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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

Wednesday, Sept. 17


AmChams Investment and Legal Committee Meeting convenes this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center at 9 a.m.


Learn more about the science of teaching English at todays EFL Seminar hosted by the British Book Center. Revolving around the topic of learning styles, the workshop will help attendees better understand the different effective learning methods that can be implemented to learn English more effectively.



Thursday, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburgs answer to the United States popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genres authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBAs newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is Handmade in Germany, an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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