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Mariinsky 2020-2021 Season


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Thanks for your comments, Ellecatalano. I’ve also enjoyed very much recent Don Quixote video clips with Nadezhda Batoeva and the Bolshoi’s young Elizaveta Kokoreva. I haven’t found any of Renata Shakirova, but I’m sure that she was excellent. Good to hear about Vladimir Shklyarov.

I’ve also been browsing the videos. In some older ones from the beginning of the year I’ve noticed Kumiko Ishii, who graduated the Vaganova, joined the company in 2013 and was the only female Mariinsky dancer from Asia (Japan) at that time. She is still in the Corps de Ballet. She graduated in the class of Ludmila Kovaleva, Diana Vishneva’s instructor, who praises her in another thirty minute video.

So what else is so special. She has a vibrant presence. She has a natural, luminous, radiant smile that carries through to the core of her body and motion. In groups of several featured dancers, this is very noticeable. Because she’s shorter limbed by Mariinsky standards she really has to have linear expression and lightness in her arms. In these videos she seems to be developing more of this and looks quite lovely.

I’d like to keep an eye on her.

 

 

Edited by Buddy
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This is Yuri Fateev’s class today on World Ballet Day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw2E2IFnHRQ&feature=youtu.be

(Thanks to Sophia at Dansomanie)

 

These are the participants. Quite a list.

Alina Somova  Nadezhda Batoeva  Ekaterina Kondaurova  Mei Nagahisa  Victoria Tereshkina  Maria Khoreva  Ekaterina Chebykina  Maria Shirinkina  Daria Ionova

Kimin Kim  Evgeny Konovalo  Philip Stepin  Vasily Tkachenko  Nikita Korneev  Vsevolod Mayevsky  Roman Malyshev

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Gennady Naumovich Selyutsky

On October 29, the famous and much loved Mariinsky Ballet Master Gennady Naumovich Selyutsky passed away.

This was reported by Igor Kolb.

https://www.facebook.com/igor.kolb/posts/10221517920589774

I was at a Gala in his honor several years ago at the Mariinsky Festival and it was one of its finest events in sixteen years. I remember waking up in the middle of the night to type out the entire program so that it could be seen on the internet. That’s how good I thought that it was.

His face seemed to be everywhere over the years.  

"Since 1991 he has worked as a ballet master and coach with artistes of the Mariinsky Ballet. He has rehearsed roles with Farukh Ruzimatov, Igor Zelensky, Konstantin Zaklinsky, Makhar Vaziev, Yulia Makhalina, Igor Petrov, Dmitry Korneyev, Andris Liepa, Alexander Kurkov, Biktor Baranov, Andrei Yakovlev (2nd), Leonid Sarafanov and Andrei Yakovlev (2nd), Igor Kolb, Leonid Sarafanov, Andrei Yakovlev and Ernest Latypov. He currently works with Danila Korsuntsev, Yevgeny Ivanchenko, Andrei Yermakov and Viktor Caixeta." 

https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/company/repetiteurs/seliutski/

 

Edited by Buddy
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Some more fine video clips — Oxana Skorik with Andrei Yermakov — Romeo and Juliet

The first one is Oxana Skorik’s solo after taking the potent in her bed chamber. I’ve never seen her more maturely compelling in dance or portrayal. They say that the times can bring out the best or the worst in someone. In this case it’s the best, along with many other Russian ballet artists who’ve acknowledged the very challenging conditions that they’re working under and expressed their determination to do the very best that they can.

 

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There are a handful of videos of Saturday's Giselle performance featuring Nadezhda Batoeva and Kimin Kim. Kimin Kim remains my flagship for the ongoing return of the Russian (and World) ballet scene. He seems to consistently put everything that he has into his appearances and is doing it better than ever.

The evening was dedicated to Natalia Makarova, who was eighty years old that day. Apparently company acting artistic director, Yuri Fateev, gave a special presentation.  

The evening also included a dancer that I don't normally see, Shamala Guseinova, as Myrtha. She fit the role very well and I hope to see much more of her.

Maria Iliushkina, whose name I've not seen listed since her Swan Lake almost two months ago, returned as one of Myrtha's two helpers, Monna. It doesn't seem uncommon for her to be Odette-Odile (Swan Lake) one day and something like Myrtha's assistant (where I first noticed her several years ago) the next. In any case, it's great to see her again. She looked fine in her performance. She's scheduled to be the Dryad Queen (Don Quixote) this Saturday.
  
Nadezhda Batoeva is what being a 'Star' is all about. She simply shines a little bit brighter. She's has fine versatility, moving seamlessly from the vibrant Kitri (Don Quixote) to the transcendant Giselle. She's super-professional. I've mentioned several times that when I saw her first Swan Lake about 18 months ago, she looked like she'd been doing it all her life. Yet, she's never mechanical. There's always a spark in her consistant competence.

Annaewgn, if you're reading this, Vlada Borodulina, whom I've not seen very often, looked as fine as I've seen her. She performed the peasant Classical duet with Alexei Timofeyev (whom I always like). The video shows her soloing. She displays all the vibrance and ability that you described. Her jumps are, I believe, a strong point and they are very impressive here, graceful, airy and lofty.  
 
The Mariinsky and the Bolshoi have been back for over two months. They've been among the leaders in the performing arts' world in their persistance. Although there remain large challenges and questions, this is what they do. They do the best that they can to 'rise above it all.' I have to  wish them much success in  what they're trying to do and hope for the best. Things seem to be looking up generally. It's just how best to get there.

Edited by Buddy
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Do you want to know how the Mariinsky is dealing with the virus within the company ?  It seems like a sensible approach, if they are determined to perform at this time, that appears to be working reasonably well and will hopefully continue to do so.  It now appears that a handful of dancers are still getting sick, but it also seems that at least some dancers (here and at the Bolshoi) really want to take the chance.

From an interview with Alexander Sergeev conducted by Catherine Pawlick in “Vaganova Today.”

You were one of those who caught Covid at the Mariinsky, how did you recover?

We had an outbreak and within the span of 4 days, almost 60 people got sick. I was one of them. It was in August, when we were already back at work, but everyone had different degrees of severity. I had a rather mild form: 3 days of fever, my throat hurt, and 2 weeks of utter fatigue and no strength. But then I was fine.

What sort of measures did the theatre take to help prevent the spread?

From start of September, the way the ballet troupe is working is that it is divided into 2 parts. They create the schedule so that those two groups do not interact with each other.One group dances one set of productions and the other dances another set. The soloists work with everyone, but rehearse separately. I think this system works. Even if someone gets sick -- because someone is getting sick every week, from one to three people. But it allows them to localise the focal point of the outbreak so it doesn't spread to 60 people again. It is also important we are not taking class with 50 people anymore, but 10-12 per studio, and our studios are large. Also now everyone in the company is tested for Covid every 2 weeks.

http://www.vaganovatoday.com/alexander-sergeev-mariinsky-ballet

Added: How the audience is being effected is another question mark. From what I can see from the ticket sales seating charts, attendance is reasonably high. Vladislav Lantratov at the Bolshoi said that their Tchaikovsky ballet series was sold out. The Mariinsky isn't using any spacing between seats. The Bolshoi is using spacing between each two seats.

Bottom line, I suppose, it that audience members don't have to attend. Still ones hopes that this is being done as responsibly as possible for the benefit of the entire population.

Edited by Buddy
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13 hours ago, Buddy said:

....  It now appears that a handful of dancers are still getting sick, but it also seems that at least some dancers (here and at the Bolshoi) really want to take the chance.

[....]

Added: How the audience is being effected is another question mark. From what I can see from the ticket sales seating charts, attendance is reasonably high. Vladislav Lantratov at the Bolshoi said that their Tchaikovsky ballet series was sold out. The Mariinsky isn't using any spacing between seats. The Bolshoi is using spacing between each two seats.

Bottom line, I suppose, it that audience members don't have to attend. Still ones hopes that this is being done as responsibly as possible for the benefit of the entire population.

"...Still ones hopes that this is being done as responsibly as possible for the benefit of the entire population."  That is the issue...

I don't know the severity of the outbreak in St. Petersburg and I certainly feel for the dancers--it seems to me that losing a season or a year to the pandemic must feel close to unbearable and depending where a dancer is in her/his career could have long term or even permanent ramifications for how that career unfolds. Yet, the risks performers take are not only risks for themselves.  For that reason alone, the decision about performances can't be made based simply on their wishes --and presumably that isn't how the decision is being made, because the people who run the Mariinsky must have their eyes on other concerns including the long term financial health of the institution as well as whatever political pressures they may be under to keep up "normal" life given the status and importance of the company.  (In any case, with the company performing, any individual dancer who thinks it is a bad idea is unlikely to speak up about it.)  But is the company being responsible within the larger public health crisis for "the entire population?"

Not limiting numbers of seats sold in any way and not re-arranging spacing  of seats in the theater while leaving it to audience members to decide whether or not they want to attend the ballet especially raises a lot of questions about the wider risks to St. Petersburg. Because here, too, the risks people choose to take are not simply their own. They are risks for everyone in their circle and possibly others not in their circle -- with all the ripple effects we see every day in the States. (And, I kind of suspect that all these people buying ballet tickets during a pandemic are unlikely to be showing ultra caution in every other aspect of their lives.) So even as I root for the dancers and, so to speak, for ballet...still... I could wish in some ways that the company were taking a different approach...

Edited by Drew
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Thanks, Drew and Volcanohunter, for your responses. Drew, you've made very good points. One of the big issues from the beginning of all this was balancing physical health with economic health.

From the very little that I can glean from video clips, etc., audience members at the Mariinsky and Bolshoi, are being somewhat more cautious (more use of face masks, distancing, etc.)

Another major bottom line is the vaccine. It's arrival on the scene, (and soon! in the US anyway, with the world surely to benefit accordingly) should have a huge and positive effect. Hopefully this will be the case and until then folks will just have to make the best decisions that they can.

Added: My personal hope and plan is to attend my 17th Mariinsky Festival around April(?) after having been vaccinated, but I'll have to see what happens.

Edited by Buddy
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3 hours ago, Buddy said:

Thanks, Drew and Volcanohunter, for your responses. Drew, you've made very good points. One of the big issues from the beginning of all this was balancing physical health with economic health.

Another major bottom line is the vaccine. It's arrival on the scene, (and soon! in the US anyway, with the world surely to benefit accordingly) should have a huge and positive effect. Hopefully this will be the case and until then folks will just have to make the best decisions that they can.

 

I can’t respond to these comments without getting into very political territory. I can at least agree that a vaccine—once a substantial portion of the population has been vaccinated—will change the picture....No-one doubts your love of the  Mariinsky @Buddy!

Thanks from me, as well, @volcanohunter — I wouldn’t call the numbers a testimony to the wisdom or compassion of the company’s approach.

Edited by Drew
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2 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

Today Saint Petersburg surpassed 50,000 active infections.

Still not good news, but still only about 1% of the population of the metropolitan area. 

"The last census in St. Petersburg was carried out in 2015. According to that census, the total population was 5,208,690."

https://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/st-petersburg-population

"Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia, after Moscow. 2002 census recorded population of the federal subject 4,661,219, or 3.21% of the total population of Russia. The city with its vicinity has an estimated population of about 6 million people."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Saint_Petersburg

Edited by Buddy
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7 hours ago, Buddy said:

Still not good news, but still only about 1% of the population of the metropolitan area. 

"The last census in St. Petersburg was carried out in 2015. According to that census, the total population was 5,208,690."

https://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/st-petersburg-population

"Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia, after Moscow. 2002 census recorded population of the federal subject 4,661,219, or 3.21% of the total population of Russia. The city with its vicinity has an estimated population of about 6 million people."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Saint_Petersburg

I admit that the note on that information in Wikipedia somewhat confuses me as to what the figures refer to--if you click the link for the note that gives the source and then click on the map for "Gorod Sankt Petersburg" in that source, it appears to include a lot of surrounding areas. But say it's not so...and the percentages are exactly as you suggest: the situation in St. Petersburg is still not good as you also say. I'd be tempted to speculate that someone close to the company will have to die of Covid19 for the company to change course, but in Moscow even that seems not to have made much of a difference, so it probably wouldn't in St. Petersburg either. 

It especially surprises me that, according to what's reported above, the Mariinsky has made no modification of seating in the theater--a theater which, in my experience, does not exactly have the best air circulation in the world.  But that's what the company's leadership has decided and it is (presumably) their decision for the time being.

As someone who loves the company, I prefer to say only positive things about the Mariinsky. And when it comes to things like repertory and casting--so passionately argued about among fans!--I've always believed that ultimately one has to recognize, 'well, I'm just an outsider.' Fans don't run the show and shouldn't run the show. (Even sophisticated fans with profound knowledge of the company's history and impeccable taste!) From a certain point of view, this is no different--I certainly don't get to make decisions for the Mariinsky. But I still can't help myself from thinking they are playing fast and loose with human life. 

Edited by Drew
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6 hours ago, Drew said:

It especially surprises me that, according to what's reported above, the Mariinsky has made no modification of seating in the theater

This is the issue. Over the past week, twice as many new active infections have been reported in Saint Petersburg (an increase of 10,455) than in Moscow (+4,478), even though the latter is about twice as large. In Moscow theaters are presently limited to 25% of capacity, while the Mariinsky is selling 100% of tickets. This is madness.

ETA: It's not supposed to be. The Petersburg city administration also introduced a 25% limit, although it made an exception for shows where "a large number of tickets have already been sold." However, currently the Mariinsky calendar shows a performance of Cavalleria rusticana on December 13 for which practically every seat below the balcony is available. 

Edited by volcanohunter
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