whetherwax

Extra PDD in Het Nationale

41 posts in this topic

OK. Do you think that the critics were a bit harsh on the 1968 production or were they justified?

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In retrospect, far worse things have happened to the poor show since, and we should have been grateful to the '68 production for sparing us even greater enormities. Things probably could have been worked out. After all, they had been for the Messel. Some of the more ghastly hats and headpieces were scrapped by the time I first saw it at the "Old" Metropolitan Opera House!

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Well, the Dowell production has left me with a seemingly permanent hangover from the sets, and the two very worst headgears I recall seeing sketches or photos thereof, as well as performance shots include a very large flopped hat for the European (read British) Prince in Act I, which must have interfered horribly with his partnering in the Rose Adagio (besides making him look like Captain Hook), and the thing worn by Florestan in the pas de trois in the wedding scene. It looked like he had a chicken sitting on his head!

Now, isn't this a pleasant dialogue? Just the sort of thing this board was created to induce!

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I quite like the Dowell production as it was the first production that I ever saw on TV in 1995. I quite agree with you about our conversation.

The Dowell production is rock solid choreographically and I like the Fairy of Joy solo.

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I think that we're ALL affected by the first Beauty that we see. My first Aurora was Merle Park. Everybody had to compete with my image of her, and few could quite come up to her. Fonteyn and Sibley, Beriosova and Nerina, on good days. I think that old production is permanently etched on the inside of my skull.

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Which production did you see? Do you think that it was a mistake to recreate the old Messel production?

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I've seen all of the RB Beauty productions since 1963.

And as an intention, the Messel "remake" was not a bad idea. It seems to want in execution, though. It lacks the vividness of the original, although I will admit that some of my memories may be gilded with the stuff of recalled youth!

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Exactly. I think that most of the critics wanted the Messel production exactly as it was. I think that times have changed and some critics are not prepared to move with the times.

I think that the Royal Ballet would have done better to splash on an entirely new production rather than try to turn the clock back but as you say, it was a very good intention.

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As long as it hews close to the line that the ballet is not only a fairy tale, but a hymn to autocracy (see Louis XIV, the Tsars). Sumptuous it must be.

Here's a little something you may find entertaining. It's a multi-part article I wrote a long time ago for our "mother" site, Ballet Alert! Some of the sections have aged out, but most of it's there. Enjoy.

http://www.balletalert.com/ballets/Petipa/...ty/sleeping.htm

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Why must it be a hymn to autocracy? I know the original production was created in 1890 as a tribute to the Sun King, but can we just enjoy the ballet for what it is, a fairy-tale. certainly the children that go to see would just enjoy it as a fairy-tale. I know that I did.

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Not only was it a tribute to Louis, but also to any Tsar who happened to be by at the time! Check out the article. I went to some pains to make sure I had included the relevant details of the original production, but never got to go further than that. Perhaps if I retire.

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I know what you mean. I have done my research into the original 1890 production as well.

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There's the knife-edge that productions have to walk. It has to be lavish, it has to be magic, it has to be a fairy tale, in fact, it has to be so many things, I can understand why Ismene Brown feels that it's almost like a religious experience. I don't necessarily agree 100%, but I certainly can understand it! And now on to another kind of experience. I have to go make my supper. We can pick this up another time, and perhaps let others in on the discussion, while we're at it! :)

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I would like that very much, Mr Johnson. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I shall look forward to that.

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