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Sergeyev's Notes


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#16 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 10:12 AM

Hans

According to the Catalogue of Works, Balanchine did the Vision Scene variation for McBride in 1977 for a production of the Sleeping Beauty staged by Andre Eglevsky for his own Eglevsky Ballet. Her prince was Peter Schaufuss. It wasn't unheard of for Balanchine to assist one of his ballerinas at their request when they were working outside the company - my guess is that's what happened here. (Balanchine did something similar for Patricia Neary in Beriozoff's production of the Swan Lake in Geneva in the late '60s)

#17 doug

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 10:28 AM

Hans, the intrada music I am referring to is the intrada of the pas de deux, rather than the intrada of the jewels pas de quatre. The jewels intrada remained in place; thje question here is whether the pas de deux intrada was danced by Gold and Sapphire, possibly after the pas de deux adagio.

Yes, Desire's Act III variation is notated with Sergei Legat's name written at the head of the notation. The variation is very difficult; I like it. There are many connecting steps between the larger combinations. It's fairly non-stop and I've never seen it performed, but taught it to a dancer just once.

#18 Hans

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 10:56 AM

Okay Doug, that makes more sense :dry:. For the sake of clarity, perhaps we could all differentiate between the jewels "intrada" and the "entrée" before the grand adagio?

The Sergeyev production seems to contain a vestige of the fairies in the entrée, but it is placed before the adagio and includes all four fairies of the precious stones and metals as well as two pages and several cavaliers--I forget the exact number; I think there are 6.

Leigh, thank you for that info. I would really like to see that variation, though I doubt anyone's going to perform it.

#19 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 01:40 PM

How wonderful to have all this expertise and knowledge at one's disposal. Alexandra, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Hans, I understood Doug to say that Gold and Sapphire danced the entrada to the grand pas de deux, in addition to, and by implication long after, their entrada to the gems and metals pas de quatre. But I might be confused. It's becoming clear, though, that Petipa's pas de deux weren't as monolithic and formulaic as they became in C20 practice. There were loose ends and transients. I know, for example, that the pas de deux in DQ was a pas de quatre in the Moscow version, and the Kirov still has coryphees dancing the extended entrada that Ouboukov's Western version trims to a get-on-stage flourish. Did the conversion of the Blue Bird/Florine pas de quatre get boiled down to a pas de deux before the premiere, or was the first movement still cluttered up with Cinderella and Fortune?

PS Notably absent from the Kirov DQ pas de deux (pas de quatre manque) is the hopping solo--a la Grahn in THE Pas de quatre--in G major. And does anybody know where Ouboukov got the E flat variation music--the one with the diagonal of pas de cheval? Was it filched from another Minkus score? It's a handwritten MS supplement--labelled only as "Kitri's Variation: The Fan"--in the Dance Books reprint. The trouble is, according to Kirov, Kitri's variation is properly the G major waltz, the one during which she does those fascinating turned-forward assembles.

PPS I was fascinated to learn from Mel that the poissons only made a splash in the Diaghilev revival. Obviously things were souped up quite a bit then, for that's when Nijinska installed the twist into Violente's port de bras. Preobrajenska's comment: Bizarre! Tres bizarre!--or, as Jody Foster says in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Weird, very weird! And Dame Ninette was convinced that there were fouettes of the 32ish kind (quelle scandale!) in the vision scene.

#20 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 01:49 PM

How strange! While I was writing my post, Leigh gave us information about the McBride variation (how I should LOVE to see that), and Doug was answering Hans. Please forgive me, I wasn't being redundant!

#21 Mel Johnson

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 02:13 PM

That's how we can tell we have lively discussions around here; the posts keep topping one another! :dry:

Now, as far as I know, Cecchetti did his wheeling and dealing with Petipa before the premiere of Beauty. The pas de quatre was changed to the pas de deux we know now and the Cinderella and Prince Fortuné pas de deux was a comic aside with the prince ever approaching Cindy with the shoe and she always blowing his hat off with her bellows.

I can certainly say that having the pas de deux in Act III become a mini-grand pas is a good idea, at least from the man's point of view. It certainly beats having to dance the variation right after some very demanding partnering. Even a forty-five second variation and time for a bow is enough to rally oneself.

Nijinska is usually credited/blamed for the interpolation of the fishdives, and she's also responsible for the Florestan pas de trois and Innocent Ivan and his Brothers (obviously on furlough from "Hump-Backed Horse"). The pas de trois provides yet another alternative use for the Jewels and Precious Stones music.

And I'll be switched if I can positively identify where "The Fan" came from. I've seen the Kirov use both, and I didn't mind one way or the other. :thumbsup:

#22 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 03:13 PM

Mel, does that mean that the pas de trois one sees in Aurora's Wedding, the last segment of An Evening with the Royal Ballet is by Nijinska? I had always thought Ashton was responsible, though clearly the (silve)r polka and (diamond) galop are largely recensions of the Petipa originals. And now I MUST tear myself away from this enchanting Aladdin's cave of a website. Goodness knows what my ISP and phone bills are going to be at the end of the month!!!

#23 Mel Johnson

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 03:16 PM

That's right. That pas de trois is Nijinska's. And if you'll notice, she leaned heavily on the pas de trois in Act I Swan for it. The variations are Petipa but the intrada and coda are all hers.

#24 Hans

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Posted 20 July 2003 - 02:33 PM

I saw a very old film of Kitri's variation (with the harp) a little while ago (it did not culminate in pas de cheval en pointe as one version does). I think this is the original variation, but the Kirov often substitutes the waltz variation because it is more substantive. I have a lot of different variations from Don Q on tape, but not one with hops...?

#25 rg

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Posted 20 July 2003 - 06:13 PM

interesting mel, this attribution to nijinska of the 'florestan pas de trois'
david vaughan's 'FA and his ballets' says the following, under a 1946 entry for THE SLEEPING BEAUTY - produced by Nicholas Sergeyev after the choreography of Marius Petipa, with additions by Frederick Ashton and Ninette de Valois:
Act III FLORESTAN AND HIS TWO SISTERS: Moira Shearer, Gerd Larsen, Michael Somes (first woman's variation by Marius Petipa, from 'Jewels pas de quatre'; from 20 january 1950 the programme credit for this pas de trois read: by Frederick Ashton after Petipa)
Does the credit for this trio as Nijinska's work come down through some Nijinska literature? I'd love to read more about this credit, etc.

#26 rg

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Posted 20 July 2003 - 06:31 PM

re: mcbride's vision scene solo by balanchine, i wonder how many performances it had. i saw one and think there may have been no more than a weekend's worth, or perhaps a short week's worth, at best - say Thurs thru Sun.
as i recall - and i might have actually filed a report about it at the time tho' i'm not sure if i wrote about the perf. per se, or if it was mentioned in an interview i did w/ mcbride and bonnefous (now bonnefoux) around that time.
in any case i recall mcbride wore, a high-waisted shift - maybe lavender in color. if i find i filed a coherent sentence or two on the particulars of the solo i'll let interested parties know.

-i just found what i filed at the time,it wasn't in a review of perfs. which i didn't get to publish, but it was in an interview i did for SohoWeeklyNews, which ran on 12 may 1977. the graf in question goes as follows, fyi:

"I changed the subject [which Bonnefous was talking about w/ ref. to 'classicism vs. neo-classicism'] and asked McBride about her solo in the Vision Scene in THE SLEEPING BEAUTY, which she danced recently with the Eglevsky Ballet. I had been told the choreography is actually Balanchine's. [I'd completely forgotten until digging up my yellowed clipping book from the 1970s that Balanchine was not specficiallycredited for his choreography in this instance.] 'He did it in a few minutes,' [McBride] somewhat shyly admitted. The performance tape was too fast for her to approximate the variation Fonteyn used to do, so she asked Balanchine to help her out. The dance had struck me as an arresting solo when I saw it. It's all pique moves, balances and turns that don't hold position: they barely reach full shape before re-aiming in another direction. Phrased by McBride to live music,I can imagine it drawn out with exquisitely painful tension."
SOHO WEEKLY NEWS: "He's Imported; She's Homegrown" [interview w/ McBride and Bonnefous]

#27 Mel Johnson

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Posted 20 July 2003 - 06:41 PM

Hm! Curiouser and curiouser. Had to run down into my basement for the Souvenir Program and show programs from the 60s, which is when I learned something about the production history of Beauty. The '63 programs seem to credit Nijinska for Florestan and His Sisters and Innocent Ivan and His Brothers.
By '69, they credit Ashton! By '69, the Ivans were demoted to "crowd" though.
And by Jove, Florestan and the Sisters are gone!!! :unsure:

Do you have your copy of Beaumont handy? Can't seem to put hands on mine, but the 1954 Balanchine's Stories... seems to credit (p. 353) Ashton for the Vision Scene variation in the 1952 revival of the '46 production. I'm writing as I read, here, so I may be somewhat disjointed. It also mentions a solo for the Prince done by de Valois, but if this is supposed to be in the Vision Scene, I don't recall the Prince dancing at all in that scene by '63. I always have harbored some doubts about those jetés elancés at the outset of the coda of the Florestan for the male dancer. Didn't look like the stuff male dancers did in the '20s.

#28 grace

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 06:14 AM

...this enchanting Aladdin's cave of a website.

indeed, rodney. we all feel that way. how great that you've found it. :unsure:

#29 Jane Simpson

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 07:00 AM

Peter Williams' report on the revised RB Sleeping Beauty in
January 1952 describes 'a lovely new variation' for Aurora in the Vision Scene, 'reconstructed by Ashton to some music we have not heard before, and said to be correct'.

He also says 'It was a good idea to put in a variation for the Prince in the last act, and although it has been well reconstructed by de Valois, full justice has not yet been done to it...' - so that's presumably the one you were reading about, Mel.

#30 R S Edgecombe

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Posted 23 July 2003 - 06:04 AM

To loop back to Hans's post for the moment, the galop variation for Kitri (with the pas de cheval) didn't figure in the Moscow version of the ballet, which Minkus published in piano score. The waltz does, however. When I refer to the hopping variation, I mean the third of the three in the pas de quatre that turned eventually into the pas de deux. Th components are entrada (marche in C, valse in Ab), adagio in Eb, G major waltz, C major waltz--curremt male variation--G major marche with a hopping configuration in the melody (and, without doubt, sautes sur les pointes in the choreography), coda (C major galop).

The Beauty Act III pas de trois, by the time it reaches the RB Aurora's Wedding, must be an almost indivorcible amalgam by the three participants. Nijinska chose clearly to dispense with the jewel motif, and rechoreographed the gold waltz without the endless racourcis, and Ashton retouched the whole here and there. Who was Florestan, by the way? I don't recall him in this Perrault story. Does he figure in another?

Finally, could all who saw McBride's variation try to rack their brains and see if they could come up with a collective verbal paraphrase of what she did. I find I can remember very striking choreography after one viewing--though bits of it rather than a coherent whole.


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