Kirov in NY
Posted 10 July 2002 - 08:57 PM
Thank you for the info about the cast for Wed. night (although not intentionally!;) )
So glad you like Gumerova, a girl from Moscow. She is definitely taller than Vishneva and Zakharova (approx 5'8"). Don't miss her in Rubies. Great techniques and stylish. But I still doubt with her Odette/Odile. She wasn't quite into the character. Hope she will improve. And if you've got a chance. Try to see her in Le Corsaire as Medora. Simply wonderful.
Posted 10 July 2002 - 09:36 PM
Do those who remain seem happy Were the curtain calls demonstrative?
Posted 11 July 2002 - 05:52 AM
And to the comment on being prepared for what La Bayadere is before going by Alexandra...I think she has a point. My husband went to watch last night with full knowledge of what to expect in the first two acts from my reports to him and from reading these boards! The result was that he actually told me during his intermission reports that it wasn't as bad as I described it and he enjoyed it. Perhaps what we have here is a need for dance education. Not everyone is as well versed in ballet lore as most of the posters here and do not know what to expect when they walk in to see La Bayadere and are taken aback by what they see as a lack of dancing.
Does anyone know why there is such a huge pause when Solor goes off in Act IV before he comes back on...is it that he can't find his bow????
Posted 11 July 2002 - 06:06 AM
i think it's a russian tradition to be good and ready before you dance a big solo. perhaps the readiness means catching a deep breath, doing some extra stretches/plies, or whatever. russian men have traditionally quit the stage more obviously and for longer periods of time than male dancers from other traditions: they just leave, sometimes when the ballerina is bowing after a pas de deux to 'prepare'. i once wondered this aloud to arlene croce and she thought maybe the went in the wings to spit. (not to be taken literally necessarily.)
i don't think in the case of solor's pas d'action solo that finding the bow can be the reason: neither fadeyev nor samodourov danced w/ the bow and each took his sweetnatured time before showing himself ready to launch into his dance.
in sum then i think it's just the way the russians do things, or at least the way russian men do their thing.
Posted 11 July 2002 - 06:11 AM
This is only theory, mind you -- someone else may actually know
Posted 11 July 2002 - 08:13 AM
Odd notes: I know where the tulles are. They used them to stuff the tiger. (A friend remarked at intermission that the tiger looked as if it would squeak if stepped on. The ladylike personage, upon his entrance, leaned over and whispered "Poor Tony" in my ear. )Moving on, about those parrots--the ones in the hand, not the ones on top of the flower arches. They have little perches to hold onto, but the third parrot girl from the right had been dealt a perchless parrot, and thus was clutching hers around the body just about the tail. This was apparent because in all over the head arm movements, hers was the only curved wrist in evidence. She reminded me of Julia Child with a recalcitrant dinner chicken. (Just grab it here, raise it up, and....) Next up: the water urn was somehow attached to a flat plastic disk on top of the dancer's head. Question: Why has no one mentioned the hats? The hats were astonishing in their profusion. Now, lastly, a few serious remarks: First, this was the single most ridiculous ballet I have ever seen. You can't go home to the original, and part way just doesn't work. Time travel this was not. However, it was of great interest to see a ballet more or less as Balanchiine would have seen it, and wonder if some of it stayed with him--Oberon and Puck/Solor and his fakir. Doubled female principals, particularly in last act. Etc. Also, interesting to see Russian version of noble savagery via India. Sets thus of extreme interest,intellectually. Also costumes, what with Victoriana mixed into Orientalia. I bet you the tulle in the shades is nylon or its cousin, though, and I bet it wasn't in 1900. I'm glad I saw this, but I am not racing back to see it again. I'd go for the Shades, though, even with the reduced number of girls. Also, that greenish scrim RG mentioned must have looked very different in the original, when theatrical lighting was so different. Ditto the scrim at the back, through which the Shades stepped just after entering from our right, way upstage amidst "rocks." It looked like ripped pantyhose, that scrim. The overall front scrim effect was difficult to assess in its intention; the result was that the shades, at least from mid-front part of the house, downstairs, seemed to be dancing behind window screening. The reason given for the reduced number of girls in this act was that it was too expensvie to bring them all....this is a production about the production.
Posted 11 July 2002 - 08:17 AM
For NO7 - the final curtain calls on Monday night were tepid (by NYC standards) until Zakharova came out for her bow & then the loud 'brava's' errupted. Strangely, Igor Kolb was paired with the Gamzatti (Tarasova) for all of his bows. So the sequence of bows saw the Nikiya (Zakharova) have the crowd all to herself. Of course, I was cheering loudly for Igor! ;)
After the Shades act (Act III) there was huge applause for the corps de ballet, as soon as the curtain went up.
Alexandra - Yes, the in-between-dances pace is slower in Russian theaters, where union concerns do not exist. (hint-hint...in the West, stage managers RUSH matters, to avoid having to pay double-time/overtime pay to the dressers, prop men, etc. It's a different world in Rus. I'm assuming that the same rule is in effect at the MET, i.e.,I believe that US-union dressers are backstage at the MET & not Russian dressers? Doesn't matter - the Russian dancers are used to taking their time, as long as they need, backstage. They're not about to be rushed now because they are on tour!
p.s. - When does "overtime" for payment of extra-wages kick-in at the MET? Is is 11 pm? Midnight? If 11 pm, then the backstage folk must be very happy whenever the Kirov is in town.
Posted 11 July 2002 - 09:48 AM
Posted 11 July 2002 - 09:59 AM
Posted 11 July 2002 - 10:40 AM
"Every dance is too long, but some are more too-long"
This was definitely the latter. I saw Daria Pavlenko (was expecting Gumerova) It was a good 2 hours before there was any real dancing on the stage. During the first act, if any of the dancers had suddenly erupted into the Hebrew Slave's Chorus from "Nabucco", I would not have battered an eyelash. I sat through their 4-hour "Sleeping Beauty" and as far as I was concerned it could have gone on forever. That was a wondrous production--and it had Tschaikovsky's score to boot.
Pavlenko is a beautiful dancer to watch but I was put off by a lack of depth in her portrayal. Her Solor was Viacheslav Samodorov, and the Gamzatti, Ekaterina Osmolkina, who really broke loose in Act !V when she finally got out of those low-heeled shoes.
I remember seeing the Golden Idol being carried aloft on a large pillow, but that was the last I saw of him--I know they omitted his solo, but why have him parade in and then disappear? I swear I was fully awake during the entire performance.
Posted 11 July 2002 - 12:11 PM
Vishneva is a beautiful dancer, and I have always liked her in the past, but Nikya is just not her role. She is much too earthy for it--I was half expecting her to pull out a fan, and break out in a Don Q variation. Also, at times, she seemed more than a little mannered--all that chest arching, and so on. The ballet as a whole didn't come together around her. Fadeyev was a poetic, if meek Solor. Perhaps he and Pavlenko would have made a better match.
Daria was simply stunning yesterday, and I thought her portrayal very convincing, deeply felt, well thought-out, and most importantly--completely honest. I am so looking forward to her Swan Lake this Saturday. Samodurov was her somewhat coarse Solor, but then he is somewhat coarse in every role. He is a good jumper though--doubles of everything, to the knee, thank you very much. The little old ladies around me discussed this ability of his loudly and at length throughout his variation. Glad they enjoyed it, but just because they can't hear, doesn't mean no one else can.
As far as the production itself... I did enjoy the first two acts very much. I don't mind that it was off pointe--it gives the ballet a little variety, and underscores the hierarchy (i.e. only princesses and priestesses deserve toe shoes;)) The Shades act was just amazing, I can watch them forever, and from the Grand Tier the scrim created a misty effect, so it worked for me:). It was so beautiful in fact that on Tuesday I left before the last act, because I wanted to carry away that vision.
All that said, having the grand pas in act IV is completely anticlimactic, and the scenes in which Nikya's shade appears in "the real world" simply don't work. The dancers looked very uncomfortable in the pas de deux a trois, or whatever you want to call it, of the grand pas. All of a sudden, Nikya turns into this psycho ex-girlfriend, who even in death can't leave the poor guy alone. All that was missing was a boiled stuffed rabbit, sorry, tiger.
Nevertheless it was really interesting to see this ballet closer to the way it was conceived, and realize that most changes that have been made, have been for the better.
(The costumes and wigs, for the Shades especially, were gorgeous. I'd keep them, and go back to 1941;))
The reception at both performances was rather tepid except after principles' variations and the Shades. On Wednesday, the dancers took their final bows in a nearly empty theater. The few of us that remained gave them a standing ovation. It was so sad.
Posted 11 July 2002 - 03:50 PM
I will say though that none of the principals stood out for me, with the exception of Igor Kolb. The evening's Nikiya, Sofia Gumerova, seemed to me to have awkward phrasing. I'm hoping for something more at Saturday matinee's Swan with Daria Pavola.
And I will say, as an aside, that given the choice of sitting through another almost four-hour Kirov Bayadere and sitting through an evening of Diamond project ballets, I'll take the 100-year-old ballet hands down.
Posted 13 July 2002 - 01:58 PM
I've always been a sort of Balanchine person, so it surprises me that I really do love the reconstructions. Although we can quible as to whether the Kirov should keep the men's solos that were added later or not or thowing the golden idol solo out, I appreciate the return of so much of the original Petipa choreography.
And though there is little pointe work in the first acts, I was delighted by original lute solo for Nikiya in Act I, the Jampo Dance in Act II. In the Jampo dance, the dancers are wearing heeled shoes, but such invention...Petipa does every thing he can with the, I don't know what the proper word is, but dancers had long colored scarves attatched to their calves and they manipulated it around while kicking their legs high, or behind them. Lots of little jumps. A perfect example putting a limitation and that exploring just what you can do with it.
There also was such beauty in just the way Petipa moves the dancers around, even between divertisments, he'll have the corps move in a processional from the back to the side. Act II, scene 2 was a joy for me for all the different variations. And the Dance of the Lotus Blossoms (yes, under-rehearsed) is a wonder. I'd love to see SAB do it out of context as a lesson in Petipa
And if you're a lover of Balanchine, you just have to see these ballets. You can see, from the two dances in La Bayadere, where Mr. B got his garlands from.
And now I can see all the connections between this ballet and Giselle (which was pointed out here and in some reviews), Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. Watching SL on Thursday, I saw that both Nikiya and Odete reveal themselves to the hero from behind screens after he inadvertantly betrays them. And Nikiya jumps out in Act III, scene 1 while Solor and Gamzatti are together in a little bit of the same way as Sleeping Beauty, when the Lilac Fairy shows Aurora to Prince Desire before the vision (a little bit of a stretch, maybe).
I adored the costumes...reds, olive green velvet, oranges, dark blue and more stripes! And the headresses...little pill boxes, caps, Russian-inspired crowns; and pearls everywhere.
I saw both Zakharova and Vishneva. Both were very beautiful, but different..Vishneva is more earthy and is good at showing off the character's passionate side. Zakharova (more about her when I post about her Swan Lake) was lovely during the first act and in her dance before the court. I found her very spiritual, but, as in Swan Lake, I just didn't feel any connection between her and her partner.
Elvira Tarasova was interesting to me. Maybe the role calls for more of a bitchy aspect, I'm not sure, but Tarasova played Gamzatti as a beautiful daughter of the Rajah who knew her place and what she could expect from life. She expected, from her position in life, that she would marry Solor and anything else was unacceptable.
A note about the audience, the Lincoln Center Festival as its own crowd. I find them not quite adventuress as a group as the BAM crowd, but they are not strictly a ballet audience. Still, up in the balcony, the house was sold out and filled until the end, although some people did scoot out during extended bows.
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