you so much for the review.
Posted 16 July 2001 - 03:13 PM
I am so happy to see young Irina Golub receive more and more solo roles & attentions. She was, for me, the 'star' of the February 1998 performances of the Vaganova Academy at Brooklyn Academy of Music...and, indeed, the most promising of the Class of 1998 Vaganova graduates. In Brooklyn, she sizzled as Carmen in an excerpt from Igor Belsky's version. I can well imagine her Kitri!
Posted 17 July 2001 - 08:31 AM
(notice that Irina Golub still not listed as soloist. I hope she will soon! Neither is Natalia Sologub...)
[ 07-17-2001: Message edited by: A.M. ]
Posted 17 July 2001 - 10:31 PM
As an aside, the second Maryinsky International Ballet Festival will be held in St. Petersburg from 9-18 March 2002.
Posted 18 July 2001 - 07:47 AM
Originally posted by A.M.:
Here's the list of dancers Kirov brought on Versailles' tour:
[ 07-17-2001: Message edited by: A.M. ]
That's what the program book says. Vishneva, Dumchenko, Nioradze, Ruzimatov, Fadeev, are not in Versailles and Kolb got himself injured the day before yesterday.
Yesterday's program was quite interesting because of two rarely seen pieces: the concert version of "Middle Duet" by Ratmansky, excellently danced by Sologub and Baimuradov; and the Pas de Quatre danced by Part, Gumerova, Tarassova and Zhelonkina.
We also had "Corsaire" pas de deux again with Dmitry Semionov who danced it even better than the night before and Gumerova who was even worse than the night before. The evening almost fell completely apart with a poor man's "Don Quixote" pas de deux, danced by Batalov who is definitely off form, and Golub whose presence among these soloists is still a mystery.
The opening "Chopiniana" led by Ayupova and Baranov was, however, a thrill.
Posted 18 July 2001 - 08:48 AM
What a pity that I missed a chance to see Dmitry Semionov's Corsaire pas de deux. It must have been the fireworks! And sorry to hear Kolb is injured. Hope it's not that serious.
[ 07-18-2001: Message edited by: NO7 ]
Posted 18 July 2001 - 09:25 AM
Tonight is the final performance starting with "Serenade", followed by a divertissement consisting of Manon, Harlequinade, Black Swan Pas de Deux, Middle Duet, Don Quixote and Corsaire Pas de Deux.
Semionov is certainly a promising dancer, especially on his own, but he is in my opinion still too young (19) and inexperienced to be highlighted as a soloist in a killer number like "Le Corsaire" Pas de deux (his partnering has a long a way to go). (NO7, in London he danced Lankedem not Ali).
Posted 18 July 2001 - 09:39 AM
Posted 18 July 2001 - 11:19 AM
I suppose I'll try to see the Kirov again somewhere in the world before the end of this year.
[ 07-18-2001: Message edited by: Kevin Ng ]
Posted 18 July 2001 - 12:25 PM
BTW, I saw three performances of Le Corsaire in London last month and remember quite well who danced Lankedem or who danced Ali. ;)
I meant it's a pity I missed Semionov's Corsaire pdd, to be exact.
Posted 18 July 2001 - 09:19 PM
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