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Press, Video & News about Mariinsky Ballet 
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August 12 2011

Anna Karenina at Covent Garden

By Debra Craine

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Diana Vishneva as Anna, with Yuri Smekalov as Vronsky, in the UK premiere of Ratmansky’s ballet Marilyn Kingwill


Цитата:
The ballet’s biggest failing, however, is one that Ratmansky hasn’t been able to overcome: the score, written in 1971 by Rodion Shchedrin for his wife, the ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, is a disaster.
Основная неудача балета это то, с чем Ратманский не смог ничего поделать: сочиненная в 1971 году для Плисецкой музыка Щедрина – катастрофа.

The story of Anna Karenina is so potent theatrically that it’s surprising Tolstoy’s adultery drama hasn’t been turned into a ballet more often. This one, by the Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, was made for the Royal Danish Ballet in 2004. Last year he revived and revised it for the Mariinsky, who this week gave its UK premiere.
The ballet’s biggest failing, however, is one that Ratmansky hasn’t been able to overcome: the score, written in 1971 by Rodion Shchedrin for his wife, the ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, is a disaster. Downbeat, dreary and lacking in any motive awareness, the music plays out in short scenarios that leave little time to develop movement ideas. It’s also wildly inappropriate, so that instead of ardent embrace we get sturdy marches, and for one of the lovers’ most romantic encounters we get a hideous babble of argumentative strings.
Ratmansky is to blame, too. He packs the stage with too many characters yet provides insufficient characterisation for the ones who count. He also tells his two-act story with breathtaking speed, which means that there is little scope for Anna and Vronsky to lay the groundwork for their fatal affair.
Perhaps inevitably, there are echoes of Cranko’s Onegin and MacMillan’s Mayerling, and the choreography owes a stylistic debt to the emotional seesaw of their writing. Ratmansky also aims for bold emotive strokes, and if you can close your ears to the music you can appreciate the clever constructions and expansive elegance of his movement.
The designs tend towards the gloomy and the use of projections (in the blink of an eye we travel from Italy to Russia) look like a cheap substitute for proper sets. The costumes, though attractive, cover the women in so much fabric that you can barely see the dancing.
Still, we were here to see Diana Vishneva and she didn’t disappoint. She is a superior dance actress as well as a gorgeous mover. She makes clear every thought that passes through Anna’s fevered head, from the anguished passion of her love for Vronsky and the resulting public humiliation, to her poignant yearning for the cherished son she leaves behind. There isn’t a moment when Vishneva doesn’t dance with her heart and the abrupt ending, when Anna throws herself under a train, is heartbreaking. As Vronsky, Yuri Smekalov dances handsomely, though his acting tends towards the simplistic. Yet it matters not, for this was well and truly Vishneva’s night.


18 авг 2011, 08:57
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Сообщение Re: Press, Video & News about Mariinsky Ballet

    Fascinating YouTube channel that captures famous Mariinsky dancers when they were very young:

    russianballetvideo

    Vladimir Shklyarov
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    Michail Lobukhin
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    Olesya Novikova
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    Ekaterina Kondaurova
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    Svetlana Zakharova (left) and Daria Pavlenko
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    Alina Somova
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28 авг 2011, 03:48
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Сообщение Re: Press, Video & News about Mariinsky Ballet

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    Pure art when Spanish fire meets classic ballet

    By Melissa Tan | Posted: 26 August 2011 1731 hrs

    SINGAPORE: Something for everyone is what the Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra promises at its September debut performance at the Esplanade. But that is probably an understatement.

    With over 100 dancers and 66 musicians, this promises to be one of the grandest dance productions yet staged in Singapore.

    If you're new to dance, this would probably be the best introduction to ballet with the classic Cervantes tale of Don Quixote being re-told in all the colour of 16th century Spain and the imagination of the aging protagonist who believes himself a knight.

    "Don Quixote is a wonderful example of the classical ballet which has an unfolding structure. There's something in this ballet performance to suit all palates" said director Yuri Fateyve.

    "It is a classical ballet which is very modern today because love, joy and laughter have been and will remain as long as human beings exist" said Fateyve who has been with the company since 2008

    The aging knight's journeys paves the way for energetic gypsy dances, and when Quixote meets star-crossed lovers Kitri and Basilio, their tale of romance sets the stage for breathtaking solos.

    The captivating dream sequence and the wedding finale with a thrilling pas de deux cap the visual treat of ballet, drama and romance in this three-hour long dance presentation.

    "There are many people from many departments who are working on the production of the ballet performance… It is a huge amount of work which can bring fruitful results only with teamwork from all" replied the director on what counts for the success of the performance.

    The Mariinsky company boasts an artistic heritage of more than 200 years.

    Once known as the Kirov Ballet with legendary Pavlova, Nijinsky and Baryshnikov in its ensemble of dancers, there is no dearth of talent within the ranks even today.

    "Sometimes it is rather difficult to choose that very dancer for a particular role because every dancer has his or her wonderful merits and gifts" revealed Fateyve on one of the challenges he faces in his work.

    "They have great satisfaction while giving the public the moments of a true art" said the dance director of the dancers while also paying tribute to the dance coaches behind the scenes who work the dancers laboriously every day.

    "That's why the dancers are fully prepared when they get on stage" he quipped.

    Among the many multi-talented dancers in the company is Don Quixote lead, Alina Somova, who has danced into the hearts of many as the lively Kitri, the daughter of the innkeeper.

    "I give part of myself in every role and I am living the life of the principal character while I am dancing," said Somova who spends at least two hours a day rehearsing.

    Already in her ninth season with the company, Somova who has been dancing since the age of four, simply states "there could have been no other alternative" when it comes to dance.

    Realising her childhood dream on joining the company which has its roots in the Imperial Theatre School established at the St Petersburg's Winter Palace in 1738, the blonde beauty is adept in over ten repertoires from Swan Lake to The Nutcracker.

    Enjoying the freedom to express herself through dance while presenting the beauty of the art to the world, the 23-year-old revealed that her favorite part of the performance is in the second act.

    "In comparison to the temperamental and flamboyant dances of the first act, here you will be enchanted by the spirit of romanticism and dream" said the dancer of the dream scene where the sets make her feel like she is in St. Petersburg's Summer Gardens in autumn.

    "The most important thing is that they will forget about all their problems while watching this fabulous ballet!" summed up the dancer.

    The debut performance by the Mariinsky Ballet & Orchestra of St Petersburg opens on 16 September in the lead up to the 2011 da:ns festival being held at The Esplanade.

    channelnewsasia.com



09 сен 2011, 16:03
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Сообщение Alina Somova in Greece

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12 сен 2011, 16:11
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Сообщение BIRTHDAYS @ MARIINSKY

          October 19 - Yulia Stepanova, 22
          October 21 - Oksana Marchuk, 22
          October 22 - Alina Somova, 26
          October 23 - Ulyana Lopatkina, 38


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    ...............Birthday Offerings


24 окт 2011, 17:49
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Сообщение CASTING

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    Swan Lake

    Teatro Regio, Friday 28 October 2011 - Sunday 6 November 2011

    Odile/Odette
    Ul’jana Lopatkina (28, 1, 5e)
    Ekaterina Kondaurova (29a, 3)
    Viktorija Terëškina (29e, 4)
    Okana Skoryk (30, 2a, 5a)
    Alina Somova (2e,6)

    Prince Siegfried
    Daniil Korsuncev (28, 1, 3, 5)
    Igor’ Kolb (29a, 2e, 6)
    Vladimir Škljarov (29, 4)
    Timur Askerov (30, 2a, 5a)

    MORE CASTING...



31 окт 2011, 16:34
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Сообщение Mariinsky @ Teatro Regio
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Lo squadrone volante dei cigni In scena le star del Mariinskij


SERGIO TROMBETTA
Torino

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    Alina Somova as Odile

Quale sarà la migliore Odette/Odille? La divina Ulijana Lopatkina, la sensuale Ekaterina Kondaurova, la verginale Alina Somova, la inappuntabile Viktoria Terioshkina o Oksana Skoryk di cui ancora poco si sa? Gli appassionati discutono i cast del «Lago dei cigni» che da stasera al 6 novembre il Balletto del Mariinskij di Pietroburgo presenta, terzo e ultimo programma, al Teatro Regio. Grandi dibattiti fra i fondamentalisti delle punte. Tutti consci però che le «grandi esperte» saranno sempre pronte a spegnere i loro mortificati entusiasmi: «Che cosa ti sei perso ieri sera! Lei è stata inarrivabile. Una esperienza mistica! Ma tu chi hai visto?».

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14 ноя 2011, 00:50
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Сообщение Alin Somova on cover of Pointe

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    The Soul of a Star
    The Kirov's Alina Somova is forging a new approach to her roles.

    By Elizabeth Kendall

    Published in the December 2011/January 2012 issue.

    Alina Somova appears in the distance in the plaza on a hot day during the 2011 Lincoln Center Festival: tall, wedge heels, wide khaki pants, small head, blond French twist, big sunglasses—like a goddess, or an elongated Grace Kelly. This is the Kirov’s youngest ballerina, she of the phenomenal extensions that float up from ground to ear, of the showmanship that looks both bravura and smooth. At 26, Somova has danced all the major roles. She has beauty, stamina, elegant line. Yet reviewers still can’t decide if she’s a technical wonder with no soul, or a young artist with a soul that’s just not always visible onstage. “Dancer or circus pony?” went a 2009 headline in the London Telegraph. Writer Ismene Brown concluded she was both, but growing in the right direction.

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    One would expect, given such controversy, somebody either defensive or remote. Somova is anything but. At her Pointe photo shoot, she sweetly puts on the suggested leotard, tights and chiffon skirt, then stands under lights on a white paper square, blond hair loose. The photographer instructs; the makeup guy darts in and out. She strikes a pose on pointe, then another and another. Each position gets a fresh smile for the click. In between she stands in that somehow endearing pointe-shoe-heels-on-floor stance—ready to hear what’s wanted next. There’s an unspoiled girl inside the goddess wrapping.

    She seems so nice, one wonders how she got to where she is. The answer has to do, in part, with the mighty Vaganova Academy recruiting apparatus—and with a mom who had high ambitions for her daughter. “My parents weren’t ballet people or even art people,” Somova says. “Papa is a construction engineer, Mama, a nutrition specialist…or she was. She left work to look after me. If it hadn’t been for Mama, nothing would have happened.”

    When she was small, Somova went to a regular St. Petersburg school, then a special math school at her mother’s insistence. Her mother wanted her to excel at sports too, especially her mother’s favorite, skiing. But skiing wasn’t easy in Russia in the 1990s, with the country in the midst of a political and economic transition. “So Mama took me, with baby sister in her arms—and I wasn’t much bigger—to the ‘dance krushok,’ ” a dance “circle” for children. The teachers recognized her physical gifts. When it came time to choose math or ballet, “there was no choice,” Somova says. The dance teachers insisted. She did a pre-curriculum year at St. Petersburg’s renowned Vaganova Academy, then the regular eight-year course. Those teachers pushed too. The last one, Ludmilla Safronova, cooked Somova food at home before dance exams—“meat, for strength,” Somova says. Makhar Vaziev, then Kirov Ballet head, all but promised her a place in the company if she worked on her feet.

    Of course, the child had to love what she was doing—and Somova did. Even the drudgery of first-year pliés didn’t spoil her love of dancing. Nor did the grueling commute. The family lived far from the centrally located Vaganova school, on the Vyborg side of St. Petersburg. The little girl had to get up at 6 am for an hour tram ride (if she could catch it), or else a mix of subways and buses, then repeat it all in the other direction. “There were awful crowds—baboulichikis [grandmother types] who never gave you a place. I had to stand—with a backpack bigger than me!”

    Somova also admits to a competitive streak. “I always wanted to be best,” she says almost happily. “I had to stand in the center. I liked corrections! If somebody was better, it was a tragedy for me. It was the Kirov or nothing.”

    Once she was in, the red carpet was rolled out for the long limbs and proud bearing. She was cast as Odette/Odile in her first year. “It was crazy for a girl new to the theater to get Swan Lake, when so many wait for it for years,” she says a little ruefully. The next year, 2004, she became a soloist. She was helped by a caring coach, ex-ballerina Olga Chenchikova, who ran a mini-academy for her young charges, giving them floor barres and extra conditioning. “Chenchikova turned an ugly duckling into a ballerina,” Somova says. When Chenchikova left the Kirov with her husband, Vaziev (he took the dance post at La Scala), Somova got another top-notch coach, ex-ballerina powerhouse Tatiana Terekhova. They chose each other, in fact, after working together in rehearsals of Balanchine’s Symphony in C (Terekhova was in charge). “She has the pure Leningrad style, the style of Kolpakova,” says Somova of Terekhova, comparing her to Irina Kolpakova, now a ballet master with American Ballet Theatre. “And she doesn’t try to break me, like some other coaches try to do; she doesn’t want to see a copy of herself. She leaves me my ‘I.’”

    But who is Somova’s “I” on the stage, beyond the technical amplitude? The answer depends on the ballet you’re watching. Take Balanchine’s Symphony in C, whose first movement she danced at the Lincoln Center Festival. She loves dancing Balanchine. “Some ballets take energy out of you,” she says. “Balanchine’s ballets give energy back, even if they’re hard.” But the Lincoln Center audience only saw that love in some moments—in the passage, for instance, where the ballerina stabs the ground with her pointes, so overcome with excitement she seems to be doing her own drumbeat. Suddenly, a mad child shone out in Somova’s performance. But in other moments in this brisk and joyous dance, a monotone took over—nice pas de chats; beautiful poses in arabesque; no surprises, and no glee.

    On the other hand, when Somova danced the Tsar Maiden in Ratmansky’s 2009 remake of The Little Humpbacked Horse, that missing “I” came through loud and clear. She seemed like the good-natured girl of the photo shoot. Ratmansky choreographed his Horse in mock-naïve cartoon style (perhaps in homage to a beloved Soviet animated film), which suits Somova. In a white and gold princess dress, with long yellow braids, she offered audiences not just technical prowess—she whipped through the leaps and turns; she reveled in the funky dance-hall moves—but a radiantly goofy goodness.

    Maybe Somova is that rarity in the ballet world: A well-adjusted, happy young woman who happens to have gorgeous technique—and maybe expressing such good-humored effortlessness onstage is hard to do. That’s what the legendary Kolpakova thinks too, after working with Somova last winter in St. Petersburg. “God gave her phenomenal gifts: beauty of line, and an expressive jump,” Kolpakova says. “You can ask her to raise her leg higher, give you a longer arabesque. She does it. But what’s amazing is that it always looks natural, not false. She’s not mannered.”

    So the “I” is about buoyant naturalness, or it will be as she grows some more. Somova herself seems to know that there’s an imbalance between her technical mastery and her artistic projection. “I want to work on my acting. It needs lots of work,” she says. “After eight years in the theater, I should be good at technique. As for the acting, I want the audience to watch the ballet like a movie—not the pirouettes, if they’re correct or not, but the image, the whole picture.”

    What this writer hopes is that the young ballerina will see, as she grows, that acting can’t be plastered onto the steps: It’s the steps themselves that have to be inflected with personality. But Somova’s on the way to this discovery. Beyond a sunny good nature, she’s also got a healthy appetite—for life, for experience of all kinds, which will show up on the stage. On vacation she loves car trips with friends. Last summer, the Loire Valley; this summer, Scotland. She likes all the simple pleasures: sports, Italian opera, good food. “No diet!” she says, laughing. “I eat everything. I cook, if I have time—simple food, like soup, meat, vegetables. I dream of making cakes! I love chocolate, and fruits, especially apples. If apples are in the fridge, everything is okay.”

    The prognosis is excellent for the dancer to win out over the technician. She has her support system in place too, headed by family. Her younger sister, also a dancer (who has yet to find a place in a company) is her best friend. Her mom, always nervous, comes to every performance—“even if it’s better sometimes, for her, not to be there.”

    Audiences need now to sit back, relax and enjoy the sunny girl in the Cadillac body. And wait for her to give the Tsar Maiden treatment to all her roles. Wait for her to let loose and play with the steps.

    Elizabeth Kendall is a New York dance critic. She is at work on a book about Balanchine's youth in Russia.

    http://www.pointemagazine.com/


03 дек 2011, 15:55
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Сообщение Re: Press, Video & News about Mariinsky Ballet
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Alina Somova. The Russian ballerina takes on Manhattan

By Gia Kourlas

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Photograph: N. Razina

Alina Somova is remarkable, and here’s a story to prove it: After she performed The Little Humpbacked Horse, Maya Plisetskaya, the revered Bolshoi star, visited her backstage, took off her diamond earrings, and handed them over. As part of the Mariinsky Ballet’s season at the Metropolitan Opera House beginning Monday 11—thank you, Lincoln Center Festival—Somova will reprise her part of the Tsar Maiden in Alexei Ratmansky’s Humpacked Horse (for which she, as well as Ratmansky, won the Golden Mask award). She doesn’t dance small. Beyond her astounding extension is an enticing duality contrasting fragility with force: At her core, she’s wild, and that’s a beautiful thing. Somova, who will also dance George Balanchine’s Symphony in C, recently fielded questions about her life via e-mail.

When and how did you know that you wanted to be a professional dancer? When did it click for you?

Read more...


28 дек 2011, 05:27
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