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Mme. Hermine

Ann Barzel at the Newberry Library

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A lot of Ann Barzel's ballet films are at the New York Public Library but I'm sure a lot of them are not. She gave her collection to the Newberry Library in Chicago, where it is available to view. To give an example, this is one listing. Also here is the link for the library for searching. Miss Barzel is still alive but not in the best of health; she will be 99 years old this December!

http://www.newberry.org/newberryhome.html

Afternoon of a faun (rehersal : May 1954) / choreography, Jerome Robbins ; music, Claude Debussy ; costumes, Irene Sharaff ; decor, Jean Rosenthal ; performed by Tanaquil Le Clercq, Francisco Moncion (3 min., 47 sec., col.)

Age of anxiety (1951) / choreography, Jerome Robbins ; music, Leonard Bernstein (Symphony no. 2 for piano and orchestra) ; costumes, Irene Sharaff ; scenery, Oliver Smith ; performed by Nora Kaye, Francisco Moncion, Roy Tobias (5 min., 32 sec.)

Agon (August 1966) / choreography, George Balanchine ; music, Igor Stravinsky ; performed by Anthony Blum (first pas de trois), Suzanne Farrell (pas de deux), Gloria Govrin (second pas de trois), Conrad Ludlow (pas de deux), Patricia Neary (first pas de trois), Richard Rapp (second pas de trois), Earl Sieveling (second pas de trois), Carole Sumner (first pas de trois) (4 min., 6 sec.)

Bourrée fantastique (1949+) / choreography, George Balanchine ; music, Emmanuel Chabrier ; costumes, Barbara Karinska ; performed by Herbert Bliss, Tanaquil Le Clercq (3 min., 11 sec., b&w and col.)

Bugaku (August 1966) / choreography, George Balanchine ; music, Toshiro Mayuzumi ; costumes, Barbara Karinska ; performed by Alegra Kent, Arthur Mitchell, Mimi Paul, Edward Villella (2 min., 42 sec.)

Eros (1954) / choreography, Lew Christensen ; music, Gioacchino Rossini ; libretto, James Grahan-Lujan ; decor, James Bodrero ; performed by Jacques d'Amboise (bandit), Janet Reed (mistress), Patricia Wilde (Captain of the Amazons) (3 min., 52 secs.) High contrast.

Fanfare (May 1954) / choreography, Jerome Robbins ; music, Benjamin Britten (Young person's guide to the orchestra) ; decor, Irene Sharaff ; performed by Barbara Horgan (major domo) (2 min., 14 sec.)

Filling station (1954) / choreography, Lew Christensen ; music, Virgil Thomson ; decor, Paul Cadmus ; performed by Jacques d'Amboise (Mac), Janet Reed (rich girl) (4 min., 49 sec.)

Firebird (1954) / choreography, George Balanchine ; music, Igor Stravinsky ; decor, Marc Chagall ; performed by Francisco Moncion (Prince Ivan), Maria Tallchief (Firebird) (2 min., 20 sec.)

Four temperments (1954) / choreography, George Balanchine ; music, Paul Hindemith ; decor, Kurt Seligmann ; performed by Todd Bolender (phlegmatic), Jacques d'Amboise (second theme), Tanaquil Le Clercq (choleric), Nicholas Magallanes (sanguinic), Francisco Moncion (choleric), Maria Tallchief (sanguinic) (6 min., 59 sec.)

Four temperments (August 1963) / choreography, George Balanchine ; music, Paul Hindemith ; decor, Kurt Seligmann ; performed by Jacques d'Amboise (melancholic), Richard Rapp (phlegmatic) (1 min., 39 sec.)

Grand pas (Glazunov) (summer 1964) / choreography, George Balanchine ; music, Alexander Glazunov ; costumes, Barbara Karinska ; performed by Jacques d'Amboise, Melissa Hayden (1 min., 26 sec.)

Illuminations (1961) / choreography, Frederick Ashton ; music, Benjamin Britten ; libretto, Arthur Rimbaud ; decor, Cecil Beaton ; performed by Melissa Hayden (profane love), Hugh Laing (poet), Tanaquil Le Clercq (sacred love) (4 min., 1 sec.)

Interplay (1954) / choreography, Jerome Robbins ; music, Morton Gould ; performed by Herbert Bliss (by-play), Todd Bolender, (horse-play), Janet Reed (by-play) (2 min., 17 min.)

La valse (1951/1952) / choreography, George Balanchine ; music, Maurice Ravel ; costumes, Barbara Karinska ; performed by Tanaquil Le Clercq, Nicholas Magallanes (5 min., 6 sec.)

Lady in [i.e. of] the camellias (1951) / choreography, George Balanchine [i.e., Antony Tudor] ; music, Giuseppe Verdi ; decor, Cecil Beaton ; performed by Diana Adams, Hugh Laing (3 min., 8 sec.)

Le combat (the duel) (1951) / choreography, William Dollar ; music, Raffaello de Banfield ; costumes, Robert Stevenson ; performed by Melissa Hayden, Francisco Moncion (2 min., 38 sec.)

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Yes, unless someone has added sound. Miss Barzel used to come to the Ruth Page School sometimes and show some of them to us and give talks about what we were seeing.

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Oh my, what a treasure-trove! Thanks for posting this, Mme. Hermine.

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Did she stop in the mid 1960s? I wonder why she stopped? Has the Newberry transferred the films to DVD? She has some story of Balanchine holding back the curtains so that she could film. Are they all shot from the wings, I wonder?

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hi; i don't know exactly when she stopped. might have been the 60s though. I don't think they're all from the wings i recall seeing some of markova and dolin in giselle and some ballet russe things that were shot from the audience. also remember seeing one of nureyev doing theme and variations (that was or is in the new york public library) with i think lupe serrano?

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no, i'll correct myself, it seems some of them are as late as 1980. there are performances there that i remember seeing! wow.

keeping in mind that they're silent, and that a great number of them are fragments (though some are pretty long), there are some incredible people captured on film there.

also i noticed this at the end of one listing which is good:

Originally filmed in 16 mm. by Ann Barzel; edited, repaired, and transferred to Master film reels between 2001 and 2002; and preservation copies made on DVD and videotape between 2002 and 2003 with permission from Ann Barzel by the Visual and Performing Arts Division of the Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, in cooperation with the Newberry Library under an Illinois State Library Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant.

16 mm. masters stored at Newberry Library.

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She also showed some at St. James's many years ago. I remember seeing a couple of fragments of two different performances of Baiser de la Fee, the part where the boy goes off to the right with the Fairy behind him, pointing over his shoulder into the wing. Some of the fragments were very short. But they were shot from the front.

She complained on one occasion about her new camera not being as satisfactory as the old one she gave to some deserving group: "I gave away a Cadillac and bought a Chevrolet." This might help to explain why she did less later on.

The question for us in this area is, of course, can we get to see any of this? I recently saw one of the Balanchine Foundation tapes (of Tallchief coaching a dance from Symphony in C) at the Chicago Public Library, but they wanted some indication of serious interest.

Regardless of these, ahem, practical considerations, thank you, Mme. Hermine! It's good to know these exist and are in sympathetic hands!

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