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Irina Kolesnikova - St Petersburg Ballet Theatre - in Paris


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I was lucky enough to visit Paris last week to catch 2 performances by Irina Kolesnikova and her company.  I saw Swan Lake and Don Quixote both of which I enjoyed very much.

The Swan Lake is the usual Russian happy ending but it was well danced.  The corps swans were pretty much together for most of their pieces which is always nice to see.  I did not get much emotion off Irina Kolesnikova as Odette and found her rather more a technician, so accordingly her Odile came across suitably wicked. Prince Siegfried was danced by Dmitry Akulinin, not that he had a lot to do in this version.  I loved the sets and costumes throughout and in particular I liked the black Odile tutu which was made with a red layer of tulle under the top black one so it looked great with a flash of red which matched the red jewelled head piece which was showed off brilliantly by the black feathers behind it.  Irina Kolesnikova did a really fast set of fouettes I was out of breath just watching!  One ballerina who danced in the pas de trois was very heavy footed indeed and again in DonQ and the noise from pointe shoes was quite distracting at times.  As usual with Russian dancers they did tend to "milk" the applause which becomes rather tiresome after a while, but overall the performance was very well received.

Don Quixote I found to be lovely again with super sets and some really gorgeous costumes, especially the tutus.  However, after a run of 2 Swan Lakes the previous 2 nights, I thought that DonQ was danced rather more "sedately" than I would expect, and also one must bear in mind that Irina Kolesnikova and Dmitry Akulinin are no spring chickens as well.  Bolshoi lifts were replaced by "easier" fish dives and I felt myself that the only time that Irina Kolesnikova really worked up any speed was in the gpdd with her magnificent fouettes - started off with a quad I think!!  The music was a bit different in places and I think (not having seen a DonQ for a while) that some of the gpdd was interspersed with other variations - as if to give the principals a breather.  Nonetheless the soloists performing these diverts were very proficient and lovely to watch.  The costumes from the Dream Scene reappeared in the diverts in Act 3 which I thought was a nice use of the costumes as they are really gorgeous. What I felt was lacking with this version of Don Q was the full prologue, what we got was a very brief reading of a book by DonQ and Sancho Panza and then off they were on their travels!  I did not get a cast list for Don Q (you had to buy a programme) so I do not know who was who, although I did find one on the floor for Swan Lake, but no names were familiar to me.  Again the ballet was very well received and I was glad I had made the trip to Paris to see these 2 classics.

 

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The music was a bit different in places and I think (not having seen a DonQ for a while) that some of the gpdd was interspersed with other variations - as if to give the principals a breather.

 

I think that's usual in the full production, as opposed to the gala pdd, isn't it?

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I thought the problem with that Don Q. performance was the orchestra, very sluggish and they seemed to be having issues with the score.  Perhaps Minkus is more complex to play than I imagined.

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Yes I agree it was a bit umpty and there was a LOT of score page turning wasn't there?!!!!

 

I am missing the Bolshoi cinema Don Q in April as I will be in Amsterdam for DNB Best of Balanchine - argh  can't do it all eh?!!!  DNB will be brilliant though.

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Am I correct in thinking Irina Kolesnikova is returning to the London Coliseum in August of this year and giving two performances of yet another version of Carmen? The Coli only goes as far as July and Miss K's website gives no other information than it is a full length premiere. I would love to see her dance again and very much so in something new.

Having said that, she is a particularly lovely Giselle. I am glad I saw her in Sheffield when I had the chance. 

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Yes the dates on the Paris Programme for Carmen were 26-28 August at the Coli I think. It's on her website. Next year's Paris season is end of January with Giselle and Swan Lake.

Thanks for that. I found a little more info on Irina's Facebook page. Apparently, this Carmen is set in a refugee camp! 

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They are performing at the moment in Israel and I went yesterday to the 1pm performance.  I didn't see Irina herself and her replacement although very good technically, didn't really have the swan arms, nor the emotion for Odette.  Her Odile was better with excellent fouettes.  I am afraid that the tempo was so slow in the second act that I kept dozing off!  Why do the Russians "milk" every movement?  I timed a youtube Russian Act 2 pas de deux and the ABT version with Angel Corrella and Gillian Murphey and the pas was about 2 minutes shorter!  It makes the corps work look lacklustre too. My sister in law went to the matinee today and was very impressed, but she thinks she saw Kolesnikova herself.  We both found the dancers {? might have been the same guy) who portrayed Siegfried to be very wooden, spent his time posing rather than emoting.  I also felt that some of the choreography didn't do the glorious music justice - it seemed very minimal and static - again perhaps because it was all so slow.  And I really do not like the Russian fourth act!!!!!!   I saw the Kirov a few years ago and they were incredible!  But even then the happy ending ruined it for me!  This one had an awful lot of flapping of arms by the corps in the fourth act!   I should add that the first act jester was excellent, as was the first act trio.  I don't know who were the dancers as I didn't buy a programme. 

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  • 1 month later...

Just been looking at the ticket availability/pricing for 'Her Name Was Carmen' at the Coli in August. A front row seat in the Dress Circle for the Sunday matinee is - in my opinion - a rather whopping £115.00? I would never sit there again, after experiencing the lack of leg room last year. It just seems an awful lot of money to pay for such an uncomfortable seat. Other, cheaper seats are available of course.

This production is ringing warning bells for me anyway. I rather hope MAB is right that there may be a short tour in the UK, but if it is just Carmen, I will risk it in a cheaper seat, just to see Irina.

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Didn't even know this was happening: Presumably this is "Prenom Carmen"? Can't remember whose production it is.

The Coli website has this Carmen as Andrei Kuznetsov-Vecheslov's 'bold interpretation', containing some adult scenes that may not be suitable for children.

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  • 9 months later...

I want to register my admiration and pay tribute to the level of artistry displayed by Irina Kolesnikova as Giselle in her recent performances at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées (26 and 27 January 2017). Forgive me for saying that, but you will almost never see this kind of artistry on any major ballet stage in the World now. Kolesnikova reminds me of the greatest interpreters of this role: Spesivtseva, Vyroubova, Bessmertnova. I can only wish that the other dancers possessed her interpretative depth and vision, and the delicacy of feeling that she is capable of projecting through her slightest gestures and movement. As such she stands for me as one of the greatest living ballet artists today.

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I agree, Kolesnikova is a wonderful Giselle. She seems best known for Swan Lake, although that may have something to do with the frequency of performance as well as her being a notable Odette/Odile. I understand her favourite ballet is La Bayadere but for me, she was made to dance Giselle.

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The company is dancing in the UK right now and I saw them in Northampton last night, but if anyone has picked up on this, it appears the Kolesnikova is sadly not with them.  Agree wholeheartedly with the comments above.

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