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Kirov, Sleeping Beauty, February 16 Matinee

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Overall, I enjoyed the performance. I found the costumes to be a little too bright at times. In my opinion, too many primary colors. LOVED the "singing fairy." I'm not sure if I can explain what it was, there was just something about her that I really liked. On the other hand, I was not that impressed with the Lilac Fairy (Veronika Part). I guess I expected her to really make an impression on me and she didn't.

A few specific things I noticed/questioned.....

First, I did not like the preparation Sologub took when doing pirouettes in the pas de deux. After her bouree forward she would come down on the front foot first, leaving an akward moment when her whole block of the back foot was on the floor and the back leg bent, before putting her entire back foot on the floor for her preparation. Is this common for Kirov dancers? Maybe I'm being picky, but I did not like it.

Second, in the Wedding pas de deux, when they run upstage left, for what I consider the most exciting part of the music, I did not like the simple choreography. They did the standard turn sequence (whip from arabesque), but all she did was open to an arapesque after the turn. I've seen different versions of this sequence and they always having something exciting after the pirouette...not today. The choreography did not fit the excitement in the music.

I also found the same problem in her 3rd act solo. Her last sequence of turns seemed too slow for the music. The develope ecarte part was fine, but then after that the turns that followed were blah! Again, didn't fit the excitement of the music.

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I really enjoyed his solo in thrid act. I wish I could have seen more of him dancing! Sometimes I thought the two seemed a little off in the partnering. But, his solo definately made up for it. His solo seemed to get the most applause from the audience. It really was gorgeous! How old is he? He looks very young on stage. My only complaint was that I didn't get any feel for his character. I'm not sure if that was his fault though. He had so little to do where he stood out. Most of the time he just blended in with the rest of the dancers. I actually found this true throughout most of the ballet. At time I thought the stage was way too crowded, especially in the prologue. Oh, and how could I forget, at the end of the ballet....the stage was crowded on both sides with all of the various third act dancers, fairy tales in the front row down stage, and Sologub & Korsakov were center stage depth wise, but one was somewhat stage left and the other stage right. They should have been center stage. If you were not sitting in the left or right orchestra, theres not way you could have seen both of them clearly.

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Korsakov was certainly more princely than Kolb...then, again, he did not really command the stage. His ActIII solo was beautifully danced, though & he has a very handsome face.

Now, as for Sologub...well, the least said the better. I sometimes wonder what possesses Kirov casting directors to go a certain route.

On a VERY positive note, we had a wonderful new Bluebirdpdd pair in the form of Irina Zhelonkina -- the most purely classical & gentle of the Florines thus far -- and tall & lanky Denis Firsov.

Another delightfully 'pure'dancer, Elvira Tarassova, was Fairy Diamond. [Not ONE Fairy Diamond on this tour was the dancer on the programme! Is the Kirov purposely playing tricks on the critics???? Is this a game of some sort?]

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Re the unannounced cast changes, many of us were asking that same question this weekend, Jeannie. Critics be damned, it's discourteous to the dancers and the audience I think. As the reviewer writing the cast change reviews (I'm doing a weekend wrapup) it really puts a critic in a bind. If I write who I think the dancer is and it's not the one listed in the program, what does someone who was in the audience at that performance think? I was toying with writing "allegedly danced by...." and then thought better of it.

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Originally posted by Jeannie:

Now, as for Sologub...well, the least said the better. I sometimes wonder what possesses Kirov casting directors to go a certain route.

Could you tell us a little more about Sologub, please? She was the only second soloist to dance Aurora during this engagement. Does this mean the company entertains high hopes for her, or was this just another example of matinee casting?

I found it difficult to accept Sologub as a glowing girl on the cusp of womanhood. (This isn't a matter of age. Merle Park projected youthful radiance as Aurora not too long before she retired, and Sologub is probably relatively young, having joined the company in 1998.) Perhaps if binoculars hadn't afforded me a closer look at her makeup, it would have been easier. Neither her parents nor Desire seemed especially adoring, so dewy radiance might have been a little too much to expect. Then again, she was bathed in the benevolence of Veronika Part's memorable Lilac Fairy, so the explanation no doubt lies elsewhere.

Many have commented on Desire's wig. I'm here to tell you that those same binoculars showed Korsakov to look absolutely delicious in the thing--delicious in a sort of male Helena Bonham Carter sense. We wondered about some of the partnering (not sure where the responsibility lay, but there were some effortful turns). However, his Act III solo took my breath away and was over far too soon. Hard to imagine that he had surgery last fall. I hope to see much more of him over the next nine years.

I couldn't help thinking of Alexandre Benois's Reminiscences of the Russian Ballet as I watched this Sleeping Beauty. From my usual seat, I traveled in time and space. This is no doubt as close as I'll come to seeing what the Petipa production must have looked like, and I'm grateful to Alberto Vilar for having given Washington audiences this opportunity.

[ February 18, 2002: Message edited by: Ginny ]

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Thanks for posting that, Ginny -- it was lovely, and I wish you'd post more often smile.gif

I wondered about Sologub, too. I thought her extremely unpolished, especially in the second act. (By "unpolished," I mean that her arms were lacking in grace, and that her dancing was sloppy, unclear. Was she aiming for a 90-degree arabesque and missed, either overshot or undershot that particular landmark by a few degrees? Well, at least she was in the right time zone smile.gif )

I admired Korsakov's dancing very much, too, but I'll always stand up for proper employ, and he doesn't have the line or height for a Prince. (He was wonderful in the Rubies pas de trois, and I'm sure he would make a wonderful Bluebird. Too bad we didn't see him do it.) He was, however, the only Prince who really acted, I thought. He was making a real effort to look gracious and princely.

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Alexandra, I agree with your point about emploi. It would be ideal if Anton Korsakov were an inch or two taller.

Ginny, yes, the Kirov director Makhar Vaziev seems to have high hopes for Natalia Sologub. Out of the roles I've seen danced by her, I think her best role is Lescaut's mistress in Manon. I didn't like her Aurora that much either, her dancing lacked shading. At Covent Garden last year, she was to our surprise the first-night Aurora (dancing with Andrian Fadeyev). Apparently she had only made her debut in the role in St. Petersburg not long before her London performance.

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re. Sologub - Kevin touched on many points that I was going to make. Furthermore, Natalia Sologub was the original Masha (Clara) in the newest production of 'Nutcracker' at the Mariinsky and, I've heard through the grapevine, has been asigned the title role in the upcoming premiere of Kirill Simoniv's new 'Cinderella.' She is definitely the Mariinsky's 'darling' of the moment...or so it seems, judging by her assignments.

Speaking of Simonov -- the Mariinsky's new 'crackerjack choreographer' -- he danced Puss in Boots in every performance of 'Beauty' at the Kennedy Center. Remember him? He usually dances jester in 'Swan Lake' and a number of other such demi-caractere roles.

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Ginny, Sologub does in fact dance "Giselle". I am not sure she is very good in it though. Simonov's Masha had mostly "contemporary"-looking choreography, and she was excellent in that role.

Jeannie, I am so glad smile.gif I was worried that poor Ratmansky got dumped, AGAIN smile.gif

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A bit disappointing news, Jeannie. I can't really imagine Sologub as Cinderella. Her Aurora was less charming than others and her dancing was quite rigid. As Roma said, she was pretty good in a more contemporary choreography. She suits pretty well with the role of kittenish Marsha in the Nutcracker 2001 version. However, Sologub was surprisingly impressive in Chopiniana, so I guess she could make good Giselle as well.

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