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Sylvia Pas de DeuxAnyone ever see the original?


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#1 PhiladelphiaOrchestra

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 08:18 AM

I picked up a recording of Delibes' Sylvia. I have not heard it in many years, yet I found it very charming. I know that Balanchine choreographed the Sylvia Pas de Deux in the 1950s for Tallchief and Eglevsky. It was danced by others over the years and was later retitled just Pas de Deux and divertissement.

Did anyone ever see the original. What was it like? And does anyone know which sections or parts Balanchine used from the music.

From what I have read the piece went over like wildfire, yet it is hardly ever performed anymore.

I wonder why?

#2 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 08:52 AM

SPDD is a very actively performed PDD within Cuban National Ballet. It was one of the Balanchine pieces that made the Company's ground, imported by Mme. Alonso along with Apollo, Theme & Variations and Waltz Academy. One can easily find it to be performed almost in every season in Havana.

#3 rg

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 09:10 AM

here's the BALANCHINE CATALOGUE entry (the music for the male dancer comes from La Source [Naïla], 1866, if i've read the cat. info correctly):

SYLVIA: PAS DE DEUX
Music: By Léo Delibes (from Sylvia, ou la Nymphe de Diane, produced 1876 [Act I VALSE LENTE and Act III pas de deux]).
Choreography: By George Balanchine.
Production: Costumes by Karinska.
Premiere: December 1, 1950, New York City Ballet, City Center of Music and Drama, New York. Conductor: Leon Barzin.
Cast: Maria Tallchief, Nicholas Magallanes.
Note: A grand pas de deux in the French style, with entrée, adagio, two solos, and coda. In 1965, incorporated (with minor changes) into Pas de Deux and Divertissement [350], choreographed for the New York City Ballet. The male variation is reproduced in the Balanchine-Danilova Coppélia [387], Act III (PEACE pas de deux).
Video/DVD: 1999, Kultur, American Ballet Theatre at the Met [1984].

in addition to the commercial video given above, there are likely several other films at the NYPL.

also there is a "Silence to Sound" video produced by NYPL, which includes some b&w SYLVIA: PAS DE DEUX footage w/ Tallchief, as follows:
From silence to sound [videorecording] : synchronizing the original music to master silent films. Choreography by George Balanchine, Firebird: pas de deux and Sylvia: pas de deux / Jerome Robbins Archive of the Recorded Moving Image of the Dance Collection of The New York Public Library ; produced and directed by Ron Honsa of Pensa Communications ; choreography by George Balanchine.c1995. (16 min.) : sd., col. and b&w
Adding the music to these silent films of George Balanchine works was made possible through the cooperation of The George Balanchine Foundation, S.I. Newhouse Foundation, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Robert Gottlieb, and the Jerome Robbins Archive of the Recorded Moving Image of the Dance Collection of The New York Public Library.
Pianist, Dianne Chilgren.
Danced by Maria Tallchief and Michael Maule of the New York City Ballet.
From silence to sound, Firebird: pas de deux and Sylvia: pas de deux: pianist, Dianne Chilgren ; supervising artists, Maria Tallchief, Michael Maule ; creative consultants, Robert Gottlieb, Arlene Croce, Christine Redpath ; special assistance, Sheila Mayer ; project director, Madeleine M. Nichols ; production supervisor, Jan Schmidt.
Firebird: pas de deux [excerpts] (b&w) / filmed at Jacob's Pillow, Lee, MA, in 1951, by Carol Lynn ; music, Igor Stravinsky.
Sylvia: pas de deux [excerpts] (b&w) / filmed at Jacob's Pillow, Lee, MA, in 1951, by Carol Lynn ; music, Léo Delibes.
Recorded at Sony Music Studio, New York, on August 29, 1995, by John Alberts Sound Design.
Two silent films of choreography by George Balanchine, with piano accompaniment added. The choreography of both works was modified for these performances to accommodate the size of the stage at Jacob's Pillow.

#4 Mel Johnson

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 03:38 PM

I remember seeing the Sylvia pas de deux before it became part of "Pas de deux and Divertissement" and I think I recall that the male variation was the B theme of the valse lente from Act I of the former ballet.

#5 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 04:20 PM

ABT did it at City Center a few years ago, didn't they?

#6 carbro

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 11:15 PM

Yes, Alexandra posted casting from the 2002 City Center season here, and unless there were changes, couples included Wiles & Hallberg, Herrera & Gomes, Anianashvili & Gomes and Dvorovenko & Beloserkovsky.

Martine van Hamel and Patrick Bissell also do it on one of ABT's various videos. Every now and then we get a section of it on Classic Arts Showcase. :clapping:

#7 Helene

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 06:11 AM

Earlier in this decade, there have been two full-length "Sylvia"s: Mark Morris' version for San Francisco Ballet, which the company performed during two seasons, and the revival of Frederick Ashton's ballet by the Royal Ballet. I loved them both, and they provide an excellent opportunity to hear more than excerpts of the score, which not only was admired by Tchaikovsky, but which also intimidated the Russian composer, who said that had he heard it earlier, he would not have composed "Swan Lake."

#8 rg

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 06:13 AM

mel, as usual, is right. the SOURCE/NAILA delibes interpolation is for the solo dance by frantz in act 1 of the balanchine/danilova COPPELIA - all the music from the SYLVIA PDD is from SYLVIA.

#9 Paul Parish

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 07:51 AM

Sylvia pdd was WONDERFULLY danced by Cheryl Yaeger -- and Julio Bocca? -- of ABT about 20 years ago. She was unbelievably light and airy -- it's a completely different interpretation from van Hamel's statuesque version.

I believe that it was set on the Bolshoi a few years ago by Marina Eglevsky (whose father was Tallchief's partner in the premiere, and to whom I believe Balanchine left the ballet in his will.)

#10 Nanarina

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 02:05 PM

:angry2:

Earlier in this decade, there have been two full-length "Sylvia"s: Mark Morris' version for San Francisco Ballet, which the company performed during two seasons, and the revival of Frederick Ashton's ballet by the Royal Ballet. I loved them both, and they provide an excellent opportunity to hear more than excerpts of the score, which not only was admired by Tchaikovsky, but which also intimidated the Russian composer, who said that had he heard it earlier, he would not have composed "Swan Lake."



:clapping: Sir Frederick Ashton's Sylvia has again been revived for The Royal Ballet in the last couple of years. It is a wonderful full length version, with excellent scenery and very attractive costumes based on the original one's. It was shown on Brirish TV, then afterwards released on DVD. The Dancers are Darcey Bussell and Roberto Bolle. Well worth looking out for. Plus of course the full musical score played by The Royal Opera House Orchestra.

#11 bart

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 02:16 PM

Some of us probably saw it on the Ed Sullivan Show (CBS) in 1955. I wish I could remember. Somehow, I can hear Sullivan's distinctive voice pronouncing "paah di doo" and then "Sylvia" like she was a girl living in the apartment over her father's deli. Great times on TV!

Sylvia pdd was WONDERFULLY danced by Cheryl Yaeger -- and Julio Bocca? -- of ABT about 20 years ago. She was unbelievably light and airy -- it's a completely different interpretation from van Hamel's statuesque version.

Geat memory, Paul! The PDD was staged for ABT by Andre Eglevsky around 1984, according to a Croce piece of that year. Bocca joined ABT a few years after that. I was curious, so I found Anna Kisselgoff's New York Times review, published in 1987.

For contrast, there was the strict classicism of Marius Petipa's 19th-century divertissement from ''Paquita'' and the neo-classicism of George Balanchine, Petipa's heir, in ''Bouree Fantasque'' and ''Sylvia Pas de Deux.''

The latter's staging is credited to Andre Eglevsky but the pas de deux was, in its first version, actually choreographed by Balanchine. It requires, in fact, a no-nonsense approach to the dancing. Julio Bocca, the very gifted young Argentine dancer making his debut in the male role, seems still a stranger to the Balanchine style.

His natural virtuosity finds its center in a scale of flourishes and grand preparations. He appeared here to be a terrific turner and less than precise in his beats and double air turns. Cheryl Yeager's dancing reverted back to charm rather than ballerina manner. Nothing went terribly wrong, but two school kids on an outing seem out of place here. One hopes to see Mr. Bocca cast more aptly.

Of course, those were early days for both the partnership and for Bocca's introduction to Balanchine. I'm sure they grew into the parts.

#12 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 02:20 PM

the sylvia by lycette darsonval was restaged in china just a few years ago:

http://english.eastd...t1ai646490.html

#13 Mel Johnson

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 03:36 AM

But wait a bit! Eglevsky staged it for ABT in 1984? If I recall correctly, he had greatly curtailed his work schedule after December 1977; dead, you know.

#14 bart

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 04:05 AM

But wait a bit! Eglevsky staged it for ABT in 1984? If I recall correctly, he had greatly curtailed his work schedule after December 1977; dead, you know.

:smilie_mondieu: That WOULD have been rather difficult, wouldn't it?

I realize now that I misinterpreted a sentence placed at the end of a 1984 review.

Thanks, Mel, for your dose of cold reality! :o

#15 rg

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 04:49 AM

croce, like anyone else, does make slips, but not here. (rem. too the New Yorker had a good stable of fact checkers to confirm its writers' facts.)
the point of calling this version "Andre Eglevsky's staging" is to note, as does kisselgoff's rev. that the ballet was being credited then to Eglevsky. Balanchine likley gave A.E. the pas de deux to perform and maybe even amend as he liked. i think similar liscense was given to d'amboise re: MEDITATION.)
surely croce was well aware of the death date of A.E. and was referring simply to the way the pas de deux was being credited at that time.
i'm not sure what the balanchine trust now says about the pas de deux re: balanchine, but in '84 the credits (taken here from a May 19, 1984 Met program) read as follows:
SLYVIA - PAS DE DEUX
Music by Leo Delibes
Staged by Andre Eglevsky
Costumes by Santo Loquasto
[NB: no mention of Balanchine]


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