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glebb

Firebird/Kirov

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Greetings from Groningen! Joffrey receiving standing ovations.

Saw Royal Ballet - Le Spectre, Kirov - Les Noces, La Valse and Firebird last night (also a local dancer in a modern version of L'Apres Midi).

First time seeing Fokine version of Firebird and really loved it.

I'm wondering if the scenery and costumes for the Kirov are true to the original or re-done based on the original designs. I loved them but they look reimagined to me. No matter, it was a perfect fairy tale.

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They are basically a reconstruction of the Bakst originals. The Firebird herself wears a substantially different costume though.

Personally I prefer the Goncharova designs used by the Royal Ballet, but both are beautiful.

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glebb, did the Firebird re-appear at the end to bless the wedding? I really miss her fly-by in the current NYCB version...

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the Firebird character does not re-appear for the final tableau of Fokine's staging: both this character and that of Kastchei 'have vanished' in cyril beaumont's words about the final tableau of fokine's staging in his 'complete book of ballets.'

this is true for both the staging as it was performed in the original golovine settings and in the later ones by goncharova.

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the Firebird character does not re-appear for the final tableau of Fokine's staging: both this character and that of Kastchei 'have vanished' in cyril beaumont's words about the final tableau of fokine's staging in his 'complete book of ballets.'

This (and the fact that Pacific Northwest Ballet is doing Kent Stowell's version of the ballet next week) reminded me of something I'd love to see people discuss.

I've always felt that Firebird, in whatever manifestation, had a fundamental problem at the end of the ballet, finishing as it does with a fairly sedate processional and often a lenthy pose (like a photo opportunity). I love that part of the score, and I suppose I could just listen with my eyes shut (or think of it as a costume parade), but it's so non-kinetic, after such varied activity, that it just seems to wither away. I know that on one level it's the score that dictates this ending, but it just doesn't seem successful. Am I hallucinating, or does anyone else have the same feeling?

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I never gave it much thought before (although I did experience the same perplexity at the stillness of the tableau), but this discussion prompts me to wonder whether Fokine and those successors who followed his model saw it as a means to differentiate the mundane (human, ritualistic) from the fantastic (the encounters with the bird, Katschei, the monsters).

And glebb, congrats to the Joffrey!

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Funny thing is that in the Kirov version some Firebirds re-appear at the end, while others just don't. It really depends of the cast.

When you talk about "non-kinetic", sandik, you really ought to see the new version of the Dutch National Ballet. I'm sure glebb will also share us his impressions about that one. Don't miss it glebb! :wink:

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There have been several productions (Dance Theater of Harlem off the top of my head) where the Firebird reappears (and in the DTH version she's hoisted up above the crowds, so there's even a special effect!), but it still seems so anti-climactic, especially after all that's gone before.

I don't know much about the Dutch NB production -- someone please do describe, or point us in the direction of some information!

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There was some fiddling with the Fokine production immediately after its premiere. First, there is that section of the introduction that always sounded like "clop-clop" to me. There's a good reason for that sound. In the very first performance, the Spirit of Light and the Spirit of Darkness (both horsemen in Russian mythology) rode back and forth across the apron of the stage. The only problem on opening night was that one of the horses went "clop-clop-plop" right on center stage and they couldn't get rid of it until the monsters came on, so here were Ivan and the Firebird and the Princesses all looking down until then, trying to avoid the "land mine".

And there's a reason why the introduction theme is quoted in the finale; the Firebird was supposed to reappear, bless the marriage, and then fly off to the sound of the "bell-ringing" effect in the brasses. Karsavina did this, but Flying by Foy hadn't been invented yet, and she hung up about some twenty feet up, twisting slowly, slowly in the wind, trying to make the best of a Bad Situation.

Both of these specialties didn't make it to the second performance of the ballet.

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Mel, thank you for clarifying the Firebird's final appearance (or non-appearance, as the case may be)...it certainly makes sense for her to sweep thru, both musically and in terms of the story. I would leave out the flying apparatus, but surely a few jetees and a final arabesque are called for. I seem to recall a performance that ended with the Firebird center-stage in a sort of Lilac Fairy pose as the court paid hommage to her. It was really attractive and brought everything full-circle. After all, it's her ballet...

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I saw that Firebird, too, Glebb. It was better than the awful Les Noces on the same program, but it was definitely below par IMO. I also doubt it was 100% original Fokine.

Some time ago btw I opened a topic for the Diaghilev Festival here:

http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...t=0#entry149492

I agree with you Herman Stevens. Les Noces was sadly under rehearsed.

There were many things in La Valse and Firebird that I would have worked on as well, but having never seen the Fokine version (and I agree that it must not have been 100 per cent Fokine - I doubt Tata wore silver nail polish too), it was still so good for me to see.

PS I'm sorry I missed meeting you!

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Time to resurrect Firebird thanks to the current Diaghilev-Fokine triple bill at the Kennedy Center (January 2012)! It's been a while since we discussed various versions here, in the context of seeing the current Kirov-Mariinsky version, which dates to 1994, when the choreographer's grand-daughter, Isabel, and Andris Liepa, staged this and Scheherazade on the company, reviving the original stage settings (somewhat abridged).

I remember being 'wowed' by these decors when I witnessed the May 1994 premiere of the revival in St-P. Since then, I have grown to know and love the ca-1920 Nathalie Goncharova-designed version...especially the majesty of the final tableau. Maybe viewing this week's performances at the Kennedy Center will sway me 'Back to Bakst'? smile.png

Of course, the greatest fun will come in comparing both Fokine bersions (Bakst & Goncharova designs) to the yet-to-be-premiered Ratmansky edition, later this spring.

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Time to resurrect Firebird thanks to the current Diaghilev-Fokine triple bill at the Kennedy Center (January 2012)! It's been a while since we discussed various versions here, in the context of seeing the current Kirov-Mariinsky version, which dates to 1994, when the choreographer's grand-daughter, Isabel, and Andris Liepa, staged this and Scheherazade on the company, reviving the original stage settings (somewhat abridged).

I mentioned this elsewhere, but I do find Nina Ananiashvili's Firebird interpretation from the Liepa staging to be the best I've come across. In fact, all the Mariinsky soloists have taken to mimicking her performance in the latest productions of The Firebird. Kondaurova is closest in feel, but she's not the actor that Ananiashvili was.

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The comments about the Balanchine Firebird made me look to see if we'd discussed different versions of the ballet in the past, so I'm bringing back this thread.

In the recent past several of the participants here had plenty to say about the Ratmansky version, but it seemed to get caught up in other aspect of ABT threads -- can we take a census of current productions? Who is still doing the Firebird (or perhaps I should say "a Firebird" since we've had several different ballets created with that score), and what are their strengths and weaknesses?

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Mariinsky of course still dance it - it is so magical, and I love the lighting, scenery, costumes, music - everything about it as well as the choreography of course! It is just like one of the lacquer boxes in the Russian Museum come to life!

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I do love the original production (as I understand it from Royal Ballet and ABT performances) but it seems to be one of those works that has been re-made or remodeled several times. We've all been thinking about Geoffrey Holder lately -- I think that his designs for the John Taras staging at DTH were some of the most distinctive I've seen for the ballet. I'm heading for a contemporary ballet production this weekend with Ballet Bellvue -- who else has taken a turn with this work?

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To begin a list of the non-Fokine versions...

American Ballet Theatre, with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky

English National Ballet, with choreography by George Williamson
SFB, with choreography by Yuri Possokhov

Australian Ballet, with choreography by Graeme Murphy

And various smaller companies:

Houston Ballet, with choreography by James Kudelka
Austin Ballet, with choreography by Stephen Mills

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Kent Stowell made one for Pacific Northwest Ballet, with designs by Ming Cho Lee. It was fairly traditional (setting, story) but choreographically much more neoclassical.

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Glen Tetley, for Royal Danish Ballet

The Kudelka version was created on the National Ballet of Canada

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Maurice BĂ©jart made his version when his company was based in Brussels, although it was first performed by the Paris Opera Ballet, which still dances it. The Firebird is a man. (Surprise!)

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The Ailey company also dances the Bejart version, and do an amazing job, as you might imagine.

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