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Natalia Osipova @ ABT


MakarovaFan

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I was excited to learn in the ABT Spring 2010 Met Season brochure that Natalia Osipova will again be a guest artist. Does anyone know what roles she'll be dancing? Thanks in advance!

Sorry, I found elsewhere on the site that she'll be in Sleeping Beauty & Romeo & Juliet.

Which do you think would be the better role for her: Aurora or Juliet?

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I hesitate to say what will be the "better" role for her, but I would probably be more interested in seeing her as Aurora--her dancing is extraordinarily accomplished (what people usually call great "technical skills" but I think that's too limiting a word) and accomplished in a way that Juliet hardly requires. And, though I found her a touching Giselle and think she will bring energy and pathos to her portrayal of Juliet, I'm not sure Juliet is the role to show off or to test and stretch her greatest qualities. (And, anyway, Sleeping Beauty is a much greater ballet than Macmillan's Romeo and Juliet, though I know ABT's production has been criticized.)

However, last year almost everyone seemed certain that Osipova's Sylphide would be more worth seeing than her Giselle and, after the fact, it seems as if the Giselle was much better received (in New York that is). So really, you never know. One way or another, she is definitely worth seeing

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I hesitate to say what will be the "better" role for her, but I would probably be more interested in seeing her as Aurora--her dancing is extraordinarily accomplished (what people usually call great "technical skills" but I think that's too limiting a word) and accomplished in a way that Juliet hardly requires. And, though I found her a touching Giselle and think she will bring energy and pathos to her portrayal of Juliet, I'm not sure Juliet is the role to show off or to test and stretch her greatest qualities. (And, anyway, Sleeping Beauty is a much greater ballet than Macmillan's Romeo and Juliet, though I know ABT's production has been criticized.)

However, last year almost everyone seemed certain that Osipova's Sylphide would be more worth seeing than her Giselle and, after the fact, it seems as if the Giselle was much better received (in New York that is). So really, you never know. One way or another, she is definitely worth seeing

Thank you, Drew. There are some beautiful excerpts of Osipova on youtube. Her Giselle Act II was wonderful and she has a fabulous jump. I'll probably end up seeing her in SB.

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I missed her Giselle, which friends of mine loved, and saw her Sylph. I am in the minority, but I find her sort of amusical. Even in the Youtube videos I've seen she seems to disregard the music and do her thing. For this reason I am avoiding her Sleeping Beauty (I never go to see R&J - not my thing). Does anyone else see this or am I crazy? As I said, I have friends who loved her Giselle.

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I missed her Giselle, which friends of mine loved, and saw her Sylph. I am in the minority, but I find her sort of amusical. Even in the Youtube videos I've seen she seems to disregard the music and do her thing. For this reason I am avoiding her Sleeping Beauty (I never go to see R&J - not my thing). Does anyone else see this or am I crazy? As I said, I have friends who loved her Giselle.

No, Vipa, you are not crazy. I too feel that Osipova is unmusical and more importantly not always able to relate well dramatically with a partner or to others on stage with her. Sometimes as observers we are so pulled in by the (granted) superior jumps and other technical feats, we either miss or ignore other things that go to make up a true artist. For me, neither her"Sylph" or her "Giselle" made an impression. Once the performance was over, not much remained. (except those jumps!). Her acting is juvenile (well, she is young), but not in a good way. Immature would be a better word. Too much grimacing and "now I'm acting for you" stuff going on. She never seemed to unite the dancing and the role she was playing. When the acting, or lack there of, get in the way of the entire being on stage, a dancer loses me and I begin to watch other stuff on the stage. I am almost tempted to say I'd rather see her in a more abstract ballet. One with NO acting, just dance and then critique her. As I said, she's young and has time with proper coaching to learn. Or we can continue to applaud her and she will grow untended and develop mannerisms that will one day play against her. I'd avoid her "Sleeping Beauty" and only see "Romeo" if you must.

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There is no question that Osipova is still young and needs to grow--but I would not take it as a given that those of us who like her have simply been snowed by her "technique." She may not be for everyone, but she is not all steps, because she really dances (weaves the steps together engagingly) and I found pathos and stylistic awareness in her Giselle. She also brings an eagerness and passion to the stage that makes me care about her. Could that descend one day to circus tricks and star mannerisms--well, sure it could, but I think it's premature to think that that is where she is headed.

Unfortunately, parachuting in for occasional guest appearances is probably not the best way to develop relationships with partners or the company around one--or, indeed, artistic depth in general. For that reason, I was glad that ABT continues to pair her, for the time being, with Halberg rather than experimenting with different partners.

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Unfortunately, parachuting in for occasional guest appearances is probably not the best way to develop relationships with partners or the company around one--or, indeed, artistic depth in general. For that reason, I was glad that ABT continues to pair her, for the time being, with Halberg rather than experimenting with different partners.
Drew, could you expand your thoughts about Halberg as a partner for Osipova -- especially those which would help her as she enlarges her rep? (I ask as one who has not seen Osipova on stage but has seen Halberg.)

Edited to add: DanceView just came in the mail -- with a lovely Gene Schiavone photo of Osipova and Hallberg happily bounding across the stage arm in arm. Mary Cargill's review of ABT's Spring season at the Met contains praise for Hallberg's "well-nigh perfect" dancing -- some reservations about Osipova, "a slight emotional blank"-- but nothing about their partnership per se.

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Unfortunately, parachuting in for occasional guest appearances is probably not the best way to develop relationships with partners or the company around one--or, indeed, artistic depth in general. For that reason, I was glad that ABT continues to pair her, for the time being, with Halberg rather than experimenting with different partners.
Drew, could you expand your thoughts about Halberg as a partner for Osipova -- especially those which would help her as she enlarges her rep? (I ask as one who has not seen Osipova on stage but has seen Halberg.)

Edited to add: DanceView just came in the mail -- with a lovely Gene Schiavone photo of Osipova and Hallberg happily bounding across the stage arm in arm. Mary Cargill's review of ABT's Spring season at the Met contains praise for Hallberg's "well-nigh perfect" dancing -- some reservations about Osipova, "a slight emotional blank"-- but nothing about their partnership per se.

Hello, forgive me for being somewhat ignorant but I don't get Danceview in the mail and I checked online and didn't see the picture you were talking about. Oddly enought, I didn't see how I can subscribe to a hard copy version recieved by mail. Call me tired from a long commute and a hard day!

Can you direct me or send me a link so I can see the Pic.?!

Thanks.

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Theo, DanceView is not available on line. It's a publication of the same team that produces DanceViewTimes on line. DanceView tends towards longer articles and interviews. kfw recently posted about the Autumn 2009 issue, here:

http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...mp;#entry258073

I checked to see whether the DanceViewTimes online review included this photo, but it did not.

Here's the DVT review, by Leigh Witchel:

http://www.danceviewtimes.com/2009/06/a-mo...debut.html#more

Witchel is much more positive about Osipova's Giselle than Cargill.

Whatever magic she worked on David Hallberg – or he worked on himself – let it remain. He outdid himself from the moment she came onstage and I’ve never seen better from him. He’s always been beyond reproach technically, but the clarity and honesty of his performance pushed him from an excellent dancer to a great Albrecht. Hallberg didn’t play Albrecht as a cad – that would have been unsuited to Osipova’s reading. He was genuinely in love with Giselle; both showed their attraction with a few telling moments where they briefly stopped their dancing among the peasant and just gazed at the other, dumbstruck. He knew the moment the hunting party reentered that trouble was imminent, and that he had a hand in it.
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I missed her Giselle, which friends of mine loved, and saw her Sylph. I am in the minority, but I find her sort of amusical. Even in the Youtube videos I've seen she seems to disregard the music and do her thing.

In my original post quoted above, I meant no disrespect to her fans. However, my reservations stand. I just re-watched youtube videos and really find her unmusical. For me personally that is a deal killer. Great jump, uneven technique in the way I think of technique (a go for it attitude but lots of stumbles) but she is young, with a lot of expectations placed on her.

I won't buy a ticket to see her, but I guess in the ABT world a lot of ticket buyers will always go for the Russian import!

For those of you who love her, enjoy.

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I know no-one intends disrespect but I do still want to make clear my strong belief one's buying tickets for or admiring Osipova, whether or not one is a "fan," need not be a matter either of (as Mimsyb writes) being "so pulled in by the (granted) superior jumps and other technical feats, we either miss or ignore other things that go to make up a true artist" or (as Vipa writes) that "in the ABT world a lot of ticket buyers will always go for the Russian import!"--(neither of which phrases suggests all that much respect by the by).

It's possible to adore Balanchine/NYCB and, when possible, travel to New York to see NYCB (me--this year Liebeslieder Waltzes was the draw) or even ABT with specific repertory in mind (me again--this year Sylvia) and American Ballerinas (me yet again, Murphy) AND travel to New York to see Russian Ballerinas (still me--Vishneva and this past spring Osipova). I'm guessing my range of taste is not that unusual among a lot of ballet lovers--actually I don't have to guess, since I can just read this board!--though I am especially lucky in that I have been able to travel occasionally to see ballet since moving away from New York.

Now, do I agree that Osipova is young and needs to grow? Sure. Do I share some of the concerns expressed about her development in the context of early "stardom." Yes, I do. Do I take seriously the charge that she is unmusical--well, yes to that as well (and I have also heard it in another context); in fact, I will keep an eye/ear out for the problem if I am lucky enough to see Osipova again, so I can judge what it is people are responding to when they dislike her relation to music. (I think video is not the best way to judge musicality--I would not trust the coordination of sound, especially over computer and too much else about the dancing body is lost). But ... uh...being excited by Osipova's promise and, indeed, about her current quality should no more be reduced to mere delight in jumps or Russian 'guest stars' than dislike of her should be reduced to suspicion of ABT hype or some such.

Bart asked me about the partnership with Halberg--I actually made the point about being pleased to see that they were going to continue to dance together less to emphasize that I think it's a partnership with promise than that I like the idea of at least having a stable partnership within which Osipova can work for these "drop in" guest appearances. I do think it's a promising partnership--I thought there was a nice flow of energy between the two during the performance of Giselle and that the lifts were lovely. But I'm more concerned generally with the need to give dancers a chance to develop and that includes giving partnerships a chance to develop: I'm not in favor of sticking with things that aren't working, but arbitrarily shuffling the cards makes no sense to me either.

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In my original post quoted above, I meant no disrespect to her fans. However, my reservations stand. I just re-watched youtube videos and really find her unmusical.

I think there might be your problem. Youtube videos are often terribly synched with regards to music and movement. I would never use youtube videos as the main way to judge a dancer. The 10 minute clip minute means dances are often broken up so there is lack of continuity.

As for Osipova, she is a force of nature, a phenom, who defies gravity. The sheer exhuberance of her dancing is something I'll never forget. I think one either likes that style of dancing or not.

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Theo, DanceView is not available on line. It's a publication of the same team that produces DanceViewTimes on line. DanceView tends towards longer articles and interviews. kfw recently posted about the Autumn 2009 issue, here:

http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...mp;#entry258073

I checked to see whether the DanceViewTimes online review included this photo, but it did not.

Here's the DVT review, by Leigh Witchel:

http://www.danceviewtimes.com/2009/06/a-mo...debut.html#more

Witchel is much more positive about Osipova's Giselle than Cargill.

Whatever magic she worked on David Hallberg – or he worked on himself – let it remain. He outdid himself from the moment she came onstage and I’ve never seen better from him. He’s always been beyond reproach technically, but the clarity and honesty of his performance pushed him from an excellent dancer to a great Albrecht. Hallberg didn’t play Albrecht as a cad – that would have been unsuited to Osipova’s reading. He was genuinely in love with Giselle; both showed their attraction with a few telling moments where they briefly stopped their dancing among the peasant and just gazed at the other, dumbstruck. He knew the moment the hunting party reentered that trouble was imminent, and that he had a hand in it.

Thank you Bart!

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Interesting to note that up till now Natalia Osipova hasn't danced either Aurora or Juliet.

That's exactly what I meant: two major, MAJOR parts, both performed for the very first time within a short period of just a couple of weeks and with a foreign troupe to boot. I don't know, for some reason this makes me nervous. I would understand it if Osipova danced her first Aurora with ABT (after all, she did work with Irina Kolpakova on her Giselle, and I guess, will be working with her again). But Juliet right after that? Is it even humanly, I mean artistically, possible to prepare both roles in such a close proximity to each other and give them 100%? Rhetorical question, of course.

It's also quite strange, and even suspicious, that they didn't offer her at least one Kitri. Seems to me a much more logical choice, especially paired with Aurora. But OTOH what do I know? :wink:

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Interesting to note that up till now Natalia Osipova hasn't danced either Aurora or Juliet.

That's exactly what I meant: two major, MAJOR parts, both performed for the very first time within a short period of just a couple of weeks and with a foreign troupe to boot. I don't know, for some reason this makes me nervous. I would understand it if Osipova danced her first Aurora with ABT (after all, she did work with Irina Kolpakova on her Giselle, and I guess, will be working with her again). But Juliet right after that? Is it even humanly, I mean artistically, possible to prepare both roles in such a close proximity to each other and give them 100%? Rhetorical question, of course.

It's also quite strange, and even suspicious, that they didn't offer her at least one Kitri. Seems to me a much more logical choice, especially paired with Aurora. But OTOH what do I know? :wink:

It's my understanding from reading interviews she has given that she has had enough of Kitri for now, and is looking to expand her artistic horizons. She is utilizing her ABT appearances as an opportunity to try out roles that she cannot or has not done at the Bolshoi. I think the competition at the Bolshoi for lead roles among women is intense, and Osipova is not even a principal with Bolshoi. ABT provides her with principal work, and apparently gives her freedom to choose her roles. ABT needs her. She sells out the house. I'd love to see her Kitri, but that's simply not in the cards for the time being.

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I didn't think she was particularly well adapted to the role of Medora in Corsaire when the Bolshoi brought it to DC last June -- though they in general brought such a B Team company with them in the corps and soloists that it would be hard to judge definitively. She would have been more of a natural Gulnare.

I think her quite musical, in the sense of responding to rhythm and dancing to rhythms spontaneously; but her emploi is demi-caractere, I consider, which she is however capable of breaking out of very interestingly. She has pixie-like features, a big jump, the village girl in Giselle was natural to her, as is Kitri. Interestingly, her placement is almost American-Balanchine-neoclassical: her shoulders and arms (a little scrawny by the way) are held very athletically and naturally, girl in the Gym in manner, even slightly turned in at times - certainly not pulled down, with the chest up in a big Russian ballerina manner. But she breaks out of this basically neutral placement in extraordinarily spacious and free flowing movement. She has wonderful balance, is totally centered, turns beautifully as well as possessing great elevation, but above all has complete integrity as an artist. I am impressed that whatever she does on stage, she is totally committed to it dramatically. Her Sylph was lovely and very thought out, it seemed to me that in her facial expressions and gestures she had carefully studied the Lis Jeppesen interpretation.

Medora was a role made on Zacharova, I believe? Not the same emploi as Osipova.

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I didn't think she was particularly well adapted to the role of Medora in Corsaire when the Bolshoi brought it to DC last June -- though they in general brought such a B Team company with them in the corps and soloists that it would be hard to judge definitively. She would have been more of a natural Gulnare.

I

Michael, I agree with you about her Medora in Washington. I saw it too and was underwhelmed. I was even less impressed with her partner, Ivan Vasiliev, in that performance. However, she had just come from doing a Giselle and 2 Sylphides at ABT within a very short time before she did the D.C. Corsaire. I'm chalking the mediocrity of that performance up to sheer exhaustion, especially since I really loved her Giselle and her Sylphides at ABT.

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I didn't think she was particularly well adapted to the role of Medora in Corsaire when the Bolshoi brought it to DC last June -- though they in general brought such a B Team company with them in the corps and soloists that it would be hard to judge definitively. She would have been more of a natural Gulnare.

I

Michael, I agree with you about her Medora in Washington. I saw it too and was underwhelmed. I was even less impressed with her partner, Ivan Vasiliev, in that performance. However, she had just come from doing a Giselle and 2 Sylphides at ABT within a very short time before she did the D.C. Corsaire. I'm chalking the mediocrity of that performance up to sheer exhaustion, especially since I really loved her Giselle and her Sylphides at ABT.

Also, if I am remembering correctly, which I think I am, the eventual explanation for the cancellation of her final performance of Corsaire in DC is that by the time she did perform the one you saw, she was ill and feverish.

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Interesting to note that up till now Natalia Osipova hasn't danced either Aurora or Juliet.

Ah but she danced the Rose Adagio on the stage of the old Bolshoi Theater one sunny December afternoon in 2002, as part of a school performance that also featured a production of the Drigo Magic Flute (also starring Osipova). I can vouch for that as I was there. :)

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or (as Vipa writes) that "in the ABT world a lot of ticket buyers will always go for the Russian import!"--(neither of which phrases suggests all that much respect by the by).

It is so me to put my foot in my mouth. Again, I meant no disrespect to fans of Osipova. I only meant that there are ticket buyers, who are not regular ballet goers, who assume that the Russian import is superior.

To those who point to exhaustion, fevers etc. I just have to say that for me the performance I see, is the performance I see. In opera I don't want to hear that so-in-so is not in good voice that day.

I just think that if you go out there and do it there are no qualifiers, whether you are a tennis player or a ballet dancer.

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