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But what about Prince Siegfried??Who's your favourite?


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#16 Jane Simpson

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 09:14 AM

In a recent Yanowksy/Greve Swan Lake at Covent Garden, I noticed Greve watching Odile with the dazed but happy expression of a young man who's fallen in love with a mysterious stranger and now finds that as well as being beautiful and entrancing she's also the hottest thing in town - he can't believe his luck. He's definitely not stupid!

#17 SandyMcKean

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 11:14 AM

I don't think Siegfried is a dolt at all, just human.

I might agree with you (and your well constructed arguments) IF Siegfried were perhaps 12 years old.

......have to fall back to one of the princesses

Ah, such a horrible fate????? Seems like your case for Siegfried primarily depends on him doing his kingly duty. So then he ought to grow up and get on with it!

#18 Helene

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 11:23 AM

......have to fall back to one of the princesses

Ah, such a horrible fate????? Seems like your case for Siegfried primarily depends on him doing his kingly duty. So then he ought to grow up and get on with it!

I don't think that's the essence of my "case" at all. There is pressure on him to fulfill his kingly duty. If he did this -- marry one of the princesses and have lots of Odettes on the side -- there wouldn't be a story. That he fights against this and is looking for something else -- something he can't quite put his finger on, reflected in the yearning of Tchaikovsky's music -- is the catalyst for the story.

If everyone in the human race made rational decisions under pressure and emotional duress the majority of the time, I night put Siegfried in the "dolt" category, but I don't think many people would pass Navy Seal training, let alone live up to that standard.

#19 SandyMcKean

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 12:11 PM

.....marry one of the princesses and have lots of Odettes on the side -- there wouldn't be a story.

Sounds like a helluva story to me :wink:.

#20 nysusan

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 03:14 PM

This is a fascinating thread – I think that the role of Siegfried is often performed with little thought except to get through the steps and the partnering, but it can also be a really meaty role. As with so much else about Swan Lake it is just layered with metaphor & symbolism and thereby presents endless interpretive possibilities. There have been some great points made in this thread, I would just like to add a couple of my own thoughts as they relate to some of Helene’s points.

I think there are several things that are important to consider, regardless of the dramatic framework of a given production:


2. Any Siegfried, however clueless, would know that the obligation and expectation was that he'd marry, produce heirs, and rule the kingdom within the conventions of his time (i.e., with a lot of private leeway and public responsibility)


6. People are different in public all dressed up than they are in private. If there's a discrepancy between the private Odette and the public Odile, which he is processing throughout their scenes together, he has incentive to conflate the two. From his point of view, his life is on the line, however he misunderstands and underestimates how (except in the Soviet happy ending).


Let’s not forget that from the minute Siegfried falls for Odette he is betraying his duty to his kingdom – he’s not just risking his own life he’s also risking the future of his people. After all, a feudal kingdom without a king is ripe for invasion and as the only heir his people have been waiting for him to grow up and take the throne

Also – no matter how blatant his Odile it’s hard to blame Siegfried completely for mistaking her for Odette. In addition to the confusion and pressure that Helene describes even the most evil Odile LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE ODETTE. I mean, come on – it’s the same dancer. She may behave differently, but she's literally exactly the same person. They’re identical – who wouldn’t be confused.

I loved the young Nureyev but he’s never been my favorite Siegfried, for me that was Ivan Nagy and more recently the magnificent Marcello Gomes.

#21 bart

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 03:22 PM

I loved the young Nureyev but he’s never been my favorite Siegfried, for me that was Ivan Nagy and more recently the magnificent Marcello Gomes.

I was ialways deeply mpressed by Nagy, but there's a big hole in my memory where the details of his Siegfried should be. What was he like, nysusan?

Also, about Gomes, I've seen the video of his remarkable, memorable Rothbart. What was his Siegfried like?

Have there been other dancers who were exceptional as both Siegfried and Rothbart at the same stage in their careers?

#22 nysusan

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 09:58 AM

What I remember most about Nagy's Siegfried is the elegance of his line and the uncontrived nature of his portrayal. I recall a simple, straightforward reading of the role on his part without one ounce of insincerity or condescension. You believed that he believed completely in what he was doing.

Gomes has a unique combination of qualities that make him my favorite current Siegfreid. He isn't the quite the greatest jumper or turner around - not in the Acosta/Cornejo/Corella league - IMO he's just a notch below their level in terms of "WOW" factor, but still very impressive. He also has beautiful line and what I think would be referred to as ballon. I know that ballon usually refers to the way a dancer 'hangs' in the air at the top of a jump but the quality I see in Gomes is the way he lands from jumps - with a big, soft deep plie that kind of steals time at the end of a jump or phrase. That gives his dancing a very plush, romantic look. He also presents the ballerina like no dancer I've ever seen - I really think it is impossible for a ballerina to look bad when he's partnering her. Finally, his acting is very compelling, and he always interacts on a very deep level with his partner. I've seen him twice with Part and the passion they bring to SL is incredible. He's also scheduled to dance it with Vishneva at ABT this season, so I have my fingers crossed hoping that his knees hold out! I think it is very unusual for a dancer to be so acclaimed as both Siegfried and von Rothbart - but then I don't know of any other production that gives von Rothbart the opportunity to steal the show like McKenzie's does.

I don't want to give the impression that I didn't like Nureyev's Siegfried - I just don't really remember him live and I don't like him in the taped version I've seen - the Berlin Staatsopera tape circa 1968. I saw him twice with Fonteyn in the RB production in the late sixties or early seventies and I remember liking him very much but I don't remember any details or what it was that I liked about him. All I remember from those performances is Fonteyn, and the huge impact the two of them made together. I still remember small details of Fonteyn's Odette, but I remember nothing of Nureyev's Siegfried from those live performances.

#23 Ostrich

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 11:08 AM

Have there been other dancers who were exceptional as both Siegfried and Rothbart at the same stage in their careers?


Interesting question. It requires a dancer who can perform two directly opposing characters. Nikolai Tsiskaridze, an unforgettable Rothbart, has also performed Siegfried on occasions, but whether his performance as Siegfried lived up to the standard he set by his Rothbart I don't know, never having seen it.

#24 fandeballet

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 10:21 AM

I love Carlos Acosta, but I have to admit that Gomes is the greatest all-round Siegfred I have ever seen. His character development in all ballets is what a ballet artist should strive for. IMO Gomes would have fit in perfectly with the Royal and Stugart Ballet co's of the 60's and 70's with McMillan and Cranko!!!!

#25 carbro

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 10:34 AM

IMO Gomes would have fit in perfectly with the Royal and Stugart Ballet co's of the 60's and 70's with McMillan and Cranko!!!!

But aren't we lucky to have him in our time and place!

#26 aurora

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 10:46 AM

But aren't we lucky to have him in our time and place!


we certainly are, as is ABT (especially the ladies of ABT!) :clapping:

I have to say I am loving this appreciation of him. Given that, as admitted earlier, he isnt the dancer with the most explosive pyrotechnics, he's the kind of dancer who could perhaps have been somewhat overlooked.

But the fact that people appreciate him is really heartening to those who value artistry over flash. Not to say he doesn't have charisma--i think his von rothbart is breathtaking and am sorry he won't be doing that this season, though his siegfried is certainly good compensation :clapping:

#27 jllaney

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 11:49 AM

But aren't we lucky to have him in our time and place!



I have to say I am loving this appreciation of him. Given that, as admitted earlier, he isnt the dancer with the most explosive pyrotechnics, he's the kind of dancer who could perhaps have been somewhat overlooked.

But the fact that people appreciate him is really heartening to those who value artistry over flash.


He certainly seems to value artistry over flash as his dancing is always in good taste.

#28 Mel Johnson

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 03:49 PM

I always like Nicolai Fadeyechev and Maris Liepa of the Bolshoi in the Gorskized version done in the 50s and 60s. They got much longer variations than in other versions. It used the whole male variation from the 1877 version with the violin solo to start and finished with a fairly extended coda. If I recall correctly, Siegfried started with a combination of steps around the stage which always had a double cabriole back in every "turn" in the melody. I used to try to do it. Thought I was gonna die!

#29 Andrei

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 06:06 PM

I agree with Mel, Nikolay Fadeechev from Bolshoy and, before him Konstantin Sergeev from Mariinsky were outstanding Siegfrieds.

I'd like Helene idea, that Siegfried run to the lake, because he strucked by the mother's plans about wedding.

Now, anybody can explain to me, why Siegfried, if he really felt in love with Odette, left the lake without her? Or, at least, didn't invite her to the party? Why he didn't tell to the mother about Odette?

#30 Mel Johnson

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 06:40 PM

Well, he leaves the lake without Odette because she has to go back to her day job, and as for his mother, she's already told him she doesn't like him hanging out with commoners. Can you imagine her reaction to, "Mom, I've met this girl...who works as part-time poultry."


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