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Swan Lake:Bourmeister vs Petipa-Lev Ivanov version


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#1 87Sigfried87

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 11:54 AM

I have at home these two versions of SwaN Lake: Bourmeister(Zakharova-Bolle version-Scala Theatre) and Petipa-Ivanov(Zelensky-Makhalina version-Kirov ballet).I was wondering why the Black Swan PDDs are different both in music and choreography.To say it all,the male variation in Bourmeister version is taken from Tchaikovsky PDD,the female variation on the other hand completely different and don't know where it comes from.Which one was the original version of Swan Lake as planned by Tchaikovsky?Why are these two variations different and where do the changes come from?It's the only ballet,i think,in which a variation(or a PDD) has a completely different music and doesn't corcern anything with the other version....Even because it would be less weird if it were a comparison between the sad version in which the swan (and the prince) dies and the positive-socialistic happy ending in which they both live.But they are both with happy ending.

#2 rg

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 05:39 PM

the answer re: original in SWAN LAKE is always a complicated saga.
it's best always to start w/ wiley's TCHAIKOVSKY'S BALLETS and then ask further questions etc.

#3 carbro

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 06:19 PM

Thanks, rg!

dancerboy, here's a thread devoted to the Black Swan Pas de Deux: http://ballettalk.in...mp;hl=Swan Lake. I don't know if it will give you everything you want, but it's a start.

#4 Paul Parish

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 10:06 PM

dancerboy, I believe the Moscow Stanslavsky Ballet premiered Bourmeister's version of swan Lake in hte 1950s, and it has enjoyed a large audience ever since. Stanislavsky was of course tha great genius director who invented a system of training actors in psychological realism (the basis of "Method acting) which has dominated the theater in Europe and America for almost a century. SO Bourmeister's ballet emphasizes the psychological dimensions.

The company brought it here to San Francisco a few years back, I saw it and found it brilliant -- full of interesting novelties, but more important, it had a headlong dramatic sweep that was theatrically coherent and quite compelling -- it emphasizes the psychological drama, where the difference between the prince's public face and what's going on inside him is a very painful discrepancy. In the Moscow-Stanislavsky production, it's more the prince's story than it is Odette's -- but it DOES make sense, and it seemed to me very exciting (though overly lurid in Act 3 -- McKenzie's version for ABT seems to get a lot of its lurid ideas from the Moscow Stanislavsky version.

I agree with the description Allan Ulrich wrote here: http://www.voiceofda...500000000000133

So it's an impressive major version of Swan Lake: but the main thing I'd say about it is not how any one famous excerpt is danced but the way all the parts add up -- at least, when you see it live in the theater. not sure how it would look on a video, or in excerpts.

#5 whetherwax

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 02:35 PM

Thank you Paul Parish this is the answer to a question I mistakenly posted elsewhere. It is the psychological dimension that is so compelling about the Bourmeister version and it also seems to give the male lead dancer more to do.

#6 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 03:41 PM

The advantage that the Petipa version has is compactness; it's a tighter show than the Bourmeister. The latter is problematical as it follows the 1877 score pretty much, and ends up with an hour of Act I, and an Act IV that seems like an afterthought. As a symphonist, Tchaikovsky did a great job, working pretty much in the dark about how to construct a ballet. As a ballet, the 1877 show is highly uneven.

#7 Sacto1654

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 05:08 PM

The advantage that the Petipa version has is compactness; it's a tighter show than the Bourmeister. The latter is problematical as it follows the 1877 score pretty much, and ends up with an hour of Act I, and an Act IV that seems like an afterthought. As a symphonist, Tchaikovsky did a great job, working pretty much in the dark about how to construct a ballet. As a ballet, the 1877 show is highly uneven.


Having listened to the superb Andre Previn orchestral recording of Swan Lake (I got that from the Amazon MP3 download service for only US$8.67! :helpsmilie: ), I can understand why the Bourmeister version has its detractors among the "traditional" ballet fans used to derivatives of the Petipa/Ivanov original. :o By following the 1877 score, that results in a ballet that is just overly long in certain parts and just too short in other parts. Is it small wonder why we're all familiar with the Riccardo Drigo version, which is a consequence of the vastly better story flow of the Petipa/Ivanov version?

#8 Mel Johnson

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 03:05 AM

The 1895 version also adheres to the "unity of the three Bs" rule: bottom, bladder, and boredom. Overtax any one of these three, and your show has problems. A REALLY strong show can overcome these factors, but those are pretty few and far between.

#9 Sacto1654

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 04:12 AM

The 1895 version also adheres to the "unity of the three Bs" rule: bottom, bladder, and boredom. Overtax any one of these three, and your show has problems. A REALLY strong show can overcome these factors, but those are pretty few and far between.


It's also why we've rarely seen full versions of The Sleeping Beauty or La Bayadère produced, too. I believe that the "reconstructed" versions that the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet some times puts on can last nearly four hours including intermissions--I don't think most movies even during the days of CinemaScope "epics" were anything close to that long even with intermissions! :helpsmilie:

#10 Sacto1654

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 01:11 PM

By the way, having seeing the Bourmeister-choreographed version done at the La Scala theater a couple of times straight through on DVD, it's pretty much like taking the original Tchaikovsky music and having the ballet done by a truly competent choreographer like Tchaikovsky wanted in the first place.

However, it's understandable why many balletomanes don't like the Bourmeister version--moving the "Black Swan pas de deux" music back to Act I for a totally different dance sequence can confuse a lot of people used to the music found in Act III (or Act II as it's known in the Petipa/Ivanov version). But interestingly, I actually like the Act III of the Bourmeister version over the Petipa/Ivanov version--there's a better sense of "mystery" in regards to Odile, especially the way she occasionally interweaves around the dancers doing the national dances. I for one would LOVE to see Kirov/Mariinsky principal ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina actually dance in Bourmeister version of Swan Lake, though I'm not sure if Lopatkina can do the somewhat more demanding Odile role, though.

#11 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 01:30 PM

However, it's understandable why many balletomanes don't like the Bourmeister version--moving the "Black Swan pas de deux" music back to Act I for a totally different dance sequence can confuse a lot of people used to the music found in Act III

But then there's the great chance to get back the now well known Tchaikowsky PDD music...such a beautiful piece that i can't stop wondering why was it decided to erase it afterward. :off topic:

#12 Paul Parish

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 02:29 PM

"it's pretty much likeusing taking the original Tchaikovsky music and having the ballet done by a truly competent choreographer like Tchaikovsky wanted in the first place."

well said, Sacto -- I agree. It's very intelligent.
By the way, Lopatkina is really strong. I remember seeing her here in Berkeley in Diamonds dance the very difficult Scherzo as if it were nothing -- of course she was great in the adagio, but the other ballerina (Pavlenko) faded to nothing in rhw scherzo; but when her turn came, Lopatkina flashed with -- well, diamantine strength and clarity. So i bet she COULD do the Odile....


By the way, having seeing the Bourmeister-choreographed version done at the La Scala theater a couple of times straight through on DVD, it's pretty much likeusing taking the original Tchaikovsky music and having the ballet done by a truly competent choreographer like Tchaikovsky wanted in the first place.

However, it's understandable why many balletomanes don't like the Bourmeister version--moving the "Black Swan pas de deux" music back to Act I for a totally different dance sequence can confuse a lot of people used to the music found in Act III (or Act II as it's known in the Petipa/Ivanov version). But interestingly, I actually like the Act III of the Bourmeister version over the Petipa/Ivanov version--there's a better sense of "mystery" in regards to Odile, especially the way she ocassionally interweaves around the dancers doing the national dances. I for one would LOVE to see Kirov/Mariinsky principal ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina actually dance in Bourmeister version of Swan Lake, though I'm not sure if Lopatkina can do the somewhat more demanding Odile role, though.



#13 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 03:14 PM

Question: Does Bourmeister uses the original "Tempo di Valse"-(female variation)- music on the Merry Makers PDD ? How does he portray these characters...? (I'm very curious about it, as they were totally thrown into oblivion) What about his Odile's variation..? Is it the original one-(TPDD)- or the common taking from the III Act Pas de Six-(with the oboe)...?

#14 Sacto1654

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 04:55 PM

well said, Sacto -- I agree. It's very intelligent.
By the way, Lopatkina is really strong. I remember seeing her here in Berkeley in Diamonds dance the very difficult Scherzo as if it were nothing -- of course she was great in the adagio, but the other ballerina (Pavlenko) faded to nothing in the scherzo; but when her turn came, Lopatkina flashed with -- well, diamantine strength and clarity. So i bet she COULD do the Odile....


Actually, the more I think about it, a ballerina like Diana Vishneva (Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet) or Maria Alexandrova (Bolshoi Ballet) would do very well as Odile in a Bourmeister-choreographed production. Lopatkina is definitely better-suited in the role of Odette, though. :thumbsup:


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