The Mikhailovsky Ballet of Saint Petersburg at The London Coliseum – Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness

Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptines – Ballet in two acts


A – Leonid Sarafanov, Marat Shemiunov, Victoria Zaripova, Sabina Yapparova, Nikolay Korypayev, Andrey Yakhnyuk
Goldberg Variations, BWV988 – Aria
1 – Marat Shemiunov, Leonid Sarafanov, Andrey Yakhnyuk, Rishat Yulbarisov, Nikolay Arzyayev, Nikolay Korypayev, Andrey Kasyanenko, Ivan Zaytsev, Victor Lebedev, Victoria Zaripova, Victoria Kutepova, Asthik Ogannesian, Nina Osmanova, Valeria Zapasnikova, Alfa N’Gobi, Olympiada Saurat, Olga Semyonova, Oksana Bondareva, lrina Kosheleva, Elena Nikiforova
Aeolus Propitiated, BWV205 – Zerreisset, zersprenget, zertrUmmert die Gruft
2 – Sahina Yapparova, Marat Shemiunov
Cello Suite No.1 in G, BWV1007 – Prelude
3 – Alfa N’Gobi, Olympiada Saurat, Leonid Sarafanov
A Musical Offering, BWV1079 – Per Motum Contrarium
4 – Andrey Kasyanenko, Rishat Yulbarisov, Marat Shemiunov
Orchestral Suite No.2 in B minor, BWV1067 – Polonaise
5 – Victoria Kutepova, Olga Semyonova
A Musical Offering, BWV1079 – Violini in Unisono
6 – Victor Lebedev, Nikolay Ariyayev, Leonid Sarafanov, Andrey Yakhnyuk, Ivan Zaytsev, Valeria Zapasnikova, Alfa N’Gobi, Olympiada Saurat, Sabina Yapparova, Nina Osmanova, Oksana Bondareva
Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G, BWV1048 – Allegro
7 – Polina Semionova, Victoria Zaripova, Rishat Yulbarisov
Violin Sonata No.5 in E minor, BWV1023 – Allegro; Adagio
8 – Irma Kosheleva, Oksana Bondareva, Nina Osmanova, Olga Semyonova, Asthik Ogannesian, Victoria Kutepova
Concerto for Four Harpsichords in A minor, BWV1065 – First movement
9 – Polina Semionova, Marat Shemiunov
Violin Concerto in G minor, BWV1056 – Largo
10 – Andrey Yakhnyuk, Leonid Sarafanov, Nikolay Korypayev, Nikolay Arzyayev, Victor Lebedev, Ivan Zaytsev
Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV1043 – Allegro
11 – Andrey Kasyanenko, Rishat Yulbarisov., Marat Shemiunov
Concerto for Four Harpsichords, BWV1065 – Largo
12 – Marat Shemiunov, Valeria Zapasnikova, Olga Semyonova, Alfa N’Gobi, Olympiada Saurat, Nikolay Korypayev, Andrey Yakhnyuk, Ivan Zaytsev
The Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, BWV114-115 – Minuet in G & Minuet in G minor
13 – Polina Semionova, Marat Shemiunov
The Wedding Cantata, BWV202 – Aria No.1 for soprano: Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten
14 – Ensemble
Violin Sonata, BWV1018 – Adagio

Forms of Silence and Emptiness:

1 – Valeria Zapasnikova, Andrey Kasyanenko
The Art of the Fugue, BWV1080 – Contrapunctus 3
2 – Leonid Sarafanov, Andrey Yakhnyuk, Nikolay Korypayev, Nikolay Arzyayev, Victor Lebedev, Ivan Zaytsev, Rishat Yulbarisov
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV538 – Toccata
3 – Irina Kosheleva, Oksana Bondareva, Olga Semyonova, Victoria Kutepova, Asthik Ogannesian, Alfa N’Gobi, Olympiada Saurat, Nina Osmanova
Trio Sonata No.6 in G, BWV530 – Lento
4 – Sabina Yapparova, Marat Shemiunov
Choral Prelude: Mach’s mir mit, Gott, nach deiner Gut, BWV957
5 – Sabina Yapparova, Polina Semionova, Marat Shemiunov
Cantata: Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis, BWV21 – Sinfonia
6 – Victoria Zaripova, Rishat Yulbarisov
Cantata: Ich hatte viel Bekümmrnmis, BWV21 – Aria for soprano: Seufzer, Tränen, Kummer, Not
7 – Marat Shemiunov & Ensemble
The Art of the Fugue, BWV1080 – Contrapunctus 19
8 – Ensemble
The Goldberg Variations, BWV988 – Aria

Svetlana MoskaIenko (soprano)

Orchestra of the Mikhailovsky Theatre
Mikhail Tatarnikov

Nacho Duato – Choreography & Costume design
Johann Sebastian Bach – Music
Jaffar Chalabi – Set design
Brad Fields – Lighting design

Reviewed by: G. J. Dowler

Reviewed: 6 April, 2013
Venue: The Coliseum, London

Mikhailovsky ballet - Multiplicity. photo: © www.mikhailovsky.ruNacho Duato, the much-fêted contemporary choreographer of mainland Europe is almost unknown in the UK, except for some unfortunate outings for a couple of his works at The Royal Ballet during the Ross Stretton’s disastrous directorship. He is very much from the school of Jiří Kylián and his ilk, and has carved a highly successful career firstly at Nederlands Dans Theater, then at his native Spain’s Compañía Nacional de Danza before causing a stir by taking up the directorship of the venerable Mikhailovsky Ballet in Saint Petersburg – a non-ballet choreographer taking over a Classical Dance company. His tenure has not been without friction, but his itchy feet have led to the latest announcement that he is to take over the Berlin Staatsballett next year after the decade of Vladimir Malakhov as its director. It is a highly controversial move.

At the Mikhailovsky he has created new works and revived some of his old ‘hits’, one of which is Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness: a full-evening work for the 1997 Weimar Festival, which won the prestigious Benois de la Danse prize in 2000. This is the first time that London has seen it. The company seem to adore it.

Russia missed out on all the post First World War developments in Classical and Modern Dance that were seen and experienced in the West, producing, for the most part, a leaden and artistically moribund corpus of ‘Soviet’ works that has rightly disappeared. In short, there is a lot of catching up to do, and one can see the classical dancers of Mikhailovsky devouring the choreography which allows them to explore other sides of their physicality and artistry. They throw themselves eagerly into Duato’s movement, no-one more striking than the diminutive Sabina Yapparova, who impressed so much in the more classical fare of Don Quixote and Laurencia, and guest Polina Semyonova, who relished the challenges of her ‘nemesis’ figure. There was total commitment from all.

Mikhailovsky ballet - Multiplicity. photo: © www.mikhailovsky.ruThere is a great deal of portentous guff in the programme about the meaning of this work, with Bach himself stalking the stage and the dancers ‘interpreting’ his music. Bach’s demise on what looks like a camp bed at the end leads the dancers to walk up the zig-zag ramp of Jaffar Chalabi’s set (La Bayadère’s the Kingdom of the Shades in reverse) to ‘become’ musical notes on the stave – it is best ignored. Duato’s strength is his stage-craft, as he fills it with arresting imagery, interesting formations and intriguing costumes of his own, with Brad Fields’s lighting adding greatly to the overall effect. But at the core is a movement palette of limited colours, which begins to tell in a long work such as this. Aside from some interesting poses and some high-speed moves, much is pedestrian or merely arch; Multiplicity’s 10 section sees six men fencing with cello bows – the joke outstays its welcome. Indeed, the humour is ‘jokey’, tricksy, and this is where the combination of blokeishness and Bach’s music does not work. Rarely do music and movement combine, the latter often a light-hearted commentary on the former, and seldom its visualisation. 3’s invention is clever (Bach ‘plays’ a female figure as he would a cello), but it spills into ‘look at me how clever I can be’.

Matters improve with Forms of Silence and Emptiness (a typically overblown title) which sees more introspective music chosen, although here Duato’s limited ability to choreograph adagio movement satisfactorily is cruelly highlighted. What happens then is the serenity of a Toccata as in 2 is matched with increasingly grotesque movements. The Mikahilovsky Orchestra under Mikhail Tatarnikov cannot be praised highly enough – it played, as it has done at every performance this season, to the highest standard.

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