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Kirov Bayaderes in Ottawa, Feb 2011

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Natalia, it's funny, 6 performances in total, we each saw 3 of them. You were right about Vishneva's "silly dance" in Act 2 :)

I went to see Sat matinee (Kondaurova & Ivanchenko), Sat evening (Vishneva & Matvienko), and Sun evening (Lopatkina & Korsuntsev).

In a sense, I believe the size of the stage did directly affect the performances. Timofeev, due to the little "stumble" at the end of his Golden Idol solo on Sat evening, held back quite a bit on Sun evening to allow space and maintain his balance with his final jump. Korsuntsev slowed down at the end of his solo, both in Act 2 & 3, for the same purpose. With the scenery, the extras, all the dancers on stage, the place was "stuffed" with very little extra room left. If they have gone full force, they might have gone off the stage easily.

If I "have" to compare all three Nikiyas, I found Vishneva's interpretation extremely moving, especially in Act 2. I couldn't help but felt so sad for her. I won't go any further with the comparison. That was the first time I saw Kondaurova, Ivanchenko, Vishneva, both A and D Matvienko, Lopatkina, and Korsuntsev live on stage, so I was happy.

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Quickly commenting on what little-junkie wrote about Timofeev's little stumble at the end: He finished on his knee (as intended) but had to put a hand down to steady himself. I found it intriguing that the same thing happened to Dennis Matvienko in his own solo (hand-down to steady himself, while finishing on the knee) a few minutes later...it was a fantastic solo and that one little bobble was, sadly, the last impression in the audience's mind, so the 'bravos!' weren't as wild as they would otherwise have been (as with Shklyarov's when the audience almost blew the roof off the place in the same solo).

The stage seemed wide enough but not as deep as at the Mariinsky...but maybe that's the illusion of the overall architecture of the auditorium. There certainly was plenty of room to accomodate the 32 shades comfortably (four rows, eight across).

So glad that your first live Kirov experience was so fantastic, little-junkie. You were very lucky. I totally missed Lopatkina/Korsuntsev this time around; would love to read your thoughts on Lopatkina, if you have time!

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I know exactly what you mean, Natalia. As I saw Timofeev and Matvienko stumbled nearly at the same spot, both at the end of their own solo, I really hoped the little "bobbles" didn't do much damage. I thought it was a very minor thing, but it's just me.

I found there were some small differences between each interpretation of Nikiya, and I enjoyed each personified version. Lopatkina was technically brilliant (not that anyone didn't know already). She and Korsuntsev made you believe that Solor and Nikiya were so much in love in Act 1, so tender and affectionate to each other. Her lines and her feet, ack...I am so envious. When Nikiya attempted to kill Gamzatti, she went over so quickly she almost "blanket" the princess if the servant didn't grab her arm in a nick of time. So I guess she could have killed her, but that's not how the story went :)

In Act 2, she ran out and saw Solor and Gamzatti together, instead of throwing her wrap backward, she ran up near Rajah and dropped it in front of him. As I said I didn't want to compare, her Nikiya's death (the sorrow dance, the basket dance, and after she got bitten) was ok. Everything was there, acting was reasonably good, but I kept expecting some overwhelming emotions coming from a girl deeply in love, was betrayed, and had that put on dispay to add to the agony and pain. Perhaps I was expecting too much. Her timing was great with Korsuntsev when Nikiya fell to her death, Solor ran up to try to catch her and failed, this reminded me of Giselle in so many ways.

Lopatkina's final diagonal spins across the stage in Act 3 were extremely fast and came to a complete stop at the edge of the right front corner, the audience just went wild. But I think it was the corps that stole the last act.

I totally agree with you that Kolegova completely held her own artistically and technically, in my case on both evenings. She WAS a princess, commanding power over those below her.

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p.s. - Bowing-time curiosities:

Just as at the Kennedy Center, there were no end-of-performance curtain calls.

On the positive side, as many performers do not appear in Act III ('Shades'), we had an entire round of bows at the end of Act II. Almost all divertissement performers came out...I write "almost all" because the only exceptions, at all performances, were the Indian Drum Dance soloists (Petushkova, Ioannisian/Baimuratov, Scherbakov); only the eight corps guys of that dance come out to bow at the end of the act. How odd. A fellow fan, who sat near me at one performance, wondered, "Maybe they don't want the Drum Dance soloists to receive greater applause than the principals?" I tend to agree with her because they truly received as loud an applause at the end of their dance as any of the major principals. Is it just a coincidence that the most loudly-cheered divertissement soloists are the only ones missing when all A2 dancers were assembled on the stage? Hmmmm.... :)

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I was wondering about that last nite...the eight drum dance guys came out to bow, then I was expecting the 3 soloists, and nothing. I thought, "where did they go?"

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!

They were indeed very impressive. Did you also notice that they were left out at the curtain calls, for all three acts? Perhaps the character is considered too small to have any spotlight...

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Really? You're right! The Head Fakir performs quite a bit - one of the few who appears in every act. I wouldn't want to see him coming out at the end of Act III just for the little dance with the snake charmer but he certainly performs more in Act I than many others.

In Russia, the two leads (not the 'drum boy') of the Indian Dance actually get curtain calls after Act II, with the female getting flowers.

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Me too, little-junkie! Especially the festive march that opens Act II, with the parade of characters. And who was the first Mariinsky artist who I recognized as we were checking into our Toronto hotel? Hard to miss: the very tall & imposing Vladimir Ponomaryev! He turned around and laughed when I told my husband, "Look! It's the High Brahmin!"

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