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Kirov at Opera Royal in Versailles

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#16 Guest_amalinovski_*

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Posted 19 July 2001 - 03:41 AM

The weather in France being worth more of October than of July, one staying in the City of Light has to rather look for indoor entertainment. Fortunately, the Kirov ballet provided an excellent one just some miles away. Unfortunately, it's over now.
I got my ticket for their last show (July 18th) three hours before, and this wasn't easy. The salesperson said that Kirov was pretty much sold out (except on Sunday), and few empty places I have seen could only be
explained by people not showing up. I got the cheapest ticket, and found myself very close to stage, but behind a huge column screening 3/4th of it from me. So I moved some yards right and sat on the floor. The staff didn't object (as they did to me at Covent Garden).
The 1st part was Balanchine's "Serenade". A rather slow piece, it nevertheless kept the rythm, helped with precious corps-de-ballet moves, which followed each other as if assembling a never-ending chain. I was slightly distracted by light-blue bodies of male dancers, which made them look like Star Trek pilots wandering on a strange planet populated with beautiful girls in long tutus. Danila Korsuntsev, towering over everyone on stage, again partnered strongly Janna Ayupova. Closer to the end, "Serenade"
got me a bit bored. Victor Baranov, Sofia Gumerova and Elvira Tarassova were just building up static groups here and there, like trying to represent an animated picture. But I guess it's the fault of choregraphy, not the dancer's.
The 2nd part started with "Manon". I'd like very much to see its full version. As I remember the novel, Manon is rather a cold and calculating adventurer, using and switching men as she pleases, and abusing
of Des Grieux's love. Ayupova's character was everything but this. Maybe just in this pas-de-deux Manon turns out to be a Juliet in her soul... Ilya Kuznetsov, though, played (rather than danced) a young man bewitched by Manon, and ready to do everything to stay with her.
In the following "Arlequinade", I was nicely surprised by discovering Anton Korsakov completely transformed. Even if his role was close to that in "Carnaval in Venise" (that I didn't like on July 14th), this time he was much better, with those high jumps, and charm and smile of young Di Caprio. Maybe he felt more confident because of an experienced and mature Irina Jelonkina as his partner.
"Middle Duet" is quite rarely performed by Kirov nowadays, and that's a pity. Not that I am particularly fond of modern choreography, but it's difficult to resist those series of repeated sensual and violent gestures with which the partners seem dueling each other. Natalia Sologub and Islom Baimuradov perfectly followed the flexible and obstinated style until getting completely exhausted. Excellent casting; especially
for Baimuradov whose long black hair and vigorous moving recalled Farukh Ruzimatov in his youth.
If Korsakov was up from July 14th, Batalov in "Don Quichotte" was, unfortunately, down. He looked heavy, tired and physically not fit. His Kitri, Irina Golub, was nice; but I'd wish she wouldn't dance everything with the same smile which seemed glued to her face.
Everyone expected Lopatkina's Dying Swan, and one can feel an enormous tension of the whole auditoruim, mesmerized by that dancer who performed as if she came from another planet. Giving a moment of "pure dance", without any human emotion, Lopatkina was the only one who got three curtain calls immediately.
My London friends praised Sofia Gumerova in "Le Corsaire", and I got lucky to see her in final pas-de-deux that concluded that night's program. And indeed, she was very good. I cannot even exactly say what I liked, but the overall impression was extremely nice. Unfortunately, Gumerova was partnered by Dmitrii Semionov, who I liked very much as evil Lankedem, but who was completely out of cast as Ali. He lacked the vigor and power needed for that role, as Ruzimatov made us accustomed to. Semionov also felt not too reliable in partnering, even if he obviously tried to. Nevertheless, "Le Corsaire" was a good closing piece.
After the show, dancers got four curtain calls. I regret that no teachers appeared on stage to get thanked for their hard work(I remarked Kurgapkina in the hall during the pause).
This tour may not be a huge success of ROH scale, but it does confirm Kirov's ambitions to keep its place in first rangs of ballet world.

#17 Sonja



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Posted 19 July 2001 - 03:42 AM

Hi Kevin (and the rest),
"Jewels" seem not to sell too well in advance in Munich - but probably for several reasons:
a) big confusion about start of ticket sales (published was 20 August, then 12 July, then 14 July)
B) about 60-70% of seats in a 1000 seats theatre are at top price level (180 DM) - which is a lot for a lesser known ballet in Germany

Personally, I believe that at the end, performances will sell out since Kirov is such a big name - but good chances if anyone wants to come over! I'll be at 3 of 4 performances (at least! but on the cheaper seats...) - so if anyone is there, how about meeting???

Ticket information also on [url="http://"http://www.bayerisches-staatsballett.de"]www.bayerisches-staatsballett.de[/url] - just in case... :)

#18 Kevin Ng

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Posted 19 July 2001 - 04:54 AM

A.M., thanks for another moving review on the Kirov. I would have liked to have seen Anton Korsakov and Irina Zhelonkina in Harlequinade, as well as Alexei Ratmansky's "Middle Duo". I find it strange that the coaches and teachers again didn't appear on the stage after the final performance, just like at Covent Garden a fortnight ago.

Sonja, if I miss the Kirov so much later on in the year that I decide to travel to Munich to see them, I'll definitely like to meet up with you.

#19 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 19 July 2001 - 05:07 AM

A.M. thanks for the impressions of the last night. However, you weren't lucky to see Gumerova in the final Corsaire pas de deux, as you actually saw Svetlana Zakharova :). I wouldn't call her performance "nice", but that's only personal. At least it was danced with much more authority than Gumerova in the previous performances, and if you warm for Zakharova's crooked shapes and mannerisms, than you might have had some pleasure watching her.

I agree about Semionov, he is a fine soloist, but his partnering is shaking all over and there is absolutely no trace of any personality on stage. (But then again, I guess, what more can you expect from somebody of his age?) And you're right, basically he is miscast in this role.

Zhelonkina was magnificent in Harlequinade and Korsakov did some good jumps. Also a great moment thanks to Lopatkina whose Black Swan became a Dying Swan :).

The Kirov Ballet will be guesting for three weeks at the Chatelet in Paris next year.

#20 Guest_amalinovski_*

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Posted 19 July 2001 - 05:30 AM

Oups...I indeed didn't recognized Zakharova in Le Corsaire. I had doubts about during the performance, but I find it hard to recognize dancers by face, so I relayed on the printed program.

#21 Estelle


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Posted 19 July 2001 - 05:43 AM

Marc, do you know when the Kirov will dance at the Theatre du Chatelet next season (there's nothing about it on their web page), and what programs they will dance?

#22 Kevin Ng

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Posted 19 July 2001 - 09:04 AM

Estelle, I just found out that it's not next season 2001/2, but the following season 2002/3. The provisional date is Nov. 2002. I don't know however what programmes they will bring to the Chatelet.

#23 NO7



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Posted 20 July 2001 - 09:46 AM

Meanwhile, for those who can't wait that long may consider traveling to Brazil (don't count me in!). The Kirov will go to Sao Paulo (and Rio?)to perform:
14-16 August 2001 Manon
19&26 August Gala Performances
23-25 August Le Corsaire
30-1 September Swan Lake
Casts announced included Zelensky, Kuznetsov, Vishneva, Dumchenko, and Baranov
The rest are still uncertain.

#24 Kevin Ng

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Posted 20 July 2001 - 10:27 AM

NO7, thanks for your news ahout the Brazil tour. Actually next week the Kirov will give three performances of Swan Lake in Greece as well. (Gumerova and Korsuntsev will be one of the casts.) A Kirov tour to China in Sept. 2002 is also on the cards, though not yet finalised. It certainly requires a lot of energy to follow the Kirov round the world!

But I am glad to see that the dancers' workload in Brazil is not as heavy as in London, as the number of performances in Brazil seems to be relatively less.

[ 07-21-2001: Message edited by: Kevin Ng ]

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