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GlinkianaAnother lost Balanchine ballet?


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#1 perky

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 05:22 AM

I happen to be an admirer of Michail Glinka's music and have always wondered about this ballet.

I know Valse Fantaisie remains in the repetory. Did Balanchine use the same choreography or did he change it? It seems like Glinkiana would be ripe for the Balanchine Foundation to do a "lost reconstruction" on, as so many of the principals are still alive, Melissa Hayden, Violette Verdy,etc. Has this been done?

Also if anyone remembers seeing the ballet before it disappeared, can you tell me what you thought? Much Thanks!

#2 rg

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 05:54 AM

the full credits for GLINKAIANA are given in CHOREOGRAPHY BY BALANCHINE, which is being prepared as a catalogue/chronology for the balanchine foundation web-site, tho' i don't know when it's due to be posted on the web in finished form.
the choreography nowadays known as VALSE FANTASIE is recycled from GLINKAIANA (aka GLINKIANA). miami city ballet, however, dancers the earlier version of this Glinka work, the 1953 version features a man and three ballerinas - vs. the man & one ballerina & four ensemble women, which balanchine reworked for his 1967 Glinka suite. to the best of my knowledge GLINKAIANA's opening 'polka' and the 'jota argonese' which followed 'valse fanatsie' as the suite's second section, have not had any visibility since GLINKAINA was dropped from repertory. the ballet's closing segment, however, 'divertimento brillante' has been filmed, for the CBC with its first cast: p.mcbride & e.villella (i believe villella might have restaged this duet in his tenure at miami, but i'm not sure if his restaging entered repertory for any length of time). re: the '53 'valse f'- it was given w/ nycb if mem. serves - alternating w/ VF '67 - in the '93 balanchine celebration.
the '67 version was filmed in the now-infamous german film project in '73(?) (w/ sara leland and john clifford, if mem. serves), i think it was shown around that time on tv in europe but don't believe it was ever televised in the states, tho' i could be wrong here.
these now-much maligned films have not been released commercially, & i suspect they are unlikely to be in the near future.

#3 bart

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 10:23 AM

A search turned up this brief thread about Glinkiana. I was sorry to see how quickly it died, despite rg's fascinating and helpful information.

I recall Melissa Hayden in the Spanish section, but have no recollection at all of the Verdy Polka, the Paul/Clifford Valse Fantaisie, or the Villella/McBride Divertimento Brillante. (For a photo of Hayden in the Jota, courtesy of rg, here's a link her obituary thread on Ballet Talk: http://ballettalk.in...mp;#entry187971 Scroll down on page one. The last section of Glinkiana was recently revived by the Farrelll Company.)

This came to mind while reading Solomon Volkov's cultural history of St. Petersburg. He writes warmly of how important Glinka was to generations of Russian musical artists, including Stravinsky and Balanchine. Volkov writes mostly only about the waltz:

In composing this sentimental music without sentimentality, Glinka could have repeatead Pushkin's line "My sorrow is radiant." "Valse-Fantaisie" is pure Petersburg erotica -- passionate but controlled. In Petersburg (as in Europe) a young woman from an aristocratic home could not dance the waltz without special permission from an adult chaperone. Petersburg adapted the European waltz by "hiding" its sexual daring, and so Glinka gave the erotic longing an almost spiritual tone [ ...;]

It was probably exactly this quality that made "Valse-Fantaisie" one of the favorite musical works of George Balanchine, who had danced in Ruslan and Lyudmila as a child on the stage of the Maryinsky Theater.



Let me repeat perky's original question:

... [I]f anyone remembers seeing the ballet before it disappeared, can you tell me what you thought?

Also -- why DID it disappear? Reviews at the time seem to have been good.


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