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The Bolshoi under Vaziev

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Kryuchkov's bio was translated into English prior to the Bolshoi's London visit in the summer of 2016, because he was dancing Rothbart during the tour.

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20 hours ago, Deflope said:

Tissi has been promoted to first soloist and Kovalyovav to soloist. 

In the case of Alyona Kovalyova, needless to say I'm delighted although I was hoping for Principal (Балерины (Ballerinas, women)) (Премьеры (Premiers, men)), but fair is fair.

Still a few steps to go....Principals, Leading Soloists, First Soloists, Soloists.

 

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1 hour ago, mnacenani said:

Dear Buddy :  as you know, at Balshoy one can be fast-tracked from "Salistka" to "Balerina" depending

on circumstances  :o:o

 ** Mnacenani **, just in case you haven't heard of her -- Alyona Kovalyova -- here is some suggested reading. :)

 

** Started by Mnacenani **, March 13

 ◦    Is Alyona Kovalyova "Zvezda" material ?? 1 2 3
http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/42333-is-alyona-kovalyova-zvezda-material/

 

** Started by Mnacenani **, July 9

Recent Alyona Kovalyova Interview
http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/42758-recent-alyona-kovalyova-interview/

 

** Started by Mnacenani **, September 17

 ◦    Alyona Kovalyova Swan Lake Debut 1 2

http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/42954-alyona-kovalyova-swan-lake-debut/

 

** Started by Mnacenani **, September 24

Alyona Kovalyova Interview-Swan Lake Debut
http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/42970-alyona-kovalyova-interview-swan-lake-debut/

 

 

Edited by Buddy

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Olga Smirnova

“Carmen Suite” (dance with the matador)

Ballet Globe Gala Geneva
November 23, 02017

**** Absolutely The Greatest  !!!! ****


I was hoping for a lot. This was more than that !

There were many excellent performances including her own Sleeping Beauty duet, but this eclipsed everything.

I’m still more or less speechless. 

http://www.theatreduleman.com/index.php?m=0&s=3&agId=1005

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A few attempted objective comments (as I’m still quite speechless and in no way want to diminish the impact as expressed in my post above) about Olga Smirnova’s “Carmen Suite” excerpt (the dance with the matador), which could probably stand on its own as a ballet classic if performed by her.

I was expecting her to sizzle, which is typical of what I’ve seen at the Mariinsky, as best performed by Diana Vishneva. From what I can see on the internet, the Bolshoi version is surprisingly more toned down, but by no means less dramatic. 

Olga Smirnova’s take is that of a goddess. There is simply no way that any man is going to resist her. 

Her presentation was absolutely beautiful, but perhaps more important….

There was no theatrical embellishment.

This was real !

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On 11/24/2017 at 11:25 PM, Buddy said:

Olga Smirnova

“Carmen Suite” (dance with the matador)

Ballet Globe Gala Geneva
November 23, 02017

**** Absolutely The Greatest  !!!! ****


I was hoping for a lot. This was more than that !

There were many excellent performances including her own Sleeping Beauty duet, but this eclipsed everything.

I’m still more or less speechless. 

http://www.theatreduleman.com/index.php?m=0&s=3&agId=1005

Agh, was this a link to the video of the performance? Such a tease, and now... nothing... :-(

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3 hours ago, Fleurdelis said:

Agh, was this a link to the video of the performance? Such a tease, and now... nothing... :-(

No, you didn't miss the performance. This was the printed program which apparently is now gone. If anyone wants to know who the other performers were please ask.

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The video focused exclusively on Rothbart who, in this spectacle, was eclipsed by the protagonists to the point of being redundant. Neither menacing, nor evil, with not much stage presence, in comparison with the commanding presence of both Odette/Odile and the Prince. Tissi, still at the beginner stage as a partner, showed princely manners and, at times, great acting skills, like in the coda of the whole ballet. After pausing for three months, Stepanova's return to the stage was marked by never before seen emotional intensity, that was the most moving Odette I may have ever seen, including all the extant recordings of Ulanova that served for years for me as a touchstone of perfection.

Most prominent ballerinas today either add foreign to the part of Odette inventions, "embellish" the classical idiom with personal "mannerisms" (these mannerisms are spreading like fire recently, I have seen the strangest, contorted, hands, arms, torso movements in the Odette's part done by a number of prominent dancers), or make it clear that they are just following some meaningless ritual, sacro-sanct to the classical ballerina craft.

I don't know which is worse. If the latter convinces some western critics to proclaim "Swan Lake" to be a dead museum piece, the former convinces certain people in the audience that they are witnessing a "genius", a resurrected Anna Pavlova, while in reality they are watching somebody trying to mask how awkaward all that business of harmonious épaulement, cantilena, classical purity of lines, etc, feels to them. What do they see is, to quote Théophile Gautier, "the result of violent gymnastic exercises that a ballerina subjects her body to in a rehearsal room". And nothing else.

Stepanova interests me primarily because, in contrast to all those ballerinas, her movement is uniquely effortlessly classical, as if she simply breathes this way, yet it feels absolutely alive. This is her vernacular language, she speaks it fluently and is, moreover, capable of making some very moving confessions. These were exactly my thoughts while watching this most recent, very unusual, "Swan Lake". Unusual, because the purity of classical idiom was matched by the intensity of the sentiments, lived through and conveyed to the audience. I am not aware of any other ballerina today who is capable of it. Not a single one.

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19 hours ago, Quinten said:

Vaziev brings a new Prince to the Bolshoi.  Jacapo Tissi in Swan Lake with Yulia Stepanova and Michael Kryuchkov on January 14, 2018.

 

 

Grigorovitch versions dizzies me. 1000 steps per music bar...all the time, at all times. Agggh...

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On ‎1‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 11:05 AM, Quinten said:

"Moving confessions", yes , watching Stepanova on video I am intrigued by the sense that she is revealing her most intimate feelings through restrained classical movement.   I'm glad to hear that she is able to project this from the stage to audience members such as yourself, Laurent.  

I always try to sit close to the stage not to miss any nuances. I do this everywhere whenever possible. With some performers it doesn't matter much, since they project emptiness, with Stepanova it is simply a must, otherwise you'll miss a lot (you don't taste a superb Burgundy from cheap wine glasses).

Quote

Yet another reason to dislike this version!

This recent bloc of "Swan Lakes" made me aware that Grigorovich's version has a lot to recommend if it is danced by the real artists, it has a conceptual and dramatic coherence that the Noureev's version danced in Paris lacks, it also has great character dancing, "on pointes". In comparison, character dancing is weak in Noureev's version. But it needs really great, soulful artists to make these qualities obvious. Noureev's version is longer, it uses practically all the music that is in Tchaikovsky's score and then some, unfortunately it also interpolates some dubious variations for Rothbart, and makes room for an even more dubious long Pas de deux for the Prince and his tutor, I am always barely able to withstand it, focusing exclusively on the studied elegance of Ganio or Heymann who even when they walk show what it means to be a danseur noble.

This recent bloc of "Swan Lakes" demonstrates also that Bolshoi has currently two sensational ballerinas, Kovalyeva, fresh and alluring like a white lily, yet gracious and natural (unlike, e.g., Smirnova, who is, by contrast, an embodiment of studious artificiality, her classical ballerina craft contaminated by all sorts of mannerisms; I love Mannerism, on the walls of Château de Fontainebleau, not in classical ballet), and Stepanova, profound and refined classical purity personified, that grabs your heart. The Bolshoi also has a very promising and princely Tissi, who commands stage the way no other dancer of the Bolshoi does. Judging from the rapid development some young dancers show under Vaziev (Zhiganshina demonstrated what a marvelous par terre danseuse she is in the Pas de trois of the first act, she reminded me of what we know of legendary Amalia Ferraris), I expect both Kovalyeva, Tissi and, perhaps, others, to be soon contributing to rejuvenation of the art of ballet after the years of steady decline.

 

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1 hour ago, Laurent said:

I always try to sit close to the stage not to miss any nuances. I do this everywhere whenever possible. With some performers it doesn't matter much, since they project emptiness, with Stepanova it is simply a must, otherwise you'll miss a lot (you don't taste a superb Burgundy from cheap wine glasses).

 

 

Sounds wonderful.

(Fortunately, it is also true that a great ballerina  knows how to make her presence felt even when people can't see her face "close up." I once was sitting in the middle of the fourth ring at New York City Ballet. When Jenifer Ringer came on the stage in Martins' Stabat Mater you could feel the air change -- people sitting in the rows around me all but caught their breath audibly. And we were way too far away for most of us to see every detail. Her dancing made us feel it anyway.)

 

Edited by Drew

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2 hours ago, Laurent said:

I always try to sit close to the stage not to miss any nuances. I do this everywhere whenever possible.

I do too, Laurent.

And I share your admiration for Alyona Kovalyova. As you say so well, "Fresh and alluring like a white lily, yet gracious and natural". 

But....I also consider Olga Smirnova one of the greatest ballerinas ever. A slight difference of opinion.  :)

Santé (Cheers)

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What age was Jenifer Ringer who made "her presence felt" to the most distant corners of the theatre? Getting on a few occasions to those distant places in various theatres, I must confess, I had hard time of even seeing clearly who was on stage, much less to be able to observe any detail of performance. I am not equipped with eyesight of an eagle, and I am used to see as much as possible. Experiencing only "presence felt" is for me like seeing somebody opening a bottle of some magnificent wine, "presence felt", sure, what interests me is to taste it, fully, myself, however.

There can be several factors that often contribute to the audience behaviour described by you: the sudden beauty and solemnity of the corresponding number danced by whoever does it combined with a particularly beautiful and moving musical textures, the fame of the dancer in question, even if she is only an "étoile" of strictly local proportions, yet at a particular place she may have earned adulation to the point of every of her stage appearances causing a stir and waves of ready applause. This happens often with older "stars" of the company, but also happens to be the case with the newest "hot things". So many times I observed basic inability of people who proud themselves of "ballet going", sometimes for decades, to tell apart a major talent from a craftsman, a slick crowd pleaser, that I hold low expectations regarding the ability of the audience to discern the real thing entirely on their own.

I noticed, by the way, a heated discussion developed elsewhere regarding the merits or the lack thereof, of Kovalyeva, with the name of Lopatkina inevitably repeatedly being mentioned as if Lopatkina was the ultimate touchstone of excellence. Lopatkina was a very singular ballerina, and she always represented only her own, very peculiar idiom that she has been perfecting for years with a zeal of a monk-hermite. I don't find it useful to compare anybody to Lopatkina. Kovalyeva, if she needs to be compared, could be compared rather to young Zakharova, except of a more tender type. Talking about "accomplishments" for a dancer of such a young age is a favourite pastime for balletomanes but has nothing to contribute to the question of presence or magnitude of talent and the prospects for the future. Great artistic directors are those who look and nourish talent, they don't look for "accomplishments". With proper coaching talented people can be taught almost everything. People with less talent can be taught also "nearly" everything, except for those few things that really matter (and the things that really matter are not: never setting a foot wrong, stable execution of 32 fouettés, breathtaking turns, mammoth jumps, or other circus tricks). Aurélie Dupont made a very young Germain Louvet an étoile even though on the night she was ready to enter the stage (I saw her in the wings dressed up for that occasion), and make an announcement, the young dancer made so many mistakes in his only solo variation, that even Dupont backed down. She made him an étoile two nights later. And she made a right decision. I was on both nights at l'Opéra, seating at the V.I.P. seats next to a noted expert on "la danse classique", visiting Paris for three days, who asserted the correctness of the decision by a simple and convincing remark: “it is obvious that the boy is immensely talented, the life of a dancer is too short, she is doing the right thing". In the face of such an authoritative pronouncement, I shut up.

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2 hours ago, Laurent said:

What age was Jenifer Ringer who made "her presence felt" to the most distant corners of the theatre? Getting on a few occasions to those distant places in various theatres, I must confess, I had hard time of even seeing clearly who was on stage, much less to be able to observe any detail of performance. I am not equipped with eyesight of an eagle, and I am used to see as much as possible. Experiencing only "presence felt" is for me like seeing somebody opening a bottle of some magnificent wine, "presence felt", sure, what interests me is to taste it, fully, myself, however.

 

 

Ringer was definitely much further along in her career than Kovalyova is now and probably somewhat older/more experienced than Stepanova (in the very different repertory she was dancing). In my judgement at the performance I'm remembering, Ringer really did bring a different dimension to the ballet than the other dancers--people weren't just reacting to a well-known favorite, but to something she was able to convey as an artist across a distance. I'm sorry I can't put it for you more exactly. And of course it's always possible I was reacting emotionally :).

I certainly believe it must have been wonderful to see Stepanova close up. I love to sit close for some performances if I can, but am so short I usually either lose all the lower part of the leg or find my view is completely blocked by people in front of me, so I mostly sit somewhat further away now or upstairs. And unfortunately, in recent years, I find my eyesight is decidedly ageing -- in fact, perhaps that is one reason I do very much appreciate good and, especially, great dancers who can indeed project and make their distinctiveness felt at a distance.  I don't know about the Bolshoi theater though--I have never been there and it is so famously large. My mother described to me seeing Fonteyn and Nureyev at the Hollywood Bowl from far, far, far away--so that it was like looking through the wrong end of a telescope. But I believe she still thought it was worth seeing them even at that distance.

Anyway, I don't doubt Stepanova's power to cast her magic across a wide swathe of the audience even if it is a special thrill to see her close up. Because it does seem to me a quality that great ballerinas have that they can translate their artistry across space... But I'm sure it is a special thrill to see her close up. And one sees things in individual performances that one doesn't at a distance.

(About a decade ago I saw the Vikharev Coppelia with Osipova once from back of theater slightly raised and once from the front row where I lost a bit of her feet, and I remember thinking that in my fantasy ballet-going world I would see all my favorite ballerinas twice in every role--once from further back or upstairs and once from right at the front. Not practical of course!) 

Edited by Drew

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Bolshoi (which in Russian means "big" is not big, it was named this way, because there was next to it another theatre called Malyi, which means "small"  (well, I always had great seats in the orchestra, I never climbed to the galleries high up). Bolshoi has a big stage but the size of the orchestra is small, as compared to many of the 20-th century opera theatre buildings, especially those modern simplistic ugly pile-ups of geometrically shaped stairs and balconies, like at Opéra Bastille. The interior of one of the most beautiful opera buildings, Palais Garnier, feels remarkably cozy, it is so modestly sized. Even there I prefer to be close to the artists, and when you are in one of the internal service boxes, you have the dancers sometimes next to your nose.

For a general ballet goer sitting close has a distinct disadvantage, except for those really rare occasions when you face true artists, you will be seeing how prosaic and lacking in refinement is movement and acting of the majority of dancers. Then it is indeed better not to see it by choosing to be seated at a distance.

I am definitely not a 'fan' type, this is why I am always ready to be surprised by somebody who I may not have any expectations about. And, yes, I regularly witness some truly notable performances by certain dancers from provincial or foreign troupes. Or by this or that, earlier unnoticeable, dancer from a company I may know well. It is remarkable, how many indeed truly interesting dancers live their whole careers practically unnoticed by the media, including all the countless people who write about dance online and they seem to be in constant need of subjects to wrote about. Seeing true artists performing means for me a lot more than whether they are considered "hot", "great", and so on. True artists, talented, if not always well schooled, may have all their careers completely passing unnoticed, while simultaneously a lot "dead wood" has guaranteed constant coverage in the dance trade journals. We live in the times when, it seems, the majority of people who write about dance really aren't certain whether what they write about has any merit, or has not, whether the dancers they feature are singularly talented or they are heavily promoted. Today, I am afraid, most people writing about ballet cannot determine whether a ballerina has beautiful or ugly lines, her épaulement is correct or considered a nightmare at Vaganova or l'École de danse.  As a result, what they write becomes practically redundant, it has no information value.

P.S. Concerning inability to see Osipova's feet - consider this to be a blessing in disguise, she's been afflicted with serious feet problems, as a result her pointes usually looked really off-putting, better not to be able to see them.

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5 hours ago, Laurent said:

I always try to sit close to the stage not to miss any nuances. I do this everywhere whenever possible. With some performers it doesn't matter much, since they project emptiness, with Stepanova it is simply a must, otherwise you'll miss a lot (you don't taste a superb Burgundy from cheap wine glasses).

This is interesting to me. You don't find that you miss seeing part of the dancers' feet? I sat in the third row of Bastille a few weeks ago for one of Pagliero's Don Quixotes and I could not see the bottom half of her feet. I am fairly tall (1m82) and sat up as straight as I could.

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Bastille is a terrible place for ballet, I am never really satisfied. In general, I know the theatres I frequent well enough to know which seats offer which limitations. I avoid seating where I don't see feet of the dancers. This is rarely a problem for me, I am considered to be a tall person. When watching representations with Pagliero at Bastille I was seating either slightly further back (and higher), or in the front of the first balcony. Otherwise, I am used to have seats with limited visibility of the stage one way or another. From a service box at Palais Garnier, you don't see a sizeable chunk of the stage at all, but you can see the tiniest detail of what you actually see. Not a problem for me, I know the pieces shown well, see them multiple times, observing a show from the wings gives you even more distorted view of the whole, but a lot of insight unavailable otherwise.

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9 hours ago, Laurent said:

Kovalyeva, if she needs to be compared, could be compared rather to young Zakharova, except of a more tender type.

When I introduced the little-known Kovalyova to the forum last March my teaser was that she resembled a current Bolshoy prima at the time of her Vaganova graduation and asked for suggestions as to who that might be, and Buddy came up immediately with Zaharova ..... spot on !

Edited by mnacenani

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35 minutes ago, Laurent said:

...

I am definitely not a 'fan' type, this is why I am always ready to be surprised by somebody who I may not have any expectations about. And, yes, I regularly witness some truly notable performances by certain dancers from provincial or foreign troupes. Or by this or that, earlier unnoticeable, dancer from a company I may know well. It is remarkable, how many indeed truly interesting dancers live their whole careers practically unnoticed by the media...

Oh yes...Such discoveries take place in the theater I think for the most part...So, in my case I alway wish I could see much more than I do “live,” however grateful I am for video.

 

 

Edited by Drew

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5 hours ago, Buddy said:

And I share your admiration for Alyona Kovalyova. As you say so well, "Fresh and alluring like a white lily, yet gracious and natural". 

But....I also consider Olga Smirnova one of the greatest ballerinas ever. A slight difference of opinion.

Genuine interest, not "admiration", it is way too early to talk about "admiration". I have been observing her for a while and my interest has not diminished. She is undeniably a "rara avis", it looks to me that Vaziev hit a jackpot with her. And with Tissi too. In French ballet circles he earned the reputation and respect for his ability to see the real talent early and nourish it, whoever those talented people may be. There was a time I had a similar interest for Smirnova, then very young, my interest diminished and, gradually, evaporated when I realized the permanent nature of her limitations. I am not inclined to discuss, really, concrete dancer's limitations in public, they are all human beings, working very hard, sacrificing often everything they have without any certainty of success. I feel what you take to be the signs of her "genius" is but her attempts to hide her inborn inability to produce a natural, harmonious flow of the upper body movement, of her shoulders, of her hands, and to present the underlying awkwardness to the audience as "plastique originale", as an artistic "solution", which it isn't. Also her approach to the roles, too rational, too calculated, she is unable to shed this "I have taken care of everything" image when she is on stage. Such is her Aurora, a business lady who planned her life before she was born, such is her Odette which is really more like Odile "en blanc", such was also her Carmen. I prefer the dancers who are capable of drawing me into their world because there is something magnetic and perhaps very pure in them.

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5 hours ago, mnacenani said:

When I introduced the unknown Kovalyova to the forum last March my teaser was that she resembled a current Bolshoy prima at the time of her Vaganova graduation and asked for suggestions as to who that might be, and Buddy came up immediately with Zaharova ..... spot on !

Some of us HAD already seen her, and noted her immense talent since Vaganova days, where she was being featured in Vaganova performances long before her actual graduation year!  

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I've always felt that the artists should be treated with love and respect. I certainly hope that this is the case (or becomes so) with Alyona Kovalyova and everyone else.

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On 1/19/2018 at 10:27 PM, Laurent said:

I always try to sit close to the stage not to miss any nuances. I do this everywhere whenever possible. With some performers it doesn't matter much, since they project emptiness, with Stepanova it is simply a must, otherwise you'll miss a lot (you don't taste a superb Burgundy from cheap wine glasses).

I don't know how anyone who loves ballet can always sit close to the stage. I find the view from close to the stage (like the first few rows) cuts off the dancer's feet, makes it hard to see any patterns of the corps, and also makes it difficult to judge the amplitude of movement. You have to be several rows away from the stage to see those things.

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If you don't sit close to the performing artists, you have no chance observing all the nuances and details of their performance. You can be "several rows away" and still be close. Or you may be watching from a box close to the stage. In every theatre it is possible to be close and not to have dancer's feet "cut off". Remember that in many older European theatres the stage is raked, making the stage floor perfectly visible even for those who sit in the front of the orchestra. High capacity new opera buildings are in general very ballet unfriendly, besides being ugly. Watching great classics at Bastille for me is a torture.

I avoid the first two rows of orchestra for a different reason, I don't want to be distracted by what is going on in the orchestra pit, and by the lights in it.

When you sit in the orchestra you lose, indeed, the patterns of ensembles, this is why I sit very often in the first balcony, secondly, I watch multiple representations of the same spectacle, I don't need to watch always from the same spot.

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13 minutes ago, canbelto said:

I don't know how anyone who loves ballet can always sit close to the stage

I also like to sit as close as possible, at a row from where the proscenium is below my eye level but not any further back. I must see the mime, the facial expression/s and the eyes of the dancer/s - for me characterisation is very important. If one can catch the orchestra direct to ear that experience is also very nice. Anyone been to the Stopera (formerly Het Muziektheater) in Amsterdam ? A true amphitheater with the orchestra sitting in the open a wee bit below stage level with just safety cabling around, one picks up so much more.

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