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Costumes: the good, the bad, and the ugly


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#16 Helene

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 04:36 PM

A even more modern view is Peter Martins', where the Prince grabs the crown from the King at the end and crowns himself, a bit like Napoleon.

Sorry, that was more in line with:

Props: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

#17 Ari

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 04:40 PM

Whoa! The prince doesn't grab the crown from the king. :D A courtier (the French/Russian version of the Archbishop of Canterbury?) removes the crowns from both the king and queen and crowns Aurora and Desiré. An orderly progression of power from one generation to the next.

#18 bart

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 06:12 PM

We're a long way from costumes, but this is a ballet from the 1890s. The Tsar's father had been assaassinated by revolutionaries; secret societies, secret police, terrorist organizations (outside and inside the government) were in everyone's consciousness; the pogroms in the Ukraine were beginning. Even in liberal circles there was strong criticism of the isolation of the Tsar and his advisors (the "court") from the realities of Russian society. Upper class audiences may have wished to escape into an evening of fantasy (a la "everything is beautiful at the ballet"). But can sophisticated people like the creators of Sleeping Beauty have been unaware of the potential tensions and ironies in their story?

Fonteyn shines in the earlier Royal production, which may indeed have been conceived to escape the horrible memories of World War II. But its smug, pallid, designs and exaggerated (but low energy) courtly posturing don't do justice to the music or to the dramatic tension built into the libretto.

Related question: in Soviet Era ballets about various royals, what were those tight, curly white wigs worn by romantic leads all abouts? Why did state theaters sentimentalize the ruling class they had just wiped out a generation earlier?

Edited by bart, 19 April 2005 - 06:20 PM.


#19 canbelto

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 07:21 PM

I cant believe I forgot: Yuri Grigorivich's Nutcracker has some of the ugliest costumes I have ever seen in a ballet production. But the ugliest of the ugly has to be the "Mrs. Bates" wigs the snowflakes have to wear. I'm not exaggerating -- they're straight out of Psycho, it seems.

#20 Helene

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 11:23 PM

Whoa!  The prince doesn't grab the crown from the king.    :D  A courtier (the French/Russian version of the Archbishop of Canterbury?) removes the crowns from both the king and queen and crowns Aurora and Desiré.  An orderly progression of power from one generation to the next.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

When I saw it, the prince crowned himself. Perhaps it was toned down after the initial criticism that suggested this was a metaphor for the passing of the Company from Balanchine to Martins.

#21 ami1436

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 04:44 AM

Alina Cojocaru's all-black-outside/red-underskirt, V-necked, long-sleeved tutu in the last act of Don Q. It manages to make this teenage-looking, delicate, petite beauty look like an overweight matron.

I saw Cojocaru in this tutu at the recent Mariinsky Festival, in St Petersburg. It was much commented on, negatively,  in the Russian websites.

I wonder if this is the regular Don Q/final act tutu that is worn by all Royal Ballet ballerinas, in the current Royal production? Do *any* of the Royal's ballerinas look good in this?

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I've actually never seen that costume! In the Don Q that was televised here a few years ago, the Act III costumes are white and red with a bit of gold. However, at the tsunami gala Tamara Rojo wore a gorgeous black and red camisole tutu....

#22 sandik

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 12:53 PM

Whoa!† The prince doesn't grab the crown from the king.† † :D† A courtier (the French/Russian version of the Archbishop of Canterbury?) removes the crowns from both the king and queen and crowns Aurora and Desir&eacute;.† An orderly progression of power from one generation to the next.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

When I saw it, the prince crowned himself. Perhaps it was toned down after the initial criticism that suggested this was a metaphor for the passing of the Company from Balanchine to Martins.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Well, Napoleon crowned himself!

#23 atm711

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 10:26 AM

My biggest costume problem is with Spectre of the Rose. There is nothing enchanting or beautiful or resembling a rose on that costume. /


The costume usually makes me feel uncomfortable, especially when I am with someone who is not normally a ballet-goer. I have yet to see it flatter any dancer.

#24 Juliet

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 10:45 AM

My biggest costume problem is with Spectre of the Rose. There is nothing enchanting or beautiful or resembling a rose on that costume. /


"The costume usually makes me feel uncomfortable, especially when I am with someone who is not normally a ballet-goer. I have yet to see it flatter any dancer."


Vladimir Malakhov.
He looked wonderful and danced exquisitely.

#25 ami1436

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 04:47 AM

My biggest costume problem is with Spectre of the Rose. There is nothing enchanting or beautiful or resembling a rose on that costume. /


"The costume usually makes me feel uncomfortable, especially when I am with someone who is not normally a ballet-goer. I have yet to see it flatter any dancer."


Vladimir Malakhov.
He looked wonderful and danced exquisitely.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I think Ivan Putrov looked fabulous in Spectre as well....

#26 dirac

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 01:02 PM

My biggest costume problem is with Spectre of the Rose. There is nothing enchanting or beautiful or resembling a rose on that costume. The tank top emphasises the muscles and the head cap most of the times looks like auntie's diving cap from the fifties. I realise that most people must not agree with me, since the costume is reproduced time and again but it almost ruins Spectre for me.


Iím inclined to agree, chris217. But I suspect itís too famous to do away with.


Iíll never forget Steve Martin wearing it for a Saturday Night Live sketch, with Gilda Radner. He didnít look bad, either. :crying:

#27 Gina Ness

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 08:03 PM

How did I miss Steve Martin in a "Spectre" costume? :D Manuel Legris in that costume and role.... :(

#28 Paul Parish

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 11:17 PM

I;'m with you, GIna--

Manuel Legris looked competely natural and absolutely beautiful in that Spectre costume, spinning, standing still, twirling his arms overhead, or doing cabrioles....
What art it must take to make all that look unaffected and natural. He's da bomb.....

#29 MinkusPugni

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 09:19 PM

To me, a bad costume (or bad costumes) means the start of a bad performance. It can only go down-hill from there. Some great costumes I've seen are "La Fille mal Gardee" by the Australian ballet (the chicken costumes are so real!)

#30 Cygnet

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 01:50 PM

Lately, the most beautiful costumes I've seen are in Eifman's 'Anna Karenina.'
I agree re the Bjornsen 'Beauty' designs. The scenery gave me the perspective of looking up through a manhole in the street. It totally distorted the dancers'
line and the choreography. How can I forget Catalabutte's black stilettos and Aurora's bedchamber? Her bed was a slide; she slid down to the floor after being kissed. Other scenery & costumes I've never cared for: Dowell's Act 3 & all of Grigorovich's 'Swan Lake' & 'Romeo & Juliet,' the Lyon Ballet's 'Cinderella' ('Chucky Goes To The Ballet'), and Alla Mikhailchenko's black leather s & m Odile tutu.


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