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silvy

Farrell in Balanchine "Midsummer"

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Wonder if there remains any filmed record of the above? (video or DVD?) I read in Suzanne's autobiography that it was filmed sometime. And I also saw a tiny glimpe of it in the "Elusive Muse" tape.

Thanks a lot

Silvy

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silvy, rg will know, but I'm fairly certain this was a movie, but has never been released on video.

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the following film has been shown only rarely on television and has not been released commercially. there has been talk of finding the outtakes and re-mastering the film, but i'm not sure the outtakes have been located and have not heard any further word about this refurbishing project.

here are the credits:

A midsummer night's dream [videorecording] / directed by Dan Eriksen ; produced by Richard Davis ; choreography by George Balanchine ; music by Felix Mendelssohn. c1967.(93 min.) : sd., col.

Notes: Full-length motion picture.

Performed by members of the New York City Ballet and students of The School of American Ballet.

Suzanne Farrell (Titania), Edward Villella (Oberon), Arthur Mitchell (Puck), Mimi Paul (Helena), Nicholas Magallanes (Lysander), Patricia McBride (Hermia), Roland Vazquez (Demetrius), Francisco Moncion (Theseus), Gloria Govrin (Hippolyta), Richard Rapp (Bottom), Jacques d'Amboise (Court danseur), and Allegra Kent (Court danseuse).

Released by Michael Taines ; director of photography, Arthur J. Ornitz ; production design, Howard Bay ; art direction, Albert Brenner ; costumes, Karinska.

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Maybe this is the place to say I'm constantly befuddled by this scarceness of NYCB material on DVD.

We have tons of Kirov DVDs at home, but I have literally two (2) NYCB DVD's (on Nonesuch - with wretched sound).

There's loads of very important material in the archives, and surely the NYCB is not poorer than the Kirov.

So why is this?

Herman

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There's a problem generally with getting archival material onto video because of union regulations, involving both the dancers and the orchestra. I think this may be one difference between European and American Ballet, and Russian ballet. The videos that are available are mostly of programs that have been televised, and contracts are written to accommodate this.

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I hope there are a substantial number of Balanchine pieces that were recorded, unreleased, and filed away in the dusty attic of the NYCB. At least they wouldn't be lost.

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A lesson from the past is filing things away in a dusty attic is pretty much ensuring they will decay, be stolen, burned or just basically get lost and only surface generations later in some mutilated form.

Look at the texts we have from Ancient Greece and Rome. Those that survived were circulating in large numbers; they were the popular texts (in sofar there was a reading public of any size).

Ergo: dissemination is the best way of preserving cultural heritage.

I repeat I find it shocking and sad there is so little original Balanchine material (I mean the original casts) available. Surely large sums of money would solve the union thing? Maybe it's just more hip to stash millions into the Mariinsky after another costume warehouse goes up in flames?

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Herman, I agree, and we'd all like to see them, but we don't have state funding here, and I don't think the financial problems are easily solved. An example: when the Balanchine biography was shot, there is at least one major dancer, and may be more, who would not give permission to include film footage because of unresolved issues in the contract. Another example, from a European company, if one wants a copy of a house tape for scholarly purposes, one can only get it with written permission of not only the dancers' union but the musician's union, and it is never given.

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