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XVIII Mariinsky International Ballet Festival 2018

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Somova as Aurora in the filmed tribute? Petipa will receive his second burial.

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1 hour ago, Quinten said:

Love seeing these wonderful Mariinsky dancers in the Vikharev reconstruction.  

 

She was the White cat today.  Lovely elegant dancer. 

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5 hours ago, CharlieH said:

Somova as Aurora in the filmed tribute? Petipa will receive his second burial.

No - that already happened when Oksana Skorik danced Aurora.

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Buddy or Madame P or Mnacenani -- or anyone else who attended...can you tell me who danced the White Cat and Puss 'n Boots at the first performance of the Vikharev Sleeping Beauty? I guess that would be the 8th. (The White Cat caught my eye a bit in video of the apotheosis.)

Whatever the ups/downs of the performances, it seems like you all must be having an extraordinary time!

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30 minutes ago, Drew said:

Buddy or Madame P or Mnacenani -- or anyone else who attended...can you tell me who danced the White Cat and Puss 'n Boots at the first performance of the Vikharev Sleeping Beauty? I guess that would be the 8th. (The White Cat caught my eye a bit in video of the apotheosis.)

Whatever the ups/downs of the performances, it seems like you all must be having an extraordinary time!

White Cat — Yana Selina
Puss ’n Boots — Grigory Popov

No downs, Drew, no downs.  :)

Quick added:

The Sleeping Beauty tonight, another very fine evening. Olesya Novikova -- the best I've seen her do.

Edited by Buddy

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25 minutes ago, Buddy said:

White Cat — Yana Selina
Puss ’n Boots — Grigory Popov

No downs, Drew, no downs.  :)

Quick added:

The Sleeping Beauty tonight, another very fine evening. Olesya Novikova -- the best I've seen her do.

Thank you....

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8 hours ago, Drew said:

Whatever the ups/downs of the performances, it seems like you all must be having an extraordinary time!

Dear Drew : as a "nouveau" in ballet I will leave the appraisal of the ups and downs to MadameP and Buddy which they can do infinitely better than me. Last evening I had the same feeling of "incredulity" that I had when I first set foot in Russia, in the Bolshoy on a day trip on Friday 23rd January 2015, a memorable day for me - I could hardly believe it that I was there. And last evening I could again hardly believe that after seeing the standard Mariinka SB many times on Mezzo and reading about Vikharev's recons and the reactions to it and the moving panorama that used to be at the old Mariinka, I was finally able to see Vikharev's SB at its original setting, with the moving panorama, with the orchestra pit rising and me hearing the "violin concerto" from close up. It was almost an emotional experience for this "nouveau" !

Now Aksana Skorik :  much of the negative publicity about Aksana I take with a pinch of salt. Mind you :  Aksana was highly regarded by none lesser a ballet person than Ismene Brown, no "nouveau" !!  Last evening my amateur eye saw nothing to complain about re her execution.

Could not help noticing that there is only a "reluctant" mention of Vikharev on the last page of the programme as member of the "1999 revival team" !

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3 hours ago, mnacenani said:

Dear Drew : as a "nouveau" in ballet I will leave the appraisal of the ups and downs to MadameP and Buddy which they can do infinitely better than me. Last evening I had the same feeling of "incredulity" that I had when I first set foot in Russia, in the Bolshoy on a day trip on Friday 23rd January 2015, a memorable day for me - I could hardly believe it that I was there. And last evening I could again hardly believe that after seeing the standard Mariinka SB many times on Mezzo and reading about Vikharev's recons and the reactions to it and the moving panorama that used to be at the old Mariinka, I was finally able to see Vikharev's SB at its original setting, with the moving panorama, with the orchestra pit rising and me hearing the "violin concerto" from close up. It was almost an emotional experience for this "nouveau" !

Now Aksana Skorik :  much of the negative publicity about Aksana I take with a pinch of salt. Mind you :  Aksana was highly regarded by none lesser a ballet person than Ismene Brown, no "nouveau" !!  Last evening my amateur eye saw nothing to complain about re her execution.

Could not help noticing that there is only a "reluctant" mention of Vikharev on the last page of the programme as member of the "1999 revival team" !

Sounds like an authentically great experience ...

There is a huge range of opinion and judgment on many principal dancers at the world's great companies and I suppose it would be more surprising if that were not the case.  I often learn from others even (or especially) when I don't see things the way they do, but like any ballet-goer, "nouveau" or otherwise, I have my own opinions and judgments.  Live, I have seen Skorik dance a beautiful (and technically secure) Raymonda that I treasure in memory, and a slightly flawed Bayadere to which I had a more mixed reaction. And I imagine I would be quite happy to see her again if, say, she returns to Kennedy Center in 2019 when the Mariinsky is bringing Corsaire. 

Does the program give any clue as to who was guiding this revival of Vikharev's production?

Edited by Drew
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Gnossie, I'd like to seriously discuss and learn more about what you'd recommend in evaluating a performance of the 'reconstruction.'

As I mentioned above, I thought that last evening’s “The Sleeping Beauty” went very well and that Olesya Novikova as Princess Aurora danced the best that I’ve seen her do. 

She was spellbinding in Act I as the young and vibrant princess. This act could have been designed for her and she suited it almost perfectly. Firstly, it requires fine technical ability which she’s always been known for. Then it requires an effervescent  charm. Over the fifteen years that I’ve seen her she’s matured very well in gracefulness of dance and compellingness of portrayal.

Oxana Skorik, as the Lilac Fairy, did very well. She maintained a fine elegance of facial expression, which this version requires. Her most beautiful feature was the motions of her arms that moved like waves over the more formal and punctuated motion of her lower body, which again this version seems to dictate.

Timur Askerov also did the best that I’ve ever seen. Although he doesn’t have much dancing his jumps sailed like air, which they always do. But in addition, everything that he did had an airy elegance.

And then there’s Principal Character Dancer, Islom Baimuradov (the husband of Yekaterina Kondaurova), who's amazing !  He performed Carabousse with theatrical brilliance. Both he and his wife share a fine theatrical ability. I’ve often raved about the extraordinary Principal Character Dancer, Vladimir Ponomarev, who played the King the evening before. I think that Islom Baimuradov will be his successor. They are quite different, Islom Baimuradov being more subtle, intricate and poetic, but they’re both absolutely brilliant !

New to the scene is “Trainee,” May Nagahisa. She’s diminutive and nearly uncomfortably thin, but she’s a wonderful dancer with exceptional charm. She’s being cast quite prominently in secondary leads in this series. Last night she was excellent as Princess Florine from the Bluebird duet. She’ll join the ranks of Yekaterina Osmolkina, Maria Shirinkina and others as one of the Mariinsky’s not tall ‘giants.’

 Violin solo by Lyudmila Tchaikovskaya, once again — Wonderful !

Edited by Buddy
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Edited by Guest

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Gnossie, I noticed slight stylistic differences in the dancing from what I'm used to at the Mariinsky. In this restoration there seems to be a more traditional, court-like way of moving and the motions are sometimes more intricate and punctuated. Could you maybe suggest a source to view what you would consider an 'authentic' interpretation of Vikharev's intent or describe something yourself ? 

Edited by Buddy

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1 hour ago, Quinten said:

I miss the lovely variation it replaces and the music that accompanies it but oh well.

I thought something was missing - one of my favourite, most memorable melodies. Could not be certain as I might have momentarily dozed off or something, but I think you are referring to what I missed !

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I noticed that the Lilac fairy on the first night was wearing her vision scene costume (it is stunning!) for the apotheosis and not the one she wears when she puts the kingdom to sleep as she clearly does in the poor quality video Gnossie posted. Also Aurora's "favorite" Prince during the Rose Adagio is the wrong one too (he's in black instead of red), or they simply switched the costumes they wear. From my old video the choreography for the Princes seems a little different to? 

Edited by NAOTMAA

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I was wondering if there is anyone in St. Petersburg with deep knowledge of Vikharev's production who having seen this 2018 revival might eventually  publish an article or review that would discuss some of the ways this does and doesn't differ from his production when it was first done.  Gnossie has listed some examples visible on video, but the question "do they think we won't notice" makes me rueful--because I think it's only a modest number of  people who are in any real position to  see and understand the differences in a concrete way, though video evidence helps more people have access to the issues.   And this production is bound to make a pretty big impression even in a flawed presentation. Just looking at the videos -- I'm gasping with pleasure at some of the splendors much as I was when I saw this live at the Met.

I can't help but add that it's rather unexpectedly wonderful to me this version is being revived in any fashion at all, though I understand it should be done with all respect for Vikharev's work. But if it was never being revived in any fashion, then it seems to me there would be no possibility of even getting under way with preserving his vision. And I do think that just the sets and costumes are...well...remarkable and really do help fill out one's understanding of the ballet.  I could wish the Mariinsky would do certain things differently, but I also wish I were in St. Petersburg this month!

Regarding the Auroras: When the Kirov/Mariinsky--they were still touring as the "Kirov"--brought the Vikharev production to the Met, I saw Zakaharova and Nioradze.  The former was young and, in many way,  charming, but out of control with gymnastic extensions-seemingly indifferent to the intentions of the production or the music. I am no purist (I loved Guillem) and even so it was too much for me.   The latter I can barely remember except that she appeared to me rather mature and womanly for Aurora. Though, at the risk of seeming harsh, I should add that even at the time I probably would have described her as a somewhat "unmemorable" Aurora. I don't place some huge weight on these judgments of dancers I was seeing for the first time--Zakharova always divides opinions and maybe I just didn't "get" Nioradze--but the excerpts of Tereshkina's Aurora in Vikharev's production that have been posted on youtube suggest I would have preferred her quite a bit to both of those Auroras from the old days, and I agree with Quinten that the youtube vision scene with Tereshkina and Shklyarov is, taken on its own terms, very beautiful--actually I found her rather "inward" focused in a way appropriate to the scene, though not exactly a sleepwalker.  I also thought the Nereids were just wonderful in that video excerpt. (I am still catching up with the Novikova excerpts that have been published.  I am looking forward to seeing them.)

Cojocaru is still the most wonderful Aurora I have ever seen by some margin and by great good fortune I have seen her dance the role multiple times (with the Royal and with ABT), though never with the Mariinsky. And thank you Quinten for posting Sizova from the 1965 film. I was taken to see that film of Sleeping Beauty when I was a young child and I was overwhelmed--it made me a passionate ballet lover for life. My gratitude to it, and to Sizova especially (also my mom who thought to take me when others would have said "too young"), is ... well...too great for words. 

 

Edited by Drew

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Thanks for posting that Mme. Hermine! It's from a 2003 performance that was apparently filmed in whole and now hidden away in a storage closet. Perhaps never to see the day of light :crying: 

But lucky they let the filmmakers of Sacred Stage use many clips for their documentary because we have some record of the wonderful Zhanna Ayupova dancing the reconstruction. She's so soft and delicate feeling yet still confident and regal just the same. She just floats around the stage with such ease  :wub: I can't find the dream sequence with her and Anton Korsakov anywhere anywhere on youtube but she has that same serene and enchanted dreamy like quality that Quinten mentioned with the Sizova clip. 

Edited by NAOTMAA

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I could add a few quick thoughts. Thank you, everyone, for these glimpses of the different productions.

My feeling about the two performances is that the company was attempting to do the best that it could under whatever circumstances existed. That the events were announced so late implies that something might not have been as usual.

My overall sensation was that the first night had a slightly different slant than the second. The first night seemed to be an attempt at a real difference from the Mariinsky norm, while the second night seemed more relaxed. The first night appeared to be more of an effort to grasp the Vikharev intent and didn’t seem as comfortable, but I really appreciated the effort and the implications of what could be done. I have to ask what Vikharev based his choreographic choices on? I especially liked Yekaterina Kondaurova’s ‘interpretation’ as the Lilac Fairy. I think that it was certainly in part her own invention, but it seemed to establish an aura that I thought was very effective, colorful and appropriate.

The Mariinsky often does things its own way, as with Balanchine, and, for me, it usually works very well. I’ll be curious as to what can be done and happens with this production. I see some very fine possibilities.

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Like Buddy I saw both nights of the reconstruction, and I thought the second night was better.  Novikova to me is a far more natural Aurora than Tereshkina, and also, being coached by Vikharev', she should ,in my opinion, have danced the opening night!  How wonderful she is in this choreography.  Her Vaganova training shines and she is so accurate , precise, beautifully placed.  Love her -   she should have been principal long ago, and was far more deserving of the opening night than Tereshkina,  in my opinion.   She is a natural actress whose every performance is different.  Technically she is superb.  Askerov was far better suited to the costume (!), and jumping well in the 3rd act, and he is an excellent partner.  Oksana Skorik  was Lilac Fairy - and although I do not like her dancing, she was better than I had expected, although lacking the regality of Kondaurova, and still moving from pose to pose with little lyricism.  In the soloist ranks, outstanding were Anastasia Nikitina - rarely seen recently but highly talented with a lovely jump and turns, , and the tall, elegant Maria Ilyuishina as one of Aurora's attendants - who surely deserves more roles.  Valeria Martynyuk was sparkling as the Diamond Fairy, and has great speed and accuracy, but still Skorlikova'-Ivanova's entrechats had the edge in this role for me.  Teeny tiny Anna Smirnova was adorable as Red Riding Hood, although I think Russkikh the night before had the edge for acting, and Xenia Ostreikovskaya puurfectly cast as the White Cat. and it was so adorable to hear children near to where I was sitting laughing at her variation!   I am sorry to say that I consider the casting of May Nagahisa (Sp?) as Florine to be absurd, especially when compared with the exquisite Florine of Maria Shirinkina the night before.  There are SO many older corps and coryphee and soloist girls who would have been a lot better.   Florine should never be "cute" and also, Nagahisa has very stiff arms, where FLorine's should be soft and fluid.  Bad casting, but not this young girl's fault.  I actually loved the whole performance.  What a privilege to have been able to see it  

There are so many differences between this Vikharev reconstruction and the Sergeyev version, that it would require many pages of notes to document them all.  There are elements of both that I prefer.  I do love the spectacle of the Vikharev reconstruction, and also I LOVE the fact that there is so much mime - beautiful and as in the current Mariinsky Swan Lake, I wish more of the mime passages were used.  BUT ... I prefer the Sergeyev 3rd act/Hunting Act - whatever - insofaras personally I prefer to see Lilac Fairy en pointe and more dancing for the prince.  Of course, this was not as Petipa intended but times move on.  Both the Lilac Fairy and the prince have far less actual dancing in the Vikharev reconstruction than in the Sergeyev SB.  The Vikharev ensemble work is wonderful, and also I love to see so much of the Vaganova children as pages, garland waltz dancers, Lilac Fairy attendants, cherubs and so on...  I hope that now they have brought the beautiful reconstruction out of the doldrums, Mariinsky will continue to show it.  It is a WONDERFUL evening of ballet...  congratulations to all the dancers and their coaches for their great performances!  

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21 hours ago, Quinten said:

Whatever complaints there may be about its "correctness", this vision scene is just beautiful. I really like seeing Lilac in shoes and carrying the pike or whatever it is, and Aurora using that for support rather than Lilac's arm.  Having Aurora dance what became a Lilac variation seems to work in this version because they toned down the lower brass instruments so it's less bombastic and more appropriate for the vision of a princess.  I miss the lovely variation it replaces and the music that accompanies it but oh well.  These graceful and gentle nereids are a reminder to  their comparatively perfunctory Bolshoi sisters that the upper body matters a lot. While Tereshkina is good here, I would so rather see the Vaganova exiles (Obraztsova, Smirnova, Stepanova) whose epaulement and grace would better match the corps behind.  

 

Agreed - Tereshkina's epaulement was not to be compared with that of the "Vaganova" exiles.  For me, she is not really an Aurora...

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Thanks for all of these very detailed reports from everyone. 

 

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                                                  The Gala

                                     ** A Perfect Evening ! **

       Alina Somova/Oxana Skorik    Oxana Skorik/Alina Somova

                                        Absolutely Beautiful !

                                           Maria Shirinkina

                                       Absolutely Beautiful !

                                                  Xander

                                                   Great !

                          Valery Gergiev and The Orchestra 

                                                  Great !

                                        And On and On……

                                        :):):):):):)

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Many thanks to Buddy, mnacenani and MadameP for their reports from Saint Petersburg, especially for the comments on the Sleeping Beauty. I also very much appreciated the posted videos. Watching them took away my anxiety over missing something incredibly rare and supposedly glorious and breathtakingly beautiful.  I sleep much better now knowing that I haven’t really miss much.  I may sound sacrilegious but I much prefer “streamlined” productions where some non-essential scenes (e.g. Scène des tricoteuses) or non-dancing characters from Act 3 Wedding Scene are eliminated, provided, of course, it has superb choreography and follows the original musical tempo. I guess this explains why I enjoy the production of Sleeping Beauty at San Francisco Ballet so much—it clocks in just under 3 hours but has a constant stream of pure dance joy, fast and precise foot work and opulent costumes including gorgeously embellished pancake tutus.

My major problem with Vikharev’s reconstruction are the costumes, which, to me, look too cartoonish and more like illustrations to the  children’s book if Pierrot’s fairytales. I am also not a big fan of large flapping tutus and stark contrasting colors.  I don’t find the purple-mustard-white color of Aurora’s wedding tutu particularly appealing. Plus, all these hideous wigs!  They make these beautiful dancers look so unattractive. 

And lastly, the wedding is not a wedding when it doesn’t have the fish dives. 

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