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Everything posted by Cygnet

  1. The Mariinsky presented its matinee of “Cinderella” this afternoon in Los Angeles with 1st Soloists Kristina Shapran and Konstantin Zverev. I’ve seen several ballerinas essay Ratmansky’s heroine since its creation on Diana Vishneva in 2002. After Ratmansky’s first Cinderella, dancers such as Natalia Sologub, Daria Pavlenko, Ekaterina Osmolkina, and Bolshoi prima Evgenia Obraztsova, have each put their own personal stamp on this role. This was Ratmansky’s first draft on this subject, the Austrailian Ballet having mounted his latest adaptation a few years ago. The first Ratmansky version is not one of my favorites. I prefer traditional stagings, such as Ashton’s, or Sir Peter Wright productions, (by the former), for the Royal Ballet, ABT, and the Joffrey, and for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, by the latter. The Dutch National Ballet recently offered it's version following the theme from the Rossini opera “La Cerentola.” Of the other Russian versions, there's the set aside Konstantin Sergeyev version which used to be danced by the Mariinsky/Kirov, (in 2002 for the Vaganova Academy graduation performance). There is also the original Bolshoi Theatre 1945 production, (1961 film available on dvd), and former Kirov Artistic Director, Oleg Vinogradov’s production, (which premiered in Novosibirsk Theatre in the 1960s, played at the Maly – Mussorgsky, now Mikhailovsky Theatre in Petersburg in the 1970s), and now holds court at both the Tchaikovsky Theatre in Perm and the Stanislavsky Theatre in Moscow. Vladimir Vasiliev’s version, one of the final creations he made on his late wife Ekaterina Maximova in the early 1990s, is in the repertory of the Kremlin Ballet. These are all traditional productions but Soviet in style. The Bolshoi also has Yuri Possukhov’s version, created in the 2000s for Svetlana Zakharova in it’s repertory. That version was a production for the New Russia of the early 21st century. In many respects this Mariinsky production is too. For Petersburgers, Ratmansky’s version was (and is) a new way of looking at a familiar fairy tale, and that’s precisely how the Mariinsky dancers dance it. This afternoon, Kristina Shapran delivered a very promising, straight forward, and lyrical interpretation of the title role. In the beginning, Shapran got off to a very tentative start. What she wanted to convey in Act 1 in her mind’s eye was reflected in her soft releves, arabesques and clearly delineated pointe work. The intricate solo monologues were well executed. Specifically, Shapran has all of the necessary equipment; however, what she needs to do now (in Act 1), is project more emotion. The steps are already there; it’s the story and how the heroine’s body “tells” it that needs to come out. This production requires an animated dance actress, someone who can flesh out Ratmansky’s monologues on a bare stage with scaffolding, chairs and stairs as props. In Act 2 when she met her Prince, Konstantin Zverev, Shapran came alive. Here is where the story, the romance, and everything cooked. Zverev was absolutely wonderful, from his entrance to the end he was every inch The Prince, and he partnered Shapran with the utmost care, giving her dream quality support. This Prince was in love at first site with his Cinderella. The Grand Waltz, the pas de deux, the various adages showed how well matched they were in temperament. There’s c-h-e-m-i-s-t-r-y between these two dancers. Throughout Acts 2 & 3 they danced as one. It was one of those rare occaisions with this particular production, that knowing full well what was coming next, I was riveted. The audience rose out of their seats at final curtain. I’d like to put in a plug: Zverev will be dancing Siegfried for Shapran’s upcoming debut as Odette/Odile on 22 October in Petersburg. Suffice it to say, this event could be big… The supporting cast included Sofia Gumerova as the Stepmother, stepsisters Margarita Frolova as Khudishka, Anna Lavrinenko as Kubishka, and Andrei Yakovlev as the Father. They all danced as Team Dysfunctional Family throughout. They were each fully committed to the farce, and the comedy beats in the choregraphy were well timed to seem as if spontaneous. The four seasons were Vasily Tkachenko (Spring), Alexei Popv (Summer), Konstantin Ivkin (Autumn), and Andrei Soloviev (Winter). They each did a superlative job. I haven’t seen this prolonged pas de quatre danced so enthusiastically in years. The sensuous Dance Teachers were Victoria Brilyeva and Yuri Smekalov. Brilyeva in particular made the most of her first appearance in Act 1’s Dancing Lesson. For a moment she almost stole Cinderella’s thunder. Smekalov and Brilyeva danced their ball scene with a liberal dose of slapstick. Cinderella's mother was lovingly and fleetingly portrayed by Elena Bazhenova, and Lubov Kozharskaya toddled about, severly bent over, as the Fairy Tramp. The Act 1 Hairdressers (and Act 3’s “Searchers”), Oleg Demchenko, Fedor Murashov and Denis Zainetdinov, gesticulated and strutted about effectively. During the Prince’s search, Diana Smirnova and none other than Islom Baimuradov did the honors of the Female Dance and Male Dance respectively. The Mariinsky corps de ballet executed Ratmansky’s ballroom dances with grace, synchronization, precision and finesse. At the beginning of Act 2, even the Elbow March and the Conga Line looked elegant this afternoon. Nadezhda Batoeva and Vladimir Shklyarov lead the cast tonight, and the Mariinsky’s engagement closes tomorrow evening with Anastasia Matvienko and Filipp Stepin at the helm. On the whole, this is a production that you either like or don't like; love or hate. I think that multiple Michelin Star winning Executive Chef Gordon Ramsay said it best: “Don’t blame the waiter. He serves the dish - he didn’t prepare it. It’s not the waiter’s fault; it’s the chef in the kitchen.” I’ll leave it at that. The Music Corner: Gavriel Heine conducted this fiendishly difficult to interpret Prokofiev score at the top of his lungs, so to speak. He pulled the Mariinsky Orchestra up with him into the stratosphere and fully realized the story as "told" in the composition. At the end of Act 2 the brass and percussion sections were particularly bombastic and vivid in depicting the bell tolling midnight. Heine was in simpatico with Shapran and Zverev. I have rarely heard this score so well played and paced IRL. Quite simply, the pit sounded divine: I can't peck it. Bravi Mariinsky!
  2. Prince Desire will be danced by Jacopo Tissi. This will be huge opportunity for him! Merde Jacopo !
  3. I've seen Zakharova as Marguerite Gautier. She's all limbs sans pathos. I also agree with the comments about her Giselle. However, I'm not surprised that she will be the headlining ballerina in both ballets.
  4. Here is a preview of this week's performances. http://www.ocregister.com/common/printer/view.php?db=ocregister&id=683621
  5. Update: The start time has been changed to 7:30 p.m. BST. http://www.roh.org.uk/news/romeo-and-juliet-rehearsal-to-be-live-streamed-on-11-september-2015#comments
  6. This is excellent surround-sound Delibes - with a blank screen.
  7. This is very sad news. I remember his totally in the moment Mercutio in "Romeo & Juliet." He was an impeccable dancer and will be sorely missed. Rest in peace Johan.
  8. You couldn't go wrong with either production. ENB's "Nutcracker" is a recent production; it's traditional, very good and competitive with Covent Garden's production. IMO Covent Garden's production (the Royal's), is better if you want a little bit more conscientious authenticity. Of the two, the Royal Ballet follows the E.T.A. Hoffmann story more closely, and there's the resolution at the end, where Drosselmeyer's efforts release his nephew from the spell, and his nephew is restored to his Uncle. The special effects are superior at Covent Garden, as is the "magic" factor. Gary Avis' interpretation of Drosselmeyer (who is an illusionist in this production), has become something of an urban legend. The Waltz of the Snowflakes is after Ivanov's choreography, as is the pas de deux in Act 2. If I may, if you can also squeeze in a visit to the Continent, I'd say the most authentic "Nutcracker" (other than Balanchine's at NYCB), can be found at the Berlin Staatsballett. Vladimir Medvedev and Yuri Burlaka choreographed this production in 2013. It reconstructs the original 1892 Imperial Russian Ballet costumes and designs and also includes the "after" Ivanov pas de deux. There are strong and (stronger) cast lists at Covent Garden. I'd suggest you choose a cast with Stephen McRae as the Prince, and of the ladies - Sarah Lamb, Marianela Nunez, Roberta Marquez, Iana Selenko or Yuhue Choe as the Sugar Plum Fairy. As for pantomimes, I'm sure there should be some to choose from during the Holidays. You'll have to research the theatre ads .
  9. This is very tragic; may Jonathan Ollivier RIP.
  10. No Helene, it's not surprising at all. IM very HO, I think that by extension, some or at the very least, one of the people he brought with him when he became Artistic Director will be collateral damage as well.
  11. The Bolshoi announced more promotions today. Denis Rodkin has been appointed a Principal. Maria Vinogradova has been promoted to Leading Soloist, Maria Semenyachenko from Soloist to 1st Soloist and Alexander Vodopetov from Artist to Soloist. Congratulations to everyone ! http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/
  12. Cyril was her partner in the past. However, she began her partnership with Marlon in Munich in 2007 when he was a soloist, and they married in 2010. They have a six month old daughter. https://www.facebook.com/balletbabble/posts/10155303940435105
  13. Thank you Fosca for the corretions. Re Marijn Rademaker, his bio states that "...upon graduating from the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague in 2000 he joined the Stuttgart Ballet and was promoted to Principal in 2006." It then went on to state that he "... has guested with Het Nationale," and other companies, but failed to mention that he is currently in the company. The culprits are the Los Angeles Music Center's "Performance Magazine" souvenir program publishers who didn't do their due diligence. As for "Affi" ... to each his own .
  14. This is few days late, but I too would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all who were appointed for promotion - brava ! I'm especially ecstatic to learn of Nikulina's promotion to Principal Dancer ->( ), and Igor Tsvirko's to Leading Soloist! Anna is a wonderful ballerina who was first coached by Maximova, and Tsvirko is also an amazing artist. If only Maximova had lived to see Anna attain this honor! I agree with volcanohunter et.al. about how retirements are handled in the Bolshoi (and also the MT and other Russian companies). Dancers, great and small are steadily and gradually faded out/benched, then quietly deleted from rosters. If they are stars, they might receive benefit gala performances during their careers, of special nights of their best roles and works devoted to them exclusively. The Mariinsky does this regularly much more than the Bolshoi. If they're already retired and still active repetiteurs in the Theatre, or professors at the Conservatoire, or teachers in the Bolshoi or Vaganova Academy, anniversary galas starring their best students who are prominent in the company perform in their honor.
  15. Roberto Bolle and Herman Cornejo's project BALLETNOW opened to an enthusiastic audience this evening at the Music Center. They are both the Artistic Directors and Principal Dancers of this enterprise. BALLETNOW is a three day marathon of pas de deux and solos of familiar, novel and obscure classical and modern pieces featuring a total of 18 dancers, a videographer/"VJ," a jumbotron in the rear of the stage, and canned music. Tonight's program featured ten ballets, ("Les Bourgeois" a solo piece being the eleventh work that was omitted from the program), and nine of the 18 dancers. Parts 1 & 2 consisted of five well known pieces, and the American premiere of "Passage" with choreography by Marco Pelle, with music and video provided by Fabrizio Ferri (our videographer "Fellini" for the evening), and starring Roberto Bolle. The dancers for opening night appeared in this order: Petra Conti, Roberto Bolle, Maria Eichwald, Marijn Rademaker, Lucia Lucarra, Marlon Dino, Maria Kotchetkova, Joan Boada and once again, Roberto Bolle. Tonight was Bolle's night; Cornejo will be headlining the next two performances. The program began with a celebratory, joyous and bombastic rendition of "Excelsior" pas de deux with choreography by Ugo Dell'Ara after Luigi Manzotti. Petra Conti and Roberto Bolle did the honors. Roberto burst onto the stage with raw power and energy followed shortly thereafter with the precise delicacy and sure technique of Conti. She was bubbly, she was fresh, and she was magnificent in this piece, especially in the difficult adagio and coda. However, this was Bolle's signature piece. He devoured the stage with his form and with his sheer presence. As it turned out, there was much, much more of Bolle's form and presence to come. Hans Van Manen's "Trois Gnossiennes" pdd was danced by Maria Eichwald and Marijn Rademaker who is a Principal Dancer with Stuttgart Ballet. I've always found this pas de deux to be a contemplative, visual dialogue of Van Manen's choreographic "voice" in a nutshell. They were both rather stilted in their execution, however, as the piece went on they reconciled their style with Van Manen's and it became a thoughtful and beautiful performance. San Francisco Ballet's Maria Kotchetkova and Joan Boada danced a paint-by-numbers rendering of Balanchine's "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux." Boada (who replaced Stuttgart Ballet Principal Dancer, Dinu Tamazlacaru), is a fellow SFB Principal Dancer who was trained at the School of the National Ballet of Cuba. Of the two, he danced a wonderful variation and partnered Kotchetkova ably throughout. Chances are that the two weren't truly comfortable with one another due to the replacement at the last minute noted in the insert. Kotchetkova's best moments were during the speedy variation, however, the show-stopping coda was anti-climatic. Sometimes, there's simply no substitute for a live orchestra in the pit, because they seemed to be struggling to keep up with the brisk tempi of the conductor on the tape. "Passage" received it's U.S. premiere with Bolle quite simply dancing with and for himself, in a modern work interacting with a video of himself. The video showed him running in the rain in a maze by himself. Suddenly, he steps "out" of the video and is center stage with the jumbotron behind him, and continues a long monologue to the gentle music of Fabrizio Ferri. At first it's a solo, and then a short angst-ridden pas de deux in the video begins and then Fabrizio presses the 'pause' button so that Bolle can continue the rest of the solo IRL. Essentially, "Passage" is a solo interrupted by a pas de deux on film that's paused, in order to complete the solo. Bolle expanded this concept as a new way to watch and experience dance in "Prototype," which received it's West Coast premiere. The concept for "Prototype" is the dancer himself. The choreography is by Massimiliano Volpini, with music by Piero Salvatori, realized by Fausto Dase and Sartoria Farani with visual effects and video editing by Xchanges VFX. This work takes up where "Passage" leaves off, with a cyber visual of Bolle's body, which becomes "data" that is digitally dissected before our eyes - his muscles, sinew, skeleton and brain. He becomes a computer program of himself in the video. Once again, he is center stage, dancing as the mirror image of himself, in sync with the film on the jumbotron behind him. We see him present various positions and combinations from class with the terms being flashed on the screen as he executes them, while Fabrizio calls the steps like a ballet master. We have entered Bolle's mind at this point because we can see his brain rotating on the screen as does this mini class. Then, we see him dance snippets (with the film), from "Swan Lake," the dual with Tybalt from Act 2's conclusion of "Romeo & Juliet," and Albrecht's entrance in Act 2 of "Giselle." The scenery from each of these ballets is deleted on the screen behind him as he quickly goes from one ballet to the next. The difference between this work and "Passage's" finale is that instead of a pas de deux left on 'pause,' Bolle dances with Bolle and he becomes a pas de trois, then a pas de quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit until there is an army of Bolles dancing behind him mirroring each of his moves onstage. How does this end? He turns his back to the audience and raises his hand and wipes away everything on screen, and everything in the theatre immediately goes dark and the jumbotron "monitor" seemingly crashes. "Affi" was danced by Marijn Rademaker with choreography by Marco Goecke and music by Johnny Cash. The choreography was rendered mainly with the dancer's back to the audience. It consisted of sustained shaking, running around the stage, more body tremors and waves, pedestrian steps and a lot of finger wagging to three seemingly endless songs by Johnny Cash. There was a brief intermission between the first and second song, where Rademaker, (or was is it Johnny?), whistles Brahms' lullaby ("Go To Sleep"), acapella, with his back to the audience, posing with his index fingers pointing upwards, like a male acrobat in the Chinese Dance from "Nutcracker." I think that this piece shouldn't have been included in the program and that another work, (I hesitate to state "any"), but another work other than this would have done justice to Marijn Rademaker and the program. The cancelled "Les Bourgeois" with the indisposed Dinu Tamazlacaru, with choreography by Ben Van Cauwenbergh, and music by Jacque Brel would have been a good fit here. "Borderlands" with choreography by Wayne MacGregor gave us Kotchetkova with Henry Sidford. It was another modern work that IMO was infinitely more successful and interesting than "Affi." Kotchetkova was more comfortable here than in the Balanchine, luxuriating in MacGregor's intricate contortions with consummate grace and emotion. Sidford has been a member of San Francisco Ballet since 2012 and he partnered Kotchetkova wonderfully. His confidence, techinique and assurance were that which makes one sit up and notice: Remember his name. Maria Eichwald and Roberto Bolle returned in "Mono Lisa," another offering which was absolutely wonderful and a crowd pleaser. They were both stellar in this pas de deux. This work, which is quite difficult especially with the lifts and dizzying swings of the ballerina, IMO outshone the MacGregor work both in invention and ingenious maneuvers. The work was danced to the sound of an old manual typewriter pecking out 4/4 time, (as the pre-performance lecturer informed us). The fact that this was the instrument for the pdd, was astonishing as it was the sole accompaniment to the dancers. It was danced with no musical cues whatsoever and each beat was jam packed with intricate steps and lifts. They were both magnificent. I've saved the best couple for last: Lucia Lacarra and her husband Marlon Dino who are both Principal Dancers with the Munich's Bayerisches Staatsballett. They danced two wonderful and familiar pas de deux, Neumeier's "Lady of the Camellias" from Act 3, and "Three Preludes" by Ben Stevenson, with music by Rachmaninov, and a barre. Theirs' is a tender, loving and excellent partnership. They truly move and breathe as one flesh. Both pieces were danced with such feeling, such romance and such drama (in the case of the Neumeier out of context), that it felt like we lived with them through the full length work in just a few minutes. During and immediately following the conclusion of these pas de deux, the tension in the theatre could be cut with a knife, then the audience went wild. The evening ended with giant selfies of each of the dancers that performed, with their names on the jumbotron, the last of course, being Bolle winking at us The soundtrack for this was Drigo's coda from "Talisman" pas de deux. The pre-performance lecturer spoke to us about what to expect from this evening's performance. She told us that, "...you will see ballet interact with video and vice versa, and ballet can't get more 'now' than video." BALLETNOW's first night was on the whole enjoyable, with some frustrating moments, but mainly a celebration of Roberto Bolle, the dancer and the man. I believe that what Bolle presented was ballet's very first Selfie Gala. *(Edited to correct typo for the ballet "Mono Lisa").
  16. I'm sorry that I'm late to this discussion. Brava and congratulations to Misty for her promotion to Principal Dancer ! Thank you everyone for your vigorous debate in this thread, and in the thread that bears her name. My takeaways are that her promotion will encourage more diversity not only in ABT, but other major (and lesser) companies, schools and academies, as well as more diversity in the audience. These are the positive outcomes that are already bearing fruit.
  17. I've seen POB's, La Scala's and Vienna's productions. I believe La Scala is the only other company besides POB and Vienna that dance his version. La Scala's production is virtually identical to POB's. However, the Vienna production (his first) is on a much a smaller scale compared to his recensions for Paris in 1984, and when he mounted it in Milan three years before his death. In Garnier and Milan the corps work, formations etc. are much more detailed, varied and intricate than in Vienna, especially in the last act. The final pdd in Vienna before the finale is also less evolved. The differences between Vienna and the other two companies are as follows: In Vienna the Tutor is a separate character and doesn't double as Rothbart. Odette isn't transformed into a swan by Rothbart during the overture as she is in Paris and Milan. In Vienna the character dances' music of Act 3 are repeated where the composer had ended them, so they're longer than they were intended to be. The black swan pdd music uses the original 1877 score. This is the music for the pdd from Act 1, (aka the music Balanchine used for "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux"). The Stanislavsky Ballet's Vladimir Bourmeister production also uses this music. La Scala has also danced Bourmeister's version. The similarities are: The Act 1 waltz is everlasting, using every repeat that the maestro wrote. Siegfried's difficult center work Act 1 variation. A ton of dry ice and the stage devouring blue sheet (the lake) that drowns him. In Vienna, Odette bourrees away remaining under Rothbart's spell and he wins. In Paris and Milan they both fly away. The Paris and Milan productions focus on Siegfried's psychological state. It's a Freudian take on the character. The Bolshoi's Grigorovich version tries a similar psychological approach . IMO Nureyev's concept is much more effective than Grigorovich's current edition.
  18. Another exceptional person has transitioned...My deepest condolences to Albert Evan's family, friends and to NYCB for this irretrievable loss.
  19. I'm ITA with you. A hearty "Thank You" to everyone who attended last night and reported. Congratulations to G for her successful Met and ABT debut!
  20. She will be an outstanding addition to MCB. Congratulations Simone!
  21. I'm ITA Mme. Hermine. My guess is that this was a tongue in cheek suggestion (possibly because some of ABT's box office leaders are their clients). That said, I think Ratmansky should be ABT's next A.D.
  22. Exactly. It was (almost) a foregone conclusion what the results would be. Since 1992 one has to simply look at the names on the jury and the nominees, and there's a +95% chance you can predict who the winners will be. Personally, I think it's systematic i.e. they're going through the alphabet over and over, so that eventually everyone of note will either get nominated or win before they retire or die. At least this year's winners received their statuettes. A few weeks ago in Petersburg, Dance Open announced its winners, but on the day of the announcements they didn't have statuettes to give them. For this ceremony, that was a first. Only in Russia.
  23. It seems that all the greats are being rapidly called to rest... May Miss Black RIP.
  24. I agree Natalia. Maya Mikhailovna Plisetskaya, one of the Prima Ballerina Assolutas of Russia, was so influential in so many roles, but most especially as Odette/Odile and the Dying Swan. May she rest in peace.
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