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Three centuries of St. Petersburg - Gala concert

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Yesterday and today several European TV channels broadcasted parts or whole of the opera and ballet gala at the Mariinsky Theatre, as part of the large-scaled 300th Anniversary celebrations of St. Petersburg.

Anybody who saw this? Any impressions about the ballet sections?

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Guest Baletoman


What about your impressions?

I posted mine at ballet.co.uk ("What's hapenning?") and was totally distressed by first reactions!

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I was rather disappointed by it, I'm afraid, especially by the choice of programme - I'd expected a gala celebrating 300 years of St Petersburg would have shown us a selection of the greatest works created there over as long a period as possible. I don't think non-ballet people in the television audience would have got the impression that this was one of the greatest and most influential companies.

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Thanks Jane. I thought it started out well with the opera fragments attempting to illustrate important scenes from the history of St. Petersburg, but the ballet snippets seemed like they were thrown into the lot to prevent people from thinking that this is solely an opera company. And then which ballet scenes? Why open with the scarf duet of Nikiya and Solor if you could have had the whole Kingdom of the Shades and show the corps de ballet as bit more than mere garniture?

I thought the level of dancing was sadly distressing for an event of this magnitude. Except for the riveting Polovtsian Dances and Leonid Sarafanov, whose youthful ardour provided a moment of hope, none of the established superstars did any effort to show they enjoyed being there. And can somebody please explain to Maestro Gergiev when is the correct time to begin a variation?

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For me the most interesting moment was Diana Vishneva in La Bayadere. In spite of her unsecure turns she have great stage presence so I enjoyed her dancing.

Sarafanov is incredibly gifted dancer, he resembled young Malakhov. However he is not yet credible Solor.

Uliana Lopatkina still have stage presence but she have something of old woman about her. I hope she will achieve good form in the future.

In “Le Corsaire” pas de deux Zakharova was sweet but less strong technically than usual. Zelensky was more strong that in the winter but he still put away hard liftings from that part. At last Ruzimatov in the same pas de deux did more above-head liftings.

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London audiences had Igor Zelensky last month in the Royal Albert Hall gig, in exactly the same pas de deux as here. Although the lifts were left out there as well, his performances in London were far more dynamic than in the Mariinsky gala, where he took it a bit too easy come, easy go. What bothered me most about this whole thing is that most of these big names seemed to bash through what they had to do, without the least bit of subtlety or effort to create the proper image.

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I watched it last night having taped it, and firstly as usual the opera ballet balance was not even!! (not that I don't like opera) My main quibble however echoes I think a lot of people that yes there were technical faults, things that didn't come of quite right-but I felt that everything was far too safe. No risks were seemingly taken therefore the drama that should be in these showstoppers simply wasn't there. They pulled off the tricks but just 'look I can do this and this and this' not 'WOW sit up on the edge of your seat and look at me do THIS!!' Everyone has off nights and they dance a knackering schedule most of them but it was a very special gala whcih deserved and needed special dancing with fireworks!!!

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Greetings, everyone. Just a quick note to clarify a minor point made by Kevin Ng on a since-closed thread (also about this gala).

Kevin - Putin *did* attend the Friday-evening gala at the Mariinsky, as well as a special outdoor gala at Peterhof the following day. [Well, that looked like Putin sitting with Tony Blair and 40-plus other heads of state way down in the parterre...I was relegated to the not-so-cheap 'cheap seats' three tiers up!]

The highlight of the evening, for me, was Uliana Lopatkina's 'The Swan', which absolutely brought down the house. It even topped Vishnyova's Nikiya in 'Shades'. On the other hand, I was disappointed with the lumbering quality in Zelensky's dancing. Sad.

I can't comment on the Peterhof gala, which was closed to 'real people' but a similar outdoor gala, with Mariinsky stars, was held that night at the Ekaterinsky Palace in Pushkin (the palace with the Amber Room) and *that* was nnnnnniiiice!!!

Even nicer, the city is back to normal now, with streets open to the usual traffic. :)

p.s. - for those of you who know him, my husband recently passed his final Law School exams at Moscow U. Excuse my little pride-in-family moment! :)

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