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Kirov's tour to China

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The Kirov Ballet will tour China, for the second time, in early October. They will dance "Swan Lake" in both Beijing and Shanghai. More significantly, they will give a single performance of "Jewels" in Beijing, which will be the first time that this Balanchine masterpiece is danced in Asia.

The Kirov is also due to tour Hong Kong this winter.

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Thanks for the info, Kevin.

For the casting, I guess the leading roles won't be anyone else but (the same old) Zakharova/Gumerova/Korsuntsev and Kolb.

I wish I could go to Beijing to see Siegfried and his Swan queen make their adventure to the Great Wall of China.

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All the tickets for the five performances of the Kirov in Hong Kong have long been sold out in early Nov., as I just found out on my return to Hong Kong. The two performances in Macau will be at the Macau Cultural Centre (where the political handover ceremony in 1999 took place when Macau ceased to be a Portuguese colony and reverted back to China) on 5, 6 December. The Macau performances will consist of "Rubies" and various pas de deux.

The advertised casting of Giselle in Hong Kong is as follows.

28 Dec. - Vishneva, Fadeyev

29 Dec. - Zakharova, Korsuntsev

30 Dec. - Dumchenko, Sarafanov.

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Svetlana Zakharova is injured and hasn't come to Hong Kong in the end. Zhanna Ayupova danced the second night of Giselle instead, and Sofia Gumerova will replace Zakharova in one of the Diamonds performances.

In the second gala programme in Macau next Friday, Anton Korsakov will make his debut in "Tchaikovsky pas de deux", dancing with Ayupova. This pair will dance Sleeping Beauty pas de deux on the first gala.

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There were more curtain calls for last night's cast of Giselle - Maya Dumchenko and Leonid Sarafanov - than the opening night's cast. Dumchenko's Giselle was beautifully danced. Sarafanov made a most promising debut as Albrecht. This is a budding star to watch in the near future!


It will be interesting to see the Hong Kong audience's reaction to "Jewels" today.

The cast list for the two galas in Macau this coming week is as follows.

5 Dec.

Rubies - Tarasova, Fadeyev, Dumchenko.

Swan Lake pdd Act 2- Gumerova, Korsuntsev

Chopiniana 7th Waltz - Dumchenko, Baranov

Fairy of Dolls - Sheshina, Khrebtov, Scherbakov

Sleeping Beauty pdd - Ayupova, Korsakov

Romeo and Juliet pdd- Dumchenko, Baranov

Dying Swan - Gumerova

Le Corsaire pdd - Tarasova, Batalov

6 Dec.

Almost the same programme, except that Ayupova and Korsakov will dance Tchaikovsky pdd instead. Don Q pdd replaces Le Corsaire pdd, with Tarasova and Batalov

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Too bad, I couldn't be in Hong Kong to see Kirov's Giselle. Thanks a lot for keeping me updated, Kevin.

And I look forward to seeing the performance of Sarafanov in the near future. Hope to see him in Kirov's north UK tour next year.

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NO7, I found out that the Kirov will only tour Manchester next spring, but not Dublin and Edinburgh.

The Hong Kong audience loved the Kirov's two performances of "Jewels" yesterday even more than "Giselle". Both performances, especially the evening, were gloriously danced. Sofia Gumerova was superb as the "Diamonds" ballerina and the second woman in "Emeralds". (I miss Veronika Part in this role in Emeralds though.) Andrian Fadeyev was a dazzling "Rubies" soloist, full of charisma, dancing with Elvira Tarasova. There were loud ovations at the end of both Jewels performances from the appreciative audiences who are 'starved' of Balanchine choreography. It's not possible unfortunately to see Balanchine ballets often in Hong Kong.

The last time Balanchine choreography was performed here was in 2000 when the ABT danced "Theme and Variations", and the Pacific Northwest Ballet danced "Midsummer". I am deeply grateful to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre for asking the Kirov to bring "Jewels" here.

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Last night in Macau I was particularly impressed by Zhanna Ayupova and Maya Dumchenko. Ayupova was radiant in the Sleeping Beauty pas de deux (K. Sergeyev version); and Anton Korsakov was on top form as Desire, his solo was quite brilliant. Dumchenko was exquisite in the waltz in Chopiniana, and was also very moving in the Romeo and Juliet pas de deux. "Rubies", which opened the evening, was just danced against a black backdrop instead of the Peter Harvey's sets which are probably being shipped back to Russia from Hong Kong.

I found out that a part of the Kirov which left Hong Kong on Monday then flew to Moscow to give a single performance of the Fokine programme earlier this week before finally returning to St. Petersburg.

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Nothing much to add about the second gala evening in Macau. Zhanna Ayupova was sharp and precise in the "Tchaikovsky pas de deux"; and Anton Korsakov danced brilliantly for his debut in this ballet, his manege of coupe jetes was effortless and breathtaking. Korsakov revelled in the difficult steps in Balanchine's choreography, as his delight clearly showed on his face. Elvira Tarasova and Andrei Batalov were spectacular in the Don Quixote pas de deux.

So ended the Kirov's memorable two-week tour to Hong Kong and Macau, on a high note. The good news is that they are due to return in the 2005/6 season. But meanwhile I look forward to the Kirov's Mariinsky Festival in St. Petersburg next Feb.

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