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Kirov in LA

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In answer to a specific inquiry, Diana Vishneva says, on her website today, that she will be dancing Aurora in LA on October 5 and 8.  In response to another specific inquiry, she will NOT be dancing in Detroit on October 20.

I just looked at her site. I guess it's a bit ambiguous but she's asked about the October 20 performance, the person asking says if she is dancing midweek, he will go down otherwise he will go down on the weekend.

Her answer is that she will not be dancing in Detroit. I'm interpreting that to mean the 10/23 performance as well as the 10/20.

She mentions she will be in Berlin for a SB premiere on 10/26 and 10/28 which was an earlier contract. 10/23 in Detroit and a Berlin premiere on 10/26 is I guess do-able but wow, that's cutting it close.

I could be reading this wrong, I guess I would suggest to anyone that wants to see her specifically rather than the MT in general should check with the theater in Detroit.


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If this is true, then it's a real nasty bait-and-switch on the part of the Kirov. They probably knew well in advance that Diana could not dance in Detroit, but put her name up anyway to sell tickets :wink: Diana was the reason I really wanted to see the Kirov, as Sleeping Beauty really isn't my favorite ballet, and I don;t like the Sergeyev production. But Diana is a goddess. Anyway I'm sorry that once again the Kirov announcements have proved to be worthless.

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If this is true, then it's a real nasty bait-and-switch on the part of the Kirov.

I called the Ardani office in NYC this morning, their number given to me by the Detroit Opera House (who had no information on casting). The person answering said she is dancing on the 20th and 23rd. When I mentioned that Ms Vishneva's website states that she will not appear in Detroit, he told me that no matter what her site says, she is scheduled to appear and she will be dancing-- unless there is a last-minute reason for canceling. I thanked him and hung up.

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At the time of writing, Vishneva is scheduled to dance the opening night's "Beauty" in Detroit.

Pavlenko doesn't dance Aurora, unfortunately, only Lilac and Florine, and her appearance in Detroit is very, very uncertain.

Novikova is excellent, if still rather young.

All information is liable to change, of course :)

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Somova, Novikova, and Osmolkina I am curious about. Anyone seen them? Have any recommendations?

Of these three I'd say Osmolkina might make the best Aurora, Novikova can be a bit inconsistent, and although she is a very pretty girl, Somova's hyper-extensions (way beyond 180 degrees) would make her the least attractive choice in my view. I hate to think what she could do to the Rose Adagio.

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In today’s links section there is a story in the NY Daily News that confirms Vishneva, Zelensky & Lopatkina as the opening night cast in LA along with Pavlenko & Korsakov in the Bluebird pas de deux.

I know things can change at the last minute, but at this point I’m really glad I decided to make the trip!

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Regarding Detroit, the following inquiry and response appears on Diana Vishneva's site today:

Hi Diana, I`m disappointed that you will not dance in Detroit, because I was looking forward to seeing you. Do you have any idea who your replacement will be?

Diana: I do not know.

Her site's posted schedule for the month of October remains unchanged:

Oct 28 2005 Berlin: STAATSOPER The Sleeping Beauty

Oct 26 2005 Berlin: STAATSOPER The Sleeping Beauty

Oct 15 2005 San Francisco: Berkeley, Zellerbach The Sleeping Beauty

Oct 12 2005 San Francisco: Berkeley,Zellerbach Hall The Sleeping Beauty

Oct 8 2005 Los Angeles: Music Center The Sleeping Beauty

Oct 5 2005 Los Angeles: Music Center The Sleeping Beauty

One can certainly understand that the new production in Berlin will require significant rehearsal time.

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After reading all of your comments, I called for tickets today for the Wednesday evening performance of SB with Vishneva/Zelensky. I do hope the casting does not change......! I am counting on them performing for opening night. :) It's a long drive into L.A..........

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Don't know if this is appropriate place to post, but anyone interested in getting tickets to Kirov in LA, might consider joining www.goldstarevents.com. There is no charge for joining. They're now offering half-price tickets to the Wed/Thurs (10/5-6) performances. It's very likely that they will open up other dates as well. I've gotten tickets thru the site in the past (SF Opera, Music Center performances) and have never had a problem (so far they only serve LA and SF area). They identify the section, but you won't know the actual seat until you pick them up at boxoffice.

I got my tickets for the opening night in Berkeley a while back, but if goldstar offers something for one of the later Berkeley perfs, I might pick up another ticket.

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Today's (10/5) LA Times article interviewing Osmolkina, Somova and Novikova lists the following casting for Aurora:

Wednesday 10/5 - Vishneva

Thursday 10/6 - Osmolkina

Friday 10/7 - Somova

Saturday 10/8 - Vishneva

Sunday 10/9 - Novikova

There's also a pretty picture of the three sitting on the steps of California Plaza in downtown.

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Good grief. We Americans are the guinea pigs! Maybe that's because all St. Petersburg balletomanes who I know cannot stomach Somova. Vaziyev knows better than to allow this to be seen 'at home.'

Has Alina Somova EVER received a kind review from ANY 'legit' critic, anywhere? Even Clement Crisp -- who rarely sees a Kirov or Bolshoi ballerina he doesn't love -- bashed Somova's Mariinsky Festival & London performances. But Somova's coaches are like energizer bunnies...they keep going & going & going until, doggone it, Alina Somova will be accepted & garner one or two decent reviews. As we say in Russia: "UDACHI!" ("Good Luck!")

p.s. - That's not to say that Somova couldn't be wonderful in modern works that welcome hyper-extensions and quirky-rough manners. Our frustrations are with the theater's management insistance on casting her in the leading ballerina roles of the classical repertoire.

Edited by Natalia
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Anyone have any opinions of Novikova, the ballerina I'm scheduled to see?

She's fabulous, canbelto. In DC, we saw her Gulnare in Corsaire. She is superb as the 2nd soloist in Ballet Imperial (which I've seen in both StP and London). She is probably the best Kirov Kitri beside Vishneva; in fact, her repertoire mirrors that of Vishneva. Some St. Petersburgers call her "Vishneva Junior." [A couple of years ago, Irina Golub was being groomed in the Vishneva roles but it appears that Novikova is the latest Vishneva-type being pushed along. Just my humble observation.]

Osmolkina, among the three 'newcomers,' has the 'classic' Petersburg-aristocratic looks. She is the naturally-gorgeous lady who has worked VERY hard on her technique during the last couple of years to make herself worthy of the Soloist title. Her initial Kitri three years ago was a bomb but, now, she can dance toe-to-toe with the best of them.

Honestly, I find it absurd that Somova is being included in the group. If there was ever a worthy 'Aurora-ready' lady among the younger Kirov dancers, it is Evgenia Obraztsova, the fabulous Juliet of the London season. That Somova, rather than Obraztsova, is being given the chance to debut as Aurora at this time, is a highly-questionable management decision. Sorry - just the opinions of a long-time Kirov follower. :devil:

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My vote would also go to Novikova, but it still is a very disappointing lineup when it comes to mere personality. Just remember, Natalia, some ten years ago we could choose between the following Auroras: Asylmuratova, Ayupova, Makhalina, Lezhnina, Shapchits, Chenchikova,..... None of the current dancers comes near to any of these ladies in character and charisma. They are sweet little soloists, but is that enough for "Sleeping Beauty"?

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Vishneva was absolutely wonderful last night, her Aurora was dewey, charming, ebullient - except for the vision scene where she was oh so mysterious. A very big personality. Her dancing was superb, but she is too fond of hyperextentions and 6 o’clock penchees for my taste. I really like to see Petipa danced with a classical line. Well, at least she doesn’t sctratch her ear with her extentions. Lopatkina was divine. Her arms were pure poetry but, really, everything about her was amazing. She was in such complete control, her Lilac Fairy exerted a very strong, benevolent presence. You just knew Aurora would be ok under her protection. Unfortunately, I don’t think the audience was suitably demonstrative for Lopatkina – they were here to see the big star and the papers had been pushing Vishneva. Lopatkina got applause for all of her solos, but not wild applause and her first entrance was met with complete silence.

The audience was fairly subdued the whole evening. At 3 hours 40 minutes (with 3 intermissions) I think the production was pretty long for “television city” attention spans. I heard one man comment that it wasn’t very “cinematic”. All those blond wigs were a bit much for me, though it did give the production a certain cohesive look. It dragged in spots, and although all the principals and many of the soloists were great, a lot of the corps looked like they were phoning it in. I’ve never seen more bored aristocrats than were at this Aurora’s wedding!

It was good to see Zelensky. He still has those plush landings & space eating leaps, though Desire is a thankless role. His partnering was great, Vishneva took a lot of risks & I was really holding my breath during some of those promenades where he holds her with one hand on her waist while turning her.

In typical Kirov fashion there were no announcements of casting changes. My program said that Pavenko was dancing Florina, but I think not. On the walk back to my hotel a nice Russian lady told me it was Yulia Bolshakova. She brought an appealing sweetness & delicacy to the role, but she is string bean thin & every extention was a 180. She has a very exotic looking face - reminded me of Asylmuratova.

The program lists casting for the whole run. The principal casting matches what we already have, except the Lilac fairy hasn’t been updated. It still lists Nioradze for 10/6 (Marc Haegeman has told us that it will be Vostrotina), Pavlenko for 10/7 (she’s not on this tour), and Vostrotina for 10/9. The casting for Aurora may be light, but it does look like they brought their top soloists. Here is the casting for some of the soloist roles as per the program:

Tenderness Fairy: K.Ostreykovskaya 10/5,6,7, D. Sukhorukova 10/8&9

Vivacity Fairy: Tatiana Tkachenko

Generosity Fairy: Yulia Kasenkova

Courage Fairy: Yana Serebriakova ( she was outstanding last night!)

Lightheartedness Fairy: Yana Selina

Diamond Fairy: Viktoria Tereshkina 10/5 (also great), Tkachenko 10/6, Irina Golub 10/8, Osmolkina 10/9

Sapphire Fairy: Yana Serebriakova

Gold Fairy: Sukhorukova

Silver Fairy: Kasenkova

Carabosse Fairy: Igor Petrov 10/5,7,9 (he was great, less “campy” than I expected

Roman Skrikin 10/6 &8

Florina: Pavlenko was scheduled but Bolshakova danced on 10/5,Irina Golub 10/6,

Bolshakova 10/7,Sofia Gumerova 10/8, Ostreykovskaya 10/9

Bluebird: Anton Korsakov 10/5, Vasily Scherbakov 10/6, Dmitry Semionov 10/7 & 9, Maxim Chaschegorov 10/8

Little Red Riding Hood: Yevgenia Obratsova

It was very nice to meet Andre & Art – see you again tonight!

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Thank you for all of this information & impressions, nysusan!

Marc, you are right. The sad thing is that the Kirov-Mariinsky *does* have a couple of high-calibre Auroras (beside Vishneva) on its active roster -- Maya Dumchenko and Daria Pavlenko, who actually danced Aurora in this production once or twice, very early-on in her career. [The recent Russian TV special 'Tsars Box: Pavlenko' included an enticing clip of her Aurora.] Dumchenko & Pavlenko have remained home, as has another fine soloist who is rarely seen on tours nowadays, Elvira Tarasova. Makhalina & Ayupova remain on the roster as Principals but, as we all know, rarely perform nowadays.

On a separate note:

Nysusan wrote about the length of this production @ 3 hrs - 40 mins. Of course, it is long;this is 'The Sleeping Beauty' in its entirety, performed by its originating company, albeit in a newer staging. I had to laugh when I read one of the California-news preview articles that the Kirov was touring this version because "...it is shorter & easier to tour." Rubbish! Both the 1890 & 'Soviet' versions of 'Beauty' are languid, lush spectacles. Both are gourmet meals, to be savoured in a relaxing manner. Anyone expecting Burger King will be disappointed!

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Our family went to both the dress rehearsal (with Somova) and the evening opening performance, yesterday.

Diana Vishneva was just as we expected as Aurora -- absolutely wonderful. She projects her personality to the highest balcony. I have to say that as much as I appreciate Zelensky's attention to his ballerina (he is a fabulous partner), I thought that he held back a bit in his solos. I preferred Fadeyev's dress rehearsal; he is very prince-like and his dancing is secure as well.

This is the first time that we have seen Lopatkina dance and we expected a lot. I was a bit disappointed; although she was technically beautiful, I didn't get the impression that her heart was in it. We mostly like watching excellent technique, so it wasn't terribly disappointing, just mildly so.

We saw Somova in the dress rehearsal, and I'm going against popular opinion here, but we really liked her. She has a bit to learn, but my goodness, give her a break; she is awfully young to be taking on such a large part. I thought she did a very nice job, and I'm looking forward to seeing her again on Friday evening.

I loved the white cat--she really seemed to be having fun and I think the audience appreciated it.

I didn't care for the bluebird at all -- he was not technically or artistically prepared, in my opinion.

These are just a few impressions I remember from last night's performance; I'll post again about Friday's.

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Fair enough, pj! Glad to read some positive words on Somova.

The Bluebird, Anton Korsakov, seems to be one of those dancers who is either 'on' (wonderful, as he was during the Corsaires in DC this July) or really off, as he seems to be now.

Do you recall who danced White Cat, who you so admire? Yana Selina often dances the role & is a delight. I'm guessing that it was she, perhaps?

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