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Mariinsky Bayadere Costa Mesa Oct. 2019


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[This is a review that I particularly like, agree with highly because of its enthusiam and hope relates to the recent performances at Berkeley as well.]


Watching the Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg perform the 142-year-old ballet at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa was itself like watching a dream.

 “La Bayadere” is set in ancient India and has, over the years, been criticized as a demeaning colonialist orientalist fantasy in which the “natives” are primitives and dance around in imitation of animals – all of which may be true for the ballet’s origins, but the Mariinsky performance was stylized and elevated beyond such cultural stereotypes.

At the performance I attended, the role of Nikia was performed by Ekaterina Kondaurova, one of the Kirov’s greatest dancers. She is quite tall and strong and is known for her interpretations of modern roles and for a certain naturalness in taking on classical roles, all of which she demonstrated with such command and artistry – I don’t know if I have ever seen a dancer’s arms define a moment as beautifully and strikingly as she did throughout the performance.

“The Kingdom of the Shades”….one of the most beautiful demonstrations of pure ballet that I have ever seen….The total effect is spellbinding.

Kondaurova and Yermakov then performed their dance with great emotion, leaving the audience standing on their feet for multiple rounds of applause afterwards.

It was all a beautiful dream, a 142 year old dream….



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On 11/4/2019 at 9:24 AM, Buddy said:

"Ekaterina Kondaurova, one of the Kirov’s greatest dancers..."
"Ekaterina Chebykina, another rising Kirov star..."

OK, I give up. Why the references to "Kirov" dancers?

The Janice Berman and Rachel Howard reviews of the Mariinsky at Zellerbach Auditorium (not Costa Mesa, but same tour) are perhaps more thought provoking.

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On 11/4/2019 at 12:24 PM, Buddy said:

The article is not accurate. They describe the ballet libretto saying it finishes with Solor visiting Nikiya in the afterlife. Not true. The ballet finishes with a fourth act. A wedding and a temple destruction, death and afterlife lovers final tableaux. The Mariinsky's Soviet production has a truncated staging sans the real finale. But there are companies besides the Mariinsky where the real finale of the ballet can be seen.

They also wrongly describe the Kirov "Shades" act in 1961 Paris as the first time this was seen in the West. Not accurate again. The first western production of the Shades act was staged by Eugenia Feodorova at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It premiered on April 12, 1961-(before the Kirov one)-with Bertha Rosanova as Nikiya and Aldo Lotufo as Solor. 

The author also gets wrong when he praises Ponomarev "stylized sets" to support the apparently "new", more sensitive perception of Indian culture vs what he describes as older assessments of the ballet which might had included westernized ideas of native India. He also muses on the possibility that the company might present this ballet in a more sensitive way for  touring purposes.  Well ... let's remind the author that the staging he saw uses Vikharev reconstructed designs of sets and costumes of the Tsarist production. 

Kirov-( and now Mariinsky)- is not the Alpha and Omega of productions. Not anymore anyhow. There is La Scala for Raymonda, the Royal for Nutcracker, Bolshoi for Coppelia, Zurich for Swan Lake and now Berlin for Bayadere. Mariinsky's Ponomarev will always be a truncated staging.

Edited by cubanmiamiboy
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