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Quick silver

Published: October 7, 2005 (Issue # 1111)



  • Mariinsky Ballet star Andrei Merkuriyev relaxing between engagements at a hotel in Nagoya. The dancer is a frequent visitor to Japan.
    Photo: Kevin Ng / For The St. Petersburg Times

NAGOYA, Japan Mariinsky dancers are very popular with Japanese audiences. So perhaps Nagoya, Japans fourth largest city, is not such an unlikely venue as it may seem to meet one of the finest male dancers of the Mariinsky Ballet first soloist Andrei Merkuriyev, who was guesting in late September with the Michiko Matsumoto Ballet, a 50-strong ballet company with a 47-year-old history in the city.

Nagoya hosted this years World Expo, whose theme is Love The Earth, which attracted over 22 million visitors in six months.

The Michiko Matsumoto Ballet performed in the Aichi Arts Center on the penultimate day of the Expo. And the company fittingly chose a programme in keeping with the Expos spirit of global cooperation. It picked a well-known Russian ballet The Fountain of Bakhchisarai created for the Mariinsky Ballet (then called Kirov Ballet) in 1934 by Rostislav Zakharov, and cast some of the leading roles for St. Petersburg dancers.

Merkuriyev was cast in the second male leading role of Vaslav, the fiance of the beautiful Polish maiden Maria, who is killed by the Khan Ghirei at the end of Act 1 when trying to protect Maria from the invading Tartars. He made his debut in this role at the Mariinsky Theater as recently as July. It seems a long way to fly just to dance in Act 1 of this four-act ballet.

But Merkuriyev wasnt the only St. Petersburg guest for these two performances. There were two other dancers from the Mussorgsky Theatre Misha Venshikov who played Marias father, and Vladimir Tsal who was in the ensemble. Another dancer was Ilya Zabotin from the Peterhof Ballet.

The St. Petersburg connection didnt end here. Maria was danced by the companys ballerina, Sayumi Yato, who is a former dancer of the Mussorgsky Ballet who returned to Japan last year. Yato and Merkuriyev were colleagues when Merkuriyev was a member of the Mussorgsky Ballet before joining the Mariinsky Theater in 2001.

Was this Merkuriyevs first guesting with this company? I asked him when we met on his free day after his performance on the previous night. Merkuriyev was in a happy and relaxed mood.

I first guested with them in 1998, and I danced Swan Lake with Sayumi. I am a frequent visitor to Japan. I was on the Mariinsky tour in 2003, and next year the Mariinsky will return to tour Japan. Merkuriyev was also in Japan with the Mussorgsky Ballet prior to joining the Mariinsky Theater.

Merkuriyev flew to Nagoya in mid-September immediately after his month-long holiday.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in todays SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of todays Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Dont miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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