Jump to content


Martine Van Hamel


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,246 posts

Posted 07 November 1998 - 10:51 AM

Some of the most enjoyable performances I was ever privileged to see were of Martine Van Hamel in Petipa roles. "Raymonda," "Swan Lake," "Kingdom of the Shades," "Sleeping Beauty." I loved the richness and the vulnerability of her dancing, the sense of command that she had (without being in the least arrogant), and most of all the way she had of making dancing seem a private pleasure, but one that she would gladly let others share.
Some days, I miss Van Hamel more than any of them.
alexandra

#2 Giannina

Giannina

    Gold Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 844 posts

Posted 07 November 1998 - 11:00 AM

She WAS Myrtha in "Giselle".

Giannina

#3 Dale

Dale

    Emeralds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,042 posts

Posted 08 November 1998 - 07:02 AM

Evidently, she hated playing the part, feeling that it was a solist part and she wanted to do lead roles.

#4 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,246 posts

Posted 08 November 1998 - 11:33 AM

I've never heard that one, but ABT does seem to treat the role as a soloist role -- and, at least in Van Hamel's day, seemed to think it had to be danced by a tall woman. Of course, it is a ballerina role, and when danced by a ballerina, makes the second act look even more glorious. Danilova was, by all accounts, a grandlioquent Myrtha.
The best Myrtha I ever saw was Mette-Ida Kirk, in Copenhagen, back when the Danes had an extremely beautiful and poetic production of "Giselle." She's a tiny woman, but queenly and, for this role, she was a demon. She danced as though anger propelled her dancing. She also had epaulement, something we don't see much of these days, and it's the best example I'd seen of how epaulement is integral to the choreography, not just one of those silly little old-fashioned decorations. When Myrtha jumps with epaulement, she really seems as though she is flying. It's as though the shoulders, with those teeny little wings, are propelling her; the legs are incidental. alexandra

#5 Dale

Dale

    Emeralds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,042 posts

Posted 09 November 1998 - 03:34 AM

I read it in the latest issue of Ballet Review. There's an article on Giselle by Irina Kolpakova. She said that Van Hamel got tired of doing to role. Kolpakova told her that at the Kirov, it was always done by a lead dancer. I was always a bit bored by the ballet (mostly Act 1) but after reading that article and one that was in the ABT Stagebill last season, I've decided to go see it this spring. The question is, who would you see it with? Jaffe, Ananiashvili, Kent, McKerrow or Ferri?

#6 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,246 posts

Posted 09 November 1998 - 06:09 PM

All of them, Dale, because that's the only way to tell.

alexandra (who loves Giselle, but, then, came to it in the mid-'70s and saw at least a dozen great ones)

#7 Giannina

Giannina

    Gold Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 844 posts

Posted 09 November 1998 - 10:30 PM

I agree with Alexandra; see all of them! I've seen MacFerrow (good) and Ferri (super!). Having seen Anaiashvili in "Swan Lake" I'd assume she'd be the "pick of the litter". You can't go wrong with Jaffe. Kent is fairly new and I'm sure she'd be very good. One of the great joys of ballet is to compare: one dancer against another, one production against another; even the same dancer one night against another.

I do love ballet!

Giannina Mooney

[This message has been edited by Giannina Mooney (edited 11-09-98).]

#8 Ed Waffle

Ed Waffle

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 493 posts

Posted 10 November 1998 - 12:23 AM

Giannina and board--

I also love ballet, as do we all--but it is important occasionally to say something which might seem self evident. And I really like the way you write about ballet.

I have seen Kent, McKerrow and Jaffe in GISELLE. Kent was wonderful, if somewhat unconnected dramatically. McKerrow was sublime. But Jaffe--the kind of performance that one can recall in detail for years. It was a thrill to realize that I was in the presence of a true artist who both could completely inhabit a role and transcend it. She fused emotionally with the audience and simply gave us her Giselle unconditionally.

There have been other performances I have witnessed, not only in ballet, on the same technical and emotional level. I fervently hope that there will be more. But I have not seen one that surpassed it and doubt if I will.

ed waffle

#9 Dale

Dale

    Emeralds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,042 posts

Posted 10 November 1998 - 04:58 AM

I'd love to see them all but I read in the New York Times that all but Nina A. simplified the role.

#10 cargill

cargill

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 645 posts

Posted 12 November 1998 - 11:40 AM

In response to the question of which Giselle to see, I wouldn't worry too much about the NY Times comment--it is not skating, where we have to check off the required elements. The hopping on point only works if it is part of the character anyway, and I would rather see a young happy Giselle come off point than a mechanical dancer banging away. If McKerrow is dancing with Malakhov, that would be my recommendation, based on what I saw last summer. She was absolutely frech and spontaneous--it was almost as if I remember what they were saying, not what they were dancing. I couldn't see the whole stage, but in the first act, I could tell just by watching her face when Albrecht reappeared. No other couple was so in synch. And the 2nd act--she was so intent on saving him, and avoided so many of the prenning, self-satisfied romantic little curlyques. Malakhov was amazing too-the 2nd act was almost unbearably sad, watchin a man who had lost someone unexpectedly and was in almost physical pain trying to reach that person one last time. It may have been the mood I wa sin, but it was one of the most vivid and tragic Giselles--as a partnership--that I have ever seen.

#11 Margot

Margot

    Member

  • New Member
  • PipPip
  • 24 posts

Posted 20 November 1998 - 02:48 AM

How I would love to ask myself: Who should I see in Giselle next spring? Unfortunately Montréal does not see a lot of GOOD touring companies. We have the National Ballet of Canada which goes on the east coast one year and on the west coast the other. Les Grands Ballets Canadiens have four programs a year and we have le Don des Étoiles. But you know galas... one pas de deux after another, all out of context and without orchestra... So please Dale go see all of them (if you can afford it) and then tell us all about it.

#12 Dale

Dale

    Emeralds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,042 posts

Posted 20 November 1998 - 05:03 AM

I'll be expecting donations from all of you shortly for the tickets Posted Image. Seriously, I think I'm leading towards either Jaffe or Nina A. I read that Viviana Durante will be guesting in the part. Scheduling will also be taken into account as my first interest lies in NYCB. Their seasons overlap much more this coming Spring than in the past because the Kirov is coming in July. -- Dale

#13 Manhattnik

Manhattnik

    Gold Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 847 posts

Posted 05 May 1999 - 08:08 AM

To get back to the original topic of this thread, I thought Martine was one of the best, ever, in just about anything. I'm sorry to read that she didn't like dancing Myrtha; she was magnificent in the role. Tall, grand, with that beautiful soft back... And she always made Myrtha so sympathetic, you could feel her pain and regret when she saw the love between Giselle and Albrecht; something she obviously never had with whomever jilted her back when.

Martine was an amazing Odette/Odile, just gorgeous in the second act, and a sexual dynamo in the Black Swan. She did get one Giselle that I saw with ABT, and it was so strange seeing her in the second act, facing down Jolinda Menendez' Myrtha. It was a promising debut for Martine, but she never had the opportunity to develop her character; after that one performance, it was back to Myrtha for her.

Regarding ABT's Giselles, I saw a bunch of them last year, so here are some thumbnail comments:

McKerrow/Malakhov: They're a wonderful partnership. They both obviously love to work out every minute detail of their characters together. There's a lot of subtle business going on between them in the first act, far more than any other pair I saw. I particularly loved the way they worked it so that when Albrecht kisses Bathilde's hand, Giselle is directly upstage of them, staring at the slowly developing kiss in growing horror. While no other pair actually buried this moment, only M&M made it the Big Moment it should be. McKerrow is a very intelligent and musical dancer. She looked a bit tired, sometimes, last year, but she's been looking great so far this season. And Malakhov is the best classical stylist ABT has.

Ananiashvili/Graffin: Nina was wonderful. Great acting, great technique, great everything. Go see her, if you see anyone. She looks even better this season. Graffin is, well serviceable.

Tuttle/Corella: The sleeper performance of the season for me. Corella was as you'd expect. Ebullient, charismatic and brilliant. The surprise for me was how much Tuttle brought up her own dancing; she was brilliant herself, I thought, not just technically, either; there were moments in the second act so poignant I was reminded of Kirkland. The rapport between her and Corella was astonishingly powerful. It was certainly the most powerful, emotionally, of any Giselle I saw, and I wish ABT would pair Tuttle and Corella more often.

Kent/Carreno: Well, I still don't quite get Julie Kent. Her first act was not good; this was a very one-dimensional Giselle. Her dancing in the second act was big and clear and flawless, but I still didn't get much sense of what her Giselle was feeling. Carreno is fine, big, strong and elegant, although he tended to overdo it with the cape in the first act, and someone should tell him that when one is throwing one's self at the feat of one's lover's freshly-dead corpse, one doesn't stop to toss off a snappy soutenu first.

#14 cargill

cargill

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 645 posts

Posted 05 May 1999 - 08:28 AM

I so agree with you about van Hamel. She was one of the most beautiful dancers I ever saw. I don't think she ever did Lilac Fairy, but talk about being born to grace a role! I am so glad to read what you said about McKerrow and Malakhov's Giselle. I saw it last year and thought it was one of the most complete and believable Giselles I have ever seen, so many wonderful details. It was like watching a brilliant silent film (and I love silent films, so this is meant as the highest compliment.) Did you see Carreno in Giselle this year? Last year I was a bit disappointed in him--I thought he could have done the heartless cad so well, but didn't seem to have much characterization (and I usually like him very much). When I saw it last year, he managed to bow to the audience during the second act while lying on the floor exhausted--all I could think of was Denby's description of Lifar's Albrecht. I was hoping he would rethink it this year, because he could be so wonderful. But I was very disappointed that McKerrow and Malakhov only got one Wednesday matinee of Giselle. So many people will miss a wonderful performance.

#15 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,246 posts

Posted 05 May 1999 - 09:53 AM

Mary, Van Hamel DID do the Lilac Fairy, and she was wonderful. (In the short-lived Messel production.) But I liked her Aurora better, I think. When she hit her mid-'30s, I got the sense that she stopped competing and started enjoying dancing. Some of her performances with Patrick Bissell -- her Kitri and her Aurora -- were very mellow (I mean that in a good way. Not that she grew lazy.)

When I finally met her to do a brief interview, I was amazed at how small she is. She was one who was always getting criticized for being overweight, or at least looking too large on stage (never bothered me).

alexandra


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):