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2014 White Nights Festival at the Mariinsky


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Just checked each program and according to the July 13 and July 14 programs it was the exact same cast.

The cameraman told someone else in my box that they are making a DVD although last night was also broadcast so he may or may not know for sure.

I asked him if he was filming War and Peace at M-2 today and he said he wasn't but his company was filming it.

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Yes. Certainly. The reality is, however, always much more complex than what we think, what we wish. Fateev is just sabotaging the best material among his dancers, but look at the Mariinsky's repertoire that continues under his directorship. Eleven months out of twelve every year a lover of classical dance can enjoy multitude of classical treasures not always performed by the best soloists but always by the best corps de ballet that you will not find anywhere in the world (including Bolshoi). Even at Bolshoi you may need to wait a year to pass between consecutive blocks of «Swan Lakes», or any other treasure of classical dance. Not at Mariinsky. There you have it every month. Show me another such ballet troupe anywhere.

So, in the West Fateev would be gone, but also all the great treasures would be gone and even sooner, and Mariinsky would become yet another modern/contemporary troupe with a token nod to classics, probably in some 'modernized' form (à la Bart, Spoerli, or Maillot), where the word 'ballet' is mistaken for something between gymnastics and acrobatics. Look at the current state of the Ballet troupe of the Opéra. It is a travesty of what it once was. Just 20 years ago. Under Gergiev nothing of the sort has happened. I prefer not to "throw the baby out with the bath water."

Who would you nominate to do Fateyev's job, Mathilde? I would nominate Sergei Vikharev, but I also think Nikolai Tsiskaridze would do a really good job too; he's actually done a really good job at running the Vagaonva Academy.

There's a Mariinsky balletomane called russianballetvideos2 on YouTube and he would do a better job at running the Mariinsky than Gergiev, not just because he's passionate about the arts and theatre, but also because he's got a Masters in Business Administration and Accounting. He said if he was the director of the theatre, he'd hire Tsiskaridze to run the ballet company.

As far as Gergiev being fired, it seems from watching Europe, the only way anyone gets fired is if they get on the wrong side of an entrenched bureaucracy or if the government changes and will only fund something fundamentally different, like in Spain. In North America, take a few minutes to read what our NY crowd says about Martins and McKenzie: the only reason they aren't considered anti-christs is that people think they're too incompetent to be one.

Gergiev brings in the money and the donors and is a friend and supporter of Mr. Putin, the ultimate Chairman of the Board. One of the few things that gets an AD fired in North America is spending money in a way the Board has an issue with, and I don't see that being Gergiev's Achilles heel.

Yeah well, we all know why Putin gave Gergiev the job in the first place, for the same reason he gives all his friends all these big jobs and rewards - Putin only gave Gergiev the job at the Mariinsky Theatre in exchange for his loyalty and as long as they remain friends, Gergiev's job is secure. If he was ever to turn on Putin in even the slightest way, we all know what would happen there... now you see, that's blackmail, but still, what do you expect from a tyrant like Vladimir Putin?

Just checked each program and according to the July 13 and July 14 programs it was the exact same cast.

Yeah they used the same cast for La Bayadere two nights in a row... okay now that was just wrong! That's too much to do in one week.

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I happen to think Gergiev got the job on merit, whatever you happen to think of him he is highly regarded as a conductor in international music circles and his priority has always been opera. Perhaps he leaves the ballet to fend for itself, but his choice of Fateev has been disastrous. Vikharev or Tsiskaridze would make a better job of things but I've come to the conclusion that anyone could.

Although I have tickets to see the Kirov in London, I am going to Ireland for five days in the middle of the run, something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. The cast changes have already begun and the fans are starting to off load their tickets as a consequence. I'm also told that ticket sales this year are unusually slow.

So the Kirov has a nice corps, so what? a lot of other companies do too. It's the downward spiral in the quality of the soloists that actually matters.

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I happen to think Gergiev got the job on merit, whatever you happen to think of him he is highly regarded as a conductor in international music circles and his priority has always been opera. Perhaps he leaves the ballet to fend for itself, but his choice of Fateev has been disastrous. Vikharev or Tsiskaridze would make a better job of things but I've come to the conclusion that anyone could.

Although I have tickets to see the Kirov in London, I am going to Ireland for five days in the middle of the run, something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. The cast changes have already begun and the fans are starting to off load their tickets as a consequence. I'm also told that ticket sales this year are unusually slow.

So the Kirov has a nice corps, so what? a lot of other companies do too. It's the downward spiral in the quality of the soloists that actually matters.

Hey, I'm Irish! What part of Ireland are you coming to? Yeah I was meant to go see Maria Shirinkina and Vladimir Shklyarov in Cinderella next month, but now she's no longer performing because she's pregnant so, that's me out. But I will still be in London so, I'm very tempted to go to the stage door and meet Shklyarov lol.

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I happen to think Gergiev got the job on merit, whatever you happen to think of him he is highly regarded as a conductor in international music circles and his priority has always been opera. Perhaps he leaves the ballet to fend for itself, but his choice of Fateev has been disastrous. Vikharev or Tsiskaridze would make a better job of things but I've come to the conclusion that anyone could.

Although I have tickets to see the Kirov in London, I am going to Ireland for five days in the middle of the run, something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. The cast changes have already begun and the fans are starting to off load their tickets as a consequence. I'm also told that ticket sales this year are unusually slow.

So the Kirov has a nice corps, so what? a lot of other companies do too. It's the downward spiral in the quality of the soloists that actually matters.

I agree with the first two paragraphs, not with the third. I understand you may be feeling frustrated. "A lot of other companies" may have a "nice corps". Mariinsky's corps de ballet is not "nice". One absolutely undeniable achievement of Fateev is that he managed to make Mariinsky's corps de ballet by far better than the corps of any other company. This is so because for 6 years he has been consistently enforcing the policy that the only place fit for all the the Vaganova graduates is the corps de ballet.

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Shklyarov is a charming young man, he and Osmolkina kindly posed for photos for me backstage in Baden Baden a few years ago.

I'm off to County Mayo where my maternal grandparents originally hailed from.

Oh very nice, well I hope you enjoy your visit and where are you from?

Yeah he does seem really nice and one thing I keep wondering is even though she's no longer performing, is Shirinkina still going to come with him to London? Because I doubt very much that Shklyarov would ever leave his pregnant wife at home by herself for three weeks lol! And it should be safe for her to fly anyway.

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I am a balletomane, and I, too, have an MBA and lots of opinions -- very strong opinions in fact -- but that doesn't mean I'm qualified to run a ballet company.

Self-proclaimed experts often have their own platforms. When our policies are too restrictive for members, especially the Official News, we encourage them to start a blog, website, or discussion board of their own where they call the shots, and now there are all kinds of free social media platforms that don't require constant feeding, like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. However, they are not valid to discuss here, nor are the other comments on them, where that's usually the points on their own sites and account.

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I am a balletomane, and I, too, have an MBA and lots of opinions -- very strong opinions in fact -- but that doesn't mean I'm qualified to run a ballet company.

Self-proclaimed experts often have their own platforms. When our policies are too restrictive for members, especially the Official News, we encourage them to start a blog, website, or discussion board of their own where they call the shots, and now there are all kinds of free social media platforms that don't require constant feeding, like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. However, they are not valid to discuss here, nor are the other comments on them, where that's usually the points on their own sites and account.

I suppose you're right and my apologies Helene if I've breached any policies.

Actually Helene, who would you nominate to be the Mariinsky's artistic director?

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I have no clue, truly, because I don't know any of these people and how they operate and where/who the obstacles are in getting things done, aside from the occasional Tsiskaridze. I don't know who the leaders are, and not just those behind whom a crowd hides to air their grievances, but someone who can convince people, especially part of an entrenched opposition, to be on the same page and work towards the same goals, even when they're not completely comfortable or in agreement. Certainly it would be someone who nurtures careers and grows the company, not just a select few, but also someone with enough political savvy to be able to counter and de-fuse the opposition. Also someone who can navigate the balance between representing a great school and giving dancers the opportunity to dance rep outside the classical canon without changing company style. The Mariinsky doesn't need an MBA: it needs a Change Management expert.

Why anyone would take the position is beyond me, with so many people with friends or friends' wives in high places who can run to them after any real or perceived slight and where government minsters can decide the number of performances and use the company as a cash cow while keeping it on a relative shoestring? Are there any Fools in need of a job? Great love alone for the institution is not enough.

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Yeah well, at least we all know who would do a good job of running the ballet company; I suppose deciding who should be running the theatre is a hard one for us balletomanes to decide.


And you know something, sometimes I think the only reason Gergiev is loyal to Putin is because he's afraid of him...

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Tonight was the Igor Zelensky Gala that consisted of Fokine's Scheherazade and Roland Petit's Carmen.

I had never seen Scheherazade live, just on video and I always found it sort of boring to tell you the truth, but I found it very exciting in person! Polina Semionova, who danced Zobeide, is a terrific dancer who I have seen as Nikiya at ABT, but I have to say I don't think she really fits into the Mariinsky 's style. The 3 Vaganova trained Odalisques (Viktoria Brilyova, Alisa Sodoleva, and Xenia Dubrovina) showed how it is done at the Mariinsky with their rubber spines and ultra flowing arms which make the sensual and sexual nature of this ballet even more sexy. I think Semionova is excellent and acted well, but she is obviously a "guest" and is not from the same schooling. Since the legato upper body is what drives me to ecstasy at the Mariinsky I have to say I couldn't take my eyes off the Odalisques whenever they were on stage.

Igor Zelensky did a great job as Zobeide's slave. You can tell he is not a 20 year old dancer, but he still gives his all. I think he showed why he is worthy of a gala, although I think he showed some hesitation in the Carmen piece. When he did a side plank and walked his legs around it was not quite smooth, but that is a minor quibble. He was very passionate and acted well in both ballets.

Diana Vishneva joined him as Carmen in the second ballet, and she did well. She seems to stick to modern works in St. Petersburg and tends to avoid the classical ballets (mainly doing those at ABT). Mariinsky lovers that I know tend to think she knows she has too much competition at the Mariinsky in the classical roles whereas in NY she is hailed as one of the best. Whatever the case she brings a lot of modern stuff to the Mariinsky and rarely does the classics anymore in SP, and it seems like Russian audiences like to see modern ballets out of curiosity. I heard the loudest applause this trip for In the Night and this Carmen ballet. I think an American like myself loves the Russians in the classical ballets and think their training is totally wasted on modern works, but I know dancers love to branch out and the audiences here seem to love modern works. We all want what others have!

Anyway, I thought this Carmen was going to turn into The Diana Vishneva Show also featuring Igor Zelensky in small print, but she was more committed than she sometimes is (as opposed to mugging). And she was sweet during her curtain calls with Zelensky. She did seem to care about this work and gave her all to it.

Carmen featured dancers from the Novosibirsk Ballet (Zelensky is director there ), and they gave their all too. Most looked fairly petite including the males.

I am not sure which Carmen is better. Petit 's or Alonso's. Both have very modern elements. Neither is one I crave to see again but if someone gave me a ticket I might go depending on who is dancing.

Overall, a nice evening. A nice gala night to end my trip. I fly home to Florida tomorrow morning! 11 shows in 11 days! With 2 fractured ribs no less! But it was worth it!

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I think an American like myself loves the Russians in the classical ballets and think their training is totally wasted on modern works, but I know dancers love to branch out and the audiences here seem to love modern works. We all want what others have!

That certainly rings true to me. : )

Thanks for yet another insightful review. Getting to read these thoughtful first-hand accounts is the next-best thing to being there!!

safe travels,

Sasha

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Thanks for your reports Birdsall, and I hope you are feeling better soon.

FYI, Bayadere and Giselle are the only two "classical" ballets that Vishneva still performs at ABT, and Bayadere's' Act II requirements are evidently difficult for her based on her performance this season at ABT.

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I happen to think Gergiev got the job on merit, whatever you happen to think of him he is highly regarded as a conductor in international music circles and his priority has always been opera. Perhaps he leaves the ballet to fend for itself, but his choice of Fateev has been disastrous. Vikharev or Tsiskaridze would make a better job of things but I've come to the conclusion that anyone could.

Although I have tickets to see the Kirov in London, I am going to Ireland for five days in the middle of the run, something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. The cast changes have already begun and the fans are starting to off load their tickets as a consequence. I'm also told that ticket sales this year are unusually slow.

So the Kirov has a nice corps, so what? a lot of other companies do too. It's the downward spiral in the quality of the soloists that actually matters.

I agree with the first two paragraphs, not with the third. I understand you may be feeling frustrated. "A lot of other companies" may have a "nice corps". Mariinsky's corps de ballet is not "nice". One absolutely undeniable achievement of Fateev is that he managed to make Mariinsky's corps de ballet by far better than the corps of any other company. This is so because for 6 years he has been consistently enforcing the policy that the only place fit for all the the Vaganova graduates is the corps de ballet.

How true. Nice corps? No - Superlative, breathtaking, downtrodden, held back, denied their chances, undervalued ... that is what they are.

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Gergiev and Putin have a long-standing relationship. Gergiev did an amazing job in very difficult times to keep the Mariinsky running, when the country was in administrative and funding chaos.

And yet now... he seems to have lost the plot. I mean seriously, does he really enjoy having so much power and making so much money? One balletomane I know has actually compared the way he's running the theatre to the way Ivan the Terrible ruled Russia because apparently, no one in the Mariinsky Theatre can do anything without Gergiev's approval.

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Balletomanes are not in the theater watching. The alternate view us that he stays out of a lot of what happens in the ballet. He's a busy guy, showing up everywhere. His friend Esa-Pekka Salinen said that he is happiest on the podium, because that's the only place his cell phone doesn't ring. It's very hard to micromanage at a distance.

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Balletomanes are not in the theater watching. The alternate view us that he stays out of a lot of what happens in the ballet. He's a busy guy, showing up everywhere. His friend Esa-Pekka Salinen said that he is happiest on the podium, because that's the only place his cell phone doesn't ring. It's very hard to micromanage at a distance.

Well that alternate view sounds good because truthfully, I don't like to think he's as bad as people claim he is.

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I am not sure which Carmen is better. Petit 's or Alonso's. Both have very modern elements. Neither is one I crave to see again but if someone gave me a ticket I might go depending on who is dancing.

Without a doubt Petit's. I saw Alonso's Carmen twice with the Mariinsky and the dancers gave it their all but the choreography was so repetitive. Uliana Lopatkina had great legs is all I could say positive about that Carmen.

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