Birdsall

Baden-Baden 2016 tour

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I rarely read any reports about the Mariinsky's Baden-Baden tour here on BA, so this is a long shot.....anyone else going?

 

I will see the first four shows:   a Fokine mixed bill (Chopiniana, Firebird, Sherezade), Giselle, and 2 Swan Lakes. Since I am visiting friends in Mannheim, where I studied 25 years ago, I have to divide up the time between Mannheim and Baden-Baden and trying to keep the trip down to 6 days so I have time to relax the following week before starting work again......if anyone will be at those shows, let me know. Below is the casting for the shows I will see. I will try to post reviews while I am there.

 

 

Fokine Mixed Bill Dec. 21
    •    Valery Gergiev Dirigent
Chopeniana
Seventh Walz
Yekaterina Osmolkina
Mazurka
Maxim Zyuzin
Prelude
Xenia Ostreikovskaya
Eleventh Walz
Yana Selina
 
Firebird
The Firebird
Yekaterina Ivannikova
Ivan-Tsarevich
Alexander Romanchikov
Kashchei the Immortal
Vladimir Ponomarev
The Princess of Great Beauty
Viktoria Brileva
 
Schecherazade
Zobeide
Diana Vishneva
The Golden Slave
Konstantin Zverev
Shah Shahryar
Soslan Kulaev
Shakhezman, his brother
Islom Baimuradow
The Odalisque
Viktoria Brileva / Yulia Kobzar / Zlata Yalinich
The Chief Eunuch
Anatoly Marchenko

 


Giselle Dec. 22

Giselle
Oxana Skorik
Count Albrecht
Philipp Stepin
Berthe, Giselle’s mother
Elena Bazhenova
Bathilde
Yulia Kobzar
Hans, a woodsman
Islom Baimuradow
Sword-bearer
Alexey Nedviga
The Duke
Vladimir Ponomarev
Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis
Yekaterina Chebykina
The Wilis
Xenia Ostreikovskaya

Yana Selina
Pas de Deux (Act 1)
Renata Shakirova

Vasily Tkachenko

 

Swan Lake Dec. 23


Odetta-Odille
Viktoria Tereshkina
Prince  Siegfried
Xander Parish
The Reigning Princess
Elena Bazhenova
Prince’s Tutor
Soslan Kulaev
Joker
Yaroslav Baibordin
Rothbart
Konstantin Zverev
Prince’s friends
Yana Selina / Nadezhda Batoeva / Philipp Stepin
Sygnets
Yana Selina / Svetlana Ivanova / Tamara Gimadieva / Anastasia Lukina
Big Swans
Viktoria Brileva / Diana Smirnova / Zlata Yalinich / Yulianna Chereshkevich
2 swans
Yana Selina / Nadezhda Batoeva
Spanish dance
Yulia Kobzar – Maria Shevyakova / Andrey Solovyov – Alexander Beloborodov
Neapolitan   Dance
Anna Lavrinenko / Alexey Nedviga
Hungarian dance
Olga Belik / Boris Zhurilov
Mazurka
Xenia Dubrovina-Elena Androsova- Maria Lebedeva-  Zlata Yalinich / Eldar Yangirov- Nail Yenikeyev- Vadim Belyaev –  Alexander Romanchikov

 

Swan Lake Dec. 25

Odetta-Odille
Yekaterina Kondaurova
Prince  Siegfried
Danila Korsuntsev
The Reigning Princess
Elena Bazhenova
Prince’s Tutor
Soslan Kulaev
Joker
Vladislav Shumakov
Rothbart
Roman Belyakov
Prince’s friends
Renata Shakirova / Yekaterina Ivannikova / Ernest Latypov
Sygnets
Yana Selina / Svetlana Ivanova / Tamara Gimadieva / Anastasia Lukina
Big Swans
Viktoria Brileva / Diana Smirnova / Zlata Yalinich / Yulianna Chereshkevich
2 swans
Yana Selina / Nadezhda Batoeva
Spanish dance
Yulia Kobzar – Maria Shevyakova / Andrey Solovyov – Alexander Beloborodov
Neapolitan   Dance
Anna Lavrinenko / Alexey Nedviga
Hungarian dance
Olga Belik / Boris Zhurilov
Mazurka
Xenia Dubrovina-Elena Androsova- Maria Lebedeva-  Zlata Yalinich / Eldar Yangirov- Nail Yenikeyev- Vadim Belyaev –  Alexander Romanchikov

 

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I suspect you may regret the absence of Kolegova, but it looks like a great line up. Please DO report when you are able. (I hope I can go one year, but for now cannot.)

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I have many favorites not just Kolegova! I am intrigued by Ivannikova getting Firebird even though she's not a favorite. She doesn't get many starring roles. She's a dancer I like but she doesn't blow me away, but that might be because she hasn't had many chances to show what she can do. Chopiniana's casting looks decent. I do like Tereshkina's Odile (deliciously evil) and she always gives 100% to the audience. Maybe Kondaurova will win me over even though many previous experiences with her have made me wonder why she's held in such high esteem by so many. I like her a lot as Myrthe, Carmen, as one of the soloists in Paquita, as the Stepmother in Cinderella, but I have been disappointed when she's danced the primary role in classical ballets.

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I see you will get a chance to see Shakirova, too, in two different secondary roles. By chance, today I saw some youtube video of a very recent Shakirova Nutcracker that I quite enjoyed; thought she was beginning to look a little less like a talented young dancer (which is how she has seemed to me in earlier videos available so far) and a little more like a talented young ballerina. There's also a warmth there that if it reads "live" across the footlights should be appealing. Anyway, I will be interested to learn your impressions of her development when you see her in Baden Baden . . .

 

(I can't get to D.C. the week the Mariinsky is dancing there, but notice Shakirova is dancing the lead in Little Humpbacked Horse. That seems like a role that might suit her.)

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Osmolkina was terrific as the main female in Chopiniana....her husband Maxim Zyuzin and she gave the illusion that she was feather light. Her bourees and flowing arms were gorgeous. Ostreikovskaya and Selina were really great too. 

 

As the firebird Yekaterina Ivannikova was very warm and sunny at first which was a refreshing take on the character, but it made me worry she wouldn't be serious enough later in the ballet, but she was. Her arms and hands seemed to flick sparks. I really enjoyed seeing her in this role. She gets mostly secondary roles so it was very interesting to see her in a main role, and I thought she did great! Romanchikov seemed too young and gawky for Ivan. 

 

Diana Vishneva and Konstantin Zverev had terrific rapport in Scheherazade. I like that she seems to champion him and use him in shows that she appears in. He was a more elegant Golden Slave than usual. Most dancers emphasize an animalistic quality in the role, but Zverev played to his strengths and emphasized elegance and sexiness. I think Scheherazade is a good role for Vishneva at this point. She was really committed and acted well tonight.

 

The Germans seem to absolutely love Gergiev judging from the applause, and I have to say he conducted well tonight. Sometimes he conducts too fast or too loud for me, but tonight you could tell he loves these pieces. 

 

Sorry so short...tired.....Baden-Baden is beautiful. I visited it once many years ago in my 20s, and my memory was correct. It feels like the Palm Beach of Germany.

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Very nice to hear about Ivanikova -- and the whole performance. I can easily picture Osmolkina as dreamy in Chopiniana.  

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The Festspielhaus is very comfortable, by the way. It was originally the train station so it creates a very interesting combination of old and new. The seat was one of the most comfortable theater seats I have sat in. The acoustics are also great. I was in row 5 and had no problems seeing (I am 6 feet tall), but for others who want to visit I noticed the seats have a slight rake after row 5 and around row 11 a very steep rake so shorter people are probably happier sitting past row 5 preferably row 11. Just in case someone wants to visit in the future.

 

The Christmas Market in Baden-Baden is very charming! The Germans do Christmas like nobody else, in my opinion. I was sent to a Sprachschule 4 summers in a row in Heidelberg to learn a second language (intensive instruction) and then studied one year on the University of Mannheim and another year at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. But after my sister died when I was studying in Innsbruck I was afraid to leave the US. I know it sounds silly and irrational, but I thought something bad would happen. It wasn't until the Mariinsky made me want to go to Russia that I left the country. So this trip is a huge psychological step forward also. Anyway I haven't used my German in about 25 years and wondered if I could still speak it. I have seen German operas and films in the meantime so I knew I could passively understand German but wondered if I could still actively speak. Apparently it is like getting back on a bike although I am making many gender mistakes and searching for some words that used to come easily. Some Germans seem very surprised that an American can actually speak their language.

 

I also visited the small Faberge Museum yesterday. Not quite as exciting as the large one in St. Petersburg but still interesting.

 

Christmas in Baden-Baden is gorgeous and the Mariinsky's annual tour makes it even more worthwhile to most ballet lovers. Basically trying to convince other Ballet Alert people to try it if they haven't!

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Giselle tonight had its charms despite the worst mad scene I have ever seen!

 

Oxana Skorik  has been criticized a lot over the years including by me, and she has improved technically (and I have admitted it many times), but tonight's mad scene seemed bizarre. She went from having not enough emotion at times to having silly hand movements and emotions that were overdone. I went trying to view her from a blank slate, but for me her mad scene was atrocious. She needs coaching in this role big time. Her mad scene seemed so amateurish to me like a student performance. But then I have to actually hand it to her. She danced a good 2nd act. Not the best by any means but decently. Maybe I could accept her remoteness better in the 2nd act because it fit the character. She was technically sound also.

 

For those who love the hops on pointe she did them but kept the working leg low and did not go far and looked like she might fall off pointe but did not. Other than the hops on pointe she was not bad technically.

 

Philipp Stepin was a terrific Albrecht...elegant, masculine, handsome and living the role at every moment. It was like he was giving 100% to a Giselle who would only give so much back.

 

Renata Shakirova in the peasant pas de deux was everything I would like to see in a Giselle (maybe in the future?)....she was pure delight, full of joy, and has that delicate, girly Vaganova style, in my opinion. She handled the difficult turns that end in locking arms with Vasily Tkachenko while staying on one leg. She and Tkachenko were a complete delight throughout the pas de deux. 

 

Yekaterina Chebykina was Martha, and she is a dancer I have considered "not ready for prime time" for a while. To me she has a gawky, awkward way of moving, but I like her much better as Martha than as Odette/Odile or Gamzatti. I felt the previous roles I saw her in were complete disasters but tonight she was "decent" so she is improving!

 

That's all for now. Enjoying the atmosphere of this tour. Seeing old friends and the way Germany celebrates Christmas are major pluses. Speaking German non-stop after 25 years of hardly speaking a word has been another highlight. Maybe I will do this again!

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Autocorrect keeps changing Myrtha to Martha and too tired to edit! LOL

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Tonight Viktoria Tereshkina hit it out of the ballpark. I knew her Odile would be red hot and spicy, but I tend to think her Odette is often technically great but not delicate enough but she did a great job. Her Odette is much more earthy than Lopatkina's but that makes her warm. Her emotions were better than usual. One thing I admire about Tereshkina is that she always gives 100%. Never phones it in. It isn't just another Swan Lake for her. She attempts to give her all like it is a debut. 

 

I have no real problem with Xander Parish during his solos (not thrilling but okay), but every single time he partners a ballerina he slows her down considerably especially during the paddle turns. The minute he puts his hands on a ballerina during turns she immediately slows down IMMEDIATELY and at one point tonight almost knocked Tereshkina off balance. She is one of the best turners in the entire company, so I know it was not Tereshkina. I have seen ballerinas he has slowed down with other male partners and they do not slow down like they do with him, and Tereshkina usually has impeccable turns. I hate dwelling on this, but he really needs to practice. A partner should help the ballerina look better. Tereshkina triumphed tonight DESPITE him.

 

i am in the minority on this forum, but I actually like the Jester in the Mariinsky's Swan Lake, and I love him when he's excellent. Yaroslav Baibordin blew the house down with super fast turns in second among other exciting moves.

 

Yana Selina, Nadezhda Batoeva, and Ernest Latypov were all excellent as friends of Siegfried.

 

Overall a great night! 

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Unfortunately I can't report on the final show that I was supposed to see (Kondaurova's Swan Lake) for several reasons. 

 

The main reason is that I decided to skip it and give my ticket to a relative of a friend here in Germany. 

 

I was spending days in Mannheim visiting friends and nights in Baden-Baden for ballets and all the train trips back and forth took its toll on me. It seemed like a good idea at the time but started to get really tiresome even though the fast trains only took an hour. Plus, I was never able to forget about the time and just have fun with my friends who I had not seen in 25 years (always worried about making a train back to Baden-Baden for a ballet). So when friends wanted to make Christmas dinner for me and I was tired of the train rides back and forth I decided to offer the ticket to relatives or friends of my friends (whoever wanted it). I was willing to see Kondaurova in Swan Lake but I have to admit she's not my first choice, so if casting had been available before I bought my tickets I probably wouldn't have even bought a ticket for Dec. 25. So giving it to an elderly relative of one of my friends who was so excited to go...it seemed like a good because I made someone happy and it was a huge relief not to go back and forth again. And I was able to take walks with my friends and eat Rouladen, Spätzle, and Rotkohl.

 

So sorry to Kondaurova's fans. No idea how she did. 

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Thanks for all of your reports, Birdsall, sounds like an awesome trip!

 

I have been planning on a vacation to Germany and Austria next fall, but now I'm wondering if I should push it back to Christmas time so I can see the Mariinsky.

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Thank you, Kaysta and Drew! Not sure if many people have interest in this Baden-Baden topic, so reading a couple of people's comments in response to me helped me feel it was worthwhile to post.

 

Kaysta, I think you would love Baden-Baden at Christmas. Baden-Baden is not one of those medieval looking quaint German towns that we all think of when we think of Germany. It is a very posh resort town with an atmosphere that really reminds me of Palm Beach (the island, that is), Florida. There is a huge casino, baths, etc. It is a fairly small town. However, you have to take a bus or taxi to the heart of the city because it is a 15-20 ride on bus or taxi to get to the center where everything is. There was no Uber in Germany to my disappointment! LOL Friends told me it is not allowed. The distance between the city and the train station is unlike most German cities where you step out of the train station into the heart of the city or within walking distance to the center of the city. I think it is also because the old train station (which is near the heart of the city) is now the Festspielhaus. I think they did a great job converting it into a performing arts center. You step into a very beautiful old train station (by American standards it looks like an opera house already) and then once you check your coat in you step into the modern part of the building.  The inside of the theatre is nothing special......very bare bones modern, but the acoustics are great (Usually I hear the pointe shoes on stage but never did at the Festspielhaus) and seats are comfortable. I sat in Row 5 and Row 11 and I think shorter people might need to sit higher up. Maybe first row of the first balcony would also be ideal.

 

The Baden-Baden Christmas Market was more uppercrust than other Christmas markets I have seen (things you would actually want to buy for your house! LOL). The food and cookies and various goods were all things you could proudly buy for friends and family. I think at some others you have similar things but some junky things, but no junky items in Baden-Baden. You saw a huge difference among items sold in Baden-Baden compared to Mannheim or Heidelberg (which I visited with friends for a couple of hours one of the days). It brought back so many memories to buy roasted chestnuts and eat them walking through the Christmas market.

 

Anyway, if I ever go back to Baden-Baden I think I will stay there (and not go back and forth for 4 days or so) and see the Mariinsky and THEN go see friends for several days. The way I did it this time was too crazy! However, I did love how modern the fast trains were. The second class compartments put the first class compartments that I knew back in the late 80s, early 90s to shame!

 

The Germans appear to love the Mariinsky with great applause.

 

Every German said my German was impeccable, but they were lying. I had to search for words that used to come easily and was messing up articles which messes up the endings of adjectives. I would say that my flawed German is probably impressive for just being a tourist though. I had great fun being able to get around speaking German all day long. At one point I was thinking in German so much (even to myself) that I couldn't remember how to say a certain phrase in English (a certain saying that German wanted to know). I had to clear my mind and remember the way we say the phrase. Anyway, all my friends said it was really a shame I no longer speak it, so I have told a friend here in Gainesville that we should meet up now and then and speak German together even though he is also a non-native speaker but lived in Germany just like I did. That way we keep up.

 

The point of this posting is that I encourage people to consider the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus as a place for ballet. It is a nice city and near other cities and if you are a Mariinsky Ballet lover like I am, the Mariinsky tours there every Christmas (since the Russian Christmas comes in January probably).

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I've also enjoyed reading your reports Birdsall, as I had been considering a Baden Baden trip myself. Of course, it wouldn't be the same as seeing the Mariinsky in their home theatre, but for those of us already based in Europe, it would certainly be much more convenient. Thanks for creating this thread.

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I definitely am considering a Baden-Baden trip, though I'm not sure it will be in the offing anytime soon. My sister went a couple of years ago and had a great time (saw three different productions over the course of four or five days). And I always enjoy reading people's impressions of the Mariinsky!

Edited by Drew

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Janneke and Drew,

      Glad to hear you both might plan a trip there. 

       Yes, definitely not the same as seeing the Mariinsky at the Mariinsky, but still nice. The casting tends to be starry in Baden-Baden (I have been paying attention for several years because I was sort of considering it).

       I did notice that lighting was much brighter in Baden-Baden than at the Mariinsky. On the one hand, it caused a loss of some mystery/atmosphere especially in Swan Lake, but on the other hand it helped me notice details in the sets that I missed in the past. Firebird and Scheherazade sets were easier to see.

       

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Apparently, December 2017 has the Mariinsky doing Romeo and Juliet, Nutcracker, and the new Paquita in Baden-Baden. I don't think I will go. I have interest in the new Paquita (not a reconstruction supposedly), but somehow the mix of ballets do not excite me. I would go if I could see Swan lake and Paquita and then visit my friends. I have decided if I go to Baden-Baden again, I will stay in a hotel for a few nights and see a few performances and then visit friends. It is to tiring to jump on trains the whole time.

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Posted (edited)

At some point I am hoping to manage a Baden Baden trip, but I agree this is not the most tempting combination of ballets. And especially with Bayadere at Kennedy Center in the fall...

 

Edited to add: If I lived in Baden Baden or had the wherewithal to go all the time, then I might appreciate the variety and change up of repertory from year to year. Just for a special, one-time trip it's not the most tempting.

Edited by Drew

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The Paquita is the most intriguing work on Baden-Baden's playbill, since it sounds like an interesting idea.....using the original music but newly choreographed by Smekalov, I believe. I have liked some of what he has created, but at the same time if it is not Petipa it might just be "nice".......but maybe not worth a trip to see.

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Actually, I just went to the Mariinsky website and casting is finally up for the new Paquita. Here is the info about the production which apparently is using the parts Petipa choreographed. It might be pretty good after all!

 

 

Music by Édouard Deldevez, Ludwig Minkus and Riccardo Drigo
Libretto by Yuri Smekalov

Choreography: Yuri Smekalov
Reconstruction and staging of Marius Petipa's choreography (Act III Grand Pas): Yuri Burlaka
Production Designer: Andrei Sevbo
Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin
Costume Designer: Elena Zaitseva

Conductors: Valery Ovsyanikov, Gavriel Heine
Music edited by Yuri Smekalov

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also bear in mind Baden-Baden is not far from Stuttgart.

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18 hours ago, Birdsall said:

The Paquita is the most intriguing work on Baden-Baden's playbill, since it sounds like an interesting idea.....using the original music but newly choreographed by Smekalov, I believe. I have liked some of what he has created, but at the same time if it is not Petipa it might just be "nice".......but maybe not worth a trip to see.

The Grand Pas is being retained - and that is gorgeous!  

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