2017 Nuriev Festival: festivity of realism

Kazan Ballet Company is going on tour to France

2017 Nuriev Festival: festivity of realism Photo: Maksim Platonov

Rudolf Nuriev Classic Ballet Festival that took place on the stage of the Jalil Tatar Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre for the 30 th time ended. Plays were performed to a full house every evening, and the theatre hall could not host everybody who wished to enter.

The saddest story

Tickets to the Nuriev festival were available in the theatre's ticket office during one day. In fact, it is the interest of citizens of Kazan in the ballet forum. And it is not only a desire to look at guest dancers but understanding that the ballet company of the theatre is at a very high level and works at the same level like stars invited from top European theatres do.

In general, many generations of artists whom the most exacting combination company can be proud of grew up during the 30 years of existence of the festival in Kazan. As for invited soloists, a very high level of guests is traditionally maintained at the Nuriev festival. As it was at the jubilee festival.

This year's Nuriev festival traditionally opened with a premiere. Spectators watched Romeo and Juliet by Sergey Prokofiev staged by the ballet company's director Vladimir Yakovlev. The play was performed twice with different artists. The first evening was given to Kazan. Mikhail Timaev, Kristina Andreyeva and Oleg Ivenko performed leading roles.

This year's Nuriev festival traditionally opened with a premiere. Spectators watched Romeo and Juliet by Sergey Prokofiev staged by the ballet company's director Vladimir Yakovlev. Photo: Maksim Platonov

Next day Tais Diogenes and Wagner Carvalho, both from Brazil, and Alessandro Caggegi from Kazan did it. However, it is not correct to call the Brazilians as guests – they are going to join the company of the Kazan theatre in the autumn. The new production of Romeo and Juliet (and the play has been in the repertoire for several years) is a romantic novel about fragility of not only love but also human life. Mercuzio's silly death. The death of the main characters that seems to be silly. What is behind it all? Probably devaluated human life.

Speaking about the performers of the leading roles, as the author of these lines thinks, the troika Timaev-Andreyeva-Ivenko is more accurate, worked with zero tolerance and with the enthusiasm of the youth. The reverence, vulnerability of Juliet who is a girl and woman performed by Kristina Andreyeva was running high. Timaev-Romeo was passionately tender. They almost dissolved in love for each other. And loyal Mercuzio-Ivenko who created an unclear, tragic character of a rabid duellist was near them.

Vladimir Yakovlev staged classic Romeo and Juliet. In general, the Nuriev festival that was initially announced as classic ballet festival focuses on academic performances. Don Quijote with Yolanda Correa from the National Ballet of Norway and her partner – Afro-American Osiel Gouneo from the National Theatre of Munich – Swan Lake, La Bayadère and Giselle, ou les Wilis were so.

In general, the Nuriev festival that was initially announced as classic ballet festival focuses on academic performances. Photo: Maksim Platonov

The latter is an especial line in the history of the 30 th festival named after Rudolf Nuriev. Etoile of Paris Opera Ballet Dorothée Gilbert made her first performance in Kazan as Giselle. We should not be speaking about her technique. Her level was clear from the beginning. But the artistry of Gilbert, her poignancy together with naivete in the first act, her tragedy together with victimhood and forgiveness in the second one caused admiration among the Kazan spectators. Probably we had not seen such Giselle – passionate and ethereal at times.

Historicism and lyric

As usual, room for national ballet was made in the playbill — The Golden Horde by composer Rezeda Akhiyarova and librettist Renat Kharis. Georgy Kovtun was the choreographer. Kovtun and Kharis had already worked once. Tale of Yusuf that got the Russian State Award is the result. As for very talented Rezeda Akhiyarova, her opera Poet's Love about Gabdulla Tukay is successfully performed on the stage of the Kazan theatre.

The Golden Horde is a play that did not have invited soloists, only dancers of the Kazan company performed and showed the strength and power of Tatarstan ballet. Wars, intrigues, dissolution of the great state and love story of two young people — Romeo and Juliet of their time — Janike and Nuradin (Kristina Andreyeva and Oleg Ivenko) — these are the topics it covers.

The great state dies, the great love dies — what is worse? Every spectator solves this dilemma on their own. I would like to add a deep-felt performance of Mikhail Timaev (Khan Baty's spirit) and Nurlan Kanetov (Vizier) to the success of Andreyeva and Ivenko. In addition, the balanced sound of the orchestra chaired by the theatre's head conductor Renat Salavatov.

The great state dies, the great love dies — what is worse? Every spectator solves this dilemma on their own. Photo: Roman Khasaev

Mass in B minor staged by Vladimir Vasiliev is another play where stars of the Kazan company showed off. He called his play he had been working on for tens of years Dona Nobis Pacem. As very Vasiliev says, Bach's Mass in B minor is one of the best creations of humankind. It is just about a person, supreme intelligence, God. The choreographer speaks about global things — love, soul, peace — through something very personal.

Dona Nobis Pacem that has not only ballet but also choir and vocalists is one of the best productions of the Kazan theatre.

Nuriev forever

Two gala concerts with the same programme traditionally adorn the festivals. They are two because it is difficult to accommodate all the people who wish to look at the greatest number of stars at once. This year dancer and choreographer, people's artist of Russia Andris Liepa was charged with leading and directing the festival's gala concert. And he managed to make a concert as offering, a concert dedicated to great dancer Rudolf Nuriev.

Nuriev looked at the spectators from a huge portrait at the back of the stage, photos with his amazing dance were shown, and Andris Liepa told about his meetings with Nuriev warmly, sincerely, with great respect.

The gala concert programme consisted of classic performances and modern choreography. There were plays that were demonstrated to spectators for the first time and were held like a world premiere. But it is not the point. Rudolf Nuriev seemed to be present in the hall of the theatre during those hours where he had been conducting The Nutcracker at the invitation of the theatre's director Raufal Mukhametzyanov. Then having seen the high level of the festival, he gave it his name without hesitation. The festival has been keeping the bar very high since then.

The gala concert programme consisted of classic performances and modern choreography. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

''The Kazan Rudolf Nuriev festival is unique, the very great dancer gave his name,'' Andris Liepa was right to note.

Next year's festival will also be a jubilee — Rudolf Nuriev will be 80 years on 17 March 2018. It means spectators will have new discoveries.

Meanwhile, the Kazan ballet company is going to a two-week tour to France having rested after the almost three-week marathon. Giselle will be performed in the biggest cities of this country including Paris. French spectators are going to see Kristina Andreyeva and Alina Steinberg in the leading roles.

By Tatiana Mamaeva