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The Lilac Fairy


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36 replies to this topic

#1 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 12:10 AM

I'm a firm believer in the Lilac Fairy as the fulcrum of the ballet. To me, she's got to be at the center of the work, and that's where she usually is in the Martins production. There are a few things I quibble with for that reason.

I have a problem with the Lilac being among five other fairies so she's off-center. If she's to be a dancing role, you need six other fairies somehow for balance, or else she's diminished in the group dances.

This is a lighting issue rather than a choreography problem, but the followspot isn't fully on the Lilac when she gives the rejoinder to Carabosse's curse. She's got to be brighter than Carabosse at that moment, or she seems weak.

Martins has the Lilac dance in the final Mazurka. You might as well have the King and Queen dance (I shouldn't say that - Nureyev did just that.) She oversees the proceedings, I don't think she should participate.

How do you feel about the Lilac Fairy? What role should she play? Any memorable Lilac Fairies you've particularly loved?

#2 sandik

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 12:49 AM

We have the Ronald Hynd staging at Pacific Northwest Ballet, so our SB is firmly in the English tradition (which posed some challenges for the company when it was first set). This production has six subsidiary fairies (Beauty, Temperament, Purity, Joy, Wit, and Generosity) so Lilac is centered in the "group photo" moments. She is very much the lead fairy, directs traffic, deals directly with the court as well as with Carabosse. She has the lion's share of the mime, and does some mild flying as well. She gets that lovely, sweeping waltz in the prologue (and some killer releves to go with it) -- it's my favorite music in the ballet

Ariana Lallone frequently dances Lilac (as a tall woman, she often gets "powerful" roles, like Hippolyta in Midsummer) and does very well with it. Nice gravitas, good mime, and great wand waving (I'm not being flippant -- many dancers do an awful job with a wand).

#3 perky

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 04:54 AM

Lilac Fairy should definately be front and center. The music tells you so.

#4 Mashinka

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 05:09 AM

Memorable Lilac Fairies? Lubov Kunakova of the Kirov and Nina Speranskaya of the Bolshoi.

#5 atm711

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 05:59 AM

Memorable Lilac Fairy? Mine will always be Diana Adams--true, she was only in a one-act version, b ut her variation (the one with the Sissones) is one I will never forget.

#6 Hans

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 11:11 AM

I prefer only six fairies (including Lilac). I don't know why. But Petipa managed to put her front and center most of the time, so I don't really see what the problem is. There are only a few times that she is really part of the group, and a good Lilac should be able to make it seem as if she is "front and center" even then.

#7 carbro

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 04:06 PM

Yes, Mashinka, Kunakova was a gorgeous Lilac Fairy! My favorite was -- and will probably forever be -- Martine van Hamel. :wink:

To me, the overriding aspect of Lilac's purpose in the ballet is that she is, in effect, the narrator. She is the thread that holds the ballet together from Prologue through Wedding. (She does not belong in the Mazurka, though!) When she appears at the Christening as one of six fairies (I like that, too, Hans), she should be The Charismatic One, the one who makes sure -- without effort -- that your eye is fixed on her.

#8 Jane Simpson

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 07:32 AM

The current RB production has five fairies plus Lilac and after reading this thread I took particular notice last night of how Makarova deals with it. Sometimes she just cheats by having one of the five leave the stage or stand protectively by the baby's cradle; other times she has the Songbird fairy arrive late, all of a flutter, and I still haven't worked out if this is meant to be funny. The only bit that looks really weird is when all six line up at the front of the stage for what used to be supported-pirouette-into-attitude but is now just pose-in-arabesque: the fairies at the ends of the line are each supported by one of the LF's attendants, and the LF herself - who of course is off-centre - gets two of them to hold her up - it looks as if they've decided she's the one most likely to fall over.

#9 Manhattnik

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 07:37 AM

With a really good Lilac, it hardly matters if she's placed dead center, and with a really mediocre one, it also hardly matters.

#10 mbjerk

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 09:38 AM

I've seen a few who were just dead.......

#11 Paul Parish

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 06:17 PM

Muriel Maffre at SanFrancisco Ballet is a magnificently commanding figure as hte Lilac Fairy -- good, beautiful, and at key moments she's mesmerizing -- she actually hears and makes you see the music say "No, hte princess shall not die"....

#12 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 12:01 AM

when the kirov brought the 'newold' sleeping beauty to the met, i thought veronika part was perfect as the lilac.

#13 MakarovaFan

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Posted 19 March 2004 - 08:35 AM

I agree that Lilac Fairy should be front and center. Tchaikovsky's use of her gorgeous theme music appears in the Prelude, when she confronts Carabosse, in Act I when she assures the King and Queen that Aurora is asleep then sends the court into dreamland, and finally when she appears to Prince Desire in Act II.

My favorite Lilac Fairy was Marguerite Porter in a Royal Ballet tv broadcast I saw in the early '80's starring Anthony Dowell and Leslie Collier or Merle Park. Did anyone else see this? Was it Collier or Park?

#14 Guest_KitriSpanishDancer_*

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Posted 05 June 2004 - 10:49 PM

I personally dislike the whole Lilac Fairy Variation, actually i really don't like sleeping beauty at all. Some of the variations are pretty but there are too many codas, to many variations, and it doesn't tickle my fancy. If i had to pick the leader fairy i wouldn't pick lilac, there are so many other fairies( finger,crystal, woodland glade, canary ....and that other one) the composer could of chosen... it upsets me. :angry:

#15 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 02:50 AM

You have to remember where the ballet was first performed. An old Russian good luck charm was to give a baby a sprig of lilac or actually place the cradle under a lilac bush. The choice was not Tchaikovsky's, it was Petipa's and Vsevolozhsky's.


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