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NYCB ballerinas as Carabosse


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#16 Alexandra

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 08:13 AM

I'd vote for trying out the girls in something below fairy level, too! Those are ballerina parts, roles for polished dancers, not people in the try-out stage.

#17 nina

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 09:11 AM

I have to disagree. I saw Glenn Keenan dance the blue fairy on sat. afternoon and she was delightful, polished and----------vivacious. And she wasn't even cast to do the part! Others were good as well.I think the company has a great deal of talent right now and unless these women are brought forward in this type of role I worry they will not continue to grow as performers.

#18 oberon

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 10:47 AM

Amen, Nina! Keenan was the loveliest of a lovely quintet of 4 corps girls plus the delectable Rachel Rutherford on Saturday afternoon. It (the prologue Fairy variations and the whole business with their cavaliers and pages) is one of my favorite sections of the ballet and is especially attractive in Peter's production with the beautiful sorbet-coloured costumes.

Believe me, Alexandra and Cagill, I would be the first person at the box office if a bevy of principals were offered in these roles. We could have Borree, Somogyi, Wendy, Miranda and Alexandra.

What companies use principals in these roles? In companies where principals and soloists are paid a per-performance fee, it must get costly. When I saw BEAUTY a few times at ABT about 25 years ago, I don't recall principals among the fairies...they used a mixture of soloists and corp girls.

Probably if Peter's soloist ranks were not depleted by injury this year we would have seen Taylor & Abi S. in that group. I think having corps girls "step out" in featured roles is an NYCB tradition. I remember Merrill Ashley getting bonbons from Balanchine when she was just a kid.

For myself, I relish the chance to see some of my corps favorites take center stage for a few minutes.

Oberon

#19 Alexandra

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 11:00 AM

Oberon, I think most companies today cast the fairies with corps dancers. As recently as the early 1980s, the Royal Ballet used principals or at least senior soloists. The last time the Kirov was in D.C. they also used principals or senior soloists.

The Lilac Fairy is often seen as a soloist's role as well.

Same thing with the Princes in the Rose Adagio. Is there anywhere else in the world today, save the Kirov, that uses principal men for these roles?

#20 carbro

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 11:09 AM

And this leads me to wonder what company can afford to employ enough principal dancers to multi-cast a Beauty? Especially with the trend of doing the same ballet for consecutive performances? Let's see: minimum of three casts of Fairies (18, minus a small number for those dancing more than one role), three casts of Princes: 12. Then there are Florine and Bluebird, possibly Jewels (or Florestan and his sisters). It might not be feasible.

NYCB had only three female soloists who were able to perform throughout the season. Mathematically, gotta go to corps.

#21 Ari

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 11:22 AM

Is there anywhere else in the world today, save the Kirov, that uses principal men for these roles?

When NYCB's Beauty was new, they cast principals as the Rose Adagio cavaliers. I remember that Jock Soto, who is part Native American, was cast as the Prince from America. Nowadays, they still put soloists in these roles, and announce the casting along with the divertissement and character roles, which indicates that they consider the parts important.

#22 Jane Simpson

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 01:55 PM

The RB's first cast Carabosse this season is Zenaida Yanowsky, a principal very far from retirement (we hope), who alternates it with Lilac Fairy and is very good as both. The first cast of Fairies last season was all first soloists with maybe one or two principals on occasion, with succeeding casts including more junior dancers chosen from those seen as future hopes.

What the company is really short of at the moment is Auroros - they've lost three out of the planned seven so far, so that someone could theoretically have booked to see Bussell, Yoshida and Tapper and find themselves watching Marquez, Marquez and Marquez.

#23 Alexandra

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 02:03 PM

And this leads me to wonder what company can afford to employ enough principal dancers to multi-cast a Beauty?

Good point -- exactly why Beauty was the hallmark of a "great" company. If you could do Beauty, you had arrived. That was before mini-beauties sprouted up all over the place. (I don't mean to say that NYCB has one of these, just speaking generally.) Now it's become what I call a water cooler ballet. Artistic Director ABC saunters up and says, casually, "We'll be doing Beauty next year" -- never mind that his company can barely get thorugh "Serenade" -- and Artistic Directors DEF through XYZ go "wow" and scuttle off to stage one of their own. (I don't mean this is the motivation for every smaller company that stages Beauty, but I think it's the motivation for some of them.)

Paris Opera Ballet can cast a beauty with etoiles in the star parts and premier danseurs/ses in the fairy and dvert parts, so can the Kirov. I've always thought that's one of the reasons the Maryinsky wanted the ballet in the first place -- it was their "Ballet Comique de la Reine Louise." Match this, if you can.

#24 tempusfugit

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 03:50 PM

Alexandra, Richard Buckle reviews performances of Beauty with the Royal (in the sixties, I believe) with a lineup of fairies: Seymour, Collier, Vere, Parkinson, Jenner, and Mason, with Bergsma as Lilac and Fonteyn or Sibley as Aurora!!!
Those were the days, huh?
I've always thought as well that Beauty was a benchmark ballet-- a touchstone of beautiful classical style, brilliance, and lavish elegance. The descriptions of Diaghilev's Beauty....
and, of course, what was the Royal's first overwhelming smash hit in America in 1949? :)

#25 Alexandra

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 04:40 PM

Yes -- the days that I diidn't see -- but I still believe in them.

I think undercasting is one of the main reasons why some of the grand old ballets don't look very grand. If you saw a line up like that -- think of it; that prologue segment is long! -- you'd see the ballet's power. There were people who went to see every single performance of Diaghilev's Beauty -- not because there were 12 casts, but because the casts they saw were satisfying.


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