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  1. um, I wouldn't use those you tube bits to make any pronouncements: the aspect ratio of the clips is messed up, giving her a willowier appearance than she has in real life—not just in Shurale, but also in In The Night last week.Having said that, yes, she has slenderized herself some.
  2. You're welcome. I may get around to posting a more comprehensive review sometime...Meanwhile, yes, Sergeyev was magnificent. He practically owned Act I. He slithered about with androgynous grace and exploded in frenetic dance and jumps—and everything in between. I kept thinking that Sarafanov is perhaps not physical enough for the role? Oh, and by my watch, the net of the performance was just under two hours, so yes, a ninety-minute video (which i have not seen) would have about thirty minutes cut.
  3. Agree. Setting aside for a moment the finer points of dancing, the production is, IMHO, a major triumph—amazing sets, many many beautiful costumes, exotic music, yes, lots of dancing (but not in a <yawn> parade of variations), and a nice dose of humour (there is one variation where four drunk tatar women dance in the courtyard doing a subtle send-up of the cygnettes in Swan Lake ).I found it an amazing experience, and most importantly, a very unique spectacle (in umpteen years of going to the ballet)!! I personally think that *this* is the kind of thing that the company should throw its resources after (this coming from someone who a couple of years ago wondered why the Mariinsky would bother with Ondina). The central-Asian feel is certainly one of the most attractive elements of the ballet, not just as it pertains to the music and the costumes but also some of the dances.I think of myself as very fortunate to have been able to attend the premiere.
  4. Just back from the Mariinsky. It was a spectacular evening. As for tomorrow's cast, based on the premiere booklet, it's likely to be: Irina Golub Mikhail Lobukhin Anton Pimonov Alexander Sergeyev was impressive as Shurale, Denis Matvienko was outstanding, and Obraztsova was simply breathtaking.
  5. I know nothing of Sergeev; if he's as impressive as Sarafanov, then I'm in for a treat.
  6. Thanks. When I checked this morning it was still "TBA".Looking forward to seeing both Yevgeniya and D. Matvienko tomorrow
  7. Night Two: As night two's Raymonda had listed the same cast, we decided to arrive fashionably late and skip it ...all the more to enjoy a promising 'Shades', what with Ivanchenko and la Vishneva. Things started as the night before (including the same wobbling girl) until Nikiya's appearance. From that point on, the experiences diverged... having dazzled her Solor (and much of the audience) with her mere appearance, Vishneva then retreated to subdued, tentative dancing... in the beautiful andantino following their entrance she and Ivanchenko seemed to just go thru the motions, with very little rapport between them. Her dancing became more assured in the following adagio, with the precision and softness I'm accustomed to seeing, but with little of the feeling. Ivanchenko's Solor never got over his bedazzlement over seeing his Nikiya and just moved thru his variations without inspiration. Vishneva saved her best for last—for the twenty or so breathtaking seconds that it took her to dance, with all her heart and soul, her finale diagonal. The three shades were Yulia Kanskova, Tatiana Tkachenko, and Daria Vasnetsova. They danced beautifully both nights. For Paquita, we were intrigued by the prospect of seeing Somova and la Tereshkina in switched roles (the only other cast change being Anton Korsakov in the male role). As it turns out, with more stage time and no dramatic constraints to worry about, la Somova's mannerisms and exaggerations became more pronounced than they had been the night before. Still, she showed a greater range of colours than la Tereshkina had, and in her last variation she reeled off fouetté after fouetté (including a handful of doubles) with hardly any travel (unlike la Tereshkina the night before). As for la Tereshkina, her brief variation was a good change of pace for her, if a tad too brief to convince that she is more than a bravura ballerina. Korsakov was not quite as clean as Fadeev had been, but was good. Bubelnikov conducted the orchestra, which, as usual, played exceptionally well, even if the brass were a tad on the blaring side in Paquita (specially on their entries in the Adagio). Ludmilla Tchaikovskaya's violin solos in Bayadère were sublime ...so this may prove to be an unpopular viewpoint here on BT, but in my opinion la Somova clearly outperformed Tereshkina, and by a smaller margin, la Vishneva herself. What does this mean about the current state of things at the Mariinsky? Good question... perhaps those of you seeing Don Quixote this weekend can shed some light. I doubt i will be attending... but one never knows. As an aside, after the performance, it was a treat to see Ms. Vishneva at my favourite North Berkely haunt. She made quite an entrance, beautifully clad in a black sheer blouse and a bright red pashmina ...channeling Kitri maybe?
  8. ...um, I'll have to look it up.Though to be fair, I was there, and la Somova was one of the few bright spots of the night I posted my thoughts here.
  9. OK, so i'm confused whether this should be here or on the recent ballet performances forum I got to see the Tuesday and Wednesday nights of 'Program A': Raymonda (Act III) La Bayadère (Act III, or 'Kindgom of the Shades'), and Paquita (Grand Pas) Raymonda was danced by Irma Nioradze, Yevgeny Ivanchenko, and Vladimir Ponomarev in the leads. The dancing was generally crisp, even if somewhat constrained by the confines of the small Zellerbach stage ...a lot of good dancing, some very good dancing, impressive jumps by Ivanchenko, and not much else as, well, nothing really happens—particularly removed from the dramatic context of the first two acts. La Bayadère was next. As a ramp was not arranged for somehow, the corps made its entrance from an opening in the curtain at the back of stage centre, and (due to the tight stage) we only had twenty-four (rather than the customary thirty-two) shades... these two issues detracted from what i think is one of the greatest ballet scenes. But somehow the Mariinsky still managed to give us the magic of that piece... except for *one* dancer who wobbled noticeably and repeatedly, the corps was beautiful, tender, and dream-like... and then Leonid Sarafanov's Solor made his entrance, followed shortly by the appearance at the back right corner of Alina Somova's Nikiya... [pause to put my flame-proof suit on] ...and la Somova proceeded to impress and dazzle. Her dancing was, at once lyrical and powerful... in the first adagio, her jumps into Solor left me momentarily breathless: full of abandonment, yet softened by passion. Sarafanov's dancing was outstanding and flowing, attaining amazing height on his jumps and executing all those lifts seemingly effortlessly (let's remember he's quite minute). In summary, a very electric yet dreamy 'Shades'. It made me decide on the spot to come back wednesday. Last was Paquita, with Viktoria Tereshkina, Andrian Fadeev and la Somova (again) on the small lead role. Tereshkina danced very well, and virtually flawlessly—if uni-dimensionally... if she has many colours in her palette, she left them in the dressing rooms and showed us only bright and brilliant. Oddly, it was la Somova who provided the contrast with a lyrical and soft touch in her very short variation. Sadly, one of the choryphees or soloists (not sure who it was), somewhat over-rotated and fell toward the end of her variation... Fadeev was amazing to watch, particularly on his lifts. In summary, an enjoyable evening of ballet... where much of the magic came from an unexpected source ...will post my impressions of night two and la Vishneva later.
  10. Thanks, this is excellent news. My only disappointment is that we *don't* get la Shipulina as Aegina
  11. About time, too......interesting, an announcement to this effect was made by the promoters at the beginning the performance of Giselle i saw in Chicago on october 5.
  12. Thank you for your comparative reviews.I did catch the sunday afternoon show and was generally happy, as I'd not yet seen la Vishneva in Giselle. She may have over-dramatized some gestures in her mad scene, but what I liked most about it was the sadness and heartbreak she conveyed. In the second act, I think that she had an 'other-worldliness' quality that ebbed and flow. In the first pas with Kolb, it seemed as though they were together in time but not in space; for the grand pas Giselle and Albrecht were in the same universe; and in the finale she was once again slipping away into that other world. I found her dancing in this act artistically whole: impeccable technique, superb characterization, and in unity with her partner and the music. ...and now for my observations beyond la Vishneva: Igor Kolb, as he has been every time i've seen him, whether in Russia or abroad, was outstanding in his dancing, his partnering and his dramatic display. I'd not yet seen la Tkachenka as Myrtha, and was pleased by her dancing if not her characterization—i like my Myrthas in the mold of la Terekhova . No one really stood out in the first act to warrant mention; but the corps of wilis was dreamy, elegant and tight. The orchestra was led by Sinkevich and played for the dancers—as it should be—pacing the music and shaping the phrases to the heartbeat and arcs of the dance. Special mention goes to Olga Maximova (viola) and Sasha Trushkov (oboe) for the outstanding solos in the grand pas (sadly interrupted by over-eager applauders). All in all, a great afternoon of ballet.
  13. Well, considering the first two nights' performances, that may not be the worst thing to happen I'll start a new topic with a review.
  14. Going tonight (program 2)... will try to post impressions as soon as I can (though it may take a few days).
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