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MadameP

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  1. Selina has long been a second soloist.
  2. Two promotions at Mariinsky Theatre today. Anastasia Nuikina and Victor Caixeta are both promoted to Second Soloist, bypassing the Coryphee rank.
  3. Yesterday I saw the matinee performance of Eleonora Sevenard and Artem Belyakov in Don Quixote. This was a good performance from a ballerina who is only 20 years old and it was her London debut in the role, although she has danced it in Moscow. She has all the technique necessary for the role and certainly will grow into her characterisation - she has good footwork, high jump and excellent turns. Not only that, but she had all the aplomb necessary - if she had nerves, I didn't see a sign of them. Her Dulcinea in particular was warm, gracious and flowing, and her sequence of fouettes in the grand pas was outstanding - all doubles and a triple to finish (she did veer slightly to one side at the end, but still it was a fabulous sequence of turns.) Her acting was fair - not outstanding, but I think her interpretation will grow! Belyakov partnered her extremely well - no problems with the one handed lifts, the second of which they held on for what seemed like an eternity, much to the vocal audience's delight. He also was very funny in the "mock suicide" scene. His acting throughout was excellent - this role really suits him and he responded to every situation naturally. It never seemed like acting! His exceptional height made all his jumps look breathtaking and he combined elegance with virtuosity. This was a lovely pairing and the audience plainly enjoyed their performance. Also excellent were sparkling Daria Khokhlova as one of the Friends and Daria Bochkova, who danced the first grand pas variation - beautifully fleeting and light across the stage. Oxana Sharova's gypsy was powerful too and Maria Mishina very charming as the Amor, and with great elevation on her entrechats.
  4. The problem is one of practicalities! I've seen Tissi have problems lifting Alyona and from an aesthetic point of view, I do think the lines are better if the ballerina en pointe is shorter than the man!
  5. Kovalyova needs a tall partner, an exceptionally tall partner. Much as I like Tissi, with his elegance and beautiful lines, he is not tall enough for Kovalyova, just as Ovcharenko is not tall enough for Stepanova.
  6. Yes, she graduated in 1996. As well as as being a coryphee at Mariinsky Theatre, she also teaches at Vaganova.
  7. Yes, those are roles she typically dances. Ivanova does still dance Juliet's friend occasionally, and the Young Lady in Young Lady and the Hooligan, both of which I have been fortunate to see. Her Young Lady is THE Young Lady of all for me - pure, refined, gentle and touching. So moving! I do not know when MT last performed this ballet outside Russia - certainly not recently - but it is a wonderful dramatic ballet with the most beautiful music.
  8. The same uploader also put up a concert performance of her pd2 from Act 2 of Giselle - beautiful arms and head.
  9. Buried Mariinsky treasure... Four videos have recently appeared on YouTube, showing a very young Svetlana Ivanova in what I believe was her only performance as Aurora. What a lovely performance and at her very young age, too. Ivanova is mostly seen these days as first shade or swan, little bayadere and other coryphee roles. She is a wonderful example to all corps dancers, but it is so sad that she still is only a coryphee. She has the most exquisite adagio and beautiful Vaganova technique. These days she only dances a few roles - notably Juliet's companion, the Young Lady in Young Lady and the Hooligan, and Diana in The Awakening of Flora (where I honestly thought she was the best ballerina on the stage) but she has been woefully underused. She rehearsed Giselle some years back, and danced the pd2, but injury prevented her from performing the full length role. She should be dancing Aurora today. I am so grateful to the uploader for at least this glimpse of her Aurora!
  10. Both lovely girls! I hope Khiteeva gets fast tracked like some others have been! She has the most beautiful arms. What a wonderful Aurora she would be!
  11. It has been so sad watching the news footage of this - such an extraordinary , historic and iconic building. I remember so clearly walking around that beautiful interior and then climbing up to the roof to see the gargoyles up close. I can only imagine how awful it must feel for the Parisians to see it in ruins. But at least much HAS been saved - God bless those brave firefighters for that! - and how wonderful that so much money has already been pledged to restore it.
  12. Somova/Kim in Tchaikovsky PD2 sounds fabulous and Tereshkina/Tissi is an ... interesting ... combination! I like Tissi very much - such a beautiful jump and elegance!
  13. Agree - Borodulina does have a spectacular jump. Definitely she is one to watch!
  14. Buddy, Oxana Skorik's instagram account confirms she just had her baby.
  15. SLEEPING BEAUTY: 8th February - Tereshkina/Askerov/Shapran/Lukina/Timofeyev Sleeping Beauty is always a wonderful ballet to see on the Mariinsky stage, although I do much prefer it on the historic theatre stage, instead of Mariinsky 2, as it was last night. It seems more fitting. This is the pinnacle of classical ballet and deserves the beautiful setting of the old theatre. Anyway, for me Viktoria Tereshkina is not an ideal Aurora, being somewhat "hard" and lacking the softness and fluidity I love in a ballerina. Usually she is on top form technically, and she did perform all the balances in the Rose Adagio well, raising both arms to 5th in all the attitude balances. She does not have great extension a la seconde anyway. What WAS very surprising was that in her variation, where she normally does 4 triple en dehors pirouettes, she failed on every one, falling off pointe. I never saw her do this before. However, the rest of her performance went without a hitch, and she was secure and grand in the final grand pas. Her partner, Timur Askerov, is a reliable prince, in that he is a good partner, but I wish he wasn't so bland. Technically though, he is excellent, with beautiful soft landings to his double tours, and high easy jumps. The Lilac Fairy was Kristina Shapran, who performed technically well, but does have a somewhat "frowning" natural facial expression, and lacked some of the serene warmth I like in a Lilac Fairy. Best among the fairies for me was tiny Valeria Martynyuk as the Canary Fairy, with the crispest technique, speed and charm. Highlights of the performance for me were Princess Florine and Carabosse! Anastasia Lukina was Florine, and she is a beautiful ballerina with gorgeous feet, lovely face and expressions and glamour on stage. She has lovely arms and pure Vaganova technique and was an absolute delight. I wished she had been Aurora this time, as she is an excellent Aurora also. The other outstanding performance was Elena Bazhenova as Carabosse. This wonderful artiste is excellent in every role she performs. It makes total sense for Carabosse to be a beautiful woman, who is an evil fairy, and the mime scenes were so clearly performed. Every movement made total sense and it was a great acting performance. I love watching her always! As usual, the corps were outstanding, and it was a particular pleasure for me to see the most beautiful ballerina in the company, Oksana Marchuk, on stage, although only in the tiny role of Cinderella. She is woefully underused. What a wealth of talent Mariinsky possesses - if only it could be utilised to best advantage. I would LOVE to see Oksana Marchuk as Aurora! But there are so many dancers underused...
  16. The phrase, "Emperor's new clothes" springs to mind! 😊
  17. INFRA/IN THE NIGHT/SYMPHONY IN 😄 6th February Infra: Sergeev/Stepin/Ermakov/Kim/Tkachenko/Caixeta/Yalinich/Shirinkina/Tereshkina/Gonchar/Chebykina/Lavrinenko - I cannot lie. I am British and saw this Wayne McGregor work at the ROH some years ago and thought then exactly as I did this time round. What a lot of pretentious rubbish. In the UK programme there were pages of programme notes explaining this ballet, much of which was incomprehensible. I do not want to have to read pages of notes in order to understand what huge significance this ballet has. As far as I am concerned, it has none and does not deserve to be in the MT repertoire. Much of the music is dreadful - f you like hoots, whistles, "white" hissing music, snatches of computerised speech, you might like it. Six couples dressed in white and black athletic shorts and singlets dance singly, in pairs and in groups. It's not a style I like, relying on contortionist flexibility with dancers slouching on and off the stage. I found it too fragmented, difficult to concentrate on because often there were so many dancers on the stage, all doing different things. Much of the audience loved it, but I did not. In The Night: Batoeva/Parish; Shapran/Ivanchenko; Kondaurova/Belyakov - I love this beautiful ballet with its starry backdrop, set to Chopin music. Batoeva and Parish in the first movement were romantic and lyrical, somewhat solemn in love, but the lifts were all lovely. Ivanchenko in the second movement looks astonishingly youthful and handsome still despite his senior status in the cast, and with his ideal dancer's physique, still can produce beautiful lines. He gave a great display of effortless partnering of the aristocratic Kristina Shapran. For me, the most successful partnership was Belyakov (debut) and Kondaurova in the third movement. Belyakov's partnering was excellent and so were his expressions. The pair of them danced out an exquisite tale of troubled and finally reconciled love - really beautiful, harmonious and beautiful. I love this ballet! Symphony in C -: Nagahisa/Konovalov; Somova/Korsuntsev; Evseeva/Kim; Gonchar/Timofeyev - The tiny Japanese 2nd soloist Nagahisa was technically good in the first movement, and Konovalov, her partner, excellent in all his jumps and partnering easily. Yes, she is a musical and technically able ballerina, but at only 15 to have danced Manu in the company and then to have been promoted and given roles before her 18th birthday without a day of Vaganova training? I just wish some of my favourites who are stuck in the corps and infinitely more deserving, had her chances. Somova in the second movement was absolutely exquisite, with her long lines, beautiful arms and Mariinsky grandeur on stage. Korsuntsev partnered her immaculately, but apart from that, his performance was so below par as to be embarrassing. He can barely get off the floor now in jumps let alone stretch out his legs in arabesque. In the third movement, both Evseeva and Kim were ideally suited, effervescent, sparkling, technically fast and brilliant. This is Evseeva's territory and she was fabulous, as was Kim. Nothing much to say about the fourth movement, in which both GOnchar and TImofeyev were a little underwhelming. The worst was in the finale where Korsuntsev had the misfortune to be dancing next to Kim, which really highlighted his shortcomings. Honestly, he should stick to character roles!
  18. Better late than never - I had horrible internet today. YOUNG LADY AND THE HOOLIGAN/LENINGRAD SYMPHONY: 5th February Young Lady and the Hooligan: Evseeva/Konovalov - Great ballet with beautiful music and a wonderful performance by Yevgeny Konovalov as the Hooligan. He was one of the best hooligans I have seen since the days of Ilya Kuznetsov. He had that loose limbed, careless insouciant quality - just so nonchalantly threw off two amazing sequences of barrel turns ending first time with a revoltade and second time with a double saut de basque, like they were nothing, whirlwind chaines and also great turns in general. His first variation was received with cheers and bravos - it was brilliant. But most importantly, he had such great expressions and acting. He was just a little unhinged, unable to help himself being bad, but SO poignant his face when it lit up with happiness when he had been dancing with the lady - and SO tearjerking his expression when she kissed him just before he died. Truly a wonderful performance. He made the ballet for me. Evseeva technically was excellent, but for me the greatest Lady I saw will always be Svetlana Ivanova. I think the lady needs to be sweet, pure - an unattainable vision. Evseeva just doesn't have that stage personality, and for me, she was wrong as the Lady, although she acted well at the end when the hooligan dies. Nice to see Alexandra Iosifidi, the tallest Mariinsky ballerina, teetering vampishly across the stage as the leader's girlfriend. I love this ballet, and especially the gorgeous pd2 see to the Gadfly suite. Leningrad Symphony: Kondaurova/Ermakov - Such a wonderful, but difficult and even troubling ballet. As the programme states, "It is performed twice each season, on dates that are vitally important for the people of St Petersburg: the Day of the Lifting of the Siege of Leningrad and Victory Day." Very moving indeed and one of those ballets one cannot take one's eyes from. The first scene is so gentle and has an idyllic quality with its patterns of happy couples, but as soon as the first faint bars of the second scenes motif are heard eerily in the background, the mood changes and becomes more threatening. The second scene is chilling and even brutal. The "frieze" of motionless, mourning corps ladies remains through to the left, and the music mounts as the Nazis advance, with crab like movements. This was an outstanding performance by Andrei Ermakov, with his thrilling jumps,across the stage and pursued by the enemy, bare chested in this act and a symbol of the pure, heroic youth. Kondaurova also both acted and danced well, although to me she could not quite equal Ekaterina Osmolkina in the role. Also, and as my friend also pointed out, her height made the moments where she mirrors each of the frieze of mourning lades in turn, slightly less effective. Nonetheless, this was an intense and moving performance. A great ballet and very special to the people of St Petersburg.
  19. I love Shurale. Such beautiful music, choreography, costumes, special effects... As I said, Shurale and Bayadere are my two favourite ballets and Shirinkina and Kim were the best cast this time around. It is such a shame Mariinsky does not tour with it so more could see it, but I do not know when it was last seen outside Russia, if at all. The problem is, it is such a "Russian" ballet with a large cast of Russian character artists. It also has a huge cast of young Vaganova students, especially in the second act, who would need to go on the tour. With the best will in the world, I can't see any other school being able to supply those children and be able to replicate it authentically.
  20. FOKINE MATINEE: 3rd February This was a shorter performance of two ballets. Chopiniana: Lukina/Ionova/Fernandez/Parish - I loved this poetic performance. I very much like Anastasia Lukina, who is a shorter, feminine looking ballerina with a very beautiful face and beautiful feet! She is what I call an old-school glamorous true Mariinsky ballerina type. She is eloquent, musical and has lovely adagio work and soft curving arms. The waltz with Xander Parish was airy and lyrical. I was also impressed with Daria Ionova in the Prelude. She is one of the new graduates who has been getting roles, and she has long, slender arms and legs and nice lines and movement. I found Fernandez charming even though she is not Vaganova trained. Of course, the corps were immaculate and still in my opinion, the best in the world! Firebird: Kolegova/Oskorbin/Dubrovina - This matinee was not as good as the evening performance. Kolegova is so exquisite to look at, and stunning in the Firebird costume and make up. She also has good arms, great technique and jumps well - but ... for some reason her Firebird did not excite me. Her jumps were not as good as Chebykina's and I felt she was more of a bird like woman than a strange bird creature, which I felt Chebykina was. Of course, Kolegova has the great advantage of her beauty, which makes her watchable anyway! Oskorbin was a good Ivan, but not outstanding as Romanchikov was, but he did partner well. I do not understand why Xenia Dubrovina is STILL being cast as the Princess of Great Beauty when she is ... not the youngest any more. She truthfully looked old enough to be Ivan's mother. This role should be performed by a younger ballerina in my opinion! So ... I enjoyed the Chopiniana very much, but the Firebird was just OK!
  21. I actually saw two Fokine performances today, but I have to write about the one I have just seen first, since it was so outstanding! I just got back. FOKINE TRIPLE BILL: 3rd February Scheherazade: Somova/Shklyarov - this was sensational. This was the best Scheherazade I have ever seen with my own eyes, and I have seen a few! To start with, the orchestra was playing on excellent form, but the performance itself just ignited when Shklyarov as the slave literally erupted onto the stage with a burst of pure masculine energy. OMG. Alina's expressions when she saw him were amazing. When he hurled himself at her feet she fixed him with an intense gaze - like a predator wanting to devour her victim. The scenes where they are writhing on the floor were absolutely smouldering. The synchronicity of movement between them where they were moving in unison across the stage was absolute. They seemed to act and dance as two parts of the same whole. Really stunning. Alina used her remarkable flexibility to great advantage, wrapping herself sinuously around SHklyarov - she literally rippled her back! And her acting - heart rending at the end where she kills herself... And Shklyarov's jumps were extraordinary - he powered himself into the air with seemingly no regard for the law of gravity, and the final grand pirouette with its a la seconds into pirouette just got faster and faster. The audience cheered them to the rafters and called them back for curtain calls... Just a WONDERFUL performance!!! Firebird: Chebykina/Romanchikov/Bulanova - Chebykina is a very tall ballerina with an outstanding jump. Her opening grand jetes ate up the stage and also her long arms were used powerfully to suggest the firebird's wings. She also used her eyes to great advantage and certainly played up the inhuman quality of the firebird. Being tall certainly helped her to command the stage in the section where she was putting Kashchei's evil servants to sleep. Romanchikov was an outstanding Ivan. He and Ermakov must be the tallest male dancers in the company, and Romanchikov is a good looking boy. He was by turns mischievous, teasing and playful with the Firebird and plainly smitten with the Princess of Great Beauty - not surprising when this was the absolutely stunning Maria Bulanova! When she came on stage as a captive of Kashchei, the expressions went across his face of surprise to see her, anxiety for her, determination to get free. I was very impressed by his performance. Maria Bulanova was breath of fresh air as the Princess, a truly beautiful princess who was a natural actress and with lovely expressions and arms. The audience gave this performance great applause also. Petrouchka: Stepin/Martynyuk/Baimuradov - Stepin is a wonderful actor who could have been an actual puppet. He used his arms in particular to great effect. Quite eerie. His expressions were fabulous throughout and the final tableau where he appears on the roof to mock the showman was haunting! Martynyuk as the ballerina had SUCH precise pointework and she was a cold, passionless doll to perfection. This is not one of my favourite ballets, and I always love the crowd scenes the best. This time I was so happy to see beautiful Oksana Marchuk as a fairground dancer (the one with the triangle!) This was the first time I have seen Oksana do fouettes and she CAN do them, and has a lovely technique and personality on stage... so WHY can't she be given better roles?? (She once did the ballerina in Petrouchka incidentally, and was outstanding, but only once.) I just realised I have described the ballets in opposite order to which they were actually performed! Sheherazade was the final ballet. All in all, this was an amazing evening!!!
  22. SHURALE Evening 2nd February: Shirinkina/Kim/Sergeev I have to say straightaway that this was a wonderful Shurale and the best performance of the three by a long way. Sergeev as Shurale was truly evil and menacing, and we really saw the inhuman qualities of the monster, with his twisted contortions. He used jerky movements to great advantage and really commanded the stage well. I have often accused Kimin Kim of being a poor actor, but not in this ballet! His acting was fabulous. His concern for his love, Syuimbike, when she was telling him how much she missed her wings, was so moving, as was the scene right at the end where he clasped both his hands to his chest to declare his love to her. And how tenderly he picked her up when she was asleep. His acting was good throughout! His jumping nearly brought the roof down - he does always get incredible height - his fight scenes were realistic (despite his slight physique) and throughout he danced with such attack and dynamism. He also pulled off 6 pirouettes twice in his variation! Really a fabulous performance. He had good chemistry with Maria Shirinkina and partnered her so well in all the tricky overhead lifts. And as for Shirinkina - she was the Syuimbike I had been wanting to see the last two performances. Finally a Syuimbike who was expressive, sweet and gentle and who radiated with shy happiness during her celebration scene. So touching the way she was genuinely modest and sweet natured and she is so lovely to look at! The scene between her and her friends and the girls was so beautiful it was really tear making. Technically she was very light and managed all the tricky sequences of turns a la seconde and pirouettes with ease. THe role is technically demanding, yet we did not see the difficulty of it. Her arms were outstanding - they are some of the best in the company, fluid and curving and soft. I was very happy when I saw this cast was dancing when the casting came up, because Maria Shirinkina is one of my favourite ballerinas and a nice person as well, and all throughout the performance, I kept thinking how wonderful it was and how happy I was to be seeing it. This Shurale was worth the whole trip!
  23. SHURALE Matinee 2nd February: Martynyuk/Timofeyev/Beishanaliev (debut) In this matinee there was a debut from a corps de ballet member, Ramanbek Beishanaliev in the role of Shurale. This boy was extremely credible, and really played up the lithe sinewy body of the reptilian Shurale, having also curving snake-like arms. He has fabulous jumps and his expression throughout was excellent, even down to the stage calls, which he played up to the great joy of the children in the audience. The little children's dance of trolls was creepy and adorable at the same time! Timofeyev as Ali Batyr was good, but not outstanding, lacking charisma on stage although he partnered tiny Valeria Martynyuk well. Martynyuk is one of the company's tiniest ballerinas, and she was fast and light across the stage in act 1, with beautiful grand jetes and I think she had better arms than Evseeva. Act 2 is the celebration in honour of Ali Batyr and Syuimbike and although Martynyuk showed a little more happiness than Evseeva, she was still subdued for much of it. Syuimbike shows her sadness at the loss of her wings towards the end of this act, but I do think she needs to be happier at the village celebration, which is supposed to be a betrothal. Martynyuk is very strong technically though and acted well generally. It was so interesting to see these Shurales back to back. I have to say, the quartet of matchmakers were very funny both times and the ballet as a whole is just gorgeous to look at, with spectacular flame effects when Shurale's lair is burned down,and lovely costumes. The music also is beautiful! It's a shame Mariinsky only perform it a few times a year.
  24. Thank you Buddy, and I have not seen any here, but I know what they are. Saw two people fall over today so I am just walking VERY cautiously.
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