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The Golden Mask - 2005


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The following info concerns all Russian theaters, not only Bolshoi, but I didn’t find the right thread to put it.

The Golden Mask - 2005

(the highest theatrical award in Russia)

The Council of Experts announced today the list of nominates for performances of the last season. In Ballet division this reads as follows:


Magrittomania – Bolshoi

Tribute to Balanchine – Mariinsky

Romeo and Juliet – Bolshoi

Serenade – Perm

Forsythe in Mariinsky – Mariinsky

The best female role

Maria Alexandrova, Moscow (Juliet)

Elena Kulagina, Perm (Serenade)

Uliana Lopatkina, Petersburg (La Valse)

Natalia Sologub, Petersburg (Steptext)

The best male role

Andrei Merkuriev, Petersburg (In the Middle Somewhat Elevated)

Denis Savin, Moscow (Romeo)

Leonid Sarafanov, Petersburg (The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude)

The full list of nominates, the lists of experts and members of the jury (to make a final choice) can be found at http://www.goldenmask.ru/fest.shtml?/2005/fest.html (in Russian).

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These awards are obviously the result of intense lobbying -- Merkuriev and Sarafanov are the Kirov administration's favorite male dancers at the moment. Sarafanov is not suited to Forsythe; Merkuriev was very good here.

The fact that both dancers are not from the Vaganova Academy is also a way for the Kirov administration to keep all of its own male dancers in line.

While Sologub is also a great favorite of the Kirov ballet administration, and Lopatakina is Gergiev's favorite ballerina.

With all due respect the "Council of Experts" might as well be the "Council of Dupes" as far as their objectivity and independence is concerned.

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Thank you, Mikhail, for posting this! (And do come around more often!!)

And now a word from our sponsor :D Gossip rules reminder! We can't be sure that these nominations are the result of intense lobbying. I think we need to invoke the "gossip caution" on this forum. I know there are several regular posters who have inside knowledge, but often "inside knowledge" turns out to be...."backstage gossip" and not true.

Thank you!

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Well, I am surprised too in some aspects. Say, Yuri Klevtsov from Bolshoi prepared two excellent roles: Mercutio in R&J and Medical Doctor in “Ward No. 6”, and he was not nominated. On the other hand, the same story happens with each award, even with the Nobel Prize. There are people who evidently deserved it but didn’t receive. But nobody can tell that some laureate didn’t merit his title. The same is true, I believe, in the case of the Golden Mask.

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Back from my Jury Duty. Thanks, Alexandra, for holding the fort on this site and stepping in. I would have done likewise!

re. Who-Gets-On-Nominations-List for Golden Mask: The individual theaters send their suggested lists to the Golden Mask nominations committee. So if there was any 'lobbying' at the Bolshoi or Kirov-Mariinsky Theaters, it happened months ago, when those theaters' respective directors submitted their choices.

Now I'll share a few thoughts...which is different from gossip. I find it interesting that Natalia Sologub, rather than Diana Vishneva, was nominated for Forsythe's 'Steptext,' given that Vishneva is the bigger 'name.' On the other hand, Sologub danced the premiere. I saw both in the 'girl with the red unitard' role; both were wonderful. Sologub is probably the greater 'gumby doll' with her intense flexibility...so I agree with this nomination. However, I am STILL surprised.

It is also interesting (sign of the times?) that Lopatkina's starring role in 'La Valse' made the final cut of nominations, while Vishneva's star-turn in 'Ballet Imperial' -- which was, to me, the 'hit' of the Mariinsky spring season this year -- did not. Not that Lopatkina was not magnificent in 'La Valse'!

Kulagina of Perm performed 'Serenade' in St. Petersburg, at the start of the White Night Fest. She was very romantic/lyrical and deserves her nomination. We all know how good Alexandrova is as Juliet (great performance in a horrendous work). Too many great performances, last year! I wonder who will win?

For the men, there is a clear winner (for me): Sarafanov in "Vertiginous Thrill." (Sorry, Thalictum, as I know how much you 'love' Sarafanov!) Merkuriev was not extraordinary in "In the Middle" (just OK) and Denis Savin was a sap as the powerful Alexandrova's Romeo in R&J.

As for best work...we'll all eat crow if the Bolshoi's new R&J is selected!!!! For me, it's between the Balanchine and Forsythe evenings at the Mariinsky. How the boring 'Magrittomania triple bill' of the Bolshoi made the final-five list is beyond me; only Yuri Posokhov's work -- among three one-act ballets in that program -- is worthy of performance at the Bolshoi Theater! Perm's 'Serenade' was only one ballet among three (Concerto Barocco' and 'Donizetti Var.' the other two) in the Perm Ballet's own 'Salute to Balanchine' triple bill...so why single out ONLY the 'Serenade' third of that triple bill? Odd. Heck, the Kirov-Mariinsky's entire 'Balanchine Night' made the cut!

Just my humble opinion...not gossip. ;)

- Natalia Nabatova

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to clarify the point with Perm’s “Serenade”. The Golden Mask can be given only to a new performance of the preceding season. Only “Serenade” was a premiere in 2003-04. The last year Perm received their Mask for “the best ballet performance” - “Ballet Imperial”.

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Mikhail -

What about 'Donizetti Variations' and 'La Sonambula'? Were they not premieres within the Perm Ballet's 'Salute to Balanchine' night at the Mariinsky this past June, along with 'Serenade'?

Perm's 'Concerto Barocco' -- also on the program -- was NOT a premiere in 03/04, as this was performed by the Perm Ballet Academy's students at a 'Balanchine in Russia' seminar 5 or 6 years ago (and may have entirered the professional troupe's rep earlier, too...not sure). However, I thought that DV and Sonambula were new. Please clarify, if you know.


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I promise, Natalia, to keep your dark secret about believing Sarafanov deserves the award. But please tell me why. . .

About Vishneva not being nominated, if you think this is inappropriate let me know, but I think it is apparent that Vishneva is not the Kirov administration's first priority at this point by any means.

Oh, about Steptext, did you see Pavleno in it last summer? She was sublime.

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About Vishneva not being nominated, if you think this is inappropriate let me know...

It is. Thanks for catching on. :)

Sarafanov - not prize-deserving but I believe that the more classically-composed (traditional) 'Thrill' allows Sarafanov to show-off his talents more so than Merkuriev does in the more edgy 'Middle,' that's all. The fact that only three men were nominated for the prize this year is a tell-tale sign that this was not a banner year for male performers.

I've seen only Sologub & Vishneva in the lone female role in 'Steptext'; I thought that Pavlenko's only role in the Forsythe evening was "In the Middle..." I can't keep up with all of the cast changes, thal!

Mikhail, THANK YOU for the reminder & links. I recalled the Concerto Barocco at the Perm conference years ago but was not aware of the DV & Sonambula premieres being earlier than this year. This helps a lot.

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Marc et. al. - Refresh my memory. Wasn't 'Steptext' the ballet in which Natalia Sologub danced the premiere with a few hours notice, when Diana Vishneva became indisposed? Not to take away from Sologub's remarkable talent but this ended up being a huge stroke of luck.

I would think that, with this award, Natalia Solugub's promotion to Ballerina (Principal) is imminent. Any day now.

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Marc et. al. - Refresh my memory.  Wasn't 'Steptext' the ballet in which Natalia Sologub danced the premiere with a few hours notice, when Diana Vishneva became indisposed?  Not to take away from Sologub's remarkable talent but this ended up being a huge stroke of luck.

That's correct, Natalia.

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