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Bolshoi-Kirov exchange tour

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Exchange tour between Bolshoi and Kirov is in progress.

At March 11,12 Bolshoi Ballet danced in StPeterburg two ballets by Roland Petit – Passacalia and Dame Pique.

At March 14,15 Kirov Ballet performed in Moscow Roland Petit’s Carmen and Jeune Homme et La Mort and Alexei Ratmansky’s Middle Duo. At March 16,17 they will dance Manon.

I saw the Kirov performance at March 15:

Carmen – Natalia Sologub, Andrei Merkuriev

Middle Duo – Zhanna Ayupova, Islom Baimuradov

Jeune Homme et La Mort – Yulia Makhalina and Andrian Fadeev.

The first ballet looked like funeral. Very serious and no erotic. The less is said about Sologud, the better. Merkuriev was watchable.

Middle Duo was the only pleasant moment in the evening. Auypova was romantic and soulful, Baimuradov showed temperament and nice plastique.

Jeune Homme et La Mort was rather dull. Fadeev is very beautiful boy with good technique but he have no stage presence. Makhalina looked rather repulsive.

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At March 16 I saw Kirov’s Manon

Manon – Svetlana Zakharova

De Grieux – Ilya Kuznetsov

Lescaut – Maxim Khrebtov

G.M. - Alexander Kurkov

Lescaut’s Mistress – Natalia Sologub

My main impression –Svetlana Zakharova. She have exceptional physical abilities - wonderful grace, plastique, technique, beautiful appearance, “singing” arms and legs – it’s miracle! She apparently seriously worked on her interpretation – every smile, every gesture put in it’s place. However that scheme worked only in the first act where she was radiant with youth, beauty and freshness. In the second and third acts she still attempted to act but the radiance was gone. Manon is very complicated role that need good acting abilities, whereas Zakharova was credible as innocent young girl but rather bland as corrupted and broken creature.

I think Zakharova have very narrow emploi: she may be charming when she play young fragile beauty but when she try to play something else she became uninteresting.

The rest of the company was too cold to be impressive. The only soloist (except Zakharova) I liked was Andrei Ivanov as the Beggar Chief.

Marc, on the performance at March 15 the public was more polite than enthusiastic. I hear that on the opening night when Carmen was danced by Diana Vishneva and Middle Duo by Svetlana Zakharova the audience loved the ballerinas. However the program was rather unsuccessful. Tatiana Kuznetsova, the dance critic of the Kommersant newspaper, write that in the Kirov, Petit’s ballets did not work because the company have “too much pathos and too little sensuality”. I think Kirov Ballet have their own serious aristocratic style of dancing but Petit’s ballet call not for gravity but for liveliness, and they lack it. The same story with Manon – the company looked too cold and reserved.

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Thank you, Inga. In fact, it doesn't seem that Svetlana Zakharova's take on Manon changed all that much since I saw her a couple of years ago. The beginning was acceptable because of the characteristics you describe, but the role didn't go anywhere and as often she remained just sweetly decorative.

The Mariinsky's Manon is by all means different and interesting, less because of the main roles which were in most cases just tentative and one-dimensional (the supporting roles on the other hand were thrilling), but because of the more romantic way the Russians re-tell the story.

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Marc, you may think the style romantic and interesting because for you it is exotic but for me there is nothing new :D.

May be if I saw Kirov’s Manon several times I’ll like the rendition more but on that performance I thought I see travesty on Don Quixotte.

At March 17 Manon was danced by Diana Vishneva. I dont see the performance but hear favorable opinions about the ballerina.

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Inga, I never thought of Manon as a travesty of Don Quixote :( but just mentioned it because the Mariinsky's version of this ballet is quite different in spirit than the Royal Ballet's - definitely less grim and dark, also because of the use of different, "softer" designs (Farmer opposed to Georgiadis).

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