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Mathilde K

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Everything posted by Mathilde K

  1. 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. "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. Not exactly. "Lowly Coryphée", Svetlana Ivanova, absent in London, was the highlight of previous «DSCH» performances.
  4. 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. 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. I didn't know Ratmansky himself had picked Shakirova. I wonder where did he have an opportunity to see her on stage.
  7. 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. 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. 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. ...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. Mathilde K


    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. 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. 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. Mathilde K


    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.
  16. Mathilde K


    They are afraid. Fear of being replaced. At Mariinsky there are no irreplacable people.
  17. Thank you for the report. The combination of Grishko pointes and the ROH stage surface indeed produces the effect you are describing. I was unpleasantly surprised by it myself. Kim Kimin developed over the last year into an artist who is currently more interesting than any other male dancer in the company. Did you notice that Yulia Stepanova was one of the Four Big Swans? She was replacing Yalinich (the change was neither reflected in the cast sheet nor announced; yesterday her name was printed Speranova).
  18. If you are making comparisons to prove that one ballerina is "better" than another one, then it is an established practice to compare dancers at the same stage in their development. In the case of Lopatkina and Stepanova this will be in any case problematic, since Lopatkina had the full support of the company in her first years at Mariinsky -- something Gergiev liked to boast about, while Stepanova has been experiencing the opposite of it.
  19. I don't expect this to be any different from what happened on Saturday: a raucous reception by the audience and reviews saying 'nervous', 'lack of confidence in her technique', and similar nonsense.
  20. Compare the second «Swan Lake» of Lopatkina with the second one of Stepanova, if you must -- not the 50-th.
  21. Well she doesn't delete the frappes, she just doesn't articulate them very well. If it's a variant, I must say it's a variant that no O/O I've ever seen has tried to delete from the choreography, so I don't know what you're getting at exactly. Variants are also in 'degrees'.
  22. If she didn't do it because she "hasn't mastered yet", I assume this means it was too difficult for her. What if this is a variant in the choreogrophic text you are not aware of?
  23. And what is this supposed to prove? That Stepanova is not delicate, refined, or poetic?
  24. After Stepanova's repeat of her «Swan Lake» on July 6, for several days I couldn't find the words for what I witnessed. It finally occurred to me that I saw a preparatory sketch of a future masterpiece and that we were going to see many more such preparatory sketches, which does not detract from the joy and excitement of witnessing how they appear. Interestingly, Sarah Crompton in a joint review of Lopatkina's and Stepanova's «Swan Lakes» says: "her performance was full of lovely things but it felt like a sketch not an interpretation." If by 'interpretation', one understands a finished piece, then I absolutely agree. Seeing preparatory sketches of masters is a privilege. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/dance/11012697/Swan-Lake-Mariinsky-Ballet-Royal-Opera-House-review-a-delight.html Crompton, I suppose, hasn't seen Stepanova before. She is not familiar with her unusually delicate manner of dancing, and last Saturday Yulia was ethereally delicate. Seeing a newcomer dancing this way could be construed as 'nerves and a lack of confidence in her own technique'. No signs of nervousness like momentary lapses were discernible to me, however, I was sitting very close and would have caught any one of them. The performance was remarkably free from any lapses. Moreover, Stepanova is renowned for its solid and very reliable technique. Her lowly rank in the Mariinsky ballet hierarchy has nothing to do with her ballerina skills but, of course, busy newspaper critics cannot know about it.
  25. I haven't seen any nervousness: delicacy of movement is not a sign of 'nervousness', being a Coriphée is not a sign of being 'quite junior for principal roles'.
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