International Concerts continues its tradition of presenting the finest international talent with
Russia’s Maxim Gorky Drama State Theater’s IVANOV.
IVANOV – review by Deirdre Donovan, Theater Scene
Coming on the heels of Classic Stage Company’s Ivanov, the Maxim Gorky State Drama Theatre brought authentic Russian definition to Chekhov’s 1887 play. For one performance only at John Jay College’s Gerald Lynch Theater (on November 17), in repertory with Jacques Deval’s Tovarich (on November 16 and 18), theatergoers had a chance to see Chekhov’s Hamlet performed in Russian with authority and flair.
Should you not be familiar with this gem of a company, it is one of the most prestigious repertory companies in the Russian Far East, purveying world classics and contemporary Russian works since 1932. Touring in Russia and abroad, this company based in Vladivostok has distinguished itself both for its all-Russian productions and its bilingual productions with American companies. This company cross-fertilizes its repertoire with Chekhov, Shakespeare, and other world-class playwrights.
As directed by Efim Zvenyatskiy, this production had no bells and whistles accompanying it. This was Ivanov unembellished, ungarnished, and yet possessing the full meaning of Chekhov’s play. Here you saw a number of expert actors who were not only virtuosos but seemed to have Chekhov running through their corpuscles. Unlike Classic Stage Company’s interpretation of Ivanov, Gorky’s rendering had less spin and more spine. In short, there was no gilding the lily here.
The set was extremely basic. The veranda and garden of Ivanov’s estate was evoked by a broad, semi-circular platform with minimal props on stage, with paths leading off in various directions. It was elegant, simple, and natural-looking, and flexibly accommodated the play’s multiple scenes and unfolding action.
For any production of Ivanov to succeed, the actor playing the lead must be spot on. And, fortunately, Alexander Slavskiy, as Ivanov, had his complex character down pat. He doesn’t overplay anything but let Chekhov’s language take hold. Slavskiy’s did much of his acting through his facial expressions. His Ivanov had a vacant look in his eyes and a pervasive torpor in his physical movements. As you followed his self-castigating character through the play’s four acts, you would hardly consider him as a potential guest for your next dinner party, but you would be able to understand his dilemma. Ivanov is that intellectual who, like Shakespeare’s melancholy prince, “loses the name of action.” Given different surroundings, this Russian rogue might grab life by the horns and make something of himself. However, living in Central Russia, and the victim of gossip-mongers, Ivanov is somebody whose early promise is never realized.
This was not a one-man show. There was some strong acting from Svetlana Salakhutdinova, who played opposite Slavskiy as his stage wife Sarra Ivanova. Salakhutdinova has been the leading actress of the Gorky theatre since 1984. Little wonder that she looked so polished on stage. Other fine performances came from Olga Nalitova as the flirty Sasha and Nikolai Timoshenko as Borkin who blended his character’s pessimism with arrogance. In many ways, his character neatly sums up the world of the play when he observes: “This life of ours . . . Human life is like a posy, growing gloriously in a meadow, a goat comes along, eats it, end of posy.”
Although the production itself was superb, there was one big drawback: it was acted in Russian with no English subtitles. True, audience members could rent earphones in the lobby (for an additional $10), which provided one with an English translator who spoke in synch with the live stage production. But listening to the voice of the translator and following the production at the same time was no easy task, and often frustrating.
That said, what New York theatergoers need is more exposure to seeing Chekhov done by first-rate Russian companies. There’s no doubt that English subtitles would have made the production more accessible, and enjoyable, to those audience members who don’t understand Russian. Still, it was a rare opportunity for New Yorkers to experience Chekhov with an authentic Russian flavor.
INTERNATIONAL CONCERTS is proud to announce the US DEBUT of the MAXIM GORKY DRAMA STATE THEATER, a vibrant company from the beautiful State Theatre of Vladivostok, a theater and ensemble that enjoys Russia’s rank of distinction, with the majority of its principal artists having been awarded Russia’s greatest honors, for Artistic Excellence and Achievement”. The company is acclaimed for it performances in the great Stanislavsky tradition of “living” theater.
Thirty – five members of this dedicated dramatic ensemble, will appear in two captivating dramas, the world – classic, IVANOV, by Russia’s great playwright, ANTON CHEKHOV, and the US Premiere of the uplifting, warm-hearted drama, TOVARICH by JACQUES DEVAL, a play that was formerly adapted to the Broadway Stage as a Tony-Award Winning Musical, starring Vivian Leigh, and has also enjoyed lasting fame as a movie of the 1930’s, starring the romantic team of Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer. Both productions are conceived and staged by the acclaimed Director, Efim Zvenyatsky.
(Click Here) to see cast biographies.
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INTERNATIONAL CONCERTS was greatly honored by the proclamation by Marty Markowitz, President of the Borough of Brooklyn, declaring November 4, 2011 as INTERNATIONAL CONCERTS – NINA ANANIASHVILI CONCERT CELEBRATION DAY in Brooklyn, USA. Excerpt from the Proclamation below:
Now, therefore, I, Marty Markowitz, President of the Borough of Brooklyn
Do hereby proclaim Friday, November 4, 2011
INTERNATIONAL CONCERTS NINA ANANIASHVILI CONCERT CELEBRATION DAY
In Brooklyn, USA”
President of the Borough of Brooklyn
New York Times Review
Washington Post Review
Washington Post Lifestyle Story
Dance Magazine Review
Dance View Times Review
Musical America – Rachel Strauss Review
Financial Times Review
Haglund’s Heel Review
International Women’s Day 100th Anniversary
EVENT: “KORIFEI!” – Great Singers of Russian Opera
MAKVALA KASRASHVILI, Soprano
OLGA SAVOVA, Mezzo-Soprano
OLEG KULKO, Tenor
ANNA AGLATOVA – Soprano
ELCHIN AZIZOV, Baritone
VALERY GERASIMOV, Musical Director
Some of the world’s most spectacular singers appear together at Lincoln Center Avery Fisher Hall on
March 6 in a Gala Concert honoring the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, a major holiday that began in Russia one hundred years ago. The artists’ origins represent several countries celebrating this day, including: Rene Pape – Germany; Makvala Kasrashvili – Georgia; Oleg Kulko – The Ukraine; Olga Savova – Russia, Elchin Azizov – Azerbaijan. The program will consist of outstanding arias and romances by Tchaikovski, Rimsky – Korsakov, Balakirev, Verdi, Puccini.
All singers are principal soloists at the world’s most prestigious theatres, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Bolshoi Theatre, the Mariinsky Theatre and others. Rene Pape has been called one of the most important singers internationally by numerous critics, including The New York Times, Opera News, The Financial Times. Makvala Kasrashvili has received the highest accolades and the Gold Medal of the Russian Government, Olga Savova has been given the title of “People’s Artist of Russia”
It would be difficult to find a more compelling line-up of such distinguished artists in one concert. This will be a very unique evening that should not be missed.
ANOTHER RESOUNDING SUCCESS!
SUKHISHVILI NATIONAL BALLET OF GEORGIA!
NOVEMBER 7, 2010
AVERY FISHER HALL, LINCOLN CENTER – 2,500 TICKETS SOLD!
CHEERS AND STANDING OVATIONS!
12 CURTAIN CALLS!!
“The Georgian National Ballet Sukhishvili-Ramishvili was presented by International Concerts on November 7 at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center . Well before the show, the entrance of Avery Fisher Hall was crowded with people asking for any available tickets. During the performance, the crowded hall frequently burst into wild applause with shouts of “bravo” and standing ovations.. At the conclusion there was a deafening ovation – The audience would not let the artists leave the stage and begged them to continue the show. …
The ensemble was honed to perfection with perfectly synchronized movements of the dancers in massive numbers. They demonstrated amazing technique and athleticism. Their extraordinary individual ability was exhibited in “competitive” solos, where each dancer was featured individually, gathering the harvest of applause. Their costumes accurately reflect national traditions with every regional group of Georgia represented.
“The ensemble reflects the emotional daring spirit of the Georgian nation, its invincible vitality and a touching romanticism. I was particularly impressed by the elegant and always surprising choreography, which combines the ancient canons of traditional dance, and innovative aesthetics that goes back to Diaghilev, Fokine and Balanchine.” Diana C. Stomsvik, President of International Concerts, organizer of the tour, told Voice of America”
Oleg Sulkin – Voice of America