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Everything posted by MadameP

  1. Maybe I should have added "for today's standards." Of course, Petipa was working with the ballerinas he had available, who for the most part, had vastly different physiques from the ballerinas of today.
  2. That photo of Alexandrova clearly cleverly uses light and shade to thin down Alexandrova's muscular legs- and it is her muscularity that makes her look stocky. She certainly is not an elegant dancer, but one with a bold, passionate presence on stage, and I do like her in some roles, but for me she will never be a Petipa ballerina.
  3. I also saw Alexandrova's Legend of Love (and Kitri) - I generally do not like her as a dancer as she is too aggressive and lacking in refinement for me - but I did enjoy her performance as Mekhmene Banu. Her execution IS crude and honestly she has horrible lines - she is very muscular and short limbed - but she has undeniable presence and command of the stage,. I would like to see her dancing more of the roles appropriate to her, but honestly within the last two years, her Sylphide and Aurora were both just miscasting in my opinion.
  4. Very busy at the moment and I wish I could join in this conversation - when I have more time, maybe. But ... I just wanted to say in Alina Somova's defence, that her days of employing extremely high extensions have long since gone, and although she has been offstage actually for some time recently with pregnancy and injury, she has always used appropriate extensions recently when I saw her. I think she was badly advised and coached to overuse her flexibility as a very young ballerina and now she does not. She is a wonderful ballerina. And neither Smirnova nor Stepanova overuse their extensions, despite their natural flexibility.
  5. What a wonderful photograph and Alina Somova IS a wonderful Tsar Maiden and rightfully won the Golden Mask for her role in this ballet. With her beauty and long lines and expressive acting she is a perfect princess and Tsar Maiden. Evidently Maya also thought so - amazing gesture from her. Not the same, but also relating to the great Maya Plisetskaya, I remember being in the audience in 2013 when Maya Plisetskaya and Rodion Shchedrin were in the Tsar's Loge in Mariinsky 2 for the performance of Uliana Lopatkina as the Tsar Maiden. Gergiev was conducting. I think many thought this would not entirely be Uliana's role - but she was charm and vivacity personified and truly looked like a young girl on stage - she looked so happy. There were many bouquets and Uliana tried to give some of hers to Shklyarov, but he insisted she have his. Anyway, at the end Maya stood and applauded and where at the end of the ballet the dancers often wave from the stage, they were all smiling and waving and clapping back at Maya, and she was waving back. Great memory!
  6. Some of us HAD already seen her, and noted her immense talent since Vaganova days, where she was being featured in Vaganova performances long before her actual graduation year!
  7. Basically, so many operas/ballets/plays written before the last what? 50 years? less? can now considered by SOME as sexist/racist/politically incorrect in some way. We are all entitled to an opinion, so I will only say that personally, I think this is just getting ridiculous.
  8. MadameP

    Yulia Stepanova

    I did not see Pagliero's La Sylphide, so cannot comment on that, but it sounds truly magical! However, I HAVE been fortunate to see Yulia Stepanova dance numerous times over the years - in class, in rehearsal, live on stage, in all her roles, including those shown in the video. I can only agree with you. Overall, her Medora was a stupendous ballerina performance, showing as it did, not just those wonderful arms and flow of movement, but musicality, acting skills and also the purest of unflashy technical prowess. Few so-called "ballerinas"actually deserve that title; but If ever there was a test of a ballerina's right to be called a ballerina - then with that Medora, Yulia Stepanova passed with the highest honours. The only tragedy is that we could not see her as a principal dancing these roles years ago...
  9. Gnossie - I was interested to read your opinion, and this is just MY opinion, but honestly, I saw A Hero of our Time and HATED it - Demutsky, Possokhov and Serebrennikov to me spells triple disaster rubbish, horrible music and worse choreography - so I have no desire whatsoever to see this triple horror's attempt at Nureyev and am not at all surprised by your review. When I think of what could be occupying the space on the playbill, those two seem to me to be an utter waste of space. Ditch them now. I can't wait to see Coppelia again - at least that deserves its playbill space.
  10. It seems that ALyona Kovalyova has caused some dissent on this thread and I can't understand it. In the end, she is a young girl who is not to be blamed for taking the chances she was given. Was she supposed to refuse her opportunities and risk not being given them again? She seems to me, from what I have seen of her on stage, and various interviews and comments she has made on her instagrams and those of others, to be a very sweet natured girl as well as having an extraordinary talent. Her career will develop over time and I hope she retains that sweetness, which is more than can be said for some already primas at Bolshoi. Of course there are bound to be dancers who will be jealous of her and will try to undermine her, and also various groups of fans and balletomanes who will do the same. I do know that she was devastated at not being given at Mariinsky contract by FAteev and never thought she would have such a quick rise to prominence at Bolshoi. She is a modest girl. As I said earlier, she is considered highly enough by many to have been given the honour of closing the gala to celebrate the 80th birthday of Vinogradov in St Petersburg last month. She danced in Vinogradov's own Adagio set to Barber's Adagio. I was there and saw it myself, and she was much applauded for her mesmerising performance. Here is link to the performance:
  11. When you say you go to the Bolshoi on a weekly basis, do you mean you go to performances weekly, or do you go to classes and rehearsals inside the theatre? And which years were you working there?
  12. We all have different tastes on this forum. Vaziev does indeed have a hard task pleasing everyone - giving the "old guard" ballerinas roles while encouraging young talent. Let us not forget that, as well as giving leading roles to Kovalyova, he has also given them to Margarita Shrayner (Kitri, Sylphide, Jeanne, Masha among them), Ksenia Zhiganshina (Gulnare, Masha, Gamzatti, Ballerina), Diana Kosyreva (Jeanne, Ondine) and many others. Of course they have not been promoted young as Kovalyova has been, but nevertheless, Vaziev gives many debuts. Allash, Kaptsova and Alexandrova might have been pushed sideways on the roster to the "performing under contract" category, but all ARE still being given roles - maybe not as many as formerly, but they are still performing Kaptsova was Zina in The Bright Stream in October, is Masha during December and also rehearsing for the role of Margot in the upcoming Nureyev. Alexandrova and Allash both performed Aegina last month and Alexandrova is rehearsing for Nureyev also. If we are to talk about the physiques of dancers, then everyone has their own taste, and yes, I think Kovalyova is tall, but she is a very talented girl, her long limbs do make the most beautiful lines, and to me far more beautiful than those of Maria Alexandrova, who honestly to me resembles a mini weight lifter on stage. Finally, I would ike to say that at the recent Vinogradov 80th birthday gala in St Petersburg, which I attended, Kovalyova was given the honour of closing the gala with her partner, dancing Vinogradov's own Adagio set to Barber's Adagio, and judging from the applause, not just Vinogradov, but all the audience very much admired her.
  13. ALyona Kovalyova will debut as Mireille de Poitiers in Flames of Paris on 14th December. Her partner will be Jacopo Tissi.
  14. LOL! Well, you can be impressed then - because I have seen Tereshkina in the role also, as well as Kolegova,, and in my opinion, both Stepanova and Somova were FAR better... Tereshkina lacked the necessary feminity for the role. I forgot - also saw Batoeva!
  15. I saw Yulia Stepanova's debut as Sylvia at the Mariinsky and also Alina Somova in the role: both were magnificent! It is technically an extremely difficult role and Osipova has technique, but I am not sure she will have the refinement.
  16. I COMPLETELY forgot about Zakharova - oops! - of course, you are right. But re Merkuriev, I never said he was kicked out by Vaziev, only that he left while Vaziev was in charge!
  17. Helene, I only know of one Mariinsky dancer, who left Mariinsky to go to Bolshoi, when Vaziev was in charge, and that is Andrei Merkuriev, who is now under contract, so not listed as a soloist, but Vaziev recently removed his soloist status ( leading or 1st soloist.) Lobukhin and Obraztsova left because of Fateyev. Smirnova, Stepanova, Zhighanshina, Kovalyova, Sevenard and Yangurazov plus corps ballerinas, Tatiana Tiliguzova, Olga Kalinina.and Sofya Smirnova are all at Bolshoi because of Fateyev.
  18. I like Krysanova in SOME roles, and yes, I think she is a good actress, but still for me, no matter how good her acting was, she does not have the lyricism or beautiful lines or flow of movement that I want to see in a Juliet (or Odette-Odile or Nikiya or Medora!)
  19. Stashkevich was an adorable Lise in La Fille Mal Gardee, and showed great comedic talent, so I think Coppelia is a very appropriate ballet for her, and I hope she dances Swanilda. (Also Franz would be perfect for Lopatin!) With regard to Kovalyova, I think she is a an outstanding prospect and I am very happy to see her given all her opportunities. Interestingly,, although of course the role of Swanilda would not be considered typical emploi for such a tall dancer, in fact Kovalyova HAS already danced the role of Swanilda - at a Vaganova concert at the Hermitage theatre in 2015 she danced the adagio and she was exquisite in it. And regarding those ballerinas given performances that are part of the cinema season - I certainly hope Obraztsova's Juliet is shown. For me, she is far more lyrical and expressive a dancer than Krysanova, who I always find rather hard, as in her Medora performance - but then we all like different.
  20. Obraztsova has confirmed on her website that she is dancing the third R&J performance on 24th with Chudin.
  21. Kovalyova is SO talented - I am happy for her - but I can't help wishing Zhiganshina also had been promoted. She deserves it.
  22. I didn't know whether to put this here or on the Mikhailovsky thread. Anyway, it is here but maybe Helene will move it if she thinks I should? On 14th I saw Maria Vinogradova and Ivan Vasiliev in Giselle at the Mikhailovsky theatre. Vinogradova was a very gentle and timid Giselle, looking beautiful and frail - her acting was actually quite muted in the first act, although her mad scene was very touching, Her dancing was superb - she has a lovely light jump, great balances and soft arms. In the first act variation she was perfect, with outstanding slow controlled attitude turns, and she travelled so far on the ballonnes, she nearly ran out of room! In the second act, she showed floating grand jetes, and high springy sobresaults and entrechats. She was a lovely Giselle. Vasiliev surprised me. I was prepared for him to embellish the choreography somewhat, and he did, but tastefully! His second act variation was outstanding, with some superb sisonnes and unusual renverses. There was one spectacular feat when to great applause he performed a sequence of FORTY FOUR consecutive entrechat six instead of the brises. Of course, many now do the entrechat6 instead of the brises, but I never saw that many before. Also, in the final series of cabrioles where he is dancing to death, he literally FELL to the floor from the height of the cabriole, instead of putting one foot down first. He partnered his wife to perfection, making her look feather light, and in another interesting touch (and considerable feat of strength), where he did the first two high overhead lifts, instead of lowering Giselle straight to the ground, he lowered HIMSELF to kneeling on one knee with her still held overhead and then lowered her to the ground from there - it looked very beautiful. His acting was outstanding - this was an Albrecht who was genuinely in love with Giselle and when the huntsmen came back and he realised he was going to be found out, his listless body language showed his unhappiness with his lot. He was distraught at Giselle’s death, and the ending where he realised he has lost Giselle to the grave was just SO tragic. Great acting. Ekaterina Borchenko was a severe Myrtha, cold and merciless, but technically I thought she was outclassed by Vinogradova and Vasiliev. In the diagonale of entrechat six de vole, she did not attempt a single beat, and I did expect her as a senior ballerina of the troupe, to do this. She also suffered an unfortunate and crashing fall in the manege of saut de basques. Veronica Ignatieva in the peasant pas was bright and turning extremely well, and the corps showed accurate work, although their pointe shoes were very clunky! There were SIX curtain calls! I enjoyed this Giselle very much.
  23. I saw two ballets yesterday. First was the La Sylphide debut of Alina Somova with Alexei Timofeyev as James. It seems amazing that Alina has never danced this role when she is so ideally suited for it physically - she looks a perfect sylph with her long arms and legs and beautiful flowing port de bras - her beckoning arms to James were exquisite! . This was an excellent debut, with gorgeous floating jumps and perfectly judged extensions and also wonderful clarity of mime and expression. She was in particular, so affecting in her “death” scene mime. Her footwork also was excellent. Timofeyev also was on good form, with great beats and accurate double tours in his variation. The Effie of Nadezha Gonchar was adequate only but luckily the bright Nancy of Svetlana Russkikh and Young Girl of Anna Smirnova distracted me from her! Tiny Anna Smirnova is adorable, and has excellent technique and arms, but since she is well under 5 feet tall, I can’t see her ever dancing anything than the “cutesy” roles - what a shame. I would love to see her in a big role. I must mention the excellent Gurn of Alexei Kuzmin. His acting was superb and he was the funniest Gurn I have seen - the part where he is miming “the Sylphide was under the blanket - where has she gone?” was hilarious. Also, on the acting side, what a fantastic artist is Elena Bazhenova (Madge). I know I always talk about her, but truly she is perfection in every role she does - her expressions are superb and she is so musical. I think the whole company was on good form, excepting a slightly off par Gonchar, and what a pleasure it was to see the lead sylph of Xenia Ostreivskaya, with her beautiful arabesque. I don’t think I have ever seen her put a foot wrong in any role, and she is only a coryphee still - but what an example to the younger corps girls, and how much she deserves her position in front of line, leader of shades etc. It WAS Alina Somova’s performance though, and only her second post-baby, and I so enjoyed seeing this fabulous debut! She received many beautiful bouquets - and deservedly so. She’s a real Sylphide! I also saw Le Parc with Nadezhda Batoeva and Alexander Sergeev, Sergeev replacing the originally cast Konstantin Zverev, who I had been hoping to see. This really is not a favourite ballet of mine, but the beautiful Mozart music helps. I have to admit, I find the dragging of chairs, crawling, dancing to no music tiresome, but even though I do not like the electronic sounds the four gardeners “dance” to, they were very good, with excellent movement quality. I also appreciated the wit of many of the girls dancing as courtiers, in particular Yulia Kobzar, who often dances the Oriental dance in DonQ, and who has the most amazing fluidity of arms and back. Zlata Yalinich also was excellent among the girls, with very free movement, and she seems to be completely at home with more modern choreography. The leading couple I have mixed feelings about. I am a huge fan of Nadezhda Batoeva, and was excited to be seeing her dance this role, and technically she did not put a foot wrong, with beautiful lines, secure positions in all the difficult lifts with the gardeners in the section where she literally hardly touches the ground, and she had good rapport with Sergeev. However, somehow she just didn’t feel right for me in this role - she looked so beautiful and she did nothing wrong, but I think maybe it is just not her role? She just didn’t grip me. On the other hand, Sergeev was much better than I had anticipated - he is another dancer who excels in modern choreography, and he danced with virility, partnered well, and also acted with vigour and sensitivity where appropriate. Despite all this though, the final pas de deux, which is really all most people remember of this ballet, was anticlimactic to me, and ESPECIALLY the "swinging kiss,” which I find ridiculous at the best of times. It seems even a ballerina I really enjoy watching, like Batoeva, is not enough to make me like this ballet. Oh well …
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