The centuries-old Russian Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg, opening it’s 233rd season and formerly home to Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, Vaslav Nijinsky, Anna Pavlova and many other notables, shall perform ‘Cinderella’ at Cal Performances’ Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus Thursday, October 1 through Sunday, October 4, 2015. The Mariinsky Orchestra shall perform the score, by Prokofiev.
Cinderella suits UC Berkeley, the home of the free speech movement, in that ‘Cinderella’ remains a story about the innocent victim of cruelty escaping her fate and being recognized for her true self, a diamond in the rough becoming elevated in society through love. She need not change a thing except her shoes. A ‘My Fair Lady’ education this is not.
Diana Vishneva, seen in the video, dances the role of Cinderella opening night. Cinderella will be danced by Nadezhda Batoeva (10/2), Anastasia Matvienko (10/3 matinee), Kristina Shapran (10/3 evening), and Nadezhda Batoeva again (10/4). Konstantin Zverev dances the prince twice (opening night & 10/3 evening); Vladimir Shklyarov (10/2), Filipp Stepin (10/3 matinee) and Vladimir Shklyarov again (10/4).
Granted Cinderella, the motherless child, must grow to adulthood so she may marry up. Contemporary women probably have an issue with this, the victim needing to be rescued by a man. Granted it’s a limited route but it remains a desirable option and marriage a social institution, currently sought after as a matter of equality. The story to it’s credit is not about revenge, revolution, crime or punishment per se.
Choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, who was born in St. Petersburg, home to the Mariinsky Theater, created this commissioned work in 2002. It’s an urban, contemporary version and set in the 1930s. Ratmansky added to the classical repertoire of stories choreographed by Marius Petipa, including ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘The Nutcracker’ and ‘Swan Lake’. Mariinsky Ballet will perform five times, twice on Saturday, October 3 and once for the close on Sunday, October 4, a matinee.
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Berkeley professors of music will host talks and piano performances. Opening night, Thursday, October 4, Professor Richard Taruskin and two of his former students will discuss the appeal of Prokofiev. Taruskin speaks along with Bill Quillen of the Berkeley Symphony and with Anna Nisnevich who became a professor herself. The extended talk will go from 6 to 7 pm, just before the ballet at 8 pm.. This talk is free and open to the public.
Saturday, October 3, Professor Nisnevich will speak and this talk is for ticket holders only. Nisnevich specializes in Russian musical theater at the turn of the 20th century. In addition, program notes for ‘Cinderella’ will be available on line one or two days before the performances. Here is a virtual tour of the Mariinsky theater in Saint Petersburg, a huge facility which looks bright, sleek and contemporary: Mariinsky theater.
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Cal Performances tickets to the Mariinsky Ballet in October cost $22.50 to $185. Rush tickets cost $10/UCB students; $15 UCB staff, faculty and seniors age 65 and better; $20/community members. Cal Performances also offers many discounts, such as 50% off for UC Berkeley students; $5 off for Cal Alumni Association members and KQED members. The ticket office is at 510 642-9988. Zellerbach Auditorium hosts a café on the upper level. The auditorium is on lower Sproul plaza near the intersection of Bancroft and Telegraph. It’s an easy walk or bike ride from downtown Berkeley BART. The plaza has some bike racks.
For more information: Cal Performances