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mnacenani

Is Alyona Kovalyova "Zvezda" material ??

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On 4/22/2018 at 10:58 AM, Drew said:

You don't say anything about the production. I think it is fantastic--really makes the case for Coppelia as ballet's master comedy.

Please see my report which is now under the "The Bolshoi under Vaziev" thread.

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On 4/22/2018 at 8:31 PM, Buddy said:

In addition, she may also be on her way to being one of the most beautiful Mariinsky ballerinas ever, except that she’s doing it at the Bolshoi.

Buddy ..... my dear friend ..... just LOOK at the photo I scanned from the back cover of the Petipa Gala programme at Stasik past Tuesday eve .... oh my ..... oh my .... OH MY !!!

https://flic.kr/p/26xf6Qk

(would love to post full photo here, but it's from an ad and may contravene forum policy)

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4 hours ago, mnacenani said:

Buddy ..... my dear friend ..... just LOOK at the photo I scanned from the back cover of the Petipa Gala programme at Stasik past Tuesday eve .... oh my ..... oh my .... OH MY !!!

https://flic.kr/p/26xf6Qk

(would love to post full photo here, but it's from an ad and may contravene forum policy)

Muhteşem — Magnifique !

If I was 50 years younger....  😊

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2 hours ago, Buddy said:

If I was 50 years younger....  😊

50 years younger ..... what's wrong with 30 years younger ?? Satan ... where are you ??  I accept your offer !!

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15 hours ago, Buddy said:

May 9 -- "Diamonds"

Thanks for the heads up, but I'll stick with Bayaderka. Not that I know much, but I subscribe to  Joukowsky's view regarding  ... err ... someone : "He repudiated the spiritual side of dance - he only left the technique and abstract ideas"

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I guess my only response to that, Mnacenani, is this brief excerpt from the work that you saw at the Mariinsky ‘Festival’ in March. It’s the only ‘official’ release of a George Balanchine duet that I can find on the internet.

Tiler Peck & Jared Angle in A Midsummer Night's Dream (excerpt) Divertissement pas de deux

 

Added: 

I also had a video that included George Balanchine coaching Mikhail Baryshnikov in the Prodigal Son. The emotion that he tried to convey was about as soulful as you can get.

 

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52 minutes ago, Buddy said:

I guess my only response to that, Mnacenani, is this brief excerpt from the work that you saw at the Mariinsky ‘Festival’ in March. It’s the only ‘official’ release of a George Balanchine duet that I can find on the internet.

Tiler Peck & Jared Angle in A Midsummer Night's Dream (excerpt) Divertissement pas de deux

 

Added: 

I also had a video that included George Balanchine coaching Mikhail Baryshnikov in the Prodigal Son. The emotion that he tried to convey was about as soulful as you can get.

 

Buddy, your post made me smile!  Petipa ballets are closest to my heart, but Balanchine's ballets cannot be dismissed as being without soul.   I am not a Tiler Peck fan, so I will not comment on her, but the duet from A Midsummer Night's Dream from which you posted this extract really IS a true jewel.  It's the best of that ballet for me and truly beautiful, eloquent,  magical., and yes -  I do find it very spiritual.   I love it.   I have seen many Mariinsky dancers perform this exquisite pas de deux, and among the best were Ekaterina Osmolkina with FIlipp Stepin.   Nadezha Batoeva and Maria Shirinkina were also wonderful  in the pd2!  So beautiful! 

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On 4/29/2018 at 4:42 AM, mnacenani said:

"He repudiated the spiritual side of dance - he only left the technique and abstract ideas"

 

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1 hour ago, Quinten said:

Without context it's hard to know exactly who/what the quote is referencing, but if it is saying that non-story ballets consist only of technique and abstractions, I think that's just plain wrong. It ignores the profound spirituality of movement to music which is at the heart of dance.  While great stories certainly add fun, chills and spills to the experience, paring dance down to its essentials can reveal and amplify the incredible beauty of a human moving through space along with music.  This is not meant to be a high falutin' rejection of popular art forms or a defense of turgid abstract works nor am I suggesting that one should take one's cultural medicine.  There are many truly terrible abstract ballets, but the beautiful ones! Oh my god, what an experience! 

 

I was thinking the exact same thing, Quinten, in regard to George Balanchine and what he prized so highly — the music — and “….the incredible beauty of a human moving through space along with music.”

Thanks, MadameP and Quinten, for your responses. I think that this discussion is worth continuing here because it touches on ‘stylistic’ differences. For me, Alyona Kovalyova represents the best of a particular style, the one that we love most, I believe.

In fairness to what Mnacenani has mentioned I tend to find George Balanchine’s works generally slightly more on the intellectual and structured side that what I truly love, that being the dreamlike flow of the Mariinsky. But that’s only a personal thing. I’m sure if I knew and penetrated more I would like his work even more. But in the world that I do love, he has produced some masterpieces, the Midsummer Night's Dream duet being perhaps my favorite. I would also include the one from Symphony in C, which, for me, interestingly enough was most beautifully danced (video, now gone) by Svetlana Zakharova. There are different ways to do the same thing and they all can be beautiful. I find what Tyler Peck and Jared Angle do so remarkably well here is totally different from what Oxana Skorik did so remarkably well, in my opinion, at the Mariinsky Festival and what Alyona Kovalyova, in a similar manner, would do. From what I’ve read George Balanchine was quite aware of this and would change works to suit the artists performing them. I also think that he was much more of a sentimentalist  and romantic than he would want folks to ever know. I believe that he even said so. And I think that if I were to watch his works more carefully I would feel and appreciate this even more from my standpoint.

So with Alyona Kovalyova being the possible standard bearer, along with Oxana Skorik, of the dance beauty that I perhaps love most, there are certainly other ways that are just as beautiful. It’s just a matter of preference. In our discussions here they are all valuable in helping to contrast and appreciate what someone like Alyona Kovalyova is doing.

I’d like to add one more video that was ‘officially’ released on the internet. It’s what I might call post Balanchine and it’s beauty is not that far removed from the ‘dreaminess’ that I love at the Mariinsky. It features Wendy Whelan. (She was unfortunately as thin as I’ve ever seen her, because of her operation perhaps, but something that I personally can’t feel comfortable with.) Dance-wise she was possibly at her most beautiful. It’s makes a very interesting and lovely comparison to what Alyona Kovalyova is doing and the style that she’s doing it in.

Her dancing can be seen at 1:50 and 14:10.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D316-KMBU8

 

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Back to the topic :  I saw Alyona in her Nikiya debut last night and can now say, in reply to the question above as topic headline, yes !  She wasn't perfect, but she graduated from Vaganova just two years ago and is only 19 and I am certain she is destined to become a top Bolshoy star if she doesn't get carried away by fame and fortune. Don't have to take my word for it .... but seems Vaziev also thinks so.

Again the evening started with a surprise : Marchenkova who had been cast as Gamzatti was off replaced by Shrayner who had debuted in role (?) on Sunday vs Krysanova. To discover this you had to look at the Russian part of the program where Marchenkova had been crossed out and Shrayner written in. No change made in the English part - the gringos don't know Marchenkova from Shrayner anyway so why bother ! Could not find out the reason, don't think it would be artistic. I thought Shrayner looked a bit miscast as Gamzatti in terms of "looking the part", was somewhat smaller and shorter than Alyona, but I have a tendency to get fixated pairing certain dancers with certain roles and my default Gamzatti is Alexandrova. For the first act I have a question mark against Shrayner, but I had no problem with her in the second and third acts : her variations I found well executed and her fouettee was good.

Now Alyona :  when she appeared I could not help remembering Vaziev stressing the importance of "form" in classical ballet when he said "Zaharova can just go out on the stage, not move at all and still create incredible beauty". My, Alyona's arabesques ..... beautiful form by the meter ...... one has to be born with it, add talent and training and there it is. Mind you, she isn't perfect, not yet, imho Zaharova (who some of my friends call the "Ice Queen") is a  better actress than Alyona at this stage :  for me characterisation is very important and when Zaharova meets Solor in the first scene she really lights up from inside, while Alyona "acts" being happy ..... needs some acting coaching and character roles are done so superbly in Russia they surely have the coaches. Her adagio in the second act I found very good, no problem there for me. The third act was a display of beautiful form as expected, technically very good (as far as I can tell) just her stops after her turns at the "dance with veil" with Solor (forgot the proper name of this "kartina") need a bit more rehearsal. In due time Alyona should take over ownership of this role from Zaharova.

Tissi as Solor :  imho looked miscast regarding type - can tell immediately that this is no "noble Indian warrior" or Russian for that matter, looks too European or American to be Solor - the real or false beard did not help cover it up. Otherwise technically  not bad at all, very good elevation in jetes, again tournes-en-l'air in the Solor variation "not bad" but Rodkin is ahead by quite some distance. Got big applause from the audience (at least 50 % tourists), but Rodkin/Lantratov remain my fav Solors.

Golden Idol was Lapatin who I saw twice as Frantz the week before - I love this trend at the Bolshoy : someone can dance the lead of a classic ballet one day and a bit part in another the next day - Tsvirko can be an incredible "Fool" in SL one day and Konrad or Solor the next. Yanin the slave trader Lankedem on one day and Coppelius the next, done to perfection. Can't see this in Europe folks !

The Bolshoy CdB again matchless in these white acts :  don't laugh but even that 3-4 second change of formation when the Shades complete the descent and take 8 x 4 formation is sheer beauty and perfection - gets well deserved applause every time. Every change of formation, every ensemble looks so perfect but not mechanical. If one can compare it with putting vibrato on a string : just enough to sound richer .... any more vibrato and it would start sounding dissonant or wobbly !

Casting for this evening (if you can decipher Russian go to the Russian version - there usually is much more information there  for the "cognoscenti") : https://www.bolshoi.ru/en/performances/1/roles/#20180502190000

PS - Buddy, my dear friend :  better start factoring in Bolshoy for your next Russian Season ! One can take the Sapsan and see something at Bolshoy and return to Piter by Sapsan the next day to catch that evening's performance - I have done it the other way around !

Edited by mnacenani
Corrected Lapatin's role

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9 hours ago, mnacenani said:

Back to the topic :  I saw Alyona in her Nikiya debut last night and can now say, in reply to the question above as topic headline, yes !  She wasn't perfect, but she graduated from Vaganova just two years ago and is only 19 and I am certain she is destined to become a top Bolshoy star if she doesn't get carried away by fame and fortune. Don't have to take my word for it .... but seems Vaziev also thinks so.

Thanks, Mnacenani, for this review. I’m very glad that you enjoyed the evening and that Alyona Kovalyova did so well. The presence of her and Olga Smirnova at the Bolshoi is indeed an incentive to travel to Moscow from St. Petersburg. I would have done it this year, or in past years, if such performances had coincided with the Mariinsky Festival. I did for the first time several years ago and certainly hope to again as often as possible.

She also seems to be a youthfully level headed and lovely person who I’m sure will develop artistically and behaviorally just fine. I haven’t found any video clips yet, but I’ll keep searching. I’m sure that she was beautiful based on what I’ve seen before on the internet and what you’ve written. Depth and perfection she’ll develop in time. For now she has her youthful loveliness which I hope she’ll hold onto as long as possible.

Svetlana Zakharova opened Saturday and Olga Smirnova followed Monday. Would certainly liked to have been there. If only for Alyona Kovalyova, lucky you.

 

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On 5/3/2018 at 9:50 AM, mnacenani said:

I thought Shrayner looked a bit miscast as Gamzatti in terms of "looking the part", was somewhat smaller and shorter than Alyona, but I have a tendency to get fixated pairing certain dancers with certain roles and my default Gamzatti is Alexandrova. For the first act I have a question mark against Shrayner

Overnight I had a rethink regarding what I wrote, and would appreciate response from any members who also attach importance to the drama component of ballet. Maybe dramatically it would be more suitable for Gamzatti to be "less beautiful" and "form wise less perfect" than Nikiya ??  When Gamzatti calls in Nikiya and lifts her head to see her face she is "stunned" by her beauty which by implication is part of the reason for her ensuing rage. When all the details, even small ones, fall into place, dance and drama, doesn't classic ballet become a (even the) most potent form of dramatic expression ?  This might come round once in a blue moon but when it does .......

A small dramatic detail I especially looked out for at Wednesday's Bayaderka was what I had mentioned in a post some time ago : when Nikiya is bitten by the snake, in more than one performance I saw, Gamzatti/Alexandrova stepped down from her throne in horror and looked at her father in disbelief, after seeing him give instructions to Aya earlier. Imho this is great "theatre" and does/should have considerable effect on those who notice it. Shrayner also stepped down but couldn't replicate Alexandrova's excellent portrayal.

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14 hours ago, mnacenani said:

Maybe dramatically it would be more suitable for Gamzatti to be "less beautiful" and "form wise less perfect" than Nikiya ??  When Gamzatti calls in Nikiya and lifts her head to see her face she is "stunned" by her beauty which by implication is part of the reason for her ensuing rage. 

From what I remember about the Bolshoi version, when the Rajah first proposes the marriage with Gamzatti, Solor is taken aback, moves a few steps away to appeal privately to a friend (?) for help, and then turns back as if resolved to refuse the Rajah. At this moment Gamzatti, who has entered while Solor's back was turned, is unveiled, and Solor is so struck by her beauty that all thought of protest seems driven from his mind. So if anything, a "less beautiful" Gamzatti would make the drama less coherent. I think Gamzatti's reaction to Nikiya's beauty is quite natural for a princess who had probably assumed that no one, let alone a mere temple dancer, could be as beautiful as herself, and therefore a genuine rival (but she had to make sure - which suggests it's not just Solor's hand she wants but his heart as well). It doesn't necessarily suggest that Nikiya is more beautiful.

 

15 hours ago, mnacenani said:

when Nikiya is bitten by the snake, in more than one performance I saw, Gamzatti/Alexandrova stepped down from her throne in horror and looked at her father in disbelief, after seeing him give instructions to Aya earlier. Imho this is great "theatre" and does/should have considerable effect on those who notice it. 

Could you elaborate on why it's great theatre? Is it because other Gamzattis have been expressionless, or have had different, maybe less dramatically logical expressions?

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Thank you, Rhys, for zeroing in on things. I'll provide some character dancing while waiting for the leads to reappear.

My best of the "bad girls," as Cristian once put it, have always interested me by not necessarily being bad. They have at least been dimensional. Simone Messmer, whom I seem to move from one topic to another with the greatest of ease and admiration, was perhaps the most fascinating Gamzatti that I've ever seen, perhaps even one of the most fascinating of all women that I've ever seen. She was dimension on top of dimension and if I can be allowed to say so -- darn sexy. As far as Odiles are concerned, Mnacenani, Maria Alexandrova was probably the most 'delightful!' one that I've ever seen. 

Whoops, this is the Alyona Kovalyova topic -- She's so Wonderful !  😉 

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testing out smilies and drifting around

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7 hours ago, rhys said:

So if anything, a "less beautiful" Gamzatti would make the drama less coherent. I think Gamzatti's reaction to Nikiya's beauty is quite natural for a princess who had probably assumed that no one, let alone a mere temple dancer, could be as beautiful as herself, and therefore a genuine rival (but she had to make sure - which suggests it's not just Solor's hand she wants but his heart as well). It doesn't necessarily suggest that Nikiya is more beautiful.

Your recollection of the current Bolshoy staging re Solor is correct, and I also buy your argument re the Nikiya/Gamzatti dynamics. Maybe one reason why my default cast for Bayaderka has been Zaharova/Alexandrova since I first saw them 5 years ago (beauty is in the eye of the beholder - before anyone says anything !)

7 hours ago, rhys said:

Could you elaborate on why it's great theatre? Is it because other Gamzattis have been expressionless, or have had different, maybe less dramatically logical expressions?

Imho it adds another dramatic dimension, suggesting Gamzatti is not complicit in the "elimination" of Nikiya and wasn't hell-bent on destroying her at all cost, adds depth to her character. In the Mariinka version Gamzatti sits still on her throne expressionless if I remember correctly, will look up again.

There is a new Ratmansky Bayaderka "reconstruction" coming up at Berlin, to premiere on 4th November. Regrettably Berlin doesn't have the talent Bolshoy has, though Simkin can be a good Solor, depending. Am waiting to see who will dance the female leads ..... Simyonova/Salenko ??

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Some very brief video clips of her La Bayadere have been posted on Instagram. The first are of her final dance at the court. It’s very hard to see facial expression because of the video quality, but her motion has a lovely dramatic quality. Again, as in her second Swan Lake, she seems remarkably mature in character and dance. Her warmth of expression comes from deep within. Her lines and positioning are very beautiful. Her phrasing — when she highlights, when she moves into something — is subtly breathtaking. She has lovely flow and softness. All this is perhaps equal to what is normally expected of the ethereally beautiful last act — The Land of the Shades.

In her beautiful Land of the Shades she radiates some of the heart, soul and warmth of a young girl, which is a lovely thing. I’ve not seen anything quite like it from other ballerinas. And once again I’ll say that this is a quality that I hope she holds onto as long as possible. Her series of cross stage spins and backward hops (posted last) are secure, airy and beautifully constructed. Here her arms are noticeably airy and lovely.

Then several clips of her initial court dancing follow. Here she’s lyrically composed in her dancing and poetic in presence.

I could go on and on. These are just my first viewings. If I see anything else that really makes an  impression, I’ll try to post it, maybe here. So check back for “Added:” comments if you like. For now I just want to quietly enjoy it.

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On 5/5/2018 at 11:01 AM, Buddy said:

 

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Thanks,  Quinten, for your thoughts. I guess that we definitely don't agree on this one.

Alyona Kovalyova -- La Bayadere

She’s certainly my dream come true for the day. Within her embraceable youthfulness is a most remarkable maturity of artistry and understanding.

Added: One really good thing about videos is that you can watch them over and over. The person who posted must have noticed this because it occurs at the very end of one video segment of the Shades act. She is being turned on point in arabesque by her partner who then releases her. She comes down off point in arabesque, one leg straight back, in lovely balance and realigns herself. All done so harmoniously. Absolutely gorgeous !

Another thing that I notice is what a floating, yet humanly touching, airiness she has.

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Buddy, thanks for directing me to Simone Messmer.  A nuanced and sexy Gamzatti is certainly a treat.

mnacenani, I've only seen the Alexandrova/Zakharova pairing in the cinema relay from a few years ago, and I would certainly agree that they were well matched in terms of star wattage 🙂.

13 hours ago, mnacenani said:

Imho it adds another dramatic dimension, suggesting Gamzatti is not complicit in the "elimination" of Nikiya and wasn't hell-bent on destroying her at all cost

I see what you mean here, and like you I do appreciate touches like this that add nuance to a character, but I did wonder if this added dimension might not be inconsistent - the catfight in the previous scene had ended with Gamzatti making a very emphatic gesture. In the Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and Mariinsky versions, she makes a fist and drives it downwards. It's not the same gesture as the mime for "death" but I've always assumed it meant something violent. Vengeance, certainly - 'She will pay for this!'. So if I'd seen Alexandrova's look of disbelief after that, I might have been a bit puzzled - hadn't she sworn vengeance? Or was it more of a 'Daddy! Here? Now?' sort of dismay? But I've just checked on youtube etc and in the Bolshoi version, Gamzatti doesn't make that gesture with the fist - after Nikiya's exit, Gamzatti points backwards, presumably to indicate Nikiya, and then she raises both hands and rests them just beneath her shoulders (Allash crosses them at her throat). Now I don't know what this gesture means in this context. It may leave room for the idea that she wasn't, as you said, "hell-bent" on destroying Nikiya. But I'm tempted to say this more "big-hearted" character is more Alexandrova and less Gamzatti.

The reconstruction in Berlin - I've heard about it, and I don't really see Simkin as a natural Solor, but I'd be interested to hear what the reconstructed wedding and temple destruction scene is like, and how it compares with Makarova's version - as it happens the ballet will be revived at the Royal Ballet in November. Will you be going to see the reconstruction, mnacenani?

Quinten, to be fair, this Nikiya that Solor is seeing is a figure in his drug-induced dream, so she may very well exude the unShade-like qualities Buddy mentions, even if no one dances it that way. Having said that, I think dramatically, remoteness is what's called for.  And a transcendent tenderness, but no more. (This reminds me of the problem I have with Wili-Giselles who exude emotion - love, protectiveness, mournfulness etc - when part of the power of the drama is surely the fact that she is beyond them now).

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48 minutes ago, rhys said:



Quinten, to be fair, this Nikiya that Solor is seeing is a figure in his drug-induced dream, so she may very well exude the unShade-like qualities Buddy mentions, even if no one dances it that way. Having said that, I think dramatically, remoteness is what's called for.  And a transcendent tenderness, but no more. (This reminds me of the problem I have with Wili-Giselles who exude emotion - love, protectiveness, mournfulness etc - when part of the power of the drama is surely the fact that she is beyond them now).

But still tied to them by love, otherwise why would they be there ?

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2 hours ago, Buddy said:

But still tied to them by love, otherwise why would they be there ?

Buddy, by "them" do you mean Solor/Albrecht, and "they" Nikiya/Giselle"?

 

1 hour ago, Quinten said:

Maybe Alyona has a different concept of Nikiya as a warm kind  of a ghost, but it seems unlikely that her coaches would have encouraged her to depart from the traditional image.

That's true. But have you seen the videos, Quinten?  How does her NIkiya come across to you?

I believe Buddy is referring to these: 

 

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to add missing word

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