The Kirov Ballet


by Rosella Simonari

18th July 2003 -- Teatro Rossini in Civitanova, Italy


Attempting to have something to eat before going to see the Kirov Ballet perform is a bit of a gamble, nevertheless I do succeed to have something in the glamorous bar beside Teatro Rossini in Civitanova. Then the small preliminaries, collecting the ticket, finding my seat and taking a look at the programme: there is a change, instead of Tchaikovsky pas de deux by Balanchine, we will see the adagio from 'Manon' by MacMillan. I exchange a few words with the two friends I have come with and then lights out, silence and expectation fill the theatre.

The first piece is ‘Chopiniana’, and it touches the audience's heart like a soft and caressing cloud of silky wind. Daria Sukhrukova is splendid in her Mazurka, which she performs with elegance and verve. Igor Kolb is slightly stiff in his movements, his princely stature and strong built in contrast to the feather-like ballerinas. Overall the cast is perfectly synchronised and in tune with the pathos of this piece in which stasis plays an important role.

A long pause follows and the delighted audience exchange comments. Then the lights go down again and the softness and delicacy of ‘Chopiniana’ are replaced by a series of outstanding duets.

First of all one from ‘Harlequinade’, with Andrej Ivanov's elevation and comic wit to delight us, counterbalanced by Elena Sheshina's millimetric precision.

Then a passionate and flowing adagio from ‘Manon’ re-established an emotional balance after the previous comic piece. Diana Vishneva is extremely flexible in the arms of Andrey Merkuriev and when they exchange the sweetest of kisses, the audience stand breathless as not only technical perfection has the power to move people.

A powerful pas de deux from ‘Le Corsaire’ shakes the audience from the love and erotic quality of the adagio from ‘Manon’. Leonid Sarafanov is handsome and proud in his jumps, again the audience remain breathless in front of his capacity to nearly stand in mid-air (Nureyev's spirit might have been there watching). Sofya Gumerova is quick and perfectly balanced in her numerous fouettes. The audience is overwhelmed and acclaims the dancers throughout the performance.

From the turquoise and bright purple of ‘Le Corsaire’ to the black of ‘Middle Duet’, a bolero-like tango piece. You stand hypnotised by the tension of the steps and the intimacy of the two dancers. Yes, they dance themselves to death as if they have been assimilated by a sinister spell, which would not let them go. The final movements resemble the loss of control that puppets have until they abruptly collapse to the floor. Magic performance, maybe the one I enjoyed most. The dancers are Natalie Sologub and the fair-haired Andrey Merkuriev.

’The Death of the Swan’, is performed by Daria Pavlenko, but she is unable to transmit the tragic and ethereal quality this apparently simple solo needs. It is followed by an energetic and sparkling duet from Don Quixote. Olesya Novikova and Anton Korsakov are perfect for this final piece. The audience applaud continuously, excited in exultation at such a performance.

At the end of the performance, the mayor of Civitanova, Erminio Marinelli gave the Enrico Cecchetti prize to the Kirov represented by Ballet Director Makahr Vaziev, who thanked the warm audience and the town of Civitanova. Last year the same prize was given to Alessandra Ferri.

Vaziev underlined the great work Cecchetti did with the Kirov and stated that the Kirov Ballet had intended to show Cecchetti's place of origin what he had taught them. The Teatro Rossini Artistic Director, Gilberto Santini said he hoped this visit would not be an isolated occurrence and Vaziev replied that it might develop into a regular event.

Edited by Stuart Sweeney

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