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Kirov Bayaderes in Ottawa, Feb 2011

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- Reports of the actual performances begin with Post #24, below on page 2 of this thread -

I did not see a thread for the Ottawa tour of Bayadere (just next week's Toronto Swan Lakes).


I hope that someone reports on tonight's premiere with Vishneva. I'm wondering who'll dance Solo Shades and other important classical solos? This should be a larger group than came to DC last week. I read that there will even be local dance students for the traditional children's roles usually seen only in Russia (such as the sambos who accompany Golden Idol and two little girls with Manu), unlike at the KennCenter in 2008.

I'll be there for the weekend and hope to see other BalletTalkers. I'm looking forward to all performances and am particularly curious about Kondaurova's Nikiya on Saturday afternoon; I saw her dance only the Shades act Nikiya years ago as part of a mixed bill at the KennCen and have so been looking forward to seeing her in the complete role. :)

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Announced principal casting, as per the Ardani site:

La Bayadere

February 24 at 19:00 (Vishneva/Fadeev/A. Matvienko)

February 25 at 19:00 (Terioshkina/D. Matvienko/Kolegova)

February 26 at 13:00 (Kondaurova/Ivanchenko/A. Matvienko)

February 26 at 19:00 (Lopatkina/Korsuntsev/Kolegova)

February 27 at 13:00 (Somova/Shklyarov/Kolegova)

February 27 at 19:00 (Vishneva/Fadeev/A. Matvienko)

Edited at 4:45pm to add -

NOTE - The printed playbill, issued on the 24th, shows some changes, such as Somova no longer performing here.

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Thank you so much for the casting information. I've been looking for it everywhere...

I'm attending the Saturday afternoon performance so I guess I'll see watching Ekaterina Kondaurova's performance. Interesting. Do you know that Vishneva is coming back to Ottawa in May for the La La La Human Steps performance?

Can't wait!!

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Thanks, little-junkie. It appears that you've picked an interesting performance out of the blue. This is, I think, Kondaurova's NAm debut of the complete role of Nikiya, just as next Friday, March 4, will be the NAm debut of her complete Odette/Odile, in Toronto. (I'm hoping to be there too but depends on workload in DC that Friday.) Thanks for the info on Diana Vishneva and La-la; she does 'modern' very well, too.

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Canadians are tops! I just found the complete casting (well, casting as of now) in the Ottawa National Centre for the Arts website. Go here and scroll down to the little PDF icon ("Programme Information"):


Of special interest -

Many recent graduates have solo and demi-solo roles of note. This will be a great chance to better acquaint ourselves with the highly-touted Stepanova, Chereskevich, etc. Also, my disappointment at not seeing Anastasia Petushkova's Myrtha in DC will be remedied...as I'll see her in her A#1 role, as leader of the Indian (Tom-Tom) Dance. Oh, yeah!!!! :) And - to top it off with a cherry on the sundae - Vladimir Ponomaryov is supposed to be back, as the High Brahmin. Sweet!

Soloists at the various weekend performances include:

Rajah - Pykhachev

Magdaveya a.k.a. 'the fire guy' - G. Popov or Kulikov

Aya - Bazhenova

Jampe Dance - Ostreikovskaya & Nikitina

4 Little Bayaderes - Shirinkina, Cheprassova, S. Ivanova and D. Pavlova

4 Big Bayaderes - Chereskevich, Vasnetsova, Stepanova and Krasnokutskaya

2 men partnering the 4 big bayas - Romanchikov and Solovyov

Golden Idol - Styopin (only tonight) or Timofeev

Manu - Martinyuk at all perfs

Indian (Tom-tom) Dance - Petushkova (yesss!), with Baimuradov or Ioannisian

and last but most certainly not least, the solo shades -

Shade 1 - Martinyuk (only tonight) or Cheprassova

Shade 2 - Kasenkova (only tonight) or Chereskevich

Shade 3 - Vasnetsova every perf.

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I have just made up my mind that I'll get the last-minute ticket to see Lopatkina on Sat evening, and Vishneva on Sun evening. So it will be a very intensive "La Bayadere" weekend for me, seeing 3 different Russian dancers performing the same ballet in just 2 days! Call me crazy but I don't know when this kind of opportunity will come again!

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I don't think you'll be sorry, little-junkie! You might even want to add Somova on Sunday afternoon, to have the 'full perspective'...this is the best role in which I've seen her, IMO, based on that Jan 2008 Kennedy Center performance.

We're going almost to the same perfs. I'll be seeing Terioshkina tomorrow night but missing Vishneva on Sunday, as I'll be on my way home right after Somova/Shklyarov...but I've seen Vishneva live in this role 3 times (once each in DC, London & St P) and she is not-to-be-missed. Watch out for the way that she dances the 'hootchie-kootchie' with the basket of flowers in Act II. Nobody puts as much gusto into that 'silly' little dance than Vishneva.

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I watched Mariinsky "Bayadere" performed on stage of the beloved Kennedy Center and also "The Kingdom of the Shades" act presented in NYC at the NYCC - Natalia, please remind me what year was that. Anywayz, I was so captivated by its powerful human drama which unfolded right in front of my eyes and even more so by Marius Petipas potent choreography powered by divine logic, that up to this day "La Bayadere" remains my favorite ballet and the most powerful theatrical experience in my life. In fact, I prefer it to "Swan Lake". As far as cast goes, I dont see how one can go wrong with any Mariinsky cast, provided that lead roles are performed by company's Principals and/or First soloists. What a magnificent show it is! I see what I can to to jet there myself.

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That was in 2008, Angelique - full ballet in DC, in January, and 'Shades' as part of mixed bills, in NYC in April. Wow, I don't want anyone to break-the-bank but it would be great if you could come too. Baya, Sleeping B, DonQ and even Corsaire are richer in solo and demi-solo roles than Swan Lake, IMO. (More classical variations; Swan is more a seamless poem than a series of classical variations, although it has the A1 pas de trois for non-principals.)

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Watch out for the way that she dances the 'hootchie-kootchie' with the basket of flowers in Act II. Nobody puts as much gusto into that 'silly' little dance than Vishneva.

Indeed. Save for Asylmuratova, perhaps (La Bayadere / Asylmuratova, Bussell, Dowell, Mukhamedov; Lanchbery, Royal Ballet. DVD). I start to suspect that in order to release the pent-up energy stored in the core of the scene, one must have some middle Eastern blood in her.

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Speaking of "breaking the bank", that is actually the reason why I opt out on Sunday afternoon performance. I WAS originally thinking of attending 4 performances this weekend. My wallet is already hurting... LOL but hey you gotta do what you gotta do.

Natalia, please let us know about Somova's performance after, I'd be all ears. :)

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Natalia, please let us know about Somova's performance after, I'd be all ears. :)

Sure thing. I'll probably post on Monday, after I get back to DC. I've promised my husband to NOT take the laptop...but we ARE taking our skates, to try-out the amazing Rideau Canal, the world's longest frozen skateway. [The ice is supposed to be in good condition, according to the website! It's 7.8 km long! http://www.ottawatourism.ca/en/visitors/attractions/fast-facts-ottawa/371-fast-facts-rideau-canal-skateway ] Canal begins next to our hotel (Lord Elgin), which is next to the theater. Hopefully I won't injure myself before performances, either tomorrow afternoon or Sunday morning. :)

p.s. - Yes, we know that the skates have to go with the checked luggage. That's the only reason why I won't be doing carry-on.

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I don't mean to post off topic information but I can't use PM yet.

Natalia, the weather will be mild, and Sat will be sunny so A LOT OF PEOPLE will be hitting the canal. Go early in the morning, the ice will be in better condition than when it has a few thousand people skating on it. Skate rental is available so that's one option you may consider, but again, they might run out if there are too many skaters at once. If you and your husband don't mind Japanese food, go to Genji (3 blocks south of Lord Elgin Hotel) for a dinner before the evening performance. Check out Al's steakhouse on Elgin St. if you prefer Western food. And most importantly, enjoy the performances, because I will :)

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Thanks so much for your invaluable tips, little-junkie! We love Japanese and, for sure, will be lacing the skates early. My only problem will be keeping my hockey-nut husband from joining some impromptu pick-up game, or we might miss the 1pm curtain. Luckily everything seems to be close by.

I bet that the Russian visitors will feel right at home with the frozen canals and such.

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Ahhhhhh.....I just read the 'fine print' of the printed playbill for the run, issued today (link above). I was so busy taking-in the names of the soloists in small parts that I failed to see the big shift in principals!

Somova is no longer on the tour (or at least the Ottawa leg)! Too bad. I hope she's OK.

Little-junkie, you'll still be seeing your selected casts but it's Vishneva with Matvienko now on Saturday night. (Hey, no complaints from me either!) Lopatkina on Sunday night, still with her usual partner, Korsuntsev. STILL Kondaurova and Ivanchenko for the Saturday matinee (please, no changes there!).

In sum, principal casting according to the theater's printed playbill (not the Ardani site):

Thurs, 24th (today) - Vishneva/D. Matvienko/A. Matvienko

Fri, 25th - Terioshkina/Shklyarov/Kolegova

Sat, 26th matinee - Kondaurova/Ivanchenko/A. Matvienko

Sat 26h eve - Vishneva/D. Matvienko/Kolegova

Sun, 27th matinee - Terioshkina/Shklyarov/A. Matvienko

Sun, 27th eve - Lopatkina/Korsuntsev/Kolegova

Other news that I missed earlier: the main ballet music director of the Mariinsky is back - Pavel Bubelnikov...rather than the younger gent who directed the Kennedy Center Orch in Giselle at a snail's pace (a.k.a.'King of Swing').

AGAIN - the Ardani site still shows the original casting...and anything can and may happen in such tours. And the playbill, though more recent, may be full of errors, e.g., it lists Yuri Fateev as "Interim Director of the ballet company." Never a dull moment with the Mariinsky! :)

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Thanks, Angelique. WOW - the crazy thing is this is the ballet in which I've been least irked by Alina Somova, esp Acts I and II, which are more 'plastique' and less academic classical for the role of Nikiya. Well, I still love my casts, so I won't complain.

Another interesting thing about this tour: This is a super-young corps de ballet. Practically all of the 'stars' of the last three Vaganova Academy Graduation Classes ('08, '09 and '10) are here - even more than the many who we saw in the DC 'Giselles' corps last week. Only a handful of corps veterans (like Prokofieva, Bazhitova, S. Ivanova, Lubkovskaya, Ostreikovskaya) are here to keep the lines straight, so to speak. A lot of 'shade leaders' of the past, like Androssova and Selina, are not here. So this will be my first live look at all of last year's graduates, such as Brileva. Yeah!

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PHEW!! Natalia you had me scared for a moment... 'cos I just got the tickets for Sat evening and Sun evening. But if things change for whatever reason, I will just enjoy my weekend with the Kirov :)

I'm quite interested in seeing Somova actually. From the clips I have seen of her, somehow I feel there's always a disconnection from the story or the characters she protrays, just my opinion. She's very easy on the eyes as a dancer, but sometimes it just doesn't cut it. I wonder if she has matured more as an artist, that's what I'm curious about.

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Brave Clarice (Natalia)! Venturing winter weather, chills and thrills, not to mention the airports! to see Mariinsky "Bayadere". Fine investment, I must say, as it is bound to return dividends in pure and incomparable joy ten-fold!

little-junkie, from where I come from, Somova is a genuine artist. But, and here it is... if you are looking for a more traditional style with rounded arms and such, this is not your dancer. Alina Somova is a bit of a maverick and is determined to walk her own path.

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Natalia, please let us know about Somova's performance after, I'd be all ears. :)

Sure thing. I'll probably post on Monday, after I get back to DC. I've promised my husband to NOT take the laptop...but we ARE taking our skates, to try-out the amazing Rideau Canal, the world's longest frozen skateway. [The ice is supposed to be in good condition, according to the website! It's 7.8 km long! http://www.ottawatou...-canal-skateway ] Canal begins next to our hotel (Lord Elgin), which is next to the theater. Hopefully I won't injure myself before performances, either tomorrow afternoon or Sunday morning. :)

p.s. - Yes, we know that the skates have to go with the checked luggage. That's the only reason why I won't be doing carry-on.

Natalia, you're going to have a such great time! My husband (another hockey nut) and I skated the canal a few years ago with another couple. It was freezing - the coldest I've ever been - but so much fun!!! Have a great time and let me know if you decide to go to Toronto, I'll be there for Fri & Sat nights and the Sun matinee. There's been no casting posted on the Sony Center site so we can only hope the Ardani casting holds for SL...

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Just back from beautiful, snowy Ottawa. The 'skateway' was great but, of course, it's the ballet that matters most here. So here is my full report!

Bayaderes in Ottawa = The 'Kirov' of Old is BACK!

Overview: Magnificent, every performance. The Mariinsky corps (about 50% different from the crew who went to DC last week) is absolutely on the way back up. Spot-on 32 (yes, 32, not 24, as in most tours) Shades. Incredible divertissements. Even the small 'cluster dances' of Act I (Fire Girls, Jampe Girls, Fakirs-fire guys) were cleaner and more perfect than I've seen them since the early 1990s. Honestly. I thought that I was in a time capsule...the Kirov is back. Not a moment cut, as in the Kennedy Center or London. This was the greatest tour experience I've had with this company...EVER. Next-best thing to being in St. Petersburg. Absolutely worth every penny and travel woe to have experienced these three performances at Ottawa's Centre for the Arts.

Three Amazing Nikiyas:

Ekaterina Kondaurova - Kondaurova did not disappoint, for the most part. She is a stately and regal Nikiya...but perhaps, at this early stage in her interpretation, almost too icy in Acts I & II. She is a great poser - magnificently sculptural (a-la Lopatkina, whose Nikiya I've seen elsewhere) but what beautiful sculpture, especially in the slow portion of the Act II basket dance. The quick coda was good but a tad cold. Kondaurova's Nikiya is an amazing beauty but I kept waiting for the warmth and heart, waiting for her 'to let it all hang out.' But all of that was forgiven in her extraordinary Act III (Shades Scene), in which she was academic classical perfection, 'queen size'!

Diana Vishneva - There's no problem with warmth here! She tamed her Act I & II passion enough to display academic precision in Act III (no scarf-solo bobbles, even though both Kondaurova and Terioshkina were more floating and 'controlled'). A classic Vishneva performance. Almost draining in its intensity and passion.

Viktoria Terioshkina - Terioshkina gave us plenty of passion. [A lady sitting near us, who had also attended Kondaurova's matinee the previous day, remarked on the polar differences of passion in their interpretations.] What's more, Terioshkina was, I believe, the absolute-best technician among my three Nikiyas(e.g., Act III scarf solo, with floating triples in each direction -- barely making use of the scarf, letting go early -- then, after scarf released, the solo segment of pirouettes went triple-triple-quadruple, 'easy as pie'!!! WOW! ) However, Terioshkina was so pushing the technical envelope that she suffered a huge fall onto her backside (lower spine area)-- loud gasps from audience -- in the middle of the slow portion of the Act II basket dance. She landed poorly from a very high gnd jete en tournant (2nd diagonal) and went down with a big boom. We thought that she had seriously injured herself and that the performance would have to stop until a replacement Nikiya could warm up. She proved us skeptics wrong. She quickly bounced up and recovered to perform an unbelievably-long balanced arabesque on pointe a mere 30 seconds after the fall!

Three Handsome Solors:

Honestly, I can only think "Shklyarov, Shklyarov, Shklyarov" (Sunday matinee, with Terioshkina) as I type. For Vladimir Shklyarov, this is a Principal-making performance. His spectacular technique (those high leaps in his Act II solo drew gasps from the audience!) + passionate, touching acting + matinee-idol looks = the Perfect Solor. Simply the best I've ever seen 'live' from any Kirov-Mariinsky man. Ever, Zelensky and Sarafanov included. The other two Solors were just fine -- Yevgeni Ivanchenko providing incredible muscle-power with Kondaurova, dancing very well and acting passionately against a frosty Nikiya; and Dennis Matvienko (now sporting brown hair) was somewhat understated with Vishneva but rose to the task in the famous Act II solo.

Two Impressive Gamzattis:

Anastasia Matvienko, seen twice, was "OK" on Saturday afternoon(weakish with Kondaurova) but was quite a different dancer, i.e., she was spot-on spectacular yesterday afternoon, opposite Terioshkina. The Act II solo of the jetes floated and -- especially impressive -- the Italian fouettes, followed by lightning-fast traditional fouettes in the Coda of the Grand Pas drove the audience to a frezy. BRAVA! I have gained a new respect for Anastasia Matvienko.

Anastasia Kolegova was Gamzatti opposite Vishneva on Sat night - pure, beautiful, truly held her own in the 'cat fight' with Nikiya. Spot-on technique in the Act II Grand Pas, if not the 'competition flair' of Matvienko. A beautiful dancer who I haven't seen often enough on tours or at the Mariinsky Festival. After her Saturday-night performance, I wrote in my notebook "Kolegova is the better Gamzatti, overall" but then Matvienko produced that extraordinary performance on Sunday...so I call it a 'draw.'

Soloists and Demi-soloists in smaller roles - So many Gems!:

Beside the 'big 3' major roles, there were many impressive solos:

Super-duper Kudos to Anastasia Petushkova in the Indian Drum Dance, absolutely wowing the audience every time, with Islom Baimuradov or Karen Ioannisian as her partner & the un-credited Vasily Scherbakov as the 'drum boy.' I didn't think that anybody could ever top Irina Gensler (in film) or Galina Rakhmanova (who I've seen live since the 80s), but Petushkova is absolutely 'da ultimate.' This lady could be 'The Pavlova of Modern Dance' or 'The New Isadora,' if given the right material or exposure. Anastasia Petushkova may not have the traditional 'dainty little ballet princess' look but she is an absolute genius for dance. [she and Yevgenia Obraztsova -- not on this tour -- are, to me the two greatest female joys of the current company, Shklyarov is the great classical man, and Ponomaryev is the 'Great Character.' Those four currently-active artists must be bottled for posterity!]

Also super-impressive is the lady who husband & I have nicknamed "The Little General" because, while diminutive in stature, she danced 'big' and absolutely 'nailed' every solo this weekend: Valeria Martynyuk (3 Manus and 3 First Shades). As Manu, the delightful Act II solo balancing a water jug (as two little girls try to catch it), she displayed quick, smooth bourees 'to die for' and comfortably acted with the two little girls from local ballet academies. This is not easy to do but Martynyuk was so gentle and gracious in her work with the girls. Then came the piece de resistance for Valeria Martynyuk: the First Solo Shade, not only in lightning-fast manner, but with every little nuance crisp and sharply articulated...as in a rulebook of Vaganova style, my goodness! (Then I remembered, she was trained by Terekhova at the Academy...what better technical teacher could there be?) Valeria Martynyuk is a miracle of classical perfection, a balm against 21st-century extravagances.

Daria Vasnetsova is ripe for major solo roles, she was so impressive as the 3rd Solo Shade (the ultra-difficult slow dance with the developes-into-pirouettes) on Saturday night. While promising, Yuliana Chereskevich was more tentative than Vasnetsova when she essayed the 3rd Shade. Vasnetsova was also the standout among the four 'Big Bayaderes' in the Act II Grand Pas (the others being Chereskevich, Yulia Stepanova and Victoria Krasnokutskaya). Krasnokutskaya was especially impressive as one of two Jampe Dance demi-soloists...pure joie de vivre in her delivery; I could not help but notice, every time out -- even in the corps in Giselle at the KennCen last week -- that the blonde and smiling Krasnokutskaya, while not the most perfect dancer, has something very special in her delivery. One to watch.

The four Little Bayaderes were also impressive, most notably the angelic Maria Shirinkina (the lone brunette among them) and the ever-elegant Svetlana Ivanova. Elizaveta Cheprassova and Daria Pavlova were also fine...but I wish that the serious Pavlova would smile a bit. :) [Cheprassova was also good as the 2nd Solo Shade (the one with the high leg beats) at all performances but displays a bit of tension in the neck and chin,]

The two Magdaveyas (Head Fakir - fire guy) were excellent. In the matinees, Grigory Popov displayed wonderful high jumps...but the 'true show-off' among the two was a new name for me in solo roles: Alexander Kulikov, not only a high jumper but extremely flexible and milking every second to the hilt. Bravo!

Sergei Salikov and Sergei Konomenko alternated as the Slave who partners Nikiya in the Act I 'Lotus Adagio' in the Rajah and Gamzatti's palace. Special kudos to Konomenko, who beautifully partnered the ultra-tall Kondaurova in the difficult lifts and carries.

As mentioned earlier, Krasnokutskaya danced in one set of 'Jampe Solo Girls' (with Chereskevich, who did triple-duty of roles here). However, the most-applauded pairing of Jampe Girls was Xenia Ostreikovskaya and Yulia Kasenkova (not Nikitina, as in the playbill), zippy and precise in their mirroring.

Of the two Golden Idols, Philip Styopin was the more musical, while Alexei Timofeev gave it his "technical all" at both performances. Both ran a bit 'out of gas' at the end of the solo.

Finally, a few words for the King of Mariinsky Character Dancers, Vladimir Ponomaryev, the red-robed High Brahmin at all performances. The most veteran of the 150+ members of the troupe (graduating in 1964), Ponomaryev alone is reason to fly to Ottawa, St Petersburg or wherever to see this ballet. I screamed my head off with 'bravos' for this imposing dancing-actor, without whom I would never imagine a performance of the Kirov-Mariinsky's La Bayadere. His over-the-top 'Cecil B. DeMille' style is exactly what such grand 19th-C ballets call for. How lucky for us that he continues to bless us with his special performances.

The three performances that I saw in Ottawa constitute the finest look at the Kirov-Mariinsky that I've seen on tour. The corps is back to 1990s standards...and very close to 1980s. The soloists and principals on view here were among the finest ever seen under one roof...and this is even without many great artists who stayed home, such as Pavlenko, Obraztsova, Novikova and Fadeev.

Bravi Tutti!

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