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Miami City Ballet: Program 1Balanchivadze's "Swan Lake", "4 T's"..and...


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#46 bart

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 04:29 PM

I'll just give the short version and say (IMO), Do whatever you can to see Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg's Odette! (Not to omit that Carlos Guerra's Siegfried is very fine.)

Kronenberg is on the top of my own wish list. She has a qualities of mystery, inwardness, and alllure that fit the role very nicely. I'm glad to hear that several of you liked Guerra. In fact, I'm glad that he was dancing, since there was an announcement at the end of the season that he would be out for a while due to injur. I'm glad he's back.

Anyway, bart, the partly obscured man is likely the character of von Rothbart, as his tights and footwear are dark and, most tellingly, on the actual dustjacket I can make out the light-colored tips of the "feathers" of his cape, which hangs open from his extended right arm and closed from his lowered left. Even if you can't see that, you can see the wide strap at his right wrist and the narrow one above his right elbow.

And he appears to be wearing character boots. I think you're right. As for the lady with the white high-heels and purse ... she makes it seem as though the 11 a.m. train from Scarsdale has just pulled in and, by some miracle, has deposited the matinee audience directly inside the theater. Her slightly puzzled look suggests, "This certainly doesn't look like Grand Central Station."

Would my outline of this ballet from the 70's be of interest?

Yes! Please!

#47 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 05:37 PM

... as Deanna Seay was replaced Saturday night (by Patricia Delgado), ...


Did you also hear that it was Patricia Delgado with Sarabia on Saturday evening? cubanmiamiboy seemed think I was incorrect in what I had heard. It did not look like Seay to me, but I do not attend every program so I thought I had just forgotten her port de bras and line from last year.

Honestly, I identified the dancer as Seay, but of course, there's always the possibility of me being wrong-(I don't own binoculars, and my far sighted vision is kind of poor...add to that the heavy makeup worn by the ballerinas and then yes, you end up getting the possibility and hence the bennefit of the doubt). But again, I'm still positive that it was Seay.

#48 leibling

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 06:18 PM

... as Deanna Seay was replaced Saturday night (by Patricia Delgado), ...


Did you also hear that it was Patricia Delgado with Sarabia on Saturday evening? cubanmiamiboy seemed think I was incorrect in what I had heard. It did not look like Seay to me, but I do not attend every program so I thought I had just forgotten her port de bras and line from last year.


To clarify, Deanna Seay DID dance Odette on Saturday night with Rolando Sarabia. Patricia Delgado danced the pas de neuf solo, replacing Allynne Noelle.

#49 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 10:41 PM

QUOTE (vrsfanatic @ Nov 12 2008, 04:20 PM)
QUOTE
... as Deanna Seay was replaced Saturday night (by Patricia Delgado), ...


Did you also hear that it was Patricia Delgado with Sarabia on Saturday evening? cubanmiamiboy seemed think I was incorrect in what I had heard. It did not look like Seay to me, but I do not attend every program so I thought I had just forgotten her port de bras and line from last year.


To clarify, Deanna Seay DID dance Odette on Saturday night with Rolando Sarabia. Patricia Delgado danced the pas de neuf solo, replacing Allynne Noelle.

Thanks for the clarification, leibling. I'm relieved to know that I praised the right ballerina, Eddie's Company leading female dancer Seay-(according to my personal standards, if i may...)

#50 Natalia

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 03:41 AM

Thanks to all for the continuing discussion and interesting comments. This is such a rich and fascinating program, that it's difficult to encapsulate it in one post.

Jack is right. Jennifer C. Kronenberg was excellent -- passionate and dancing with true 'Balanchinean risk' which may have been lacking in earlier casts. Carlos Guerra was superb in his partnering and his solo to the Act 1 Pas de Trois male solo music.

Interesting tidbit: The Balanchine Swan Lake's 'white pas de deux adagio' ends with the rarely-included brisk coda from Tchaikovsky's original score. As far as I know, only two other versions of Swan Lake include this coda. One of these is rather predictable: Peter Martins' 1999 version of the complete ballet has an Act II that is about 80% Balanchine,s, including that brisk coda at the end of the pdd. The second is less known: Rudolf Nureyev's ca-1965 version of SL for the Vienna Opera Ballet, in which the pdd ends with a SOLO for Nureyev to that music. Very odd!!! Nureyev smartly removed that atrocity from his subsequent stagings of the ballet in Paris.

I am looking forward to Jack's 1970s scenario of the Balanchine Swan Lake. In the meantime, folks may like to read my notes on the order of numbers in the Miami version and how it differs with the NYCB mid-1990s performance that I saw in New York --

1. Prelude music to Act II - curtain up halfway through. We see lakeside, with big 'doll swans' floating from left to right, behind the reeds.

2. Entrance of the Hunters (short piece) - eight hunters in medieval outfits, carrying crossbows, soon joined by Siegfried. Look at the passing swans in awe. As the music crescendos, the hunters run off, leaving Siegfried alone to see...

3. Entrance of Odette and initial dance together - No bourees...Odette hops onto the stage in a high pas de chat, a-la Ballo Della Regina! The ensuing duet introduces a unique leitmotif of Balanchine's version: high quick-split-leg lifts. Siegfried will lift her thus several times later, most notably in the coda of the pdd. Near the end of this initial dance, Von Rothbart appears in very-heavy cape, mask, boots. This is not a Bolshoi-style dancing role! Von Roth controls Odette, who momentarily holds onto Siegfried's bow, before rushing off stage.

4. Entrance of the Swans, all in ca-1895 Imperial-cut white tutus (rather than NYCB's girls all in black tulle, in a 1920s sort of cut) - a very different, 'light and uplifting' take on the traditional steps usually performed by the swans in this entrance. Balanchine's is lighter but, generally, slower-moving. Instead of constant runs-into-arabesque, there's a bit of a 'stop-pose' built into each arabesque. Lots of interesting patterning...ending in a dramatic long diagonal line; as Siegfried enters, the swans change the positions of their arms in Giselle-like 'peel off' manner, one after the other. At the end of this section, two solo swans (also in the Imperial-cut white tutus) enter, followed by Odette in short modern tutu; all clustered to the upper-right corner (not two lines in the center, as in Soviet versions).

5. Waltz of the Swans - very beautiful, though quite different from either the traditional Ivanov and the K. Sergeyev Soviet versions. When the two solo swans perform the familiar mirroring moves, the entire corps is on its knees, gently swaying back and forth. Very effective in that the two soloists can shine brighter - Balanchine knew how to bring maximum punch to a segment.

6. Pas de Deux, Odette and Siegfried - with swans standing on sides in double-rows, with the hunters sometimes entering, standing in the middle of each double row, swans resting their heads on the men's shoulders. With the exception of the coda, this dance gives the two principals 95% of the Ivanov choreography. The big difference is that brisk coda, ending with a series of high split-lifts (the leitmotif mentioned above) and a snappy final pose that somewhat breaks the romantic mood.

7. Pas de Neuf to Tchaikovsky's Act IV slow "Dance of the Little Swans" (which Ashton used for the start of his Act IV) - a soloist flanked by 4 corps girls on each side. Beautiful use of arms by corps - ever changing patterns. Difficult soloist steps, including a prolonged 'hopping pirouette' in back-attitude pose.

8. Pas de Douze to Tchaikovsky-Drigo's lilting 'Valse Bluette' - soloist plus 11 corps girls. Balanchine's masterpiece within this ballet, IMO. Three clusters of four girls, moving 'in cannon'. The viewers eye is constantly challenged and delighted to see the kaleidoscope of patterns. Balanchine cleverly shifts the clusters into four groups of three girls, then switching back to three groups of four.

9. Odette's solo - very similar to the Ivanov and Soviet originals. major change is the final diagonal, which here is cut short, with Balanchine's Odette launcing into a series of pique turns around the circumference of the stage.

10. Siegfried's solo to Tchaikovsky's Act I Pas de Trois male solo music - this is 80% Petipa's choreography, as seen at the Kirov, etc. (one of the very FEW bits of Petipa that remains in the Kirov version!). Balanchine seems to have added more difficulty, with entrechats-six in-between the traditional back-and-forth leaps in the first enchainement. [At NYCB in the mid-1990s, Siegfried danced a totally-different variation to the powerful 'Dance of the Big Swans' from Act II...the music that Balanchine had originally used for a 'Jumping Pas de Trois' for Patricia Wilde and two corps girls. Wouldn't it be great if NYCB could resurrect that famous Pas de Trois this winter? Hint-hint.]

11. Presto Coda - return of the swans, all entering in twos, to 'forward chugging' movements. Then the two soloists...then Odette appears, performing an energetic diagonal with high leaps, rather than the traditional pique-arabesque renverse series of poses.

12. Finale to Act IV 'storm' music that ends the full-evening ballet - the greatest patterning for the full group of 20 corps swans here. Lots of little running in a constantly-changing spectacle. In the end, Von Rothbart appears and commands the swans to depart. They do. Odette leaves with 'Plisetskaya style' bourees and swan arms, moving into profile as she nears the wings; leaves stoically. Siegfried and the Hunters left alone, heads bowed, with Siegfried kneeling as the 'doll swans' float by and the curtain falls.

#51 Jack Reed

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 08:40 AM

Many, many, thanks, leibling! I'm embarassed! What more can I say? I can say I thought it a great debut for Delgado! Gulp! I can't understand how I didn't recognise who I was seeing, other than the combination of a distant seat and deteriorating eyesight... (I'm not only embarassed, I'm so sorry!)

But, on to more positive things: Wow, Natalia, thanks for that comparison. It'll take me a little while to digest it, but meanwhile I'm going to try to post some historical material about Balanchine's version of Swan Lake in the Ballets and Choreographers forum, although initially I'm having trouble making it all look right on the page (Posts #3 and 4):

http://ballettalk.in...mp;#entry236356

#52 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 11:47 AM

4. Entrance of the Swans, all in ca-1895 Imperial-cut white tutus (rather than NYCB's girls all in black tulle, in a 1920s sort of cut)

Yeah, they certainly have some vintage look...(here's a pic of Pierina Legnani wearing one)
http://upload.wikime...gnani_-1893.JPG
Still, I'm not sure that i liked those tutus. By choice on the Sl's take I'd go for the short flat ones.-(I even love the very high-waisted/multi-layered versions-(a la Komleva's 70's "Bayadere"). I just discovered they're called "Parisienne Tutus".
http://images.google...t...ficial&sa=N, or "Double Puff Short" Tutus.
http://images.google...htt...=zUQ&sa=N

#53 rg

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 01:35 PM

previous scans of photos posted on BT include the following:

Ballet Russe

http://ballettalk.in...showtopic=27934

NYCB in Ter-Arutunian's designs

http://ballettalk.in...showtopic=27940

NYCB in Beaton designs

http://ballettalk.in...showtopic=26105

i wouldn't, incidentally, take the terminology of tutu manufactures as anything more than that maker's distinctions for one cut over another.

#54 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 02:10 PM

Thanks a lot for those links, rg! Tutu's choices for the SL seem to have had a wide range of variety since the XIX Century.

i wouldn't, incidentally, take the terminology of tutu manufactures as anything more than that maker's distinctions for one cut over another.

...which-( :clapping: )- makes me wonder what would be a short name "universally" accepted-(as per this board speaking)-of this class of skirt, which doesn't get to totally fit within the well known "pancake" category.
Edited to add: Interesting Wikipedia's take on this:
http://en.wikipedia....iki/Ballet_tutu

#55 Jack Reed

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 04:32 PM

I have a couple of little quibbles with Natalia's magnificent account of this version:

When, at the end of Natalia's number 3, Odette balances herself by holding onto the tip of Siegfried's crossbow, she stands in his line of sight and in the intended trajectory of his arrow, diagonally to upstage right, where von Rothbart, whirling his arms, exerts his control: Willingly or not, she saves the villian! And I think this intense moment deserves to be mentioned.

Then, at the very end, I recall only one doll swan floats by, significantly going in the other direction from the three we see at the very beginning, and, more significantly, it -- or she! -- wears a tiara, not seen before.

But thanks again, Natalia, for helping to bring back my memories of the performances. Not that MCB itself won't be bringing back this Swan Lake. I'm sure we can count on it.

#56 rg

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 07:37 AM

the following scans, show photocards depicting the swan maiden tutus for productions in turn-of-the-20th-c. St. Petersburg (Petipa/Ivanov) [the first and second, left to right] and one from Moscow (Gorsky).

the dancers are, left to right:
Valentina Mikhailovna Leontieva, probably in a production with re-built and re-worked versions of costuming from the 1895 staging.
Evgeniya Eduardovna Biber, probably in a production close to the 1895 scheme.
Aleksandra Vasilevna Baldina, in a what Korovin designed for Gorsky's 1901 staging for Moscow's Bolshoi Theater.

Attached Files



#57 Natalia

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 12:10 PM

Jack, you are the "Cat's Meow" for pointing out those two magical moments that I did not include in my notes...scratched-out on the programme in the dark hall. You are absolutely spot-on about the power of Von Rothbart's 'pull' at the end of the first Odette-Siegfried duo. I seem to recall more than one doll-swan at the end but, then again, I was totally in awe and psychologically spent as the curtain fell. Thank you!

Until PBS may decide that a broadcast of this amazing production is a worthwhile venture, I can pore through our respective notes to remember magical moments in the "Mr B Swan Lake"!

#58 carbro

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 01:09 PM

rg, thanks yet once (thrice?) again for your wonderful photos.

Interesting that the 1901 version seems to be the first to have feathers on the actual costume. Still, with those little dots, it is somehow unswanlike.

#59 cahill

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 10:00 AM

Here is a review of the Friday performance in West Palm.
Miami City Ballet season-open stellar in Delivery

#60 bart

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 09:47 AM

I printed out this thread and have been enjoying reading it at leisure and with pencil in hand.

I really want to thank you all for being so bright, precise, quick, well-trained, adventurous and ever-so-slightly off-balance. Not unlike the ideal Balanchine company, come to think of it. :wink:

I've learned a lot from this weekend and from this thread. Seeing 4 performances (with multiple casts) of one of the best put-together programs I've ever seen has been a revelation. I'll add some extra thoughts later, once I've really digested what the rest of you have said.

Again, many thanks.


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