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mnacenani

Is Alyona Kovalyova "Zvezda" material ??

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40 minutes ago, Fleurdelis said:

Even her height, which one would think would give her an advantage here, was of no help. 

Is height really an advantage to become Myrtha ? Imho without perfect, excellent characterisation physical outlook and perfect technique will not convince the viewer. Members are probably sick of my writing again and again that excellent characterisation is required for all three main roles of Giselle, but isn't it really ??  Even my beloved Zaharova is not a good Giselle, and can't visualise her as Myrtha either. (Top secret - for your eyes only !!  My wife after seeing a recent video of Svetlana as Giselle quipped that she is nowadays looking more like the mother of Albrecht than his heart throb ..... mauvaise langue !!)

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It is true, characterization is everything, but it is easier to be convincing in one's characterization if there are also some physical attributes that go with the role.

As for Kovaleva, I might probably be more convinced by her tall Giselle, if she ever dances that role, than by her recent cutesy Myrtha.

I have not seen that many great Myrthas, to be fair. In my mind, the perfect ballerina for this role would have been Veronica Part (don't know if she ever danced Myrtha or not), who has both the substantial height and the solemn monumental countenance to create the stern, powerful and unforgiving character that in my mind is needed here. A bit like the Mother Russia monument from Volgograd. At the Bolshoi the closest I can see to that is Stepanova, who is, however, of smaller height.

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20 minutes ago, Fleurdelis said:

At the Bolshoi the closest I can see to that is Stepanova, who is, however, of smaller height.

I have yet to form a definitive opinion on Stepanova but found her recent Myrtha at the Bolshoy very convincing. And yes - Alyona might become a very good Giselle, you do have a point here !  Re Myrtha :  saw Masha Allash a couple of times over the last couple of years and thought she was a convincing Myrtha, and she is not very tall either.

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Actually Alyona Kovalyova not being a sternly convincing Myrtha doesn't really bother me at all. She's Lovely and that's the kind of role, I feel, that she (or any other ballerina) should be given. Giselle would be fine and I've seen the 'heavies,' such as Odile and Gamzatti, done very appropriately with fine poetic sensitivity. This she could do.

As for her hands, they have some very nice qualities and she is being coached to make them more beautiful as can be seen in the Diamonds rehearsal video.

Thanks, Mnacenani and Fleurdelis, for your thoughts and for keeping us posted on her performance schedule and what's she's currently doing. 

The December 20 Don Kixot with her as the Dryads' Queen and Olga Smirnova as Kitri sounds great, Mnacenani. Wish I could be there. The Dryads' Queen should be just fine for her and at this point I would climb a mountain to see Olga Smirnova do anything ! 

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ALyona Kovalyova will debut as Mireille de Poitiers in Flames of Paris on 14th December.  Her partner will be Jacopo Tissi.

Edited by MadameP

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15 minutes ago, Buddy said:

Thanks, Mnacenani and Fleurdelis, for your thoughts and for keeping us posted on her performance schedule and what's she's currently doing

Actually, instead of asking other members to help out I should myself be clicking on the following link every couple of days to keep track of her casting : https://www.bolshoi.ru/en/persons/ballet/3306/

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3 minutes ago, mnacenani said:

Actually, instead of asking other members to help out I should myself be clicking on the following link every couple of days to keep track of her casting : https://www.bolshoi.ru/en/persons/ballet/3306/

I've only checked her profile several times, but this is the first time that I noticed a "Nearest Performances" being included. Good to have.

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14 minutes ago, MadameP said:

ALyona Kovalyova will debut as Mireille de Poitiers in Flames of Paris on 14th December.  Her partner will be Jacopo Tissi.

No chance to see this FoP but maybe the Don Kixot. I would much rather see this great Petipa classic, Smirnova, Kovalyova and Rodkin should be great.

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7 hours ago, Fleurdelis said:

I have not seen that many great Myrthas, to be fair. In my mind, the perfect ballerina for this role would have been Veronica Part (don't know if she ever danced Myrtha or not)

Myrtha was a cornerstone of Part's repertoire at ABT. She was wonderful in the role.

Of the Myrthas I've seen, the one I treasure most is Marie-Agnès Gillot. What was wonderful about it was that she didn't seem to have to "try": so tall and glamorous and with such a big jump, like a goddess of death. (A Myrtha who is very obviously striving to be imperious and intimidating is already failing to be that. And I hate herky-jerky, i.e. "mean," Myrthas, because they look anything but incorporeal.)

Many moons ago I saw a wonderful Myrtha with the Australian Ballet, who could do entrechats-six as well any man. The frustrating thing is that I can't remember her name, because she was a "guest artist," so her name doesn't usually pop up in information on the company. I can only remember that the name was Irish. 

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10 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

Myrtha was a cornerstone of Part's repertoire at ABT. She was wonderful in the role.

 

How would you describe her characterisation?  And her strong points. I've never seen her perform this.

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10 minutes ago, Gnossie said:

But the greatest Myrtha of all time is (IMHO) Dame Monica Mason. 

 

She was indeed fantastic, though her contemporary, Deanne Bergsma, was also sensational in the role, perhaps because of her jaw dropping pas de bouree which remains unrivalled.  Sadly the Royal Ballet no longer has a half way decent Myrtha, perhaps due to the refusal to cast a principal in the role.

Sorry to hear Vaziev is still promoting over-extended dancers, I have been hoping that style would be quietly dropped.  I'm still in shock at Alexandrova's demotion.

 

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4 hours ago, Gnossie said:

Vaziev doesn't learn, he never will.

If I may be allowed to express an opinion :  Vaziev has a handful of young talent he has to develop and promote and make way for, and he has the unenviable task of nudging out beloved dancers who are definitely on the final straight, so as to say. I loved Kaptsova too, she looks much younger on stage but is 39. I was really shocked and bitter when my beloved Alexandrova unexpectedly resigned at the end of January, just days after I had to cancel my trip and missed her final Gamzatti. She did spill out the bad blood between her and Vaziev on the Sati Spivakova tv show (I had posted at the time) and days later Vaziev countered by saying in an interview (I had posted at the time) "some dancers in the twilight of their careers still want to dance roles they were dancing 20 years ago" and "Baryshnikov was 33 when he danced his last Basilio !". Even my beloved Zaharova I have to admit is nowadays looking a bit old for some roles - my wife quipped the other day after watching one of her recent Giselles that she looked like Albrecht's mother ! Technique, execution I accept is so important but imho the dancer also has to "look the part" ....... as Myrtha has to "look the part" to be believable. Vaziev has to develop the young talent he has hired and it seems to me he tries them by throwing them in at the deep end from time to time : remember how he surprised everyone by suddenly casting a CdB dancer as Kitri on the London tour last year ? (who was it ?) I surely am not as knowledgeable as our seasoned members but I get to see the Bolshoy once a month on average and have a feeling that Vaziev is the best thing that could have happened to the Bolshoy after the turmoil of 2013 - I think Urin had great foresight. This is just my subjective personal opinion and may not be shared by other members.

PS : surprise Kitri on London tour was Shreiner I recalled.

Edited by mnacenani

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Admiration for the Bolshoi and its traditions extends far further than Moscow, far more ballet goers care than you assume.  To see the Bolshoi style dismantled in favour of the contortionists will be a tragedy.

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I'm not sure how much time Kovyalova spends working on her parts, and this could be part of the problem.  If you look at her Instagram, it's full of galas, photo shoots, spending fun time with her equally cute sister, and, during the last two weeks of August, vacationing in Provence.  Two weeks after returning from Provence she danced O/O. I can't picture Smirnova or Stepanova or any other serious ballet dancer goofing around until two weeks prior to such an important debut.  The fact that she even got through SL speaks to her native talent, but of course there could be no refinement, no characterization beyond the obvious.  For some people, the work ethic does not come naturally and discipline must be imposed from the outside, rewarding hard work and not allowing any BS.  Bolshoi is not doing her any favors by allowing or condoning this lack of seriousness.  

I agree that Myrtha is not an appropriate role for Kovyalova at this time. A young, apple-cheeked and naturally joyous ballerina attempting Myrtha has a lot of work to do to get past the image of life and health.  Kovyalova's lack of work ethic will likely prevent that from happening at least for many years, if ever.  She will have many attractive alternatives other than being the member of a large ballet company and I would not be surprised to see her move on.

 

Edited by Quinten
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7 minutes ago, Quinten said:

I agree that Myrtha is not an appropriate role for Kovyalova at this time. A young, apple-cheeked and naturally joyous ballerina attempting Myrtha has a lot of work to do to get past the image of life and health.  Kovyalova's lack of work ethic will likely prevent that from happening at least for many years, if ever.  She will have many attractive alternatives other than being the member of a large ballet company and I would not be surprised to see her move on

After seeing her SL debut live at Bolshoy cannot really visualise Alyona as Myrtha - would have liked to see her in role but missed this casting completely. Re whether she will move on to more attractive alternatives ...... weydaminit please - let us give her the benefit of the doubt for the moment (Buddy ..... where are you my pal ??). There was a time when people thought Genya Obr. was going to quit classic ballet for "Hollywood" but she stayed on and got to the top.

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24 minutes ago, mnacenani said:

After seeing her SL debut live at Bolshoy cannot really visualise Alyona as Myrtha - would have liked to see her in role but missed this casting completely. Re whether she will move on to more attractive alternatives ...... weydaminit please - let us give her the benefit of the doubt for the moment (Buddy ..... where are you my pal ??). There was a time when people thought Genya Obr. was going to quit classic ballet for "Hollywood" but she stayed on and got to the top.

Only for you, Mnacenani, will I drop everything that I'm doing and reply.  :)

I'm actually thinking of watching for about the 50th time the video clip  of Alyona Kovalyova's rehearsal of Diamonds . 

Added: I don't really want to belittle any one else's opinion, but I do think that she's an absolutely beautiful ballerina.

Edited by Buddy

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I'm just shocked that spending time with your sister is considered a breach of work ethic. 

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47 minutes ago, canbelto said:

I'm just shocked that spending time with your sister is considered a breach of work ethic. 

It's not the sister, it's the amount of time. :lol:

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I'm glad no-one thought Lopatkina should have been put out to pasture at 39. I'd have missed two of the greatest performances of my entire, no-longer-young life.

Perhaps I should forbear mentioning Sibley's story of watching the Bolshoi rehearse the first time the company came to London and seeing a plain little grey haired lady she assumed was the ballet mistress cast off her dressing gown and turn into a 14 year old girl. (That's Ulanova for those who don't know the story.)

For sure, directors need to find ways to promote younger talent.  But I hardly think it should be by prematurely dismissing and demoting major artists who not only have much to offer audiences, but who can also serve as models for the young talent directors want to promote.

Edited by Drew

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We all have different tastes on this forum.  Vaziev does indeed have a hard task pleasing everyone -  giving the "old guard" ballerinas roles while encouraging young talent.   Let us not forget that, as well as giving leading roles to Kovalyova, he has also given them to Margarita Shrayner (Kitri, Sylphide, Jeanne, Masha among them),  Ksenia Zhiganshina (Gulnare, Masha, Gamzatti, Ballerina), Diana Kosyreva (Jeanne, Ondine) and many others.  Of course they have not been promoted young as Kovalyova has been, but nevertheless, Vaziev gives many debuts.  Allash, Kaptsova and Alexandrova might have been pushed sideways on the roster to the "performing under contract" category, but all ARE still being given roles - maybe not as many as formerly, but they are still performing  Kaptsova was Zina in The Bright Stream in October, is Masha during December and also rehearsing for the role of Margot in the upcoming Nureyev.  Alexandrova and Allash both performed Aegina last month and Alexandrova is rehearsing for Nureyev also.   If we are to talk about the physiques of dancers, then everyone has their own taste, and yes, I think Kovalyova is tall, but she is a very talented girl, her long limbs do make the most beautiful lines, and to me far more beautiful than those of Maria Alexandrova, who honestly to me resembles a mini weight lifter on stage.  Finally, I would ike to say that at the recent Vinogradov 80th birthday gala in St Petersburg, which I attended, Kovalyova was given the honour of closing the gala with her partner, dancing Vinogradov's own Adagio set to Barber's Adagio, and judging from the applause, not just Vinogradov, but all the audience very much admired her.  

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To continue Alyona Kovalyova’s quote from Laura Cappelle’s interview, 

….”I’m trying to stay who I am, like I was taught”…

“Still, she looks up to the Bolshoi's prima ballerinas and appreciates the dancers' openness, both onstage and off: "I felt welcomed and supported. I have really friendly colleagues." “

http://www.pointemagazine.com/community/lauracappelle

The “prima ballerinas” list at the Bolshoi might probably start with Svetlana Zakharova, who several years ago performed a Giselle that I wrote at the time could have been the finest performance of Anything(!) that I’ve ever seen. Holding onto one’s youthfulness can be a very important factor and one that I’m confident she and many of the others are capable of doing. I’ve seen some very fine performances from Maria Alexandrova. A personal favorite of all the Bolshoi’s ballerinas is Nina Kaptsova whom I hope will find much more success along with all the others.

If Alyona Kovalyova can lead as normal and happy a life as possible in addition to her wonderful performing, then I have to say more power to her.

Edited by Buddy

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1 hour ago, MadameP said:

Maria Alexandrova, who honestly to me resembles a mini weight lifter on stage.

:angry2::angry2::crying:  Shame on you !  No one can undermine my deep attachment to my beloved Masha !!

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1 minute ago, Gnossie said:

Lopatkina reached her peak when she was 42, nuff said! 😀

Am I right in thinking Lapatkina fell out with Fateyev due to same reason Alexandrova fell out with Vaziev :  how often and what they should be dancing ??

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16 hours ago, Gnossie said:

Well, we will Just have to agree to disagree, everyone has different conceptions about "talent", I am a die hard classicist and can not stand to see hyper-extended teenagers taking over what once was a respectable company, I go to the Bolshoi on a weakly  basis, I have worked in it and all I can say is that the current situation at the Bolshoi is far from ideal, at least to ME.

 

NO, Vaziev doesn't "have" to promote the "young talent", Vaziev SHOULD develop the correct dancers at a normal pace, he shouldn't trow hyper-extended teenagers onstage to destroy the classics. Also what Mr. Vaziev considers talent, I personally consider an outrage, sorry I just don't like hyper-extended teenagers whoses limbs have a life of their own, limbs so long they don't even know where to place them, horrible horrible placement, clumsy heads, weird hands and absolutely no acting skills, but that's just my opinion, I don't like Zakharova and I can't even see Smirnova, other people love them and that's alright, to each his own, this isn't a new move by Vaziev either, he's doing the same mistakes at the Bolshoi he did at the Mariinsky, exactly the same, putting older dancers to sleep and promoting hyper-extended teenagers, it's the same script, what's disturbing is that by doing this he's making a very generous contribution to the death of the Bolshoi style .....but who cares!

 

Finally, Madame Kaptsova and Alexandrova aren't on the twilight of their careers, Kaptsova is in the peak of her career and Maria Alexandrova -a dancer I have always disliked- is still performing technically (and artistically) stronger than most 20 year olds in the company. What he has done to them is unforgivable, but even if they were on the twilight of their careers, that's not the way of treating an artist, you can not (or should not) put a PRIMA BALLERINA to sleep Just so you can promote a kid, that for the simple fact of being a kid isn't capable of putting on stage what older, mature, ravishing and still in their prime dancers can do.

 

First and last time I write in anything related to Kovalyova, arrivederci!

When you say you go to the Bolshoi on a weekly basis, do you mean you go to performances weekly, or do you go to classes and rehearsals inside the theatre?   And which years were you working there?  

Edited by MadameP

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