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Buddy

XVIII Mariinsky International Ballet Festival 2018

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10 hours ago, Buddy said:

Renata Shakirova  — An Absolutely Precious Bundle of Sunshine Sweetheart !

I fully subscribe to your description. My "big discovery" of 2015 (as Kitri) a couple of weeks after her debut. Finally got to meet her backstage last month after the Shurale matinee.

10 hours ago, Buddy said:

he kept bumping his head on the stars.

Buddy I had the same feeling when I saw Kim as Solor two years ago - was wondering when he was going to hit the roof !

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3 hours ago, mnacenani said:

I fully subscribe to your description [“Renata Shakirova  — An Absolutely Precious Bundle of Sunshine Sweetheart ! :) ”]. My "big discovery" of 2015 (as Kitri) a couple of weeks after her debut. Finally got to meet her backstage last month after the Shurale matinee.

Buddy I had the same feeling when I saw Kim as Solor two years ago - was wondering when he was going to hit the roof !

Yes, and as I’ve written, I also had a chance to say a few words to her at a reception and she’s the same off stage as on — Lovely !  In fact, in my experience, they all are, except she’s perhaps slightly, vibrantly, more so. And on stage she’s a technically prowessed dynamo, powered by huge amounts of solar energy — her own.

In addition, I think that she and Kimin Kim are capable of subtlety, refinement and high drama. I’d look forward to seeing her as Giselle as soon as possible. Until then, Bundles and more Bundles of Sunshine will do just fine.

For me, there was a noticeable healthiness to last night’s performance. Tamara Gimadieva, as Amour for one, was vibrantly wholesome as was Alina Krasovskaya in the ‘Arabic’ dance. I missed some of the old faces, but the new ones seemed just fine. Anastasia Lukina did very well as the Dryad Queen as did Konstantin Zverev as Espada, who’s deservedly been given much more to do in the last several years. I would certainly love to see the return of Vladimir Ponomarev as Don Quixote, perhaps his most brilliant role. And there was lots more deserving much praise.

So tonight it’s Oxana as Odette/Odile (Swan Lake). This is the performance that I’ve probably most looked forward to, along with Alina Somova’s Cinderella excerpt. They both did beautifully at the Gala, perhaps the highlights, for me, so far. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Buddy said:

So tonight it’s Oxana as Odette/Odile (Swan Lake). This is the performance that I’ve probably most looked forward to, along with Alina Somova’s Cinderella excerpt. They both did beautifully at the Gala, perhaps the highlights, for me, so far.

Wish I could stay on as long as you can -  afraid of finding on my return that my wife has had the locks changed and filed for divorce !  :P

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                                                                      Swan Lake

                                                                   Oxana Skorik

                                                            Absolutely Wonderful !

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

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I’d like to write a few quick words about last night’s Swan Lake. I’ll be quite busy for the next two days, but I’ll try to post as much as I can when I have a chance.

Oxana Skorik — Swan Lake

For pure beauty of dance, Ulyana Lopatkina’s Swan Lake at the 2006 Festival was probably the  finest overall ballet performance that I’ve ever seen. Oxana Skorik’s last night would be the second.

Each time that I see her something new is evident as she grows in beauty with each performance. Last night there was a phasing in her motion throughout her body, being new and lovely, that I might try to describe at another time.

She often had a loveliness of facial expression that was the finest that I’ve seen her present. At the very end of the evening she did some of the most dramatically exciting dancing that I’ve seen in the lifts, use of arms, etc.

As far as fouettés are concerned, she started with about six single double combinations, the rest singles with a final double. As far as I could tell she did them all and they were fine. At a previous Festival I saw her include several series of triples.

She performed flawlessly with perfected beauty.

It was the finest overall performance that I’ve seen her give and one the finest that I’ve ever seen.      

Edited by Buddy
typo corrections

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

 

Well….ur, hum, um, hurumph….let me wipe a tear from my eye.  :)

 

:)  In the fourteen years that I’ve been visiting Russia to see the Festival today might have been the Most Charming  :)

                                                               :)  Even The Most Charming Ever !  :)

 

The Fairy Doll  (Die Puppenfee)

Performed by Dancers of The Vaganova Ballet Academy

Possibly more charming than the dancers was the audience — half, little children.  They were everywhere and they were Precious !  :)

Nothing more can be said, except that it had to be seen.

The dancers were also ‘children,’ some much older than others. They were Precious as well.  :)

And are they talented !  I felt like I was watching the real Mariinsky.

The program was only an hour long — perfectly child size. 

It’s set in a toy store. At night the toys come to life and dance. The owners return in the early morning and find the toys scattered all over. They are very upset with the little boy who stays overnight to watch over the shop. And then — the toys once again come to life and dance. The owners are left spellbound. 

It’s all performed as a sequence of dances. Probably most entertaining for little children was the more animated dancing — peasant boys and clowns sailing through the air and one child ballerina cutting loose with a round of fouettés not to be upstaged by any mere boys. There was lots of lovely artistry as well. It all built up to a colorful and exciting finale.

Costumes beautiful. Sets, originally designed by Leon Bakst, beautiful.

It has quite a history that includes Anna Pavlova, Mathilde Kschessinska. Vera Trefilova, Agrippina Vaganova, Olga Preobrazhenskaya, Pavel Gerdt and Michel Fokine. This version was put together for children by Konstantin Sergeyev.  

Today it charmed and it dazzled. It all went by in an Enchanting instant.   :)

The Festival and the Real Russia ?  Well today was certainly part of the Real Russia — one of its finest parts — one of the finest parts of anywhere.


So tonight the adults have to rise to the occasion with one of ballets most smiling and entertaining classics — Don Quixote. Let’s see how well the ‘adult child’ can get it on.

Edited by Buddy
Reason for edit -- Playing around

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2 hours ago, Buddy said:

So tonight the adults have to rise to the occasion with one of ballets most smiling and entertaining classics — Don Quixote

So you are going to see my beloved Masha tonight - and there are still best seats available as I write. I am green with envy and purple with rage ........ Buddy - do not think that you have escaped the Ides of March unscathed ...... Hell hath no fury like mine .... you just wait !! :devil::devil:

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So here it is, Mnacenani, in rushed format.

Don Quixote

Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov

They have more personality in one fingertip than a thousand normal mortals in their entirety.

She charms, nuances and excites. He is powered by prowess. 

And they’re Loveable.

Their Act I, like Yekaterina Kondaurova’s in Swan Lake, was State of the Art.

The audience Adored them !

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Giselle

Yekaterina Osmolkina — Just Wonderful (As Usual)  !   :)

Her’s may have been one of the top two or three overall performances of the series and there’ve been some excellent ones. Tomorrow will be my seventy-fifth birthday (three-quarters of a century) and I couldn’t have expected a nicer present.

Marcelo Gomes — As an artist he remains as fine as I’ve seen him. She seemed very appreciative of his partnering.

I mentioned several days ago that I was hoping someday to see Renata Shakirova as Giselle. Well that wish was partly granted as she appeared in the Act I duet. She was lovely. I think that she’ll make a very fine Giselle.

There were exceptional performances everywhere. I’ll try to write more at another time.

The evening got at least as many curtain calls as I’ve seen this year.

Edited by Buddy
spelling correction

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There are some YT clips already:

 

Edited by canbelto

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30 minutes ago, Gnossie said:

Is it my impression or Batoeva didn't debuted as O/O!? :crying::devil:

Debut is on Wednesday, 21st.

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On 3/14/2018 at 11:11 PM, Gnossie said:

Looking forward to Batoeva's Odette/Odile debut, if anyone attends please do report.

I hope to be there, Gnossie, my last night in St. Petersburg this year, and I'll do my best. I have heard from the ballet gods and goddesses that  she's planning to do everything possible to be brilliant for you.  :)

I’ll mention quickly that I slipped over to the much smaller but very charming Hermitage Theater tonight to see their Swan Lake. As can happen I got to see a Mariinsky Second Soloist as Odette/Odile, not something she has done at the Mariinsky. Perhaps most charming was the scaled down Corps de Ballet of White Swans. They were very fine in their artistry and had an embraceable youthfulness. 

One of the most magical sights in St. Petersburg is the huge Hermitage Palace Art Museum lit up at night. This evening in a freshly falling snow it was spellbinding.

The hotel I stay at is a rather big one. One very nice thing is that they check your passport to see when your birthday is. If it’s during your stay they send all sorts of things to your room. As I was getting on the elevator this evening two men of many who work the front door came over and wished me a very happy birthday. Another one of the lovely things that brings me back year after year.

Edited by Buddy

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11 minutes ago, Gnossie said:

Yes Buddy please do report on Nadia's O/O debut! I am so excited about her dancing this part.....the first curvy O/O since Komleva!

Who was the MT soloist you saw at the Hermitage?

I have a house in Saint Pete so I haven't stayed in a hotel for many years but at the beginning my hotel was the Astoria, the staff couldn't possibly be more lovely, don't know if that has changed but I suppose not. 

Happy birthday! 

Thanks so much, Gnossie. Yes the hotel is the Astoria, one of the nicest and most historic in the city. It also has had ties with the Mariinsky for years. And yes, "the staff couldn't possibly be more lovely." It's also priced at maybe a third of what you'd pay in New York or London in this winter off season. I suppose it's okay to say that Odette/Odile was Tatiana Tkachenko.

Edited by Buddy

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2 minutes ago, Buddy said:

Thanks so much, Gnossie. Yes the hotel is the Astoria, one of the nicest and most historic in the city. It's also has had ties with the Mariinsky for years. And yes, "the staff couldn't possibly be more lovely." It's also priced at maybe a third of what you'd pay in New York or London in this winter off season. I suppose it's okay to say that Odette/Odile was Tatiana Tkachenko.

Buddy, the Astoria is wonderful - such a great location!   Very nice to hear they are honouring your birthday!   Happy Birthday to You!  And - Tkachenko .. I doubt she ever will perform Odette/Odile at Mariinsky now  so you were fortunate to see her!   She's wonderful in many roles, but definitely not one of the current management favourites, unfortunately!  

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Thanks, MadameP.

I've seen other Mariinsky Soloists listed at the Hermitage over the years. I assumed that It was a day off sort of thing. I've also seen at least one of the Hermitage's own as Odette/Odile (three years ago(?), I don't recall her name) and she was lovely.

Added: I've got a bottle of wine and a bottle of champagne sitting here and I don't drink, so anyone interested, drop on over. Otherwise, I may trade-in for another box of super chocolates. And what did I do today. Well, I went to all the best toy stores, of course. Wound up getting great stuff for my grandchildren, but no room left in the suitcase for myself. So I'll have to do it all over again next year.

Edited by Buddy

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I don't think someone dancing Odette-Odile at the Hermitage could possibly be classified information :) . Glad you got to see Tkachenko--I think I have only seen her in video. She always looks excellent...a real quality dancer.

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On 3/11/2018 at 4:06 PM, Dreamer said:

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

The fish dives, a circus trick of dubious taste, is a late interpolation added on a whim by Pierre Vladimirov. No connection to Petipa.

 

Quote

Dear Buddy imho with her pdd performance in MN Dream last night Aksana Skorik put the naysayers on and off this forum to shame

... First time I saw Xander Parish live .... damn good dancer imho, technique as good as the other Marii male leads

If anything, on the gala night, Oksana Skoryk demonstrated that classical dance must be a toilsome labour, while Parish -- that tours en l'air is one of those things he is still unable to make any progress.

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8 hours ago, Laurent said:

 If anything, on the gala night, Oksana Skoryk demonstrated that classical dance must be a toilsome labour, while Parish -- that tours en l'air is one of those things he is still unable to make any progress.

They were good enough for me, and seemingly also for another member who was in the house on the night, and that is what counts - chacun a son gout !

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On 3/14/2018 at 11:11 PM, Gnossie said:

Looking forward to Batoeva's Odette/Odile debut, if anyone attends please do report.

So as not to keep you in suspense another moment….

Another Wonderful Evening !

Nadezhda Batoeva

Absolutely Lovely !

Xander

Very Fine !

I promise to try to follow up on this as soon as possible.

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I have to catch a plane tomorrow so I won't be able to post for another day or so, but I'll try to follow up on this Swan Lake as soon as I can.

I would like to say briefly that from the moment that Nadezhda Batoeva set foot on the stage she had a surety of presence and artistry that was remarkable for someone just debuting. It remained throughout the entire performance.

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I’m in the middle of traveling but I’d like to add a few words.

Another Wonderful Evening — Part II

Nadezhda Batoeva — Odette/Odile — Swan Lake

Two things that impressed me very much were the use of her arms and her facial expression. Her arm gestures were lovely with fine articulation and a phrasing that reminded me of what Oxana Skorik did so well with her entire body as Odette/Odile several days earlier.

Her facial expression was very effective. As Odette, she tilted her head and culminated by locking her eyes as if she was in the heavens. It worked fine and made her characterization highly convincing.

She was very fresh in appearance, but completely accomplished in her ability. Her dancing was as smooth as silk.

In Act III she had some fine dramatic nuancing. When she was lifted back and forth between Xander Parish as Siegfried and Konstantin Zverev as Rothbart, both of whom partnered her very securely, she was sculpturally wonderful.  

LIke Renata Shakirova in Don Quixote, she was a Sweetheart. Even her Odile was charming in her coyish manner. As I mentioned with Renata Shakirova, I also talked to her briefly at last year’s Festival reception (none this year) and they’re both lovely which carries over to their shining and captivating stage presence.
 
I’ll try to write more when I get a chance.

Edited by Buddy

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I’ve been busy, busy traveling, but can I please offer a few words of imagery from the visit and the performances.

a symphony of motion
an adventure of the heart
memories to embrace
a childscape of new dreams to ride

I gratefully look forward to the next time when I can do it all again.

Edited by Buddy

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In an effort to try to hold onto as many memories as possible of the Festival I’ve been going through the internet video clips. Of my personal highlights there are a few nice quality ones.

The first that I sought out were those of Oxana Skorik who performed the most, three times — Odette/Odile (Swan Lake), The Act II Duet from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Lilac Fairy (Sleeping Beauty). Some of this can be found on video. In my opinion, she becomes more beautiful and more interesting with each new appearance. This year she also performed flawlessly. At times, she had a loveliness and excitement that was as fine as I’ve seen from her.

Equally beautiful was Alina Somova as Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) in the Gala excerpt.

At this point I would say this once more about videos. They are usually much better than nothing and can at least touch on the beauty of a performance, but I usually find that they don’t really capture the entirety and sometimes the essence. One thing that I’ve noticed very much this time is the absence of the third dimension and the camera angle. One performance that I thought was absolutely gorgeous did not really come through because of these factors. Also the camera sometimes does not print or transfer well and a beautiful facial expression or gesture of the body can be distorted. I use theater glasses all the time for detail, especially facial expression, and am very sensitive to these thing. Thus, I would say enjoy the video clips as much as possible because there’s a lot to enjoy and a lot of valuable information, but don’t necessarily rely totally on them. As a possible consolation, I would say that you can’t always believe what you see with your very own eyes in a video, but you can believe me. :)

I also found a nice representation of Ekaterina Kondaurova as the Lilac Fairy along with the one of Oxana Skorik. Both tried to capture a restoration style. Ekaterina Kondaurova’s was probably one of the most colorful and expressively interesting efforts of the Festival. Oxana Skorik’s was also interesting and most successful because of her pure loveliness.

Let me add Xander (Parish). The man is absolutely handsome and he moves and dances in the same way. He seemed to be everywhere, most noteworthy as Nadezhda Batoeva's Prince in Swan Lake and Alina Somova's Prince in the Sleeping Beauty Gala excerpt, the Act III Duet. He's a Prince. Also he has a fine sense of theater and how to use it to make a ballerina shine and he's a very secure and sympathetic partner.  

Edited by Buddy
typo correction -- and Corrected above, Alina Somova performed Aurora, not the Lilac Fairy

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