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Mid program casting replacement


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#1 Bridget

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Posted 23 January 2000 - 08:06 PM

Has anyone ever seen a performance where a character was played by one dancer in the first act and by another dancer in the second act? I recall a Don Q done by ABT where the gypsy girl, Mercedes -I think her name is, was played by Leslie Browne in Act I, but after the intermission, Susan Jaffe was dancing the role. The program listed only Browne. And no announcement was made about the replacement. Wondered how often this type of thing happens. Anyone else have a story?

[This message has been edited by Bridget (edited January 23, 2000).]

#2 Ari

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Posted 23 January 2000 - 08:21 PM

A few years ago during an NYCB performance of The Sleeping Beauty, Kyra Nichols, who was dancing the Lilac Fairy, sprained her ankle during the Vision Scene and was replaced after the intermission by Sherri LeBlanc. (Lilac's wedding scene variation was cut.) In this case, too, no announcement was made, although a non-balletomane acquaintance of mine who was at that performance said to me the next day, "That wasn't the same one, was it?"

I've always wondered how Sherri got through the act with such ease, considering the fact that she'd never learned the role before.

#3 Giannina

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Posted 24 January 2000 - 02:35 PM

That happened recently when San Francisco Ballet visited So. Calif. Not only was there no announcement but hardly anyone noticed the change (it was written up in our reviews)! Years ago Cynthia Gregory was dancing Don Q in L.A. Looooong intermission between Acts II and III; Gregory was injured. 3 soloists danced the 3rd act pas de deux, each doing either her specialty or as much as she knew! There's a video of La Bayadere that started with Makarova and ended with Tcherkassky.

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#4 Guest_rrfan_*

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Posted 24 January 2000 - 04:26 PM

A most memorable replacement was when Nikkolaj Hubbe hurt himself dancing Agon and went out into the wing and Peter Boal ran out on stage, with a tshirt on inside out, tights and the wrong shoes and finished for him. It was unreal!
As for Sherri, she had understudied the role

#5 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 24 January 2000 - 05:59 PM

well in boston some years ago laura young, who was set to retire that year, was unable to finish a performance of don quixote (as kitri) that she had started and jennifer gelfand finished it for her (had also learned it to do with another partner but did this one and some others with fernando bujones, this at age 17)...

#6 Ari

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Posted 24 January 2000 - 07:39 PM

Giannina's mention of an ABT video jogged my memory of a Bolshoi video of The Nutcracker that started with, I believe, Maximova and Vassilyev, and ended with Pavlova and Gordeyev. I think it's still being sold.

I've always suspected that the Bolshoi did this in order to show off more of their stars.

#7 Ed Waffle

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Posted 24 January 2000 - 08:34 PM

Unscheduled replacements?

I will take the chance of boring you with one that happened in the world of opera—at the Michigan Opera Theater, during a sold out Saturday night performance of “Aida”, which at least has a not insignificant dance component.

Camilla Johnson, a gifted soprano who is developing a reputation for canceling performances, was singing the Ethiopian princess. She seemed fine during the first act. During the intermission David DiChiera, the general director of the MOT stepped from backstage and announced that Ms. Johnson was ill but wanted to continue and begged our indulgence. I turned to the person sitting next to me and said “that is the last we will see of her tonight”.

A bit later DiCheira appeared again, this time to announce that Ms. Johnson was unable to continue but that Marquita Lister, the alternate cast Aida, was in the house, getting into her costume and warming up. And this time begged our indulgence for Ms. Lister. By now the intermission seemed as long as the second act of “Gotterdamerung”.

The performance was structured so that the Nile scene came immediately after the intermission. Ms. Lister had to walk out on the stage and sing “O Patria Mia” right away. This may be the equivalent of coming into “Swan Lake” just in time to start the 32 fouettes.

She was marvelous (as she had been with the “B” cast) and earned thunderous applause after this aria and a standing ovation during the curtain calls.

#8 Dance Fan

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Posted 25 January 2000 - 12:05 AM

Years ago, in Chicago, (I was a mere toddler, of course) the Kirov presented a performance of "Swan Lake" with Natalia Makarova doing Acts II and IV, and Kaleria Fedicheva doing Act III. Makarova was very new at the time, and rather frail. But she was lovely as Odette. Fedicheva was a wonderful dancer, (I believe she died a few years ago), but she and Makarova could not have been more dissimilar. She was a big girl with a broad face and prominent muscles - even her insteps had ripples. The Panovs (remember them?) wrote about her very disparagingly in their book. It seems she was a big-time manipulator. But she was a very effective performer, unlike some of the other politically-connected Soviet dancers of that era.

#9 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 25 January 2000 - 09:40 AM

Hi DanceFan, welcome to Ballet Alert Online!

Interesting story about Makarova and the Kirov. Do you have any idea why there was a different ballerina for Act III? Was the Kirov doing this in other performances, or was it because Makarova was not at that time strong enough to do all three acts?

#10 Nanatchka

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Posted 25 January 2000 - 01:46 PM

In the Sleeping Beauty performance I saw with the substitions, Kyra Nichols injured her **foot** in the first act, in which she was Aurora. She in the first intermission **switched** roles with the Lilac Fairy and did the journey through the mist in the boat scene, which is all port de bras (and beautiful ones at that), and then went home. A member of the corps or a soloist, I don't know who--if this is really part of the story above, it would be that dancer--then danced the last part of Lilac, not in the Lilac Costume, but with the wand. Meanwhile, the former Act One Lilac Fairy, who was I think Valentina Kozlova, danced Aurora. I also saw that Peter Boal substition, from the fourth row. One just sat there in disbelief....For some reason I think he was dancing in his socks, but it couldn't be. Maybe it was just the wrong socks. I also remember it being Soto not Hubbe, which shows my memory should be supplemented by my program collection.



[This message has been edited by Nanatchka (edited January 25, 2000).]

#11 Guest_Laura C. Cutler_*

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Posted 25 January 2000 - 06:30 PM

Regarding "Swan Lake": Didn't it used to be more common (though perhaps not frequent) to have two different ballerinas playing Odette and Odile (on purpose, I mean)?

Regarding unannounced substitutions: I think it's really bad for substitutions to go unannounced. It's not fair to either of the dancers or to the audience. I'm really surprised companies (particularly major ones) would do this, or that they get away with it. Aren't there union rules requiring substitutions to be announced? It seems unprofessional to me.

One curiosity between ballet and opera--It used to be not terribly uncommon (perhaps still isn't) for an announcement or program insert to inform the audience that a particular singer was not quite well, but was going to (bravely and valiantly, by implication) perform nevertheless. (I was told singers don't want people to hear them in bad condition and think that's how they always sound.) I have only once seen this happen in ballet, in a situation where there was no possible replacement, and the ballerina was able to do the dancing, but had to wear a kind of brace or bandage (can't remember if it was on the leg or arm). There was no getting around the obviousness of the brace, so they decided it was better to let the audience in on what the deal was, than to have them distracted and confused by it. She did a fine performance, and probably got some sympathy points, too. Has anyone else here attended a performance where a dancer was announced 'not well, but performing'?

#12 Ari

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Posted 25 January 2000 - 07:26 PM

Nanatchka, we must be talking about different performances. I've never heard your story before. At the performance I saw in which Kyra Nichols danced Lilac and was replaced by Sherri LeBlanc, Margaret Tracey danced Aurora--all the way through.

#13 Dance Fan

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Posted 26 January 2000 - 01:10 AM

Regarding the Kirov casting of Makarova in the "white" acts of "Swan Lake", and Fedicheva as the Black Swan, I don't recall this being the usual Kirov practice at that time. Makarova was very young, and she didn't start studying until she was thirteen, so her technique had a way to go. She developed in front of the audience for a great deal of her career before her defection. She was clearly destined for great things and was probably being protected by the management. There were several Kirov ballerinas at that time easily capable of dancing the dual role without assistance.

#14 Ilya

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Posted 26 January 2000 - 05:50 PM

I'm not so sure about the reasons for having Makarova and Fedicheva dance the role. For example, there is a movie of "Swan Lake" (VERY abridged) from early 50s where Odette is Ulanova and Odile is Dudinskaya. My guess is that it was done for artistic considerations only: Ulanova was considered the best White Swan, Dudinskaya the best Black Swan, so why not cast them both?

#15 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 27 January 2000 - 06:23 AM

Vasiliev injured his foot in the "Nutcracker" performance at the Bolshoi mentioned by Ari. The only reason why there were two replacements in the second act (Pavlova and Gordeev), was that Maximova refused to dance with another partner than her husband.


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