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The Royal's "new" staging of the 1946 Sleeping Beauty


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#16 Solor

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 09:31 AM

The de Valois/Sergeyev text was admirable I thought, a view which was reinforced when I saw the Kirov reconstruction. It was amazing how close the two were.

I think Aurora and her Prince should have the coda to the Grand Pas - I find innocent Ivan and his brothers are a poor substitute.



A few weeks ago, curious about how "authentic" the Royal ballet's text was, I compared the Royal's BEAUTY (w/ Durante) and the Mariinsky reconstruction. I was stunned at how much, after a century, the Royal Ballet retained Petipa's text. Though there were changes, or some would say "improvements", there was a very admirable consistancy between the two, which really says alot about the level of respect and tradition at the Royal Ballet. BRAVO! I dont know if it still being retained, but the Ashton? Act I Valse was nothing compared to Petipa.

By the way, why did Dowell stop being the RB director?

Alymer - what is this about the coda of the Grand Pas?

#17 richard53dog

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 11:05 AM

Alymer - what is this about the coda of the Grand Pas?


Well, I'll answer, since I dislike this so much. Instead of the Act 3 pdd having a coda, the coda music is taken away and used as a divertissement, I used to hear it called the Three Ivans, but maybe it's more correct as Ivan and his brothers. It looks almost like a variety show act.

So what happens after Aurora's variation, the finale starts

I saw this a number of times with the Royal Ballet in the 70s

I'm not sure where this comes from but I really dislike it.

I'm almost positive that if you look at the An Evening With the Royal Ballet DVD, where they do Aurora's Wedding you can see this.

Richard

#18 Natalia

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 12:28 PM

Richard, the original Sleeping Beauty -- the one that truly premiered in 1890; not the Vikharev new-old reconstruction -- went from Aurora's variation straight to the languid Sarabande. The music for the PDD's Coda was used earlier in the act, danced by (I believe) two of the Jewel fairies...it was a female pdd.

Folks tend to forget that the Vikharev reconstructions are not 100percent authentic, e.g., Soviet variation for the Prince, Soviet GrandPDD coda, lack of Sarabande, etc. Whenever the Vikharev new-old Bayadere is performed back home, the Golden Idol solo of the Soviet Era is shown.

p.s. Vikharev tried his best to be authentic but had to bend to the powers-that-be who insisted on the retention of a few famous post-1890 additions.

#19 richard53dog

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 01:30 PM

Richard, the original Sleeping Beauty -- the one that truly premiered in 1890; not the Vikharev new-old reconstruction -- went from Aurora's variation straight to the languid Sarabande. The music for the PDD's Coda was used earlier in the act, danced by (I believe) two of the Jewel fairies...it was a female pdd.

Folks tend to forget that the Vikharev reconstructions are not 100percent authentic, e.g., Soviet variation for the Prince, Soviet GrandPDD coda, lack of Sarabande, etc. Whenever the Vikharev new-old Bayadere is performed back home, the Golden Idol solo of the Soviet Era is shown.

p.s. Vikharev tried his best to be authentic but had to bend to the powers-that-be who insisted on the retention of a few famous post-1890 additions.



Oh, thanks for the info, Natalia . So, no coda originally.

I can see how their might have been a bit of a committee that Vikharev had to take account of. Still what an accomplishment on these two reconstructions.

So then what the RB is doing isn't really so contrary, just having some character dancing instead of a couple fairies and possibly at a different point in Act 3 .

This makes more sense now!

Richard

#20 Alymer

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 02:29 PM

My recollection of the "Messel" production is that Aurora finishes her variation, takes her call and then Innocent Ivan and his brothers burst onto the stage and we don't see the leading couple again until the Mazurka. De Valois copied this sequence from the Diaghilev Sleeping Princess which she knew well. I find it most unsatisfactory and I hope it won't be reproduced.
According to Professor Wiley what happened after the adagio in the original production is in some doubt. It seems that it was followed by a variation which may have been for the Gold and Sapphire Fairies. Then came Desiree's variation, but again according to Wiley, that which appears in the notation was performed by Nikolai Legat who succeeded Pavel Gerdt in the role. Aurora's variation came next, followed in the Legat notation by the coda. Then the sarabande, followed by the Mazurka and the apotheosis.
I've taken this from Professsor Wiley's book, but I guess we need Doug to put us finally right!

I personally like Ashton's Act I Garland dance and I'll be sorry not to see it again, but the reason the then Sadler's Wells Ballet had to have a new waltz was that there were simply not enough men in the company to attempt the original Petipa. It does occur to me that someone ought to put together all those dances that Ashton made for the Tchaikovsky classics into a divertissment. They're too good to be lost.

Solor asked why Dowell stopped being RB director. I guess the official answer is that his contract came to an end and either he, or the board, or both decided that it would not be renewed. Unofficially, I would say he had been there too long, standards were declining, the repertory was in a rut and, importantly for the board, ticket sales were declining. The fact that his final seasons were more interesting is thanks in great measure to Michael Kaiser who took a strong and informed interest in the running of the ballet company.

#21 doug

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 02:46 PM

It's hard to tell from the notation, plus the fact that the notation was made closer to 1900 than 1890. The coda is notated for Aurora and Desire. There is also a dance for the two fairies. I have always assumed - perhaps wrongly - that this was danced to the now-discarded Entree music, rather than the coda. I *think* the notation bears a "6/8" time signature (the Entree is in 6/8), but I don't have it in front of me and would have to check. In addition, the adagio (with pantomime sentences) and both variations are notated. I love the Legat variation for Desire - very difficult. I would like to see it danced sometime.

#22 Mel Johnson

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 03:32 PM

When I first saw this production (in fact, it was my first Sleeping Beauty), I was still a student, and had no knowledge of the Little Hump-Backed Horse, Ivanushka or his brothers, and always wondered who they were! The old Evening with the Royal Ballet film did substitute the "Trepak" from Nutcracker with no essential harm done, if we wanted a cameo from another ballet. And besides, the Royal had no active version of the other ballet in the repertoire. Plus, we got a coda for Aurora and Desiré, which capped the grand pas de deux off nicely. Didn't Blair's variation in that film follow Legat's version, after a fashion?

#23 richard53dog

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 04:02 PM

When I first saw this production (in fact, it was my first Sleeping Beauty), I was still a student, and had no knowledge of the Little Hump-Backed Horse, Ivanushka or his brothers, and always wondered who they were! The old Evening with the Royal Ballet film did substitute the "Trepak" from Nutcracker with no essential harm done, if we wanted a cameo from another ballet. And besides, the Royal had no active version of the other ballet in the repertoire. Plus, we got a coda for Aurora and Desiré, which capped the grand pas de deux off nicely. Didn't Blair's variation in that film follow Legat's version, after a fashion?



Mel,

You are right about the RB film. I was going on memory, always risky. This Act 3 doesn't match up with the version I saw in my first RB Sleeping Beauties. Desire and Aurora do get their coda here.


Richard

#24 canbelto

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 07:46 PM

I have a sneaking suspicion the "Evening at the Royal Ballet" Aurora's Wedding wasn't the 'typical' one the RB was staging, because it also has a Nutcracker divertissement, which just seems bizarre. I might be wrong but I suspect the film was designed to showcase as many Royal Ballet stars as possible in one film. Strangely, Margot Fonteyn is not nearly as good in this film as she was in the 1955 telecast. Not technically, but personality-wise. She isn't as radiant, and oddly, does not smile throughout the entire pas de deux. But the film is valuable if only for Antoinette Sibley's radiant Florine.
As for the Vikharev reconstruction, I'm surprised he took out the Lilac Fairy's variation. I know it wasn't originally in the 1890 production but it's become such a beloved part of Sleeping Beauty that I'm surprised he didn't give a nod to tradition there.

#25 Paul Parish

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Posted 08 May 2006 - 11:47 PM

Canbelto is SO right -- Fonteyn is oddly kinda hectic, and Sibley is fabulous in the" Evening with the Royal Ballet" The other truly wonderful performance was by the Queen (was it Gerd Larson?). ACtually, seems like there was a lot of sparkle in the jewel fairies, fast astonishing footwork -- was that Merle Park?

#26 canbelto

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 05:16 AM

ACtually, seems like there was a lot of sparkle in the jewel fairies, fast astonishing footwork -- was that Merle Park?


Yes it was! And Georgina Parkinson was another jewel fairy. I forgot the third jewel fairy. I liked Aurora's Wedding overall, I just was surprised that Fonteyn wasn't nearly as great as she was in the 1955 telecast. She is exquisite though in Les Sylphides (as is Nureyev as the Poet). And I loved La Valse.

#27 rg

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 06:18 AM

AN EVENING WITH THE ROYAL BALLET - credits:
Aurora's wedding (Act III of The sleeping beauty) / film directed by Anthony Asquith ; choreography, Nikolai Sergeev after Marius Petipa ; music, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky ; sets and costumes, Oliver Messel ; cast: Fonteyn (Princess Aurora) and David Blair (Florimund); Graham Usher, Merle Park, Georgina Parkinson (Prince Florestan & his sisters); Antoinette Sibley, Brian Shaw (Bluebirds); Douglas Steuart (Puss-in-Boots) & Virginia Wakelyn (White cat); Ann Howard (Red Riding Hood) & Ronald Plaisted (Wolf); Alexander Grant, Keith Milland, Lawrence Ruffell (Three Ivans); Leslie Edwards (Cattalabutte); Ray Powell (Carabosse); Deanne Bergsma (Lilac fairy); Derek Rencher & Gerd Larsen (King Florestan & his queen)

#28 Solor

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 07:18 PM

Richard, the original Sleeping Beauty -- the one that truly premiered in 1890; not the Vikharev new-old reconstruction -- went from Aurora's variation straight to the languid Sarabande. The music for the PDD's Coda was used earlier in the act, danced by (I believe) two of the Jewel fairies...it was a female pdd.



I've got "Tchaikovsky's Ballets" in front of me.....

Actually the coda was danced in 1890, Wiley states that the repetiteur says over bars 25-26 'Brianza'. He also states that the male section of the coda was notated in Nikolai Legat's version.

After the adagio Wiley explains that the notation preseves two variants (what does he mean - variants?) of a pas titled 'Dance after the Pas de Deux/Adagio', which he says is identified in one of the variants as being danced by two woman - the fairies Gold and Sapphire to music in 6/8 that lasts for 38 bars. As far as I know the Entree is longer that 38 bars (?) , maybe it was edited to be more in lines of a classical variation, which are usually about 40 bars or so.....

I was wondering what mucial manuscript Wiley is talking about in the book when he refers to the holograph score and the nouvelle version? Also he refers to a repetiteur (or rep.). Is there a section in the book that explains this? I couldnt find it.

#29 Solor

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 07:37 PM

I have another question, which is a little off topic. I was wondering the source of the extended harp arpeggios of the Rose Adagio and the Vision scene Pas de Deux, which seem to only appear in Soviet productions of Sleeping Beauty. Likewise the Love Duet of Swan Lake has an elaborately extended harp section at the beginning, which again is only part of the Russia versions of the pas.

Tchaikovsky's original harp arpeggios for the Rose Adagio are not nearly as elaborate as the ones used today by the Mariinksy in both the Sergeyev staging and the new/old reconstruction. However Tchaikovsky's original passage for harp at the start of the Vision scene Adagio is very brief, whereas the Mariinksy version, used in both the Sergeyev staging and the new/old reconstruction is again very elaborate - both are sort of done a la the harp arpeggios at the start of the Shades scene of La Bayadere.

I always thought that these extended interludes for harp were from Drigo, but nowhere in Tchaikovsky's Ballets does Wiley mention them.....

#30 Lynette H

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Posted 11 May 2006 - 04:45 AM

A few weeks ago, curious about how "authentic" the Royal ballet's text was, I compared the Royal's BEAUTY (w/ Durante) and the Mariinsky reconstruction. I was stunned at how much, after a century, the Royal Ballet retained Petipa's text. Though there were changes, or some would say "improvements", there was a very admirable consistancy between the two, which really says alot about the level of respect and tradition at the Royal Ballet. BRAVO! I dont know if it still being retained, but the Ashton? Act I Valse was nothing compared to Petipa.


It wasn't Ashton in this particular production.

I was there at the RB performance that was filmed in 1994 with Durante as Aurora. The opening credits state "Choreography: Marius Petipa Production Anthony Dowell assisted by Christopher Carr".

The detailed credits in the small print on the cast list are:

"The Choreography for the fee des Lilas Variation in the prologue is by Feodor Lopokov; the Garland dance in Act I, Kenneth MacMillan; Aurora's Variation and the Prince's Variation in Act II and the Sapphire Variation in Act III, Frederick Ashton; entree and coda in the Act III pas de quatre Anthony Dowell after Frederick Ashton"

I hope the credits given are as detailed in the new production.


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