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Subject: "Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Susy

19-03-01, 10:15 AM (GMT)
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"Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle"
 
   Not many chances to see classic ballet in Italy and due to lack of fancy from ADs it may happen that the same title is chosen by different theatres. The season 2000/2001 will be recorded as belonging to "Giselle". The Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova opened the list presenting Kirov's production at the end of December 2000, while La Scala in Milan will close it with Guillem's version at the end of next June. Between the two, the Teatro Filarmonico in Verona hosted four performances of the Arena Ballet in its AD's new production. I managed to see the third one on the 13th of March by chance as it was sold out.
Maria Grazia Garofoli isn't a choreographer and the novelties she introduced were only in the plot.
The courtain raises before the ouverture begins. Albrecht is in his castle, he's formally dressed and swings his black cape. I had some difficulties in understanding the meaning of the scene and the few words in the booklet were of little help. Anyway the repeated bars that open the score suggested to Garofoli that even Albrecht's destiny is haunted and his spirit doesn't rest in peace. Before disappearing in the wings he brings us back at the beginning of the story and the scenery quickly changes to the usual country corner with Giselle's cottage on the left. The costumes are really elegant: cream for the corps de ballet, green for Hilarion, white shirt with blue waistcoat for Albrecht and pink for Giselle. Albrecht doesn't carry a sword but a pistol.
Even more impressive is the arrival of Bathilde and her train: borrowing the image from Sleeping beauty, the nobles wear very rich dresses and dance instead of simply marching in front of Giselle's cottage. When they leave, the peasants dance again but Albrecht doesn't come back on stage until at the very end, when Hilarion unmasks his identity.
At the beginning of Giselle's death scene everybody leaves but Albrecht, Bathilde, Hilarion and Giselle's mother. Giselle aims with Albrecht's pistol first at Albrecht, then at Hilarion and at last at Bathilde. In front of Giselle's dead body it's Hilarion turn in aiming at Albrecht, but Bathilde stands between the two, offering herself to Hilarion's rage and shielding Albrecht. Albrecht seeks her forgiveness but she rejects him and leaves. Albrecht collects Giselle's body and takes her away with him.
The second act begins in Albrecht's castle. He's seen mourning against the arched doorway of a crypt where Giselle is buried. A fog conceals the arrival of Myrtha and the wilis. Albrecht comes back with the usual black cape but without lilies. At the moment of Hilarion's death he appears again and saves his rival. When morning arrives Giselle and Albrecht leaves together, sharing the same destiny.
This long description of the changes in the plot is necessary to understand the mood of the production: Albrecht isn't evil and it is clearly stated, partly spoiling the character of the final repentance. The expectations from my part being very low, I was not disappointed: the unusual production isn't bad at all and the classic choreography is faithfully kept.
Pankova is a fantastic Giselle, her only weakness residing in pirouettes, but luckily this role has only a couple of them in the first act solo. She has been outstanding especially at the end of the first act and along the second one. Her features suit well Bolle's and their dancing together was perfect. Bolle's Albrecht improved sensibly since his performances in Guillem's production in Helsinki. Combining strength and precision he goes effortlessly through pas de deux and solos, his trademark being the 26 entrechats six without using the arms. The roles of Myrtha and Hilarion were danced superbly by Daria Pavlenko and Evgueni Kourtsev.
The female members of the Arena Ballet were able to cope with the hard task of rendering both the cheerful dances of the peasants and the ghostly ones of the wilis. Unluckily the male members were not at the same level and I was quite relieved at the end of act one: for the first time in my life I had been obliged to see a double tour en l'air taken from the 6th position instead of the 5th!
The orchestra was conducted by Robert Lyall and played with sustained tempi.
It seems that the production will be taken on tour to Lisbon by the Arena Ballet next month.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle Kevin Ng 19-03-01 1
     RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle alison 19-03-01 3
  RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle Sonja 19-03-01 2
     RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle eugene merrett 19-03-01 4
         RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle Sonja 19-03-01 5
             RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle Kevin Ng 19-03-01 6
                 RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle Sonja 20-03-01 7
                     RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle Kevin Ng 20-03-01 8
                         RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle Tony Newcombe 25-03-01 9
                             RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle Sonja 26-03-01 10
                             RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle Tony Newcombe 26-03-01 11
                             RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle Sonja 27-03-01 12

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Kevin Ng

19-03-01, 10:29 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle"
In response to message #0
 
   Interesting review, Susy. I envy you seeing the young Kirov soloist Daria Pavlenko as Myrtha. I did see Pankova's Giselle about 10 years ago when she guested with the English National Ballet. Pity that she doesn't dance much in London any more.


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alison

19-03-01, 01:22 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle"
In response to message #1
 
   Yes, I saw Pankova then, as well. I remember being very impressed by her Giselle, particularly since until then I'd got the impression that she was typecast in soubrette-ish type roles.


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Sonja

19-03-01, 10:59 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle"
In response to message #0
 
   Susy, thanks for your interesting review! Glad you liked Pankova's Giselle - I have seen her many times in Munich, and I especiall love her in second act where she barely seems to touch the ground. She's light as a feather and almost supernatural in those ghostly scenes, in my opinion...


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eugene merrett

19-03-01, 03:33 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle"
In response to message #2
 
   I would love to see Pankova live - I only know of her on video in La Corsaire and in a Russian Ballet highlight video. As well as being very pretty and sweet she is so light and airy - argueably the lightest dancer around. I would love to see her in Giselle!!

BTW she must be getting on a bit - how old is she and is she slowing down!!


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Sonja

19-03-01, 03:45 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle"
In response to message #4
 
   I don't want to tell lies - but she must be in her mid-thirties now, and I have only seen her recently in "acting" roles, such as Manon (wonderful performances with Robert Tewsley!), Lady of the Camellias or as Manon in the same Neumeier ballet or as Nikiya.
However, when she danced Kitri with Carlos Acosta last summer, she was incredibly strong compared to how I had seen her before. She's not a dancer who wraps her feet around her neck but focusses on artistry.
BTW, her son must be at least 7 years now, as I think he's going to school...


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Kevin Ng

19-03-01, 04:03 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle"
In response to message #5
 
   I agree with Sonja that Pankova must be in her mid or late 30s. Her son Andrei was actually born in London where Pankova and her husband Kiril Melnikov was based before they moved to Munich in the early 1990s.


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Sonja

20-03-01, 10:46 AM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle"
In response to message #6
 
   Hi Kevin,
I didn't know that Andrej was born there... Only today I heard that Kirill Melnikov must be 34 or 35, and that his wife is 2 years older... BUT watch her Juliet, and you would not believe that! (Again on 12 April, with Robert Tewsley)


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Kevin Ng

20-03-01, 12:18 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle"
In response to message #7
 
   Sonja, I hope to see Pankova's Juliet in future. I visited Andrej, her baby, at her London home shortly after he was born in 1992. I was very friendly with her and Melnikov at that time when they were living in London. But I haven't seen them since their move to Munich. (I missed Pankova's subsequent guest performances with the English National Ballet.)


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Tony Newcombe

25-03-01, 05:58 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle"
In response to message #8
 
   I had seen her first during the memorable Kirov tour of 88 and then when the Kirov next visited. I think this was 1990. I had booked to see Asylmuratova and Zaklinsky in Giselle. At curtain up a Coliseum member of staff announced that Asylmuratova was injured and would be replaced by Yelena Pankova. There were a few muted groans in the audience, but to me this was a bonus. ( I had already seen Asylmuratova and Zaklinsky dance the roles as guests of the Royal Ballet). Her Giselle of course was sheer perfection. A feeling amongst many of the admirers of her Giselle was that she required a partner to keep her on the ground, not to lift her into the air.
Then I had the privilege of meeting Yelena in the summer of 91. The conversation was interesting. Me with with only two words of Russian and Yelena with a few more of English. I told her how much I had enjoyed her Black Swan Pas de Deux at the gala for Markova on the occasion of her 80th birthday. Her answer was a revelation. "It was my first time" she said.
As we continued to talk it became apparent that even a great dancer like herself had been pigeon holed by the Kirov. She would dance the occasional Giselle and Kitri, but most of her roles were of the solo variety. (The sort of Merle Park roles.. Get on, get off and go home).
By the end of our conversation, I was completely captivated and determined to see her dance whenever possible.
During the next few months she guested with London City Ballet, ENB and smaller visiting Russian companies. I saw her dance in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and Romeo & Juliet. Although she was at the time best well known for her Giselle, I found her Odette/Odile fascinating. The version I saw included a prologue where you see the enchantment of Odette by Von Rothbart. It was at the old Sadler's Wells and I was sitting in one the seats in the Dress Circle at the end of the front row. Yelena was moving diagonally across the stage towards me when Von Rothbart cast his spell. The effect was amazing. She seemed to be pulled backwards as if on a piece of elastic. What was even more disconcerting was that I seemed to be pulled in the same direction! It was her Odile in this performance that really got to me. I think it is the most difficult part of the ballet to get right. I don't mean from a technical point of view. To a dancer of her quality that is no problem. The problem is that she must be believable to Siegfried. Everything she did suggested that she was Odette apart from one thing. Each time she faced the audience, her face was pure evil!
Her Aurora was interesting in that when she made her first entrance it did not take her long to decide which Prince she liked. When have we ever seen an Aurora do the Rose Adagio with one eye fixed firmly on one Prince all the time! As for her Juliet, I seem to remember the critics being a bit sniffy. To me it was different. A russian Juliet. Fatalistic.
Finally one performance a couple of days after I had met her. This was her debut with ENB. She danced the ballerina role in Etudes. Here was a classroom exercise being turned into something more by Yelena, Edur and Carreno. The two men were trying to dance each other off the stage and Yelena was sharing the joke with those of us sitting in the first few rows of the stalls. What a shame that she never found a home in this country. Still our loss was eventually Germany's gain. As for the discussion about her age, Lesley Collier still had years ahead of her at a similar age. Shame on you all. ( I am being lighthearted about this).


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Sonja

26-03-01, 07:03 AM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle"
In response to message #9
 
   Tony, thanks so much for your detailed memories! When reading them, I had pictures in my head of Yelena in all those ballets you mentioned... She's one of those "true Russian ballerinas" and I feel very lucky we have had the chance to watch her that often here in Munich!


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Tony Newcombe

26-03-01, 05:46 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle"
In response to message #10
 
   Sonja, I am glad that you enjoyed my thoughts on Yelena. The one role I always wanted to see her dance was Manon. You were very lucky to have had that privilege. In the early nineties while she was in England I always had this fantasy of her and Bruce Sansom dancing together in Manon. Sadly it never happened.


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Sonja

27-03-01, 08:13 AM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Giselle in Verona with Pankova and Bolle"
In response to message #11
 
   Tony, if you ever have a chance to come to Munich when "Manon" is on with Yelena and Robert Tewsley - grab it! I am afraid this probably won't happen this season any more, but maybe next season?? (Check www.bayerisches.staatsballett.de for details or email me as that site is only in German...) She's truly lovely Manon!


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