Posted 09 March 2003 - 08:49 PM
Since reading about "La Sonnambula" in "Henning Kronstam, Portrait of a Danish Dancer" I wish to see the ballet again.
I bet Ballet Alert members have some favorite casts.
Posted 09 March 2003 - 10:50 PM
Similarly, the footage of Allegra Kent teaching the role to Darci Kistler (and some guy I can't remember) on "the Balanchine ballerinas" made me very hungry to see it.... The way the ballerina should be able to sense somehow that he's there, though she can't see him -- "It's like echolocation" -- opened up such poetic horizons....
Posted 10 March 2003 - 12:03 AM
Posted 10 March 2003 - 07:50 AM
One thing I learned from the dancers who saw Kronstam is how much could be made of the scene where the Poet and the Coquette sit on the bench. Everyone mentioned that, and it wasn't overt acting, or scene stealing at all, just a drama played with the eyes and small gestures, but it was obvious that they were having a conversation, not just sitting there like two stones.
I saw Kent, at the end of her career. and admired her very much but don't have a clear enough memory now to write about it. I also saw Kirkland do this, twice, with ABT during her Second Troubled Phase. The first time was the way you'd imagine she'd do it, and the second one was monstrously, wonderfully wild. Over the top, but so crazy that it worked. She danced as though she were playing a game, moving as fast as possible in the hopes of plunging into the orchestra pit before the hapless Poet (Victor Barbee, who did not move an inch until it was "his" music) could catch her. It was quite exciting; she was, perhaps, the first Mrs. Rochester, locked up for a cause. But she was also made of air, not a body, but feet and head, with nothing between them save the nightgown.
There is a photo of Anna Laerkesen in the Kronstam book that makes me want to have seen her, too. The light has caught her nightgown, so that her body looks like a candle.
I saw Ib Andersen and Darci Kistler as well, and I liked him very much. I had the sense that he wasn't ideal for the role, and, at the same time, was the best Poet I'd seen. One gesture I remember particularly. At his entrance, when the Baron extends his hand, Andersen looked at him as though he had no idea what the gesture meant, and made a small bow. It set the whole ballet -- the Poet as someone so otherworldly that he did not undestand society's conventions, making him bait for both the Coquette AND the Sleepwalker.
Posted 10 March 2003 - 09:02 AM
Posted 10 March 2003 - 09:07 AM
Posted 11 March 2003 - 05:21 AM
Posted 11 March 2003 - 06:50 AM
There is a great tradition of ballet heroes who approach romance without thinking with their heads, although whether the deciding organs are their hearts is a matter for unending, and usually amusing, debate.
Posted 11 March 2003 - 08:56 AM
I wish Helgi would get Sonnambula for SFB...... We have the dancers for it, and it would give them something WORTHY to do..... That kind of ballet goes straight to the heart of he matter, and dancers realize them selves before our eyes in presenting such creatures...
Mashinka, would you please say more about your memory of Fonteyn and Gilpin -- obviously it was a while ago, GIlpin, for heaven's sake! But what is your impression of them? I'd LOVE to know.....
Posted 11 March 2003 - 09:23 AM
That's about it I'm afraid. I'd love to see it again, also Bouree Fantasque once in Festival/ENB rep too but now sadly a misty memory as well. Who says Balanchine wasn't a diverse talent?
Posted 13 March 2003 - 06:13 AM
"it was obvious that they were having a conversation, not just sitting there like two stones"
In the original production (Night Shadow) Maria Tallchief (the coquette) and Nicholas Magallanes (the poet) were quite animated as they sat on the bench---I know, because for many performances while group dancing was going on center stage, my eyes were riveted to the two principles sitting in the background. Especially Tallchief, playing with that fan! But the ideal sleepwalker was still a few years away--I always felt the ballet was waiting for Allegra Kent.
Posted 13 March 2003 - 06:50 AM
Posted 14 March 2003 - 11:39 AM
Donald Albery was managing the company at that time, and his father, Bronson Albery, either owned or managed the theatre at that time hence the company was able to appear there when there was a gap between plays.
The third generation of the Albery family, Ian, was manager of Sadler's Wells theatre immediately prior to and during its rebuilding. He it was who has finally established the Wells as such an important dance house in London. (Sorry. I've wandered way off topic)
Posted 15 March 2003 - 11:56 AM
Posted 08 January 2011 - 04:22 PM
Mary J, there was a televised La Sonnambula (ABT, with Ferri and Baryshnikov). That's the only video I know about -- and, IMO, it's not ideal. (Baryshnikov was one of those who "thought it was like play.") It's not commercially available, as far as I know, but it might be available through your local public television station or library.
I came across the vid today and watching it, I really really enjoyed it. I haven't managed to see any of the others mentioned in this thread, though.
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