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Subject: "Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Kevin Ng

10-03-02, 12:29 PM (GMT)
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"Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
 
   This year's Maryinsky Festival opened last night with Alexei Ratmansky's new production of "Cinderella" which received its premiere on 5 March.

This new production is uneven in terms of choreography. The choreography for the ensembles is dull and uninspired. Novelties include casting the four seasons for male soloists, and having two dancing teachers. The fairy godmother is replaced by a fairy tramp. In the last act, in the Prince's journey round the world in search of Cinderella, there are two solos - the first excitingly danced with allure by Irina Golub, and the second by the promising soloist Ivan Popov.

The main merit of Alexei Ratmansky's new production is the choreography for the several pas de deux. Last night's cast - Natalia Sologub, and Denis Matvienko - was superlative. Sologub wasn't particularly convincing as the maligned sister in the first act, but she really blossomed in the ballroom act with her Prince. Her initial reverie solo before she meets the Prince was beautifully danced. She was heart-melting in the two pas de deux full of soaring lifts. In the pas de deux in the last act, Sologub danced the classical choreography with aplomb, the climax of which was a develope a la seconde which she did perfectly.

Her Prince was Denis Matvienko whom I had never seen before. This charming blond dancer was a noble prince in every sense of the word. His solo was impeccably danced - big grands jetes and double assembles en tournant.

The sets by Ilya Utkin are effective. There is a metallic construction for the first and last acts. In the ballroom act there is a backdrop showing a long vista of classical architecture, which is to change to a vista of green bushes in a garden when the duets are danced. The fashionable costumes are designed by Elena Markovskay. I liked the white ball gown for Cinderella, and the red vest for the Prince in the last act.

In the audience I spotted the Bolshoi star Nikolai Tsiskaridze who is to dance in Scheherazade tonight, and the Paris Opera stars Aurelie Dupont and Manuel Legris who are to dance later this week.

Kevin Ng,
Hotel Astoria,
St. Petersburg.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... AnnWilliams 10-03-02 1
     RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Kevin Ng 11-03-02 2
         RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Kevin Ng 12-03-02 3
             RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... NO7 14-03-02 4
             RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Mike 14-03-02 5
                 RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Kevin Ng 15-03-02 6
                     RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Mike 16-03-02 8
  RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Terry 15-03-02 7
     RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Kevin Ng 18-03-02 9
         RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Bruce Madmin 18-03-02 10
             RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Kevin Ng 25-03-02 11
                 RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Naoko S 25-03-02 12
                 RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Naoko S 25-03-02 13
                 RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Naoko S 25-03-02 14
                     RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Kevin Ng 26-03-02 15
                         RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Naoko S 27-03-02 16
                             RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Kevin Ng 28-03-02 17
                             RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersbur... Mike 31-03-02 18

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AnnWilliams

10-03-02, 02:26 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #0
 
   Kevin - Thank you for this interesting report. Despite it's faults, I would love to see this 'Cinderella' (with the dancers you mention, of course). Do you think it is likely that the Kirov will include it in its repertoire for its next UK visit?

Looking forward to your next report!


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Kevin Ng

11-03-02, 05:34 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #1
 
   Ann, I don't know yet about the Kirov's repertory for their Covent Garden season next year.

Last night Nikolai Tsiskaridze brought the house down with his glamorous performance of the Golden Slave in Scheherazade. ABT star Vladimir Malakhov gave a touching performance in Petrushka, and danced beautifully with his pure classical style as the Poet in Chopiniana which opened the Fokine programme.


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Kevin Ng

12-03-02, 12:57 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #2
 
   Last night I saw for the first time the Kirov's new production of Nutcracker (choreographed by Kirill Simonov) which was premiered in the Maryinsky Festival last year. I remember that NO7 reviewed it in length here last year.

Whatever the faults of this production, it was redeemed by the marvellous dancing, as usual, of the Kirov company. Daria Pavlenko danced the Snow Queen with grandeur. Natalia Sologub portrayed Masha's teenage innocence with feeling, and in the grand pas de deux in Act 2 her dancing shone with brilliance. She coped well with the many off-balance pirouettes in her solo choreographed by Simonov. She was lucky in having Andrian Fadeyev as her partner.

I have long admired Fadeyev's pure classical style since I first saw him in the Kirov's 1997 London season. Fadeyev was sublime as the Nutcracker Prince. His performance was truly classical, had grace and harmony. His solo, with many quick jumps packed in a sequence, was seemlessly danced as if in one phrase. What musicality! I greatly look forward to his Romeo on Friday with the Paris Opera Ballet etoile Aurelie Dupont.


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NO7

14-03-02, 02:46 AM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #3
 
   Thank you for the reports, Kevin.
I remember that Act 2 pdd of the new Nutcracker was quite enjoyable, although the overall production's rather dull .
By the way, how about your impressions on Le Corsaire and Manon then?


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Mike

14-03-02, 09:21 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #3
 
   >I greatly look forward to his
>Romeo on Friday with the
>Paris Opera Ballet etoile Aurelie
>Dupont.

I hope you mean Saturday, Kevin!


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Kevin Ng

15-03-02, 12:52 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #5
 
   Yes, Mike, I meant this Sat. Sorry.

Manon on Wed. was led by a stellar cast - Diana Vishneva and Manuel Legris. Vishneva was absolutely splendid in the title role. She was totally immersed in the role, and her acting was richly nuanced. Her solo in Madame's salon was finely danced. Vishneva was more moving in the role than Svetlana Zakharova whom I saw in London last summer. Legris's beauty of line in adagio recalled Dowell, the creator of the role of Des Grieux. It was a marvellous partnership.

Le Corsaire the night before was grandly danced. Svetlana Zakharova displayed her iron-clad technique as Medora, and Elvira Tarasova danced marvellously as Gulnara. Igor Kolb dazzled as Ali, though slightly lacking in charisma. In the Jardin Anime scene, the corps de ballet was enhanced by 6 pairs of students from the Vaganova Academy, unlike at Covent Garden. And there were three fountains at the Maryinsky Theatre instead of two in London.

Tonight, Nicolas Le Riche will dance The Prodigal Son with Daria Pavlenko in the Balanchine programme. His Paris colleague Manuel Legris will dance Rubies with Vishneva.


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Mike

16-03-02, 09:42 AM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #6
 
   Glad you mean Sat, Kevin. I thought perhaps there had been another change of programme. Arrived a litle earlier than expected last night, so managed an unplanned attendance at the Ballanchine. Enjoyed Rubies as much as I remembered from Covent Garden last summer and thought that Le Riche was excellent in Prodigal Son. How much rehersal time do these visiting soloists get?

Looking forward to R&J tonight and Manon tomorrow. Mariinsky Theatre was all I expected - something of fading glory about it, but what an atmosphere! However, I did find the applause after each pdd and soloist's entry and exit somewht distracting. Well worth the trip, though, in spite of the tendancy to double-book seats (which I had been warned of in advance)


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Terry

15-03-02, 02:12 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #0
 
   Kevin,

Thank you so much for all the reports. I look forward to hearing more about the Vishneva/Legris partnership (I personally think he's a better match with Vishneva than with A. Dupont)-- hope we'll get to see this partnership more often in Paris and in the States.


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Kevin Ng

18-03-02, 08:15 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #7
 
   LAST EDITED ON 18-03-02 AT 08:21 AM (GMT)

There were many memorable performances to be seen over the weekend. Manuel Legris was splendid as the soloist in Rubies partnering Diana Vishneva, who once again confirmed my opinion that she is the finest Rubies ballerina anywhere at present. (Vishneva, incidentally, is on the cover of the latest issue of the Russian magazine "Ballet Art" which was just published last weekend.)

Nicolas Le Riche won ovations for his powerful performance of The Prodigal Son, and Daria Pavlenko was alluring as the Siren. Vladimir Malakhov danced beautifully as Des Grieux in Manon, and the ending when he realised that Manon was dead was intensely heart-breaking.

Natalia Sologub was dancing at almost every performance - in the two Neumeier ballets yesterday afternooon, in the Waltz in Serenade, and as Lescaut's mistress in Manon. Vasily Sherbakov danced impressively as Lescaut. Irina Golub made two outstanding debuts - as the Russian ballerina in Serenade, and in the Troubador pas de deux in the Lavrovsky Romeo and Juliet.

Aurelie Dupont was a lyrical and moving Juliet, well matched with Andrian Fadeyev. Their pas de deux were poetic. Fadeyev's acting was richly nuanced. The tragic ending was heart-rending. Fadeyev also showed his dramatic talent as the composer Schnitke in Neumeier's Sounds of Empty Pages.


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Bruce Madmin

18-03-02, 08:23 AM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #9
 
   You lucky man you. Love Rubies...


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Kevin Ng

25-03-02, 09:57 AM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #10
 
   LAST EDITED ON 25-03-02 AT 10:24 AM (GMT)

The photos taken by Natasha Razina, the Kirov's house photographer, for every performance in the Festival are now on the Kirov's special website for the Festival.

http://www.ballet.com.ru/cgi-bin/list.cgi?content=galery&day=&lang=en&level=0

http://www.mariinsky.ru/en


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Naoko S

25-03-02, 11:17 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #11
 
   Thanks Kevin for this - how delightful! One picture particularly caught my eyes - which has turned out Ayupova and Malakhov in Diamonds. (Gosh I didn't know this was in her repertoire - she must be utterly exquisite in the role... ) So glad to know that Ayupova was given such versatile roles in the festival.

Incidentally, about another picture of Vishneva & Fadeev in blue costumes - I wonder what ballet this is?


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Naoko S

25-03-02, 11:18 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #11
 
   Thanks Kevin for this - how delightful! One picture particularly caught my eyes - which has turned out Ayupova and Malakhov in Diamonds. (Gosh I didn't know this was in her repertoire - she must be utterly exquisite in the role... ) So glad to know that Ayupova was given such versatile roles in the festival.

Incidentally, about another picture of Vishneva & Fadeev in blue costumes - I wonder what ballet this is?


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Naoko S

25-03-02, 11:21 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #11
 
   Thanks Kevin for this - how delightful! One picture particularly caught my eyes - which has turned out Ayupova and Malakhov in Diamonds. (Gosh I didn't know this was in her repertoire - she must be utterly exquisite in the role... ) So glad to know that Ayupova was given such versatile roles in the festival.

Incidentally, about another picture of Vishneva & Fadeev in blue costumes - I wonder what ballet this is?


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Kevin Ng

26-03-02, 01:43 AM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #14
 
   Naoko, Diamonds was danced by Vladimir Malakhov and Svetlana Zakharova, not Zhanna Ayupova. Ayupova danced Le Spectre de la Rose in the Gala with Vladimir Malakhov. Re the other photo of Andrian Fadeyev in a blue costume, it's the Roland Petit ballet "Le Jeune Homme et la Mort". Fadeyev gave a powerful performance. He danced it with Yulia Makhalina this time, instead of Diana Vishneva.


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Naoko S

27-03-02, 10:07 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #15
 
   Oops.... I took it as the caption of the photo read: Ayupova & Malakhov in Diamonds! Oddly enough the female dancer (Zakharova?) in this particular picture still looks to my eyes Ayupova! What a resemblance...

... and about the ballet in blue costumes: Sorry it should have been Baranov, not Fadeyev I tried to mean, who was shot with Vishneva. There was no mentioning about the ballet in the caption of the photo, nor in the programme listing ....


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Kevin Ng

28-03-02, 00:17 AM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #16
 
   LAST EDITED ON 28-03-02 AT 01:37 AM (GMT)

Naoko, I see. It was a pas de deux from Jerome Robbins' ballet "In the Night" (which replaced Bejart's Bahkti which was to have been danced by Vishneva and Ruzimatov) that was danced by Diana Vishneva and Vicktor Baranov.


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Mike

31-03-02, 10:59 PM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Maryinsky International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg"
In response to message #17
 
   LAST EDITED ON 31-03-02 AT 11:01 PM (GMT)

Having had a chance to reflect on (and recover from!) my recent visit to St Petersburg, I thought I'd post some thoughts and observations in the hope that they might be of interest to anyone considering a first-time visit.

Firstly, I was encouraged to confirm my booking after reading others' accounts which you all kindly posted in response to my initial enquiry on this site. I would like to add my assurance to anyone contemplating a visit that such a trip is extremely 'do-able', without much more trouble than a visit to any other European city.

I arranged my trip through Intourist, and found it to be extremely good value. The package consisted of flights (BA scheduled from Gatwick, B&B in a hotel (the Pribaltiskya) which was extremely comfortable and had excellent facilities and wonderful views over the Gulf of Finland, but was somewhat remote from the centre of the city, and pre-arranged taxi transfers between airport and hotel. I'm sure that they do such trips throughout the year, and really think that this is all that is necessary, depending on the individual. I tend to find escorted tours too restrictive, and you always have the option of pre-booking guided excursions through Intourist. I found St Petersburg easy to get around, many of the central attractions being within walking distance, and it is a very pleasant city to walk around, although the pollution was noticable in some areas, and the state of the roads and pavements left something to be desired. We were blessed with mainly excellent, if somewhat chilly, weather, which certainly helped.

Taxis are plentiful, and realatively cheap, and all the drivers that we came across spoke enough English. We didn't try using public transport, mainly due to the remoteness of our hotel from public transport routes and the fact that taxis and a shuttle bus service were easily available.

As far as the sights go, we spent an entire day, plus a further visit of an hour or so the following day, in the Hermitage, and only saw a relatively small part of it. With well over 300 rooms open to the public, and numerous special exhibitions in addition to the permanent displays, suffice it to say that it's all that its reputation suggests, and then some! Also worth a visit (and somewhat under-publicised, certainly in the West, in comparison with the Hermitage) is the Russian Museum. Another vast former palace, it contains a huge collection of Russian art - I found the 19th and 20th century collections to be especially interesting. We also managed visits to the Peter and Paul fortress (notable for its church containing the tombs of the majority of the Tzars), some cathedrals, and an interesting Naval museum. All to be recommended, and there are plenty of other places of interest for a future visit.

And now to the important bit, the ballet......

Having arrived at the hotel a little earlier than I'd estimated, we managed to get to the Mariinsky on each of the three nights that we were there. Tickets for 2 of the performances, I'd reserved in advance by e-mail directly with the Kirov, but we had no trouble getting tickets for the first evening, even though we arrived a few minutes after the performance began. They seem to operate a practice of selling tickets at 'tourist' prices (about 3 times that of 'local' prices, judging by a ticket that I saw) even if they have already sold that seat to a local. The poor unfortunate locals are then moved to another seat (they put an extra line of free-standing seats up the centre aisle of the stalls, seemingly for taking up this overspill, as well as seats and standing in the entrances - so much for fire regulations!) I had been warned about double -booked seats before my visit, so was prepared for this. The staff were more than helpful in ensuring that we got our alloted seats.

Ticket prices were more than I'd been led to believe when I reserved them, but still not unreasonable (certainly by ROH standards!) - about 60 for the best seats, next price 30, then downwards from there. Drinks and programmes were very cheap (4 for a glass of Georgian 'champagne', an orange juice, and 2 pieces of bread with caviar in the interval) but I learned the hard way not to leave my programme under my seat in the interval. They only produce a limited number of English language programmes, and invariably sell out before the interval.

Everything must be paid for in Roubles. As an asid, elsewhere in the City, US Dollars or Roubles were equally acceptable for taxis, street vendors and markets, etc, although I was surprised to find that I always got a much better exchange rate by paying in Roubles. Sterling didn't seem to be acceptable anywhere, so the advice which I was given beforehand to take only Dollars, and change them for Roubles, seems to be correct.

The Mariinsky itself is a very impressive building, although in need of some internal restoration. Many bare staircases where once were carpets, crumbling plaster, and chairs nailed onto wooden platforms in the backs of boxes to raise them above the row in front - not always with the nails driven fully home, as I found out to my cost. Ouch.... Still, the outside was largely covered up and looks as if it is receiving considerable work. They have many vendors inside selling books, old and current programmes, videos, postcards, etc, all at very reasonable prices by our standards.

Incidentally, if anyone knows where I can get hold of Programmes for the Kirov season at the Coliseum in 1996 and the second season at the ROH in 2000, I'd be eternally grateful!!!!!

As far as the ballets went, we saw the Ballanchine programme. Seranade, (which I'd seen before at Versailles last summer), including the lovely Veronica Part, one of my favourite dancers, Prodigal Son, which I'd not seen, and just blew me away - incredibly moving, and I was very impressed again with Nicolas Le Riche, and Rubies (which drew gasps from the audience when the curtain went up to reveal the costumes), with Manuel Legris and the superb Diana Vishneva (another personal favourite of mine).

The next night was Romeo and Juliet, with Aurelie Dupont and Andrian Fadeyev. Very moving, as Kevin has already mentioned, and excellently danced, but I did leave with the same impression as when I saw this Kirov performance at the ROH 2 years ago - that it was over-long at 3 1/2 hours, and some of the crowd scenes could usefully have been shortened. I'm looking forward to the comparison with Mlle Guillem at CG in a few weeks time. Still a thoroughly enjoyable evening, though.

On to Sunday evening, and Manon, a late substitution for the Neumeier programme, which was in turn moved to a matinee performance. This was also excellent, but seemed to me to lack a certain something in comparison with the RB production. Zhanna Ayupova (Manon) and the guesting Vladimir Malakhov (Legris) both danced well, and gave extremely emotional performances. This performance was very well received by the audience, and the principals gave one of the longest curtain calls that I've ever seen.

So, farewell to the Kirov for a while. I suppose I'll just have to wait until my next 'fix' at the ROH at the 2 Kirov Gala evenings in a couple of months, then it's 'cold turkey' until next summer at CG.

Thanks to you all for your postings before I went - they were all very helpful, and gave me the confidence to go ahead and book.

So, in summary, a wonderfully enjoyable trip, which has left me with many memorable moments to savour, and one that I would hope to do again some day. Nothing left now, but to plan the next trip. Hmmm, POB or the NYCB.......?


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