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"Sleeping Beauty" on DVDneeding advise...


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21 replies to this topic

#16 bart

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 03:50 PM

A Sleeping Beauty I don't like is the Bolshoi 1989 performance with Nina Semizorova, Aleksei Fadeyechev, and Nina Speranskaya, recorded on stage and with a live audience. I always find someething to admire and enjoy in a dvd, so it surprised me that I was so annoyed by this one.

The main performances were stiff and artificial for an enormous part of the production. Granted, we're not used to kewpie doll makeup and short, tight curls and wigs. But what surprised me was Semizorova's graceless, somehow insincere Aurora, from the moment she descended the staircase in Act II. She was tight-mouthed in her turns, and then broke out into a large and extraordinarily false smile when the movement was completed. She did her chaine turns with a grim expression, head bent forward, chin pointed downward. Her Rose Adagio was tentative, stiff, and neither regal nor charming. The balances were smilarly stiff ... and brief ... like something of no special importance to be gotten through as quickly as possible.

Fadeyechev jumped and turned beautifully, equally in both directions, and with amazing lightness and reach. He reminded me of Rolando Sarabia this season in Miami. He is a dancer, however, who does not fare well in close-up. Speranskaya's Lilac Fairy was unique in my experience in not standing out among the other Act I fairies. though her dancing deepened and became more impressive in the Vision scene and in the last Act. She was perhaps best standing and gesturing with the Prince during the extensive Panorama scene.

Yuri Vetrov's travesti Carabossse was amusing rather than frightening, but his control of movement and use of posture, gesture, and gait to convey feeling and advance the story were impressive. Maria Bilova's Princess Florine, though far from the best I've seen, made me wish she were doing Aurora (on this dvd at least) and possibly the Lilac Fairy too.

The heavily-made-up young woman playing the Queen looked as if she had been plucked from the selling floor of a 60s designer boutique and given a heavy dose of Valium. A single blank expression covered every development in the plot -- from just staring into space during the court dances to begging her husband to save the lives of a group of peasant women to looking down on the apparently dead body of her only daughter. What were the dvd producers thinking?

After sitting through the entire ballet, I needed something to rebuild my faith in the wondrous, even transcendent qualities of this work. I found what I was looking for in the Act II entrances and the Rose Adagios of Dupont, Durante, Sylve, and (especially) Fonteyn.

#17 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 09:13 PM

The heavily-made-up young woman playing the Queen looked as if she had been plucked from the selling floor of a 60s designer boutique and given a heavy dose of Valium.

:rofl:

#18 EricMontreal22

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 08:29 PM

I just watched the Kolpakova SB from 1983 and she's ravishing, beautiful in every way, but I don't find this performance, although Sergeyev too, I believe, anywhere near (for the most part, there are some wonderful things in it, including Hans's favourite Boat Scene) as satisfyiing as the 1989 Maryinsky with Lezhnina. It's not the seamless whole of a performance that that one is. I think this one has Fedotov conducting the Tchaikovsky too, but it's either too plodding or, as in the 3rd Act, plainly neither clean nor sharp, even sloppy. The 1989 has a much more spirited, Olympian authority to it--as if you can't argue with it--but this is nice numbers and scenes that stop and start, they don't flow into each other to make this whole big unified work (at least I feel that way.) The applause is also very noticeably distracting, and should have been edited out, as it really cuts things up.


The Lezhnina was filmed in Montreal where we don't clap for 5 minutes after every ballerina solo so that may play a part--I haven't seen it (I find it hard to imagine it's better than my beloved Kolpokova DVD) and it's out of print but I am curious why it's listed as so much shorter (just over 2 hours)--maybe those cuts are partly why it's more seamless?

I think I'm alone sometimes in liking that Bolshoi DVD. LOL It's not brilliant, and I agree about the Queen (although I don't agree that Aleksei Fadeyechev suffers from close ups--i find him quite handsome) and some of the dancing, but I find Grigorovich's production endlessly fascinating. It probably helps that I've read his whol book (The Authorised Bolshoi Book no less) on the ballet where he explains all his decisions, what's from petipa, what he feels he added back from the original missing in the Kirov's etc--even if I don't agree with the book's claim that it's the best Sleeping Beauty ever--it's far from it and pales next to the Kirov's, the company that was meant to dance it. Still I find it, as a production and on the DVD, a fascinating take on the ballet with a lot to please me (also keep in mind I kinda like the funny wigs, etc, for the old Russian ballets as they feel "rigth" to me)

#19 puppytreats

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 07:52 AM

"I also hope someone will film Vishneva soon. She's not my ideal Aurora but there is no denying she is one the most exciting current dancers in the role. There is already a La Scala tv broadcast of her but between the Nureyev choreography and her mustard tutu it was kind of a letdown."

I went to the library to watch this version of SB on Saturday. I enjoyed much of it (or at least, the parts that I could see on the blurry video), but was underwhelmed by parts. I was interested in seeing Vishneva, particularly after reading so much about her in the discussions about the M-K at the Kennedy Center on this board recently. I must be missing something, maybe because I do not have the education or background to analyze the issue properly, but would someone please point out what about her performances distinguishes her as a ballerina?

Also, is choreography by Nuryev always so busy? Do all versions of SB emphasize groups of five and standing in fifth position?

I would like to obtain a copy of this version of the ballet, to watch again, but in light of the no trading policy on this board, can someone please provide me with some advice in this regard? Sitting in the library, finding time to go to Manhattan, paying for parking near Lincoln Center, not being able to exercise while watching the tape, are all hardships that I wish to avoid. Thank you.

#20 Helene

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 08:26 AM

Also, is choreography by Nuryev always so busy? Do all versions of SB emphasize groups of five and standing in fifth position?

Yes. No.

I would like to obtain a copy of this version of the ballet, to watch again, but in light of the no trading policy on this board, can someone please provide me with some advice in this regard? Sitting in the library, finding time to go to Manhattan, paying for parking near Lincoln Center, not being able to exercise while watching the tape, are all hardships that I wish to avoid. Thank you.

Since there is no commercial release of this video, the only answers that do not violate our tape-trading policy are:

1. There is a library or org closer to puppytreats than Manhattan, and since puppytreats' profile city is "New York" -- it's perfectly legit to note the closest city in the profile -- there's not much we can suggest without knowing where closer is.

2. There is a way to borrow the tape from an organization or library to watch it at home

3. It will be shown on TV in the NYC area and can be taped/PVR'ed

We all want to avoid more commuting, however, asking for a tape trade through the back door by setting conditions where there is less than 1% chance of fulfilling them without a tape trade is not kosher.

#21 puppytreats

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 09:40 AM

Helene, I presume that sometimes things that are not "commercially" available are still possible to obtain through other means, for instance, a limited license, a negotiated individualized contract, private borrowing, or gifting. My post suggested maybe someone had a copy from viewing on TV, but did not want or need it anymore (is that a trade?), or had negotiated or spoken with the Nuryev Foundation (or other private group)or RAI and could provide advice on how to proceed with such an endeavor.

#22 California

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 11:50 AM

A legitimate educational resource that should be available across the country: college and university libraries, especially campuses with good dance departments. I know my nearby Cal State campus library has an extensive collection of tapes from the Balanchine Foundation that have never been released commercially, along with lots of other goodies. They are granted to the libraries under very restrictive conditions for educational purposes only. That means, e.g., that you can usually only view them at the library, with limited check-out (1-3 hours, e.g.), or in (in-person) classrooms. But that's a lot cheaper than a trip to New York and the collection at the Performing Arts Library.

In at least some states, members of the public are entitled to use the libraries of state colleges and universities (California, e.g.) and I understand that Colorado has a law that all residents of the state are entitled to use any public library. You might need to first register, show ID, and in some states pay an annual fee ($25 is what I remember hearing for California, although perhaps that has gone up).

The on-line catalogs for these libraries are typically open to anyone with internet access, so you can search that way to see what neighboring campuses have available.


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