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Natalia Makarova


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#1 Guest_Old Board_*

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Posted 05 November 1998 - 08:07 PM

The best performance I ever saw was Makarova and Dowell in Swan Lake, many years ago, in Los Angeles at the Shrine Auditorium. Unbelieveable.
Giannina

#2 Guest_Alexandra Tomalonis_*

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Posted 05 November 1998 - 08:07 PM

Like Giannina, the most moving performance I've ever seen was ABT's "Swan Lake" with Makarova and Dowell at the Met in 1978. Watching Makarova, for the first time in my life "breathtaking" became a reality rather than a cliche. Her performance moved me in a way that no dancer, actor, singer or writer has, previously or ever since.

Steve Keeley

(Sorry, Steve. I should have put in "Old Board" instead of my name.)


[This message has been edited by Alexandra Tomalonis (edited 11-05-98).]

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Posted 05 November 1998 - 08:09 PM

This is not one of those dreaded "me, too" posts, but the single greatest performance of ANYTHING I have ever attended was also SWAN LAKE with Makarova and the ABT. This one in the Auditorium Theater in Chicago, 1972 or 1973. Ivan Nagy was the prince. My wife and I still use our response to that performance as a touchstone for measuring the quality of ballet, opera or the spoken theater. It was as thrilling and shocking as any experience I have had as an audience member.

Ed Waffle

#4 Guest_gkimbrough_*

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Posted 06 November 1998 - 03:40 PM

Makarova and Nagy, ABT 1973. Yup. I think
it was probably the same tour that Ed saw
in Chicago. I saw them in LA. Yup, pretty
much defined Classical Perfection in my mind.
I spent my whole career trying not to compare
every Swan Lake I was in with that one, else
I'd have jumped in the lake ahead of Siegfried.

But you know, Cynthia Gregory and Erik Bruhn
weren't half bad in the matinee.

#5 Jane Simpson

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Posted 11 November 1998 - 01:23 PM

Just to show we don't all see things the same, I saw Makarova's Swan Lake several times and I couldn't STAND her: the way she slowed the music right down for the Act 2 pas de deux used to make me want to scream! She came over to me as very studied and completely unspontaneous, as if she'd had 103 rehearsals and would never change a movement of her little finger (whereas Kirkland, who probably HAD had 103 etc, came over as if she was making it up as she went along. Not in Swan Lake, of course - I only saw her as Juliet and Aurora.)

#6 Giannina

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Posted 12 November 1998 - 10:11 AM

There's a tape of Makarova rehearsing one of Robbins' ballets with Robbins. He's telling her to dance ON the beat and she says she isn't doing that because she wants the dancing to "flow". "It'll flow, just do it on the beat", pleads Robbins. No meeting of the minds there! Makarova did play with tempo and was a fanatic about "phrasing". I have much of "Swan Lake" memorized but not all of the solos. Unlike Jane I would often get the impression that Makarova was making up her "Swan Lake" 2nd Act solos as she went along. It's as if she was thinking, "I think I'll show them a little [name a step] here; I feel like throwing in a [name another step] here". I forgave her just about anything.
Giannina

[This message has been edited by Giannina Mooney (edited 11-12-98).]

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 12 November 1998 - 11:27 AM

Thanks, Jane, for having the courage to say what I've been wanting to say! I was not a Makarova fan either. Partly because I was a Fonteyn fan, and loved the Fonteyn body and Fonteyn classicism. I saw so many dancers in ABT who could have been "after Fonteyns" change their line to be "after Makarovas." Also, she never moved me. I remember the Giselles, so beautifully danced, and I'd be all set to be swept up by the mad scene, but the same sense that she was calculating about what she was doing -- all too aware of her effect -- stopped it.
The one thing I adored Makarova in was the Don Q pas de deux. In that, the playing to the audience, the snapping of the fan, the whole show, was in the right key. (Strange, in the one performance of her Kitri in the full ballet that I saw, she didn't have the same effect and seemed, of all things, rather palid.)
alexandra

#8 Jane Simpson

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Posted 12 November 1998 - 12:03 PM

I did finally see a performance by Makarova that moved me very much - quite late in her career she did John Cranko's 'Onegin' with English National, and in the last scene, where she rejects Onegin, I felt she finally let herself go and she was fantastic! I was very pleased that I could at last feel part of the ovation she got.

#9 Dale

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Posted 14 November 1998 - 06:11 AM

I saw Makarova do Swan Lake and it was very beautiful but the white acts were soooo sloooow! Same with Giselle.

#10 Janneke

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:45 AM

I was looking for somewhere to share this lovely BBC documentary "Makarova Returns", about her return to St Petersburgh in 1989:

 

 

I found her comments towards the end rather interesting, as she perceives a movement from the poetic to something more earth bound in dancers of the time. Although she's speaking more than twenty years ago, we seem to be saying the same thing repeatedly in 2013.

 

(Mods: I did a search and wasn't sure whether it was more appropriate to create a new thread or add to the existing thread, as it is so old. Please move this post if necessary.)



#11 Stage Right

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:30 PM

Just to show we don't all see things the same, I saw Makarova's Swan Lake several times and I couldn't STAND her: the way she slowed the music right down for the Act 2 pas de deux used to make me want to scream! She came over to me as very studied and completely unspontaneous, as if she'd had 103 rehearsals and would never change a movement of her little finger (whereas Kirkland, who probably HAD had 103 etc, came over as if she was making it up as she went along. Not in Swan Lake, of course - I only saw her as Juliet and Aurora.)

 

I felt the same way! I saw her in Swan Lake (I think it was Dowell but it's so long ago I'm not certain anymore), and it was about the least favorite Act 2 pas de deux I've ever seen--usually I love it, but sooo slooow, and felt like no real emotion at all! Nonetheless, I've seen Makarova in other things in which she was wonderful, and I even had the rare privilege of dancing on the same stage with her in Giselle, at a performance in college at Indiana University, around 1972. Her partner then was Ivan Nagy. I danced one of Giselle's friends. During one rehearsal, Makarova had a  mini temper tantrum, stormed out of the room proclaiming that she couldn't dance with us, and Ivan Nagy just gave us a charming smile and said "now girls, you're doing fine, she'll get over it, just move a little to the left here and it'll be lovely. And it was! smile.png



#12 vipa

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 06:10 PM

Just to show we don't all see things the same, I saw Makarova's Swan Lake several times and I couldn't STAND her: the way she slowed the music right down for the Act 2 pas de deux used to make me want to scream! She came over to me as very studied and completely unspontaneous, as if she'd had 103 rehearsals and would never change a movement of her little finger (whereas Kirkland, who probably HAD had 103 etc, came over as if she was making it up as she went along. Not in Swan Lake, of course - I only saw her as Juliet and Aurora.)

 

I so agree with Jane Simpson. I saw Makarova in SL and I too wanted to scream. I saw her SB and it was even worse for me - the distortion of the music drove me crazy.  After a while I just avoided her performances. 



#13 Drew

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:29 PM

A little late in the day--well, in some respects, very late--but I will speak up for the Makarova fans. I considered Makarova's Swan Lake one of the great performances of my ballet-going life--both when I saw her do it shortly after her defection and years later--indeed especially years later with Dowell, though I also enjoyed the performance(s) I saw her give earlier with Nagy.

 

For many years, she was my absolute favorite Odette-Odile--along with Semenyaka, though the latter I only saw once and under very peculiar circumstances. I found Makarova poetic as well as moving and the slow tempos didn't bother me; if anything I felt as if she was eliciting every possible beauty and the deepest possible emotion from the movement. 

 

I wrote that "for many years" she was my absolute favorite. Recently I finally got to see Lopatkina and I was overwhelmed. I would have to say Makarova/Semenyaka/Lopatkina are definitely THE Swan Lake interpreters who have made the profoundest impression on me. As I mused over Lopatkina's performance shortly after seeing it and tried to think who/what I had seen that beautiful as Odette--Makarova was the only name that came to mind, though actually I would still say Semenyaka was the single most exciting Odile I ever saw.

 

(Oddly, I also found Makarova's Giselle too "calculated," as Alexandra mentioned above, though I admired the romantic silhouette of Act II and, like Alexandra too, I quite enjoyed her 'calculated' playfulness in the Don Q pas de deux. But I did also love her as Macmillan's Juliet--with Dowell.)



#14 maps

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:01 AM

My favorite performance of Makarova was in the musical On Your Toes.   I recollect enjoying her ABT performances.



#15 carbro

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 04:50 PM

I was looking for somewhere to share this lovely BBC documentary "Makarova Returns", about her return to St Petersburgh in 1989 ...

Thank you so much, Janneke.  I would urge viewers to click through to Part 2.  So moving!

 

She came over to me as very studied and completely unspontaneous, as if she'd had 103 rehearsals and would never change a movement of her little finger ...

 

With all due respect, and I know you're a veteran ballet watcher, Jane, this is not my experience at all.  I've seen many Makarova O/Os, including two consecutive late-career performances with ABT, separated by only one day (if I recall correctly [maybe it was two days]), each characterization consistent throughout and totally unlike the the one of two nights before/after.  The first was a fiery, passionate, powerful Odette fighting Rothbart's curse with all her might, the second a more subdued one, tender and tragic and doomed from the get-go.

 

I remember, too, one she did with the Royal Ballet in London, 1976.  Her Siegfried (Anthony Dowell?) was injured just that afternoon, and word had it that Makarova herself was having back problems, so there she was with perhaps an unfamiliar partner and not at the top of her own form.  With her great wealth of stagecraft, she knew how to direct the audience's eye.  I was mesmerized by her pointe work -- the smoothness of her releves and deleves.  This may not have been her greatest dramatic interpretation, but it was a unique view of the role and one that I will treasure.

 

I think Makarova knew this ballet so well, the options available to the ballerina at any given moment, that she was able to improvise while looking like this is what she'd planned all along.

A little late in the day--well, in some respects, very late--but I will speak up for the Makarova fans. I considered Makarova's Swan Lake one of the great performances of my ballet-going life--both when I saw her do it shortly after her defection and years later--indeed especially years later with Dowell, though I also enjoyed the performance(s) I saw her give earlier with Nagy.

 

For many years, she was my absolute favorite Odette-Odile--... I found Makarova poetic as well as moving and the slow tempos didn't bother me; if anything I felt as if she was eliciting every possible beauty and the deepest possible emotion from the movement. 

Thank you, Drew.  I agree about Makarova's use of the slow tempi.  Seems also that over time, she did pick them up a little.

 

 

I wrote that "for many years" she was my absolute favorite. Recently I finally got to see Lopatkina and I was overwhelmed. I would have to say Makarova/Semenyaka/Lopatkina are definitely THE Swan Lake interpreters who have made the most profoundest impression on me.  ....

 

Ha-ha, for me, Lopatkina's the one who seems like she's the one who will not change an eyelash from performance to performance.  Her readings are so richly detailed, and it's a joy to see what she's found, but I do miss the suggestion of spontaneity.

 

Oddly, I also found Makarova's Giselle too "calculated," as Alexandra mentioned above, though I admired the romantic silhouette of Act II

 Same here, at least for Act I.  I did not like her as the young heroines, Giselle or Juliet ... until the artistic flowering she underwent after she became a mother.  Then, she found a way to be be convincingly youthful.  On the other hand, Makarova's the only one who, at the start of the Balcony pas, has taken Romeo's hand to her chest and let ME feel her heartbeat.  Yes, I've literally felt it, even way up there in my cheap seat.




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