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XVIII Mariinsky International Ballet Festival 2019

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XVIII Mariinsky International Ballet Festival 2019

 

March 21    An Evening of American Choreography

March 22    An Evening of American Choreography

March 23   The Legend of Love     Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov

March 24   Giselle     Olga Smirnova and Kimin Kim

March 26   A Creative Workshop of Young Choreographers

March 27   Jewels

March 28   Don Quixote   Natalia Osipova and Vladimir Shkylarov

March 29   The Sleeping Beauty     Lauren Cuthbertson and Xander Parish

March 30   Swan Lake      

March 31   Carmen Suite

                    Divertissement

                            Gentle memories  Jiri Bubenicek

                            Tarantella  George Balanchine

                           Méditation  Evgueni Kliavine

                           Pas de deux  Giselle  Marius Petipa after Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot

                           Pas de deux  Talisman  Marius Petipa

                           Adagio 2nd Act Swan Lake  Lev Ivanov

                           Tchaikovsky pas de deux  George Balanchine

                    Marguerite and Armand

https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/festivals/fest2018_2019/ballet_fest_236

 

I've been checking daily but a friend got here first. Much thanks.

My favorite will probably be Olga Smirnova as Giselle. I believe that this will be a first for her.  

[Correction: Apparently Olga Smirnova debuted her Giselle at the Bolshoi in 2017]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Buddy

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Honestly, I am disappointed with this year's Festival.  And yes, Olga Smirnova has danced Giselle at Bolshoi already and, although I never thought this would be the role for her, she was wonderful, especially in her ethereal act 2.   She is definitely worth seeing in Giselle - but   I honestly cannot say the same for her partner, Kimin Kim  This is an extremely stronge pairing to me.  

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14 minutes ago, MadameP said:

 And yes, Olga Smirnova has danced Giselle at Bolshoi already and, although I never thought this would be the role for her, she was wonderful, especially in her ethereal act 2.   She is definitely worth seeing in Giselle.

Very glad to hear this, MadameP.

Now all I need is for my 'beloved' Alyona to appear.  😊

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5 hours ago, MadameP said:

Olga Smirnova has danced Giselle at Bolshoi already and, although I never thought this would be the role for her, ...  

… and it isn't. Smirnova's Giselle didn't convince me at all, taking acting classes is not enough, she is simply not credible in the parts of naïve, vulnerable, pure heroines. I would like to see her in the roles of powerful women, like Lady Macbeth, eliminating all her rivals in a premeditated manner.

What is wrong with Kim? I saw him several times this year, sometimes from the closest possible distance, he is an exceptional artist.

Edited by Laurent
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I also look forward to seeing Maria Alexandrova in Legend of Love. It’s a very interpretive role in which she could excel. She does have range. As I’ve mentioned before, I saw her perform a Raymonda with the Paris Opera Ballet about ten years ago in which she was absolutely lovely and compelling. Vladislav Lantratov is of coarse a phenomenon of the highest order.

If Natalia Osipova can get near to the ceiling like she did almost twelve years ago it’ll be a sight to see. She still has plenty of spring and her delightful and growing expressiveness make her Kitri in Don Quixote one of the finest ever. Vladimir Shkylarov continues to grow in power of portrayal, which might not be totally necessary in this work. His main problem, as with Kimin Kim, is not to get caught in the rafters.

The Royal Ballet’s Lauren Cuthbertson was rushed in at the last minute to do the opening of several of Sir Frederick Ashton’s Sylvias in November. She apparently made a very good impression. To be offered The Sleeping Beauty at a Festival is quite a compliment. Xander Parish should be an excellent partner.

And once again, Olga Smirnova…..and Kimin Kim !  I love her [LOL - Lots Of Love] and he should be great.

 

Edited by Buddy
word added

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I heard  that Kimin Kim gave a beautiful, moving performance as Albrecht in Vienna, Austria, in September, 2018, under the direction of Manuel Legris.   It will be interesting to see how this Smirnova-Kim partnership works out.

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19 hours ago, Laurent said:

… and it isn't. Smirnova's Giselle didn't convince me at all, taking acting classes is not enough, she is simply not credible in the parts of naïve, vulnerable, pure heroines. I would like to see her in the roles of powerful women, like Lady Macbeth, eliminating all her rivals in a premeditated manner.

What is wrong with Kim? I saw him several times this year, sometimes from the closest possible distance, he is an exceptional artist.

LOL!  Well, we'll have to agree to disagree.  I thought her Giselle was entirely convincing and well acted and I find Kim extremely UNconvincing in the role of Albrecht.

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Seats are now on sale. It's fairly easy to do. There are lots of seats available and there's usually no big hurry necessary. This is the best official way I know of to get seats at the best (ticket office) prices.Click on the "Buy Ticket" boxes. Because the Ruble is down in value these are the best price that I've seen in 15 years. I just got mine. Also March is not a busy tourist month so hotel prices, etc. can be very reasonable.

https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/festivals/fest2018_2019/ballet_fest_236

Seats are still not available for Jewels. I've read that these were made part of the subscription package before the Festival was planned. Further sales for this night were stopped quite awhile ago, so I would guess that there will soon be more seats available. Also the final Gala evening seats are not yet for sale.

Added: I think that Kimin Kim has great theatrical potential. Inspired by being alongside Olga Smirnova, whom I feel is perhaps the finest at this ever on a ballet stage, he could really rise to the occasion.  

Edited by Buddy
"Added" added

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 The Divertissement of the final evening Gala is now posted. One of the main highlights, for me, it that we’ll have a second chance to see performances of two of the most beautiful works of ballet, The Adagio from Scene 2 of Swan Lake and The Pas de deux from Giselle. Olga Smirnova and Kimin Kim ( Both should be great ! ) are scheduled to do the full performance of Giselle and the cast isn’t yet listed for the full Swan Lake.  

1. Gentle Memories (premiere) Music: Karen LeFrak

Choreography: Jiří Bubenĺček

Piano: Anatoly Kuznecov

2. Tarantella Music: Louis Moreau Gottschalk

Choreography: George Balanchine

Piano: Lyudmila Sveshnikova

3. Méditation Music: Jules Massenet

Choreography: Yevgeny Kliavin

4. Pas de deux from the ballet Giselle Music: Adolphe Adam

Choreography: Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa

5. Pas de deux from the ballet The Talisman Music: Riccardo Drigo

Choreography: Marius Petipa

6. Adagio from Scene 2 of the ballet Swan Lake Music: Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Choreography: Lev Ivanov

7. Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux Music: Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Choreography: George Balanchine

 https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/playbill/2019/3/31/2_1900?sid=48696

(thanks to Marfa at Ballet Friends for finding this)

 

 

Edited by Buddy

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I read somewhere that the Evening of American Choreography is to include performances of Serenade and In the Night.  I can't remember now where I saw this, but as soon as I do, I will post the link!   

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11 hours ago, MadameP said:

I read somewhere that the Evening of American Choreography is to include performances of Serenade and In the Night.  I can't remember now where I saw this, but as soon as I do, I will post the link!   

I would guess that you’re right about Serenade, MadameP. The ‘cover photo’ for the Festival, posted several days ago, is apparently of Serenade (pointed out this morning by Sophia, once again, at Dansomanie).

(photo upper right)

https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/festivals/fest2018_2019

The probable highlight this year will be Olga Smirnova’s Giselle. I’ve been hoping that she’ll become a Festival regular and star as was Alina Cojocaru for many years.  One more lady that I would like to add to this list is the very young, Vaganova/Bolshoi’s Alyona Kovalyova. Another highlight will be Odette/Odile (Swan Lake), not yet announced.

I’ve often written this, but the main attraction of the Festival is the quality of the performances, no matter what the material. It’s sort of assumed that the Mariinsky artists will do the best that they’re capable of and the guest artists also. The quality that I’ve seen is the best.

What brings me back year after year ?  The Enchantment and The Quality.

It’s not a long trip. I’m usually in Europe at the time so it’s no more than flying from New York to Dallas, although I have made several trips from the States, last year from California.

Aside from Olga Smirnova, the attraction this year will probably be the uniform excellence of the company. This can always be counted on.

As far as stars are concerned, my favorite is probably Oxana Skorik because of the absolute loveliness of her dance. I haven’t seen her name lately so it’s possible that she won’t appear — maternity leave ?  So it might fall to the always outstanding Alina Somova to carry this banner. She can be the equal of Oxana Skorik in pure beauty and she also has a very impressive range in which dramatic prowess has become a shining element. In terms of pure loveliness of dance I would also add the names of Yekaterina Osmolkina, Maria Shirinkina and a personal favorite, the young, still Corps de Ballet dancer, Maria Iliushkina (scheduled to be the Lilac Fairy in several weeks).

The company has a huge list of young talent. Nadezhda Batoeva was perhaps the most pleasant surprise at last year’s Festival when she debuted Swan Lake as if she’d been doing it all her life.

The Enchantment ?  It’s everywhere. It’s especially the evenings when I return to the hotel sailing on a cloud. Two years ago Olga Smirnova’s Nikiya (La Bayadere) did this to me. Last year, various appearances by Oxana Skorik and Alina Somova did the same.

 

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Buddy said:

The probable highlight this year will be Olga Smirnova’s Giselle. I’ve been hoping that she’ll become a Festival regular and star as was Alina Cojocaru for many years.  One more lady that I would like to add to this list is the very young, Vaganova/Bolshoi’s Alyona Kovalyova. Another highlight will be Odette/Odile (Swan Lake), not yet announced.

I

Agreed on that. I believe it will be a highlight of the year for many others too.

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On 1/26/2019 at 1:32 PM, JumpFrog said:

Agreed on that. I believe it will be a highlight of the year for many others too.

I’ve been watching various Giselle duets to compare with Olga Smirnova’s. These include ones by Galina Ulanova, Eva Evdokimova, Alina Cojocaru, Oxana Skorik and  Yekaterina Osmolkina. Alina Cojocaru's and Yekaterina Osmolkina's (two or three for each of them) have been Festival high points. Probably the most fascinating on video is that of Galina Ulanova who in her 50s(?) could at times elicit the soul of a twenty-year-old. All these Giselles are quite wonderful.

The one I’ve been watching of Olga Smirnova is almost two years old. The most noticeable quality is her detail in structuring, in particular the placement of her head, which is a masterpiece of motion and sculpture. The quality that she’s most noticeable for is her expression. Facially she can approach the sublime. She holds up fine in comparison to the others. Hopefully in March we’ll see something quite beautiful.

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On 1/26/2019 at 2:29 AM, MadameP said:

I read somewhere that the Evening of American Choreography is to include performances of Serenade and In the Night.  I can't remember now where I saw this, but as soon as I do, I will post the link!   

This would be correct, MadameP, with the addition of Twyla Tharp's Push Comes to Shove.

https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/playbill/2019/3/21/1_1931

For me, the adagio White Swan duet from Swan Lake is perhaps the 'soul' of ballet. Adagio duets such as those from Giselle, La Bayadere and other classics approach it. Also include George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.

 George Balanchine's divertissement duet from A Midsummer Night's Dream comes close to Swan Lake for me. And now I would add Jerome Robbins' Other Dances, which I just discovered.

Being an adagio lover, I like very much the way that George Balanchine is able to distill this in works such as Serenade. The classics seem to have a lot of 'filler material.' Is this bad? Not necessarily, if you consider it such,  because it frames and gives impact to the beautiful highlights. In addition, the Bolshoi's Yuri Grigorovich, in his tweaking of the classics, raises some of the secondary material to a higher artistic level by doing such things as ballet choreography for character sections. Also the Bolshoi's emphasis on drama can add more interest and artistry throughout.

The Mariinsky excels at taking this sort of Balanchine into the realm of ethereal fineness. I've seen his Midsummer Night's Dream duet performed in two distinct ways. One by the Mariinsky as described and one by his own company, most noticeable in a performance by Allegra Kent and Jacques d'Amboise. Here it's carried into the realm of high theater as well as dance. Both can be exceptionally compelling.

Jerome Robbins can also excel at adagio. HIs duet from Other Dances, as well as other parts, are outstanding. The experience is so fine that I haven't tried to analyze it. I've watched the final duet from In The Night many times and consider it to be on a similar level.

So George Balanchine may have brought classicism into the 20th century, but it's a two way street as the Mariinsky's interpretations show. 

Twyla Tharp goes a step beyond in combining classic and 'contemporary.' Her work is highly inventive. It will probably be more of a challenge for the highly refined Mariinsky. Is it of the same level as Balanchine and Robbins? This might be a matter of personal preference.

I'm particularly fond of what George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins have done in this area. The two evenings should be excellent in showing where refined 'wonderfulness' can venture as interpreted by perhaps its finest performers. 

 

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Thinking more about The Evening of American Choreography I come back to Jerome Robbins’ Other Dances. This work fascinates and charms me. One characteristic is the subtle variety of moods and ‘situations’ that flow together so beautifully. So much is  so remarkably compressed with so little excess.

In regard to Jerome Robbins’ In The Night, which will be presented at the Festival, I find an interesting comparison. Other Dances, first performed in 1976, seems like a reflection, perhaps a refinement, on In The Night, first performed in 1970.  Interestingly, Jerome Robbins created Other Dances for Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov, both originally from the Mariinsky.

In The Night is more expansive, more dramatic. The performance from it that I’ve enjoyed the most is the final duet with the Paris Opera Ballet’s Delphine Moussin partnered by Stephane Bullion. It can be seen on the internet. She’s a ballerina that I saw several times and wished that I could have seen a lot more of. Here she’s wonderfully and believably expressive with a beautiful sense of poetry.

And what could the Mariinsky offer? Two Festivals ago I saw  Diamonds performed by Yekaterina Chebykina and Xander Parish. They were magnificent and were an excellent example of what the Mariinsky could excel at with Balanchine and Robbins.

So I’ll probably continue to watch video clips of the New York City Ballet performing Other Dances with adoration while seeing how In The Night compares. A lot depends on the individual performances and performers. When the actual evenings at the Festival arrive I hope to love what I see. Maybe I’ll compare it to Other Dances or maybe I’ll just sit back, love it for what it is and forget that I ever wrote any of this. In either case I’m sure that it will be something very special and very beautiful, part of a journey  that for me has already begun.

Here's how the New York City Ballet describes In The Night.

"Exploring his fascination with the music of Chopin, Robbins created three vastly contrasting sets of lovers, from innocent to impetuous, who meet beneath a midnight sky.

After the enormous popularity of Dances at a Gathering in 1969, Jerome Robbins built on his love affair with Chopin’s piano works with In the Night.  While the earlier ballet primarily uses mazurkas, waltzes, and études, In the Night, which premiered in 1970, conjures up a post-dusk scenario to four of the composer’s nocturnes. Choreographed for three couples of distinct personality, the ballet uses the music as a jumping-off point to explore subtle dance dramas. The Nocturne Op. 27, No. 1 takes on a stately quality before melting into lyricism. Nocturnes Op. 55, No. 1 and No. 2 are, respectively, bittersweet, and tempestuous in their melodies. The final piece, Nocturne Op. 9, No. 2 uses the rondo form, but in a tender, almost ethereal andante."

https://www.nycballet.com/ballets/i/in-the-night.aspx

 

.

 

Edited by Buddy
Added sentence in paragraph two

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In my experience the Festivals have always been beautiful. To add to the interest they don’t totally play out as expected.

Certain things don’t change. The company as a whole is usually exceptional, unbelievably so, if you consider that it performs a different major work almost every night. We just take it for granted as we do the fact that during the entire year the artists shift sometimes nightly from a slanted stage to a flat one, from the old theater to the new one.

Artists such as Yekaterina Osmolkina always give flawlessly consistent displays of ethereal loveliness. Artists such as Oxana Skorik or Alina Somova (when in that environment) set the standard for pure gracefulness. The Corps de Ballet is unquestionably beautiful, consistently giving background and support.

Then there’s the expected that exceeds expectations. Olga Smirnova more or less walked off with the entire Festival two years ago because of her amazing La Bayadere.

Then there’s the glimpses of greatness. Last year Maria Alexandrova and Vadislav Lantratov in Don Quixote and Yekaterina Kondaurova in Swan Lake, started their evenings with unseen before, exceptional brilliance.   

Then the surprises. Nadezhda Batoeva debuted her Swan Lake last year like a seasoned veteran.

Then the total surprises. For instance, Alina Somova, several years ago, performed Fokine’s Swan with such unexpected expressiveness that I was spellbound.

And more total surprises. Who would ever expect to be charmed, perhaps the most ever, by the audience itself ?  The two-thirds, little children audience of the Vaganova’s Die Puppenfee last year did that to me.

Visiting artists almost always give their best, often rising to the level of the legendary company that they’re performing with. Sometimes they do what only they are capable of. The Forsythe dancers appeared several years ago with a brief work that had no music. They were brilliant in a way that was probably never seen before on a Mariinsky stage. As was Ashley Bouder, performing George Balanchine’s Tarantella several years earlier, when she projectiled around the stage in the same manner as Edward Villella when he received thunderous applause and numerous encore calls on this very same stage.

So this year, what might happen ?  Hopefully Olga Smirnova’s Giselle will equal her La Bayadere from two years ago. With the possible absence of Oxana Skorik, Alina Somova may once again command considerable attention. What Maria Alexandrova and Vadislav Lantratov do with The Legend of Love could be quite something. Natalia Osipova, one of the greatest Kitris ever (Don Quixote), will be giving it another shot. From the younger ranks, Nadezhda Batoeva, Renata Shakirova, Kristina Shapran, Yekaterina Chebykina, Maria Khoreva and others could produce some fine surprises. Kimin Kim, Xander Parish, Vladimir Shklyarov and other men could do the same. For sure there’ll be the unexpected bursts of Starwonder.       

Edited by Buddy

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Some added information has been posted in a Mariinsky news letter dated February 7.

https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/news1

(thanks to Olga K at the Mariinka forum for catching this)

Of most interest to me is that Olga Smirnova will be making a second appearance with Kimin Kim performing Carmen-Suite at the final night gala. I saw her do this at a gala two years ago and thought that she was excellent !  Also Lauren Cuthbertson (Royal Ballet) with Xander Parish are scheduled to perform Marguerite and Armand the same evening. There was some speculation that Natalia Osipova might have been the dancer. None of this has yet been posted on the official schedule.

Twyla Tharp will be in St. Petersburg to oversee the debut of her Push Comes to Shove. It was first choreographed for Mikhail Baryshnikov, originally from the Mariinsky.

Maria Kowvroski’s (NYCB) name is listed as a visiting star in the russian printout but not the english. We’ll see if anything comes of it. It would be lovely to see her again in St. Petersburg.

The very talented young Mariinsky choreographer (and dancer), Maxim Petrov, may be debuting a new work at the Young Choreographers evening. This is not yet confirmed on the schedule. As Drew pointed out, he has done a work for the Atlanta Ballet, which may give him a toehold in the US.  Apart from the usual are Melanie Hamrick (ABT) and Mariinsky dancers, Vladimir Shklyarov and Alexander Sergeev (with costumes designed by his wife Daria Pavlenko), presenting their works.

 

 

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