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Subject: "Original Productions" Archived thread - Read only
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #111
Reading Topic #111
Bruce Madmin

05-07-99, 06:24 AM (GMT)
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"Original Productions"
   LAST EDITED ON 05-Jul-99 AT 06:25 AM (GMT)

There seems to have been a lot of extra interest in the Kirov Sleeping B because it has sought to recreate the original production.

It occurs to me that Derek Deane might have 'sold' his Swan Lake along the same lines - as a ballet produced in the original 19th Century tradition. While it may not have done better with the public, who flock to see it anyway, it may have given the critics something to chew on.

I think there is good mileage in all this - the 19th Century approach appears to have been very popularist and so we could all have a great time with such productions, secure in the knowledge that it's politically and artistically correct as well...

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Original Productions amy besa 05-07-99 1
     RE: Original Productions Anneliese 06-07-99 2
     RE: Original Productions Jeannie Szoradi 06-07-99 3
  RE: Original Productions Ari 06-07-99 4

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amy besa

05-07-99, 11:52 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Original Productions"
In response to message #0
Have delayed sending you the package on press clippings on Viviana Durante so I can include some materials on the Kirov's Sleeping Beauty. I am glad that it has generated a lot of interest because of its historical significance. I have also rediscovered an old review written by Arlene Croce about the RB's 1970 version of SB in NYC and she compares it to the original. If people are interested it is in a book called, Afterimages, published by Knopf in 1977. (Arlene Croce founded Ballet Review in 1965 and started writing for the New Yorker in 1973.) I will send you a copy of this review along with the SB programme that the Kirov has been selling during their run here. The programme contains the original libretto, the photos from the production, costume sketches and some choreographic notations by Petipa.

Now that I have had a few days to think over the Kirov's current production of SB, I am beginning to appreciate it more. The lasting image that stays with me is the Lilac Fairy in the Second Act. And as Arlene Croce writes, Beauty's unity lies with the Lilac Fairy, a key figure in the ballet. Petipa cast his own daughter, Maria Petipa, as the Lilac Fairy in the original production. Croce goes further to say that it is not really about good vs evil (between the 2 sister fairies, the Lilac Fairy and Carabosse), but about redemption -- which is why Carabosse is invited to the wedding in Act III.

The Kirov's Lilac Fairies were absolutely wonderful -- danced by Veronica Part and Daria Pavlenko (who, by the way, danced the roles of Moyna and Sulma in the Giselle productions that I saw). They were always serenely in control, never angry or forceful. As I watched them wave their wands or facing Carabosse telling her that Aurora was not going to die, I felt safe from every evil in the world.

One more thing, the next time the Kirov goes there, watch out for this blond, baby-faced bombshell called Andrian Fadeyev. He is listed as a member of the corps, but he dances all the male leads for the full-length ballets. He has won a lot of hearts here in NYC.

Will finally be mailing the package to you soon.

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06-07-99, 10:55 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Original Productions"
In response to message #1
   We saw Andrian Fadeyev as Basilio last year in St. Petersburg. Legs like Zelensky, technically a very accomplished dancer. Watch him go!

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Jeannie Szoradi

06-07-99, 07:38 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Original Productions"
In response to message #1
   Ann/Annelise - I read with interest your observations on Andrian Fadeev, who made such an impression at the MET as Albrecht and Prince Desire. You mention that Fadeev is still in the corps? He is definitely a Soloist & not a corps member. He has an elder brother, Vitali (I believe that's his name), who is in the corps.

I cannot believe the errors that were made in the printed programme, with respect to placement of dancers on the roster...principals listed as soloists, soloists as corps.

(More--much more--of my own impressions of Fadeev & other Kirov soloists to come, once Bruce wades through my reviews of BEAUTY and GISELLE.)

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06-07-99, 11:36 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Original Productions"
In response to message #0
   Bruce, I'm skeptical about the value of productions that claim to recreate the original ballet. Most of them are too old to be exactly replicated, and even if they were, they are being danced by late 20th-century dancers to late 20th-century audiences. The dancers' bodies are very different and so are our notions of a good time. The fact that everyone has been complaining about the length of the Kirov's SB (it clocked in at 3 hours 40 minutes when I saw it) is one indication that we expect something different from the original audience when we go to the ballet. Russian aristocrats didn't have to get up the next morning and go to work!

The costumes for the Kirov's SB have been praised by many, but my personal reaction is that they were hideous and obviously old-fashioned. They looked like clothes of the 1890s, and they made the women look frumpy and unattractive. Moreover they were historically inaccurate--SB is supposed to take place in the 17th and 18th centuries but the courtiers' costumes in the first half ran the gamut of styles from Medieval to Renaissance to late 19th century. In the wedding scene they looked 17th century.

I remember, a long time ago, the London Festival Ballet (as the English National was then called) brought to NY an "historical" version of Giselle, supposedly scrupulously recreated. I looked forward to it, but now, twenty years later, I can't remember a thing about it.

I've also seen similar efforts made with early 20th century ballets by the Joffrey, and had the same reaction--interesting, certainly, but not something I'd want to see again. All the Bournonville ballets I've seen have been modernized a great deal. In those days women did not dance very much on pointe, but all the Bournonville I've seen has had just as much pointe work as Russian or 20th century ballets--and I'm glad, because I think I'd find ballets danced on demi-pointe very odd looking. The dancers would probably not know how to dance it, either.

Sorry for the rant! But I'd rather see good ballet than historically accurate ones!

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