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Alyona Kovalyova Swan Lake Debut

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Balshoy has posted official casting for Swan Lake performances on 15-17 September and

as some insiders had reported last week Alyona Kovalyova will dance Odette/Odile at the

matinee on Saturday 16th September, partnered by Jacopo Tissi. Am hoping to report

from location in due time if I can find a good parter seat. As some members may recall,

I had posted some videos of Alyona earlier this year likening her to Zakharova and some

senior members actually agreed with me, which was a big boost to my self-confidence.

 

Alyona I am told was the star of the Vaganova 2016 graduation class and Vaziev who cer-

tainly has an eye for talent scooped her up. She is being coached by Vaziev's wife (Chenchi-

kova) and had already been given solo roles towards the end of last season. It is said that

this will be the first occasion an 18-year-old who graduated only last year will dance the lead

role in Swan Lake at the Balshoy !

 

Links below :

http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/performances/36/roles/#20170916120000

http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/persons/ballet/3306/

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I look forward to reading your reports on the performance --

 

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On 9/4/2017 at 0:59 PM, mnacenani said:

Balshoy has posted official casting for Swan Lake performances on 15-17 September and

as some insiders had reported last week Alyona Kovalyova will dance Odette/Odile at the

matinee on Saturday 16th September, partnered by Jacopo Tissi. Am hoping to report

from location in due time if I can find a good parter seat. As some members may recall,

I had posted some videos of Alyona earlier this year likening her to Zakharova and some

senior members actually agreed with me, which was a big boost to my self-confidence.

 

 

 

Yes, I think that you struck gold here, Mnacenani.

 

I wish that I could be there. Hopefully another time, maybe at next year's Mariinsky Festival, where such things can happen (i.e.  the past featuring of Svetlana Zakharova and immediate presentation of Olga Smirnova, both 'Mariinsky transplants').

 

This is a young artist, who after not being accepted at the Mariinsky, was considering the Bejart Ballet Company or even becoming a modern dancer. She could be well on her way to becoming one of the most beautiful ballerinas ever.

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Уважаемые дамы и господа - Я приехал в Москву !   I know I am going to

draw the ire and fire of some (if not all) of our esteemed members by my

false pretenses but what's wrong with having a bit of fun once in a while ?

I'm hoping our Russian speakers won't call my bluff right away :unsure:

Anyway, in Moscow for tomorrow's matinee debut of Alyona as Odette/Odile.

I have no chance of evaluating her technique at micro level so my friend and

ballet tutor Vita Khlopova will join me to discuss the performance at the intervals

and at lunch afterwards. Vita is a graduate of Moscow Ballet Academy and was a

former dancer herself. She is a well-known ballet historian, writer and lecturer in

Moscow and founder of the website nofixedpoints.com (Russki only). I hope to be

able to post my impressions, and hers, late tomorrow evening Moscow time.

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53 minutes ago, mnacenani said:

Уважаемые дамы и господа - Я приехал в Москву !   I know I am going to

draw the ire and fire of some (if not all) of our esteemed members by my

false pretenses but what's wrong with having a bit of fun once in a while ?

I'm hoping our Russian speakers won't call my bluff right away :unsure:

Anyway, in Moscow for tomorrow's matinee debut of Alyona as Odette/Odile.

I have no chance of evaluating her technique at micro level so my friend and

ballet tutor Vita Khlopova will join me to discuss the performance at the intervals

and at lunch afterwards. Vita is a graduate of Moscow Ballet Academy and was a

former dancer herself. She is a well-known ballet historian, writer and lecturer in

Moscow and founder of the website nofixedpoints.com (Russki only). I hope to be

able to post my impressions, and hers, late tomorrow evening Moscow time.

 

Мне кажется, что вы очень хорошо говорите по-русски. (It seems to  me that you are speaking Russian very well).

 

Speaking of pretensions, my Russian is a google translation, but from my very limited vocabulary it seems ok.

 

Hope that you see a really great performance and certainly look forward to hearing you and your 'expert's' comments. Wish I could be there, but I'm hanging on to the hope the she'll be at next year's Mariinsky Festival because such things have happened.

 

She'll be opening the season in the company of Svetlana Zakharova, Olga Smirnova and Anna Nikulina. Not bad for a newly arrived 18 year-old. Will you be seeing any of the others ? 

 

Added:  Funny anecdote. Makhar Vaziev, Artistic Director, said in an interview that Alyona Kovalyova (Alena Kovaleva) will now have the chance to learn from great established artists such as Olga Smirnova (25 years-old !?) 

Edited by Buddy
"Added" added

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7 hours ago, Buddy said:

Will you be seeing any of the others ? 

 

No, will fly back home right after today's matinee.

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Please let us know what you think of Kovalyova's "Swan Lake." 

 

I think it's been over a decade since a major company toured to Seattle.  We had the Bolshoi come once in the '00's, and I was able to see the Bolshoi and Mariinsky in Berkeley a few times, and then the Mariinsky when they performed for three weeks at City Center on my way to Europe, but there are so many dancers that people have loved since, and the only way I can "see" them is on tiny YouTube videos, but, as important, what people describe here.

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Had written up almost a full page of my impressions at the airport while waiting for my plane back home.

It vanished when I tried to submit it when the damn airport wifi suddenly cut in asking for payment. Now

the spontaneity is gone, don't feel like writing anything but I will try to put something together. Full casting

for Swan Lake matinee of Saturday 16 September :

http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/performances/36/roles/#20170916120000

 

It seems this matinee was a casting experiment by Vaziev, as no fewer than 6 dancers were debuting in their

roles : Kovalyova, Tissi, Soares, Koshkin, Zhiganshina and Marchenkova. First Kovalyova : imho good presence,

looks like a young Zaharova. Her solos in both acts went well, except the  Odile fouettee when she wobbled a

bit at the end and finished one count early, can be perfected (Stepanova is a principal and still cannot do it !).

I see great potential here but time will tell whether this is the bright comet we have been expecting or a size-

able meteor. She was good as Odette, excepting one point I attach importance to :  the realistic surprise, the

recoil which should be displayed when Odette sees Siegfried first time, which can take the viewer in and make

the rest of the action believable (Aksana Kardash acted this to perfection when I saw her at Stasik couple of

months ago). This also can be perfected - the Russians are so superior in developing character dancers. As

Odile she was good also but again could benefit from some acting coaching - if Odile is to come out as a

scheming seductress. But what am I talking about - this is an 18-year-old last year's Vaganova graduate, if I

was expecting to be dazzled that was unrealistic. Let's see what she is up to later in the season, next season.

 

Jacopo Tissi :  Vaziev imho certainly has an eye for talent. If Kovalyova is a Zaharova in the making here we

have a Bolle in the making ! Currently no Rodkin, Lantratov or Chudin but I again saw great potential. Small

wonder Vaziev brought Tissi over from Scala with him. Handsome, elegant dancer, good PdB, good elevation

(I was told his lines were not perfect !). Imho good characterisation, has good mime ability. First act solos not

impressive, has to do better if he is to match Rodkin and Chudin. I thought the second act solos were better,

with well executed tournes-en-l'air.

 

Soares as the Evil Genius was perfect - ready for the showroom. I believe he is a graduate of Moscow Academy,

must say he held his own against my default "Zloy Geniy" Belyakov - can appear at any performance anywhere.

Koshkin as the Fool was also perfect - Balshoy has so many of them, Tsvirko et al. In these character parts I find

the Russians peerless and these parts acted to perfection to me are as important as the lead roles - they add so

much to the enjoyment or effectiveness of the performance. Even the Wolf, Cats, Bluebird etc in Sleeping Beauty

are in a different league in Russia.

 

Friends of the Prince were Zhiganshina and Denisova - much has been made of them elsewhere on this forum

but I will stick my neck out and say I saw nothing extraordinary (maybe due to my ignorance) : good soloist class

dancers,

 

Now the Balshoy CdB :  they are also in a league unto themselves !  I will probably be roundly condemned and

tagged as ignorant and of poor taste but ........ I find the Balshoy CdB better than the Mariinsky :o:o. So well

rehearsed, a whisker away from absolute perfection in every way. Even those changes of formation in Swan Lake

and Bayaderka which last only a few seconds are pure bliss which linger in my memory long after the curtain has

fallen.

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I disagree about Stepanova. I have seen her do fouettes perfectly in person at the Mariinsky when she was a coryphee no less. And I have seen her in all of her Bolshoi roles in alternative ways and never saw a problem, so far. I will have to go back and check. However, thank you for the report about Kovalyova. I think the ballet world is actually watching her and wondering if she is destined for greatness.

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

The only "official" spellings are in the dancer's native language, or, if they naturalize, what is in his or her other passport.   Even if the Bolshoi has a Roman spelling on its website, that does not necessarily correspond to the transliteration conventions across the globe.  I'm not sure how many passports Nureyev had, but the Paris Opera site used to spell his name "Noureev," for example.  (They've since shifted to "Nureyev.")

 

What about how the dancers themselves spell it?  On her Instagram, she chooses to spell it as Alena Kovaleva. 

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If people want to post the spelling that the dancers give in other character sets, that's fine.  There's no rule here about following any particular spelling convention.

 

I've explained our policy enough, and discussing the discussion, including any demands of fellow posters, is off limits.

 

 

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9 hours ago, Birdsall said:

I disagree about Stepanova. I have seen her do fouettes perfectly in person at the Mariinsky when she was a coryphee no less. And I have seen her in all of her Bolshoi roles in alternative ways and never saw a problem, so far. I will have to go back and check. However, thank you for the report about Kovalyova. I think the ballet world is actually watching her and wondering if she is destined for greatness.

 

Agreed.  I have seen Stepanova execute fouettes perfectly many times, both in Russia and in her UK performances.   As for Alyona, she's a beautiful, tall, elegant girl with exquisite lines and she is only 18 years old - I love seeing these young dancers given a chance.  God bless her, and good luck to her in her career!  

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16 hours ago, mnacenani said:

It seems this matinee was a casting experiment by Vaziev, as no fewer than 6 dancers were debuting in their

roles : Kovalyova, Tissi, Soares, Koshkin, Zhiganshina and Marchenkova.

 

What kind of audience response did 'She' :) get, Mnacenani ?

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17 minutes ago, Buddy said:

What kind of audience response did 'She' :) get, Mnacenani ?

 

Kovalyova got big enthusiastic applause during and after the performance. It was a good enought performance, regardless of the fact that this was her debut in a top-profile role at 18. Magnetic stage personalities come around once in a blue moon and it may turn out that K is not one, one has to wait and watch. Wonder what Osipova was like at 18.

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[Admin beanie on]

 

The board software wouldn't let me split off posts this morning, and I made a post listing the tweets of a critic invisible.  (I need to pursue with tech support, but it's the weekend, and it won't be solved immediately.)

 

Please no links to critics' impressions in the company forums.  They are for members' impressions.

 

[Admin beanie off]

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I am not sure whether it is OK to post videos here so I won't but there are several posts on various instagrams filming Kovaleva's performance, and indeed her fouettes were travelling a lot and fell off pointe at the end. It wasn't "wobbling a bit" .  But of course she is very young and inexperienced. 

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4 minutes ago, naomikage said:

I am not sure whether it is OK to post videos here

 

Please do so - I don't follow Twitter or Instagram, have been looking for videos on YT but could

not find any. My Russian friends are looking for any reviews from Russian critics which I will post,

if any. Please at least post link/s to the Instagram video/s !

Edited by mnacenani

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21 hours ago, mnacenani said:

Let's see what she is up to later in the season, next season.

 

 

 

Mnacenani, I've seen dancers that I liked very much and travelled great distances principally to see who didn't do what I was really hoping for. Still I've hung in there with them. Some have  done great and some, well, I'm still hoping. (Something that I try to do is book for more than one performance, especially when travelling long distances, because if the one that I was there mainly to see wasn't what I was hoping for, sometimes someone else does great. Sometimes it's a big surprise and a very pleasant one.) As I've expressed before, we wouldn't be discussing any of these artists if a lot of folks didn't think that they were special.

 

From only very limited video clip viewing 'Alyona Kovalyova' (your chosen spelling for the moment) seems to have some exceptionally beautiful qualities. Hopefully she'll show these for the appreciation of everyone, especially some of us who've really been excited about her and in your case actually travelled all the way to Russia just to see. Thanks, anyway, for sharing what you saw with us and I'm very glad that there were parts of the performance that you really enjoyed.

Edited by Buddy
typo correction

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13 minutes ago, Buddy said:

we wouldn't be discussing any of these artists if a lot of folks didn't think that they were special.

 

Dear Buddy :  Laura Cappelle of FT also has seen this performance and posted her comments on Twitter and funnily

enough we could have copied from each other - I think I posted earlier than her !  I have asked my Russian friends to

trawl for any reviews from local critics and was told some could appear tomorrow. I think Alyona handled her debut

rather well - my hope and wish to discover a fully-fledged star -Zaharova Jr.- who would hit the ground running was a

bit far fetched for starters. Will try to get some insider feedback if I can, and wait for what Vaziev will cast her for next.

Would like to see her in something a bit more dramatic than S.L., say Bayaderka.

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21 minutes ago, mnacenani said:

 

Dear Buddy :  Laura Cappelle of FT also has seen this performance and posted her comments on Twitter and funnily enough we could have copied from each other - I think I posted earlier than her !  I have asked my Russian friends to trawl for any reviews from local critics and was told some could appear tomorrow. I think Alyona handled her debut rather well - my hope and wish to discover a fully-fledged star -Zaharova Jr.- who would hit the ground running was a bit far fetched for starters. Will try to get some insider feedback if I can, and wait for what Vaziev will cast her for next.

 

Would like to see her in something a bit more dramatic than S.L., say Bayaderka.

 

 

I read what Laura Cappelle wrote and if you'd like to discuss it and other critics' opinions the "Writings on Ballet" topic might be a fine place to do that. I'm sure that a lot of us would like to read this and your opinions together.

 

Also in regard to what I mentioned above about seeing more than one performance in a series, at certain prices and availability this isn't always an easy thing to do.

 

Yes, let's see how she does. 

Edited by Buddy
spelling correction

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Videos are fine, as long as they are public-facing.  It's fine if the platform makes you have an account/login to see them, but everyone who is logged in has to be able to see them.  

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On ‎9‎/‎16‎/‎2017 at 8:52 PM, Birdsall said:

I disagree about Stepanova. I have seen her do fouettes perfectly in person at the Mariinsky when she was a coryphee no less. And I have seen her in all of her Bolshoi roles in alternative ways and never saw a problem, so far. I will have to go back and check. However, thank you for the report about Kovalyova. I think the ballet world is actually watching her and wondering if she is destined for greatness.

 

I admire Stepanova most in contemporary classical ballets, such as Ratmansky's Russian Seasons. She has a soulful way about her interpretations. Maybe I've just had bad luck with this ballerina in Petipa classics, ever since her Kremlin Ballet days (couple of months?).

 

I'll have to agree with mnacenani: Stepanova was not the tidiest of Odiles this past season, especially with fouettes all over the map.

 

Someone else asked about Osipova at the beginning of her career; I saw Osipova as a student, ca 2002. She had magnificent fouettes even then but suffered in her student Rose Adagio balances. Hard to imagine that happening now.

 

As for Kovalyova, I await the opportunity of seeing her in full-fledged glory. She was certainly impressive as a leading student of the Vaganova Academy Class of 2016 (Fairy Doll).

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13 minutes ago, CharlieH said:

I'll have to agree with mnacenani: Stepanova was not the tidiest of Odiles this past season, especially with fouettes all over the map.

 

I would hate to alienate Stepanova admirers but on the three occasions I saw her last year it was"all over the map"

in your terms, and if I remember correctly same at her Medora debut at Bolshoy this year. Seems she somehow

cannot get the timing right and lands couple of counts early. I believe members who have written that on the occa-

sions they saw Stepanova perform fouettees she executed it perfectly, a dancer can have his/her off days.

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42 minutes ago, CharlieH said:

 

As for Kovalyova, I await the opportunity of seeing her in full-fledged glory. She was certainly impressive as a leading student of the Vaganova Academy Class of 2016 (Fairy Doll).

 

I could not say to myself, however much I hoped for and wished it, "YES - a star is born and I was one

of those who predicted it !"  Will keep tracking and hopefully seeing - the problem is that it's very hard

to track specific dancers at the Bolshoy :  online booking opens 3 months before performance and

casting is posted only 2 max 3 weeks before, by which time it's long sold out. I was able to see Kovalyova

by being tipped off by an insider before casting was posted - the show was sold out months before (Swan

Lake Saturday matinee !) but someone I knew was able to help find a seat.

Edited by mnacenani

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