Jump to content


The Clap (in Raymonda)


  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,242 posts

Posted 26 November 2003 - 06:55 AM

To clap, or not to clap? There are two distinct views on this and they've been expressed in two recent symposiums in New York:

RAYMONDA DOES NOT CLAP, SHE IS A PRINCESS:

(from Dale Brauner's article on DanceView Times this week)

Homage to St. Petersburg


Kolpakova has been coaching the couple and others for the company’s upcoming production of Raymonda, which will get its American debut during the spring Met season.

When the ballet was previewed as Grand pas Classique this fall at City Center in New York, there was a bit of controversy when Raymonda’s “claps” during her solo were not heard. According to the Russian tradition, they are not supposed to.

“In the last act, Raymonda is presented to royalty,” explained Dvorovenko. “Well, you would not expect (Britain’s) Queen Elizabeth to make a loud clap. It is supposed to be just slight brushing with hands, and your wrists are angled.

“At the Paris Opera when Rudolf Nureyev did the production, he did the different kind of presentation for the ballerina. The ballerina, at the end, she became kind of a mean person, as she achieved some thing and this (she claps hard) will show everybody. But traditional Russian style is just a gentle clap and the way Irina shows it is incredible. She turned the upper body. She constantly asks you to elevate your body, to be radiant. She works on your facial expression, they way you look, the way you move. She said you can always tell a high-class ballerina not by the main steps but by the between steps, the way a ballerina acknowledges somebody, or runs across the stage.”


OF COURSE SHE CLAPS, IT'S A DEMI-CARACTERE ROLE

But Frederic Franklin had this to say at another recent New York symposium. From Mindy Aloff's Letter to New York (November 10, 2003) in DanceView Times:

Letter from New York

The Raymonda suite that Anna-Marie Holmes has put together from what is going to be a full-evening ballerina vehicle still looks like a work-in-progress, an impersonal swatch of classical opportunities. Its insinuating, czardas-like solo for the ballerina has her doing air claps rather than real ones, and although I understand the reason for it (Hungarian aristocracy thought that real clapping was vulgar), in the context of A.B.T.’s ballerina issues, the air claps make the Raymondas a little more remote than they could be. At Barnard College in October, Frederic Franklin, in his 90th year, dropped into a variations class taught by Barbara Sandanato as part of his duties as the 2003 Virginia C. Gildersleeve Professor, and for the same Raymonda solo he got up and danced the version that Alexandra Danilova used to do with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. “It’s really demi-caractère,” he explained, and when he clapped, you could hear it and feel it. At A.B.T., Wiles offered a compromise—a real clap with a very soft sound. It was lovely, but, perhaps I’m alone in this, I wish Raymonda’s voice was louder, more like the Danilova that Franklin momentarily brought back to life.



So what do we think happened? I'll put up a poll in a minute so you can vote for which you'd prefer, but I'd love to hear other lore here -- Russian, European, American.

There was an article a long time ago in Dance Research Journal (and I hope I have the right one) by Alastair Macauley, an interview with Ashton, about the claps. I remember the question being raised, but it was so long ago that I can't remember his answer -- if anyone knows about this, please report!

#2 cargill

cargill

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 645 posts

Posted 26 November 2003 - 07:26 AM

One of the Franklin films at Barnard showed him coaching some of Raymonda's friends variations, from the 1946 Balanchine/Danilova verision. He said (in response to my question) that Danilova had set these variations, and Balanchine had not rechoreographed them. Since Danilova would have learned the Maryinsky versions not too many years after Petipa choeographed it, it seems to me that Franklin is a fairly direct link to the original, bypassing the Soviet influence, and if he says Raymonda clapped, that is good enough for me!

#3 Victoria Leigh

Victoria Leigh

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 603 posts

Posted 26 November 2003 - 10:09 AM

I learned it with the clap, and like it that way. I learned the version that Freddie Franklin staged for Grand Pas Glazunov in ABT. Have never seen it with an "air clap" and don't think I would like that very much, being used to seeing and hearing it. :)

#4 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 26 November 2003 - 04:41 PM

This is very odd information, to me, as I saw Kolpakova do the American premiere of the Kirov production of Raymonda, and I could hear that clap in the balcony of the Old Met!

#5 Paul Parish

Paul Parish

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,925 posts

Posted 26 November 2003 - 05:59 PM

I've seen (I think, it's been years) a video clip of Danilova talking about that variation, "is Arab song..." she sighed, and lifted her rbreast bone and showed her profile with more je ne sais quois than I'd ever seen before.....

Or was it Makarova coaching the same variation, to prety much the same effect, trying to get a certain oozy quality in a soutenu -- "gooshshsh" she'd say, and then show it again, as if she were donig fondu on both feet while swiveling around....

I';m inclined to think there was a lot of character flavor in certain variations -- like Aurora's last act solo, with its Russia-dance phrase. Kchessinska was famous for her Russian dance. Petipa was himself famous for his Lezghinka, which he was still doing in his 60's (and hte Lezghinka, remember is that Caucasian men's dance done in black-kid shoes, on the knuckles of hte feet, with all the sudden drops down onto hte knees).

#6 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 27 November 2003 - 10:01 PM

If she has absolutely accurate, Astaire-like timing, I like hearing Raymonda's claps. Anything less ruins it for me.

#7 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 28 November 2003 - 04:16 AM

I find the melody of that variation not so much recollective of Arabian music, but very much like Hungarian, played on the cembalom, a sort of zither played with hammers, like a xylophone. That's why the piano is used - hammers striking strings. And because the melody is so rubato, it can be tricky for Raymonda to clap exactly on the music, unless she, the conductor, and the pianist are in entire agreement.

#8 mbjerk

mbjerk

    Senior Member

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 143 posts

Posted 28 November 2003 - 04:48 AM

I remember the clap as I first learned it from Mr. Franklin. I also remember Fonteyn making noise (maybe my convenient memory?) - but I really remember her passe's in the coda - those remain a lesson in the ability of an artist to make a single, simple step into a virtuoso moment!

As Raymonda is a role, I feel the ballerina should determine whether to make the sound dependent on where she feels the character is at that point.

#9 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 28 November 2003 - 05:21 AM

Yes, the passé retirés in the coda were a great feature of Toni Lander's Raymonda, too! Something so elementary, yet so perfectly fitted choreographically, together with personality blazing out from the stage, make this an unforgettable moment. And the two final numbers of the "coda", forming a "double coda", demonstrate clearly Petipa's genius for ending on a fever pitch, then as the applause rises, goes on to an even more emphatic finale!

#10 Marc Haegeman

Marc Haegeman

    Platinum Circle

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,027 posts

Posted 28 November 2003 - 10:38 AM

There is a die-hard Petersburg tradition not to clap in Raymonda's variation. When Nureyev staged it for Paris he let his Raymonda's clap real loud. When he was corrected by Ninella Kurgapkina, asking why he allowed this while he knew quite well that in St. Petersburg this would never find grace, he replied: "Because Raymonda is a bitch". Who said there anything about princesses? :D

#11 atm711

atm711

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,422 posts

Posted 29 November 2003 - 07:58 AM

How well I remember Danilova's brilliance in the passe-retires of the coda; in fact, the whole variation. The ABT ballerina I saw this past season was an anemic copy. I have a marvelous photograph of Magallanes and Danilova taken during a performance, probably at the Ballet Russe premiere. I will try to post it on my blog.

P.S.--I do not recall hearing a clap, maybe yes, maybe no--Danilova was so exciting in the part, it could have been overlooked.

#12 Leigh Witchel

Leigh Witchel

    Editorial Advisor

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,466 posts

Posted 30 November 2003 - 06:47 AM

I'm one who likes the clap as well; I like what it does musically. Like Carbro, the timing has to be perfect though; Raymonda is adding and including herself in the music - she has to do that absolutely right.

#13 atm711

atm711

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,422 posts

Posted 01 December 2003 - 11:45 AM

In the Balanchine version as danced by Tallchief and Eglevsky in a 1957 telecast there is no clap.

#14 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,027 posts

Posted 26 December 2005 - 11:18 PM

I watched the DVD of the documentary Dancer's Dream: The Great Ballets of Rudolf Nureyev -- Raymonda tonight, and there was a quote from Elisabeth Platel (from the translation in Peter Rigney's English subtitles), speaking about the solo and the clap:

Rudolf said, "This is the achievement of Raymonda's dream.  The memory of Abderam in dances which were a bit barbaric, and in her position as Queen. 

That explains the famous smack, which cost us so much in Russia.  The Russian tradition doesn't allow any noise.  Rudolf was absolutely for it. 

Discussions are still raging.



#15 zerbinetta

zerbinetta

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 680 posts

Posted 27 December 2005 - 02:31 PM

Makarova, Maryinsky trained, sounded the clap at the end only .. with a rather wicked grin on her face. Wonderful!


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):