I was lucky enough to visit St. Petersburg for the first time this summer. It was so exciting for me as for years I had dreamt of going to this beautiful, imperial city full of museums, palaces, and... ballet! During the month of August, the regular Mariinsky Theatre company is on vacation and therefore the August performances are danced by other theatres or companies. I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't watch the Queens that pop into my head when I hear the word "Mariinsky" but I was positively surprised by the performance I saw, which was given by the Primorsky Stage of the Mariinsky Theatre. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, the Primorsky Stage is a division of the Mariinsky based in Vladivostok, a large city in Russia. I must say that I wasn't expecting the dancers from Vladivostok to be as skilled as they were!
I went to see Le Corsaire, a ballet that I had never seen before. Let me start by saying that it is an amazing ballet to see. It's incredibly entertaining, even to those who aren't passionate about ballet. My sister, who is often bored by classical ballets, loved Le Corsaire and was excited about every scene.
In the role of Medora was Anna Samostrelova, a principal dancer of the Mariinsky's Primorsky Stage. I enjoyed her performance very much. She was great technically, had beautiful stage presence with which she attracted the audience's attention, and she portrayed the character of Medora perfectly. I was especially astounded by her 32 fouettes during the coda; she performed them so well and so quickly. It was one of the best executions of 32 fouettes that I have ever seen.
In the role of Conrad was Viktor Mulygin, a soloist of the Mariinsky's Primorsky Stage. He was also very skilled and a great choice for the role of Conrad. I was especially shocked by his jumps. It was evident that he is a naturally talented jumper.
All of the dancers gave a beautiful performance, including the soloists and those from the corps de ballet. I especially enjoyed the three solos by the Odalisques. My favourite Odalisque was Yana Selina, who is a soloist of the main Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. This was evident in every movement that she executed.
The role of the Said Pasha was played by Sergei Zolotarev. He was so entertaining and gave the audience some great laughs.
Another thing that I enjoyed very much during the performance was the scenery. It was breathtaking and my whole family fell in love with it. Every single scene had a beautiful set and background. My favourite scene was "Le Jardin Anime", when Conrad dreamt of a beautiful flower garden with Medora dancing in it. The scenery during this part was just incredible. All of the dancers held flower crowns and it formed an amazing effect. (The set designer was Semyon Pastukh.)
The costumes were also gorgeous. They were so decorative and really made the performance even more enjoyable to watch. (The costume designer was Galina Solovyova.)
The fact that it was my first time at the Mariinsky Theatre made the whole experience simply magical. The Mariinsky stage and auditorium is so beautiful and there is a sort of indescribable energy throughout the whole building. During the whole performance I couldn't help thinking, "I'm at the Mariinsky!"
All in all, seeing Le Corsaire in the Mariinsky Theatre was a wonderful experience. The performance by the Primorsky Stage was a very positive surprise and I was shocked by every detail of the ballet! I would strongly recommend seeing Le Corsaire, visiting the Mariinsky Theatre or seeing a performance either by the main Mariinsky or by its Primorsky Stage.
Alexia Dochnal, 15 years old.