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MadameP

Mariinsky 3-8 October

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I am in Russia for a week to see Mariinsky Swan Lakes and La Sylphides, one Mikhailovsky Swan Lake and a Bolshoi Onegin, but so far the internet has not been good enough to even get online.  Belatedly, I will attempt to write what I saw!

3rd October - Novikova/Stepin

This was only Novkova's second Odette/Odile on the Mariinsky stage, and this is a terrible misjustice for her.  Her Odette was fragile and tragic - her facial expressions were just outstanding.  Her whole performance was truly living the role on stage, responding to each moment in the music and reacting to her surroundings.  It was also so beautiful, the way she allowed herself some tentative, I-can't-believe-this-is happening, smiles in her White Swan adagio.  Uncanny the way she could portray fear and despair and so much through her movement.  Her Odette variation was excellent - her turns and arabesques throughout well centred with some great arabesque balances.  For me, she was more effective as Odette than as Odile, although this, too was excellent..  As a performance as a whole though, this was an Odette/Odile of great artistry.

Filipp Stepin as Siegfried partnered Olesya impeccably, and indeed is the perfect prince, with manners and looks to match.  He has a beautiful Vaganova technique, with easy high jumps and very neat footwork.  He is also a fine actor, and as a partnership, this pair is wholly convincing.

In the pd3 I saw Maria Khoreva, Shamala  Guseinova and David Zaleev.  Khoreva to me is an outstanding ballerina, a principal in the making.  Her musicality and phrasing of the music was wonderful, clean entrechats, beautiful arms, expressions - fabulous performance.  She should do Odette/Odile next.  Guseinova also did well, but in appearance I think she is better suited to more queenly roles - she is more stately in style, and an excellent Myrtha.  Zaleev's sissonnes and double tours were fabulous.  Great pd3! 

This year's grads Ionova and Niukina were the Two Swans - Ionova better for me.  Maria Bulanova had a debut as one of the princesses, as well as being a Big Swan.  She is another one to watch - a beautiful girl, with strong technique and expressive face.  In the coaches' box Lyudmilla Kovalova was watching her four students!

The corps was excellent as usually, perfectly placed, led by Xenia Ostreikovskaya.  I was a little sad to see beautiful Svetlana Ivanova relegated to Neapolitan corps - she is worthy of so much more.  Overall, a great performance - but I hope Olesya can dance Swan Lake again soon, and as the principal she should be. 

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Thank you for writing. Some highlights of this performance made their way to youtube and I watched them thinking how wonderful it must have been to see this performance in the theater, especially Novikova’s Odette.

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Had a chance to view Maria Khoreva from Namibia. She seems to be coming along just fine.

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4th October Swan Lake - Tereshkina/Shklyarov

Better late than never!  I have seen Tereshkina's Swan Lake before several times, so I knew what to expect, but still was hoping for more.  Anyway, I am mystified as to why a good actress such as Tereshkina, is so cold and remote as Odette.  There was no softness, no sense of tragedy about her performance: it was though a marble statue was dancing.  Literally, she showed no emotion with the same expression throughout.  Very remote, and seemingly with little rapport with her partner, Vladimir Shklyarov.  Technically, she was very able, and her pirouettes and turns in general were excellent, although she does not have the most fluid of arms, but for certain, Odette is not her role.  However, Odile IS her role, and here all her acting abilities suddenly came to the fore.  Malevolent, evil, gleeful, eyes flashing, she seduced her luckless Siegfried, and for those who love fouettes, hers were outstanding, with many doubles and executed beautifully centred.  She was greeted at the end by rapturous applause and many curtain calls, but honestly, Novikova's performance two days earlier was in a different league for expression, subtlety and beauty of movement.  

Shklyarov is an excellent prince.  He commands the stage with ease, jumps high and effortlessly, but his turns are not always the neatest.  His partnering was excellent throughout and his variation in act 2 fabulous.  For me personally though, I preferred Stepin's more beautiful academic technique.

In the pd3 were Anastasia Nikitina, and Kamiko Ishii (her debut) with Yaroslav Pushkov.  It's a disgrace to me that Nikitina does not get more roles.  She has fabulous turns, wonderful series of entrechat six de cote across the diagonale, playful in her variation, good ballon, but she has never danced a principal role.  She was also wonderful as one of the Two Swans, along with Xenia Ostreikovskaya, who I honestly have to say I have never seen give a bad performance.  She is another under-rated ballerina.  Ishii was adequate and Pushkov had some good elevation in his grand jetes.  Alexander Romanchikov (MAYbe the tallest male in the company!) was an excellent Rothbart - with a real sense of evil to his acting.  This was a good Swan Lake, but Novkonva/Stepin two days earlier were by far superior. 

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6th October La Sylphide: Yelena Yevseyeva/Filipp Stepin

La Sylphide certainly is Yevseyeva's role.  She was completely bewitching as the sylph -  by turns capricious, captivating, vivacious, sad ...   a real multi-faceted expressive performance and her speed across the stage as the sylph was exceptional.  She hardly seemed to touch the ground - fast, light, with quick footwork and high bounding jumps.  Her smile was so irrestiible.  Her variation in act 2 with the attitude turns was beautiful, musical - a lovely performance, and very touching at the end when the Sylph dies (although she had an unfortunate mishap with her wings refusing to fall off and also Stepin failing to catch her ring!)  

Stepin was a fabulous James, SO neat and accurate in his footwork, with his beats clean and crisp and beauty of line in his jumps.  This is another role he excels in (so WHY is he not a principal???  Rhetorical question since we know this is down to Fateev.)  I loved his acting, and he IS a very subtle actor, and also that of Ivan Oskorbin as a comedic Gurn, but Irina Prokofieva as Madge was not in the same league as Igor Kolb the following day.  Little Svetlana Russkikh was a fleet footed Nancy.

The Sylphs generally were dancing harmoniously together with beauty and synchronicity, but it was a real source of unhappiness to me that lovely Oksana Marchuk was on the end of the line, when she should have been dancing the Sylph and MANY other roles for years now.  Incidentally, next to Oksana was Anna Lavrinenko, unless my eyes deceived me, who must have returned to the company, although she is not listed yet on the website.  If it was not her, then she has a double!  

 

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7th October La Sylphide: Anastasia Lukina/David Zaleev

Anastasia Lukina is a beautiful girl, with exquisite feet a true Mariinsky ballerina, and as the Sylph she showed her well schooled technique, but to me she seemed somewhat careful!  She was not the merry sylph that Evseeva was, but more gentle, graceful and charming.  Of course, both interpretations  work; for me Evseeva 's was the more convincing as the Sylph, but Lukina had more beauty of line in general.   It seems to me that Lukina has great promise, but as yet, she hasn't really fulfilled it - and she still seems a little tentative at times.  She was not as fast as Evseeva, but had more of an other-worldly quality to her!

David Zaleev was excellent as James, dancing with virility in his variations and also crisp footwork in general and soaring grands jetes.  I like him very much.   He is a convincing actor, and the sequences with Igor Kolb as Madge were excellent.  Kolb is magnificent as Madge - a really great character actor/dancer - and also very funny in the scene where he tells fortunes with Effie's friends.  The Effie tonight was outstanding - Maris Bulanova is gorgeous to look at, a beauty with big eyes, and she also is a wonderful actress, with particularly expressive face - every emotion visible! How wonderful that Mariinsky has both her and Khoreva this year among their new recruits.  She has a lovely jump and natural stage presence.  

This really was a Sylphide of Two Beauties - Lukina and Bulanova!  

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