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Extra PDD in Het NationaleSleeping beauty


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#16 Mel Johnson

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 12:44 PM

To tell you the truth, I don't recall it as being that distinctive from the Messel production's, but that the Queen and Carabosse were more downstage in the '68 version. The King and Queen also had more to do after Aurora goes to sleep in Act I. It filled out some music not exploited by Sergeyev. So, in some ways, the Messel was weaker, and in some places stronger than the later version. Different blocking made for different weights to the action. In some cases they were better, in some cases worse.

#17 CHazell2

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 12:47 PM

To tell you the truth, I don't recall it as being that distinctive from the Messel production's, but that the Queen and Carabosse were more downstage in the '68 version. The King and Queen also had more to do after Aurora goes to sleep in Act I. It filled out some music not exploited by Sergeyev. So, in some ways, the Messel was weaker, and in some places stronger than the later version.


When you say that the King and Queen had more to do after Aurora collapses, is it to the mourning music that comes after Aurora's giddy dance. I simply love that.

In what ways was the Messel stronger than the Ashton and Wright version and what was weaker.

Sorry for asking all of these questions but I have always been interested in the Ashton and Wright version.

#18 Mel Johnson

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 12:56 PM

Yes, exactly that place. I love it, too. A lot of the "Ashton" versions were actually under the general supervision of Ninette de Valois, and "Madam" would take credit for it. It was part of the ongoing feud between those two. One thing is certain, though, the Waltz in Act I is pretty much Ashton's, the way it's done to this day. The original was notated, but it had something like 72 dancers in it, with students and additional props, like step units! Bring back vaudeville! :clapping:

#19 CHazell2

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:00 PM

Yes, exactly that place. I love it, too. A lot of the "Ashton" versions were actually under the general supervision of Ninette de Valois, and "Madam" would take credit for it. It was part of the ongoing feud between those two. One thing is certain, though, the Waltz in Act I is pretty much Ashton's, the way it's done to this day. The original was notated, but it had something like 72 dancers in it, with students and additional props, like step units! Bring back vaudeville! :clapping:


The Original Garland Waltz is performed in the Kirov reconstruction which I saw back in 2001 when the Kirov came to London. I was in the midst of my GCSES and I absolutely adored it. I didn't see any step units but I did see roses on arches.

I think that the 1946 Waltz by Frederick Ashton is actually better than the new one by Christopher Wheelon.

#20 CHazell2

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:02 PM

Is there a recording of the Ashton and Wright production somwhere. I know that it was broadcast with Anthony Dowell and Antoinette Sibley but it seems to have disappeared.

Does it exist in the Royal Opera House archives?

#21 Mel Johnson

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:12 PM

Anything by Ashton is so strong, that anyone undertaking a similar dance would have his or her work cut out for them. One of the reasons I like Wheeldon is that he's "Ashtonian", but up against actual Ashton, that's not enough. He needs to learn more, and the only way he can do that is to make more dances.

Even if videos of productions don't make it to commercial release, they can often be found in larger libraries' performing arts collections. Usually not for circulation, though.

#22 CHazell2

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:13 PM

Anything by Ashton is so strong, that anyone undertaking a similar dance would have his or her work cut out for them. One of the reasons I like Wheeldon is that he's "Ashtonian", but up against actual Ashton, that's not enough. He needs to learn more, and the only way he can do that is to make more dances.

Even if videos of productions don't make it to commercial release, they can often be found in larger libraries' performing arts collections. Usually not for circulation, though.


Did you see the broadcast? And if so, can you tell me where to look for a copy?

#23 Mel Johnson

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:21 PM

No, I believe that version was aired while I was on active duty in the Air Force, and the dayroom television was not mine to command. By the time I got out, the ballet had gone to another production.

The next time you're up to London, I would inquire at the main library. University libraries may also be of some help here.

#24 CHazell2

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:23 PM

Where do you mean 'the main library'? It would be easy for me to get up to London as I am at the University of Sussex. Did you see it live?

#25 Mel Johnson

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:32 PM

I was thinking of the London Central Public Library in Dundas Street, but I'll bet that a better bet would be at the British Library! They seem to have EVERYTHING there!

And yes, I did see the production live at the "New" Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center.

#26 CHazell2

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:34 PM

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

#27 Mel Johnson

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:39 PM

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!

#28 CHazell2

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:42 PM

What do you mean by far worse things?

#29 CHazell2

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:43 PM

And what sort of ghastly headpieces?

#30 Mel Johnson

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:50 PM

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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