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Buddy

XVIII Mariinsky International Ballet Festival 2018

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2 hours ago, Buddy said:

Okay, a somewhat heart-searching question for me.

 

If you had to chose between Swan Lake's Odette duet and Diamonds, which would you chose.

 

I'd have to go with Swan Lake.

 

Anyone else ?

 

 

I vote for Swan Lake's love duet also. It is the Number One moment in ballet that I could watch every single day of my life. To me it captures how it feels to fall in love so deeply that it goes beyond anything. For me Diamonds is very pretty but somewhat mechanical in comparison (less touching, less meaningful). After a hard day at work or after being stressed about dealing with my elderly parents' issues, I will choose one of many Swan Lake videos I have and fast forward to the love duet, and it takes me away from all my troubles for 30 minutes. There is no other scene in ballet that works that same magic for me. I rate it as NUMBER ONE. There are many other ballet moments that I love, but that duet is my absolute favorite.

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4 hours ago, Birdsall said:

 

 

I vote for Swan Lake's love duet also. It is the Number One moment in ballet that I could watch every single day of my life. To me it captures how it feels to fall in love so deeply that it goes beyond anything. For me Diamonds is very pretty but somewhat mechanical in comparison (less touching, less meaningful). After a hard day at work or after being stressed about dealing with my elderly parents' issues, I will choose one of many Swan Lake videos I have and fast forward to the love duet, and it takes me away from all my troubles for 30 minutes. There is no other scene in ballet that works that same magic for me. I rate it as NUMBER ONE. There are many other ballet moments that I love, but that duet is my absolute favorite.

 

I think that you're even more devoted than I am.

 

Have any favorites ? 

 

When I focus on a ballerina I try to find her doing the Swan Lake duet and often don't go beyond. Internet availability, about the only way to see a current dancer, can be very limited. For the moment my fascination is with Alyona Kovalyova, who can only be seen for several minutes doing other Odette/Odile segments. Other favorites are Yekaterina Osmolkina and Oxana Skorik. There's very little good stuff for Olga Smirnova and Veronika Part, who dance this magnificently.  Ulyana Lopatkina is one of the greatest, but doesn't quite come across on tape like I saw her on stage. She's the best I've seen. Galina Ulanova is perhaps the best to be recorded and Anna Pavlova surely would be.

 

And Swan Lake was the only ballet to ever be performed six times at one Mariinsky Festival.

 

 

Edited by Buddy
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In any Suzanne Farrell role created for her by Balanchine, she remains much my favorite. Her qualities on stage were absolutely unique--and she performed with a spontaneity, musicality, and wit unlike any other ballerina. It is hard to judge certain qualities from video, but even when I saw Smirnova live I would never have described her dancing as 'in the moment'--Farrell was 'in the moment' at every moment.

 

Diamonds becomes something different in the hands (and feet) of ballerinas other than Farrell (including other New York City Ballet ballerinas). One may love those performances and certainly the choreography allows ballerinas to put their own imprint on the role--the pas de deux is one of the greatest I know and, like Swan Lake, allows for different interpretations. But, for myself, if I could see Diamonds live just one more time with any ballerina that ever lived--Farrell hands down.

 

If, based on what I have seen on video, I were to pick a Russian ballerina 'alternate' Diamonds, then Lopatkina without a doubt! Particularly a performance from ca 2014 or 2015 with Ivanchenko that I can no longer find on youtube and that was utterly crystalline pure dancing. (It moved me more than the performance recorded for the Mariinsky DVD Jewels.)

 

I recommend a performance that I learned about on another thread on this site--Alexandra Ansanelli. John Clifford put it up on youtube with some interesting comments. The quality of the video is poor, but the performance stunning. I love many Russian Vaganova trained ballerinas, but there are qualities in Balanchine they miss. Birdsall wrote above he finds the pas de deux mechanical--I find it transcendant, and enjoy many different interpretations, but I can see that some of the non-New York City Ballet performances available on video lack the freshness and urbanity that, say, Ansanelli shows.

 

On the other end....The three greatest Odette-Odiles I ever experienced in the theater were ALL Vaganova academy products (Makarova, Semenyaka, and Lopatkina). I can still enjoy or appreciate an NYC Ballet ballerina in the role (I have admired Kowroski for example)  but the difference remains huge to me...and important.

Edited by Drew
Typos

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Whereas for me, the greatest Odette/Odile I've ever seen live was Carla Korbes', her last or penultimate performance, which surprised me, because I preferred her in neoclassical roles -- she excelled in "Diamonds" without lingering on the "Swan Lake" allusions -- to story ballets.

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2 hours ago, Buddy said:

For the moment my fascination is with Alyona Kovalyova, who can only be seen for several minutes doing other Odette/Odile segments.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JqlNY7JiCE

 

Kovalyova-Tissi "Diamonds" rehearsal at this year's World Ballet Day Bolshoy webcast,

in case you have not seen it.

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2 hours ago, Drew said:

In any Suzanne Farrell role, created for her by Balanchine, she remains much my favorite. Her qualities on stage were absolutely unique--and she performed with a spontaneity, musicality, and wit unlike any other ballerina. It is hard to judge certain qualities from video, but even when I saw Smirnova live I would never have described her dancing as 'in the moment'--Farrell was 'in the moment' at every moment.

 

 

 

Interesting, Drew. Without returning to the Olga Smirnova video, which I was about to do, I find Olga Smirnova to be absolutely "in the moment" in regard to presentation. I feel that she has studied and structured everything to the finest detail beforehand, but once she's out there she has her 'eye' on the audience dominantly. She can go inside herself, she makes her presentation, but she's monitoring and controlling the response as much as possible. Totally "in the moment" in this respect.

 

On the other hand she's stated that,

 

"I find it difficult to reflect on the categories of audience love. For me, my relationship with myself is more important.....

 

"One and the same performance can not be performed in the same way: new nuances appear, in some places a new understanding and understanding appears, and this process is endless..... 

 

"But I'm not saying that the viewers view me indifferently. It is not true. But the most important, all the same - inside."

 

(Google translation)

https://www.elle.ru/celebrities/interview/olga-smirnova-tolko-kogda-balet-stanovitsya-smyislom-jizni-v-nem-mojno-chego-to-dobitsya/

 

I'll certainly try to watch both ballerinas more carefully in this respect. It's a wonderful quality to have. Veronika Part seems to control everything without giving you a clue as to how she does it.

 

Helene, I'll try to see Carla Korbes on video. I have to agree with Drew so far that dancers from Russia have a more or less monopoly on Swan Lake. 

 

Thanks, Mnacenani, for your post. 

 

Thanks, everyone for the very interesting posts, well worth further thought and response.

 

 

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2 hours ago, mnacenani said:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JqlNY7JiCE

 

Kovalyova-Tissi "Diamonds" rehearsal at this year's World Ballet Day Bolshoy webcast,

in case you have not seen it.

 

Thanks for this, Mnacenani. I've watched about half and I get a hint as to what all the fuss was about in NYC. She has beautiful qualities. One thing that I've wanted to say is that her youthfulness is precious. I'd say to her, "Take your time in becoming world's greatest dancer. Just love where you're at right now."

Edited by Buddy
typo correction

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On 9/18/2017 at 10:59 PM, CharlieH said:

There should be a mixed bill showcasing "Balanchine's greatest tributes to Petipa" such as T&V, Symphony in C, Ballet Imperial and Diamonds. They could probably fill-up two nights: Balanchine's Petipa, Parts I and II!

 

 

 

Charlie, what hath thee started here ?   :)  

 

Watching Olga Smirnova and Suzanne Farrell some more in Diamonds I would simply say that Olga Smirnova gives it a lovely 'Russian' lyricism and would liken Suzanne Farrell (assumingly under the guidance of George Balanchine) to a somewhat 'Picasso-esque' creation of compelling images. Possibly come back tomorrow for a totally different assessment. 

 

Would anyone like to discuss further George Balanchine references/resemblances to the Russian classics ?  I still feel that exploration of the Swan Lake connection is perhaps the most powerful and interesting and should be continued, but there might be others also worth looking at.

 

Any other ideas for the Festival ?  I would once again add Alyona Kovalyova to my wish list and would love seeing Olga Smirnova as a regular guest following in the footsteps of Alina Cojocaru. I continue to hope for Veronika Part. The Miami City Ballet (with a significant Simone Messmer presence) might be able to make an exciting Balanchine connection. Something great featuring Yekaterina Osmolkina would be fine as well. 

Edited by Buddy
a couple word changes

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I saw my first Jewels [Farrell with D'Amboise] before I ever saw Swan Lake and the first Swan Lake did not remind me of Diamonds.   Review Diamonds for  these in addition to SL:  Bayadere [iconic pose is in Diamonds] plus elements of Raymonda [hands on hip, pas and couples, etc.].    Suzanne Farrell was a dancer I watched for totality of movement in the music like Kondaurova or another Mariinsky dancer Zlatinech.   She took risks and could have an introspective, soulful quality.     I'd love to see her Tzigaine performed by Skoryk maybe with Amelishko.  

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Posted (edited)

Please delete. Format error.

Edited by Buddy

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There’s still no news about this year’s program but I assume we’ll get some information soon. While waiting l think back to last year.

The real highlight for me remains Olga Smirnova’s La Bayadere. It sent me home that evening in a state of absolute reverie. This is what I live for during these Festivals. In case I may have felt that this might have been a one time thing, she did it to me again in Geneva last month with only a gala excerpt. I do hope that she becomes a regular guest sensation at the Festivals. After all, she remains, in her own words, a St. Petersburg girl, and she was also a Vaganova star.

And ditto for Alyona Kovalyova. Almost all guest stars have been Principals and she’s still a Soloist. Yet exceptions have been made and how fine it would be if she were one of them, for the same reasons as for Olga Smirnova.

If last year I cited Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Angels’ as an inspiration, how about someone that I’ve already mentioned for this year — Bob Dylan. How about — “Girl From The North Country”.

Or

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true

Nothing that I wouldn’t do

Go to the ends of the earth for you

To make you feel my love    

Edited by Buddy
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I’ve been watching video clips of Anna Pavlova and Galina Ulanova. All I can say is Wow !

What a World Apart they inhabited on the stage.

Why mention this here. Because of the several performances that I’ve seen that might come close, almost all happened here. Also, it’s from this place that both these great artists began. And it’s also the place where the following four artists began and in two cases remained.

I feel that I’m entering into artistically ‘sacred’ territory, one that only ‘a poet or an observer’ of their magnitude could begin to describe, and I’m not that person. Still it certainly seems worth thinking about and appreciating.

If there’s a lineage from Anna Pavlova to Galina Ulanova I would put Anna Pavlova as the Goddess, an Ideal, not necessarily forever, but perhaps for now. Galina Ulanova would be The Celestial Poet. 

What did both these great artists have that makes them this special. They went beyond themselves and did it with an artistry that has been perhaps unequaled. 

Probably my two favorite performances would be Ulyana Lopatkina’s “Swan Lake” and Alina Somova’s “Swan” (Fokine). Ulyana Lopatkina essentially finished her career on this stage and it’s where Alina Somova continues her’s. 

Ulyana Lopatkina may have taken Galina Ulanova’s ’Spirit’ and translated it into pure beauty of motion. This is a realm more characteristic of the current generation of ballet artists.

Alina Somova in one brief performance came possibly the closest to ‘This Other Realm.’ (I do have to say that there is a video clip, but to me it only hints at the greatness that I saw, as does one of Ulyana Lopatkina performing “Swan Lake” at another occasion).
 
I would then add Olga Smirnova’s “La Bayadere” from last year. She has both the magnificence of expression and the immense beauty of motion that brings her closer to this world.

I would also include one of Veronika Part’s many remarkable “Swan Lake”s. It wasn’t performed here, but she’s another that does come from here.

So how to try to describe what made Anna Pavlova and Galina Ulanova so special ?  What makes their Artistry a culminating something to strive for ?  For the moment I could suggest this. They didn’t see themselves while performing. They didn’t try to convey themselves.They conveyed something wonderfully beautiful, perhaps from beyond, but that came from within.  And they did it in a manner so Wonderfully Special that it might define what to strive for in the Art.

Edited by Buddy
spelling correction

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It appears that there will not be a Festival at the usual time spot anyway -- the first time in 18 years.

The March schedule has just been posted and it's a mix of ballets with five by Marius Petipa being shown several times at different intervals, each one listed under the title "200 years of Marius Petipa." There is also a "Marking 200 years since the birth of Marius Petipa. Gala Concert" on the Sunday that would normally be the final Festival gala night. No casting posted that I have found at a quick glance. April listing is complete with no further mention of Marius Petipa.

https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/playbill/?year=2018&month=3&type=ballet

I actually telephoned the Mariinsky 'foundations' yesterday (and again today) in New York and London (too late for Saint Petersburg) and have only been able to leave a message.

I would certainly hope that they'll be continued. The quality has been of the highest order showcasing the company and a small group of invited guest 'stars' at perhaps their finest. Besides that, it's been a colorful and enchanting series of performances.

Added: Tickets for the Marius Petipa ballets aren't yet available, but are for the others.

 

Edited by Buddy
last sentence added and "Added"

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What's the betting the prices will be extortionate for the 200 Years of Marius Petipa ballets?  

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1 hour ago, MadameP said:

What's the betting the prices will be extortionate for the 200 Years of Marius Petipa ballets?

Whaddyaexpect MadameP ?? Only double price at R10K :D  on 8-9 March but for this eye-watering price for Piter you will get to see the "Spyashaya Krasavitsa" in its original setting (?) at the Historic Mariinsky ..... it had been moved over to the M2 couple of years ago. I wonder whether the moving background panorama will be in action, will try to enquire. I have never seen SK (aka SB) at Mariinka and would love to hear the "violin concerto " live for once.

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I saw SB at the historic theatre before it was moved to M-2, and I am glad to see it is returning to the historic theatre for a change. It seems to be the only classical ballet that continues to be at the M-2; others seem to go back and forth between M-2 and the historic theatre. So glad it is returning to the historic theatre for a change. But even in the historic theatre the panorama was not used for some reason. I don't know why. The violin solo, however, is still done. The orchestra pit raises up for it and then goes back down after it is over. I love that moment.

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19 minutes ago, Birdsall said:

I saw SB at the historic theatre before it was moved to M-2, and I am glad to see it is returning to the historic theatre for a change. It seems to be the only classical ballet that continues to be at the M-2; others seem to go back and forth between M-2 and the historic theatre. So glad it is returning to the historic theatre for a change. But even in the historic theatre the panorama was not used for some reason. I don't know why. The violin solo, however, is still done. The orchestra pit raises up for it and then goes back down after it is over. I love that moment.

Yes, I too have seen SB at the historic theatre as well as MT2 and the exquisite historic theatre is its rightful place, in my opinion.  I love that violin solo - it is SO beautiful.  I don't know of anywhere else where this is still performed.   I really wish though that the orchestra could perform the whole of that wonderful panorama music instead of the shortened version, and accompany it with a real moving panorama!    

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That violin solo is heard regularly scores of times every holiday season in New York, Portland, Seattle, Miami, and other cities where the companies perform George Balanchine's "The Nutcracker," and anytime a person views the film that was made of it.  Balanchine used in in Act I between the party and dream scenes.  After the theme is played, Marie runs across the apron and then behind the scrim to the living room, finds her Nutcracker, and goes to sleep on the couch with her arm around the Nutcracker.  Frau Stahlbaum walks across the apron holding a candle (in a holder) looking for her, then goes behind the scrim, checks the upstage windows because its cold, finds Marie, puts her shawl over Marie as a blanket, and leaves her there.  Her Drosselmeier comes in from the wings, looks for the Nutcracker, finds it in Marie's arms, gently moves her arm and brings the Nutcracker downstage center, where he sticks his wand in the Nutcracker's mouth to fix it, checks out its jaw to confirm the fix, removes the handkerchief, puts the Nutcracker back under Clara's arm, replaces the shawl, indicates that he is putting the room under a spell, and as the solo ends, he climbs up the back of the grandfather clock mid-stage right.

In PNB's new production starting last year (year 2), during the opening theme, there is a short, animated film in which the last guests enter a carriage and ride away, the house lights are turned off, and there's a close-up on Marie's window, and a shadow Marie is seen leaving her room, before, moments later, she starts her run, live, across the apron.

It's one of my favorite parts of the Nutcracker.  Decades later, I can still recall Francisco Moncion's gentle Herr Drosselmeier.

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I have never seen the Balanchine Nutcracker and I LOVE the Nutcracker!  In the UK we don't have much access to Balanchine ballets, except those few that are in the repertoires of our companies!  Maybe there is a film available here of Balanchine's Nutcracker, but I have not seen that either!  The violin solo is magical!  I remember the first time I ever heard it live was during Sleeping Beauty at the Mariinsky historic theatre and I just felt literally transported to another world.  So very beautiful!

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There are two commercially available videos of Balanchine's Nutcracker and the entire Nutcracker is also on YT. Search "Balanchine 1993."

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At another quick glance there are spaces missing, for instance the Saturday night before the Sunday gala. This and depending on whom they chose to dance (Invitees?) could be tweaked into something still quite interesting.

As I've always felt about the Mariinsky, no matter what happens in the planning stages, the performances and performers ultimately make it all worthwhile.

Edited by Buddy
grammar correction

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8 minutes ago, Buddy said:

At another quick glance there are spaces missing, for instance the Saturday night before the Sunday gala

Which gala ?? Has M been posting events in hotchpotch fashion again ?? What disorganisation, unbelievable and unacceptable. Gimme the Bolshoy any time !

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Thank you - difficult to figure out the reason for such disorganisation, isn't it ?  :D

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