Irina Kolesnikova Paris Season

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1 London Coliseum August 2015

2 Irina Kolesnikova Paris Season Théâtre des Champs-Elysées February 2016 Pyotr Tchaikovsky SWAN LAKE Ballet in 3 acts February Ludwig Minkus DON QUIXOTE Ballet in 3 acts 26 February Pyotr Tchaikovsky THE ST PETERSBURG NUTCRACKER Ballet in 3 acts February Irina Kolesnikova is diva of dance with whom few stars can compare. Irina Kolesnikova Soloists, corps de ballet and orchestra of ST PETERSBURG BALLET THEATRE Journal du Dimanche Paris, France

3 Ladies and gentlemen, Thank you for attending performances of The Irina Kolesnikova London Season. with Denis Rodkin, Bolshoy Ballet Vadim Muntagirov, Royal Ballet and Natalia Matsak, Ukranian National Opera Kimin Kim, Mariinsky Theatre LONDON COLISEUM August 2015 Swan Lake and La Bayadère A world-class triumph Irina Kolesnikova s reputation was built in the United Kingdome, we watched in wonder as this colossal talent blossomed year after year. Hurry back to us, Kolesnikova, we deserve you. The Sunday Express I have been waiting a very long six years for this return to the capital of Great Britain and for me it s very difficult to express the excitement that I feel. The project Irina Kolesnikova Season involves some of the brightest stars in todays ballet world. I would like to thank Natalia Matsak, Prima ballerina of the Ukraine National Opera, Denis Rodkin, Premier of the Bolshoi Theatre, Vadim Muntagirov, Principal dancer at The Royal Ballet and Kimin Kim, Premier of the Mariinsky Theatre, all of who kindly agreed to take part in my first London season. Moreover, I would like to express heartfelt thanks to the artists, soloists and management of the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre for their continued long-term support. This Theatre believed in me, accepted me into the company at a time when I needed to make important career decisions and then created all the conditions for me to succeed as a ballerina. I hope that the celebration of classical ballet on the stage of the legendary London Coliseum will give you many wonderful moments and will let you escape from everyday worries for just a little while! I wish you a pleasant evening! Sincerely yours, Irina Kolesnikova as Odette. Photo Nina Alovert ST PETERSBURG BALLET THEATRE Named artists are subject to change. The management reserves the right to substitute any artist, even at short notice should the need arise Irina Kolesnikova 3

4 Natalia MATSAK Denis Rodkin Denis Rodkin Denis was born in Moscow. He graduated from the Moscow Academy of Choreography as part of the Gzhel Theatre, and went on become a member of the Bolshoi Theatre where he attracted the attention of Nikolai Tsiskaridze, the Bolshoi Theatre s premier ballet master. Under his guidance, Denis learned the roles of Blue Bird in Sleeping Beauty, Taor in The Pharaoh s daughter, Antoine in Flames of Paris, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Nutcracker Prince in The Nutcracker and Jean de Brienne in Raymonda. In 2012 he danced the role of Kurbsky in Ivan the Terrible which attracted the attention of Yuriy Grigorovich. As a result he went on to dance Grigorovich s Spartacus in the ballet of the same name and Ferkhad in a Legend of Love. The ballets in which Denis Rodkin has featured have been shown in cinemas around the world in the Bolshoi Ballet on Film project. He has also successfully performed in John Kranko s Onegin, a classic of international dance, where he produced a very exact portrayal of Onegin s contradictory character. Russian press The premiere performance of the ballet John the Great by Yuri Grigorovich was staged at Bolshoi Theater. Denis Rodkin, who danced the role of Prince Andrey Kiurbsky, leaves little doubt that he is a great find for this new staging of the ballet. Rodkin charmed the audience with his very special interpretation.his individuality and expression created real drama and he demonstrated the breathtaking power of his dancing. Denis Rodkin debuted with the role of Ferhad in the ballet of Legend of Love. His softness of line and extremely high jumps helped to reveal the dramatic pattern of his interpretation of the role. Denis Rodkin as Spartacus 4 5

5 Vadim Muntagirov Vadim Muntagirov Russian dancer Vadim Muntagirov is a Principal of The Royal Ballet. He trained at The Royal Ballet School and joined the Company from English National Ballet as a Principal in His roles with the Company include Basilio (Don Quixote), Prince Siegfried (Swan Lake), Prince Florimund (The Sleeping Beauty), Colas (La Fille mal gardée), Lensky (Onegin), Des Grieux (Manon), Jack/The Knave of Hearts (Alice s Adventures in Wonderland), Florizel (The Winter s Tale) and in Symphonic Variations, The Four Temperaments and Afternoon of a Faun. Muntagirov was born in Chelyabinsk, the son of two dancers. He trained at Perm Ballet School before moving to The Royal Ballet Upper School. He graduated into English National Ballet in 2009, promoted to first soloist in 2010, principal in 2011 and lead principal in His roles with ENB included Apollo, Conrad (Le Corsaire), Albrecht (Giselle), Prince (Cinderella), Prince Siegfried (Swan Lake in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall), Prince Désiré (The Sleeping Beauty) and roles in Song of a Wayfarer. He created the role of Prince in Wayne Eagling s The Nutcracker. Muntagirov s awards include the 2011 Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) and the 2013 Benois de la danse. As a guest artist he has danced with such companies as the Mariinsky and American Ballet Theatre, in repertory including Solor (La Bayadère), and at National Ballet of Japan, Bavarian State Ballet, Mikhailovsky and Cape Town City Ballet. Dancing Siegfried in Swan Lake, Muntagirov shows how magnificently he s grown into his talent. We can take for granted, now, his floating line, his tightly finished jumps and his elegantly finessed partnering. What s new and mesmerising is the range of his musicality and acting. Muntagirov doesn t just show us a callow Prince yearning for romance: his entire body seems possessed by the seductive, intoxicating melancholy of Tchaikovsky s score. When he finds his ideal love in Daria Klimentová s Odette, he adds a sweetly touching register of protectiveness awed by Odette s fragility, he wants to protect as much as possess her. Judith Mackrell, The Guardian Vadim Muntagirov as Prince Siegfried. Photo D. Klimentova 6 7

6 Vadim Muntagirov Vadim Muntagirov. Photo Amber Hunt Vadim Muntagirov. Photo D. Klimentova 8 9

7 Natalia Matsak Natalia Matsak Honored Artist of Ukraine, the lead dancer of the National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre of Ukraine named after. TG Shevchenko. In her repertoire - a gentle and insidious Odette Odile in the ballet Swan Lake, a young and ambitious Masha in Nutcracker, a cheerful and playful Kitri in Don Quixote. She danced magnificently beautiful slave Medora in Le Corsaire, wonderfully expressed all the emotions and feelings of Carmen in Carmen Suite. Her party in the ballet Raymonda won the audience. Zobeide images in Scheherazade, Nikiya and Gamzatti in La Bayadere Natalie managed to convey very colorful in their own way. If we talk about the early career ballerina Natalia Matsak dancing started to 4 years. From 1992 to 2000 she studied at the Kiev State Choreographic School. Natalia skill honed choreographer and teacher-tutor wonderful People s Artist of USSR Ludmila Smorgacheva. Ukrainian ballet star is winner of international ballet competitions. Her list of awards winning appear at the International Competition Serge Lifar in Kiev (silver medal in 2004), the International Ballet Competition in Moscow and choreographers in 2005 (bronze medal). At the VI International Competition Serge Lifar in April 2006 Natalia Matsak won the gold medal. Constantly takes part in the gala concert Stars of World Ballet with the best actors around the world. Rostral is constantly on tour, Natalie applauded in Japan, Korea, Canada, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, Mexico and other countries. The distribution goes beyond all expectations. Indeed, the title character, Nikiya was wonderfully performed by Natalia Matsak, who is Etoile at the Ukrainian Ballet. Natalia Matsak has a very charming sensitivity and a perfect technique. Her partner was the famous and brilliant Vadim Muntagirov, Soloist of the Royal Ballet in London, who performed a majestic Solor. His technique, very fluent and natural, gives him a typical aerial style. Christophe de Jouvancourt Kuturkompasset, Paris Natalya Matsak as Odette 10 11

8 Natalia Matsak Natalya Matsak as Odile - Natalya Matsak as Odette 12 13

9 Kimin Kim Kimin Kim A student of the renowned Leningrad-St Petersburg dancers Vladimir Kim and Margarita Kulik, Kim Kimin is well trained and has a fine technique, light leaps and, it would appear, just as easy a nature which allows him to grasp everything in midflight: with each and every new performance the dancer improves in terms of both technique and artistry. PRO Dance Prize-winner at international ballet competitions in Rome (1st prize, 2008), Moscow (2nd prize, 2009), Seoul (1st prize, 2009), Jackson (2nd prize, 2010) and Varna (1st prize, 2010) Grand Prix at the Arabesque international ballet competition (Perm, 2012) Grand Prix at the Youth America Grand Prix international competition (New York, 2012) Born in Seoul. Graduated from the Korea National University of Arts (class of Vladimir Kim and Margarita Kulik). For half a year he was a trainee with the Mariinsky Ballet. At the Mariinsky Theatre he made his debut as Ali in the ballet Le Corsaire (coached by Viktor Baranov). Since July 2012 he has been a First Soloist with the Mariinsky Ballet. Repertoire includes: Giselle (Count Albrecht, Classical Duet); choreography by Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa, La Bayadère (Solor, Golden Idol); choreography by Marius Petipa, revised version by Vladimir Ponomarev and Vakhtang Chabukiani (Dance of the Golden Idol choreographed by Nikolai Zubkovsky), Swan Lake (Prince Siegfried, the Prince s Friends); choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, revised version by Konstantin Sergeyev, Don Quixote (Basilio); choreography by Alexander Gorsky, the Diane and Actéon Pas de Deux from the ballet La Esmeralda (Actéon); choreography by Agrippina Vaganova, Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio); choreography by Leonid Lavrovsky, George Balanchine s ballets Jewels (Rubies), Symphony in C (III. Allegro vivace), A Midsummer Night s Dream (Pas de deux from Act II) and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, The Nutcracker (Nutcracker Prince); choreography by Vasily Vainonen, Le Corsaire (Ali); production by Pyotr Gusev after the composition and choreography of Marius Petipa, Schéhérazade (the Slave); choreography by Michel Fokine, Études; choreography by Harald Lander, Sylvia (Aminta); choreography by Frederick Ashton, The Legend of Love (Ferkhad); choreography by Yuri Grigorovich, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude; choreography by William Forsythe, Concerto DSCH; choreography by Alexei Ratmansky and Infra; choreography by Wayne McGregor. Kimin Kim made one sensation after another as the hero, Solor. This tall young Korean dancer is a new star with the Mariinsky Ballet; he jumps astoundingly, turns with prowess and carries himself with nobility. Al a s t a i r Ma c a u l a y, New York Times Photo Vladimir Zenzinov 14 15

10 Kimin Kim Kimin Kim with Alina Somova Kimin Kim with Anastasia Matvienko. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov 16 17

11 P. I. Tchaikovsky SwanLake LONDON COLISEUM August 2015 CAST Odette/Odile Irina Kolesnikova 13,14, 15, 17, 18, 20 & 21 August Natalya Matsak 15m**, 16, 20m, 22m August the overall pure joy of Kolesnikova s interpretation is not only a true reflection of some of the most beautiful and evocative music Tchaikovsky ever wrote but an affirmation of the power and joy of dance Jeffery Taylor, The Sunday Express (UK) Kolesnikova is a real artist whose gifts include expressive arms, a pliant torso and a meltingly slow, expansive yet detailed style that draws us right to her..kolesnikova is a dream of an Odette. Donald Hutera, The Times (UK) Irina Kolesnikova looks like a princess straight out of Russian fairy tales.this is the first time that the mastery of Russian ballet is being represented not by the ballerinas of the Bolshoi or the Kirov, but by a star from an independent company Nina Alovert, Dance Magazine (USA) Prince Siegfried Denis Rodkin 13, 14, 15, 17 & 18 August Vadim Muntagirov 20 & 21 August Kimin Kim 15m**, 16, 20m, 22m August The management reserves the right to substitute any scheduled artist for any reason whatsoever even at short notice should the need arise. **m denotes matinee performance Irina Kolesnikova as Odile Photo Vladimir Zenzinov 18 19

12 SWAN LAKE Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Libretto: Vladimir Begichev, Vasily Geltser Choreography: Lev Ivanov, Marius Petipa Staging (1996): Yuri Gumba Costumes: Galina Solovieva Scenery: Semyen Pastukh ACT I Scene one The terrace of castle is filled with joy and merriment - Prince Siegfried is celebrating his coming of age, his courtiers congratulate him while his mischievous jester entertains the assembled guests. The servants announce the arrival of his mother the queen, she presents her son with a crossbow for the hunt. The queen reminds her son that at tomorrow coming of age ball he will have to choose a bride. Night is fast approaching and the guests take leave, Siegfried is finally alone with his thoughts and premonitions of what the future may bring. In the twilight a flock of swans pass over and he rushes to the lake. Scene two At the lake in the heart of the forest, the swans having stepped ashore turn into beautiful young girls Siegfried about to draw his crossbow stops fascinated by their beauty. Odette the swan princess is startled by Siegfrieds presence, he assures her no harm will come to her. Odette tells him of her terrible plight. Tells him of her high birth and how she has fallen under the spell of be a swan and only in the hours of darkness to assume her human form. She tells him she is bound for eternity by the spell unless an unblemished youth swears eternal fidelity and marries her. Siegfried realizes his destiny has changed. Day is breaking, the swans are again swimming on the lake, Odette bids a sad farewell, Siegfried is left desolate. ACT II Scene Three The coming of age ball commences at the castle. The young noblewomen whom the Queen has chosen as prospective brides are presented to Prince Siegfried, he shows no interest thinking only of Odette. The entertainment and merrymaking continue until a fanfare announces the arrival of more guests. Rothbart disguised as a knight sweeps in with his daughter Odille, Siegfried is dazzled by her beauty and her resemblance to Odette, swears his love and fidelity... Rothbart the sorcerer triumphs in his deception. Siegfried horrified at what he has done rushes from the ball and into the night. ACT III Scene four At the lakeside Odette tells her fellow swans of Rothbarts devilish trickery. Siegfried fleeing from the ball arrives at the shore begging Odette s forgiveness and telling of his undying love for her. Rothbart appears and he and his black swans battle with Siegfried and the forces of good until the light of the dawn breaks and the forces of evil are vanquished. The rising sun gives birth to new life, happiness and love. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov 20 21

13 Pyotr Tchaikovsky and the Music of Swan Lake Pyotr Tchaikovsky Pyotr Tchaikovsky ( ) composed just three ballet scores but each has assumed a legendary status. His enduring achievement is to have established the indelible trademark for ballet: the universal and timeless image of the ballerina in a swan costume, dancing to his music. Born in 1840, Pyotr spent his first eight years in the town of Votkinsk in the Vyatka province (in what is now the Udmurt Republic). His father, Ilya, was an engineer and civil servant who had become manager of the local ironworks; and his mother, Alexandra, was of aristocratic French descent. Both parents were accomplished amateur musicians and Tchaikovsky began piano lessons, aged 5, although his early musical studies were not especially distinguished. He appears to have quickly assimilated an ability to understand musical theory and structure, but these gifts were not remarkable enough to deter his father from sending ten year-old Pyotr to board at the School of Jurisprudence, 1,300 km away in St Petersburg; a deliberate strategy as a precursor for a career in the civil service. Alexandra succumbed to cholera, when Pyotr was just 14 and away at school. The pain of parting from his mother and her subsequent death remained indelibly marked on the composer s emotional personality for the rest of his life. His father also contracted cholera but recovered and married again (for the third time). Tchaikovsky was the second of five sons and he had a sister (also, Alexandra) and a half-sister from his father s first marriage. It seems that it was a production of Mozart s Don Giovanni that convinced 12 year-old Tchaikovsky to devote his life to music. The loss of his mother, two years later, led to his first serious attempt at composition, writing a waltz in her memory on a grief-stricken family holiday by the Gulf of Finland. Music remained an important backdrop to Tchaikovsky s studies in St Petersburg and subsequently during his three-year career with the Ministry of Justice. He took private lessons in music theory and composition, organised by the Russian Musical Society, the forerunner to the St Petersburg Conservatoire, which opened its doors, in 1862, with Tchaikovsky (now, 22) as one of its founder students. He kept his options open for a year by hanging on to his job at the Ministry. His progress was rapid and after three years study, Tchaikovsky graduated with such distinction that the Conservatoire s director, Anton Rubinstein, recommended him as professor of composition at the newly constituted Moscow Conservatoire. This opened in 1866 with Rubinstein s brother, Nikolai, as its founding director and Tchaikovsky as one of its first cohort of professors. Two years later, Tchaikovsky s First Symphony (Winter Daydreams) was completed (although it caused a rift with Anton Rubinstein who, continuing to treat Tchaikovsky as a student, sought many changes that the composer eventually refused to countenance). For more than a decade, until 1878, Tchaikovsky combined his professorial duties with a globetrotting job as music critic, as well as developing his burgeoning career as a composer. While his First Symphony had received a mixed reception, his next major work, a fantasy-overture on the theme of Romeo and Juliet was wholeheartedly recognised as a masterpiece across the fragmented politics of Russian music: welcomed by both the conservative wing (including the Rubinsteins) who took their influences from the west and the fast-emerging Nationalist school, led by the mighty handful of Russian composers (Balakirev, Borodin, Cui, Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov). Tchaikovsky swayed a little nearer to the five with his Second Symphony, which is dominated by the traditions of Russian folk song but he generally steered an independent course somewhere between the vitriolic extremes of these two factions was more than just another year in Tchaikovsky s life. It was the year in which Nadezhda von Meck a wealthy benefactress of the arts - offered him the safety net of an annual allowance (which grew over time to 6,000 roubles) so that he could devote himself entirely to composition. Her only condition was that they should never meet and her grant continued until their relationship (conducted through more than 1,000 letters) broke down, in In April, Tchaikovsky received a series of passionate letters from a former student, Antonia Milyukova, declaring undying love. It was also the year in which Tchaikovsky was composing the opera, Eugene Onegin and he became obsessed with the fate of its heroine, Tatiana. Determined not to treat Antonia as heartlessly as Onegin had treated Tatiana, and needing a respectable façade behind which to hide his homosexuality, Tchaikovsky met Antonia, proposed to her and they were married hastily - in July. It was a catastrophe from the start; and Tchaikovsky is understood to have attempted suicide, later that year. Although he had ceased to live with Antonia by September, they remained married for the rest of his life was also the year that Tchaikovsky composed Swan Lake, which premiered at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow on 4th March. It was hardly an overnight success and would probably have gone the way of the majority of new ballets from the period that is, into oblivion had it not been for the music. Tchaikovsky s lack of confidence in his own ability to craft a ballet score took a knock when he witnessed a performance of Sylvia by Léo Delibes ( ), which had premiered in Paris, on 14th June 1876, after which he declared that his developing score for Swan Lake was poor stuff in comparison. Two more unsuccessful attempts were made to revive the ballet in Moscow in 1880 and 1882 with different choreography. It was a combination of The Sleeping Beauty and an eternal sleep that served to eventually awaken this slumbering swan. The perceptive director of the Imperial Theatres, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, having cleared the way for engaging Tchaikovsky by abolishing the role of in-house ballet composer (previously occupied by Ludwig Minkus), invited him to work with Marius Petipa in creating The Sleeping Beauty, which premiered on 15th January 1890, again to an initial coolness from the critics, but trumped by an enthusiastic reaction from the public, eager to enter this fantasy world. Tchaikovsky s next ballet, The Nutcracker, which opened on 18th December 1892, also received a mixed reception. By this time, Tchaikovsky had international fame both as a composer and a conductor but this global success provided no escape from his own private misery. The breakdown of his epistolary (though, remarkably intimate) friendship with Mme von Meck was a major emotional blow to both of them, each blaming the other for ending the relationship. His sexuality was always a cause of anxiety, linked to fears that he might be outed as a homosexual at any time, and unhappiness at having to hide his true feelings in a very public life that he had come to view with disdain. There is no doubting that Tchaikovsky was a man of immense emotional sensitivity, not least because his sentimentality was so often the inspiration for his greatest melodies. All told, the combination of all these characteristics and a feeling of loss that epitomised the composer s life since the death of his mother led to deep bouts of depression, that became more frequent in the last years of his life. In St Petersburg, on 28th October 1893, Tchaikovsky conducted the premiere of his Sixth Symphony (known as Pathétique). Nine days later, he was dead at the age of 53. His sudden demise was initially attributed to the same disease that had taken his mother 40 years previously, as he was believed to have contracted cholera by drinking infected water from a local stream. It is now more popularly believed that the composer succeeded where he had failed before; and that his death was from arsenic poisoning, most likely self-inflicted. Swan Lake was now also destined to snatch success from a past history of failure. A year after Tchaikovsky s death, a special concert was held at the Mariinsky Theatre, in his memory. It included the second (lakeside) act of Swan Lake (with new choreography by Lev Ivanov). Inspired by its success and determined to honour the memory of the great composer, the Mariinsky authorities decided to restage the full ballet. The music director, Riccardo Drigo, was asked to restore the score, which he did, adding a couple of variations from other Tchaikovsky pieces. In this refreshed format, a resuscitated Swan Lake opened at the Mariinsky Theatre on 15th January 1895, nearly 20 years after it had been composed, and over a year past Tchaikovsky s death. The rest is history; and the history of Swan Lake is that of the most popular ballet the world has ever known. Tchaikovsky elevated ballet music onto a higher plane of seriousness. Before his work, composing for the ballet was considered to be an inferior branch of musical composition. Tchaikovsky would probably, himself, have credited Delibes for this breakthrough. But, Tchaikovsky s prodigious gift for melody and intuitive understanding of how to build emotion through music that cries out to be danced, has meant that he continues to make his music dance from beyond the grave. He may only have composed three scores for ballet but his music has been used to make many more enduring works, such as George Balanchine s Serenade (1934), John Cranko s Onegin (1965) and Kenneth MacMillan s Anastasia (1971); and there can be no doubt that Tchaikovsky will continue to inspire choreographers to make movement for many more years. Graham Watts 22 23

14 SWAN LAKE Marius Petipa ( ) Born in Marseilles, he had a substantial career as a dancer and was the monarch of the Tsar s Imperial Ballet for about thirty-five years. His Russian debut was in Paquita in 1847 in St Petersburg. In 1850 for Carlotta Grisi, Petipa produced Giselle in accordance with Jules Perrot s instructions, adding some of his own work in the second act. As Perrot s assistant, Petipa learnt many of the secrets of great choreography In 1862, he was appointed ballet master in St Petersburg. During his career, he created over 46 ballets including Swan Lake, Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. Petipa s work in ballet and his compositions influenced the development of ballet choreographically and technically, and the best of his compositions continue to appeal to audiences all over the world today. His legacy is certainly one of the greatest achievements in ballet history. Lev Ivanov The Russian dancer, ballet master and choreographer, studied in both Moscow and St Petersburg, where one of his teachers was Marius Petipa s father, Jean. He joined the corps de ballet of the Maryinsky (later Kirov) Theatre in 1850 and did not retire from dancing until 1893 (latterly character parts). He was appointed régisseur rehearsal manager in 1882 and second ballet master in His first choreography in 1885 was a new version of La Fille Mal Gardée. In 1892, he choreographed the first production of Marius Petipa s Nutcracker, Petipa having taken ill. The lyricism of the snowflake scene is usually attributed to him. He choreographed part of a 1895 revived Swan Lake, giving a soft quality to the lakeside scenes two and four. He was a man of much sensitivity and musicality and is regarded today as the pioneer of the symphonic ballets that emerged in the beginning of the twentieth century. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov 24 25

15 SWAN LAKE Irina Kolesnikova as Odile. Dmitry Akulinin Prince Siegfried. Photo KT Irina Kolesnikova as Odette. Denis Rodkin - Prince Siegfried. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov 26 27

16 SWAN LAKE Irina Kolesnikova as Odile. Denis Rodkin - Prince Siegfried. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov Denis Rodkin as Prince Siegfried. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov 28 29

17 SWAN LAKE For anyone who had never seen a white swan, this vision of Irina Kolesnikova emerging as Odette, the Swan Queen, would remain imprinted forever. Her every movement, from the languid entwining of her long, slender arms and expressive hands to the tremulous shaking in her legs, as she portrays her fear of the stranger and gradually transforms from swan to exquisitely beautiful woman, is hypnotic poetry in motion. It is that talent for interpretation that made Margot Fonteyn famous and it makes your heart leap to see it happen again, in spades, so many years later. Barbara Booth ArtsHub Melbourne, Australia Irina Kolesnikova as Odette. Dmitry Akulinin Prince Siegfried. Photos Sergei Konstantinov 30 31

18 THE HISTORY OF SWAN LAKE If at first you don t succeed, try, try again is a moral that could have been written to describe the early history of Swan Lake. A man called Vladimir Begichev deserves credit for the world s most famous ballet. Begichev, the director of the Imperial Theatres of Moscow, was determined to secure a ballet score by Tchaikovsky and it is generally believed that he wrote the libretto for Swan Lake by adapting folk legends and fairy tales from across Russia and Central Europe. Tchaikovsky was easily persuaded and threw himself into the project, beginning to compose the ballet in An alternative version of these events is that Begichev courted Tchaikovsky with the idea of making a ballet score and invited the composer to set the theme. A nephew and niece of Tchaikovsky wrote that their uncle had made a small ballet for their enjoyment at home, entitled The Lake of the Swans, in In which case, it seems too much Anna Pavlova of a coincidence not to acknowledge that the composer must have had a major stake in choosing the subject for the Bolshoi s ballet; although it remains likely that Begichev wrote the full libretto. Incidentally, he was probably helped in some respect by a Bolshoi danseur, Vasily Geltser (since his name appears on original manuscripts). This has a neat synergy with the fact that Geltser s daughter, Ekaterina, who was just 3 months old at the time of the premiere, became the first ballerina to dance the complete dual role of Odette/Odile in the USA. Having signed up the composer, Begichev then approached the Czech choreographer and ballet master, Julius Reisinger, to create the ballet. Reisinger had been born in Prague, in His first major ballet engagement was as ballet master in Leipzig, coming to Moscow in 1871 as a guest choreographer to make Cinderella. He became ballet master at the Bolshoi in 1873, remaining in post until Tchaikovsky and Reisinger worked largely in mutual isolation during the creative process and this inevitably led to tension, requiring several rewrites of the score before it was in a fit state to perform. They had scant regard for one another. It is understood that Reisinger even tried to substitute some of Tchaikovsky s score with the work of others but Tchaikovsky insisted that his work be reinstated. The first performance of Swan Lake was a testimonial performance held at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow on 4th March The ballerina being honoured by the proceeds of the show was Pelagia (sometimes also known as Polina) Karpakova, who was therefore the first woman to portray Odette, the swan queen. It is likely but not known for certain that Karpakova also portrayed the role of Odile (the black swan). The first Prince Siegfried was the Bolshoi s premier danseur, Victor Gillert, and the inaugural Rothbart was Sergey Sokolov. Karpakova s performance evidently left the audience unmoved, perhaps because she was not the ballerina on whom the role of Odette was intended; and perhaps because as a ballerina well past her prime she insisted on interpolating safe choreography from other ballets in her repertoire to replace the new work she was supposed to perform. The dancer originally scheduled for the premiere was the Bolshoi s leading ballerina of the time, Anna Sobeshchanskaya. But, she was pulled from the role when a leading civil servant complained that Sobeshchanskaya had accepted expensive items of jewellery from him, only to marry another dancer and sell his gifts for cash! That first performance was beset with problems. Tchaikovsky s score was regarded as being too difficult and several alterations were made by both ballerina and conductor in the days and hours leading to the premiere. Unsurprisingly, the performance was not well received. Audiences were unimpressed by the choreography and the set design. Herman Laroche a well-known critic and composer wrote: I had never seen a poorer presentation on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre. The costumes and décor did not hide in the least the emptiness of the dances. Both Karpakova and Reisinger had otherwise undistinguished careers and but for their shared involvement in the premiere of the world s most famous ballet, it is likely that their names would have both been consigned to the merest of footnotes in ballet history. Tchaikovsky s score came in for less opprobrium but was considered, by some, to be heavy and oppressive, even described as Wagnerian by one critic (an ironic allusion, since Tchaikovsky, himself a music critic, had declared that he was bored by the premiere of Wagner s Ring Cycle at the first Bayreuth Festival, just seven months previously). The ballet didn t disappear from Moscow. Sobeshchanskaya lobbied to get her role back and she got her wish, a few weeks later, on 26th April But, she also struggled with the choreography and disliked the music. She felt so strongly about it that Sobeshchanskaya travelled to St. Petersburg to meet the Imperial Theatre s principal ballet master, Marius Petipa, asking him to choreograph a whole new pas de deux to replace Reisinger s pas de six in what has become the third act. Petipa complied with her request, commissioning music from the in-house ballet composer, Ludwig Minkus. However, Tchaikovsky got wind of this proposed change and refused to allow another composer s music into his score. Instead he offered to choreograph a new pas de deux, using Minkus music as a guide (since he was unable to see Petipa s choreography, which had already been created in another city). Incidentally, this extra pas de deux was soon dropped and it lay, unnoticed in the archives, until being discovered in It is this music that George Balanchine used to great effect in creating his much-loved Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux (1960). As Tchaikovsky s reputation began to soar, notably after the success of his opera, Eugene Onegin (in 1879), the Bolshoi authorities determined that they should once again attempt to revive Swan Lake in the hope of making it a success, second time around. Reisinger had left the Bolshoi and he was succeeded as ballet master by Joseph Hansen, who choreographed a revised version of the ballet for his own benefit performance, on 13th January The dual role of Odette/Odile was danced by a student of the Moscow Imperial Ballet School, Evdokia Kalmykova, with Alfred Bekefi as Siegfried. The occasion was convivial although the ballet was by no means a great success. Hansen made further revisions including a new set of dances for what is now the third act for a further version, which premiered on 28th October 1882, again with Kalmykova as Odette/Odile. But, it remained unsuccessful, receiving only four performances before being dropped from the repertory after its final outing on 2nd January All-in-all, over its seven-year stint in Moscow, these three versions of Swan Lake, totalled 33 performances. It is likely that the major reason for its demise may have been practical. A friend of Tchaikovsky (N. Kashkin) wrote at the time: Swan Lake remained in the repertoire until the scenery was worn to shreds. Incidentally, in that same account, Kashkin alleged that - by the time of the final performance in only two-thirds of the music in Swan Lake remained as originally written by Tchaikovsky. Another short-lived production followed later in 1883, in Prague (just 8 performances), with choreography by August Berger. And, that really should have been that. The Russian and French companies of the 19th Century were full of ballets that were premiered, had a brief run of performances, and were then consigned to oblivion. But none of these had a score by Tchaikovsky. Having invited Tchaikovsky to make The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker in St Petersburg (respectively in 1890 and 1892), both Petipa and the director of the Imperial Theatres, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, were set on reviving Swan Lake at the Mariinsky Theatre. Tchaikovsky died before this plan could be put into action and so the in-house music director, Riccardo Drigo, was forced to revise Tchaikovsky s score to suit new choreography by Petipa and his assistant, Lev Ivanov. It is this reworked Tchaikovsky score by Drigo that most versions of Swan Lake have used ever since

19 THE HISTORY OF SWAN LAKE The first of two memorial concerts for Tchaikovsky in February 1884 showcased Ivanov s choreography for a new second act (although, at this time, it was described as the second scene of the first act): the lakeside setting which brings Odette and Siegfried together for the first time. The role of Odette was danced by the Italian prima ballerina, Pierina Legnani, who had taken St Petersburg by storm the year previously when making her debut at the Mariinsky in Cinderella, by performing her famous 32 fouettés; the first time this feat had been seen in Russia. Both her performance and Ivanov s choreography was received with great acclaim and, just to be sure, Petipa arranged the whole performance to be repeated at a gala evening and placed his own name ahead of Ivanov s as choreographer. Legnani s own benefit season was in 1894/5 and so it was an easy next step to action Petipa s plans and create a new full-length Swan Lake for her to dance. An unexpected luxury of having time to develop the new ballet came with the death of Tsar Alexander III - on 1st November which closed all ballet performances during the lengthy period of mourning and enabled Petipa and Ivanov to devote more attention to their new production. They shared the honours with Ivanov retaining his second act (from the memorial concert) and adding the fourth, while Petipa took responsibility for Acts 1 and 3. The new Swan Lake received its premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre on 27th January 1895 with Legnani in the dual ballerina role and Pavel Gerdt as Siegfried. Legnani couldn t resist throwing in her 32 whipped spins, adding them to the coda of the black swan (3rd act) pas de deux, where the 32 fouettés have remained ever since. The performance was a great success (although still not matching the immense popularity of The Sleeping Beauty). A further 15 performances followed in the 1895/96 season, although there were none in the following year, and only 4 more in 1898/99. No-one but Legnani portrayed Odette/Odile until the ballerina returned to Italy, in The dual role was then taken over by the Mariinsky s prima ballerina assoluta, Mathilde Kschessinskaya who also danced Swan Lake to great acclaim. Since 1895, the reputation and affection for the ballet has continued to grow, bringing it into the repertory of every classical ballet company in the world. This inevitably means that there have been many attempts to restage and even re-choreograph the ballet. Mostly, changes are made around retaining the key iconic elements created by Petipa and Ivanov (the white and black swan pas de deux, the cygnets pas de quatre and so on) but, often, the recasting has been wholesale. In Russia, the most notable stagings were by Alexander Gorsky. He made no less than five attempts to change the ballet but it is his 1901 version for the Bolshoi the first Moscow revival since that provides the basis for the majority of later productions. Agrippina Vaganova (the great pedagogue and founder of the Soviet ballet school) produced a long-lasting version in 1935; and a significant and influential staging was made for Moscow s Stanislavsky Ballet by Vladimir Bourmeister, in which he sought to return to the ballet with the music in its original order, as conceived by Tchaikovsky in 1875/6. This version was taken into the repertory at the Paris Opéra Ballet and the London Festival Ballet. One innovation of the Bourmeister choreography was to introduce a prologue showing Odette s abduction by the sorcerer, Rothbart; a device which still appears in Kevin McKenzie s production for American Ballet Theatre. The complete ballet was not seen in the West until a version based on notations smuggled out of Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution by the ballet master, Nikolai Sergeyev, was staged by the Sadler s Wells Ballet (the forerunner to The Royal Ballet) on 29th November Since this staging by Sergeyev himself was based faithfully on his own notes, it was rightly seen as an authentic interpretation of the ballet as it was in Imperial Russia before the revolution, which set it apart from the many changes that had been made to Swan Lake within the Soviet Union. The first performance of the complete ballet outside Europe took place at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, in 1911, given by Mikhail Mordkin s All-Star Imperial Russian Ballet with Ekaterina Geltser as Odette/Odile. However, it wasn t until 1940 that San Francisco Ballet became the first indigenous US company to stage a full-length Swan Lake, with William Christensen s choreography based on the Petipa-Ivanov production. A number of popular interpretations of Swan Lake have crossed boundaries in dance. Some have come from far left field, the most successful stayers being Matthew Bourne s pop-art interpretation with its flock of male swans, regularly performed around the world since 1995, and Mats Ek s baldheaded, barefooted, androgynous swans in his interpretation for Sweden s Cullberg Ballet, dating back to Another Swedish innovation was Fredrik Rydman s reworking of the legend as a mix of contemporary street dance styles; and then more recently, there is the superb modern interpretation by rising South African choreographer, Dada Masilo, who deconstructs the legend of Swan Lake as comprehensively as she might expertly fillet a fish. It is impossible to divorce the concept of Swan Lake, or Tchaikovsky s music, from the image of the ballerina, as first the white swan (Odette) and then her black swan imposter (Odile). It remains the epitome of the ballerina s art and is the most sought-after casting in the repertoire. Every great ballerina has conquered the challenge of the dual role in their own way, from Legnani and Kschessinskaya, through Anna Pavlova, Galina Ulanova, Maya Plisetskaya, Margot Fonteyn, Natalia Makarova, and Sylvie Guillem to the great ballerinas of today, such as Irina Kolesnikova, Ulyana Lopatkina, Veronika Part and Natalia Osipova. Perhaps the best known woman dancing as a swan in recent years is not a ballerina at all, but an actress. Natalie Portman won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of fictional ballerina, Nina Sayers, in Darren Aronofsky s 2010 film, Black Swan, a psychological thriller that takes place in the context of a new production of Swan Lake by a ballet company based in New York. Portman s character is overwhelmed by the pressure of competing for and then preparing for her role as Odette/Odile, primarily because she does not have the dark and sensual qualities required as the black swan. She progressively loses her tenuous grip on reality and descends into a deluded state that coincides with the ballet s premiere. On 17th January 2013, Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet was severely injured when an assailant, Yuri Zarutsky, threw acid into his face, outside his home. As the subsequent trial unravelled, the anger of a Bolshoi dancer, Pavel Dmitrichenko, regarding Filin s refusal to cast his then girlfriend, Angelina Vorontsova, as Odette/Odile was cited as a motivation for Dmitrichenko ordering an attack on the Bolshoi s director. Filin has endured over 20 operations to restore his eyesight. He remains in his post at the Bolshoi despite the huge damage to his eyes and restriction in his sight; Dmitrichenko is currently serving a six-year sentence in a maximum security prison. Zarutsky received ten years. Vorontsova, meanwhile, has left the Bolshoi to become a principal dancer at the Mikhailovsky Ballet in St Petersburg where she has made her long-awaited debut as Odette/Odile. Here is perhaps a case of fact becoming as strange and as horrible as fiction. Recently, within a matter of days, both The Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet announced new productions of Swan Lake for next season. There will be others. No other ballet is seen so much and no other ballet represents the art form in the public consciousness to anything like the same degree. Writing on the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the very first performance, on 4th March 1952, the US writer, Anatole Chujoy, summarised the ballet s significance as being the greatest romantic-classic ballet of all times. Swan Lake stands at the highest point of the curve which represents the history of the source of all ballet as we know it today. As the ballet closes in on its 140th anniversary, these words remain entirely appropriate. Graham Watts Irina Kolesnikova 34 35

20 THE HISTORY OF THE ST PETERSBURG BALLET THEATRE The Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre (SPBT) has quickly established itself as one of Russia s leading classical ballet companies. It was founded in 1994 by Konstantin Tachkin who has continued to direct the company over its 21-year history. SPBT is housed in a magnificent studio complex on Liteiniy Prospekt, situated in the heart of St Petersburg, which in Imperial Russia had served as the House of Officers. This ensemble of sixty dancers is the only major classical ballet company in the world that exists and thrives without reliance on state subsidy or private sponsorship. To be independent of government funding or any major sponsor is a remarkable and unique achievement in the modern age. Although the company performs frequently in its home city and throughout Russia it also has an enviable reputation for its international touring, giving up to 250 performances each and every year. SPBT tours have ranged over six continents, travelling to Spain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Austria, Finland, the USA, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Macau and Taiwan. The Company has a repertoire that includes all the masterpieces of classical ballet: Giselle, Don Quixote, La Bayadère, Les Sylphides, Paquita; and, of course, the Tchaikovsky classics from St Petersburg - Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty. The company s sixty professional ballet artists are all either graduates of the world famous Vaganova Ballet Academy in St Petersburg or from one of several other significant Russian ballet schools. Famous dancers of the past now work as ballet masters and mistresses, coaching the company s principals, soloists and corps de ballet: People s Artist of Russia, Lyubov Kunakova; Merited Artist of Russia, Yuri Gumba; and Tatiana Linnik are just three of these renowned former star dancers now passing on their knowledge and expertise to today s performers. SPBT is proud to have created many home-grown stars of its own over the past two decades. Among the principals, soloists and character dancers who have come to maturity within the company are artists such as Anna Samostrelova, Dmitriy Akulinin, Mykhailo Tkachuk, Dymchik Saikeev, Maria Velikaya, Miho Naotsuka and Valeria Andropova. They represent the kernel of the company s creative achievement as well as the continuing guarantee of its ongoing success. The sparkling jewel in the company s crown is Irina Kolesnikova whose name alone sells out theatres throughout the world with unvarying regularity. Devotees of ballet, not to mention demanding dance critics, continue to marvel at her outstanding talent. Kolesnikova is flambouyant. She is delicate. She is a true Prima Ballerina Assoluta, the very pinnacle of balletic artistry. SPBT remains the centre of attention for the world s press, performing as it does in such celebrated theatres as the London Coliseum, the Royal Albert Hall, the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, the Bunkamura Hall in Tokyo, the National Theatre of Taipei and the National Theatre in Beijing. Founding Director of the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre Konstantin Tachkin was born on 9th May 1967 in Kropotkin, a town in the Krasnodar Krai region on the right bank of the Kuban River, which sits at the foot of the rich Stavropol plateau at the southern tip of Russia. The town originally Romanovsky Khutor - was renamed to commemorate the death of Peter Kropotkin (a prominent economist and anarchist), in Konstantin was educated in St. Petersburg, a city that touches every resident and visitor with it s rich sense of culture, beauty and art. After military service, Konstantin s first employment was within the tourist industry which allowed him to gain an intimate knowledge and a great attachment to his adopted home city. During his army career, Konstantin was a member of Russia s elite Special Forces and he trained as a specialist parachutist. After completing his military service, in the early 1990s, Konstantin returned to St. Petersburg exactly as the city was rediscovering it s past and intent on reclaiming the status as a major global cultural centre across all the arts. Rekindling his love for culture and aware of a booming interest in performance art, Konstantin determined to become an impresario and to take his city`s culture to the world. So it was that, on 10th November 1994, he brought into being the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre. Seven weeks later - on New Year s Eve this nascent Company of youthful and talented graduates from the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, referred to during Soviet times as the Kirov Ballet School, gave its world premiere performance. That opening production was Giselle and, since that night, the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre has progressively built an impressive repertoire of full-length classics. Konstantin s intuitive recognition of popular public demand has taken his company on a remarkably successful journey over the last 21 years. These travels have taken the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre to six continents and many countries that have seen the St Petersburg dancers visit multiple times. In all of these places St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre has been received enthusiastically by audiences and press alike. His achievements with the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre led Konstantin to be appointed as a Counselor to the St. Petersburg Department of Culture between 2008 and Konstantin is married and has two sons and two daughters

21 SOLOISTS SOLOISTS Liudmila Mizinova Born in Saratov in 1987, Ludmila graduated from the Saratov Region Institute of Arts. From 2005 to 2014 she worked at the Leonid Yakobson Ballet Company where she became a soloist in She danced the lead roles in Nutcracker (Clara) and Giselle (Giselle). She also danced roles from the Yakobson repertoire including Paolo and Francesca from the Rodin cycle, Sextet and The Marriage Cortège. She has taken part in many contemporary productions created by Russian and overseas choreographers. Since 2014 she has worked with the Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre. Her repertoire includes Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Giselle and The Sleeping Beauty. Ludmila is a many sided individual. She is a professional diver and rope jumper. She studies history and the theory of painting, reads literary and scientific works and loves to travel. Her penchant for classical music blossomed after meeting a young person who is a violinist by profession. In her spare time she has appeared in student documentary films. She loves traditional cuisine but can t cook. She can t live without contact with her friends even if they live in different countries. Anna Samostrelova Anna was born in 1986 in Vsevologsk. In 2003, she graduated from the School of Classical Dance in Moscow. From 2003 to 2007, she was with the St Petersburg State Conservatory Ballet. From 2007 to 2008 she worked with the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Company. Since October 2009, she has been a member of the Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre. I love to spend my spare time with my relatives and close friends. I listen to different types of music, have an interest in interior design and I try to read as much as possible; my favourite books are A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Marquez and Vanity Fair by Willliam Thackery. I find it interesting to meet people not involved with ballet as it helps self development. I like watching sports both summer and winter, especially figure skating, artistic gymnastics and biathlon! I always try and put myself in a positive frame of mind and tell myself everything will work out. This is a very helpful approach in our complex profession. You should always believe in the better! Anna Samostrelova was absolutely beautiful in the title role of Giselle. Her performance was a major highlight of the production. Ludmila Mizinova as Fairy Brilliant. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov Dancetrain Magazine, Perth Anna Samostrelova as Princess Aurora. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov 38 39

22 SOLOISTS SOLOISTS Mykhailo Tkachuk Dmitri Akoulinin Mikhail was born in Donetsk (Ukraine) in In 2008, he graduated from the Kiev State Choreographic School (class Lakhtionov S.V). From 2008 to 2011 he was working with the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Company. From 2011 to 2012 he was working in the Boris Eifman Ballet of St Petersburg. Since 2012 he has been a first soloist with the Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre. Repertoire: Swan Lake Prince Siegfried, Pas de Trois, The Nutcracker Prince Zephir Dimitriy was born in the town of Sterlitomak, Bashkortostan in From 1986 to 2001, he studied at the Rudolph Nureyev Choreographic School of Bashkir. Upon graduation, he joined the Konstantin Tachkin s Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre. In 2004, he was promoted to soloist and, in 2005, to principal dancer. He has toured extensively and has achieved great critical success in the UK, Australia, Taiwan, South Africa and France. Repertoire: Swan Lake, Giselle, The Nutcracker, La Bayadère, Sleeping Beauty and The St Petersburg s Nutcracker. Dmitri is interested in computers and cars. He likes to relax in an active way: skiing in winter, swimming, fishing and football in summer and says he only feels completely at home when he is in the company of his close friends. Dimitri Akulinin, as Count Albrecht, is as regal and majestic as any patrician can be. He portrays the character with a compassionate sensitivity that perfectly heightens the tragedy of Kolesnikova s demise. Photo Sergei Konstantinov The Star, Johannesburg South Africa Pinto Ferreira Dmitry Akulinin as Prince Siegfried. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov 40 41

23 SOLOISTS SOLOISTS Мiho Naotsuka Sergueï FEDORKOV Мiho Naotsuka 9 August 1995 in Nagoya, Japan From 2004 to 2011 was studying in Theatre the Ballet Academy in Japan. From 2012 to 2013 was studying in Vaganova Russian Ballet Academy. Class of professor Ludmila Kovaleva. In 2014 joined the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre. Awards Bronze medal Youth America Grand Prix Repertoire Swan Lake - Pas de trios Don Quixote Street dancers, Qupide, La Bayadere Trio of Shades Giselle Pas de deux. Born December 1989 in the city of Saratov, Sergei studied at the Saratov Regional College of Arts, graduating in 2008, he is Laureate of the Adashevsky regional competition 2003 and Winner of the Saint Petersburg Alternative completion He served in the Russian Armed Forces Song and Dance Ensemble. Sergei s Repertoire includes: Mercutio and Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet, the Peasant pas de deux in Giselle, Pas de trois in Swan Lake and the Blue Bird in Sleeping Beauty. In his free time likes cooking and learning how to prepare new dishes. Favourite cuisine Italian. Sergei loves travelling the world. Some of his favourite countries are Spain where his favourite city is Barcelona, Italy (Sicily), Thailand and of course his own country where he considers the most beautiful city to be Saint Petersburg. In his own profession he dreams of dancing all the leading roles. He spends a lot of time on physical preparation and perfecting his physical and acting technique since he considers himself to be first and foremost an actor/ artist and only after that a dancer. He has appeared as an extra in several Lenfilm Studio productions. Sergei loves his cat called Sid. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov Sergei Fedorkov as a Jester. Photo Sergei Konstantinov 42 43

24 SOLOISTS SOLOISTS Andrei Fedorkov Mariia Velikaia Born June 1994 in the city of Saratov, Andrei enrolled at the Saratov Regional Choreographic Institute of Arts in While studying, he appeared in many school concerts and performances. After graduating in 2012, he served in the Russian armed forces. In 2013 he joined the Leonid Yakobson Ballet Company which has generally a contemporary repertoire. Since 2014 he has been dancing with the Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre as a soloist. He dances the Jester in Swan Lake on this 2015 tour and also appears in Giselle and Don Quixote. Mariia Velikaya was born in 1987 in the town of Vologda and graduated from the Saint Petersburg State University of Culture and Art. She has worked as a dancer in the Milita Song Acadamie Ensemble and the Leonid Yakobson Ballet Company, joining the Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre in Mariya is married and has a 5 year old son. Her hobby is needlework which she finds calming after a hectic day of rehearsal and performance Her repertoire includes Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, La Bayadère. Repertoire: Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Spartacus. Andrei is a Laureate of the Adashevsky Inter-regional dance competition. Andrei Fedorkov as a Jester. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov Photo Vladimir Zenzinov 44 45

25 CHARACTER SOLOISTS CHARACTER SOLOISTS Natalia Smirnova Dymtchik Saïkeev Born in Brest, Natalia graduated from the Novosibirsk State Choreographic Institute in From , she worked at the Boris Eifman Ballet of St Petersburg. Since 2013, Natalya has been working with Konstantin Tachkin s Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre. Repertoire: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet. In 2007 Natalya graduated from the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. She has participated in the filming of Red Giselle, Anna Karenina, Onegin and Rodin. Her wide range of hobbies include photography, yoga, single combat, cinema, dogs, travel, interior design, culture and oriental history. Her favourite music include Jazz, classical Louis Armstrong, Edith Piaf, Vladimir Vysotsky, Zaz, Mozart and Astor Piatzzolla. Her favourite books are Three comrades; A time to Live and a Time to Die by Erich Maria Remarque! And her favourite foods are Georgian, Mediterranean, Odessan, with her favourite dish being Kharcho soup. Dymchik was born in 1969 in the town of Ulan- Ude. In 1990 he graduated from the Vaganova Choreographic School of Leningrad in the class of People s Artist of Russia, Laureate of the State Prize of the USSR, Professor Boris Bregvadze. Upon graduation he joined the Odessa State Theatre of Opera and Ballet. In 1998 he joined Konstantin Tachkin`s St.Petersburg Ballet Theatre. Dymchik possesses a striking individuality. The characters he creates remain long in the memories of both audiences and exacting reviewers; whether the character be Hans the Woodman from Giselle, or the evil magician Rothbart from Swan Lake. However, even small, episodic roles such as the huntsman from Sleeping Beauty take on substance and become interesting, bright personalities in the hands of Dymchik Saykeev. He is a fine character dancer and his repertoire includes the Spanish and Hungarian dances from Swan Lake, and the Spanish Dance from The Nutcracker. His Espada, Fandango and Gipsy from Don Quixote are equally as fine as his main roles mentioned above. Natalya Smirnova as Lady Capulet. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov Dimchik Saykeev as Lorenzo. Photo KT 46 47

26 AUTUMN 2015 AT ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA BALLET COACHES Puccini s LA BOHÈME 16 Oct 26 Nov Tatiana Linnik Yuri Gumba ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA London Coliseum Tickets from only 12 * Book now eno.org Find us on La bohème, Dutch National Opera. Photo by Monika Rittershaus Tatiana Linnik in 1986 has entered the Academy of Russian Ballet of A.Y. Vaganova in class of E.V. Kokorina. Upon leaving she was accepted by Mikhailovsky Theatre (former Musorgsky Theatre) where she has executed a number of solo parts in Swan lake, Harlequinade, Antony and Cleopatra, Giselle. She was the invited ballerina in Vilnius Opera and Ballet Theatre (Lithuania) From 1988 to 2009 Tatiana worked in Mariinsky Theatre. She danced a numbers of solos in ballets Bakhchsarai fontaine, Paquita, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, etc In 2009 she was a teacher at the Vaganova Academy. In 2010 Tatiana became a coach with St Petersburg Ballet Theatre. Ballet master Yuri Gumba was born in He studied ballet at the Spendiarova Theatre of Ballet in Armenia. After graduation in 1972 he worked at the Moscow Classical Ballet Ensemble before joining the Kirov (now Mariinsky) Ballet Company where he danced until Yuri first joined the St Petersburg Ballet theatre in 1996, shortly after it was formed, filling the vital role of teacher and coach. Between 2007 and 2013 he worked as a teacher with the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St Petersburg before returning to SPBT in 2013 where is experience and knowledge of the classical repertoire is greatly valued.. As a dancer Yuri Gumba s on stage repertoire included soloist and character roles in Don Quixote, Swan lake, Le Corsaire, La Bayadère and in many legendary ballets of the Soviet era such as The Fountains of Bakshisherai, the Little Humpbacked Horse and Walpurgis Night. *Booking fees apply 48 49

27 BALLET COACHES Lubov Kunakova Ballet Mistress Lubov Kunakova, an honored artist of Russian Federation, People s artist of Russian Federation (1983) was born on the 8th of August She graduated from Perm College of Choreography in 1970 (class of G. Kuznetsova). A ballerina s success is in many ways dependent upon the level of talent of her teachers. I have been fortunate to work with true masters. Thank you! Thanks to everyone at the Vaganova School who helped me take my first steps, to those who have participated in my becoming a professional dancer and to those who today generously continue to give me the benefit of their experiences and priceless knowledge. Irina Kolesnikova During in Perm Theatre she performed parts of Milady and Queen (Three Musketeers), Swanilda, Odette- Odile (Swan Lake), Kitri (Don Quixote), Fairy of Lilac and Aurora (The Sleeping Beauty) etc. In 1974 she entered the Mariinsky theatre, where worked until Her repertoire was diverse and voluminous. She tried herself in such diametrically - opposed parts such as Giselle and Mirtha, Gamzatti and Nikia. In these parts she demonstrated her own style, perfecting her individuality. Kunakova had a joyful talent, and that made all her parts lyric, romantic and genuine. Her own personality, her open nature and shining smile helped her in creating images of Aurora, Fairy of Lilac, Raymonda, Diana, etc. Her heroines danced with dignity, brilliance and refinement. With Margarita Kullik During Kunakova worked as a classic ballet tutor in the Russian Ballet Academy named after A.Vaganova. She has staged a several ballets (Mariinsky Theatre`s version): in Minsk («Don Quixote, Shopiniana), Athens, (Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty), Brazil (Giselle). With Svetlana Efremova In 1997 she began working as a coach at State Academic Mariinsky theatre and since 2001 at St Petersburg Ballet Theatre. With Lobov Kunakova Photo Vladimir Zenzinov With Alla Osipenko Photo Vladimir Zenzinov 50 51

28 BALLET COACHES Margarita Kullik. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov Irina Kolesnikova and Dmitry Akulinin. Rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov 52 53

29 Ludwig La Minkus Baydère LONDON COLISEUM 22&23 August 2015 CAST Nikiya Irina Kolesnikova Solor Denis Rodkin Princess Gamzatti Natalia Matsak. The SPBT possesses a star ballerina in Irina Kolesnikova. She is, without doubt, the complete article: exquisite port de bras, great feet and efficient footwork, an elastic back, long, elegant neck and above all a radiant stage presence which shone even when seen from the far side of the cavernous Albert Hall Graham Watts, London Dance (UK) *The management reserves the right to substitute any scheduled artist for any reason whatsoever even at short notice should the need arise. Irina Kolesnikova as Nikiya. Photo KT. Photo Andrei Klemeshev 54 55

30 LA BAYADÈRE Music: Ludwig Minkus Libretto: Marius Petipa, Sergei Khudekov Choreography: Marius Petipa Staging (2004): Elena Vorontsova, Albert Mirzoyan Costumes: Galina Solovieva Scenery: Semieon Pastukh This is a cautionary tale of the frailty and tragedy of the human condition in the manner of other great ballet classics like Swan Lake and Giselle. It is a moral finger wagging so beloved of the turn of the century Victorian era, but the dance making genius of Marius Petipa and the glorious range of Ludwig Minkus s music is pure magic and timeless. THE STORY ACT I Scene One The curtain rises on a clearing in a sacred forest on the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. Trees shelter the Holy Temple. A group of young warriors, led by the noble Solor, returns from the hunt and he leaves a message for his love, the temple dancer, or La Bayadere, Nikiya, that he will return at dusk. The Temple doors are thrown open for the great Fire Festival. Grand processions by the Priests, homage by the temple dancers and the prayers of the High Brahmin worship the flames. But the High Brahmin is consumed with lust for the beautiful Nikiya and as she dances he promises to cast aside his Holy Vows for her. Disgusted, Nikiya rejects him. Later that night, the lovers Solor and Nikiya express their deep passion for each other as they dance together and Solar swears his eternal love over the sacred flames. Unknown to the happy lovers the High Brahmin, consumed with jealousy and hatred, watches their every move and swears to destroy the blissful young couple. ACT I Scene Two We see Solor s life size portrait in a Palace apartment as the Rajah tells his daughter Gamzatti she will marry the young warrior. Gamzatti is thrilled but Solor is in despair. He has sworn his love for Nikiya but cannot refuse such an honour from his leader. Hoping to drive Nikiya into his own arms the High Brahmin seeks an audience with he Rajah and tells him of Solor and the Bayadere s love. The furious Rajah swears Nikiya s death reducing the High Brahmin to despair. Gamzatti hears everything and and summons Nikiya to beg her to give up Solor. Nikiya is enraged at Gamzatti s request and attacks Gamzatti with a knife. Gamzatti s servant, Aya, overpowers her and in return Gamzatti vows Nikiya will die. ACT II Great celebrations for Gamzatti and Solor s impending wedding take place in the Palace grounds, As a temple Bayadere, a grief stricken Nikiya must dance in celebration of Solor and Gamzetti s union. She is given a basket of flowers to dance with and she happily assumes they are from Solor. In fact they are from the Rajah and Gamzatti and conceal a poisonous snake which fatally bites the Bayadere. As she lies dying and betrayed, the High Brahmin offers her an antidote to the poison in return for her love. She refuses and dies in agony. ACT III Scene one In his private rooms, Solor is inconsolable, tortured with remorse at his betrayal of his love, Nikiya. His servant, Magdaveya persuades him to smoke and enjoy the sanke charmer s pipe music. Solor dozes on his divan. In his dreams he sees a long ghostly line of young women wronged in love weave down the mountain side, Nikiya at the rear. The young lovers dance together celebrating their lost love. As Nikiya fades back into the Kingdom of the Shades, she calls to him, reminding him of his vows. ACT III Scene Two Solor wakes still haunted by visions of Nikiya and their lost love. His pain is unbearable and he carelessly opens the snake charmer s bag. The snake lunges and fatally sinks its venom into Solor s arm. HISTORY La Bayadere was first performed on 4 February, 1877, at the Imperial Bolshoi Kimenny Theatre in St Petersburg. The work was created by the international ballet master, Marius Petipa as a benefit performance for ballerina Ekaterina Vazem, to a commissioned score by Ludwig Minkus. Both choreographer and composer were in the employ of the Imperial Theatres. Petipa was, and still is, considered the man who defined the style and technique known today as classical ballet. Indeed the choreography of the Act III Kingdom of Shades which you will see tonight, is still considered to be a mile stone in the development of the art form. Even today the severe simplicity of the steps expressing heart breaking human emotions is a challenge for the world s greatest ballerinas. There have been many alterations and improvements to the ballet since its creation. After the Russian Revolution, the complicated stage mechanics of the last act earthquake annihilating the entire cast were dropped, not only for economic reasons, but the chaotic finale included the hero s death, not an acceptable Soviet outcome. In 1941 the famous ballerina Natalia Dudinskaya and her partner Vakhtang Chabukiani, both virtuoso dancers, starred in a complete overhaul of La Bayadere by the Maryinski Ballet, introducing steps for the two lead roles that were more challenging than those originally invented by Petipa. Jeffery Taylor 56 Photo Andrei Klemeshev 57

31 LA BAYADÈRE Ludwig Minkus Ludwig Minkus was born in Vienna and first came to prominence as a child prodigy violinist. After a successful career as soloist and conductor in his home country, he emigrated to Russia in 1853 and married Maria Antoinette Schwarz in St Petersburg. His love of dance led to a close collaboration with Ballet Master, Marius Petipa and his appointment as the official Composer of Ballet Music to the St Petersburg Imperial Theatres in The first ballet resulting from this partnership was Don Quixote premiered the same year followed by, among others, La Camargo (1872), A Midsummer Night s Dream (1876) and a year later La Bayadere. Minkus and his wife left Russia in 1891 and settled in their home town of Vienna. His wife died in 1895 and Minkus died alone after contracting pneumonia in the 1917 savagely bitter winter. Jeffery Taylor Photo Andrei Klemeshev

32 LA BAYADÈRE Irina Kolesnikova as Nikiya. Photo KT Irina Kolesnikova as Nikiya. Solor Dmitry Akulinin. Photo KT 60 61

33 LA BAYADÈRE Irina Kolesnikova as Nikiya. Solor Dmitry Akulinin. Photo KT Irina Kolesnikova as Nikiya. Photo Vladimir Zenzinov 62 63

34 Irina Kolesnikova Irina Kolesnikova Prima Ballerina of the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre Irina Kolesnikova was born in St Petersburg - regarded by many as the most beautiful city in Europe - in Her first dream was to be a doctor. Her father, a lawyer, and mother, who taught at a St Petersburg kindergarten, encouraged Irina to pursue many sporting goals. First, she excelled at swimming, followed by ice skating and gymnastics. It was her prodigious talents in these two artistic sports that led young Irina, aged 9, on her journey towards ballet stardom, which began through the doors of St Petersburg s famous Vaganova Ballet Academy, the inspirational cradle of Russian ballet. Irina studied at the Academy under Elvira Kokorina and, following nine years of hard work, she graduated in the summer of 1998, her 18th year. Later that same year - in December - Irina was accepted into Konstantin Tachkin s St Petersburg Ballet Theatre as a soloist where her first teacher was former Kirov Ballet star and Honoured Artist of the USSR, Svetlana Efremova. Within two years, Irina s extraordinary dancing talent and acting abilities were recognized by her promotion to principal. By 2001, Irina Kolesnikova had become the company s Prima Ballerina, aged just 21. Her many great roles cover a wide repertoire of classical and romantic ballet include Clara in Nutcracker, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Kitri in Don Quixote, Nikiya in La Bayadère, the title role of Paquita and, of course, any ballerina s most coveted roles in the title role of Giselle and as Odette/ Odile in Swan Lake. Today, Irina Kolesnikova works under the tutelage of Lyubov Kunakova, herself honoured as a People s Artist of Russia, who coaches Irina for all her major roles and oversees her strict training regime. It is in the definitive role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake that Irina has made her most impressive mark, both in Russia and abroad. Her portrayal of the Swan Queen has become an indelible personal trademark. The Parisian Journal, Danse Magazine, aptly summarised the many rave reviews that Irina has received for her interpretation of the white and black swan, when respected dance journalist, Margarita Medina, wrote: Thanks to this amazingly supple dancer, an artist from head to toe, we got to see the truly ideal Swan. Her tenderness and timidity were very touching. Irina united drama with virtuosity in her marvellous illustration of the double-sided nature of this role. Her Black Swan was imposing and self-assured. Her perfect pirouettes and double and triple fouettés electrified the audience of the Théatre des Champs Elysees. Her lack of any internal tension, freedom of movement and her expressiveness, all combine to allow us to place this Saint Petersburg star, pleasant behind the scenes and brilliant on stage, at the summit of a choreographic Olympia alongside the other outstanding talents of her generation. In 2008, Irina enriched her repertoire by venturing into the sphere of contemporary dance for a season at the Apollo Theatre in London s West End, where she danced the role of Hollywood legend Judy Garland, in Peter Schaufuss s hugely successful dance spectacular, Divas. As a member of the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre, Irina has toured extensively across six continents to Spain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Austria, Finland, the USA, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Macau and Taiwan. Irina is the recipient of numerous Russian and International dance prizes: Natalia Makarova Prize and the Silver Medal at Arabesque 2002 in Russia Silver Medal at the worldrenowned International Ballet Competition in Varna Gold Medal at the International Ballet Competition in Prague Nomination for the international prize at Benois de la Danse Silver Medal at the 5th Japan International Ballet and Modern Dance Competition Nomination by the Critics Circle of the UK as a finalist for Best Female Dancer in the National Dance Awards A photographic album of her career, entitled simply Irina Kolesnikova has been published, featuring more than one hundred superb photographs of the ballerina on and off stage. The introduction to the album is written by the legendary Russian-American ballet critic and photographer, Nina Alovert. Irina also stars in three DVDs - filmed around the world performing the leading roles in Swan Lake, Giselle and The Nutcracker. Back in St Petersburg, Irina s parents and her banker brother Ruslan eagerly follow her travels around the world and her astounding triumphs. The hardest part of a ballerina s life is missing a home life says Irina. Oh, and the constant pain and the need to stay 100% fit, 100% of the time, she adds: I m lucky of course, as I love to perform, love to see new countries and meet new and different cultures. Everything I see, everyone I meet contributes to my emotional palette. In her rare, quiet moments, Irina likes to develop her embroidery skills. Irina is married and recently returned to the stage after giving birth to her first child, a daughter, in Edited by Graham Watts 64 65

35 IRINA KOLESNIKOVA S PARIS TRIUMPH On 6th February 2012 at the Russian Federation Ambassador s residence in Paris a dinner was given in honour of the Prima Ballerina, Irina Kolesnikova. The previous evening saw the conclusion to the Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre s Paris tour where, in to tal, 15 sell out performances were played to 48 thousand people. Alexander Orlov, Irina Kolesnikova Upon welcoming Irina Kolesnikova, Aleksandr Orlov, the Russian Federation s ambassador to France commented: We applauded so hard that our hands nearly fell off. What a superb Swan Lake! Your performance of Odette/Odile has become, by common consent, an absolute revelation to the French people. Your performance was fervently received by the audience. I would like to congratulate you on this. This is after all a continuation of a tradition began a century ago by Sergei Diaghilev when stars like Tamara Karsavina and Anna Pavlova shone brightly. Then along came Galina Ulanova and Maya Plisetskaya. Today it is Irina Kolesnikova s turn to carry the banner. Your name can stand alongside those of the great ballerinas who set Russian ballet on the road to glory. I wish you every success! I am sure you are still at the beginning of a booming career! Irina Kolesnikova, Alexander Orlov, Konstantin Tachkin The reception in the Russian Federation Ambassador s residence was filmed by State Russian Television. News report broadcasted on Monday 13th Feb Victor Ignatov, Nicole Duault, Ludmila Loginova Photo Nina Alovert 66 67

36 Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week concludes with a show in honour of a ballerina from Saint Petersburg Paris Haute Couture week enriched by fashion show in honour of Irina Kolesnikova in spite of the ballerina s absence. Jean Doucet, Irina Kolesnikova Irina Kolesnikova Stella Kalinina, Jean Doucet, Jacques Doucet Mile Tchao Mile Tchao Jean Doucet Paris Fashion week was brought to a fitting conclusion with the showing of Jean Doucet s collection which he dedicated to his new muse, the Saint Petersburg ballerina IRINA KOLESNIKOVA. The French designer s collection was shown on 24th January 2013 in the Théâtre du Châtelet and is a declaration of love for classical ballet which has had its supreme and most spiritual evolution in Russia as nowhere else. As a graduate of the Vaganova Academy and worthy bearer of the Russian ballet tradition, IRINA KOLESNIKOVA was the central figure of the fashion show. The ballerina first appeared on the runway in the guise of the black swan, then in a golden hued evening dress, and finally in a white lace outfit. It was the Odette Odile role which inspired the designer to create a story about fashion, sensuality and fluidity. The choice of location for the fashion show was no coincidence either: the famous Diaghliev season took place a century ago in the Théâtre du Châtelet. Representatives from the world of culture and the fashion industry congregated to see the collection entitled Irina Kolesnikova and the ballets Russes. Among the guests were the President of the Miss France beauty contest and the Russian ambassador to UNESCO. For the full story see Zinaida Kurbatova s television report on chanel Rossiya 24 : On 23rd January 2014 a fashion show dedicated to the Russian ballerina Irina Kolesnikova took place at the celebrated Opéra Garnier. As part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week, the French designer Jean Doucet presented his new collection dedicated to the Saint Petersburg ballerina and to the glory of Russian ballet in toto. The collection is thus entitled IRINA KOLESNIKOVA AND THE RUSSIAN BALLETS. This is the continuation of a project which had very auspicious beginnings in January It was Irina s fluidity and sensitivity in her portrayal of Odette/Odile in the ballet Swan Lake which inspired the French fashion designer to create this image for her. This time the designer created several dresses among which is one unique wedding dress inlaid with pearls, worthy of a museum setting and which was protected by four security guards for the duration of the event. Although due to matters out of her control Irina could not personally take part in the fashion show, the event in her name made great waves among the representatives of the Parisian fashion and cultural world. Irina s place at the end of the show was taken by the Japanese model Mile Tchao who wore the same unique wedding dress which, according to the designer s concept, Irina would have worn on the runway

37 Irina Kolesnikova in Paris It was a beautiful spring afternoon when I made my way to the famous Théâtre des Champs-Elysées to meet the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre s prima ballerina, Irina Kolesnikova. This celebrated Parisian theatre on the Avenue Montaigne was assured a place in cultural history within seven weeks of opening, when it staged the infamous production of The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du printemps) by Les Ballets Russes, on 29th May The premiere notoriously caused a riot from competing sections of a Parisian audience that either loved or hated the unique churning rhythms and visceral orchestration in Igor Stravinsky s ground-breaking music (which legend has it, no-one could hear due to the noisy protests) and Vaslav Nijinsky s complex, innovative choreography. In addition to The Rite of Spring the theatre also hosted the world premiere - a fortnight earlier - of Claude Debussy s Jeux, with choreography by Nijinsky and designs by Léon Bakst. But, the very first ballet to play at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, on the night following its official opening in April 1913, was a dance spectacular curated by the great ballerina, Anna Pavlova. On the afternoon of my visit, there seemed a magical synergy over the theatre s long life, with an exceptional ballerina from St Petersburg being the first to dance on that stage; whilst the latest to do so almost exactly 102 years on was to be another sublime ballerina from the same Russian city. Since that season, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées has hosted many more premieres and most of the world s greatest dancers have performed on its stage over the past century. Walking through the maze of back stage corridors was a challenge, not due to the vagaries of orientation, but simply because the wall spaces are so full of theatrical and dance memorabilia, that it was like walking through a fascinating museum exhibition, in a hurry! The reason for haste was that the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre s prima ballerina was taking a few minutes rest, having performed Swan Lake (with The Royal Ballet s principal dancer, Vadim Muntagirov) on the previous two evenings, she had just finished a full main-stage rehearsal as the tragic heroine of La Bayadère; Nikiya (the Temple Dancer of the title). And, in little over two hours time, Irina was about to dance the whole thing again, in front of a capacity audience (with the Bolshoi Ballet s Denis Rodkin as her partner). This schedule would be tough enough for anyone but add into the mix that Irina Kolesnikova is mother to a baby daughter, Vasilina, not yet nine months old at the time of our interview and one must instinctively marvel at her undoubted strength and stamina, both mental and physical. I find Irina in her dressing room, still dressed in rehearsal clothes, feet raised high onto her dressing table for some relief; the table strewn with the detritus of a ballerina s life: make-up, ribbons, sewing kit, pointe shoes. Also in the room were the company s founder and director, Konstantin Tachkin, and the CEO of Theatre Tours, Andrew Guild, who was kind enough to use his Russian to help interpret our conversation. I started by asking Irina what it was like to dance now, as a mother? Had it changed the way that she approached roles, especially those that require great expressiveness and emotional qualities, such as Nikiya, Odette and Giselle? I have heard many stories that after giving birth to a child, things are often different for a ballerina, she replies. Perhaps they are mentally or emotionally different; or maybe a dancer gains something in terms of her expressiveness, she adds. I think that many ballerinas shoot a lot higher but I ve also heard many stories about dancers performing a lot worse after becoming mothers. It begs the question about how Irina feels about herself, nine months into her special dual role. She laughs: Well, I haven t yet given a lot of performances since becoming a mum and I m hoping, of course, that I go upwards, adding, for reassurance: and I am starting to feel that this is happening. I hope that I will be one of those ballerinas that get even better because of motherhood. Having watched her devastatingly anguished and technically perfect performance as Nikiya, later that evening, I can confirm that this certainly appears to be the case! What about the pressures of being a mother? Well, they are a challenge, she says, but I knew that they would be and I have help. Getting up early in the morning after a late night performance is difficult but I have to be there for her and I wanted this, so I can t complain. I was keen to know why Irina had not gone into one of the venerable, established Russian Ballet companies such as the Mariinsky in St Petersburg or the Bolshoi in Moscow when she graduated as a top student from the class of Elvira Kokorina at the famous Vaganova Academy, in 1998; choosing instead to enter a much smaller and relatively new company. Was this a deliberate strategy, I asked? Not at first, she replies, in fact it was simple. The Mariinsky took only a couple of dancers from my graduation year. So, I went to the Jacobson Ballet Company (named after Leonid Jacobson a famous avant-garde choreographer in the USSR, who had died in 1975) straight after graduation. However, I only spent six months there because I didn t feel that the company was offering me what I needed; and so I immediately looked for something else. Even though it was only five years-old, St Petersburg Ballet Theatre provided the right opportunity for Irina. I like working and when I came to this company, I sensed immediately that here was a place that I was going to be able to get lots of performances in major roles, so I had no hesitation in joining. She joined as a soloist and within two years, Irina was promoted to principal; by 2001, Irina was the company s prima ballerina, aged just 21. Irina Kolesnikova as Nikiya. Photo KT Next we move on to the thorny issue of aesthetics and suitability for roles, which has been a big debate in Russia recently. I ask Irina about her feelings on the importance of aesthetics, in terms of the physical qualities required to dance roles such as Nikiya and Odette, especially since she matches the right image for both roles. How does she feel about the changing perceptions in terms of widening the horizons of what is deemed to be right for these roles? It s a difficult and complicated question, she replies, adding: I agree with you. They re my roles. What happens at the moment is that every ballerina wants to tick these boxes. They all want these roles on their CV. Her view is refreshingly liberal: Even though some ballerinas may not suit a traditional understanding of what each role should be, every ballerina brings something to their interpretation of these roles and so, in my view, if they are good enough to perform such challenging choreography, then they should be given the chance to do so, irrespective of whether they suit a traditional view about the physical attributes for the role. It s a legitimate argument about whether you like it or not, but the audiences will ultimately decide. Although Irina is known for her interpretation of these classic roles, she also danced in Peter Schaufuss s Divas, performing as Judy Garland, at the Apollo Theatre in London s West End. I asked her if she enjoyed this experience of performing something new and contemporary and whether she now sees herself doing more modern work. I enjoyed it very much, she says immediately (even before Andrew has finished translating my question), and I would love for that kind of role to happen again. But, she adds: I could have put all my strength into chasing other roles but I put my concentration on something else recently and I became a mother! Now that I have accomplished that goal I can now start looking at the next direction for my career. Before leaving, I ask Irina if she enjoys touring and her response brings us full circle to the missionary zeal of Anna Pavlova, that first ballerina to perform at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, on the night after its opening, in This latest prima ballerina to grace the same stage with her pointe shoes also strives to take ballet to the people. I love to travel and to take our ballet to different places and different audiences. I hope that we can persuade people who have perhaps never seen a ballet to come again; and to love it. We could be rolling back the years and listening to Pavlova s mission. But, there must be a relaxing side to it? Yes, I really love just walking in the streets, getting the feel of every city and, of course, I love to shop. With that, I took my leave and stopping to take in several original Ballets Russes posters on the way out I headed off into the sunny streets of Paris, leaving this exquisite ballerina preparing for her imminent task of transporting a capacity French audience back through the centuries to the foothills of the Himalayas as La Bayadère. And, of course, she did it splendidly. Graham Watts 70 71

38 Irina Kolesnikova in Asia Since 2004 St Petersburg Ballet Theatre presents Irina Kolesnikova on the best stages of Asian region, such a Tokyo Bunka Kaikan and Bunkamura Orchard Hall in Tokyo, Opera House of NCPA in Beijing, Grand Theatre in Shanghai, Macao Cultural Centre, Daegu Opera House in South Korea and The National Theatre in Taipei. In May 2015 Irina Kolesnikova made her debut in Singapore. Irina Kolesnikova Asia press: Irina Kolesnikova is a regal dancer schooled in the Russian tradition, with an expressive back and secure classical technique. She lends her white swan an athletic boldness, but with crucial mime sequences replaced by dancing, there is too much back story to fill in even with the passion she imbues. Press conference - National Theatre - Taipei, 2011 Press conference - National Theatre - Taipei, 2011 Kolesnikova undergoes a remarkable transformation in the ballet s third act, portraying Odile with a previously unseen attack and cunning coquettishness. While she handles the role s rigorous technicalities admirably. Germaine Cheng The Straits Times, Singapore Irina Kolesnikova is exquisite... She is a dancer of magnetic power - so much so that any ballet company in the world would welcome her with open arms. This brilliant ballerina is distinguished by her physical beauty and extraordinary emotional expressiveness. Quite recently in Japan, in May, she danced the lead role in Swan Lake where she resembled a big flower. Kolesnikova possesses a perfect technique and with just a few gestures and facial expressions is able to convey Odette s sadness and Odile s demonic character. Shinshokan Dance Magazine Tokyo, Japan Press conference - Shanghai, 2009 Press conference - Taipei, 2011 Irina Kolesnikova conquered the audience with her lovely renditions of the black and white swans.the beauty of her dancing has reached such a level as to take the audience s breath away Khi Ding Khau United Daily News Taipei, Taiwan Apart from that, as opposed to many contemporary young Russian ballerinas who offer a relatively simple interpretation of the White Swan character, Kolesnikova s Odette is emotional and replete with feminine attractiveness. It is striking how such an original and thrilling persona can be created. In the character of Odile, she is a captivating queen with a special aura; she demonstrates her mastery of spins and turns and the rapid tempo of her grands fouetés was met with thunderous applause The performing Arts Journal Tokyo, Japan Autographs -TheBunkamura Hall - Tokyo, 2011 Autographs - The National Theatre - Taipei, 2011 Photo KT 72 Spectators - Immediately after performance - The National Theatre - Taipei, April

39 AUTUMN 2015 AT ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA English National Opera London Coliseum Interim Chief Executive Cressida Pollock Technical Resources Manager Dewi Evans Director of Theatre Management Lynne Adam Theatre Management Coordinator Helen Beardsley Acting House Manager Daniel McHale House Management Viv Wells, Keith Parker, Alicja O Brien Box Office Barbara James, Paul Hackney Richard Wiedemann Catering Rupert Walsh, Annalisa Ferrarotto Benjamin Krol, Robert Eyles Security Mick Madden St Petersburg Ballet Theatre Company: Dmitriy Akulinin Valeriya Andropova Aleksandra Arkhangelskaia Iurii Baryshnikov Stanislav Burov Mikhail Degtyarev Diana Ermolaeva Larisa Fabrichnova Andrei Fedorkov Sergei Fedorkov Veronika Ignateva Vladislav Ilivanov Grigory Ivanov Tatiana Kabatskova Mikhail Khokhlov Darina Kochan Iuliia Kochemasova Anastasiia Kuzmina Nadezda Lashko Artem Markov Ilia Mironov Ludmila Mizinova Miho Naotsuka Adelia Nazyrova Anastasiia Pavlova Vsevolod Pokrovskii Dmitrii Rudachenko Dymchik Saikeev Anna Samostrelova Ielyzaveta Savina Marianna Sergeeva Natalia Smirnova Gherman Snaider Kseniia Spiridonova Viktoriia Stavtseva Inna Svechnikova Tatiana Tiliguzova Konstantin Tkachuk Mykhailo Tkachuk Tetiana Toporkova Mariia Velikaia Iryna Zhalovska The public may leave at the end of the performance by the exit doors and such doors must at all times be open. All gangways, passages and staircases must be entirely free from chairs or any other obstruction. Persons shall not under any circumstances be permitted to stand or sit in any of the gangways. If standing be permitted, in the gangways at the side and rear of the seating, it shall be strictly limited to the number indicated in the notice exhibited in those positions. The safety curtain must be lowered and raised in the presence of each audience. Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the London Coliseum. The use of video cameras, or sound recording equipment, is forbidden during any performance. COMPANY DIRECTOR Elena Beliaeva BALLET STAFF Yuri Gumba, Tatiana Linnik TECHNICAL DIRECTOR Sergei Ilivanov LIGHTING DESIGNER Nikolai Shlein HEAD OF WARDROBE Irina Karelskaia MUSIC DIRECTOR & CHIEF CONDUCTOR Timur Gorkovenko Gilbert & Sullivan s THE MIKADO 21 Nov 6 Feb Live in cinemas 3 Dec Find out more at eno.org/enoscreen Named artists are subject to change. The management reserves the right to substitute any artist, even at short notice should the need arise. THE ST PETERSBURG BALLET ORCHESTRA Tamara Elias, Alisa Ermakova, Dewi Garmon Jones,,Helena Gourd, Chloe Greenwood, Gundy Jonasdottir, Sion Jones, Yuri Kalnits, Matthew Kettle, Sam Kinrade, Fred Lange Hewlett, James Larter, Juliet Lee, Georgina Leo, Vicky Lester, Yuka Matsumoto, Simon Minshall, Julia Morneweg, Tam Mott, Brendan Musk, Tatiana Naletckaia, Vladimir Naumov, Michael Pearce, Barnaby Philpott, Hannah Rankin, Murray Richmond, Victoria Rule, Peter Ryan, Nikolai Ryzhov, Rhodri Taylor, Mardyah Tucker, Tatiana Tutynina & Martin Wray ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA London Coliseum Tickets from only 12 * Book now eno.org Find us on *Booking fees apply The Mikado. Photo by Sarah Lee St Petersburg Ballet Theatre would like to thank Andrew Guild, Simon Bryce, Lizzie Coles, Emma Powell, Ai Gul Gaisina, Michaela Watson, Guy Chapman, Stephen Davies, Clemmie Hill, Andrew Greer, Mark Goucher, Giles Rowland, Michael James-Cox, Mishi Bekesi and Yuri Kalnits. Facebook: #stpetersburgballet

40 Returning in 2016 Ludwig Minkus DON QUIXOTE Ballet in 3 acts Dmitry Shostakovich CARMEN PREMIERE! GALA Irina Kolesnikova Invites Irina Kolesnikova International guest stars Soloists, corps de ballet and orchestra of ST PETERSBURG BALLET THEATRE Facebook: Irina-Kolesnikova/1 Irina Kolesnikova as Kitri. Basilio Yuri Kovalev. Photo KT

41 ST PETERSBURG BALLET THEATRE irinakolesnikova.com spbt.ru

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