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Everything posted by annamk

  1. Hallberg is not partnering Osipova in Onegin at the RB this season ? Osipova is cast with Muntagirov in Onegin, with Hallberg in Manon, SB And SL.
  2. Do you mean the Financial Times ? Louise Levene gave the double bill 5* and her comments on Two Pigeons were not ill informed I thought ...... Whilst maybe the mainstream critics are not always worth reading there is still excellent dance writing to be had in niche online websites like Dancetabs - Jann Parry and Classical Source - Gerald Dowler (although increasingly less frequent).
  3. I saw the three Bayaderes at La Scala and here's my take on the performances. Firstly, aspects of this Grigorovich 2013 production felt unfamiliar to me even though I think it must have been the one the Bolshoi brought to London in 2013. Gamzatti and the blacked up children have significantly more dancing than in the Mariinsky version with which I’m more recently familiar and the ending sees Solor with a last desperate grand jete around the stage before he dies. I enjoyed all the performances and for me each cast brought something to enjoy and admire. As an aside, La Scala stage seems very deep and not so wide as some others so maybe where you sit makes a big difference to your experience. On the opening night Rodkin was terrific; his solo dancing is so smooth and light, and his elevation so impressive, that when he grand jetes across the stage in his first entrance he’s like a panther. Zakharova, now in her late 30’s is presumably in the twilight of her astonishing career but she still has the most beautiful arms and the shapes she makes with her body (in particular with her back) in the Act 1 pdd with Rodkin are simply exquisite. Rodkin is an excellent partner and I find his acting much improved. In this cast Krysanova was replaced by the corps de ballet dancer Marchenkova and that was a pity because in my opinion she was probably better suited to her originally scheduled Kovaleyeva/Tissi cast. She’s a strong dancer and had no problem with her fouettes - Italian and otherwise - but the confrontation between her and Zakharova seemed fuzzy and lacked impact. The Bronze Idol in the first and third nights was Lopatin a dancer whose recent promotion to principal was well overdue IMO. It’s a pity that this was the role to show him off to Milan because although he has great precision, I don’t think he has the elevation to make a spectacular bronze idol and he will have been really annoyed with himself to have to use his hand to save his landing in the third performance. As for the ensemble/corps dancing - the cast in the grand pas and the three shades were mostly the same in all three performances and included : Bochkova, Kruteleva, Khochlova, Severnard, Chapkina, Zhiganshina, Trikova, Shrainer. Generally, the standard of the dancing was high with Kruteleva’s first shade variation being particularly notable. The shades were generally well coordinated. The second night brought Smirnova/Chudin & Shrainer in the lead roles. Smirnova and Chudin are a familiar partnership, possibly why they were the only couple who executed the more tricky “boat” version of the Act 1 pdd lift. The confrontation between Smirnova’s Nikiya and Shrainer’s Gamzatti was by far the most effective of the three performances. I first saw Shrainer in the poorly regarded Don Q debut she made at Covent Garden but two years have passed and in my opinion Shrainer’s Gamzatti was excellent - she is technically strong and has a very engaging stage presence. Smirnova has clearly been identified as an exceptional talent for some years now, and although I used to find her too remote, in Milan her Nikya solo in the wedding scene was a masterclass not only superlative in execution but equally in expression of emotion. If this was not the stand out performance of the three perhaps it was that, fabulous dancer he undoubtedly is, Chudin is a prince, not a warrior and he was slightly lost on the huge La Scala stage - even though he was the only warrior to carry off 8 tours en l’air in the final solo. Kovaleyva/ Tissi were a new combination for me although she was in ensemble roles on the last tour to London. It’s easy to see why she has been propelled out of the corps de ballet; her limbs go on forever, she has a very sweet, fresh presence, and although she’s unfinished she clearly has star quality. Tissi for me was rather less convincing for someone who is a Bolshoi Leading Soloist. He’s tall, handsome, charismatic and confident and he partnered her generally very well but the disappointment for me was in all of his solo variations which I found lack lustre. His elevation is average and his final variation was a mix of split jumps and grand jetees - no tours en l’air. All the performances were enthusiastically received by the Milan audience and it was pretty well sold although I could see there were a number of empty stalls seats for Kovaleyva/Tissi.
  4. I don't know whether I'm asking this question in the correct place ...... but I'll be in NY in October & am planning to see a couple of performances around 19th- 22nd. There currently seem to be plenty of tickets left so I don't know whether to buy now or wait in the hope of ticket offers nearer the time. Can anyone tell me if that is at all likely or whether it's better to buy now when there's a good choice of seats in the cheaper categories. I'm thinking not more expensive than 2nd ring so any advice on value in the 2nd ring upwards would be much appreciated.
  5. I agree too The Mikhailovsky productions of the classics are really lovely. I saw a wonderful Giselle with Soboleva & Lebedev last month which was more enjoyable than the the two performances I saw at the Mariinsky. Soboleva & Lebedev were both exceptional, and to my mind outshone most of the Mariinsky dancers favoured with principal roles these days, him in particular.
  6. Since people have expressed an interest in impressions from the performances of Yulia Stepanova's performances in London here are mine, although I'm sure there will be people who saw things quite differently. I watched both of Olga Smirnova Swan Lakes (w Denis Rodkin & Vlad Lantratov) and last night Yulia Stepanova with Denis Rodkin. I also saw YS in the role with the Mariinsky partnered by Xander Parish, here in London 2 years ago. Firstly, to the Queen of Dryads variation. I agree that the audience response was muted. Possibly this is because the choreography is unfamiliar to the London audience and superficially it looks neither particularly technically challenging nor thrilling - I think this belies its difficulty. Yulia Stepanova certainly looked more comfortable dancing it than did Anna Nikulina. Last night was a very impressive Odette/Odile debut from YS in the Bolshoi Swan Lake. At the moment to my eyes, YS does not show quite the same fluidity in the arms or complete seamlessness in her execution of the steps as I felt did Olga Smirnova. But YS was a noticeably less remote Odette than OS and this made for a more emotional and involving performance and more connection with her partner, who in her my opinion was also more involved than he was on the opening night, although on his part this may have been down to nerves. YS and DR looked very comfortable together (they are an excellent physical match) and they had very good chemistry; I generally find this production leaves me completely cold but this pair were able to generate and project into the auditorium some real feeling. There no major fluffs, save for the Evil Genius (Tsvirko) not making the very final lift although this may not have been obvious to anyone unfamiliar with the ballet. By contrast, DR was a superb partner, YS is a tall, long limbed dancer and he had no problem with any of the high lifts. There were barely any minor mistakes. By minor I am being super picky and mean a couple of the supported turns were not perfectly smooth - there have been far more in most of the performances in this Bolshoi tour. YS executed all her variations strongly, she finished the fouettes tidily although if you were counting I think you'd have found she fell short of 32 (not a crime in my book). So in summary, it was a very enjoyable and unexpectedly moving performance. Just a footnote to say that DR was a late replacement for the originally scheduled Artem Ovcharenko - no indication as to why the change was made.
  7. Sadly not it appears .... http://www.mikhailovsky.ru/en/press/news/vladimir_shklyarov_performances_cancelled/
  8. Thank you also from me Armour The Mariinsky Swan Lake is incomparable. I went to English National Ballet here in London the other day and although they have an attractive production I couldn't avoid comparing the company unfavourably to the wonderful Mariinsky. Good that I still have my great memories of the London season last summer.
  9. I also had really good glasses and a view from the stalls circle. Anyway, if the Mariinsky said it was Kamil then the photo of him on the Mariinsky website can't be right for sure that wasn't the guy doing those jumps.....
  10. Firebird was a better performance last night. All three of the leads had more chemistry and stage presence than the first night trio. IMO both performances of Marguerite and Armand were lifeless because both Armand were playing princes. If there's no intensity and no chemistry it doesn't matter how good Marguerite is, the ballet falls flat. Pity we didn't get Shklyarov as originally cast - I have the feeling he would have got it. First night Concerto was incredible especially Kim and Stepin who took the breath away. The central pdd last night was (against my expectation) beautifully danced by Matvienko and Zverev - who looked much more suited to this role than to Armand. BTW, I don't think it was Kamil who did those endless split jumps .... In this photo Kamil is the guy on the right (as you look at the photo) of the trio in orange isn't he and it was the guy on the left who did the endless jumps. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dancetabs/14707277240/in/set-72157646371546861/
  11. The Royal Ballet also uses the same version with the writhing earth mother and the staircase. I thought Shklyarov was a terrific Apollo, both Apollo and Dream were brilliantly executed. The company is on stunning form and full of great talent.
  12. Tiara, thank you so much for your post about the younger dancers, I will look out for them. I was only able to stay for Act 1 of Lopatkina's Swan Lake last night but what struck me most about her performance was how much Stepanova has the same quality of movement and how different it seems from the other two Odettes.
  13. Thank you. I have watched on YT many clips of some of the Acting Director's favourites. I'm going to see Lopatkina this evening. I presume Yulia has this Artistry, are there equivalent men, even perhaps in the corps ?
  14. Interesting to hear that. Living in London for many years I am inevitably more used to watching the Royal Ballet where acting & emoting are an important part of performances. When I first saw Mariinsky years ago it seemed odd and remote to me, I just didn't get it, but as I watch more I see that dancers speak with their body although I think I still prefer more obvious emotional style in a performance. Is what I call this remote style what your St Petersburg friends mean by "Artistry" or is it simply showiness ? Who has Artistry at the company today ? Is it this that russian ballet lovers think is disappearing from Mariinsky ?
  15. Fair enough re Tkachenko, his performance was perfectly respectable though, just not in the class of the other two. I understand what you mean by vulgarity but I didn't see it in Tereshkina/Shklyarov. They didn't overstep the boundaries & their performance was less about fireworks for the sake of it & more about artistry.
  16. The Sat eve pd3 man was Filipp Stepin, on Fri eve it was Kimin Kim. Both were excellent and much better than Vasily Tkachenko at the Sat matinee. For me, Yulia's best act was the final one, her "fluttering and undulating" hands were really quite extraordinary. I'm disappointed she only has one performance because I felt that in Acts 1 & 2 she was quite tense, her performance was more relaxed at the rehearsal. Unfortunately,I didn't think she and her partner were well suited. I also saw Skorik/Askerov Act 1 on Friday evening and Tereshkina/Shklyarov gave a masterclass on stage on Saturday evening.
  17. Very interesting article - thank you for the translation
  18. All the Kitris would tempt me if only I weren't the wrong side of the Atlantic. Of the Basilios, Lantratov is so charismatic he would easily be my No 1 choice. Chudin has the best technique & a different kind of stage presence that I think possibly is more suited to Diamonds type lead roles rather than a Basilio. Lobukhin I saw dance an energetic Spartacus in a live relay and a bland Albrecht in Moscow recently (Alastair Macaulay reviewed this performance). I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to see Olga Smirnova and in the subsidiary casting Anna Tikhomirova as a street dancer on 22nd and Kitris friend on 23rd is worth looking out for.
  19. Personally, I think Alina's performances have always been less about absolute technical mastery and more about dramatic and emotional intensity.
  20. Naomi, I have to admit I love Ivan Vasiliev BUT I saw a clip of the Tokyo Romeo & Juliet performance on YT and that lift was SO wrong - I was very disappointed that he felt the need to cheapen the choreography like that.
  21. Your point is absolutely right abatt - and I wonder where does the line lie between acceptable individual interpretative choices and too many liberties ? Interesting you mention Osipova's Juliet because I'll be seeing it for the first time in a few weeks. The few small things I have noticed Alina do differently have only seemed to make more sense of the story rather than changing the emphasis of the narrative.
  22. I've seen Alina dance in London many times, her performances have a rare but hard to articulate quality that makes them unique and very special. Although it doesn't seem to me to make sense to say that Alina is not Royal Ballet style I have noticed that she often does some very small things slightly differently and I wonder if this what the Monica Mason and the Sleeping Beauty debacle is about. It might be connected to a point David Hallberg made in an interview with Claudia La Rocca : "There are so few artists in the ballet world who embody an individuality of their roles, of the classics. [Natalia] Osipova is one, [Diana] Vishneva is one. Osipova is someone who innately has to do it the way she does it, or else she can’t do it. She can’t be told what to do; this is her, bursting out. So few ballet dancers are successful in that. And I feel like I am unsuccessful in that regard, that I have never truly found my individual voice." I think Cojocaru also has an individual voice, so is it a question of whether Artistic Directors allow dancers to express their individuality ? Without this flexibility for dancers to show us the emotions of old ballets in a way that appeals to modern audiences I feel ballet is more likely to stagnate into a relic of the past.
  23. You probably know that friends booking is already open for this performance, public booking opens on 22nd October. There are plenty of seats left for both dates and 20% of the seats are kept back for public booking so more will be released so you will have no problem with tickets. The rake in the stalls is better further back but even so the only stalls seats I would buy are the aisle seat on the two side blocks - row J backwards and any seat in row H because there is an exit in front of you so no one to block your view. I am 5ft 4" & for me the priority is less a central view and more a view not obstructed by the person in front of me. The front row of the stalls circle has an excellent view as does row C although the overhang of the grand tier means the orchestra is slightly muffled - I wouldn't go too far around the side though as the view becomes restricted and three hours of looking slightly side on becomes uncomfortable. The grand tier is also excellent although you are a bit further from the stage. If you don't want to spend as much the front rows of the Amphi are brilliant and there is no problem with heads.
  24. Last summer when they appeared together on the "Big Ballet" television program I thought she and Vladislav Lantratov did well together, so that could be one possibility. Yes I remember watching some clips on YT and I agree they seemed a good partnership. I am going to Moscow in October to see Onegin so I am hoping they will dance that together again.
  25. Interesting ....... who you think would be a better partner for Smirnova ? Your Flames review was fascinating - I wish I had even half your powers of observation I only saw the Friday evening & Saturday matinee and I agree with your comment that the ballet came across as more of an integrated whole at the matinee although I also loved the Vasipova show !
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