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Perrot/Petipa's "La Esmeralda". Mussorgsky production.Questions, questions, questions...


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#1 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 03:56 PM

Please, if this topic has already a thread of its own, redirect my post.
Among my favorite DVDs, one of them has always intrigued me for many reasons. It's the 1994-(reissued in 2005)-production of "La Esmeralda" by the Ballet of the St. Petersburg Mussorgsky State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. As the DVDs back cover reads, it "presents the company's lively, graceful lead ballerina Elvira Khabibulina in the role of the doomed gypsy dancer Esmeralda...". The DVD also states that this production was made by Company Director Nikolai Boyarchikov, with the collaboration of "the great Russian ballerina Tatyana Vecheslova, who danced Esmeralda to great acclaim in the early and mid XX Century,(who) provided her own memories of XIX Century realizations of the ballet". The DVD also contains a narration of some fragments of Kshesinskaya's own memories of the work. Overall, it's a very tasteful work, and i do love it.
So, if i may, I have some questions about it for which i hope to get some answers...

1-Is this production a "revival" a la Lacotte...? If it is...
2-Does it contains any extents of Petipa...?
3-Is it still active in any company...? If not...
4-Why not?
5-Any input on Elvira Khabibulina...?
6-Any input on Tatyana Vecheslova...?

Thanks in advance..! :)

#2 Paul Parish

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 06:07 PM

Fascinating, wonderful topic.
Can't wait for some answers.
I've always wanted to see Esmeralda.

Meanwhile, you HAVE seen the dvd --
what is the ballet like? how many acts? What kind of scenery, what kinds of groupings, plastique, group dances, solos? Music? does she have a goat?
What do you like about it?

There are a fair number of photos, of Kchessinska, especially, in hte role -- have you seen them? Does the imagery of the ballet jibe with any of the old images?

#3 Mireille

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 05:26 AM

I've seen the DVD - many times as it is one of my favorites - as well as the live production. In the DVD production, Khabibulina makes for an innocent and very moving Esmeralda. If I recall, there are several cuts in the DVD compared to the live production, one being an important scene in the first act with Frollo and the corps de ballet part at the beginning of the second act, the "Diana & Acteon" divertissement is also left out (but I don't recall seeing it either in the live production). You will recognize the music in the second act pd2 with Fleur-de-Lys as the one in Bayadere, where Nikia dances holding flowers - fleurs de lys actually. The style is probably very Perrot-like and reminiscent of Giselle, and the music just as beautiful and haunting.

#4 Natalia

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 06:18 AM

See my quick answers in all-caps.

1-Is this production a "revival" a la Lacotte...? If it is... IT IS BY PETR GUSEV FOR THE MALY, DONE IN MID-1950s. VECHESLOVA HAD A HAND IN IT, TOO. THIS IS REALLY NOT BOYARCHIKOV'S VERSION...ALL THAT BOYARCHIKOV DID WAS TO 'PRESENT' IT DURING HIS TENURE AS THE MALY's CHIEF...AND HE NARRATES THE START OF THE DVD. THAT'S ALL.

2-Does it contains any extents of Petipa...? YES - A LOT.

3-Is it still active in any company? NOT AT MALY SINCE RUZIMATOV TOOK OVER LAST YR. see below for a clue to the reason I AM TOLD THAT IT DOES EXIST IN NEW JERSEY BALLET THEATER (from 2-3 years ago). So New Jersey appears to be the only place on earth still performing the Petipa/Gusev version of this gem of a ballet! [Moscow's Stanislavsky Theater Ballet performs the very, very different Bourmeister version, though that one uses a lot of the Drigo score.]

4-Why not? DON'T KNOW

5-Any input on Elvira Khabibulina...? VAGANOVA ACAD GRADUATE ca 1992...either with Lopatkina's class or a year after. Spectacular Giselle, too. She seems to have been one of the casualties of Ruzimatov taking over, which is a huge shame...but she is sweet & elegant - not glitzy, which seems to be the new style.

6-Any input on Tatyana Vecheslova...? KIROV STAR OF 30s/40s/50s. FELLOW-GRADUATE WITH ULANOVA (best pals, in fact). STARRED IN VAGANOVA's SHORT-LIVED VERSION OF ESMERALDA AT THE KIROV. IT COULD BE THAT A FEW OF VAGANOVA's ELEMENTS REMAIN IN THIS? BUT THE LITERATURE STATES THAT THIS GUSEV VERSION IS MORE LIKE PETIPAS, e.g., the Act II GRAND PAS AT FLEUR DE LYS, which was included in every performance that I've seen in St Petersburg. Ruzimatov seems to have removed the ballet from repertoire -- a horrendous thing. The Maly is quickly becoming a schlocky, commercial enterprise (with the ghastly recent SPARTACUS).


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