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Mariinsky Ballet in Baden-Baden, Germany

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The Mariinsky’s short season in Baden-Baden, Germany was generally agreeable and thanks to the absence of Diana Vishneva and Svetlana Zakharova there was even more to enjoy than we’ve come to expect in the last years. The programme in these ballet-loaded week consisted of "Swan Lake", the new-old "La Bayadère", "Chopiniana", "Spectre de la Rose", "Polovtsian Dances", "Scheherazade", "Serenade" and a gala of pas de deux and solos.

Highlights for me were Irma Nioradze, surprisingly good in "Scheherazade" (and making us all wonder why they recently filmed Zakharova in the role, proving to be the miscast of the year), Daria Pavlenko, excellent in "La Bayadère", but absolutely stunning in "Dying Swan", and Igor Kolb in "Spectre" and as the Poet in "Chopiniana".

It was moreover great to see this new soubrette-type dancer Evgenia Obraztsova, petite, sparkling and with loads of charm in the "Harlequinade" pas de deux. Quite remarkable was also Leonid Sarafanov in the "Don Q" pas de deux, extremely young and inexperienced, but a dancer of real promise. The corps did wonderfully well in both full-length ballets and in "Chopiniana".

Unless it changes again the company is returning to Graz, Austria in the first half of July and then to London.

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Marc, do you know if the filmed Scheherazade the ballet that was shown in England over the holidays? And will it be released commercially?

Pavlenko is much admired here in New York. I enjoyed her 1 chance at La Bayadere at the Met (Z and V got most of them) and I would love to see her Dying Swan. Did she do it the traditional Kirov version, or the Isabel Fokine way? I'm still kicking myself for missing the New Years in Vienna thing. I fell asleep before I could remember to tape :)

London will get an early chance at seeing Nioradze, Pavlenko etc... at a night called, "Ballet Stars of St. Petersburg." It is from the same people who are producing the St. Petersburg New Year Gala on January 12 (I believe it was mentioned somewhere else on the board). That night too has Nioradze and Ivanchenko, along with musical guests.

On May 7 and 8 at the Royal Albert Hall, Nioradze, Makhalina, Pavlenko, Zelensky, Ruzhimatov, Ziskaridze, Kuznetsov and Batalov will dance an evening of extracts from Manon, Corsaire, La Bayadere, Sleeping Beauty, Sheherezade, Swan Lake and a "specially created ball by Alexei Ratmansky." www.ensembleproductions.co.uk.

Ah, the endless touring :(

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Dale, Pavlenko made her own version of the Dying Swan, like most of them do. She watched several performances live and on tape (ranging from Pavlova over Plisetskaya and Makarova to the recent ones) and with the help of her teacher she tried to find the best combination for herself. In any case, it was a thrilling performance and it doesn't look at all like a patchwork.

Yes, the Fokine programme which was filmed in Paris last October has been broadcasted on BBC TV before Christmas and had Zakharova/Ruzimatov in "Scheherazade" and Vishneva/Yakovlev in "The Firebird". No surprise of course that these casts were chosen for commercial release. I gather that the whole programme will be available on DVD in the near future (there was also "Petrushka", "Spectre", and "Polovtsian Dances" in this Fokine marathon). It shall be the first Mariinsky ballet release in at least ten years!

As for the galas in May in London, indeed alluring names all, but needless to add that it's really not decided yet who is actually going to be there - except perhaps Nioradze ;)

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"...the company is returning to Graz, Austria in the first half of July and then to London."

Dear Marc, could you tell please where and when will the Mariinsky Ballet perform in London? I heard that this year they are going only to Salford, Dublin, and Edinburgh in April-May.

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Dear Coda, as far as the situation now is, it's only Salford, April 28 - May 3, 2003 (Dublin and Edinburgh have been cancelled.)

Here's a link: http://www.thelowry.com/theatre/whatson/de...t.aspx?Genre=50

London is supposed to happen in the period when the Royal Ballet is in St. Petersburg, 2nd half of July. Programme still to be determined... and of course everything is liable to change.

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Thanks for the report, Mark. I really envy you as Baden-Baden is the place I have always wanted to catch Kirov in, but it never materialised... So glad to hear that the corps was in a good form - at the New Year Concert was it not the graceful waltz by the corps which was most memorable... Trust everybody enjoyed it.

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The Mariinsky troupes (ballet as well as opera and orchestra) have been frequent guests in Baden-Baden over the last years. The little sleepy southern German town really became an important ballet centre this way, attracting people from all over the region and even from neighbouring France. And since the Mariinsky didn't guest in any other German city this year, the last 5-day season in December really became a hit. Some 12.000 people attended. The next Mariinsky Ballet visit is scheduled for 2004.

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