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Kirov in Detroit (Oct 20/23)

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You could see that a lot of the Kirov corps dancers were anticipating the reception for the kids -- the smiles on the main corps ladies in front (Elena Androssova & Tatyana Bazhitova) said it all. Their faces 'registered':  "Here come your kids! Time for applause!" Once that applause came, their faces lit up even more than usual. 

Thank you, Natalia, for adding this delightful detail. It adds a breath of humanity the whole experience of reading these very good accounts.
I think that the Kirov dancers took home a lot of wonderful & unique impressions of this tour. By that I mean:  There's a lot more to America than New York City and Washington, DC.  In this tour, a lot of the more junior dancers acquainted themselves with the West Coast & even tasted a bit of Middle America.

I hope so, but gee whiz, couldn't they have stopped by New York for at least a brief hello? :jawdrop:
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Chiapuris, Red Riding Hood was danced by corps member Elena Yushkovskaya at each & every Detroit performance. The 'errata sheet' inside the printed programme was a comedy of errors. I fully expected that, by the final Sunday matinee, they would prepare 'Errata on the Errata' but, no. Some audience members probably believed -- as per the errata -- that Anton Korsakov danced *both* Desire and the Bluebird, in the same performance, yesterday.


'Sleeping Beauty' -- in either production -- is a rarity at home. There are seasons when only two, maybe one, performance of Beauty will be given.  Foreigners may not realize how incredibly fortunate they are to see tours with multiple Beauties, given on simultaneous nights. 

The Kirov's disdain for providing correct casting information is exasperating and inexplicable. At the second performance in L.A. an announcement before the curtain informed us that " Maxim Russinsky & Igor Meskevitch will dance the roles of the bridegrooms in this evening's performance" (paraphrasing & inserting fake Russian names here). Never mind that Aurora has 4 cavaliers in the Sleeping Beauty, but why the choice to announce such a minor casting change and not address major changes to the casting in the program by informing us that Vostrotina was replacing Nioradze as the Lilac Fairy? And there was no announcement at all on opening night when Bolshakova replaced Pavlenko as Florina. Of course, I'm not even 100% sure that I saw Vostrotina or Bolshakova - I'm relying on Marc Haegemen's post here that it was Vostratina on 10/6 and on a member of the Kirov's entourage that it was Bolshakova as Florina on opening night.

The casting in L.A. also listed Obratsova as Little Red Riding Hood for all 5 performances. I've never seen her, but I've seen photos of her Juliet & now that I think of it - it didn't look like her. The dancer was small & blondish with a very sweet face and since I'd never seen Obtratsova I never questioned it!

I didn't love Bolshakova's Florina when I first saw it, but there were things I liked about it and I keep getting a really vivid positive image of her when I think back on the L.A. performances. I was expecting Pavlenko so it's possible that I was just too taken aback when I realized that it wasn't her to really focus 100% on Bolshakova, but I definitely did feel that her extensions were too extreme. I hope to see more of her in the future, I think she has great potential and it will be interesting to see how she develops. I was also glad to hear all the positive reports on Somova. It's important to keep an open mind!

I also didn't realize that the Kirov doesn't perform Sleeping Beauty regularly anymore. I really do feel privileged to have seen it, I just wish I could have seen all the casts and every one of Lopatkina's Lilac Faries. I can nitpick all day, but I love the Kirov and the performances were wonderful. I just hope they do a season in NY soon. I would so love to see their Bayadere & Raymonda...

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One picks up the sense from many posts that the Mariinsky has "undercast" many major roles during their current American tour. Yet looking at their Paris casting for November/December at the Chatelet, the three Swan Lake O/O's are Lopatkina (obviously), but then Somova and (this not yet on the theatre's site posting, still provisonal) Bolshakova.

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To those in Paris, I definitely recommend seeing Bolshakova! As I mentioned before I think this girl has tons and tons of potential. A little rough around the edges, and sort of hyperextended, but she has energy and charisma to spare. It's not very often that I see one danced variation and think "star" but that was the case with Bolshakova.

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This seemed to have worked, as the audience didn't leave en masse after 'the kiss,' as they did at the Saturday matinee.


I was at the Sunday performance and there were alot of little kids, and there was alot of"I am tired" whining going on during the last intermission. So I could see where people may have left early.

It was long but I really enjoyed the performance, even though I am not sure who danced what roles.

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I also didn't realize that the Kirov doesn't perform Sleeping Beauty regularly anymore.

NYSusan - They've never performed 'Beauty' a lot during regular seasons at the Mariinsky, during the past 20 years or so that I've followed the troupe closely. It's there every season but sometimes only once or twice during that entire season. Same thing with Raymonda (usually makes an appearance on the schedule only once or twice during the entire home-season). Last year, only two 'Raymondas' were performed all year (on near-consecutive nights); the 1952 'Soviet' Beauty was performed only four times all season...the December revival of the 1952 version, twice in January & once in February (twice with Osmolkina & twice with Novikova). The 1890 'Imperial' version was performed only once all season -- a lone White Nights performance in June, starring Novikova. GRAND TOTAL of five Beauties at the home theater in one season - a very high number, actually.

Why? These are especially long and elaborate ballets. They're the creme-de-la-creme of ballets & require huge resources. When performed at home, there are more dancers and supers filling up the stage. The 1952 Sergeyev Beauty runs even longer than the 3 hrs-40 mins that we saw in the US, e.g., full Panorama, dance of the servants in Act II, the three intermissions are longer in Europe. When I first saw Beauty in StP (then Leningrad), the entire evening's experience ran about five hours, counting the three longer intrmissions. We began at 7 pm and left the theater around midnight. We couldn't even blame Maestro Gergiev for the stretching-out of the intermissions, like many do now, whenever Gergiev happens to conduct a ballet! [Gergiev wasn't around back then.]

In St Petersburg, attending a Sleeping Beauty is considered a once-in-a-lifetime event, for people who live on a budget & don't have special access privileges to the theater.

Again - Americans & other foreigners who can see multiple Kirov Beauties on consecutive evenings during tours cannot imagine how lucky they are, in the eyes of the average Russian public who must scrimp & save to MAYBE be able to purchase a ticket to the lone performance of Beauty that is given in a six-month stretch of time.

[edited to cite correct number of times Beauty performed back home, during 2004/05 season.]

Edited by Natalia
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Again - Americans & other foreigners who can see multiple Kirov Beauties on consecutive evenings during tours cannot imagine how lucky they are, in the eyes of the average Russian public who must scrimp & save to MAYBE be able to purchase a ticket to the lone performance of Beauty that is given in a six-month stretch of time.

[edited to cite correct number of times Beauty performed back home, during 2004/05 season.]

Natalia, thanks for the perspective on this, it's certainly not what I what have thought.

I've never been to Russia, just watched documentaries(from the Soviet period) on the opera and ballet in the two big theaters there.

You mention scrimping and saving to get tickets. In some of the films, they point out how tickets are priced so that they are in reach of all who would like to go. Is this just hogwash or did the whole set up dynamic changed with the end of the Soviet era with ticket prices obeying the law of supply and demand?

Your comments are fascinating


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Richard, I've seen those films, most of which were done during the Soviet Era, right? In those days, the problem was not the price but the scarcity of tickets. Huge blocks of seats were set-aside for 'special people' -- C. party officials or friends-of C. Party officials. By the time that the monthly schedule of performances was printed -- usually one or two days before a new calendar-month began -- the most prized performances (including any 'Sleeping Beauty' or 'Swan Lake') were already mysteriously 'sold out.'

The longest line at the Kirov (now Mariinsky) Theater before any performance was (is???) the one in the lobby that is marked "Administrator's Office." That's where the 'mystery tickets' were (are???) handed out. :))

I've found myself more than once queing-up at Administratov in hope that some labor-union-leaders's wife may have decided not to show up....

TODAY - The main problem is money. Tickets are still 'cheap' in some areas (balcony) but few people on fixed salaries can afford them. Certainly people on Russian Gvt salaries can ill afford them. Pensioners & students get some discounts but they must sacrifice something at home in order to go. STILL, even today, that darn line to Administratov is often in evidence. It was REALLY LONG prior to Lopatkina's recent gala. (ha-ha)

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TODAY - The main problem is money. Tickets are still 'cheap' in some areas (balcony) but few people on fixed salaries can afford them. Certainly people on Russian Gvt salaries can ill afford them. Pensioners & students get some discounts but they must sacrifice something at home in order to go.  STILL, even today, that darn line to Administratov is often in evidence. It was REALLY LONG prior to Lopatkina's recent gala. (ha-ha)

Oh.....it sounds like a little of the worst of both worlds. I guess we are just spoiled

here in the US, particulalry in the big cities.

For the last 5 or so years here in NYC, most opera/ballet evenings do not sell out. So even if the ticket prices are on the high side (generally Met Opera, to a lesser extent NYCO) there are still the less than great seats at reasonable prices. You may have to twist your neck off or stand, but you get into the performance and aren't bankrupted by it. And because of subscriptions and such, often you can buy tickets outside on Lincoln Center Plaza from private individuals for LESS than face value.

But we do have something a bit along the lines of the line to the Administrator's office. When a really hot evening occassionally pops up and there really are no tickets, then a line forms at the box office for "returns" These are for people who have turned their tickets back in because they can't use them, giving the box office the chance to sell the same ticket twice.

And a lot of the ballet companies are much more reasonable. Right now ABT is at City Center (a disaster of a theater) but for $27 you can get fairly decent seats .

Even NYCB at the NYST and ABT at the Met has some deals that are not so terrible.

I guess we shouldn't complain, especially given all the weeks and weeks of programming we get, not even couting the foreign tours , galas, etc.

Thanks for your comments!


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Thanks for YOUR very interesting information, Richard!

Regarding the Met's version of the 'Administrator Office' at the Mariinsky (the return tickets line): This sounds like something quite different, unless the folks who are standing in line at the Met claim to be second-cousin-twice-removed of Mayor Bloomberg or jump the line by flashing union cards. You get my drift. There is nothing orderly about the Mariinsky Administrator line. Thank goodness that nowadays the press passes are no longer handed out there, as they used to be a while back. [The Press Pass line has its own unique set of stories. :) ]

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Oh and Nathalia, not that I want to get off the orignal topic but now that you are discussing this matter, why is there a different set of prices for "foreigners" and for "russian" citizen when one purchases...about anything in St-Pete?

Just wondering.

BTW, thanks to all for you wonderful feedback of the Kirov in Detroit. Wish I could have attended.

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Sylphide, it's like that in a number of countries, particularly those in the so-called 'Eastern Blok' and beyond Europe in the lesser-developed world, isn't it? I've seen this in Egypt, China, some Latin American countries, etc.

In Russia - It acknowledges the fact that 'locals' earn much less than most foreigners (though citizens of some former-USSR countries, like impoverished Belarus, are supposed to also pay the 'foreigner' price & that doesn't seem fair). Also, 'locals' pay taxes to the Russian Gvt (in theory...a 13% flat income tax) while visitors do not.

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I was fortunate enough to be able to attend all the performces of the Kirov-Mariinsky's Sleeping Beauty in Detroit last week and the final Vishneva-Lopatkina-Zelensky performance in LA. I would like to share some of my impressions of several of the female dancers.

Diana Vishneva. Very graceful, flowing yet complex and dynamic dancing, totally controled. Very expressive dancing. Beautiful, controled held positions when lifted by Zelensky in wedding pas de deux. She has a "sensual stretch of her own." (someone else's quote.)

Uliana Lopatkina. Lovely linear flow and verticality. Airy dominance and projection. She did a beautiful delayed last turn in her Act II supported pirouette. She was subtly but totally captivating throughout. I could have watched her hands alone and have been totally enchanted. I might describe her in these performances as a vertical anchor to Vishneva or Somova's expansive stage coverage.

Ekaterina Osmolkina. Beautiful smiling presence! I loved her! Light airy dancing. Beautiful positions and poses! Restrained lovely dancing style.

Alina Somova. Very fine dancing, expressive style. Large extensions. Youthful, joyful presence.

Olesia Novikova. Very fine dancing again. Refined characterization leaving strong images in my mind several days later. Long balances on point. (Rose Adagio, etc.) Captivating presence with enchanting passages.

I would be glad to relate some more at a future time.

By the way, I do speak some French and follow two very good french forums that may be very rewarding when the Kirov-Mariinsky appears in Paris next month. I will try to relate some of this.

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It's great that you enjoyed the performances so much! Igor Zelensky has always been a personal favorite of mine.

There are several good forums, and of course, you are free to post there if you like, but we do not permit our posters to link to other forums. But please report here on your ballet experiences in Paris.

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It's great that you enjoyed the performances so much!  Igor Zelensky has always been a personal favorite of mine. 


thank you so very much for your kind welcome and for getting me started.

I had never seen Igor Zelensky before. Though some parts of his performance, his jumps for instance, at this point in time, seem stronger than other parts. Still I felt that he possibly gave the best live male performance that I had ever seen. I use the past tense because about two weeks later in Detroit I saw Leonid Sarafanov for the first time and thought that he was extremely good as well, especially at the jumps. He seemed like a younger Zelensky in this respect. Both seem to have a light and soaring manner.

If I'm not mistaken Zelensky opened his hunting scene solo with huge cabrioles. This was different from the other dancers. Only on a video have I noticed something similar (Farukh Razumatov's same variation).

In the Wedding Scene solo (Saturday, LA) Zelensky's circle of jumps started off slowly, but then determinedly became stronger and stronger. They were those jumps that seem to go higher at the point where you would expect them to begin their descent. Although he didn't seem greatly demonstrative in his characterization, I still felt that this is a very capable person and a man with a geat deal of feeling.

Leonid Sarafanov, I thought did many things very well in Detroit. His jumps as I mentioned above, like Zelensky's, had a poetic quality. The way he and his partner, Olesia Novikova, related to each other was quite fine. They may not have had the onstage lovingness of Fonteyn and Nureyev, but they seemed to have a comfortable and warm understanding of each other.

Natalia, I believe that you mentioned somewhere that you appreciated some audience members applauding Adrian Fedeev's solid fifth position landings. I did see Sarafanov do the same thing in most of the landings that I observed.

As for the other men, Princes and Bluebirds, I liked them all. No surprise. This is one incredible dance company!

The other Detroit Princes. Listed as Vladimir Shkliarov in the program, Saturday afternoon. He had huge jumps. I guess they all did. With Adrian Fedeev there was probably a lot of detail that I missed. He seemed very good and very nice. I believe he inserted double jump turns between his jetes in his circular Wedding Scene solo. They were there someplace and quite impressive. He also seemed to be the most genuinely touched by the warm audience response Saturday. Two women in our group were shouting "Happy Birthday!" to him at the end, but he would have needed very good ears to have heard them. But maybe.

Bluebirds in Detroit. Listed as Maxim Chaschegorov, Thursday. I liked him very much because he had a certain elastic quality in his in aerial moves.

Listed as Demitry Semionov, Friday, and also appearing Sunday. He was very agile. He is a huge man and the lady in our group, Friday, remarked how amazingly quiet his landings were for such a large person. If he was indeed Demitry Semionov, I read that he received an ovation backstage from his fellow dancers earlier in the tour.

Listed as Visily Scherbackov, Saturday afternoon. No strong memories, but I'm sure he did well.

Anton Korsakov, Saturday evening. Fine. He definitely has a distinct style. A certain looseness maybe.

My schedule for the four days was to get up, enjoy the beautiful autumn color and drive to the Detroit Opera House. A wonderful combination!

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I hope that this is appropriate. If you would like to share or retain the experience of these exceptional performances I could recommend several videos, all Kirov-Mariinsky productions.

One that is very close to the recent live performances and featuring the beautiful, wonderful Altynai Asylmuratova is perhaps my first choice. (1990 VHS)

Another that is maybe slightly closer in format features Larissa Lezhnina, Faroukh Ruzimatov, and Yulia Makhalina. I am in love with the performance of the Tenderness Fairy (Candide,etc., the first of the group of five, dressed in white) by Zhanna Ayupova! For those who really enjoy a more restrained, classical(?) approach to ballet, her dancing would seem to be a delightful experience. (1989 DVD).

The last is a super-abridged (90 minutes) version with the "mind-boggling" dancing of Alla Sizova and Yuri Solovyov. ( Please accept the more than usual enthousiasm, because after about 30 viewings, this is my only conclusion.) A sensational extra (for me anyway) is the also abridged dance of Princess Florine by Natalia Makarova. (1964 VHS).

The corps de ballet as perceived through all of this has remained consistantly spectacular for about 40 years.

(An apparent correction to my post above. According to the program and another poster, Vasily Scherbakov danced the Bluebird Saturday evening. Anton Korsakov danced Saturday afternoon.)

I hope that someone will find an evening's pleasure in the above suggestions. I've gratefully found many.

P.S. It's even more "wonderful" (yes again!) when you can share all this.

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