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Birdsall

Mariinsky in London 2017

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Nadezhda Batoeva was the star of the performance I saw tonight (or last night since it is 1am here in London). Her acting was perfect as Kitri....very feminine but with spice to her. She wasn't afraid to show off a bit holding some fabulous balances (a la seconde, coup de pied, in arabesque, in attitude, doing piques). Never were these balances vulgar (didn't change the choreography...simply fit them in)...she held long enough to impress but not long enough to be too showy. Her fouettes were great (many doubles interspersed with singles and then mostly singles. She traveled a bit while doing them but since she traveled in a straight line downstage it did not look bad. That was a very minor quibble. Otherwise a fabulous performance!

 

Fillip Stepin was also great as Basilio. He may not be the type to make your jaw drop like Vasiliev's wildness, because he does everything with elegance. He did bring Batoeva down early on the first one handed lift but he more than made up for it with a second long held lift that excited the crowd as Batoeva shook her tambourine! 

 

Alexander Sergeyev was fabulous as always as Espada. I love his backbends as he twirls the cape in a diagonal across the stage.

 

Ekaterina Chebykina was the Street Dancer. For me personally she is a maddening dancer. One moment she's doing something quite nicely and the next she's being more of a gymnast. It is hard to explain. She just doesn't seem to have the elegant Vaganova qualities.

 

Ekaterina Ivannikova was a fabulous Queen of the Dryads. Her Italian fouettes en dedans were beautiful. This is a dancer I like that doesn't seem to be cast as much as she should. 

 

Tamara Gimadieva was a charming and sweet Cupid with flowing arms.

 

I missed Don Quixote and Sancho Panza entering on a horse and donkey respectively, although I suspected the animals would be left out. I thought maybe they would borrow a horse and donkey from an English farmer. Somehow it is anticlimactic after the corps runs around acting like a major person is coming for Don Quixote and Sancho Panza to simply walk out!

 

I also missed the little cupids but I knew the Mariinsky wasn't going to bring Vaganova students on tour but hoped some Royal Ballet students might be used.

 

Overall, a wonderful performance! I love the pairing of Batoeva and Stepin. They looked like young, good looking lovers! Hope they keep dancing together!

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Thanks for the review! I think the horse and donkey are important mostly for those who have read the book. Rocinante and Dapple are a big part of the book.

 

Glad to hear Batoeva did great. I read an interview with her in dance magazine where she said she was almost expelled from the Vaganova multiple times and said she could only dance character roles:

http://www.dancemagazine.com/nadezhda-batoeva-2307032142.html

 

If this video is a judge she's a real charmer:

 

Edited by canbelto

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Thanks for the review. I got a special pleasure from what you wrote about Ivannikova, as I have quite enjoyed her dancing in secondary/solo roles the couple of times I have seen her dance.

 

I have only seen Batoeva dance one solo live--though I've watched quite a bit of her on youtube. I think my first choice of leading role to see her dance might be Aurora--but Kitri would be right up there too! In the event, I'm looking forward to her Gamzatti in D.C. -- for the pure classical dancing especially as I can't quite picture her as a villainess.

 

 

Edited by Drew

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Batoeva brings the biggest excitement to the announced Kennedy Center casting (week of Bayaderes next October). Fingers crossed that the casting sticks. If things shuffle and I end up with yet another Gamzatti by "Ms Grumpy," I'll scream.

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I had my doubts Renata Shakirova could pull off a good Kitri, but she was full of life and energy all night long and performed the Dudinskaya variation in the dream scene. It looks really hard to do the alternating pique turns in a diagonal in this variation but she did them well. Her fouettes were great with many doubles. At the very end of the night after Basilio holds her in a balance on one leg, and she quickly kneels as he stands her back leg slipped but she saved the tiny mishap by switching very quickly into a move like when Odette folds into the floor. That shows professionalism to think on your feet and turn a mistake/mishap into a moment to do something else that works! The audience genuinely loved her, and she did give a great performance. Maybe not as good as Batoeva last night but still very good!

 

Vladimir Shklyarov danced as if he wanted to prove his worth at the Mariinsky. He looked in better shape than I have ever seen him, and he gave his all in every scene. In Act 1 when Basilio lifts Kitri twice by the knuckles and lifts her in the air and sets her down, Shklyarov lifted her higher than I have ever seen anyone lift Kitri in that moment. It was amazing! Later he held her forever in the one handed lifts. 

 

I never thought Roman Belyakov was anything special until I saw him tonight. He was a great Espada and looks very tall. He might be able to replace Korsuntsev and Ivanchenko when they retire as the tall males who are able to partner tall ballerinas.

 

Nika Tskhvitaria was a complete delight as the Street Dancer. Loved her personality and high attitudes!

 

The big surprise of the evening for me was Oleg Demchenko as the Gypsy! All I can say is, "Wow!!!!" His jumps, energy, and acrobatics made this small role seem important. He turned a small role into a star turn! I never saw a more exciting Gypsy man than Demchenko!

 

I liked Ekaterina Chebykina as Queen of the Dryads better than I did last night when she danced the Street Dancer. The crowd loved her too. I think her fingers and arms are sometimes wild and uncontrolled but she was on better behavior tonight although I saw some splayed fingers.

 

Overall, I really thought Shakirova was more like a soubrette who didn't have a sassy Kitri in her, but she did. Pleasantly surprised and enjoyed seeing the Dudinskaya variation in person!

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On 7/26/2017 at 11:21 AM, Natalia said:

Batoeva brings the biggest excitement to the announced Kennedy Center casting (week of Bayaderes next October). Fingers crossed that the casting sticks. If things shuffle and I end up with yet another Gamzatti by "Ms Grumpy," I'll scream.

 

Who is Ms Grumpy?!  

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On 7/26/2017 at 6:46 AM, Drew said:

Thanks for the review. I got a special pleasure from what you wrote about Ivannikova, as I have quite enjoyed her dancing in secondary/solo roles the couple of times I have seen her dance.

 

I have only seen Batoeva dance one solo live--though I've watched quite a bit of her on youtube. I think my first choice of leading role to see her dance might be Aurora--but Kitri would be right up there too! In the event, I'm looking forward to her Gamzatti in D.C. -- for the pure classical dancing especially as I can't quite picture her as a villainess.

 

 

 

Nadia was a wonderful Aurora in her debut, but she was superb in everything I have ever seen her dance in.  If ever there was a well deserved promotion to 1st soloist, this was certainly it.  Nadia has lovely clean technique, is a superb actress and also very beautiful girl.   If you get a chance to see her in ANYthing - GO!!! 

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Ms Grumpy is "She who rarely smiles" and totally lacks charisma: Mme Matvienko. I've bought tix to see one of the Batoeva-as-Gamzatti performances in DC but everything is subject to change. 

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I have been sightseeing so much so haven't had time to report on yesterday's Swan Lake. I will talk about that one and tonight's in this post.

 

Tereshkina is a dancer who isn't my favorite Mariinsky ballerina, but whenever I see her she wins me over. I have never seen her give nothing but her all to the audience. In Swan Lake I think Odile comes easy to her. She strikes me as an extrovert and tends toward heat rather than coolness on stage, in my opinion. So her Odile is spectacular. Last night her Odette had more emotion than I have seen her do before. Technically she is always good. However, she somehow brought more to the game and it could be because the world will probably view her as the veteran "prima" now that Lopatkina is retiring. 

 

To my surprise Parish did not slow down her turns like he did in Baden-Baden in December when I saw them in Swan Lake there. Until last night my experience with him is that every time he touches a ballerina in paddle turns the ballerinas either slow down or stop completely or almost get knocked over by his assistance. I am glad to see he has improved, and this morning I woke up to read he has been promoted to principal. It was not announced last night. You would think since he is British performing in London Fateyev would have announced it to make the British audience feel like they witnessed a special evening.

 

Tereshkina is the best turner in the company and one turn she did as Odette ending in coup de pied was so elegant it took my breath away.

 

Tonight Kondaurova was better than I expected. Like Tereshkina (although for totally different reasons) she strikes me as a more natural Odile than Odette. I think she would look fabulous at the Bolshoi but at the Mariinsky among the elegant, ultra feminine dancers she has (for me) a bit of a heavy handed aura. She tries her best to be regal and there are many moments when I say, "That was lovely!" but overall I don't but her as Odette. To me she looks like a diva playing Odette. Not experiencing Odette's plight. With all that said I liked her better than I thought I would. In fact, this is the first time I have seen her in a full length role where she didn't make a mistake! I feel like I sort of "get" why some people like her after tonight. Until tonight I didn't really understand it.

 

Ivanchenko tonight was phoning it in worse than usual. I consider him a dancer who has all the goods but simply can't be bothered to give his all. However, in contrast to Parish, Ivanchenko is a terrific partner making every ballerina he partners look her best!!!

 

Okay, this trip is a reward for taking over my elderly parents' lives, moving them near me, securing their finances, etc. I took a leave of absence from my job in March to do all this and they are safe and gaining weight (they were not eating). This Mariinsky London tour is my reward. I am enjoying the trip immensely. So posting this as I drink a bottle of wine so I can sleep. Taking care of my parents since March has made sleep nearly impossible except 3 hours. I always slept 8 hours before. So hoping I sleep tonight (close to finishing the wine) so tomorrow's double bill (Osmolkina's matinee SL and Matvienko in the evening) will be doable!!! Please let me sleep at least 5 hours!!!!!

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Thanks for your thoughts! I also wonder why there wasn't a promotion onstage, surely it would have made the British audiences happy. 

 

I saw Tereshkina in Swan Lake and had the same impression. Not naturally the most poetic dancer but she always gives 200%. She never phoned it in.

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Reward well deserved! Glad you are seeing some substantive performances and being pleasantly surprised too...Ivanchenko partnered Lopatkina when I saw her in Swan Lake and I agree that he does know how to let a ballerina shine. The "phoning it in" aspect is a shame though.

 

Curious to hear about Osmolkina's Swan Lake.

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1 hour ago, Gnossie said:

Birdsall you're so lucky to able to see Madame Osmolkina!!! in my opinion the best ballerina in the world, she's the only ballerina on earth with the same qualities as Dame Margot Fonteyn,  

 

With that I totally agree, her line and musicality are second to none.  She is the only dancer to be considered Fonteyn's successor.

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I have seen Osmolkina very little live--and during that very little (at BAM) a teenager beside me was checking the Oscar results on a very glaring phone--but if one can become a fan based on video then...well, I'm a fan. And am disappointed D.C. won't get her Gamzatti.

 

Hope her London Swan Lake was a success.

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It was a success, her Odette was sublime, so lovely it brought tears to my eyes.  Wonderful support from the rest of the cast too.  London is very, very lucky to have her this season, really looking forward to her Gamzatti, so sorry D.C. will miss out.

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I too went to the Osmolkina/Latypov Swan Lake matinee this afternoon.  Osmolkina was wonderful.  She has a unaffected, clean technique that is pure Vaganova textbook, with nothing of the vulgar or mannered about it.  Her gorgeously expressive arms and ease/flow of movement were evident throughout her beautiful white swan acts.  She is also very feminine and appealing in her acting with those big vulnerable eyes.   She was partnered by Ernest Latypov, who  does look extremely young and sweet, but despite his extreme thinness, partnered Osmolkina well, including all the high lifts.  Hard to imagine such a gentle looking Odette could turn into an evil manipulative Odile, but Osmolkina did just that.  Her Odile variation was also superb with beautifully controlled attitude turns, and the sequence of 32 fouettes was performed easily, finishing with a triple. She had great rapport with the seductively evil Rothbart of Konstantin Zverev, another outstanding Siegfried in his own right, when the current management allows him to dance the role.   The prince's friends pd3 showed the best male dancing of the evening with the elegant classicism of FIlipp Stepin.  I saw him dance Siegfried with Osmolkina in St Petersburg, and he is an outstanding actor as well as technician, and today he was dancing with all his customary beauty of line and precision of technique. ,  Both newly promoted Nadezhda Batoeva and Renata Shakirova were on sparkling form.  Batoeva's diagonale of entrechat6 de vole was spectacular.  Both these girls were also excellent as the two swans in the final act.  Grigory Popov as the jester, who could probably perform this role in his sleep he so often gets cast, was also on form with very nice grande pirouette and particularly good acting.  Anastasia Petushkova was also outstanding in the Spanish dance - she really should be a principal character dancer, she just has the fire and passion for so many character roles.  There is always so much to admire in Mariinsky Swan Lakes, and of course the corps, led by Ksenia Ostreikovskaya, was magnificent as always, with its uniformity of movement and exquisite epaulement.  I have to say though, that the show belonged to Osmolkina - what a refined eloquent ballerina she is.  Rightly she was greatly applauded at the end.   Fabulous performance!  

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So glad to hear these nice reports about Yekaterina Osmolkina. She's my designated Velvet Cloud at the Mariinsky.

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I don't think Osmolkina's RB SL's were her debut, I think she had danced the role at least once before.  For me they were the best performances in the RB's unlovely production I saw, all the more remarkable as she had to learn a new production in a short space of time as replacement for an injured dancer.

 

Yes, you're right, she very much had the A team behind her yesterday.

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Osmolkina's flowing arms were absolutely divine. I wanted to write a review but the day I saw her was a whirlwind of activity. I met a fellow BA member for lunch, saw Osmolkina in the matinee, met an old high school friend for dinner whose daughter is taking part in the Royal Ballet's summer intensive program, and saw the evening performance with Matvienko. 

 

In contrast, I felt Matvienko had much stiffer arms and when she made Swan arms they were more fast and furious instead of Vaganova trained slow flowing arms. However, she did do some very good things like very fast, whipping fouettes that had an aggressive quality to them. I think she had to follow a hard act. Earlier that day Osmolkina was delicate and divine!

 

I couldn't post Saturday night because I had to go to bed because I had hired a private tour guide to take me to Salisbury and Stonehenge and that was an all day trip. Today walking to St. Bart's the Great....I have to visit that since my name is Bart!

 

Tonight is Tereshkina and Shklyarov...

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I knew Matvienko wasn't Vaganova trained. I think she is from Kiev or something. You might know exactly. I like her at times like as Gamzatti, and I think she is better as Odile. I guess I can understand why people view her as "grumpy," but I tend to view it more like a spicy personality who doesn't play victim or at least damsel in distress or soft/sweet very easily. I don't dislike her, and think I might actually like her in another company or in certain roles, but I do expect more flowing arms and daintiness in a Mariinsky dancer in Swan Lake.

 

The Opera Tavern near the opera house has amazing tapas dishes! 

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3 hours ago, Birdsall said:

I knew Matvienko wasn't Vaganova trained. I think she is from Kiev or something. You might know exactly. I like her at times like as Gamzatti, and I think she is better as Odile. I guess I can understand why people view her as "grumpy," but I tend to view it more like a spicy personality who doesn't play victim or at least damsel in distress or soft/sweet very easily. I don't dislike her, and think I might actually like her in another company or in certain roles, but I do expect more flowing arms and daintiness in a Mariinsky dancer in Swan Lake.

 

The Opera Tavern near the opera house has amazing tapas dishes! 

 

LOL!  Love tapas!  Hope you enjoyed Stonehenge!  Yes, Matvienko is Kiev trained and that's where she started her career.  I agree she is better as Odile and her arms definitely cannot compare with those of Vaganova graduates,  but they have definitely improved since she has been at the Mariinsky.  She is extremely pretty though - she has a lovely face! - and she has a really fabulous jump, although Odette/Odile does not need a jumper!  She's better in some roles than others, but I agree, she's not a soft, sweet dancer.  

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According to the Royal Opera House's web site, Osmolkina replaces Skorik in Swan Lake tomorrow, Kim will be partnering her.

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Tereshkina's 2nd SL was even better. She and Shklyarov seem to feed off each other. She even stayed on-stage in character after her fouettes looking the man she was seducing before finishing her part of the coda. I never saw that before. Both of them looked as if they were giving the performance of their lifetimes, in my opinion. Even Tereshkina's Odette was more loving and emotional than I have seen previously.

 

In contrast, Chebykina's SL last night was a very mixed bag. She alternated between lovely one moment and then suddenly being a caricature of a Mariinsky dancer the next moment really overdoing the swan arms. I love flowing arms which is why I love the Mariinsky, but at times Chebykina almost made me laugh out loud because she made the Swan arms look like a spoof sort of like what the Trocaderos might do! 

 

This is the second time seeing Chebykina in SL and I gave her another try hoping she had improved, and she has improved overall but I think I preferred every other ballerina much more. However, the London audience seemed to love her to death. I found her acting almost nonexistent...just a sketch of a character. The only moment of good acting is when she was Odile and laughed and threw the flowers at Siegfried.

 

Since I was disappointed in her the first time (2 years ago in St. Petersburg) I bought a cheap nosebleed seat (but used binoculars to view her acting). If I ever return to London I will never sit in the Amphitheater section again. People brought their wine glasses in, talked during the overture, one person in my row got up and left right as the love duet was beginning causing us to stand up to let her out), although maybe she was about to have an accident). I felt like I was in a movie theater, not in an opera house! Plus, no arm rests. Luckily I was in an aisle seat so I had one arm rest unlike others in my row. But the behavior of the audience up there was surprising.

 

More later. I am returning home today. It was very tempting to see if I could extend my stay and change my flight one day to see Osmolkina again, since she is jumping in for Skorik. She was the best Odette/Odile with Tereshkina a close second. However, I miss my dog desperately and even though my parents are in a safe place now I need to get back to check on them daily. 

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Sorry about the behaviour of the audience around you in the amphitheatre, although far from being the most comfortable part of the house, behaviour up there is usually more civilized than in the lower levels.  London ballet goers on the whole are not a well heeled bunch and many simply cannot afford the inflated prices we pay for the Russian seasons, so you get a rather different audience from the ballet going regulars.  Hope it didn't detract from the overall experience.

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