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Mariinsky Ballet: Don Quixote, London, July 2017


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I was at the rehearsal for 'Don Q' the afternoon (NB - Act One only) before the opening night.

Here are some photos:

 

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Viktoria Tereshkina, Kimin Kim
©  Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


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Viktoria Tereshkina
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

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Ekaterina Chebykina
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

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Set from DanceTabs: Mariinsky Ballet - Don Quixote
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

 

 

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  • John Mallinson changed the title to Mariinsky Ballet: Don Quixote, London, July 2017

Yes, I was there in the evening too. The grande pdd with Viktoria Tereshkina and Kimin Kim was worth the entry fee alone. The rest of act 3 was a bit dull I thought (and weird! - what WAS the Bayadere/Blubird-on-a-roll-of-carpet mash-up about??). The dancer as Mercedes had utterly astonishing back-bends! The gypsy bit opening act 2 was dreary, but the Dryads scene a pleasure, even if grimly lit with a flush of yellow, Act 1 was great fun, and as full of lively dancing as you'd expect.

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Yes!

I was delaying posting until finding my cast list but meanwhile: I was very much struck by the old-fashioned air of the production. Simple painted sets, a rather quaint wooden windmill. However, that is no criticism at all but in fact I wish there was more of this on the ROH stage- the attention was all on the dancing where it belongs .

( except for two very silly moments one with a large rubber fish and one with a rag doll being thrown at the windmill- a really hopelessly ineffectual effect it would have  been better without! but funny)

 

 I was interested to see Kimin Kim for the first time, not what you would call a very tidy or classical dancer really, but such verve. Tereshkina seemed totally in control, and technically incredible.

 

The Queen of the Dryads was the highlight for me, superb technical skill, elegance and artistry- will find my cast list.

 

It seemed to be a packed house and the atmosphere was very pleasant.

 

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1 minute ago, Mary said:

The Queen of the Dryads was the highlight for me, superb technical skill, elegance and artistry- will find my cast list.

 

 

 

That was Ekaterina Chebykina, if I remember correctly. Yes, she was super, wasn't she!

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Glad I wasn't the only one confused by the carpet dance thing! Also, I did have to wonder if something went wrong with Don Q and his windmill moment, because the doll just sort of flopped awkwardly to the ground really quickly, rather than getting stuck on the windmill for longer. 

 

Otherwise I thought it was a lovely beginning to the tour. Tereshkina has a lovely ability to prolong the end of a movement, which both adds to the anticipation and gives her dancing a sort of languid feeling. And I was really impressed by Kimin Kim, particularly in Act 3. That said, together they felt more like old friends than lovers and while some of their solo dancing was explosive, I'd say the pas de deuxs felt very controlled and neat. I also really loved the way Tereshkina handled the difference in style in the vision scene with much more smooth and polished port de bras. 

 

Yalinich was really enjoyable to watch as the street dancer, and it was such a shame that she knocked over one of the knives, because otherwise her performance was charming. As Mary said Chebykina was gorgeous as the Queen of the Dryads, very graceful and soft. She handled those tough Italian fouettes really well too, and managed to get all the way round without fudging the last quarter which can be tricky.

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I was also at  the photo call and here are some more pictures from the rehearsal. Please note that some of the cast are not in full make up.

 

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Dmitri Pykhachov - Gamache, Viktoria Tereshkina - Kitri and Andrei Yakolev - Lorenzo

 

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Alexander Sergeyev - Espada
 
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Alexander Fyodorov - Sancho Panza
 
 
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The whole night felt like a bit of a misfire to me, the Grand Pas and Mercedes excepted. I was a bit bored in places, and was hoping to be dazzled!

 

I feel that Acosta's and Bolshoi's were "better" productions. Some of the scenery and general production values felt like they belonged more to companies like State Ballet of Siberia than the hundreds of years old glorious company dancing for us.

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Disclaimer: I'm not a huge DonQ fan and it takes a lot to work up a real enthusiasm for any version

 

There was a bit of a dearth of spirit in the first act, and I didn't think that there was a lot of chemistry between Kitri and Basilio, which didn't help the glacial speed of the performance to feel less long. I still liked it better than the Acosta version overall (if I never had to see the infernal guitar playing scene again, I'd be ok with that, though his horse is fun) and adored a lot of the tutus in act 2&3. Yes, a lot more Russian than Spanish, but utterly gorgeous. 

 

I have yet to see a DonQ where I don't like the dryads, and this one was no exception. I particularly enjoyed Cupid (wrong wig though), some lovely solos and the relentless prettiness of the CdB.

 

Tereshkina and Kim really were rather amazing in the Grand Pas, as well as some of the act 1 stuff.Though I couldn't help imagining in what other ballets I'd rather see these amazing dancers.

 

I always feel that the first shows of a season can be less inspiring than what a company is capable off, and hope that's the case in this instance. Either way, I felt I got enough for my money's worth, but it didn't grip me. 

 

 

 

Edited by Coated
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The "puppet theatre" scene that used to take place at the gypsy encampment has gone missing has't it ? I think that this used to be in the Mariinsky version as well as in the Bolshoi one.  Can anyone recall ? 

 

In this synposis on the Mariinsky web site it is included (but the running order of scnes if different)

 

https://www.mariinsky-theatre.com/performance/mar_quixote/03-June-2017/20:00/6229/

 

 

Edited by Lynette H
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27 minutes ago, Lynette H said:

The "puppet theatre" scene that used to take place at the gypsy encampment has gone missing has't it ? I think that this used to be in the Mariinsky version as well as in the Bolshoi one.  Can anyone recall ?

 

In this synposis on the Mariinsky web site it is included (but the running order of scnes if different)

 

https://www.mariinsky-theatre.com/performance/mar_quixote/03-June-2017/20:00/6229/

 

 

Yes the puppet scene was missing, I wasn't sorry, I missed the horse and donkey too, although can understand why :)

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5 hours ago, nickwellings said:

The whole night felt like a bit of a misfire to me, the Grand Pas and Mercedes excepted. I was a bit bored in places, and was hoping to be dazzled!

 

I feel that Acosta's and Bolshoi's were "better" productions. Some of the scenery and general production values felt like they belonged more to companies like State Ballet of Siberia than the hundreds of years old glorious company dancing for us.

If Acosta's was better, then the Marinsky is surely in trouble...

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10 hours ago, zxDaveM said:

The grande pdd with Viktoria Tereshkina and Kimin Kim was worth the entry fee alone. 

 

 

I agree that the grande pas de deux was impeccable, brilliant. The fuettes were spectacular, when Tereshkina flashed her red fun alternately above her head and by her waist. It was so effortlessly performed that didn’t look like a trick at all. 

There was also a special delight in the vision scene - Tereshkina did the Dulcinea’s variation, which Natalya Dudinskaya used to do but it is rarely danced now. This is an earlier recording of this variation with Tereshkina:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SN8QuAgorvk   

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24 minutes ago, Amelia said:

 

 

There was also a special delight in the vision scene - Tereshkina did the Dulcinea’s variation, which Natalya Dudinskaya used to do but it is rarely danced now. This is an earlier recording of this variation with Tereshkina:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SN8QuAgorvk   

 

I'm told it was choreographed for Dudinskaya by the great Vaganova herself, do you know if the music is by Minkis or another composer, Amelia?  Such a lovely variation, it really intrigued me,

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Yes, I was at last night too and though I enjoyed the performances of individuals neither the production as a whole or the overall performance really excited me and made me feel I'd seen something really special like I did at the first Vasipova performance at the Coliseum (Is it 10 or 11 years ago now?) For me the 2 of them (especially Osipova) totally encapsulated the virtuosity, attack and charisma that for me constitutes a perfect Don Q. This lack of excitement was reflected by the lack of people at the stage door afterwards. I've never seen so few and for an opening night too. By the time Kim and Tereshkina came out (and they weren't that late) there was only about half a dozen of us. A far cry from the milling hordes for Osipova and Vasiliev)

 

Though I enjoyed Tereshkina and especially Kim, also the matador and Mercedes I thought the production as a whole looked rather tired and dated and some of the men's costumes were bordering on the ridiculous (those awful knickerbockers and berets). Also bits were missed out such as the introduction of Kitri by the flower girls, the 'business' by Basil 'stealing' Lorenzo's money bag (made all the odder by Lorenzo having previously flourished the bag ostentatiously) and the puppet show which was a relief as I've always found it very boring. if only they would also leave out Gamanche's blind mans buff which is the last word in tedium. having said that I've never seen him tossed so high and without even a blanket to catch him in. There was a huge gasp round the auditorium I've never heard before and I'm surprised the health and safety people in this country allowed it. it would have been terrible if they'd dropped him. However, to compensate for the omissions as others have said there was an exquisite solo for Kitri in the vision scene and a bizarre dance in the final act that rather resembled the Nutcracker's Arabian dance and looked as if it belonged in Bayadere rather than Don Q (I could see it being performed by a temple dancer)

 

The prologue was performed just in front of a plain backdrop and looked even more irrelevant than usual. Also the gypsy scene seemed out of place somehow as if it could have done with something else. Without the mime scene it seemed rather redundant. Perhaps they could have 'borrowed' the pas de deux that Nureyev choreographed for Basil and Kitri using the Bayadere music? Also the Dons attack on the windmills was very badly mishandled.Kim seemed to rush the 'death scene and jumped up before Lorenzo had agreed to the marriage! However, the final pas de deux was really spectacular. Kim really came into his own and his solos were virtually on a pas with Vasiliev's. Tereshkina too produced the most amazing fouettes; she was so fast she was just a blur! I don't think even Osipova or Ananiashvilli could have done them better and to me they have always been the 'fouette queens'. So a spectacular end to the evening but I still think it was a mistake to bring it straight after the Bolshoi's wonderful version. They would have been better with their Le Corsaire which I think is the best ever and is very different to the other current productions on offer and (as I keep saying) hasn't been seen over here for nearly 20 years.

 

I also had to tell the person in front of me to switch off her mobile. She kept bringing it out for a minute or 2 at a time (despite being told by the usher). the ushers near me in the amphi were quite good in that they came into the auditorium when the overture was going on and were actively looking for those with phones still on and told them to switch them off including the person sitting in front of me. Then another usher appeared during the vision scene when she had it on again. he looked towards her and I pointed and he nodded but by then she'd switched it off. I thought he would return when the curtain came down but he didn't so I thought well it's down to me. She seemed genuinely surprised when I mentioned it and pointed to the fact it was muted. I said it wasn't the sound but the screen glare that was annoying. She didn't say anything but didn't switch it on again later. I think some phone users think if the phone is muted it's ok to browse or text and don't realise (or care) how distracting it is for those around them. just another example of the total lack of awareness for others some people have today.

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If you view the "oriental" carpet arm dance as a distinctly Mariinsky moment it might not bother you (people in general, I mean). The Mariinsky (Vaganova trained) dancers are famous for their flowing "boneless" arms and the carpet dance shows this training off, in my opinion. I love watching how a dance can be made with just the arms.

 

The puppet show is deleted when Vaganova students are not available. Even in summer during the White Nights Festival at the Mariinsky there is no puppet show because Vaganova students are on break. The puppet show is there when Vaganova is in session.

 

Just saw Batoeva and Stepin in DQ today after arriving from Florida! Batoeva was a joy with playful balances!

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21 hours ago, VickyPage said:

" I did have to wonder if something went wrong with Don Q and his windmill moment, because the doll just sort of flopped awkwardly to the ground really quickly, rather than getting stuck on the windmill for longer. "

 

 

 

 

Surely this can't be the same production I saw in Stalingrad (as it was then) several decades ago when the dummy Don Q. flew off the windmill about five minutes before time and the gypsies had to avoid trampling it underfoot until the right moment arrived and they all stopped dancing and made a great show of tending to the injured party.  What with that and several other production mishaps, I came away less than impressed with the mighty Kirov (as it was then).  

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Looking forward to tonight's Don Q, hope Renata Shakirova will be a pleasant surprise, really enjoyed the opening night although the production looked tired the dancing was glorious, Tereshkina and Kim produced the technique I had expected, her fouettes were truly outstanding, and she danced a more delicate solo in the vision scene. I always look forward to seeing new dancers and on Monday there was a very special corps de ballet girl Tamara Gimadieva who danced Cupid beautifully!  Also liked Ekaterina Chebykina as the Dryad Queen, although she looked a little vulnerable in the solo she had lovely prescence, might try to see her in Bayadere although the casting may change again!

 

 

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I got on with the production much better on the second night. It didn't have the fabulous fireworks delivered by Tereshkina and Kim on the first night, but it it was more evenly cast with Alexander Sergeyev as an excellent Espada and Ekaterina Chebykina as Street Dancer which tightened up the first act a lot. Nadezhda Batoeva was beautiful as Kitri, warm and sunny, nice chemistry with Filipp Stepin's Basilio. I'm looking forward to seeing more of her.

 

Somehow this cast managed to make the unwieldy first act more engaging and I didn't experience quite as many longueurs. Sadly, still no fix for the Gypsy scene and oriental dancer. I can admire the arms of the oriental dancer for a little while, but then really notice how the movement has nothing to do with the music.

 

Tamara Gimadieva did Cupid again and she was as quick-silvery gorgeous and slightly mischievous as the night before. She's definitely someone to look out for and I hope she'll pop up in more roles throughout this season.

 

Edited to add: during the dryad scene, there are 4 ladies standing at the very back in flowing dresses. 3 of them look like slightly benevolent older dryads watching proceedings. The one standing on the very left looked like she was either held on stage against her will, or she was plotting to overthrow the dryad queen. I couldn't help but glance at her quite a lot since it amused me, and at no point did she not look heavily displeased.

 

 

 

Edited by Coated
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14 hours ago, jmhopton said:

. if only they would also leave out Gamanche's blind mans buff which is the last word in tedium. having said that I've never seen him tossed so high and without even a blanket to catch him in.

 

 

 

Actually it isn't Gamache being tossed, it's Sancho Panza.

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3 hours ago, Beryl H said:

Looking forward to tonight's Don Q, hope Renata Shakirova will be a pleasant surprise, really enjoyed the opening night although the production looked tired the dancing was glorious, Tereshkina and Kim produced the technique I had expected, her fouettes were truly outstanding, and she danced a more delicate solo in the vision scene.

 

Shakirova also dances the beautiful Dudinskaya vision scene variation.  Wish I could be there for it!

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5 hours ago, AnneMarriott said:

Surely this can't be the same production I saw in Stalingrad (as it was then) several decades ago when the dummy Don Q. flew off the windmill about five minutes before time and the gypsies had to avoid trampling it underfoot until the right moment arrived and they all stopped dancing and made a great show of tending to the injured party.  What with that and several other production mishaps, I came away less than impressed with the mighty Kirov (as it was then).  

 

O dear AnnaMarriott, how could it be “less than impressed with the mighty Kirov” several decades ago? At that time the company had an absolutely breathtaking, unparalleled corps de ballet. And the leads you might saw at that time were probably Asylmuratova, Terekhova, Ruzimatov, Zelensky… Sorry for the dummy that prematurely shot off the windmill but Leningrad (as it was then) was a true mecca of classical ballet. 

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27 minutes ago, Amelia said:

 

O dear AnnaMarriott, how could it be “less than impressed with the mighty Kirov” several decades ago? At that time the company had an absolutely breathtaking, unparalleled corps de ballet. And the leads you might saw at that time were probably Asylmuratova, Terekhova, Ruzimatov, Zelensky… Sorry for the dummy that prematurely shot off the windmill but Leningrad (as it was then) was a true mecca of classical ballet. 

Of COURSE it was Leningrad - silly me!  I'm sorry to have offended you with my less than flattering portrait of a performance seen so long ago but which has stuck in my memory.  It was 1969-70 and without a cast list or any experience of Russian ballet at that time I couldn't say who was dancing.  I don't think it can have been those you mention. And it wasn't just the windmill mishap but there were several other problems with scenery and props and a few of the solo dancers had nasty falls.  There may have been a damp patch or something but the overall impression was really rather shambolic.

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2 hours ago, Amelia said:

 

O dear AnnaMarriott, how could it be “less than impressed with the mighty Kirov” several decades ago? At that time the company had an absolutely breathtaking, unparalleled corps de ballet. And the leads you might saw at that time were probably Asylmuratova, Terekhova, Ruzimatov, Zelensky… Sorry for the dummy that prematurely shot off the windmill but Leningrad (as it was then) was a true mecca of classical ballet. 

My 'decades ago' dancers on my first trip to the Kirov in Leningrad included Alla Osipenko, Irina Kolpakova, Ninel Kurgapkina and a chap called Mikhail Baryshnikov.

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