Black and White Swans in Swan LakeKirov 1990 dvd
Posted 05 October 2007 - 02:39 PM
Posted 05 October 2007 - 10:51 PM
Posted 06 October 2007 - 04:18 AM
The question that occurs to me is: how effective can a symbolic visual effect be if it confuses most people -- actually distracting them from what is going on -- and requires reading program notes before the performance?
It seems to me that color symbolism such as that involving the mixed black-white swan in the corps merely puzzles or distracts audiences more than it moves or enlightens them. It seems imposed by the director from above rather than arising from the nature of the story itself. Doesn't this defeat the purpose?
Color symbolism in literature -- and thanks, Mel, for those references to the Tolkien books -- is another matter. A good writer can integrate explanation into his text in a way that someone creating from the stage cannot.
Posted 06 October 2007 - 05:03 AM
Posted 06 October 2007 - 10:31 AM
I'd always assumed that the black swans in the final act were a sign of Seigfried's betrayal.
This symbolism resonates strongly with me.
Posted 06 October 2007 - 01:38 PM
Totally agree...And then, is there any proof of the use of the black swans in the imperial days...any reference in the Sergueyev C.?
The cygnets in Act II are white, so there isn't much reason for them to turn black in Act IV.
Posted 07 October 2007 - 06:53 PM
An interesting rationale for the new look--Does anyone know how long it was performed this way? And why it was changed back to white?
''Mr. Balanchine discussed the idea often and with many people,'' says Peter Martins, the company's co-ballet-master-in-chief. ''His choreography has been retained, of course, but with some small mathematical changes to accommodate the increased number of dancers.'' For this production, the number of swan maidens attending the Swan Queen has been increased from 22 to 28.
''Balanchine was very excited at the idea of the black swans,'' Mr. Kirstein recalls. ''He thought it might make us see the ballet again. Our 'Swan Lake' has never been traditional, anyway. Balanchine created it as an homage to Lev Ivanov, the choreographer of the lakeside acts. The idea always has been to challenge our received notions of 'Swan Lake' in order to discover the possibilities within the greatest score ever composed for a ballet. Actually, the score always has been the problem.''
It wasn't changed back to white, but Martins' full-length Swan Lake has (probably temporarily) replaced Mr. B's 1 act sort-of-synopsis. Probably some season in the not-too-distant future, they will bring back the one act, and the black swans will reappear.
Posted 07 October 2007 - 10:02 PM
Posted 08 October 2007 - 04:32 AM
since most productions in the west referred, at least early on, to the extant petipa/ivanov scheme, this detailing would have been included as a matter of course when budget allowed.
there is a striking photo of a very young vera trefilova in a black swan maiden costume, complete w/ black tights, black toeshoes and unbound hair, in a cat. of historic opera/ballet images from an exhibit celebrating the maryinsky - 1783 - 2003.
so the initial appearance of these dark-toned swan maidens seems to have been for adolescent, student dancers.
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