bart

Nureyev Swan Lake/ what's the music in Rothbart's variation?

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In his version of Swan Lake, Nureyev has inserted a variation for Rothbart in the middle of the Black Swan pas de deux, right before the coda.

The music -- a lovely little waltz -- bears no relationship to the music into which it has been placed.

The choreography --quite elegant -- is not in the character of Rothbart. It is, however, in the character of the Act I Master of Ceremonies (and the Prince's dance master), whom Rothbart has pretended to be. But that character has already started to change for the worst during the course of Act III. No irony appears to be intended.

It's jarring, and it breaks the energy of the pas de deux itself.

Can someone help me with the following questions:

What's the music used here?

What's the point of this particular solo?

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bart, the Swan Lake I have with Nureyev is the Vienna film, with Margot Fonteyn (Philips). I just played the entire Swan Lake and did not find what you say. Evidently, you are talking about another version. Which one is that?

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The current Paris Opera Ballet version.

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The current Paris Opera Ballet version.

Is this the one that also uses different music for the black swan coda? The fouettes I saw in a POB version on youtube were to completely different music. It felt quite odd to me. I don't feel I could even start to judge it on its relative merits because a little voice in my head kept saying "this is WRONG!"

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Sorry, bart, a few minutes after I replied I was thinking of the Paris Opera Swan Lake, which is also a Nureyev's version.

The music that the Von Rothbarth dances in the middle of the Black Swan is in Tchaikovsky's original score, along with the music that Nureyev uses in his Vienna Swan Lake for the Black Swan.

I have the original Bolshoi Ballet audio recording of the original score. I will tell you later where exactly that walz is.

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On the Previn recording(s) I have of TCHAIKOVSKY – THE BALLETS, “Swan Lake” begins the set, and the music used by Nureyev for Rothbart’s solo comes on CD-1 (Act 1), where it’s listed as part C of the 1877 score’s No. 5, Pas de Deux. This “Tempo de valse” precedes the final part of the number, (d), Coda.

In short, Nureyev used the ‘waltz’ preceding the coda, just as Tchaikovsky composed it, originally, of course, when it was meant to accompany a duet in Act 1.

As you know, this pas de deux was moved, with musical revisions, for the Petipa/Ivanov ’95 version to the ballroom act, and given to Odile and Siegfried.

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In short, Nureyev used the ‘waltz’ preceding the coda, just as Tchaikovsky composed it, originally, of course, when it was meant to accompany a duet in Act 1.

Isn't this "Tempo di Valse" the original female "merry maker" variation...? It just didn't make the Petipa/Drigo 1895 cut when they substitued the original Odile/Siegfried PDD, (Tchaikovsky PDD)

:tiphat:

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The music that the Von Rothbarth dances in the middle of the Black Swan is in Tchaikovsky's original score, along with the music that Nureyev uses in his Vienna Swan Lake for the Black Swan.

I have this production too (Vienna 1966) and I greatly dislike it. I'd rather see and hear the non-Nureyev version. It actually threw me when I first saw it.

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re: 'merry maker' variation - i'm don't know what you mean. if you mean what the score labels: No. 6 - Pas d'action (of act 1) and sometimes staged as a little scene with prince's tutor and one of the female ensemble dancers, then definitely not.

if you mean something else, i can't say because i don't know what your designation means.

the only 'number' called 'tempo di valse' in the notes to my previn recording is this one from the 'pas de deux' - the other waltz, the big one, earlier in the act, is simply called No. 2 - valse - intrada.

to review: bart asked about the dvd of the paris opera staging of nureyev's SWAN LAKE (OPUS ARTE) where wolfgang (the tutor)/rothbart is danced by karl paquette and where the 1.28 min. solo in question comes the dvd's track 28.

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bart:

I found the audio recording of Swan Lake I was talking about. I think it was produced in the early 70's with the USSR TV Radio Large Symphony Orchestra conducted by Guennadi Rozhdestvensky. I used to have the original LPs released by Melodiya records. This recording was released on CD in 1982 in the West by MCA Classics. This brilliant recording supposedly follows the original score.

The music that we regularly hear today with the Black Swan pas de deux in theatres and recordings is in the first act of the original Swan Lake score and, of course, had nothing to do with the Black Swan. However, the original Black Swan pas de deux music is what you see in the Vienna production with Nureyev and Fonteyn and in the recent La Scala production with Svetlana Zakharova and Roberto Bolle.

Some music from the first act was taken to the third act replaced the original Black Swan score a few decades ago because that music from the first act had more dramatic impact and suits the Black Swan drama better than the original.

The music in question was number 5 in the original score and is also a pas de deux that consisted of the following sections:

I. Tempo di valse ma non troppo vivo, quasi moderato: This is used as the introduction to the Black Swan pas de deux in regular contemporary productions.

II. Andante. Allegro: This is marked as adagio in the contemporary Black Swan pas de deux!

III. Tempo di valse.

IV. Coda (allegro molto vivace)

I, II and IV are now in the contemporary Black Swan pas de deux, but not No. III. The variations of the prince and Odile were borrowed from other sections of the score.

Unlike his Vienna version, when Nureyev staged the Paris Opera Swan Lake he used the contemporary arrangement for the Black Swan but included the No. III (Tempo di valse) that preceded the coda in the original score in the first act.

That No. III, tempo di valse, is Von Rothbart's variation in Nureyev's Paris version.

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re: 'merry maker' variation - i'm don't know what you mean. if you mean what the score labels: No. 6 - Pas d'action (of act 1) and sometimes staged as a little scene with prince's tutor and one of the female ensemble dancers, then definitely not.

if you mean something else, i can't say because i don't know what your designation means.

the only 'number' called 'tempo di valse' in the notes to my previn recording is this one from the 'pas de deux' - the other waltz, the big one, earlier in the act, is simply called No. 2 - valse - intrada.

to review: bart asked about the dvd of the paris opera staging of nureyev's SWAN LAKE (OPUS ARTE) where wolfgang (the tutor)/rothbart is danced by karl paquette and where the 1.28 min. solo in question comes the dvd's track 28.

HI rg! :tiphat:

Well, i was just refering to the music from the Reisinger/Tchaikovsky's ORIGINAL PRODUCTION . I haven't seen the Nureyev's staging that bart refers to, but i was pointing at the 1877 I Act PDD that would substitute the original III Act PDD, (now TPDD) in 1895 . Isn't it known as the "PDD for two Merry Makers"? Acording to my recording of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal by Charles Dutoit this is the order:

No. 5- Pas de Deux

I-Tempo di valse ma non troppo vivo, quasi moderato. (kept as the Entrada in 1895)

II-Andante (kept as the Adagio in 1895)-Allegro (male merry maker (?) variation arranged and shortened for Siegfried's variation in 1895)-Molto piu mosso (variation's coda, deleted in 1895)

III-TEMPO DI VALSE, (WHICH I ASUME IS THE FEMALE VARIATION OF WHATEVER CHARACTER THIS MERRY MAKER WAS ,DELETED IN 1895 AND SUBSTITUED FOR TCHAIKOVSKY 'S "L'ESPIEGELE" BY DRIGO AS THE NEW "ODILE'S VARIATION")

IV-Coda (Allegro molto vivace). shortened, but kept in 1895

I can be wrong, but so far i thought that this was the way that the changes took place. I apologize if i made a mistake.

:tiphat:

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The variations of the prince and Odile were borrowed from other sections of the score.

According to my Dutoit's Symphonique de Montreal CD with the original 1877 recording, what we know now as the the Siegfried variation, (which was originally intended for this character ,"merry maker" in Act I), WAS THERE SINCE THE REISINGER TIMES, IN A FASTER TEMPO, WITH A DIFFERENT CADENZA , ALMOST TOTALLY PLAYED BY A VIOLIN, AND WITH A SUPER FAST CODA THAT WAS DELETED FOR 1895. Odile's variation for 1895 is Drigo's arrangment of Tchaikovsky's piano piece "L'Espiegele", ("The mischievous child"), as obviously he didn't like the "tempo di valse" that precided the coda for the new Odile's variation, and which i always assumed that, for being after the first variation, (a male "merry maker"?) was danced originally by a supposed "female merry maker"... :tiphat: , and which i think is the music that bart was refering to in the beggining of this thread...

:tiphat:

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The music that we regularly hear today with the Black Swan pas de deux in theatres and recordings is in the first act of the original Swan Lake score and, of course, had nothing to do with the Black Swan. However, the original Black Swan pas de deux music is what you see in the Vienna production with Nureyev and Fonteyn...

I thought Nureyev chose the original because it highlighted (him)Seigfried more than the contemporary. Not that Nureyev was known for catching the spotlight per se ;), but I much prefer the score that was taken from the original in a.I and given to the Black Swan in a.III.

It was done "a few decades ago?" Anyone know by whom? That is the version I grew up with...and I'm talking more than just a few decades ago now; yikes. When I saw the Nureyev and Fonteyn (Vienna '66) production, I was quite disappointed...so, I dove into the finding out why and found the above information as well, minus the person or persons responsible for the change I see and love today. I'll continue to search as to the who and why on that one.

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nin one:

One more detail I can add now about Odile is that it was not originally a black swan. Odile's tutu was white as Odette's. The switch from white to black occurred in Western Europe at the beginning of the 20th century just to bring more dramatism to the character and to the situation by using the color symbolically.

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nin one:

One more detail I can add now about Odile is that it was not originally a black swan. Odile's tutu was white as Odette's. The switch from white to black occurred in Western Europe at the beginning of the 20th century just to bring more dramatism to the character and to the situation by using the color symbolically.

Interesting fact indeed Mariano, thank you! With the evolution that this production has most certainly taken over these many years, it only makes me wonder, what is in store for the future of it? I just hope my Makarova/Nagy (ABT '76) tape never breaks!

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though this thread seems to be growing away from bart's intial question, now answered i trust, about the rothbart variation in nureyev's POB swanlake now on dvd, a few more points are now included.

i lazily took down my previn CDs rather than my dutoit set.

indeed john warrak's commentary on the 1877 score includes the ref. to 'two merry-makers' as pointed out above.

i suspect he's taken his cue for so identifying the characters who might have danced this pas de deux originally composed for act 1 from the original libretto's ref. to the Princess's parting 'words' to her son the prince as: "Make merry, don't hesitiate" [Wiley's TCHAIKOVSKY'S BALLETS p. 322].

wiley himself seems to have found little documentation as to what got staged in act 1 - warrack's Tchaikovsky study predates wiley's, which i find supercedes warrack's.

i can't recall reading much about the actual character and 'shape' of this pas de deux when it was given in act 1. (i suspect warrack's descriptions are as much educated guesses as researched facts.)

as pointed out here already, when petipa moved this pas to serve as that for odile and siegfried various changes were made to re-shape it to his purposes as a showpiece for the leading dancers rather than a number for some incidental characters.

as for the color of odile's tutu, it's true the use of black came later, in the 20th c. and i suspect largely in order to differentiate one excerpted, stand-alone act of swanlake, from another - for ex. the much performed 'swanlake, act 2' as distnguished from the ballroom act w/ odile, etc. etc.

from what i can gather, odile wore various colors, i've read about red, chartruese?, yellow, etc. i don't think anyone quite dressed odile in white - beaumont's THE BALLET CALLED SWAN LAKE posits that white might be best, but i gather his suggesting this 'repeat' of odette's color is a suggestion he felt needed making, since it had not yet taken it up.

i trust this makes some sense and that it's clear my intention was not to make anyone feel 'wrong' - we all gather these often too scrappy bits of past performance history in our way and sort them out the best of our ability.

from my point of view, esp. where SWAN LAKE, is concerned it's nearly impossible to be 100% right as we pick through the long and convoluted history of past.

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A part of the initial post on this thread seems to have been ignored:

What's the point of this particular solo?

To paraphrase Victor Borge, "Nobody knows why except Nureyev, and he is dead."

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nin one:

One more detail I can add now about Odile is that it was not originally a black swan. Odile's tutu was white as Odette's. The switch from white to black occurred in Western Europe at the beginning of the 20th century just to bring more dramatism to the character and to the situation by using the color symbolically.

Are you speaking of the 1877 production? The 1895 costume sketches show Odile (Legnani) dressed in midnight blue, a shade which looks blacker than black in the right lights.

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Mel:

I am not sure at what exact point in the history of the Swan Lake it happened. The 1877 was black as you say but somehow they were wearing the white dress even for the third act until the made the definite switch. That was explained by Maya Plisetskaia in an interview.l

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true, ponomaraev's sketch (printed in presumably reliable color in demidov's LEBEDINOE OZERO [1985] book shows that legnani's odile has this dark ground color pointed out above - midnight blue seems a perfect description - but it's main palette strikes me as the aurora-borealis rays of color that radiate from the breast of the bodice to the edges and from the waist-line to the edge of the tutu skirt.

the same volume has color illustrations of almost flapperlike dresses, with dropped waists, first one for gorsky's 1920 odile in a deep purple scheme. and others for a 1919 bolshoi production (designed by one V. Dyachokov) showing two different odile sketches - one in blacks accented by grey-greens and reddish purples and another in greens and pinks (under a would-be cloak, shaped like wings, in white).

another odile costume sketch (dated 1937 by S. Samokhvalov) shows a more tradtionally cut tutu silhouette, with a very dropped waist, colored in two different grays mated with black.

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Alas, when it comes to Ponomaraev's intentions as to dress color, we may be back to Mr. Borge again. :wink:

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This has turned into a fascinating discussion. And thank you all for your identifcation of music and its connection with in the origins of Swan Lake.

I'm still puzzled about the reason for the insertion at this point, since it's so completely counter to the thrust of the pas de deux music and to the relationship (personal and in dance) between Odile and the Prince. I can see a brief intervention for a truly villainous Rothbart in the midst of the coda, which has been done in some productions. But a full-fledged variation? By a weakly defined character? And to music like this?

What was Nureyev thinking? It can't be, "Oh, I love this little waltz so much. I love to give male dancers a bigger chance to shine in the classics. And I want to show classical purists that I know my Tchaikovsky as well as the history of the 1877 production. So why not put that sweet little Tchaikovsky 1877 that somehow got dropped and let X have a chance to do it?"

Or can it?

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Inference is certainly possible and valid, and that seems as good as any. I have this mental picture, though of a von Rothbart dancing this in the Leslie Hurry costume, which could have served in a pinch as Shahriah in "Scheherazade". And it's not a pretty mental picture, either!

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Mel, do you mean creating a character who intentionally dances against the tone and feeling of the music?

I'm trying to imagine a faux-orienteal Rothbart who uses this gentle music as a kind of "coming out" to the guests -- projecting arrogance and scorn as the gentle court-dance waltz tootles and glides along.

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I grew up listening to the (1877) score of Swan Lake and had the whole thing committed to memory long before I ever saw the ballet (my first was the Petipa/Ivanov/Ashton/Nureyev production for the Royal Ballet with the Leslie Hurry designs), so from my point of view, the waltz ought to precede that coda. It's the music to Odile's variation that I can't stand: such a boring, inconsequential piece from a musical standpoint. I generally don't like Nureyev's tweaking of classics (I grew up with his Sleeping Beauty, too), but I'm glad he found a way of restoring the waltz to Swan Lake. I could never really make my peace with its absence.

As for his rationale for including it, surely it could be discovered. The POB dancers involved in the original production are still living. Has anyone ever come across any comments on the subject from them?

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