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Mariinsky Bayadere KennCen Oct 22-17, 17

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Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if Gamzatti's 3rd act variation was part of the original production or added later?  Before today, I had only seen ABT's version and was surprised the Mariinsky version ended with the shades and without the whole destruction of the temple scene.

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1 hour ago, Kaysta said:

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if Gamzatti's 3rd act variation was part of the original production or added later?  Before today, I had only seen ABT's version and was surprised the Mariinsky version ended with the shades and without the whole destruction of the temple scene.

 

I have always understood that Makarova's 3rd Act -- with the wedding and destruction of the temple -- is mostly Makarova's choreography though she imported the Golden Idol into it. Some of what is now the "engagement" scene in her production, the classical set piece with Solor and Gamzatti in her first Act (Mariinsky's Act II) was originally from the final "wedding" act. You can see video of the Vikharev reconstruction of that final Act on youtube. Unfortunately, I never saw the reconstruction but several people on this site have and know more about these different productions.

 

From very early in the Soviet period, the wedding/destruction of the Temple was cut. I thought its absence would bother me more than it did. At least after the Kingdom of the Shades with Tereshkina and Kim or Kondaurova and Askerov, I kind of didn't want to see anything else. Though it does mean the ballet ends in the middle of an opium dream and Nikiya's murderers remain unpunished. It's as if Solor just OD'ed.

 

(I'm on record as liking Skorik and, in fact, I genuinely loved her Raymonda two years ago, but I found her Nikiya this past Saturday less compelling--especially after just having seen Tereshkina the night before. It had some very fine moments--I liked the way she stabbed her legs into the floor in Nikiya's "joyous" dance at the engagement/wedding celebration, and her arms in the opening solo were very lyrical. Her air of vulnerability suits Nikiya, too, and her lines can be exquisite. But overall I didn't find the performance on the same level as her Raymonda. I also feel Tereshkina and Kondaurova just had stunningly "on" performances the nights I went and at the matinee Skorik, though--in my eyes--a lovely ballerina, just didn't seem "on" in the same way. But I enjoyed the performance and am very glad I saw her.)

Edited by Drew

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15 hours ago, Kaysta said:

I concur with the wonderful reviews of Tereshkina and Kim.  They were fantastic.  Literally, the best Nikiya and Solor I've ever seen.

 

Adding another concurrence to the Tereskina/Kim cast. Wonderful!  Also enjoyed the Kondaurova/Askerov cast; she infusing her performance with more warmth than in the past and he hugely improved in technique than when I last saw him in StP. However, in that cast, Nadezhda Batoeva took the cake as Gamzatti, both a true actress and great dancer, wildly applauded on Saturday night.

 

While Soslan Kulaev was quite good as the High Brahmin in all performances, I was a saddened by the absence of the great mime Vladimir Ponomarev. I know that he's getting up in age but still sad to not see him here.

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On 10/20/2017 at 12:06 PM, DC Export said:

I attended last night's show. I have to say that I was a little disappointed. I am open to the reasoning that I am more accustomed to the American aesthetic of athleticism than the emotive qualities of the Mariinsky, but overall I found the lack of dance in this ballet difficult to get over.

 

The choreography just didn't lend itself to telling a compelling story. The first act was full of painfully-slow mime, which shortened what I felt could have been a meaningful interaction between Solor (Timur Askerov) and Nikiya (Ekaterina Kondaurova) to set the stage for the tragedy to come. Instead, their pas was so brief that the audience did not feel the depth of their love. Which wasn't helped by the fact that our Nikiya barely looked at Solor throughout the production; she seemed to be dancing on her own, never acknowledging the presence of her lover.  Ms. Kondaurova's long arms added so much beauty to her extensions, but I was distracted from the first scene (where the midriff is bear with a tube top and harem skirt) to the end (traditional leotard and tutu) by the protrusion of her rib cage in comparison to the size of her stomach. I hate to body shame anyone, regardless of where they fall on the scale, but it is saddening to see this company continue a sad legacy of emaciated artists.

 

 

On the plus side, Nadezhda Batoeva was incredibly compelling as Gamzatti, precise technique in her steps and a visceral emotion in her jealousy. Askerov was also a gallant Solor, his solos were some of the high-points of the production, and his gestures and face told a wonderful story about his conflict and guilt, though it wasn't evidently reciprocated by Nikiya. Also, the divertissements in the second act were a nice reprieve from drawn-out mime and (pretty) walking around the stage. I normally dislike these sections of ballets since they don't advance the plot, but it was just nice to see people dance. 

This was largely my impression as well when I attended Saturday evening - I found Kondaurova's expression oddly blank throughout, and her protruding ribs distracting from the rest of her line. The third act with the Shades was lovely of course, and I enjoyed the Divertissements more than I usually do. Askerov was a very good Solor - great jumps, and I enjoyed Batoeva as Gamzatti.

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12 hours ago, Drew said:

 

I have always understood that Makarova's 3rd Act -- with the wedding and destruction of the temple -- is mostly Makarova's choreography though she imported the Golden Idol into it. Some of what is now the "engagement" scene in her production, the classical set piece with Solor and Gamzatti in her first Act (Mariinsky's Act II) was originally from the final "wedding" act. You can see video of the Vikharev reconstruction of that final Act on youtube. Unfortunately, I never saw the reconstruction but several people on this site have and know more about these different productions.

 

From very early in the Soviet period, the wedding/destruction of the Temple was cut. I thought its absence would bother me more than it did. At least after the Kingdom of the Shades with Tereshkina and Kim or Kondaurova and Askerov, I kind of didn't want to see anything else. Though it does mean the ballet ends in the middle of an opium dream and Nikiya's murderers remain unpunished. It's as if Solor just OD'ed.

 

(I'm on record as liking Skorik and, in fact, I genuinely loved her Raymonda two years ago, but I found her Nikiya this past Saturday less compelling--especially after just having seen Tereshkina the night before. It had some very fine moments--I liked the way she stabbed her legs into the floor in Nikiya's "joyous" dance at the engagement/wedding celebration, and her arms in the opening solo were very lyrical. Her air of vulnerability suits Nikiya, too, and her lines can be exquisite. But overall I didn't find the performance on the same level as her Raymonda. I also feel Tereshkina and Kondaurova just had stunningly "on" performances the nights I went and at the matinee Skorik, though--in my eyes--a lovely ballerina, just didn't seem "on" in the same way. But I enjoyed the performance and am very glad I saw her.)

Thank you for the historical explanations, Drew - I'm always curious about why there are widely different versions of some ballets.

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I was privileged to go to the KC for a long weekend, and I agree that Tereshkina and Kim were breathtaking.  There are complaints that Kim can't act, but I didn't care.  His technique is so marvelous.  It reminded me of better times at ABT, when there was  male dancing at that high level every night.    I  thought both Tereshkina and Kondaurova were absolutely wonderful.   They both have steely technique, and were soulful Nikiyas.  They also both had such beautiful arm movements and flexible backs.  My favorite Gamzatti was Batoeva.  Can't wait to see move of her in the future.   These KC appearances are invaluable to balletomanes.   

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May I add that it was wonderful to finally see Valeria Martinyuk on an official US tour? She was terrific as a solo shade in some performances and as Manu (the A2 solo with the water-jug atop the head) in others, dancing with two student's from Washington DC's own Kirov Academy of Ballet.  (Great job overall by the KAB kids.) The Danse Manu had been excised from the production when the Kirov-Mariinsky last presented it in DC. So nice to have it restored! Too, unlike 2008, we now saw the complete and correct Golden Idol ensemble of kids, rather than adult corps women, as done on past tours. Mercifully, the Golden Idol kids no longer perform in blackface, although they sported the black gloves and leggings, left over from the old ways.

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Thanks to all for fascinating and informative comments especially those about Tereshkina, whom I've never seen except on youtube.

 

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1 hour ago, CharlieH said:

May I add that it was wonderful to finally see Valeria Martinyuk on an official US tour? She was terrific as a solo shade in some performances and as Manu (the A2 solo with the water-jug atop the head) in others, dancing with two student's from Washington DC's own Kirov Academy of Ballet.  . . .  unlike 2008, we now saw the complete and correct Golden Idol ensemble of kids, rather than adult corps women, as done on past tours. Mercifully, the Golden Idol kids no longer perform in blackface, although they sported the black gloves and leggings, left over from the old ways.

 

I was puzzled by those gloves and leggings and wondered if they were remnants of a blackface production. Thanks for confirming that.

 

I also thought the make-up on the two students in the water-jug variation was very peculiar. I didn't notice this from the first tier, but was up front in the orchestra on Sunday. They had very dark "tanning" make-up that was a mismatch from their arms. I wondered if this was a half-baked effort at "blackface" of some sort. Better to just skip that, I thought.

 

I don't disagree with the assessments above. I was fortunate to see the last four performances, including two with Tereshkina and Kim, who were fabulous beyond all expectations. Skorik at the Saturday matinee was a disappointment after seeing Tereshkina. And I wonder how ABT's La Bayadere will look next spring at the Met!

 

For this ballet, the view from the first tier of the corps is quite extraordinary -- the straight lines and formations, the perfect symmetry in position from head to toe (and, yes, the occasional wobble in the arabesques). The scrim with opium "smoke" works better up high, too. I love how the corps makes several deliberate moves and poses during the bows. No one mentioned the caliber of the male corps members, especially in the Act II drum sequences. Powerful techniques from all.

 

I also wondered if the Mariinsky stage is bigger than the Kennedy Center's. It seemed that many principals and soloists were super-careful in their various menage because they were used to more space. Some ended on the dark stage in front of the Mylar floor. 

 

Another historical tidbit: the program states that this version premiered in January 1941. The Nazi seige of Leningrad started in September of that year and the company and school were evacuated to Perm for the remainder of the war. I wonder how much of the Nazi threat was known in January. The show must go on!

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On ‎10‎/‎22‎/‎2017 at 6:52 PM, Drew said:

 

 Kondaurova...tore across the stage in the diagonal of chaine turns, her long arms whipping around her...the embodiment of the sacred fire--a flame burning  across the stage....Batoeva... perhaps she had more of an Aurora glow 

...Matvienko's fierceness as Gamzatti, ... was melodrama at its best ... Kolegova ...swung her leg up into the Italian fouettes it looked so natural the audience burst into spontaneous applause.

 

 

I loved the production and casts:

  • Tereshkina - beautiful, in love as equals despite her station in life.  Tragic.   Conniving Gamzatti  never doubted her victory.
  • Kondaurova - vibrant lower class  woman used by a handsome warrior in an ongoing dalliance.  He was fine with his lovely Gamzatti. 
  • Skoryk - vulnerable and the heroic Solor was passionate about his Nikya.   Kolegeva was a flamboyant upper class woman forced on an anguished Solor.   Fouette phrasing and thrust emphasized her perceived win.   
 
Edited by maps

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1 hour ago, maps said:

....Kolegeva was a flamboyant upper class woman forced on an anguished Solor.   Fouette phrasing and thrust emphasized her perceived win.   

 

 

I like that way of thinking of the fouettes--I found that sequence the highlight of her performance.

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22 hours ago, Drew said:

 

I have always understood that Makarova's 3rd Act -- with the wedding and destruction of the temple -- is mostly Makarova's choreography though she imported the Golden Idol into it. Some of what is now the "engagement" scene in her production, the classical set piece with Solor and Gamzatti in her first Act (Mariinsky's Act II) was originally from the final "wedding" act. You can see video of the Vikharev reconstruction of that final Act on youtube. Unfortunately, I never saw the reconstruction but several people on this site have and know more about these different productions.

 

From very early in the Soviet period, the wedding/destruction of the Temple was cut. I thought its absence would bother me more than it did. At least after the Kingdom of the Shades with Tereshkina and Kim or Kondaurova and Askerov, I kind of didn't want to see anything else. Though it does mean the ballet ends in the middle of an opium dream and Nikiya's murderers remain unpunished. It's as if Solor just OD'ed.

 

 

Thanks,Drew.  It's interesting because the ABT version also seems similar to the Royal Ballet version, which I do believe has the temple destruction scene and Gamzatti's Act 3 variation (I have the video of Nunez as a marvelous Gamzatti).  I'm not familiar with the old school Soviet productions though.  I'll check out YouTube to see if I can find the Vikharev reconstruction.  While I missed seeing Gamzatti's last variation, I overall loved the production due to the strength of the Mariinsky dancers.

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29 minutes ago, Kaysta said:

It's interesting because the ABT version also seems similar to the Royal Ballet version, which I do believe has the temple destruction scene and Gamzatti's Act 3 variation (I have the video of Nunez as a marvelous Gamzatti).  I'm not familiar with the old school Soviet productions though.  

 

The Royal Ballet performs the same Makarova’s version as ABT. However, Nureyev’s staging of La Bayadere for POB ends with Kingdom of the Shades.

Edited by Dreamer

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38 minutes ago, Dreamer said:

 

The Royal Ballet performs the same Makarova’s version as ABT. However, Nureyev’s staging of La Bayadere for POB ends with Kingdom of the Shades.

Oh!!!  I didn't realize that, I've only seen ABT's production twice and It's been awhile.  No wonder they seemed so similar!!  😆🤣  Thanks!

Edited by Kaysta

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If you have Amazon Prime, note that the Bolshoi's La Bayadere is free on-line right now (with Zakharova and Alexandrova): 

https://www.amazon.com/Bayadère-Marius-Grigorovich-Bolshoi-Theatre/dp/B00V40M70G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508811595&sr=8-1&keywords=la+bayadere+bolshoi

 

Especially if you just saw the Mariinsky's, it has a few interesting differences. E.g., Mariinsky ends with the entire ensemble of Shades framing Nikyia and Solor. In the Bolshoi's, Nikyia and the shades all disappear into the wings, Solor wanders around alone, then sees her again as a vision as he did at the beginning of the act. Somewhat more coherent dramatically, although without the destruction of the Temple, it still doesn't resolve everything.

 

Also interesting that the Bolshoi uses black face for the six children with the Golden Idol. That really is such an atrocious remnant of the past, it's shocking to see. I'm glad Mariinsky didn't inflict that on us (although I'm curious if they use it at home in Russia!). 

Edited by California

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I had the pleasure of attending both performances on Saturday. There has been a lot of critiques against Oksana, but the only noticeable error I saw was during the first en dedan pirouette of the scarf variation. It looked like Andrey hadn't given her the proper fabric length. She very visibly had to yank for more cloth before taking off into the next arabesque-pirouette section. Either way she finished the forward pirouettes with a clean triple on the music, something not a lot of ballerinas can do well. 

 

Andrey Ermakov impressed me immensely as Solor, his jumps were so high I was astounded. Anastasia Kolegova won me over as Gamzatti as well. Her italian fouettes were so exciting, and although they are a step I'm not partial to, I thought she did them extremely well. 

 

Ekaterina Kondaurova was beautiful in the evening performance but, I was not a fan of her costume in Act II. It looked a little tie-dye from where I was sitting; it did not translate too well. I enjoyed Timur Askerov as well, his jetes were so elegant. 

Edited by mtthwbrehm
To make a statement clearer

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More thoughts:

 

 

THE BLACKFACES.

Now all those in need of politically correctness during the Golden Idol section should be happy with the removal of the blackfaces.  But...are they really COMPLETELY "politically correct"...? They still have black hands, black legs and black necks....all that paired with white faces..! I think the Mariinsky is being sarcastic here. They are still letting you know that the kids are black.  And we were demanding the out of the blackfaces to indicate blackness...and they are still indicating blackness EVEN without the blackfaces.  Interesting. ;-)

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14 minutes ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

More thoughts:

 

 

THE BLACKFACES.

Now all those in need of politically correctness during the Golden Idol section should be happy with the removal of the blackfaces.  But...are they really COMPLETELY "politically correct"...? They still have black hands, black legs and black necks....all that paired with white faces..! I think the Mariinsky is being sarcastic here. They are still letting you know that the kids are black.  And we were demanding the out of the blackfaces to indicate blackness...and they are still indicating blackness EVEN without the blackfaces.  Interesting. ;-)

But with their white-skinned faces, those leggings and arm coverings just look like dark costumes, which is what they are. At least they didn't use black paint on their legs and arms (a la the Golden Idol). I do think racial sensitivity (which I prefer to call it, rather than "political correctness") is important to try for throughout the arts.  It's not easy in those 19th century ballets, which reflected Czarist Russia's views about the rest of the world -- heathens and evil-doers, tied to particular religions and regions. But at least we can try.

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21 minutes ago, California said:

But with their white-skinned faces, those leggings and arm coverings just look like dark costumes, which is what they are. 

 

Not sure about this. If they are still keeping the black gloves it is to indicate the kids are black. If they wanted to erase any indications of blackness the would had removed gloves and leggings...AND black necks. They removed the paint probably because they were required to do so. Still...black hands paired with white faces is silly. 

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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AND...let's keep in mind that, as per the video of the recon I just provided, Gamzatti had, originally, her share of 32 fouettes during the pas de trois coda, now eliminated in favor of the re invented italian fouettes/20 regular fouettes.  

 

Sometimes I wonder what if Petipa could be brought back to be a witness, for one night, of his Soviet "re-imagined" ballets. And poor Vikharev. All his efforts...and all that labor of love put into such magnificent production, which would had been a unique item in the ballet world...all for...nothing.

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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32 minutes ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

 

Not sure about this. If they are still keeping the black gloves it is to indicate the kids are black. If they wanted to erase any indications of blackness the would had removed gloves and leggings...AND black necks. They removed the paint probably because they were required to do so. Still...black hands paired with white faces is silly. 

 

I agree. But the orange paint on the two young ladies accompanying Manu and the water jug looked even more ridiculous. It's not as if the corps maidens with the parrots and fans are also orange spray-painted.

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3 minutes ago, CharlieH said:

 

I agree. But the orange paint on the two young ladies accompanying Manu and the water jug looked even more ridiculous. It's not as if the corps maidens with the parrots and fans are also orange spray-painted.

 

The "drum dance" dancers are also heavily darkened.

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4 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

AND...let's keep in mind that, as per the video of the recon I just provided, Gamzatti had, originally, her share of 32 fouettes during the pas de trois coda, now eliminated in favor of the re invented italian fouettes/20 regular fouettes.  

 

Sometimes I wonder what if Petipa could be brought back to be a witness, for one night, of his Soviet "re-imagined" ballets. And poor Vikharev. All his efforts...and all that labor of love put into such magnificent production, which would had been a unique item in the ballet world...all for...nothing.

 

Vikharev's productions included many modifications and/or compromises vis-a-vis Petipa.

 

I'm actually in favor of some recognition and acceptance of performance traditions, so I don't really mean that as a criticism of Vikharev. God knows I wish I had seen his Bayadere!! I am very curious what Ratmansky will do, though I am not persuaded a return to exact nineteenth-century performance practice might not end up being unnecessarily pedantic in a ballet that needs to pack a theatrical punch. But maybe it will reveal new pleasures...

 

To me the (as I infer) nineteenth-century pageantry and world view on display in the Mariinsky Act II including the heirarchy of species and ethnicities that California alluded to, and that I hope very few if any 21st-century audiences share, give this production a grandeur that Makarova's intelligent, beautiful, and tactful production does not have. (Though hers makes more narrative sense.) Even the parrots have a place in the Mariinsky's  great chain of being and Solor atop the elephant is more than jolly stage craft but a sign of his potential as a civilizing ruler over other human and nonhuman beings.  Surely the egregious racializations (body paint etc.) could and should go--especially in a production that is not a reconstruction--but this production does show you why they were there in the first place and, though I could wish otherwise, they are part of the ballet's original meaning and can't exactly be cut without changing that meaning somewhat. I suppose Nikiya's interruption of the celebration and her death could be taken as an indication that all is not right in this hierarchical world. Maybe. 

 

This is an ambivalent way of saying that I am very, very glad I saw the magnificent and magnificently danced Mariinsky production, and I will always be grateful to it. We will see or, in my case more likely read about, what Ratmansky achieves in Berlin. It is unlikely, but perhaps there are also people with the will to find a way to revive Vikharev's efforts as well [Gnossie below said "accomplishments" or "works" a better term--absolutely let's say his "accomplishments"] though they would need tremendous resources. Perhaps something like the resources of the Bolshoi --  you know, if only the Bolshoi had a director who had a history of working with Vikharev...:wink:

Edited by Drew
Typos/punctuation

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