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Mathilde K

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About Mathilde K

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    ballet critic
  • City**
    San Francisco
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    California
  1. SFB 2015 Promotions and new members

    The soloists roster looks very slim indeed (Quenedit, in case you missed it, was promoted to Principal in May). Concerning Messmer: I lamented mishandling Messmer's case not once in recent months. Such a fabulous dancer, what a missed opportunity for the San Francisco Ballet... Even if Tómasson initially had doubts about who could be her partner, she seemed to find a fitting partner in Castilla.
  2. July - Aug 2014 at the Royal Opera House

    "Mariinsky management" in this case may be Gergiev himself (in the Mariinsky's ballet troupe jargon it always means "Fateev"). It seems that the decision to keep «Cinderella» in the repertoire and tour with it is entirely his own. Ratmansky on at least one occasion indicated that this early effort of his is dated and he wouldn't mind if it was retired. Even among Russian ballet critics «Cinderella»'s choreography is considered weak.
  3. July - Aug 2014 at the Royal Opera House

    Not exactly. "Lowly Coryphée", Svetlana Ivanova, absent in London, was the highlight of previous «DSCH» performances.
  4. July - Aug 2014 at the Royal Opera House

    To clear a possible misunderstanding: seeing Shakirova's name in the cast for «DSCH» didn't surprise me at all and, of course, I remember that she was dancing «DSCH» in July. In my original post I simply said that she didn't impress me on August 12. I saw her on several occasions before, so I know her as a dancer quite well.
  5. July - Aug 2014 at the Royal Opera House

    It is a norm everywhere that the (living) choreographer has a say (and often his voice is deciding) in the casting decisions when the premiere of one of his creations is being prepared by whatever company. The premiere of «DSCH» at Mariinsky was prepared in the Spring 2013 when Renata Shakirova could not have been even considered as she was a 7th grader at the Vaganova Academy. From that premiere, by the way, I remember how remarkable Svetlana Ivanova was (compared to others).
  6. July - Aug 2014 at the Royal Opera House

    I didn't know Ratmansky himself had picked Shakirova. I wonder where did he have an opportunity to see her on stage.
  7. July - Aug 2014 at the Royal Opera House

    Yesterday I paid the price for not realizing that «Firebird» was not for multi-story cavernous interiors like ROH. Sitting at the distance of mid Amphitheatre I was unable to see the upper body magic inscribed in Fokine's choreography for the protagonist Firebird. In this situation the most enjoyable were the fragments where Firebird was drawing broad figures with outstretched wings, all beatifully rendered by fluttering and undulations of Stepanova's arms, wrists and hands. Yulia's leaps seemed substantial but from the lofty heights where I was sitting I could not discern their quality. A lesson for the future: do not sit too far while watching Fokine's «Firebird». Lopatkina's noble lines fit very well into broad melodies of Ashton's choreography for Marguerite and they survive being observed from far away. I wasn't disturbed by realization that they transformed a courtesan into a virtuous, noble lady -- such is the power of Art. For me Lopatkina's "meditation on the theme of Marguerite Gautier" was the high point of the evening. The distance was apparently forgiving for Askerov's woodiness and technical infelicities that were still noticeable from where I was sitting. Ratmansky's «DSCH» begins on a high note. Later, however, it suffers from a common ailment of modern pseudo-classical choreography: the musical material being much richer than a few ideas at the core of the choreography, is being filled with stretches of generic 'balletogymnastics'. This creates tension between the cohesion of the musical compostion and the fragmentation of the superimposed choreographic text. In Ratmansky's case the choreographic fill-ups often resemble gymnastic displays as seen on May Day Red Square parades during Stalin's time. I doubt mature Shostakovich would have approved of such use of his music. Leaving this aside, of the three female soloists I liked best the one who was by an inexplicable omission not named in the cast sheet. Anastasia Matvienko would be an excellent soloist in nearly any company yet her deficiency in upper body is so noticeable even when compared to anonymous corps de ballet girls dancing with her, who received proper training at the Vaganova Academy. Whatever calculations were associated with offering Renata Shakirova, who is still a student at the Academy, to dance «DSCH» in London, in my opinion they were miscarried.
  8. July - Aug 2014 at the Royal Opera House

    Yes, I saw Kamil Yangurazov in the front row of the 'unnamed' dancers in «DSCH». He is very distinct. Who was the third female soloist in «DSCH»? By somebody's oversight she wasn't mentioned in the cast sheet. I was seating in Amphitheatre, couldn't see the face. Was it Batoeva? That unnamed girl was better than either Nastia Matvienko whose upper body immediately betrays her lack of Vaganova's training, or Shakirova.
  9. Enigma regarding Messmer continues. I pray Simone is offered Principal by Tómasson. That will make SFB one of the strongest companies in the world in terms of its 'female principal' power.
  10. Yulia Stepanova

    When reading Jennings one at least understands what he is talking about. Very telling are the words Jennings uses comparing the scale of the interpretations of Skoryk and Stepanova. Instead of 'grandeur' I would say bolder but simpler, and instead of 'smaller-scale' I would say - vastly more intimate. Unlike Jennings, I saw both dancers many times and have no axe to grind against Skoryk. Still, I understand Jennings' reservation vis-a-vis Stepanova's rendering of Odette: in London the reciprocity of feelings wasn't sufficiently articulated in the duets of Odette and Siegfried. She was too preoccupied with grief, he was attentive but not particularly loving (unlike on July 6 when the Prince was visibly in love with Odette and she was visibly grateful for his love). That would be the main complaint of mine. It didn't detract from my overall enjoyment due to utmost gracefulness and finesse of Stepanova's movement and poses. I understand, however, the source of Jennings' reservations.
  11. July - Aug 2014 at the Royal Opera House

    ...or how strongly has been Fateev promoting some and shutting out others. Svetlana Ivanova, for example, could provide a very atractive alternative to either Shapran in «Apollo» or to Skoryk - in the «Dream».
  12. Skorik

    David Dougill in Sunday Times http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/culture/arts/article1443371.ece Quote: "First off were Oxana Skorik as Odette/Odile and Timur Askerov as Prince Siegfried both of them first soloists. Askerov has a warm personality (he smiles a lot) and a plushly elegant dancing style. Skoriks Odette has beautiful line and phrasing, but is too remote and mannered in characterisation. Their lakeside pas de deux was meticulous but soulless. In the ballroom scene, Skorik was a dazzling fouetté-ist, but her seductiveness was mostly surface."
  13. Yulia Stepanova

    Luke Jennings in Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/aug/10/mariinsky-ballet-swan-lake-review-skorik-parish/print Quote: "The following day Yulia Stepanova performed the same ballet with Yorkshire-born Xander Parish. Stepanova is a smaller-scale dancer than Skorik, and without the same grandeur of line, but she is gorgeously sleek, and her work has a very appealing musicality. Like Skorik, Stepanova is much more engaging as Odile than Odette. Her white swan has its joyful moments following the Act 2 adagio she gives Parish a look of the sheerest rapture but she is too reliant, at moments of high emotion, on the knitted brow and the General Pained Expression. In the role of Odile, Stepanova cuts loose both dramatically and physically, delivering her steps with the creamy exultancy of a cat in a dairy."
  14. July - Aug 2014 at the Royal Opera House

    I agree that those who constantly repeat 'how bad' Skoryk is tend not to notice the progress she made. I attended some perfectly enjoyable performances by her. On the other hand praising somebody for passing an exam on her 30-th attempt after failing it badly at least a dozen times seems to me a bit disingeneous. Skoryk for six years has been literally 'pumped up' and offered optimal conditions for growth at the expense of more talented and much better trained.
  15. Skorik

    None of the discussion that took place in the Fall 2012 lost any actuality.I find it ironic that in the thread started in anticipation of Skoryk's opening night performance of «Swan Lake» in California, not a single person reported on that performance. A catastrophe occurred, as some feared, in the fouettés. This did not prevent Fateev to give her 4 more «Swan Lakes» during that tour. In Berkeley, however, he decided to place Kondaurova on the opening night. I enjoyed that performance tremendously in spite of the fact that apart from Adagio, Kondaurova was not particularly subtle as Odette, while her Odile was marred by quite a few small lapses and her fouettés were weak.
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