volcanohunter

La Scala's Bayadère

34 posts in this topic

Goodness, I hope this doesn't mean that the RB DVD is going out of print! :)

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Goodness, I hope this doesn't mean that the RB DVD is going out of print! :)

On the contrary. The DVD had been out of print, but it's now been reissued at a lower price.

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Oooh! Zakharova is wonderful as Nikiya, so this should be a wonderful DVD!

This web site lists a release date of Feb 27.

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Thank you for the heads up, volcanohunter!

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Last week Film & Arts Channel showed this performance... I saw it three times (2 on sunday and 1 the next friday) and it was awesome!!... Sveta is THE BEST!!... I loved her performance of Nikiya!!!... I record it on vhs and now I'm transfering the video to my laptop :jawdrop:

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I've started watching this DVD, and so far I'm underwhelmed. Zakharova and Bolle seem concerned primarily with showing off their fine legs. I can't really say I expected anything different.

Thoughts, anyone?

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So far I've watched up through the end of the "Shades" scene. The production on DVD moves snippily along - the conductor moves fast and so does the action on stage. Zakharova is quite beautiful (yes, those legs!!) in the Kingdom of the Shades and is also lovely in the dance with flower basket during the wedding scene. Bolle is a good partner, and I find his sturdy virtuosity very satisfying as well - its not overly showy or flashy, but still very athletic and refined.

The rest of the company is underwhelming: Isabel Brusson lacks the required dramatic presence for Gamzatti and also doesn't have technical pizzazz that gets dancers through the role. The Grand Pas de Deux in the wedding scene was tentative and she blandly made her way through that much-excerpted variation. She does have a strikingly beautiful face, though, which makes her staring - I'm not sure if it's meant to be intense of simply blank - impactful on close-up. And those Shades soloists in the Kingdom of the Shades are all smiling brightly, which annoys me: aren't the girls supposed to be dead? It's not quite Don Q... the rest of the corps was perfectly lovely in the Shades scene though, and I thought the filming of it was decent as well.

The DVD is worth it though, for Zakharova. I think she's exquisite in her sections, and Bolle is a wonderful complement.

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And those Shades soloists in the Kingdom of the Shades are all smiling brightly, which annoys me: aren't the girls supposed to be dead?

I wonder: what can one do when faced with whirling waltzes and perky polkas while playing dead Indian temple dancers? At this point I find the Minkus music rather unhelpful.

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Would this or other La Scala DVDs even exist if it weren't for Zakharova's guest starring? At least we get to see the progress & status of a large but little-known European troupe, thanks to the Zakharova connection. Bolle is wonderful, of course, but he alone would not cop a DVD-series deal.

As for Zakharova - I love the legs, insteps & arms/hands but I find her Nikiya to be cold, unmusical, self-absorbed and too diva-ish (seeming to care more about presenting herself -- particularly her legs -- than the character that she is supposed to be portraying). The coldness works well in Shades but absolutly not in the rest. I've finally figured it out: Svetlana Zakharova is Alina Somova with a bit of finesse.

Sorry but I'll take a member of my warm-blooded Holy Quartet -- Vishneva, Pavlenko, Obraztsova and Osipova -- any day over SZ. What a shame that one of those four did not cop that La Scala DVD deal. Vishneva is under-represented on commercial DVDs, while Pavlenko, Obraztsova & Osipova are non-existent. But we have a full Zakharova collection...grrrrr.... Well, at least somebody knows how to market herself. :)

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Would this or other La Scala DVDs even exist if it weren't for Zakharova's guest starring? At least we get to see the progress & status of a large but little-known European troupe, thanks to the Zakharova connection. Bolle is wonderful, of course, but he alone would not cop a DVD-series deal.

I suspect that La Scala's ballet company got this distribution deal on the strength of its opera company's prestige. To be fair, the first three La Scala ballet productions released through TDK--Excelsior, Romeo & Juliet and La Chauve-Souris--did not feature Zakharova. But the fact that the subsequent three releases star the same dancers does suggest that the company is not deep in strength. If I were its AD, I'd be afraid of giving the impression that the company is merely a rent-a-corps for a famous guest ballerina. I wonder which of La Scala's ballet productions will be filmed this year, as we can probably expect to see it on DVD also. Perhaps it will be Sleeping Beauty starring... Svetlana Zakharova :).

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Sorry but I'll take a member of my warm-blooded Holy Quartet -- Vishneva, Pavlenko, Obraztsova and Osipova -- any day over SZ. What a shame that one of those four did not cop that La Scala DVD deal. Vishneva is under-represented on commercial DVDs, while Pavlenko, Obraztsova & Osipova are non-existent. But we have a full Zakharova collection...grrrrr.... Well, at least somebody knows how to market herself.

:clapping::clapping::clapping:

Fully agrees. Zakharova is really, err, overrepresented on video. This Bayadere? I'll say for the millionth time how much I hate Makarova's Bayadere, from the drastic slash and burn of the Engagement scene, to the artificially souped up orhcestrations (so different from the simple but beautiful orchestrations of both the POB and Kirov) to reducing the Shades from 32 to 24, and I don't like her reconstruction of the lost act either. But Zakharova I saw in Bayadere and she's exactly the same here -- beautiful but ice cold. Beautiful in the Shades scene but unaffecting elsewhere. Her Nikya has little vulnerability. She has two expressions -- furrowed brow when she's upset, smile when she's happy.

I agree with Natalia about the underrepresentation on video of a whole generation of dancers. At least we have Vishneva's unforgettable Giselle on dvd.

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I have to admire both Zakharova and La Scala for pulling this off; it looks like a win-win business deal.

For posterity, it will be Zakharova's performances that are discussed, because they'll be on the rare recordings that are preserved. And La Scala will get its name out there.

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For posterity, it will be Zakharova's performances that are discussed, because they'll be on the rare recordings that are preserved.
And all over the world, young ballet students will sit spellbound before the screen and think, "All I have to do to make it as a professional is get my leg

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It's not so much the legs that's bothersome. It's her hammy, unconvincing acting. Furrowed brows and vacant smiles. That being said, her Shades scene is impressive.

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For posterity, it will be Zakharova's performances that are discussed, because they'll be on the rare recordings that are preserved.
And all over the world, young ballet students will sit spellbound before the screen and think, "All I have to do to make it as a professional is get my leg...
I think they've already learned that from Sylvie Guillem (and have ignored any other lesson she might have taught them).

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the subsequent three releases star the same dancers does suggest that the company is not deep in strength. If I were its AD, I'd be afraid of giving the impression that the company is merely a rent-a-corps for a famous guest ballerina.

The filmed Giselle was supposed to be a Ferri and Bolle one, but Ferri’s injury gave space to that strange thing … “Svetlana with a romantic tutu”. Honestly I cannot understand the reason to film another Ferri’s Giselle, this time partnered by Bolle’s insipid Albrecht (no acting, modest batteries – yes, lots of entrechats, but what about the quality????… :foot: ). IMO Bolle is another unreasonably overrepresented dancer in DVD.

I’ve not seen live La Scala Bayadere, but it was broadcasted and a friend recorded it for me: I thought they televised it because they didn’t dare to put it on DVD, but I was wrong. I agree with your comments about Zakharova’s Nikyia, but she is the only watchable thing of that performance. I’ve been told that in the public presentation meeting Makarova said clearly that she was absolutely disappointed by the quality of the company, especially the women.

The next La Scala DVD –or the next televised thing- should be Balanchine Midsummer Night’s Dream, starring all the etoiles: Ferri, Bolle and Murru. I’ve seen one of the performance and I ask myself how the Balanchine trust could accept it. Ferri was good, with her great stage presence; Murru was in a very bad mood (at the end my mood was even worse thinking at the price of the ticket I paid to see his sulky face :clapping: ) and for that reason almost unwatchable; Bolle wasn’t able to create even a pale Oberon and looked physically tired, with a heavy and slow dancing. La Scala public, always enthusiastic, was cold at the end…. a boring and modest performance indeed: I hope that the others were better, but I’m not really confident.

IMO, at the moment the level of La Scala company is very low. Ferri’s retirement is a sort of disaster: nobody can take her place and the “big star” of company is even more the boring Bolle, a sort of idol in Italy (a lot of people consider him not just a good danceurnoble with a clean technique, but also a great and passionate actor and a “virtuoso” :clapping: … ).

Of course Zakharova, returning also for Sleeping Beauty, is an idol too: the best dancer in the world and a fine actress… But the perception of her absolute perfection and greatness is not really consolidated and some perplexity is arising about her acting and her waved legs.

I think that to create a better taste and a culture of ballet, La Scala public should be allowed to watch other ballerinas and some great male dancers too (as a guest they had –and will have- just Sarafanov for Lacotte’s Sylphide, La Bayadere and Sleeping Beauty!).

Carla Fracci in Rome is doing a good job, with a rich, interesting and unusual programming (well, not everything is good, but the majority of the productions is really interesting) and with several guests (Obraztsova, Fadeyev, Lunkina, Yebra, Picone, Lund, Lezhnina, Bolle himself and others…). :clapping: The centre of the Italian ballet cultural movement has probably moved to the capital city and La Scala seems to live just of its great, but empty, name. :(

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I have to admire both Zakharova and La Scala for pulling this off; it looks like a win-win business deal.

For posterity, it will be Zakharova's performances that are discussed, because they'll be on the rare recordings that are preserved. And La Scala will get its name out there.

Yeah...but it may backfire. Ever hear about Florence Foster Jenkins? She was a horribly-sounding ca-1900 opera singer who is one of the most over-represented singers during the early recording era. She had lots of fans around the world because she recorded the arias that people wanted to hear. She copped the deal with RCA Victor because of her wealthy husband paying-off the nacsent recording industry. Now -- 100 yrs later -- she's the biggest joke around. Maybe 100 yrs from now balletomanes will be using Zakharova tapes so say "Can you believe that this is what was applauded 100 yrs ago?"

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Geier, thank you for your frank (and hilarious) assessment of La Scala.

Re: Midsummer. When La Scala first staged the ballet there I thought the casting was backward but I figured it was done to cast the company's best dancers. In Balanchine's ballet, Titania is a tall dancer, Oberon short or shortish (or at least a certain type of dancer capable of the choreography made on Villella). And Titania seems built to exploit the long legs of Diana Adams.

re: the DVD. After skimming thorugh it, I decided to watch the DVD side-by-side-by-side with the previous recordings of this production. Zakharova shows off her physical capabilities, but can't match Altynai Asylmuratova's and Makarova's emotional depth.

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dale, are you noting that titania was made for adams, even tho' the first cast ended up with hayden in the role?

it's unclear, it would seem, that adams ever danced this queen of the fairies at all. e.gorey told me he heard she'd danced it once in washington, d.c. but when a friend close to farrell asked if she had any recollection of this happening, farrell had no memory of it, but added that if it had happened, she can't imagine not having made a point of seeing it. thus she doubted this to be true.

i don't know if gorey heard this from adams herself or from someone who'd heard tell.

sorry to go off topic, but i concur that the titania/oberon tall/short disparity was intended by balanchine who noted somewhere that oberon was a dwarf.

wasn't, speaking of scala, it this staging that cast the divertissement couple w/the same dancers who performed titania and oberon - in the same performance? another big mistake in my view.

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Yes, rg, to your question. When I watch the ballet, it seems as if the choreography in the three major sections for Titania very much takes advantage of the unfurling leg, which is so beautiful on long-legged dancers. It doesn't have the same effect, to me, on smaller dancers (as I saw recently at PA Ballet). But I guess in a production that uses Titania and Oberon as the leads in the Divert., it would make sense to use dancers who could be used as "partners" in both sections.

re: Adams. I know less than you on that accord, only what I've read on various threads here. Was the choreography adjusted or changed for Hayden after Adams dropped out?

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wasn't, speaking of scala, it this staging that cast the divertissement couple w/the same dancers who performed titania and oberon - in the same performance? another big mistake in my view.

It depends on the cast: Ferri doesn't dance the divertissement pdd, I think the other Titanias dance it. Oberon doesn't dance the pdd: Titania's cavalier dances it, I think that sometimes he is the same dancer of the first act, some other not.

In the performance I saw that pdd was danced by Marta Romagna and Mick Zeni.

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At the risk of taking this thread too far :jawdrop: :

In Balanchine's ballet, Titania is a tall dancer, Oberon short or shortish (or at least a certain type of dancer capable of the choreography made on Villella). And Titania seems built to exploit the long legs of Diana Adams.
Funny. Just last night/this morning, Classic Arts Showcase gave me the great gift of Patricia Barker's gorgeous Bower Scene pdd, and I found myself thinking of Adams. Sometimes, paradoxically, I find that watching ballet from the distance of the small screen -- the lessened immediacy compared to live -- can reveal things we overlook when watching live. Or maybe it's just the pajama factor.

Barker's dancing here is ravishing. And somehow, I felt that I suddenly understood Adams (whom I've seen only in short clips here and there and Gene Kelly's Invitation to the Dance) in a way I hadn't before, just as I feel I know LeClerq best from the Second Movement of Symphony in C (which was reworked from Palais de Cristal).

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