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Subject: "Royal Ballet Russian Tour" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #3731
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Michael LL

24-06-03, 01:52 AM (GMT)
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"Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
 
   Any news of the progress of the Royal Ballet in Moscow?


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour MAB 24-06-03 1
     RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour GW 24-06-03 2
         RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour MAB 24-06-03 3
     RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour alison 24-06-03 4
         RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour MAB 24-06-03 5
             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Kevin Ngmoderator 24-06-03 6
             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Steven 24-06-03 7
                 RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Sim 24-06-03 8
                 RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Baletoman 24-06-03 9
                     RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Michael LL 25-06-03 10
                     RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Anjuli_Bai 25-06-03 11
                         RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Baletoman 25-06-03 12
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Anjuli_Bai 25-06-03 13
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour GW 25-06-03 14
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Sim 25-06-03 15
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Bruceadmin 25-06-03 16
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour SLH 26-06-03 17
                     RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour alison 27-06-03 18
                         RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour MAB 27-06-03 19
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour James 27-06-03 20
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour AnnWilliams 27-06-03 21
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour vivian2 28-06-03 22
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Bruceadmin 28-06-03 23
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Sim 28-06-03 24
                             New Thread to Discuss RB perceptions Bruceadmin 28-06-03 25
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Baletoman 28-06-03 26
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Baletoman 28-06-03 27
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Bruceadmin 28-06-03 29
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Anjuli_Bai 28-06-03 30
                             RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour alison 03-07-03 33
  RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Baletoman 29-06-03 31
     RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour AEHandley 30-06-03 32
         RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Brendan McCarthymoderator 05-11-03 34
  RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour Renee Renouf Hall 07-11-03 35

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MAB

24-06-03, 10:57 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #0
 
   The Russian equivalent to Ballet.co is called http://forum.balet.ru and the post I have read about the RB is not exactly complimentary.

Here is a translation from Babelfish which I have tidied up a bit:-

The ten day tours of the London theater Of "Covent-Garden" began from the grief. The public hardly filled the hall two thirds, saw two sad one-act ballets.Solemn gala- concert they began from the pretentiously- scholastic composition "Tryst" young choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. They finished by the mourning elegy of Kenneth Macmillan's "Gloria" (choreographic requiem on those been killed in the Second World War British classicist placed on Francis Poulenc's music). In the middle of evening they gave short divertissement - the unique digest of the present repertoire Of "Covent-Garden".The discovery/opening tours passed sedate, decent, a little pathos-arousing, a little dullish. Public was revived only once - when tenacious, pryguchiy the mulatto Carlos Acosta tryukachil in the pas-de-deux from the "corsair" (that not speak, and for the absolute majority ballet, first of all, - the life-asserting holiday).

Began main intrigue - Englishmen produced for our public "their samovar" - ballet "swan lake".The descriptions of all miracles and whims of Anthony Dowell's version would be sufficient by several feuilletons.Although, judging by everything, the author of play did not intend to cheer people - was placed not comedy, but philosophical fabric/bed about the tragic fate of Russia.The light, solar prince of Kobborg agitates, he survives and is nervous as adolescent, and in earnest it makes fall in love in girl- swan, which it does not stand.Extremely not obayatel'naya Japanese Miyako yoshida, as if dancing typewriter/machine, confidently stitched on main party/batch.Its Odette almost in no way differed from Odile.Both the white and black swans of thickset ballerina resembled successful party worker, but not magic fairies and witches.However, "swan lake" Englishmen will show in Moscow still several times.Possibly, another Odette will prove to be more precise and it is more poetical.


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GW

24-06-03, 11:42 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #1
 
  
Miyako Yoshida is a 'thickset ballerina' !!!???!!!

The paragraph about the 'Englishmen producing for our public their samovar ballet swan lake' sounds a little equivalent in jingoistic terms to our British reaction to Makarova's 'SB'!

I was intrigued about the reference to the two-thirds full auditorium. I went to Moscow last July and arrived on a Saturday afternoon. My hotel (Moscva) was quite literally over the road from the Bolshoi and I casually enquired about the likelihood of any tickets being available - whereupon I discovered that, that evening's performance was the very last night (Swan Lake) before the Bolshoi went on tour and they wouldn't be returning until after the Summer. At least ten of my group managed to get tickets without any difficulty and the theatre was far from full!

Thanks eversomuch for this illuminating insight into the Russian reaction to the RB.

Graham


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MAB

24-06-03, 12:02 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #2
 
   Having checked this site a little further I realize now that those comments are taken from the review in Izvestia by the culture correspondent Elena Goubaidoulova.

I'll see if I can find something a little kinder.


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alison

24-06-03, 01:23 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #1
 
   Just wondering where on earth Babelfish came up with the word "mulatto" from (poor Carlos!). Surprised it's not been relegated to the bin with all the other non-PC "race" words.

Do we have anyone who can read Russian who could tidy this up a bit? Just goes to show what happens when you leave the translating to a computer .


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MAB

24-06-03, 01:33 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #4
 
   >Just wondering where on earth Babelfish
>came up with the word
>"mulatto" from (poor Carlos!).
>Surprised it's not been relegated
>to the bin with all
>the other non-PC "race" words.

Mulatto and negro are perfectly acceptable terms in Russian. The word black (chorny) is non p.c. there. I suppose you could describe such contradictions as cultural differences.



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Kevin Ngmoderator

24-06-03, 01:40 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #5
 
   I understand that Alina Cojocaru isn't dancing on this Moscow tour. Hope that she'll recover in time to dance in the RB's next tour to St. Petersburg in mid-July.


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Steven

24-06-03, 05:20 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #5
 
   Yet it's still possible to talk of black and white swans...

Seriously, though, surely the right approach (whatever vocabulary is available to you) would be to refer to him simply as Carlos Acosta, not as the "black" Carlos Acosta or the "mulatto" Carlos Acosta or whatever - and only to refer to his race when it becomes an issue.


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Sim

24-06-03, 09:17 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #7
 
   Poor Carlos....being referred to first in one of Britain's leading newspapers (The Times) as 'some Cuban dancer no-one has ever heard of' then in Russia as 'the mulatto dancer'....he must be wondering what on earth he has to do. As far as I'm concerned, I hope he ignores these ridiculous comments and just lets his dancing speak for him. I am sure he will; part of being an artist is having to deal with criticism and, on occasion, ridicule.


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Baletoman

24-06-03, 09:30 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #7
 
   Please, don't take it amiss. There is nothing in this word. In Russian we say "mulat" and it is neutral. We do not attach anything bad or good to it (unlike some other words meaning some other nationalities or races, due to our historical background). Please, do not inflate it with your own understanding and cultural background.

The translation is not perfect indeed. But the idea is correct. Thank you, MAB.

According to what I have read (I have read about 5-7 reviews on the same website)the tour goes on well.

The stalls were empty because the prices are very high, even for Bolshoi. Such expensive tickets may be bought only by rich people. But many of them may have not been attracted by the first performance because it was not one single ballet,there was modern stuff in the programme, and, besides, that day there was the opening of Moscow International Film Festival that is a huge event and attracts all Moscow beau monde.

I read good revews about Gloria, but the ovation was to Carlos Acosta in Corsaire.

The Swan Lake: yes, the whole production is not very warmly accepted. But the reaction is natural. I myself did not see RB SL but the idea of the whole story transferred to Russia of 19th century horrifies me. I am pretty sure that many others' first imression is the same. Another thing that is critisised is that the whole original idea of ballet is lost, it is not poetic and more, it is very down to earth. According to reviews, some of things that are not perceived well are drunk prince and his friends, "strange" girls similar to prostitutes, bad lines of swans, as well as, swans' tatoos that spoil choreography, and the fact that costumes and some details of decoration do not correspond real Russia of 19th century.

At the same time the quality of dance is well admired. And some think that if not to compare with Russian swan lake it is very interesting and well danced.

As a whole, people consider RB as on of the best in the world, of course worse than Bolshoi , but what to expect from people on the forum of Bolshoi, though this forum is one of the most interesting and professional that I have ever read (It is my opinion). And the whole tour seems to go well.

MAB, did I understand revews right?
I will reread the reviews and will try to write to you some abstracts from them, if you are interested.


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Michael LL

25-06-03, 01:08 AM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #9
 
   Many thanks so far - very interesting!


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Anjuli_Bai

25-06-03, 01:21 AM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #9
 
   LAST EDITED ON 25-06-03 AT 01:29 AM (GMT)

Baletoman: could you please explain what you mean by the following:


>bad lines of swans, as
>well as, swans' tatoos that
>spoil choreography, and the fact
>that costumes and some details
>of decoration do not correspond
>real Russia of 19th century.

When you say "bad lines of swans" do you mean that the lines of the corps de ballet were not together/synchronized/straight or the dancers' lines/symetry such as in arabesque, etc., were not technically correct?

When you say "swans' tatoos (I assume you meant to type "tutus") spoil choreography," could you please explain how? I always look to see if the costuming compliments or distorts (or is neutral) to the choreography. How do you feel the swans' tutus spoiled the choreography? The shape of the tutus? The way they moved (or didn't)? The length?

Thank you for your very interesting report/review.


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Baletoman

25-06-03, 02:38 AM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #11
 
   LAST EDITED ON 25-06-03 AT 02:41 AM (GMT)

Anjuli_Bai, this is my reply:

Here are some translations of mine of some abstracts from postings that you can read on http://forum.balet.ru/viewtopic.php?t=42&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15
This is the Bolshoi ballet forum where the participants are discussing the first performance of RB. I hope they will forgive me for translating and posting abstracts from their reviews to our forum. I tried to reflect their impressions in English. Sorry for mistakes.Please, keep in mind that these are opnions of people who can not answer your questions or arguments beacause they are not participants here, as well as keep in mind the fact that these are abstracts,that they are taken out of the context, though I tried to avoid any distortions.

20 June. Opening Gala
«Tryst» - Yanoswsky, Cope

“The music and the ballet itself seemed boring.” “There are new movements: snake-like curves of body, bents at incredible angles”. “Here I liked Yanovsky.” “There were the same combinations for legs”. “I could not see inventiveness in ensembles. In a word, it a modern ballet with minimal choreoagraphy”. “I liked corps de ballet – good girls, they dance syncronically” (Mikhail Alexandrovich)

2 part: “Divertissment” 3 pas de deux
La Sylphide – Natasha Oghtred+ Kobborg

The girl is “worse than a statistically average sylphide living in forests of our immense Motherland”. Kobborg here was “less impressive, though he did some parts (ronds, for example) with his inherent brilliance and according to the style of the Danish school.” (Mikhail Alexandrovich)

Farewell from Winter Dreams - Rojo, Mukhamedov

Rojo is “emotional with good technique”. The partner “does not need presentations. He looks much older and heavier.” Very heavy landings were noted by the author. “Here the first applauds sounded.” (Mikhail Alexandrovich)


Le Corsaire - Nunez, Acosta

The male part of Pas de deux from Corsaire was “dazzling”. The girl was not as good. She finished with triple fuette, hardly fell down. There was “nothing shown in her
variation”….“There was nothing interesting in all the rest. The modern ballets are very peculiar. The spectators accepted the performance very bad” (Anna)

“For the first time the public woke up and really applauded, there was even an ovation”. …“He managed everything he wanted”…. “The effect was striking.” … “The girl danced accurately and precisely, but not very emotionally. She beautifully did her fuette, though hardly fell in the end. She has jump… but not very impressing. I will wait till Acosta dance with Masha Alexandrova – both are very temperamental, both jump and spin well. It must be such a performance!” (Mikhail Alexandrovich)

«Gloria» - Acosta, Tapper, Urlezaga

“The ballet is very expressive and emotional, the choreography being quite monotonous…except for pas de trois that is very of MacMillan style”. “The girl was not bad. Acostea was very good.” (Mikhail Alexandrovich)
--
“The brightest impressions are from Acosta and Rojo and wonderful feet of the female part of the casting.” (Olia)


21 June: Swan Lake - Yoshida + Kobborg

“All waited for something glorious. No miracle happened… Yes, they have very good <“well-mannered” or “well brought up” –if to translate literally> feet . Women have no accent on jumps”. “Siegfried was quite weak and could not inflame the spectators in spite of the fact what he did in Black pas de deux.” “He has very good spinning”. Odette/Odile danced “with soul”. She danced the white act “very decently”. “Beautiful costumes, special effects, decorations could not make the right effect on the public.” (Anna)

“I liked what I saw very much, but not from the beginning. There had been the stereotype of what to wait from SL. The costumes are luxurious and unaccustomed…Sometimes we had an impression that we watch not SL but something different but nevertheless something very beautiful, carouselle and the dance with ribbons and absence of jester – instead – there were 2 wonderful our girls from the academy… Yoshida is wonderful. Very good balance. ... and...her battu in adagio of the 2nd act…. She managed to create the image…... Kobborg was less noteable, but his role is not big. He danced pas de deux in 3d act clearly and light. There was a beautiful performance in pas de tois of the 1st act, Rojo and Galeazzi , Putrov showed a high jump, the spinning was blurred, but forgive him, he is young and promises to be…As far as the public is concerned the baletomans were sitting on the 3d, 4th floor, it was no possible to hear them.. there were lots of foreigners and the public that is far from ballet in the stalls, benoire and bel etage, thus, the zal was “heavy”. There were few applauds and it’s a pity because the dancers deserved them .” (Olia)

“The impressions are more negative than positive. The least I want is to criticise it: the English took a laudable risk bringing their version of the main national ballet of our country…The negative result may, in my opinion, be explained by the following faults:
1. Unconvincing sceneography and light of the 1st and 3d pictures. The huge space of Bolshoi stage looks very narrow and burdened with senseless, but taking a lot of space decorations. Coupled with light contrasts and rich colour palette.. “depresses” the choreography, and, in my opinion, kills it….
2. Messy fourth picture. It is impossible to understand what is happening without reading the contents….
3. Paradoxical costumes…Rothbart evoked smile on the faces of my neighbours…The prince Siegfried in his military uniform was not more adequate. To end, there were fluffy skirts of swans instead of traditional tutus: reducing significantly the square of the observable space, they did not promote good perception of , for example, the white adagio of the 2nd picture….
4. Naturalism. Here it is possible to refer to drinking of alcohols by heroes and “natural” behaviour of the main heroes of the 1st act, and a lot of butaforia…Naturalism (“attention to details” as it was called by critics) = banality, and banality in ballet is equal to predicted failure. There were, of course, some minor…interesting moments (such as appearance of the reflection of Odette in the mirror in.. black adagio), but …findings are drowned in…shortcomings… and, the main, the first of them is a priority of external effects … over the choreography itself…The performers … just more or less retold clearly the choreography … The production has too mush initial defects….To envy the English (as some proposed ) is hardly possible , it is possible to feel for them: the potential senses situate in the music of Tchaikovsky and choreography of Ivanov-Petipa are not familiar to them.” (ABC)

22June - SL: Rojo - Acosta

“The decorations are beautiful. The production is decent…In the 2nd act Prince and his drunk friends came across the hen-house near the palace – the female corps had little in common with swans. Hands and corpus worked differently from Russian ones, I did not like their variant. I didn’t feel anything romantic or tragic in these dancers either – just nice clumsy hens. I read in one English paper that the Russians dance ballets as poems, but the English – as dramas. It seemed to me that they danced swan as neither…Rojo has a broad body with not long hands and legs… In the second act she didn’t show any of a balerina’s features, except for good technique – there was neither artistry, or melodiousness or plasticity. Acosta… had manly appearance and charm but did not show anything sensational. In the 3d act everything went on in a brothel – at least, jaunty girls with fans playing brides looked as if they had been brothel inhabitants from “Manon”. But Acosta was just brilliant!!! …. In black pas de deux..he did radiated the …joy of the dance! Bravo!!! The public reacted with loud applauds. There were some more energy appeared in Rojo’s Odile, but she demonstrated not feminity and insidiousness but infantilism and bitchiness, so, she was not convincing. The main thing she impressed with was brilliant technique…. The last variation was accompanied by applauds. She showed impressing emotionality in it. In the 4th act … was a very emotional hen.
The solo dancer in the first swan variation fell. … There was no interaction between Rojo and Acosta… just one star and one acrobat…It was interesting to see but if to compare the result is not in favour of the guests. Why did not they bring “Manon”?” (Inga)

“Tamara Rojo is a graceful cat..emotional. What feetwork! The black PDD is wonderful!..She did not pretend anything special – everything was in movements created by the choreographer…She demonstrated the balance – in the end of adagio she stood on the toe very long, at ours only Nina may do the same…And in the coda of pdd – triple fuette!...The only mishap that this girl has is that she does not understand what a Russian swan is. May be it is not necessary – let it be English! … Acosta is super, but is worse than our princes in constructing images. But he dances brilliantly, clearly and virtuoso…In pas de trios there were Galeazzi, Nunes and .. Martin. All were impressed by their clearly performed pas….The version of Dowell in the main, swan, episodes is very similar to the original…Absolutely beautiful ancient pantomimes…stools in the first act,.. though the act itself, its construction does not correspond to the orginal…And final, that very wanted tragic final! Very beautifully done….Some details of black pdd are interesting…The character dances of the 2nd act are eclectic. The Spanish is taken from Gorsky, Chardash – Mariinsky, mazurka – nothing, tarantella – their own. Naturally, no pointes. The 1st act caused strong opposition - almost the whole, except for pas de trios. The peasants' walts is a nightmare, why are the peasants with their girls mixed with officers with their ladies… You would be likely sent away from the Empire army for this those days …, I think. The choreography as a whole is of little interest. Final polonez is danced as gopak and it is awkward to see this. The costumes, mise en scenes and dances of the 1st act are monstrous, in my view. Uniforms, cocked hats, dresses of streltsy, some bei in an eastern gown, Father Frost or a coachman in a white gown , mujik in leather apron a la shoemaker or street cleaner, bringing something to drink on a tray. On a chair there is a vomiting officer. Auful! The best in this act were our girls from the school playing the scene instead of jester…After palace act I applauded intensely and by the second act I accepted everything and by the final I shared the excitement of all…As a whole, they look more professional. They may do some elements not correctly, not according to the rules – because they were taught like this..But they do them without simplifying…The company is not in the best condition, there are no leading female dancers. But it is possible to see the high culture of dance. May be, because of high professional discipline…On the curtain calls the spectators reminded me of America – roar, ..bravos, whistle, big success.” (Mikhail Alexandrovich)

22June mattinee: SL – Tapper+ Urlezaga

“As a whole, I liked the production… From three casts that I saw the strongest impression in relation to the created image is from Tapper and Urlezaga, in relation to technique – Acosta, Rojo. Kobborg and Yoshida were good technically,..but the interpretation was different from each other's…The costumes seemed to me funny, especially, costumes of guards (?) who reminded more of streltsy or cossaks with arbalests (?) called in the programmes as bows (?) How could they be found in the epoc of cadets, generals, etc, at all? To finish the picture with drunk cadets, young ladies and their nannies, drunk tutor, jaunty dances and carouselles out of ribbons only bears and gipsies lacked…All dances are for Siegfried …in our production all dances are for spectators… It is not totally clear why pas de chat and emboite are overwhelming in dances of swans. It creates the impression not of gliding, rather of jumping swans, which corresponds less to the music of Tchaikovsky…I found the decoration of the stage interesting … gloomy red tones…the mirror in the middle reflects duality of what is happening…..” (Nadezhda) The author of the posting also was confused by the inconsistency between of actions onstage and the programme, and that from what was happening onstage was not possible to understand the sense of the 4th act.


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Anjuli_Bai

25-06-03, 05:01 AM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #12
 
   Baletoman: Thank you ever so much for such a wonderful reply. So many interesting statements in the comments of all the people posting in that thread. (I wish I could read it in Russian!)

I liked this:

"there were fluffy skirts of swans instead of traditional tutus: reducing significantly the square of the observable space"

That is such a wonderful way to say how the costume defines the space, both negative and positive space. A fantastic example of that is in the corps de ballet coming down the ramp in La Bayadere - in each of those arabesques alongé the space is defined by the costume. Wonderful.

I also liked this comment:

"All dances are for Siegfried …in our production all dances are for spectators…"

That is extremely perceptive. But should the dances be for the spectators? Or is the audience an invisible observer?

and this:

"It is not totally clear why pas de chat and emboite are overwhelming in dances of swans. It creates the impression not of gliding, rather of jumping swans, which corresponds less to the music of Tchaikovsky."

Now that I think about it....that's true isn't it?

Baletoman: thanks again for all the trouble you took. I really do appreciate it.


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GW

25-06-03, 02:30 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #13
 
  
Dear Balletoman (and MAB)

This is absolutely BRILLIANT information.

Thank you ever so much for taking the time and trouble to pass this information onto us.

It is really very much appreciated and has given me the most enjoyable 15 minutes of an otherwise dreary work-consumed day!!!!

As an ardent follower of the RB (as so many of us are on ballet.co) it is really interesting to read the perspective of our Russian equivalents and I have to say that I recognise many of the points made and one or two have made me think twice in terms of contextualising my own views.

It is a great shame that Alina is not able to dance in Moscow - I hope she is resting somewhere nice and being suitable pampered!

Graham


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Sim

25-06-03, 02:35 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #14
 
   Yes, how fascinating to read the thoughts and opinions of our 'Russian equivalents'. I wish there were more opportunities to do so. Thank you SO much, Baletoman, for taking all the time and trouble to precis and translate everything...this is indeed a rare treat for those of us on ballet.co.

Sim


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Bruceadmin

25-06-03, 03:35 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #12
 
   A terrific read. Lovely to get such different perspectives. Thank you!


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SLH

26-06-03, 02:15 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #16
 
   Who will replace Alina Cojocaru in Mayerling?


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alison

27-06-03, 01:30 PM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #9
 
   >Please, don't take it amiss. There
>is nothing in this word.
>In Russian we say
>"mulat" and it is neutral.

Fair enough - I was just surprised to see it coming up in the English translation, as it seems to me such a dated word. I don't think I've ever come across it except in literature predating the 20th century (I have a feeling that it may have been used to refer to Mr Rochester's first wife in "Jane Eyre"). But then, that's what happens when you use a computer program which basically simply replaces one word with another with no regard for semantics. I think any human translator worth her salt would probably either have left the word out completely (not out of PC reasons, but just, as someone else mentioned, because we would think it odd to mention it - not part of our cultural background, as you say), or perhaps just have referred to him, possibly somewhere else in the text, as being black.

Anyway, enough of that, and back to the matter in hand. Thanks very much for reporting on the tour, Baletoman.

>The Swan Lake: yes, the whole
>production is not very warmly
>accepted. But the reaction is
>natural. I myself did not
>see RB SL but the
>idea of the whole story
>transferred to Russia of 19th
>century horrifies me.

Yes, I totally agree with you. It's what, a Middle Ages-based story? Bringing it into the late 19th century takes it into a too-rational age - how are you supposed to believe in enchanted princesses, evil magicians and the like in such an era? That's always been my main objection to the production.

I am
>pretty sure that many others'
>first imression is the same.
>Another thing that is critisised
>is that the whole original
>idea of ballet is lost,
>it is not poetic and
>more, it is very down
>to earth. According to reviews,
>some of things that are
>not perceived well are drunk
>prince and his friends,

Yep, absolutely (although I don't think the prince himself is drunk).

>well as, swans' tatoos that
>spoil choreography,

The tutus are allegedly authentic, but yes, we get those complaints over here as well .


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MAB

27-06-03, 01:58 PM (GMT)
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19. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #18
 
   > I think any human
>translator worth her salt would
>probably either have left the
>word out completely (not out
>of PC reasons, but just,
>as someone else mentioned, because
>we would think it odd
>to mention it - not
>part of our cultural background,
>as you say), or perhaps
>just have referred to him,
>possibly somewhere else in the
>text, as being black.

Clearly Alison doesn't consider me "worth my salt". Thank you for this undeserved insult! All this because I responded to a posters request for information!

My Russian is very limited which is why I used babelfish to get a translation, but kindly remember I WAS NOT personally responsible for the contents of the original review.


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James

27-06-03, 02:58 PM (GMT)
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20. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #19
 
   If I may leap to Alison's defence, I don't think her comments were intended as any criticism of you, MAB. It is quite clear that you have provided a "literal" translation, and I, for one, would regard this as perfectly acceptable in the context in which you have posted.

With reference to the comment made by one of the Russian posters about the chorepgraphy for the swans being un-swanlike, I suppose it may be worth making the point that, when we see the swan maidens, in both Acts 2 and 4, they are humans, not swans. Contrary to the commetator's view, I think that Tchaikovsky's music for the Act 2 "danses des cygnes" is full of the bobbing and bouncing that is so well reflected in Ivanov's choreography.


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AnnWilliams

27-06-03, 07:53 PM (GMT)
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21. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #20
 
   MAB:

Have to say I agree absolutely with James' point about Alison's comment. Knowing her, I am sure the last thing she would want to do would be to insult anybody, and I certainly hope on-one else read it in this way.

As you had made your point fairly clearly that you were merely conveying babelfish's automatic translation with some 'tidying-up' of your own, I think Alison was simply saying that a hands-on human translator would have had the choice and time to find other words to describe Carlos.

Babelfish is a hoot anyway. It describes POB's Manuel Legris as 'Handbook' Legris and Nicholas Le Riche as 'the rich one', but what most irritates me about it is that when you are happily translating for yourself and resort to it only when you don't understand a specific word, it doesn't seem to know the word either and merely repeats it in English. Pah!


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vivian2

28-06-03, 08:52 AM (GMT)
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22. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #21
 
  

Many thanks to all for such interesting comments.Slight discrepancies and odd translations aside the comments are enlightening and very lucid.

I spoke to a old friend who is living in Moscow and her view is that she had been waiting for the RB tour with much excitement and was sadly disappointed with what see has seen so far and was wondering why certain members had been cast in certain roles.

She said she felt embarrassed and had remembered greater times from RB in the past.


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Bruceadmin

28-06-03, 09:38 AM (GMT)
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23. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #22
 
   >
>
> Many thanks to all for
>such interesting comments.Slight discrepancies and
>odd translations aside the comments
>are enlightening and very lucid.
>
>
> I spoke to a old
>friend who is living in
>Moscow and her view is
>that she had been waiting
>for the RB tour with
>much excitement and was sadly
>disappointed with what see has
>seen so far and
>was wondering why certain members
>had been cast in certain
>roles.
>
>She said she felt embarrassed
>and had remembered greater times
>from RB in the past.
>

It would be really great if your friend could elaborate - external views like this are really valuable and useful I think.


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Sim

28-06-03, 11:09 AM (GMT)
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24. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #23
 
   I must say I am very surprised with all the negative criticism coming from Russia on the RB. We have seen these ballets during the past year and with a few exceptions both newspaper critics and posters here have had very good things to say about the ballets being performed in Moscow. From what I've read above, I am wondering whether I've been seeing the same ballets and the same dancers these past months! Is this perhaps a stylistic difference? Are the standards in Russia that much higher than here? I am not criticising, I just find it very interesting the difference in perceptions. I can't think of any current production or any dancers in the RB who would cause me to 'feel embarrassed'.


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Bruceadmin

28-06-03, 11:48 AM (GMT)
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25. "New Thread to Discuss RB perceptions"
In response to message #24
 
   >I must say I am very
>surprised with all the negative
>criticism coming from Russia on
>the RB. We have
>seen these ballets during the
>past year and with a
>few exceptions both newspaper critics
>and posters here have had
>very good things to say
>about the ballets being performed
>in Moscow. From what
>I've read above, I am
>wondering whether I've been seeing
>the same ballets and the
>same dancers these past months!
>Is this perhaps a stylistic
>difference? Are the standards
>in Russia that much higher
>than here? I am
>not criticising, I just find
>it very interesting the difference
>in perceptions. I can't
>think of any current production
>or any dancers in the
>RB who would cause me
>to 'feel embarrassed'.

I think this would be facinating to debate as a separate issue and have created a new thread:
http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/happening/3739.html



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Baletoman

28-06-03, 01:20 PM (GMT)
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26. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #24
 
   Sim,

The postings that I have translated are from the Bolshoi forum. Fisrt of all, it is the forum of Bolshoi.
Secondly, the people there seem to me special, to some extent. They are Bolshoi style lovers. They definetely know and understand a lot in ballet, but what I like the most is that they are not indifferent to ballet and to how it is developing in Russia and abroad: they spend their time to write big reviews, to participate in arguments, to substantiate their opinions. There are plenty of interesting thoughts there. They may be wrong, but dicussions are very interesting. Many people, as far as I understood, read that forum, but do not participate in it because the atmosphere seems to be quite professional and at the same time they may say very unpleasant things to each other and as a whole. One funny example: in one of recent postings at the Mariinsky forum one person asks a question, something like: "Why do they critisise Mariinsky so severely at the Bolshoi forum?" Does it ring the bell?
When I posted the translations I asked you to keep in mind that these are some abstracts and that the authors can't argue with you.
Some new postings there are in favour of guests. So, the opinions are different. One common thing: the performances are interesting and the quality of dance is very very high. Coming back to SL, all people agree that the 1st act is not very good, all the reasons were briefly described above.

In my opinion, in Russia the standards may be not higher (or may be, it difficult for me to judge), but according to my perception, our (RB - Russian) ballets are different, just different. But each style is very interesting.


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Baletoman

28-06-03, 01:26 PM (GMT)
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27. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #24
 
   And one counter -question: Why did many English reviewers critisise Mariinsky performances in Manchester. But what astonished me the most is the reception of Gala here. I meet this discrepancy (if I can use this word here) very often: when something has very good reviews in Russia, it has some critique here, and vice verse. The only conclusion I may make is that the standards must be different indeed. Or the styles? The schools? The national mentality? I don't know...


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Bruceadmin

28-06-03, 01:28 PM (GMT)
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29. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #27
 
  
Sometimes I wonder why I bother.


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Anjuli_Bai

28-06-03, 03:31 PM (GMT)
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30. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #29
 
   Bruce - LOL!

I am going over right now to take a look at the thread you started ------->


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alison

03-07-03, 06:03 PM (GMT)
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33. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #19
 
   MAB, I'm sorry - I've only just seen this posting. I was talking about *professional* translators, not people trying to help out on this site by providing an idea of what's being said!


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Baletoman

29-06-03, 02:37 AM (GMT)
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31. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #0
 
   LAST EDITED ON 29-06-03 AT 02:53 AM (GMT)

Here are several abstracts from one of the articles in the Russian press:

“There was no such “Swan Lake”, but it should have been created”by Olga Gerdt (Gaseta, 23 June 2003, as posted on http://pr.bolshoi.net/pressa/covent_lo.htm)

“It seemed that what could not astonish us was the “Swan Lake”. Just the name of the symbol of routine and national security has already bored for long. The “Swan Lake” brought ..by the Royal Ballet ..is not only an amusing, but also charmingly old-fashioned sight, having reminded of times when ballet had nothing in common with ideology, though with “high” art either.

When the curtain opens....you suffocate with a habitual yawn: on the stage blazing like flame in a fireplace with gates of tracery in the background reminding us of the entrance to the Letny Sad and Alexander Gardens at the same time, there are thousands of people. Wenches in bright gypsy rags, mujiks in poddiovkas and lacquered boots; some tetkas … in fir jackets and bearded men with trays. The Prince with the name Siegfried, the name already inappropriate on this background, appears in a uniform and an overcoat of the epoch of Nikolai I with friends – cadets and joins the revelry. There are playful festive torches hung out above the stage and the entrance to the Letny Sad is guarded by streltsy of the epoch of Peter the Great in bright red kaftans with arbalests.... A young man flitted into the crowd to perform pas de trios and young ladies in “Chopin” tutus seem as if they were dancers escaped from Mariinka….. Only Rasputin, vodka “Absolut” and Matilda Kshessinskaya dancing “a Russian” lack.”

“If not for the quality of the ... strongly performed pas de trois ...(Mara Galeazzi, Marianela Nunes, Ivan Putrov), such jaunty beginning could have frightened easily. ... Bright colours and wenches in kokoshnik put us on our guard as a true sign of kitch that is presented to be a replace for modernization. To honor the English, in their production decorated a la painted Russian palaces ... as well as Faberge eggs…the style a la Russe is a tribute to eclecticism of Imperial Russian ballet. In Petipa’s productions… ladies clothed in accordance with the last Paris fashion could be together with wenches in kokoshnik.”

“As a whole, it is not important. In reality all these Russian accents are the same signs of all barbarian, infernal and chimerical as in the third act – Hungarian and Polish dances…..All these exaggerated gests, … stark grimaces, exaggerated temperament, even those distortions to which the texts themselves were exposed by the English are perceived by something absolutely magical and demoniacal, in the manner of sinister pigmies running after Rothbart and making magical gests with their hands. There is more Goffmann romantic spirit in the English production a la Russe than in all our philosophical productions with their… contrasts of white and black and with themes polished to the state of the motto “The good defeats the evil””

“…The result is convincing; may be, it was not like this, but it could have been. It is clear that the dance with stools in the first act (an idea borrowed from Petipa) – is an absolute new creation: a mixture of trepak with classics in an especially kabak style. The similar invention is an othordox priest in the scene of the ball scattering evil spirits… But both are in the spirit of those naïve and simple.. methods by way of which ..Petipa applied not only to Tsarskaya Lozha but also to beggarly gallery.”

“The famous swan scenes of Lev Ivanov are absolutely impossible to recognise and they are very much different from ours. They confuse in the beginning, as well as long .. skirts instead of swan tutus. But when the swans come out and so naturally… form a banal wedge with their hands quivering, you understand that if it was not like this it should have been invented. Because it is not impossible to create something simpler and more beautiful. This breathing, anxious corps de ballet sensually accompanying the duet of Odette/Siegfried look absolutely authentic, as well as a detailed pantomime..."

“In the end Siegfried and Odette finally (as Piotr Il’ich dreamt so much and what all Soviet stage managers refused to do, nobody wanted to die, and the good defeated the evil ) commit double suicide. I may be wrong but according to my memory this is the only light, sentimental and right final of the “Swan Lske” ”


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AEHandley

30-06-03, 10:05 PM (GMT)
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32. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #31
 
   Have any reviews come out yet of the other works they're performing? I'd love to know how Mayerling went down in Russia!


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

05-11-03, 09:26 PM (GMT)
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34. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #32
 
   LAST EDITED ON 05-11-03 AT 09:28 PM (GMT)
 
Ballet Magazine, a Russian language publication, reviews the Royal Ballet's Moscow season in its autumn edition and offers an English language precis online.

"Having analyzed in detail all the visitor’s performances, the writer comes to these conclusions: that Covent Garden is not at its best right now trying to collect artists from all over the world and engaging the world stars. …That a crisis of the national school has led to a leveling of once famous English style. …That the company, nevertheless, has a judicious repertoire policy offering both classical and specifically English repertoires. Beside Swan Lake, the British has shown productions of major choreographers Frederic Ashton and Kenneth Macmillan, which form a basis of the Royal Ballet’s repertoire.

Even thought the tour proved somewhat disappointing, having demonstrated a universal crisis of the genre at the break of the millennium, they, nevertheless, have been interesting and offered quite a few useful lessons.”
Ballet Magazine (scroll down)


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Renee Renouf Hall

07-11-03, 05:04 AM (GMT)
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35. "RE: Royal Ballet Russian Tour"
In response to message #0
 
   I started reading this only in November while the Bayaderes are still
dancing their pukkha sahib scenario at Covent Garden. I found the overall
exchange a magnificent reflection of cultural norms with the Russians obviously knowing lots of technical details,their pugnacious imagery
bounding fostered by the Russian grammatical construction.

I am in the midst of reading the biography of Crown Princess Victoria, mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany,and first child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The parallels and struggles in cultural perspective, between the Crown Princess and her English-oriented view of Russia, along with the English of the time, don't seem to have changed all that much.

I want to add two small tidbits about labels like mulatto. In the Thirties Paul Robeson, the magnificent American singer, found a warm
response in Russia when the U.S. still had strong segregation laws in the South. He sent either his son or daughter to Russia for study because of the welcome the Russians gave him.

Until I read a book called Pushkin's Buttons, I was totally unaware that Alexander Pushkin, Russia's revered poet, was a quarter African. His grandfather was Abyssinian and given to Peter the Great by one of the Sultans of Turkey. Pushkin's grandfather distinguished himself in Peter's service. Peter rewarded him with an estate of some 6000 acres outside Petersburg and I think 300 serfs.

If English readers are unfamiliar with this background as I certainly was, it might help explain the freedom with which Russians label an
individual with an African background. In their minds, it's simply an
identification, not a pejorative. There are other individuals and groups where this would not apply.


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