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Kevin Ng

Maryinsky Int'l Ballet Festival in March

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I've received from the Kirov this provisional casting for the Maryinsky International Ballet Festival, which of course is subject to further changes. Guest stars this year are from the Paris Opera Ballet and the ABT.

9 March, Cinderella - new production by Ratmansky to be premiered in Feb.

10 March, Fokine Ballets: Chopiniana, Petrushka, and Scheherazade

11 March, Nutcracker - Natalia Sologub, Andrian Fadeyev

12 March, Le Corsaire - Svetlana Zakharova, Elvira Tarasova, Nicolas le Riche.

13 March, Manon - Diana Vishneva, Vladimir Malakhov

14 March, Swan Lake - Agnes Letestu, Jose Martinez

15 March, Balanchine Ballets (Serenade, Prodigal Son, Theme and Variations)

16 March, Romeo and Juliet - Zhanna Ayupova, Manuel Legris

17 March, Neumeier Ballets (Spring and Fall, Now and Then, Sounds of Empty Pages.)

18 March, International Stars Gala

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Kevin, thank you so much for your post.

Do you happen to know what the casting is expected to be for their Washington performances next month?

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Thanks, Kevin! Well, I'm lickin' my chops now.... wink.gif

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I had a call from a woman who will be running a tour from America to this Festival. I've never used her services; she's been running tours to Russia for 20 years and certainly seemed very knowledgeable in our brief phone conversation.

For those who may be interested, I'm posting her company's press release. (Again, this is not an endorsement as I have not used the services myself.)

----------------------

An Imperial Russia for All the Senses:

Second Annual Mariinsky International Ballet Festival

St. Petersburg, Russia –– March 9-19, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 21, 2001 – – This spring, you can see and experience Russia and the romance of its world-class theatre, summer palaces, foods and fine wines, all from the eyes, ears and palate of an imperial czar!

Tour Designs, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based travel company with 20 years experience in Russia and Eastern Europe, is offering unique personalized tours for groups and individuals to attend the second annual Mariinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia March 9-19.

Packages include meals and accommodations at the luxurious five-star Hotel Astoria at St. Issac’s Square in the center of St. Petersburg.

Top international ballet stars, along with travelers from throughout the world, again this year will assemble for the festival at the historic Mariinsky (formerly the Kirov) Theatre.

Dancers of the famous Kirov Ballet Company will perform a series of nine nightly programs at this magnificent theatre, culminating on the tenth evening with a spectacular International Stars Gala performance. Last year’s stars included Ethan Stiefel and Carlos Acosta, among many others.

Several of Russia’s most renowned dancers will perform classical ballets on this world-famous stage, including such favorites as Manon, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, and Cinderella.

In all the surrounding grandeur of this magnificent city of high culture, you will be lavished in royal treatment, including exquisite authentic Russian cuisine, and private receptions with the stars and maestro.

And, if the breathtaking ballet experiences are not enough, you will be treated to a fascinating behind-the-scenes look inside the Mariinsky theatre.

Plus, you can enjoy the privilege of excursions with a private vehicle and driver to top shopping areas, as well as escorted visits to the opulent palaces, art museums, and the original Fabergé workshop, just two blocks from the Hotel Astoria. The tours will use private, professional guides, fluent in English.

Packages range from U$1,299 pp twin share + air + visa for weekend stays; and from U$ 4,199 pp twin share + air + visa for the full 10-day itinerary. Special package airfares are available with Finnair through Tour Designs.

Landing and storage arrangements are available for private jets, as is full assistance with visas, and customs-regulations guidance for bringing home objects d’art.

An optional side-trip to Moscow for a performance at the Bolshoi is available.

American Marylou Foley, CTC, principal organizer and guide, says “This is an absolute wonderful opportunity to travel back in time to the Bolshevik era and experience the extravagant lifestyle of the czars, while still enjoying the very best of today’s Western amenities.”

For more detailed information, contact Tour Designs at (800) 432-8687 or visit their Web site at www.TourDesignsInc.com.

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Yikes - $4,199 for one week in the dead of winter? Hmmm.... I'm sure that it will be lovely tour....but..... [And I realize that you are simply passing on the info, Alexandra, and not endorsing this particular tour group.]

Anybody who wishes to stay at one of the new B&B-type places near the Mariinsky Theater -- all of which have access to theater-ticket services -- may wish to get in contact with me. The Youth Hostel is no longer the only cheap option. For $50/night you can stay at a beautiful B&B within walking distance of the Mariinsky...and that's a full breakfast included. They handle visa support too. So...

Hotel w/ bkfast at $50/night x 10 nights = $500

(half the price for you if you have roomate sharing cost of room)

Aeroflot round-trip fare = $550 (from DC to St P; less from NYC)

Ballet tix...budget about $25 for a balcony ticket obtained on the street (will cost more through any hotel agent); during regular season it is possible to obtain much-much less expensive tix (about 300 rubles for a great location, or $10) in a kiosk, but this is a festival.

Unlike the old days, there are now several fast-food/less-expensive-food options in Moscow & St Petes.

You do the math...I know, there's nothing like the convenience of having an expert tour guide do it all for you if you can afford it. No question about it. I just hate to see folks on-a-budget throw money away, that's all.

- Jeannie

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Thanks for the info, Jeannie. There are always some people who want to do it themselves and some who'd rather buy a package.

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Jeannie, thanks for your useful information on the B&B type accomodation near the Maryinsky Theatre. Last time I stayed at the Hotel Astoria/Angleterre which was 5 minutes from the Maryinsky by taxi. I understand that it's the closest hotel to the Maryinsky. I remember that I saw Rasta Thomas having tea in the hotel lobby with a friend one afternoon.

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Jeannie, Two close friends of mine are going to the Maryinsky Ballet Festival on 9th March and are having problems finding suitable accommodation. Is it possible for you to let me know the details of the B&B close to the theatre that you recommended in your earlier post, i.e. name, address tel/fax no's, email address etc. to pass on to them? Many thanks - MB

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Mashinka -

Please e-mail me at:

jeannie@balletalert.com

The best of the places may already be booked for the festival period but I have list of four B&B/small hotels in total. [i don't even get a commission for this. wink.gif ]

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Originally posted by alexandra:

I had a call from a woman who will be running a tour from America to this Festival. I've never used her services; she's been running tours to Russia for 20 years and certainly seemed very knowledgeable in our brief phone conversation.

For those who may be interested, I'm posting her company's press release. (Again, this is not an endorsement as I have not used the services myself.)

----------------------

An Imperial Russia for All the Senses:

Second Annual Mariinsky International Ballet Festival

St. Petersburg, Russia –– March 9-19, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 21, 2001 – – This spring, you can see and experience Russia and the romance of its world-class theatre, summer palaces, foods and fine wines, all from the eyes, ears and palate of an imperial czar!

Tour Designs, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based travel company with 20 years experience in Russia and Eastern Europe, is offering unique personalized tours for groups and individuals to attend the second annual Mariinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia March 9-19.

Packages include meals and accommodations at the luxurious five-star Hotel Astoria at St. Issac’s Square in the center of St. Petersburg.

Top international ballet stars, along with travelers from throughout the world, again this year will assemble for the festival at the historic Mariinsky (formerly the Kirov) Theatre.

Dancers of the famous Kirov Ballet Company will perform a series of nine nightly programs at this magnificent theatre, culminating on the tenth evening with a spectacular International Stars Gala performance. Last year’s stars included Ethan Stiefel and Carlos Acosta, among many others.

Several of Russia’s most renowned dancers will perform classical ballets on this world-famous stage, including such favorites as Manon, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, and Cinderella.

In all the surrounding grandeur of this magnificent city of high culture, you will be lavished in royal treatment, including exquisite authentic Russian cuisine, and private receptions with the stars and maestro.

And, if the breathtaking ballet experiences are not enough, you will be treated to a fascinating behind-the-scenes look inside the Mariinsky theatre.

Plus, you can enjoy the privilege of excursions with a private vehicle and driver to top shopping areas, as well as escorted visits to the opulent palaces, art museums, and the original Fabergé workshop, just two blocks from the Hotel Astoria. The tours will use private, professional guides, fluent in English.

Packages range from U$1,299 pp twin share + air + visa for weekend stays; and from U$ 4,199 pp twin share + air + visa for the full 10-day itinerary. Special package airfares are available with Finnair through Tour Designs.

Landing and storage arrangements are available for private jets, as is full assistance with visas, and customs-regulations guidance for bringing home objects d’art.

An optional side-trip to Moscow for a performance at the Bolshoi is available.

American Marylou Foley, CTC, principal organizer and guide, says “This is an absolute wonderful opportunity to travel back in time to the Bolshevik era and experience the extravagant lifestyle of the czars, while still enjoying the very best of today’s Western amenities.”

For more detailed information, contact Tour Designs at (800) 432-8687 or visit their Web site at www.TourDesignsInc.com.


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Originally posted by alexandra:

I had a call from a woman who will be running a tour from America to this Festival. I've never used her services; she's been running tours to Russia for 20 years and certainly seemed very knowledgeable in our brief phone conversation.

For those who may be interested, I'm posting her company's press release. (Again, this is not an endorsement as I have not used the services myself.)

----------------------

An Imperial Russia for All the Senses:

Second Annual Mariinsky International Ballet Festival

St. Petersburg, Russia –– March 9-19, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 21, 2001 – – This spring, you can see and experience Russia and the romance of its world-class theatre, summer palaces, foods and fine wines, all from the eyes, ears and palate of an imperial czar!

Tour Designs, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based travel company with 20 years experience in Russia and Eastern Europe, is offering unique personalized tours for groups and individuals to attend the second annual Mariinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia March 9-19.

Packages include meals and accommodations at the luxurious five-star Hotel Astoria at St. Issac’s Square in the center of St. Petersburg.

Top international ballet stars, along with travelers from throughout the world, again this year will assemble for the festival at the historic Mariinsky (formerly the Kirov) Theatre.

Dancers of the famous Kirov Ballet Company will perform a series of nine nightly programs at this magnificent theatre, culminating on the tenth evening with a spectacular International Stars Gala performance. Last year’s stars included Ethan Stiefel and Carlos Acosta, among many others.

Several of Russia’s most renowned dancers will perform classical ballets on this world-famous stage, including such favorites as Manon, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, and Cinderella.

In all the surrounding grandeur of this magnificent city of high culture, you will be lavished in royal treatment, including exquisite authentic Russian cuisine, and private receptions with the stars and maestro.

And, if the breathtaking ballet experiences are not enough, you will be treated to a fascinating behind-the-scenes look inside the Mariinsky theatre.

Plus, you can enjoy the privilege of excursions with a private vehicle and driver to top shopping areas, as well as escorted visits to the opulent palaces, art museums, and the original Fabergé workshop, just two blocks from the Hotel Astoria. The tours will use private, professional guides, fluent in English.

Packages range from U$1,299 pp twin share + air + visa for weekend stays; and from U$ 4,199 pp twin share + air + visa for the full 10-day itinerary. Special package airfares are available with Finnair through Tour Designs.

Landing and storage arrangements are available for private jets, as is full assistance with visas, and customs-regulations guidance for bringing home objects d’art.

An optional side-trip to Moscow for a performance at the Bolshoi is available.

American Marylou Foley, CTC, principal organizer and guide, says “This is an absolute wonderful opportunity to travel back in time to the Bolshevik era and experience the extravagant lifestyle of the czars, while still enjoying the very best of today’s Western amenities.”

For more detailed information, contact Tour Designs at (800) 432-8687 or visit their Web site at www.TourDesignsInc.com.


Hi - I am the woman - and can assure you that this package includes LOTS of special things for the individual traveler - but I do know less expensive ways to travel in russia.

however, tickets for Orchestra are 80USD for the festival. There are also stringent rules on ticket prices for foreigners- and we had a report last month of extensive checking at the entrance -so do be careful!

There is still time for people to arrange to go - including visa processing.

Or start planning for 2003!

Thank you ! Marylou

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The performance of Cinderella on 9 March opening this year's Maryinsky Festival will in fact be the second performance of Alexei Ratmansky's new production. The premiere of this Cinderella will be on 5 March, and I was informed that the first cast will be Diana Vishneva and Andrian Fadeyev.

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Thanks Kevin, for keeping us updated. How about the cast for the performance on 9 March then? Will it be goddess Vishneva and Fadayev again?

Oh..by the way, can anyone give me a hint where Igor Zelensky is? He hasn't recently been cast in any Kirov programmes. He was originally scheduled to guest with Zakharova in Rome, but replaced by Kolb, as Marc mentioned in another thread.

[ February 20, 2002: Message edited by: NO7 ]

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NO7, I think that Igor Zelensky is still 'off' due to injury. In early February, Danila Korsuntsev replaced Zelensky as Svetlana Zakharova's partner in Swan Lake with the New National Theatre Ballet in Tokyo.

In June, Zelensky is scheduled dance the first cast of English National Ballet's Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall, with Zakharova.

[ February 20, 2002: Message edited by: Kevin Ng ]

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This sounds as if it will be a wonderful festival. I was happy to see Ms. Letestu listed in Swan Lake. I had the opportunity to share the stage with her (me corps, her the lead) smile.gif and I must say that never in my career would I allow my attention to wander onstage but I couldn't tear my eyes off of her while dancing my own bit. A lyrical performer who is certainly growing and maturing beautifully, and is a very sweet person as well.

[ February 21, 2002: Message edited by: choreo ]

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quote:

Originally posted by NO7:

How about the cast for the performance on 9 March then? Will it be goddess Vishneva and Fadayev again?

I just checked the Kirov site and the March casting has been updated for some performances.

http://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill?pbmy=200203

The performance on 9 March will be danced by Natalia Sologub and Denis Matvienko.

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Hi Kevin et al - Greetings from St Petes...in fact I'm sitting at a new internet cafe directly across from Kazan Cathedral, on Nevsky Prospekt, if you know where that is. I am having a ball! OK - Zelensky is out with injury; Uliana Lopatkina out on maternity leave; Andrian Fedeev (I think) is also injured, as he is being replaced by Mercuriev as the Prince on Tuesday night's premiere of the new 'Cinderella' which I will attend. Vishneva still scheduled to dance Cinderella.

Tonight I go to 'Raymonda' starring Makhalina/Ivanchenko. Tomorrow night it's a triple bill of Diaghilev=era reconstructions by Nikita Dolgushin, at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory: Pulcinella, Pavillon dArmide & one other ballet...Firebird, I think. On Monday (or Tues?) it's 'Esmeralda' at the Maly. etc, etc. Well, this place is hopping with all sorts of ballet, as always.

Oh - before I forget...there is a nice new Mariinsky Theater shop next-door to the theater, with some nice books, magazines, videos, tutus, tiaras, etc. All sorts of good stuff. *They have just published a GORGEOUS souvenir programme - more like a large book, but soft cover - titled 'Mariinsky Ballet,' with colour photos & descriptions of ALL oballets in the Mariinsky rep, plus bios of all the principals, and 1st and 2nd soloists. Those of you coming next week to the festival should not miss it. Too, this programme announces the festivities for 2003, which will coincide with the 300th anniversary of the city of St. Petersburg. Next year's Mariinsky Intl Ballet Festival will commence on Feb 14h (Valentines Day) & last about 12 days. Too, there will be a HUGE ballet ball at Tsarskoye Selo -- in the main ballroom of the Ekaterinsky Palace -- on May 31, 2003, to be attended by President Putin.

WISH ALL OF YOU WERE HERE! Take care.

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Thank you, Jeannie! Some day you'll have to write a guidebook of The Internet Cafes of Russia! smile.gif I'm glad you've arrived safely, and I hope you'll keep us posted.

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Thanks, Alexandra. I have a couple of reports to post under Recent Performances! Really DO wish you were here...LOVELY new blanket of snow. Very few tourists in the winter; no lines at the Hermitage. Lots of ballet. Absolutely heavenly.

TIPS FOR THOSE HEADED FOR THE FESTIVAL: You must bring comfortable walking boots, preferably with cleats, as there is quite a bit of 'bumpy ice' beneath that snow. Gore-Tex or some other heavy-duty waterproof material. Ladies, unless you are going to be chauffered 'door-to-door,' choose elegant-yet-practical attire for theater nights. That means, in essence, black pants with pretty sweaters/tops beneath your heavy coats. The latter must be checked in at the theater's guarde-robe...unlike America & Western Europe, the checking of coats is COMPULSORY here, so please don't bring your sables & minks 'cause you're going to have to part with them. And I'm not joking about the snow boots. I have yet to wear anything but them anywhere here, even on gala nights at the theater.

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Jeannie, thanks so much indeed for your tips and your warning about the icy roads. I now know what to pack in my suitcase. I look forward to meeting you in St. Petersburg after my arrival this weekend.

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Well, I'm eating my words now, as we have had a warming trend today & the sidewalks are quite slushy. However, it's still a good idea to pack for any eventuality, as today's slush freezes overnight.

A FUN TIP -

Whatever the festival visitors do, they MUST take time to visit an authentic Russian 'banya'! That's the wind-and-crazy Russian equivalent of a sauna, except that it's steam heat instead of dry heat (as in Scandinavia) AND -- the best part -- you get literally beaten up with birch branches by your friends as you lie down on a hot wooden table in the 'parelki' (steam room). Screaming is optional. After that, you run like hell out of the room & plunge into an ice-cold swimming pool (or roll in the snow...whichever is most readily available). Then everyone drinks team or kvas on the picnic table before repeating the entire process about 6 times. Totally relaxing - trust me!

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Nicolas Le Riche will not dance in Le Corsaire on Tue. Igor Kolb will instead dance Ali.

The programme of the Gala on 18 March is as follows, according to the Festival programme which I bought last night in the Maryinsky Theatre.

Le Jeune Homme et la Mort - Agnes Letestu, Nicolas Le Riche

Le Spectre de la Rose - Zhanna Ayupova, and Vladimir Malakhov

Grand Pas Classique - Agnes Letestu, Jose Martinez

Bakhti - Diana Vishneva, Faroukh Ruzimatov

Tchaikovsky pas de deux - Aurelie Dupont, Manue Legris

Artifact II - Ballett Frankfurt

Diamonds - Svetlana Zakharova, Vladimir Malakhov

[ March 13, 2002, 07:00 AM: Message edited by: Kevin Ng ]

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Thanks for that casting info, Kevin.

Jeannie, I hope you haven't been swallowed up by the snow smile.gif

And I do hope someone will report on the gala.

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I have just been informed of a change in the casting for tonight's closing Gala. Le Jeune Homme et la Mort will be danced instead by Yulia Makhalina and Andrian Fadeyev.

[ March 19, 2002, 03:34 AM: Message edited by: Kevin Ng ]

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I'm OK, Alexandra! I've actually been swallowed up by "Chicken Wars"...anybody who follows US-Russia trade relations knows what this is all about. wink.gif

I now have about five or six 'unwritten reviews' including the phenomenal 'Scheheradaze' at the Kirov on March 10, when the Bolshoi's Tsiskaridze brought down the house. Believe it or not, he eclipsed Vladimir Malakhov (guest in the other two ballets on the bill - 'Chopiniana' & 'Petrushka').

I'm also dying to find the time to tell you about two delightful productions that I recently attended at the Maly-Mussorgsky, 'Giselle' and 'Esmeralda.' This company rarely (ever?) tours North America but are often seen in Japan. I was very taken by the precision of their corps de ballet in 'Giselle' - better than (gulp!) the Kirov-Mariinsky. The soloists, too, are fine, although most of them -- and this sounds AWFUL, I know -- have a flaw of some sort which explains why they are at the Maly instead of the Mariinsky, e.g., too short. This is, on the whole, a shortish company, which makes sense with the smaller stage dimensions. Both 'Giselle' and 'Esmeralda' starred Anastasia Lomachenkova -- a very fine blonde dancer but, alas, less-than-ethereal in romantic roles. Definitely a creature of this earth! I was more impressed, in 'Giselle,' by the dancing of the dynamic Tatyana Miltseva & Dmitri Salimbaev in the Peasant Pas de Deux.

Yeah, I'll do details about the "Armide'/'Pulcinella' at the Conservatory, too. I got your message, Paul. This has been one heck of a week & the Russians are steadfastly holding to the poultry ban.

On a lighter note, I did ny first cross-country skiing EVER on the Finnish Gulf last weekend. Yes, on the Gulf. If the ice breaks, I'll find myself floating to Helsinki on a chunk of ice. I was screaming my head off with laughter; I'm sure that my Russian buddies thought that I was totally nuts (as I am, just to have tried it).

Sorry, must run. Kevin - I got your photos. Please update our friends on the festival programs!!!!

- Jeannie

Moscow (present location)

[ March 19, 2002, 05:11 PM: Message edited by: Jeannie ]

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