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La Scala's Bayadèrenew DVD of Makarova production


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#16 carbro

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 10:47 PM

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


. . . . . . . . . . there."
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#17 canbelto

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 11:07 PM

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.

#18 Helene

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 11:12 PM

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).

#19 Geier

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 01:52 AM

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. :(

#20 Natalia

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 04:36 AM

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?"

#21 Dale

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 06:58 AM

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.

#22 rg

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 08:00 AM

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.

#23 Dale

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 08:34 AM

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?

#24 Geier

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 09:00 AM

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.

#25 carbro

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 11:01 AM

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).

#26 Dale

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 11:13 AM

Didn't La Scala broadcast its Sleeping Beauty with Vishneva and Bolle? Maybe that came before the DVD deal.

#27 canbelto

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 11:32 AM

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Zakharova's ear-whacking doesn't bother me that much. It's her coldness as an actress that I find so unappealing. And the fact that she doesn't seem to be growing much as an artist.

#28 Helene

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 12:16 PM

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 premiere in 1962, Conrad Ludlow danced both Titania's Cavalier in Act I, and in the Divertissement (partnering Violette Verdy) in Act II.

#29 volcanohunter

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 02:42 PM

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


. . . . . . . . . . there."
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What bothers me about Zakharova's legs is that in hoisting them up so high, she can't seem to control her supporting leg. I don't think a dancer gains anything from such high développés if she's not able to roll down smoothly off her pointe, or if she can't keep from wobbling once she's got her heel back on the ground. In this respect she fares badly in comparison with Isabelle Guérin's wobble-free Nikiya, who uses her technical assurance to link the steps together into long, long phrases of movement. I don't see much phrasing in Zakharova's performance.

I'm also not overly amazed by Roberto Bolle. He's a fine technician, to be sure, but he doesn't seem especially responsive to music, and while I have no complaints about his legs, his port de bras aren't equally magnificent. In Makarova's Ballerina series, there is a brief film of Fernando Bujones performing Solor's entrance and the subsequent pas de deux from the Kingdom of the Shades, with Cecilia Kerche as Nikiya. The legs, jumps and turns are marvellous, of course, but what really makes his dancing god-like is the majestic carriage and port de bras, the long phrases of movement (again) with their subtle changes of dynamics and, most of all, the unmistakable impression that for him, classicism is a native "language." If Bolle could bring some of that to his own dancing, he could be really terrific.

#30 rg

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 03:13 PM

didn't mean to imply the choreg. wasn't 'adams-inspired' or that it was changed for hayden; was just checking that the record shows the ballet to be first done by hayden.
it's probably best seen as an adams-inspired role despite hayden's participation at the premiere and thereafter.
and again, don't mean to deflect the thread from it's stated theme of la scala.


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