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Raymonda


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#1 silvy

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 05:59 AM

I wanted to post this in the "Raymonda" forum, but it is closed -that is why I am posting it here.

I would like to know why being Raymonda of French royalty (as I read in the forum I mentioned above), does she do all those "czardas - Hungarian" arms in her third act variation (the wedding one- the one with the million pas de bourres).

Is there any hint in the libretto, or something? I am most curious!!

:)


silvy

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 08:49 AM

Yes, we've moved the Raymonda forum to the Archives, but it's fine to have more discussion!

The Hungarian dancers are in honor of Prince Andrew of Hungary (I believe a real person). I think Raymonda is Hungarian and has traveled to France, to the court of her cousin, for the wedding. Prince Andrew was one of the heroes of the Crusades -- I forget whether he was related to Raymonda or not. Someone must know!

Regarding the choreography, "Raymonda" is the one (some would say perfect) example we have of Petipa's way of providing variety in dance. The first act is classical, the second character, and the third combines character arms with classical technique, producing semi-character classical dancing.

#3 silvy

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 10:21 AM

thank you very very much, Alexandra. I think that this is the key to many parts in the ballet (the maids finesse, for instance, and the "prelude et la Romanesque" section, which somehow reminds me of French troubadors).

I remember that once I saw a video in which Alicia Alonso said that a dancer should get as much information as possible about the ballet she/he is about to dance. And I know that this is not always the case - I have talked to dancers in companies who do not have a clue what they are dancing!!! That is why I value information such as the one you have just given.

thanks again

silvy

#4 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 01:07 PM

Like Alexandra said, Andrew (or Andreas) II, King of Hungary, is a historical person, early 13th century, one of the leaders (Alexandra, I wouldn't exactly use the word "heroes" in the context of the Crusades, though :)) of the Vth Crusade. His brother-in-arms Jean de Brienne seems also to have been a real person.

The story of Raymonda is located in the Provence, in southern France, which provides a link with the troubadour figures Bernard and Béranger, the two friends of Raymonda. The last Act takes place in the Provence as well, but is an homage to the Hungarian guest, King Andrew (whom in reality was beaten during the Crusades and made a far less glorious return home).

Interesting to know that Petipa initially wanted to locate the 2nd Act in Cordoba or Granada, in the Arabian conquered part of Spain, where he could place all the oriental dances.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 01:23 PM

Marc, I think in the world of the ballet, he was a "hero" -- getting beaten didn't seem to matter much. If we're going to get politically revisionist Raymondas (King Andrew, imperialist butcher of the saracens) it might open more doors and windows than the ballet can sustain.

I think Mel wrote something about King Andrew the last time his name came up-- I hope he'll see this thread. I'm sure he'll know the military history :)

#6 Mel Johnson

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 02:22 PM

Yes, both Andrew II of Hungary and Jean de Brienne, Crusader King of Jerusalem, were historical personages. Most productions make King Andy a large, imposing, elderly warrior, while the real one was short, skinny, and tended to be sickly, and when he went on Crusade, his nobles thought they would never see him again. When he came back, it turned out that the Holy Land had agreed with him, and he was much better than he had been. (His army wasn't, but he was) He made a whole bunch of reforms in Hungarian government, subscribing to the Golden Bull, and also kicked the Germans out of Hungary. He was also the father of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. Jean de Brienne was about thirty years OLDER than King Andy, and mostly hung around Constantinople. Now, I had to look this up, because I could remember that he'd been married twice, but now I see he was married THREE times, (to Mary of Montferrat, Stephanie of Armenia, and Berengaria of Castile) Not a Raymonda in the bunch.

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 02:26 PM

Thanks, Mel! I wonder what ever happened to that glorious ballet, "Berengaria de Castille"? :)

#8 silvy

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 08:04 AM

What ballet is "Berengaria de Castille"?

silvy

#9 Alexandra

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 08:56 AM

None! That was a joke -- read Mel's post about the real wives of Jean de Brienne :mad:

#10 silvy

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 08:02 AM

Raymonda's two female friends (or whatever!)

I was wondering about R's "friends". They appear in two Bolshoi video versions of Raymonda (one starring Semenyaka , the other Bessmertnova). I would like to have more info about them (who they really are in the ballet's libretto - if "maids of honour", if royal princesses, or whatever), as I believe their dances are one of the finest of the ballet (I intend to dance one of them at my next guest appearance, so I would welcome as much information as possible)


thanks in advance!

:)

silvy

#11 Mel Johnson

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 03:33 PM

Given Raymonda's deferential attitude toward her aunt, the Countess de Doris, it looks to me as though Raymonda herself is at most a viscountess, or at least some kind of worthy heiress, to allow her to be eligible for marriage to Jean de Brienne, who, if you'll recall, was a king, not just another handsome knight-errant. So I'd say that princesses royal were out. They might be lesser nobility or gentry with some kind of court function and title, but actually do no work, other than keep their mistress company. "Friends" is about the best term for them.

#12 doug

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 05:20 PM

According to the list of characters in the affiche of the first performance, Clemence and Henriette are "girlfriends of Raymonda." In the libretto, they are referred to as Raymonda's "closest friends." Raymonda herself is the "Countess of Doris," and her aunt, the Countess Sybille, is a "canoness."

#13 Mel Johnson

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 06:32 PM

So the castle is Raymonda's? A canoness would be in orders, and under the big three, poverty, chastity and obedience. That first would mean "no real estate". But as to the Friends, they're still just assorted courtiers.

#14 doug

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Posted 11 August 2003 - 07:55 PM

Maybe Raymonda was in some guardianship sort of arrangement prior to marriage? Just a shot in the dark ... But it does appear from the original scenario that the castle is hers. Nevertheless, she still takes guidance from Aunt Sybille.

#15 Mel Johnson

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 02:54 AM

Heaven forbid that a ballet plot should actually make historical sense, but if this were 13th-century France, then the Salic Law was in full force, which had, as one of its amusing curlicues, the inability of most women to inherit property in their own right. They might be able to inherit titles, but absolutely no land or wealth of their own. There were exceptions, like Eleanor of Aquitaine, who as a Dowager Queen of France had her own prestige and claims on French sovereignty, despite the letter of the law. That's one of the things that helped kick off Henry V's campaign in France which ended in Agincourt. So maybe the castle is under the patronage of Jean de Brienne, or King Andy, or even the King of France, with the ladies just living there, having the enjoyment of the property, and on an annuity. But the Friends are still just the Friends.


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