Jump to content


Flames of ParisRatmansky's recreation, 7-3-08 premiere


  • Please log in to reply
28 replies to this topic

#1 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,393 posts

Posted 24 June 2008 - 01:38 PM

I'm opening this up for latest-news and reviews of the highly-anticipated premiere of Ratmansky's version of Vainonen/Asafiev's The Flames of Paris.

The Bolshoi website has announced detailed casting for the initial run, although we still do not know who will dance the big opener on July 3. Hmmmm, let me guess...Osipova/Vasiliev? Special Surprise: Ludmilla Semenyaka as Marie-Antoinette!

http://www.bolshoi.r...nact26=role#dyn

The above link also takes one to a synopsis of the 2008 version, which appears to be condensed, all in two acts. The Vainonen original had at least three -- maybe four -- acts. Also, some of the names of the characters are different. Judging by the successes of Corsaire and Bright Stream, I would tend to trust Ratmansky & Company's decisions on tightening the synopsis and eliminating/rethinking a character or two. :lol:

#2 Cygnet

Cygnet

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 730 posts

Posted 24 June 2008 - 02:08 PM

Natalia, I'm surprised that Zakarova doesn't seem to be participating in this new production.

#3 ruteyo

ruteyo

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 46 posts

Posted 24 June 2008 - 03:33 PM

I don't really see Zakharova being able to pull off a role, characteristically, like Jeanne.

Alexandrova and Osipova are probably a more natural Jeanne.

#4 Mashinka

Mashinka

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,176 posts

Posted 25 June 2008 - 01:39 AM

Vladislav Lantratov is a new name to me, do you have any information about him Natalia?

I'm surprised Yan Godovsky isn't cast as Philippe, I saw him dance the F of P pas de deux with Osipova in Nottingham and on the basis of how well he danced then, I would have thought him a dead cert for the role in the new production.

#5 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,393 posts

Posted 25 June 2008 - 03:36 AM

All I know about Lantratov is that he is a corps de ballet member who graduated just a year or two ago. He is another hot-shot like Ivan Vasiliev.

Godovsky is now in the slightly-older-than-Vasiliev/Lantratov category!

After posting yesterday's intro, I went home to read my Russian books about the original Flames in 1932. I read the original scenario (FOUR acts) compared to Ratmansky-Burlaka's 2008 version with two acts. LOTS has changed in an effort to tighten the story for 2008 audiences:

(a) I am a bit saddened that the great female-character role of Therese (debuted by the incomparable Nina Anissimova) no longer exists. This is the main 'angry woman' in the famous Danse Basque; it would have been a tour de force for the current Bolshoi 'character prima,' Yuliana Malkhasiants...this was the single moment to which I was looking forward in this revival - to see Malkhasiants doing the Basque Dance. According to the new scenario the 'main characters' Jeanne/Jerome/Phillippe (the youngters) will perform the Basque Dance...which is a huge let-down and change in the historical tone of that dance. At least 'Therese' and the original Basque Dance will live on in the 1950s condensed film of the original ballet!

(b) Ratmansky-Burlaka have, in turn, invented a 2nd 'young pretty girl' role (Adeline) for a soubrette-ballerina (Kaptsova, Goriacheva, etc. in this role), to create a 'partner' for Jeanne's brother, Jerome, who did not have a girlfriend in the original ballet. So the new ballet has, in essence, THREE roles for top-ballerinas: Jeanne (virtuoso ballerinas Osipova, Alexandrova, etc. - dancing the most famous pdd); Mireille the actress (sr ballerinas Gracheva, Stepanenko, etc. dancing the somewhat-famous pdd in white-powdered wigs); and this new girl Adeline (shortish soubrettes Goriacheva, Kaptsova, etc. - perhaps a newly-invented pdd to give 'pdd opportunity' to the character Jerome, danced by Merkuriev, Godovsky, etc.)?

Let's see what transpires.

#6 Sacto1654

Sacto1654

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 201 posts

Posted 26 June 2008 - 04:33 AM

After posting yesterday's intro, I went home to read my Russian books about the original Flames in 1932. I read the original scenario (FOUR acts) compared to Ratmansky-Burlaka's 2008 version with two acts.


I'm not surprised they're doing this. A true, full-length ballet is an expensive thing to do (Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty is pushing the limits of a long, classical ballet), and I'm not surprised the Bolshoi is redoing The Flames of Paris to cut down on production costs. After all, Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet's "authentic" version (the 1900 Marius Petipa version) of La Bayadere with all its acts restored is very expensive to perform and I believe they rarely do it nowadays. Mind you, I'd love to see an "authentic" version of Flames of Paris done in the future, though. :dry:

#7 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 26 June 2008 - 05:42 AM

I'm interested in the political aspects of this ballet, especially the way it portrayed the lower classes of Paris and a glimpse, at least, of violent revolution. I haven't seen the entire ballet, but the isolated bits of video I've seen seem to focus on "character" elements or big dance numbers and to ignore the politicala context. On the other hand, I'ver read that the storming of the Tuileries created a great sensation when the ballet was premiered in 1932.

Most of the works of art about the French Revolution that survive on the big stages of the world -- Andrea Chernier, Dialogues des Carmelites -- convey a deeply anti-revolutionary message. I wonder how the Stalin regime responded to Flame of Paris' positive presentation of an popular, irresistible and violent (thought good-natured) uprising? How will contemporary Russia -- a country in which billionaires and law-and-order types have great influence -- respond? Will the new version tone down the political events? According to Natalia's report, it certainly seems to be multiplying the love interest.

This 1953 film of "character dances" (mentioned by Natalia) contains a fascinating contrast between a free and joyful Farandole danced in the strees and a constrained and elegant Sarabande danced at court.


#8 Marc Haegeman

Marc Haegeman

    Platinum Circle

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,027 posts

Posted 26 June 2008 - 09:00 AM

I don't think Ratmansky/Burlaka are condensing their Flames of Paris purely for economical reasons. Their main concern is to present a ballet which is dramatically digestible for a 2008 audience and can be covered by the company they have. That's why their Flames of Paris is not an "authentic reconstruction" but a revival of an old ballet including those elements that they think will make sense to a public of today. In this respect last year's Corsaire (which wasn't a reconstruction either, but nonetheless ran in its premiere version over 3 hours 45) has been a lesson: all one could hear was that the ballet was "too long".

#9 Drew

Drew

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,234 posts

Posted 26 June 2008 - 05:00 PM

The "Character dances" on youtube are just fabulous--I wish they COULD revive that!

#10 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,233 posts

Posted 26 June 2008 - 06:00 PM

Chaboukiani was magnificent in "Flames"...such speed...! :wink:

#11 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,393 posts

Posted 27 June 2008 - 10:53 AM

I don't think Ratmansky/Burlaka are condensing their Flames of Paris purely for economical reasons. Their main concern is to present a ballet which is dramatically digestible for a 2008 audience and can be covered by the company they have. That's why their Flames of Paris is not an "authentic reconstruction" but a revival of an old ballet including those elements that they think will make sense to a public of today. In this respect last year's Corsaire (which wasn't a reconstruction either, but nonetheless ran in its premiere version over 3 hours 45) has been a lesson: all one could hear was that the ballet was "too long".


Thanks for this, marc. However, it still does not explain why Therese was excised and her very famous Basque Dance ( a foot-stomping character dance) is being re-done for the classical principals!!! Not that Osipova & co. aren't capable of doing it but...if ever Yuliana Malkhasiants was born to dance a specific dance, it's the old Basque Danse!

#12 whetherwax

whetherwax

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 133 posts

Posted 27 June 2008 - 02:39 PM

In my Glory of the Bolshoi DVD, the clip ofMusa Gottlieb and Vajtang Chaboukiani from Flames is SO fast that i could almost suspect the soviets of speeding it up!

#13 Ilya

Ilya

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 173 posts

Posted 28 June 2008 - 07:32 AM

In my Glory of the Bolshoi DVD, the clip ofMusa Gottlieb and Vajtang Chaboukiani from Flames is SO fast that i could almost suspect the soviets of speeding it up!


I suspect this, and many other Soviet ballet clips from before 1980s, look very fast because the original material was probably shot at 24 frames per second (which is the film standard) and then, much later (during 1980s or 1990s) transferred to the 25-frame-per-second video (25 frames per second is used, I believe, in PAL and SECAM video standards). If this is indeed the case, one would expect each second of the original material to flash by in only 0.96 seconds in the videos---a speedup of 4%. The pitch of the sound would be correspondingly higher, as well: by slightly less than one half-tone---a small but quite noticeable difference.

#14 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,393 posts

Posted 28 June 2008 - 11:49 AM

I see that YouTube already has the 'new-old' Basques Dance online! Just search with the words Flames Paris Basques to see a 7-minute segment of Ratmansky and dancers presenting this portion of the ballet on the stage of the New Bolshoi Theater two days ago (Thurs, June 26). Ratmansky has retained parts of Vainonen's dance for the old 'Therese' character (now danced by Jeanne-Osipova) and mixed it with all-new steps for the new 'young couple' Jerome/Adeleide (the latter danced by Nina Kaptsova in this rehearsal). It begins fine, then goes 'lite.' It is terrible to see light-classical dancers mimicking folk-characters...especially tiny Osipova trying to stomp around as if she were Yuliana Malkhasiants. Weak tea, compared to true character dancing!!!

Osipova's slight presence, especially when dancing between her two male partners, totally changes the spirit of Vainonen's original dance. Osipova tries hard...but it's simply not true Russian character dancing.

Edited to add: I would bet that the taller, 'weightier' presence of Maria Alexandrova -- another Jeanne in the run, not seen in this rehearsal -- may be able to tackle the essence of the Basque Dance better than Osipova.

#15 chrisk217

chrisk217

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 257 posts

Posted 28 June 2008 - 12:28 PM

Ilya, most people on this board are in NTSC countries where film is converted to video by slowing it down the teensiest bit, then doing on it a 2:3 pulldown. So for them at least the 4% pal speedup is not an issue. Also, Chabukiani is doing his manege about 20% faster than what would be considered normal today.

A few years ago I asked the same question here at BT, and the final concensus then was that yes, they were really that fast (or at least faster in some respects than most dancers of today)

A shame about the Basque dance... that was my favorite part of the old film


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):