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What "lost" Petipa Ballet would you most like to see?


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#1 EricMontreal22

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:25 PM

I'm a little obsessed with all the Petipa ballets from his time in Russia--and have been for at least a dozen years. We know a lot about a number of them--some we have pretty faithful versions of still passed down, and some are more questionable, but what of the lost Petipa ballets do you find the most intriguing? Of course he did so many ballets, the list is almost endless, but...

I'm leaving off major revivals of works that originated elsewhere but feel free to suggest some.

There are a number I'd love to see bits from (or all)--or at least hear about in more detail. I know that Tsar Kandavl or Le Roi Candaule from the 1860s but revived last by him in 1903 (and notated) was one of his biggest early successes and a huge spectacle, yet I know nothing about it really.

People often hold up the important ballets with Tchaikovsky and later Glazunov as rare and great examples of Petipa and the imperial ballet working with "Symphonic composers" It's for this reason some other works with noted, but now forgotten composers, interest me.

1887's Tulipe de Harlaam was staged by Lev Ivanov but with involvement from Petipa and the music was by Baron Boris Fitinhof-Schel, who was in his day a respected composer. I'm not sure if anything's remained from it. In 1893 Baron wrote another ballet, which was staged by Ceccheti and Ivanov under the supervision of Petipa--Cinderella. This work has always fascinated me because I can't help thinking that Petipa or Vseveloshsky considered it a sort of followup to their previous fairy tale ballet--Sleeping Beauty. It also is where Legnanai first did her 32 fouettes yet I know nothing else of it.

Going backwards, in 1888 he did The Vestal which was a huge success and many ballet historians claim was a precursor to Sleeping Beauty. It was also done with a symphonic (but mainly forgotten) composer, Mikhail Ivanov. I know some parts were incorporated into a Le Corsair revival 10 years later, and that it was set in Ancient Rome, and nothing else.

Also, in 1896 was another Perrault fairy tale ballet, Bluebeard. I've read this was also a success and had some very popular illusions (one was a scene of dance instruction where the corps would be behind a scrim acting as a mirrored reflection), and the score was by Pyotr Schenck. I have no idea how close it stuck to the rather distrubing original fairy tale but I find the idea fascinating.

As a Glazunov fan I wish something from his stagins fo the one acts Les Saisons and Russes D'amour remained, although I know versions of Seasons have been performed in Russia a long time and elsewhere.

Finally I'd LOVE to know more about the scandalous debacle of his final ballet, 1903's The Magic Mirror with music by opera composer Arseny Koreshchenko. I've read it was a return to the convulated melodramatic storylines he had used in his earlier career, but that's all I know...

#2 Joseph

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 05:43 AM

I'd also like to see or learn more about "The Magic Mirror..."

#3 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 05:24 PM

Definitely Cinderella...

#4 Sacto1654

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 09:35 PM

There are a number of ballets in the Sergeyev Collection at Harvard University that should be revived. I for one would LOVE to see the original Petipa production of Paquita revived, which fortunately we have a full notation of. :wink:

#5 Natalia

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 07:23 AM

There are a number of ballets in the Sergeyev Collection at Harvard University that should be revived. I for one would LOVE to see the original Petipa production of Paquita revived, which fortunately we have a full notation of. :)


TI read somewhere that the Petipa portions of PAQUITA -- the Chirldren's Mazurka, Pas de Trois and Grand Pas and a special coda-- were recently revived at the Bolshoi.

I would love to see a revival of the classic old version of LITTLE HUMPBACKED HORSE as it was danced at the Mariinsky in the early 1900s (Petipa-Gorsky after St. Leon), to the music of Pugni, with additions by Drigo, Lizst, etc. I am somewhat disappointed tha tthe Mariinsky has chosen to revive the (to me) charmless 1960s Rodion Schedrin score, which isn't even of the Mariinsky-Kirov's heritage but, rather, a Bolshoi creation. [The Mariinsky seems to be in a Schedrin-Plisetskaya Kick these days.]

#6 Sacto1654

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 09:05 PM

I would love to see a revival of the classic old version of LITTLE HUMPBACKED HORSE as it was danced at the Mariinsky in the early 1900s (Petipa-Gorsky after St. Leon), to the music of Pugni, with additions by Drigo, Lizst, etc. I am somewhat disappointed tha tthe Mariinsky has chosen to revive the (to me) charmless 1960s Rodion Schedrin score, which isn't even of the Mariinsky-Kirov's heritage but, rather, a Bolshoi creation. [The Mariinsky seems to be in a Schedrin-Plisetskaya Kick these days.]


It will be VERY interesting to see what kind of choreography Alexei Ratmansky will do with the new version of Little Humpbacked Horse. I'm hoping it won't be something radical, especially given the finicky audience in Saint Petersburg so used to the "Kirov" style as defined by Konstantin Sergeyev.

If the Mariinsky Ballet was still interested in doing "reconstructions" I think the old early 1900's version of Paquita should be near the top of the list. Pierre Lacotte's reconstruction for the Paris Opera Ballet is NOT truly authentic because Lacotte didn't use the original choreography (which fortunately has been preserved with the Sergeyev Collection).

#7 Cliff

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 09:53 PM

How many "lost" Petipa ballets could be revived? As Petipa is a staple for many companies I'd expect some interest in expanding the repertoire.

#8 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 10:44 PM

Is "Cotillon" completely recorded...?-(you know, there are those clips from the Ballet Russe DVD)

#9 Natalia

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 03:16 AM

Cubanmiamiboy, I am guessing that the Balanchine's COTILLON clips, as well as other clips in the Ballet Russes documentary, are just that -- isolated clips. I doubt that ballet companies back then (early 1930s) had the wherewithal to record complete productions of ballets as companies do today for rehearsal and archival purposes. However, such clips are very helpful when today's reconstruction specialists try to revive 1920s-30s-40s ballets, as Millicent Hodson did for COTILLON and other ballets. I believe that she uses a combination of critical writings, notations, photos and film clips to piece together works.

Back to the theme of this thread, Petipa. It's a shame that Petipa Era at the Mariinsky ended just as the movie camera came into being. Thank goodness for the Harvard Notes.

#10 rg

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 06:26 AM

re: COTILLON - for the sidetrack above: the NYPL has the following film:

Cotillon [ca. 1933] 6 1/2 min. : si. color.
Performance by the Monte Carlo Ballet Russe filmed in New York City, ca. 1933, by Laird Goldsborough.
Choreography: George Balanchine. Excerpts from the ballet performed by artists of the Ballet Russe. Among the leading dancers are Tamara Toumanova, Olga Morosova, Tatiana Riabouchinska, and David Lichine.

if mem. serves when the Joffrey's Hodson/Arhcer staging was being shown for the first time in NYC, a press preview included a screening of a film from Australia - i assume it was silent and can't precisely recall how extensive its footage was. i recall the H/A team making much of the research done to put the ballet in Joffrey rep. This would mean that the film(s) shown at the press gathering were to show the kinds of documentation that were used to PIECE the ballet back together.

to get back to Petipa and to Natalia's point about the unfortunate fact that films weren't made of this repertory, it's doubly frustrating when one realizes that Maryinsky dancer and teacher Aleksandr Shiryaev OFFERED to film the repertory once he became fascinated by the motion picture technology of the early 20th c. and that the Maryinsky administration said, 'no thank you, we have our photos...'

apparently a recent silent film festival in Italy showed more of Shiryaev's films, that is, more than those already included in BELATED PREMIERE, Bocharov's documentary about A.S. - these included more individual, silent clips of solo dances (all character numbers) that the dancer-turned-filmmaker made on his own. but these were more bits and hardly lengthy examples of turn-of-the-20th-c. russian dancing.

#11 EricMontreal22

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 03:57 PM

How many "lost" Petipa ballets could be revived? As Petipa is a staple for many companies I'd expect some interest in expanding the repertoire.


A good 20 or so ballets have been notated in some form with fragments of many more, Cliff. I don't have my copies of the Harvard contents on me here but I think this Wikipedia list ( http://en.wikipedia....eyev_Collection ) is pretty much correct. Doug and others should be more knowledgeable than I, but I'd guess that there ar emany reasons more aren't revived despite the recognition of Petipa's name.

Access to the notations, someone who can work from them and to the scores would be a big one. Many of these scores, if they exist, are probably in the Mariinsky Archives which they guard pretty carefully. I also am not sure there'd be a huge for a fairly obscure title with a plot no one knows and a score by someone like Minkus for most casual ballet audiences. The ballets that have survived usually have some reason why they have--and it'd be better for more companies to do, say Raymonda instead. Also they require big productions. As well most of the ballets that exist in notation form in close to full, that are full evening ballets and not one acts, are performed in some form already--the main exception seems to be Roi Candaule.

#12 canbelto

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 01:18 PM

I'd like a revival of Esmeralda. I know technically the ballet is still danced by the Maly but I'd like to see a major company do it. It was a great vehicle for Kschessinskaya, who apparently used to cry as she danced for the Czar ... while her two grand dukes sat in the box with him. The Esmeralda pas de six is one of my favorite numbers, while the pas de deux is still popular in galas.

#13 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 01:35 PM

Agree. I own the Maly DVD, and watch it from time to time. It could be a MAJOR revival event.

#14 Natalia

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 01:54 PM

Sadly, the Maly DVD contains only about 50% of the full ballet, if that. Even sadder, the Maly (now the "Mikhailovsky") removed Esmeralda from its repertoire when the new administration took over, a year-and-half ago.

Yes, Esmeralda must be revived by a top company. I could be a great vehicle for a number of ABT ballerinas, such as Herrera or Murphy or, especially, Vishneva. Vishneva was born to be Esmeralda. Let's give her the chance! :D

#15 canbelto

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:09 PM

Yes, Esmeralda must be revived by a top company. I could be a great vehicle for a number of ABT ballerinas, such as Herrera or Murphy or, especially, Vishneva. Vishneva was born to be Esmeralda. Let's give her the chance!


I agree! With her dark hair and petite stature Vishneva makes a natural gypsy. I could see her rocking the house with the tambourine variation and then breaking our hearts with the pas de six. Other ballerinas I could see making a splash in the part are Natalia Osipova or Tamara Rojo.
Natalia, any reason why the Maly dumped Esmeralda? I would think this is an ideal ballet a smaller company like the Maly/Mikhailovsky could dance, as it probably wouldn't require a huge corps de ballet and could show off character dancing and mime.


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