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Despite not being done with the 2018-19 season, Mariinsky's website has released Principal casting for quite a few performances in the 2019-20 season (only on the Russian version of the site). I find this incredibly bizarre, and also risky to post this early, seeing as injuries and casting changes are incredibly possible. But, there are some interesting details.

Anastasia Matvienko has a scheduled return for February 4th, 2020 in Spartacus. 

Maria Khoreva has scheduled debuts for Raymonda (Dec. 18th, 2019) and Princess Aurora (Feb. 23rd, 2020)

Anastasia Nuykina has a scheduled debut for Sylvia on April 23rd, 2020. 

 

Obviously, casting is always set to change, and the announced performances are just a select few within the next season. I think it will be interesting to see where this season goes. 

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The season starts next Monday, September 9, with “Swan Lake” featuring Yekaterina Chebykina and Yevgeny Ivanchenko.   Wednesday will also be “Swan Lake,” featuring Yekaterina Kondaurova and Timur Askerov.

 

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Matvienko is returning sooner than previously mentioned. She will return as Giselle on October 19th. 

 

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I’ve been watching a video clip of Viktoria Tereshkina’s recent Romeo and Juliet (with Kimin Kim). This is a work that I appreciate pretty much for the beauty its several duets.

All I can say is that I’m very, very impressed with the direction that Viktoria Tereshkina continues to develop in. She’s becoming a remarkable, poetic presence, both in expressive beauty of dance and theatrical exaltation.

Edited by Buddy

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I'm going to be in Russia on business in early November (Moscow), but it's been my dream to see the reconstruction of Sleeping Beauty.  I see that it is being performed twice, according to their website, on November 9th and 10th.  I was wondering if anyone had any advice about which cast to choose, and if there is a likelihood this is mis-information and it will just be the K Sergeyev Beauty (which I've seen, and I wouldn't mind seeing again--but wouldn't change my travel plans to see).

https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/repertoire/ballet/spkras1

Thanks!

Edited by EricMontreal

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If it is on the Mariinsky website, then it seems unlikely to be "misinformation," though that perhaps is not quite the same thing as saying it's absolutely reliable. Still, they revived this version recently...I did read complaints about the revival of the revival, but I would imagine it's still well worth seeing if only for the spectacular physical production. I saw it when they brought it to the Met and...well...I'm very glad I did!

As for casts: have you seen Somova or Novikova in other works? If so, then I would trust your own impressions of those dancers.  Otherwise...If it were me, and I could only see one performance, then I would choose Novikova and Parish over Somova and Askerov in this particular ballet. But the choice strikes me as very much a matter of personal taste and I would be happy to see both of the casts you mention. As it happens there are recent performances that have been posted on youtube of both Novikova and Somova not only in Sleeping Beauty but in this reconstruction-production of Sleeping Beauty and quite recently. (Others will know, but I think Somova only danced its final act at a gala. She has been filmed professionally in the Sergeyev production.) Perhaps it would make sense to do some youtube investigation and decide on that basis.

I'll add that Novikova worked closely with Vikharev as he was her coach at the Mariinsky: here is a little feature about her published in 2018 that mentions her dancing in the recent revival of his reconstruction:

https://www.pointemagazine.com/the-standouts-of-2018-mariinsky-ballets-olga-novikova-2623791497.html

If you do go, then I hope you will post about your experience.

Edited by Drew

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Drew is giving good advice. I noticed that the reconstruction is being played nowadays whenever Sleeping Beauty is being performed at the historic Mariinsky Theatre. When Sleeping Beauty is played at the M-2 theatre it is the Sergeyev version. Somova has danced the reconstruction. And, of course, Novikova has too. I think I would lean toward Novikova like Drew says, but Somova is delightful too. Some people have held perceptions of her young years against her, but she is, in my opinion, a different ballerina nowadays. 

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Some video clips of Oksana Skorik's latest Swan Lake are online. It's magnificent of course and I haven't even looked at it yet.  😊

Added: I've watched the clips and the White Swan duet isn't included. She does have to reach for Yevgeny Invanchenko's hand in one of the lifts so maybe she's dealing with some of her old time jitters. She remains basically beautiful and hopefully she'll resolve all the other stuff, if this is in fact necessary, and continue to grow in unequaled loveliness.

Edited by Buddy

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6 hours ago, Buddy said:

I've watched the clips and the White Swan duet isn't included. She does have to reach for Yevgeny Invanchenko's hand in one of the lifts so maybe she's dealing with some of her old time jitters. 

She broke her rib recently, it seemed that he pushed her up into lift at that spot. Overall I'd say she reaches out the audience more now, as there are more spontaneous nuances to the dancing. And very enjoyable, imo. 

Edited by Incandescence

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If the clip I am thinking of is one of the ones being discussed, I also agree that it was lovely. Her Odette was very regal but tragic, bearing her sorrow with poise and an air of utmost nobility. Near the end, as she bid her Prince farewell, I noticed that her yearning expression seemed to shift into an expressionless mask once she became a swan again. I found that it really highlighted loss of her humanity as a swan and  the tragedy of her situation.

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2 hours ago, Incandescence said:

She broke her rib recently, it seemed that he pushed her up into lift at that spot. Overall I'd say she reaches out the audience more now, as there are more spontaneous nuances to the dancing. And very enjoyable, imo. 

I'm very sorry to hear this. Hopefully she'll be back to fine health soon. And yes, she always is growing in her dance artistry, perhaps the finest crafted today.

Added: In regard to expression I have to give a prize to Viktoria Tereshkina who I feel has made remarkable strides in the last year. Overall this prize goes to the Vaganova/Bolshoi's Olga Smirnova, whom I'm very sorry to have missed this year in London, but hope to see in Chicago next June. And perhaps still at the top in expression at the Mariinsky is Yekaterina Kondaurova, closely followed by Alina Somova, both being exceptional when at their best.

Edited by Buddy
"Added" added

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On 9/22/2019 at 3:02 AM, EricMontreal said:

I'm going to be in Russia on business in early November (Moscow), but it's been my dream to see the reconstruction of Sleeping Beauty.  I see that it is being performed twice, according to their website, on November 9th and 10th.  I was wondering if anyone had any advice about which cast to choose, and if there is a likelihood this is mis-information and it will just be the K Sergeyev Beauty (which I've seen, and I wouldn't mind seeing again--but wouldn't change my travel plans to see).

https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/repertoire/ballet/spkras1

Thanks!

I want to give a different recommendation on Somova. She is THE best Aurora in Mariinsky IMHO. Super beautiful and sweet with great technique and musicality. Her weakness in arms is not obvious in Sleeping Beauty. She was cast in dvd and online broadcast. I have to agree with Fateev on these decisions although disagreeing on many others. Askerov may not look so handsome as Parish but his technique is no worse.

You can check out her and Novikova's video online as other fans to find out your own preference.

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3 hours ago, Xiaoyi said:

I want to give a different recommendation on Somova. She is THE best Aurora in Mariinsky IMHO. Super beautiful and sweet with great technique and musicality.

I don't know if she's "The best Aurora in Mariinsky," she might be, but she's certainly one of its most beautiful dancers, after Oksana Skorik, making her, in fact, one of the most beautiful of all ballerinas, I feel. I would certainly recommend her in anything. As I've expressed before, there's a chance of seeing a performance of a lifetime. Her "The Swan" (Fokine), for me, was one of them. Other performances that I've seen her give may have only been Outstanding 😊.

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3 hours ago, Xiaoyi said:

I want to give a different recommendation on Somova. She is THE best Aurora in Mariinsky IMHO. Super beautiful and sweet with great technique and musicality. Her weakness in arms is not obvious in Sleeping Beauty. She was cast in dvd and online broadcast. I have to agree with Fateev on these decisions although disagreeing on many others. Askerov may not look so handsome as Parish but his technique is no worse.

You can check out her and Novikova's video online as other fans to find out your own preference.

Both Somova and Novikova are wonderful Auroras (I've seen both at Mariinsky) so I don't think you can go wrong.  Both ballerinas are fine actresses and I think Somova has wonderful arms.  Personally I still give the edge to Novikova as Aurora, since her interpretation is unique every time, but I love both.  The VIkharev production is a beauty - retaining the whole of the gorgeous Panorama as well as the important scene with the spindle girls.  Askerov is a better partner than Parish, although, as you say, not as handsome.  

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17 hours ago, A1EV3 said:

If the clip I am thinking of is one of the ones being discussed, I also agree that it was lovely. 

There are times when Oksana Skorik expresses an immense amount of love and you really want to embrace her.

Edited by Buddy

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Thank you everyone for your extremely helpful recommendations in regards to Sleeping Beauty. 

Birdsall--that actually makes a lot of sense (and, looking at the schedule, seems to be right) that the Vikharev staging is danced at the old stage and the Sergeyev at M-2.  So I appreciate the reassurance.

It looks like the Novikova performance will be more convenient for me so, while I will have to confirm with a friend, I think I will try to get tickets for that in the next few days.  I know both ballerinas, but only through video.  However, I have seen Novikova in the Vikharev reconstruction of Raymonda at La Scala, which is one of my most watched ballet DVDs, so it would be interesting, as well, to see how she interprets another major Petipa role.  As I said above, it's been my dream since the reconstruction first was announced, to finally see it live so, even if the "revival of the revival" has issues, I already am sure I'll be overwhelmed just to see the production.

I really appreciate all of your replies (and thanks for the interesting link, Drew!) and will keep everyone up to date.

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More video clips of Viktoria Tereshkina -- most recently, Raymonda.

When I mention 'expression' this usually centers around facial expression. This is where Viktoria Tereshkina, in my opinion, has developed considerably this year.

The result is that she possibly has the finest sense of overall poetry that there is at the Mariinsky at the moment. Alina Somova has a similar ability.

Edited by Buddy

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Posted (edited)
On 9/22/2019 at 8:28 AM, Birdsall said:

Drew is giving good advice. I noticed that the reconstruction is being played nowadays whenever Sleeping Beauty is being performed at the historic Mariinsky Theatre. When Sleeping Beauty is played at the M-2 theatre it is the Sergeyev version. Somova has danced the reconstruction. And, of course, Novikova has too. I think I would lean toward Novikova like Drew says, but Somova is delightful too. Some people have held perceptions of her young years against her, but she is, in my opinion, a different ballerina nowadays. 

Is it actually being performed nowadays? I was under the impression it was only reluctantly revived last year because of the bicentennial. Before that it hadn't been performed for a number of years and I expected it to be put back to pasture again afterwards so I was shocked to see it scheduled on the official website for November. It would be fantastic to see it performed more frequently. I personally believe the larger then life spectacle outweighs the other issues the "revival of the revival" may have. It still feels more magical then any other.

Also it may be a long shot but I hope if these two performances go well it leads to a professional filming and DVD/Blu-ray release! They still have that performance filmed from fifteen years ago with Zhanna Ayupova (we got to see some clips of it in the "Sacred Stage" documentary) gathering dust in the vaults but it would still be great to see a current performance filmed.  

Edited by NAOTMAA

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9 hours ago, NAOTMAA said:

I personally believe the larger then life spectacle outweighs the other issues the "revival of the revival" may have. It still feels more magical then any other.

Agree! The costumes are some of the prettiest I've seen for a Sleeping Beauty and the sets are astounding. 

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I’ve been watching some more video clips. One is of Yekaterina Osmolkina performing Don Quixote while a large part of the company was still in the United States. I don’t know how often she gets to do this, but I think that she’s absolutely charming. She hangs in there, able to keep up with the more youthfully expressive dancers that are commonly featured.

There’s also a recent one of Oxana Skorik performing the final act of the reconstructed Sleeping Beauty mentioned above. This one act was the only performance of a noon matinee at the Mariinsky, I would guess for children. She starts with a slow pause, which pretty much sums up the feminine power of attraction. Then, as she goes into the duet with Yevgeny Ivanchenko she seems somewhat relaxed until a baby in the audience makes a crying sound. Then she seems maybe concerned. Later in her solo the same little child is making sounds throughout and Oxana Skorik’s demeanor seems to relax slightly. Perhaps it’s just my imagination, but there’s a nice motherly feel to all this.

In general, her dancing has become more expressively dramatic since the birth of her little girl. At its deepest, and she does seem at times to be a very intelligent performer, it appears to be an exploration of the meaning of life and an expression of its manifestations — somewhat Shakespearian actually. It almost seems at times like a defining and exhibiting of the world that she perceives her little girl entering. And at times, great expressions of love seem to emerge. One thing that I watch for is an outward joy from being a new mother. It will be very interesting to see where this all goes. I still consider her to be the most lyrically beautiful ballerina today. This is my favorite quality in dance. It was most exhibited in the first Swan Lake after she returned.

Add to this, the fact that such outstandingly expressive ballerinas as Yekaterina Kondaurova and Alina Somova, recently gave perhaps their most lyrically lovely performances that I’ve seen at the Costa Mesa La Bayaderes. The very young Maria Khoreva has shown equal loveliness. Also, I recently viewed a Swan Lake video clip with Yekaterina Osmolkina from almost ten years ago and she’s lyrically magnificent. I would think that with the artistic maturity that she’s shown over the years that a new performance would be even more beautiful. And I wonder what the lyrically lovely Maria Shirinkina would do with Swan Lake and the young and charming Maria Iliushkina will be debuting it in January.

So maybe the landscape’s changing somewhat at the Mariinsky. I love seeing this new lyrical beauty. As for Oxana Skorik, I can’t imagine her ever going too far from where I feel she sets the standard. Her sculptural detail is exquisite, especially in the hands, and her arms and hands at times are more light and airy than I’ve ever seen from her, so the lyrical wonderfulness does remain alive and well.

 

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There’s a video clip of Oxana Skorik’s recent performance with Konstantin Zverev of the Act II Divertissement Duet from George Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” possibly my favorite after Swan Lake’s. When concentrating loosely on her form, the nuances of tension and release and her lightness of air motion, most noticeable in the arms and particularly the hands, it’s as lovely a performance of this duet as I’ve yet seen.

It’s also nice to see Konstantin Zverev making his way into more important and lyrically poet roles. He’s a very sympathetic and capable partner.

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If anyone saw May Nagahisa's Giselle with Philipp Stepin I would love to hear about it.  

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