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La Sonnambula


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#31 Helene

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 12:02 PM

I think readers of this thread will find Leigh's review interesting -- it touches on, among other things, a nonstandard interpretation of the role of the Poet.

And a nonstandard interpretation of the role of the Coquette, which was just as fascinating.

#32 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 12:25 PM

Of course, there's always the gap between what one sees and what was really there, but I don't think any of what each of them did would have worked well without the others to play off of. It felt like a team effort.

#33 Alexandra

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 12:26 PM

Team effort - -now THERE's a concept. That was one of the things I used to love about the Royal Ballet. Everyone in the cast was in sync with the others; no clash of wayward interpretations. I'm glad to read of a living example!!

#34 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 12:32 PM

That reminded me of an R&J I saw last year (Vishneva's) - most everyone had an interesting characterization, the problem was none of them worked with the other. Tybalt acted as if he killed Mercutio by accident. All right, but then how does that affect Romeo? and so on. . .

#35 Alexandra

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 12:39 PM

Yes, exactly. One sees that a lot, I'm afraid. My favorite (least favorite) example is the Fancy Frees I've seen where the pas de deux is danced at full throttle, as though they're warming up for "Romeo and Juliet." Terrific! But if the girl is that passionate, how can she shrug her shoulders and walk away at the end? It should be a flirtation, with both of them wondering if this could possibly lead anywhere.

And I've seen the conflicting ones, too. What if Albrecht takes the Sincere, though Forgetful, Lover approach, while Giselle decides she's the town hooker? Bathilde has carefully worked out her interpretation: she really wants to join the convent, but her father is making her marry, while Giselle's mother is in cahoots with Hilarion to sell Courland's deer on the black market.....

#36 atm711

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 02:59 PM

Was Danilova virginal and ethereal, atm?

She was neither, Alexandra. In 1946 she admitted to being 43 years old and she was her mature womanly self---this sleepwalker had an interesting past. And this I can vouch for---she was not on pointe when she held the poet, but it was still amazing to see her carry him a few feet---it was an illusion, very much like the one about Fonteyn's first Sleeping Beauty in NYC. Some people will swear that during the Rose Adagio she did not take the hand of her last cavalier, but held her balance without him.

#37 Alexandra

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 03:17 PM

In the photos RG posted in the Ballet History forum, both Danilova and Krassovska have "pasts" -- you can see it in their eyes. There are photos of Schanne (also a mature dancer when she first did the role) that have the same expression. Impassive, but not blank, and a living, breathing woman and not an Ideal.

About Danilova's illusion -- I think part of it, too, was that, especially in the 1940s and '50s, the notion of a woman carrying a man was .... surprising? Noteworthy? Out of the ordinary? In the reviews of the Royal Danish Ballet's tour of the States in 1956, every single newspaper review outside of New York (where both critics and audiences were familiar with the ballet) led with that ending, and some reviews devoted half their space to the ending.

I think you've hit on something, comparing Danilova's (non) walk on pointe to Fonteyn's (non) holding a balance -- when you see something you haven't seen before, the mind holds the experience as Extraordinary, and perhaps Fish Story Effect takes hold. I've also read early reviews of Nureyev that claim he did an entrechat vingt, or jumped 8 feet high and held it in the air.


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