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rg

other albums

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here are links to two more albums of russian post cards, some imperial era, some soviet.

not all are ballet per se, but most are. (the album of colored cards includes examples sometimes only indirectly related to ballet and sometimes not at all.)

as before, all comments concerning captioning, etc. are gratefully accepted.

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I was wondering whether the picture of Mordkin with a bow might be as Tahor in Daughter of the pharaoh.

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thanks for this suggestion, and for leading me to press a little further into some of my books. all those who have written about mordkin, most recently and notably elizabeth souritz, the formidable moscow dance historian, have noted how very many varieties of 'dance with bow (and sometimes arrows, too)' mordkin did in his career both in russia and abroad, notably later in the company of anna pavlova. (british author keith money remarks in his picture captions on the numerous variations on 'dance with bow' that can be found in mordkin's career.) however the photo you bring up here, is a seemingly early one - he looks quite young - and so i now suspect it dates from around 1911, when, as souritz's book on alexander gorsky notes, the choreographer created a work called DANCE DREAM, first shown at london's alhambra as a ballet-feerie in 6 scenes (to various composers). the illustrations in sourtiz's book include one of a stageful of dancers, both male and female, all brandishing bows. mordkin would seem not to have had a leading part in the ballet at the time of its premiere but he may well have been in a solo part, and so on the basis of this 1911 group photo, i'll suggest this ballet as the identifcation of the mordkin photo in question here.

to the best of my knowledge, btw, there don't seem to be any 'bow' dances for the male characters in DAUGHTER OF THE PHARAOH. (the only role given in the mordkin entry in the RUSSIAN BALLET ENCYCLOPEDIA for DAUGHTER OF THE PHARAOH is a charater called "Tsar Khitaris," which i suspect would show the dancer in a more elaborate and formal costume than this one.)

still, as noted, my new captioning will be given with a question mark suggesting it's a guess not a fact.

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Oh I love Bakst's picture of Pushkin and "companion," she looking at him and him looking at his book!

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Thanks, rg: especially enjoyed the Fairy Dolls and Ulanova as Diana.

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[sOME ATTACHMENTS MAY BE REMOVED - TO PREVENT UNAUTHORIZED DOWNLOADING THEY MAY RE-APPEAR WATERMARKED HERE OR ON OTHER BT THREADS]

a footnote to the admiration for the card of Ulanova as Diana from the DIANA AND ACTEON PAS DE DEUX, arranged by Vaganova for Ulanova and Chabukiani in 1935 for her production of ESMERALDA. the duet, often seen in performance today as a concert or competition number, is, according to Russian/Soviet historians, a direct descendant of a dance originally part of LE ROI CANDAULE in the form of a PAS DE DIANE - which actually seemed to be a pas de deux a trois, featuring dancers as Diana, Acteon and a Satyr (the last role, btw, was in the repertory of georgi balanchivadze, before he left the soviet union). in any case the photo attached here offers two views of Vaganova's 'original' Diana, both taken, one assumes, around the time of the 1935 premiere.

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Don't suppose any Diana film footage was taken or survives?

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i don't know of any footage of ulanova as diana.

soon after her 'creation' of the role, other dancers, such as alla shelest, took it over.

but who knows what might be found and made available in russia, especially now in the wake of ulanova's death.

maybe it's been found and being put into a documentary on g.s.u. as i write this.

we can hope...

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RG, in the first gallery, on Red Cross card #12, tentatively identified as "Russian Merchant", the character is wearing a grey greatcoat with a Prussian collar and epaulets, a brimless cap, and a real giveaway, green trousers peeping out of the bottom of the coat. He looks to me like a junior officer or senior petty officer in the Imperial Russian Navy.

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many thanks as ever, mel, for your careful look at details.

i would never put my hunches up against your knowledge of things military.

the copy of the prog. i have from the premiere of LA FEE DES POUPEES - given in french and dated 7 fevrier 1903 - lists the cast of characters and it was only the 'marchand russe' who seemed to my untrained eye a possibility for this design of bakst's. however your points are well taken, and i suppose red cross card #12 might not be showing any prominent character but simply a subsidiary one. (i can find no russian - nor prussian - officers in the cast list, but that does not, as i say, mean such a personage was not part of the ballet.)

perhaps i'll just suggest that the design is one for an unidentified military character. i'll keep combing my reference sources and see if i can find a character who would be in line with your reading of this costume's detailing.

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Sometimes there is incredible detail in "crowd" costumes, including the Grenadier of the Preobrazhensky Guard in "Petrouchka" complete with his miter cap. Perhaps this is just for a "bit part" customer. Sailors on shore liberty are still famous for buying toys for children. But it could still be a Russian Merchant who used to be in the Navy. Maybe a visual joke like Sgt. Bouncer in Burnand and Sullivan's "Cox & Box" who traditionally still wears his Sergeant's stripes, even on his shirtsleeves and on his pajamas.

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a footnote to the admiration for the card of Ulanova as Diana from the DIANA AND ACTEON PAS DE DEUX, arranged by Vaganova for Ulanova and Chabukiani in 1935 for her production of ESMERALDA. the duet, often seen in performance today as a concert or competition number, is, according to Russian/Soviet historians, a direct descendant of a dance originally part of LE ROI CANDAULE in the form of a PAS DE DIANE - which actually seemed to be a pas de deux a trois, featuring dancers as Diana, Acteon and a Satyr (the last role, btw, was in the repertory of georgi balanchivadze, before he left the soviet union). in any case the photo attached here offers two views of Vaganova's 'original' Diana, both taken, one assumes, around the time of the 1935 premiere.

this is very interesting RG, so where did the whole credit to the pas being from Esmeralda come from....is the music even by Drigo? Le Roi Candaule was Pugni's last ballet I thought

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Roi Candaule - Original title. TSar' Kandavl. Chor: Marius Petipa; mus: Cesare Pugni; lib: Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Petipa; scen: Konstantin Ivanov, Henrykh Levot, Matvei Shishkov, Vasilii Vasil'ev and Sergei Vorob'ev. First perf: St. Petersburg, Bolshoi Theater, Oct 17, 1868 (O.S.).//First Moscow perf: Bolshoi Theater, Dec 22, 1868 (O.S.)

according to the russian encyc. of russian ballet petipa interpolated some of drigo's music into his 1886 prod. of ESMERALDA, for his pas de six. (i can't now recall where a drigo credit is given for the diana pas. the full title of the TSAR K number that's said to be related to vaganova's DIANA AND ACTEON in ESMERALDA, is LES AMOURS DE DIANE.)

so i think all that can be stated with some certainty is that soviet sources relate DIANA AND ACTEON to an earlier number from TSAR K - i don't know that anyone has said that vaganova's dance and music are taken directly from some previous prod. of TSAR K. (the presence of the satyr and the absence of this in vaganova would seem to prove that the choreography is differently configured, etc.)

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the attached photos come from a tiny, fold-out booklet of soviet vintage, these were produced during the war when paper was hard to come by. the little items are, all folded up, about the scale of a match-box - if anyone remembers what a matchbox is/was.

in any case as i scanned this photo of chabukiani - vaganova's first Akteon for her DIANA AND A pdd - i realized that the costume consists of a rather wild-looking fur tunic, much more fitting, perhaps, a satyr than a hapless hunter. or maybe the idea was to make vaganova's Aketon character a blend of both the shepherd endymion and a satyr (two characters familiar in the earlier pas called LES AMOURS DE DIANE).

post-848-1144426251.jpg

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