Mikhailovsky Final Thoughts

Mikhailovsky Ballet ended its Lincoln Center run yesterday and will head west to Orange County, California for four performances of Flames of Paris, November 28-30 at the Segerstrom Theater in Costa Mesa.


  • The repertory at Lincoln Center was quite standard with crowd favorites Giselle, Flames of Paris, and Don Quixote, with only two days of mixed repertory (that I unfortunately missed). The company demonstrated its ability to perform at a very high level in the classics; an open question is whether it can innovate and create noteworthy new works. I liked the ABT version of Giselle a bit more than Mikhailovsky’s as some of the special effects in Act II detracted from the dancing. The Don Quixote version is very similar to the Bolshoi and consistent with ABT’s Acts I and III. Overall, Mikhailovsky does the big production ballets very well.
  • The run featured Ivan Vasiliev to an excessive degree. Ivan danced the lead in three out of the five Don Quixote performances and three of the four Flames of Paris performances. I love watching Ivan (see my previous post) but would have liked to have seen other dancers. I only attended performances later in the week and Saturday evenings, and Mikhailovsky showcased him to a great degree during these peak settings. I did catch Leonid Sarafanov and enjoyed his regal dancing in Giselle and Flames of Paris. He does nice leaps with a nice line, curved feet, and extension, although his Albrecht was understated. I did not see much of the other male principal Victor Lebedev except for a divertissement role in Flames of Paris.
  • The women were impressive and deep: Principal Dancers Natalia and Oksana Bondareva in Giselle and Don Quixote, Irina Perren as the actress in Flames of Paris, Ekaterina Borchenko as the Queen of the Dryads, Corps member Veronika Ignatyeva as a spunky Cupid in both Flames of Paris and Don Quixote, and Peasants’ pas de deux, and First Soloist Anastasia Soboleva as Mercedes in Don Quixote. The company has a number of remarkable turners and they were put on full display.
  • English was the second language at Koch Theater the past two weeks as most of the discussions I heard at intermission were in Russian. The New York Russians embraced the company with few empty seats over the two weeks.

Mikhailovsky clearly demonstrated that it can perform the standard, grand scale full-length ballets at a very high level. I would love to see the company return in the near future with more innovative repertory.

Check out my dress rehearsal photos at my photography website notmydayjobphotography.

In addition to my reviews in the posts below, here are other views on the Lincoln Center tour:

Luke Jennings of The Guardian
Louise Levene of The Financial Times
Appollinaire Scherr of The Financial Times on Giselle
Alistair Macaulay of The New York Times on Mixed Rep
Brian Seibert of The New York Times on Flames of Paris
Gia Kourlas of The New York Times on Giselle
Gia Kourlas of The New York Times on Don Quixote
Robert Greskovic of The Wall Street Journal
Marina Harss of DanceTabs on Flames of Paris
Marina Harss of DanceTabs on Giselle
Marina Harss of DanceTabs on Mixed Rep
Barnett Serchuk of BWW on Giselle
Barnett Serchuk of BWW on Flames of Paris
Haglund on Don Quixote
Haglund on Giselle