Jump to content


Le Corsaire at The Kennedy Center


  • Please log in to reply
163 replies to this topic

#91 YID

YID

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 250 posts

Posted 22 June 2009 - 12:36 PM

.....
Schipulina Overload.....


I think that I predicted this one right. :devil:

May be i am growing OUT of admiration for Osipova, but i want to THANK Shipulina. she did FOUR performances, and let me dare to say that Bolshoi's Le Corsaire's Medora is more tenous than La Sulfide or Giselle. So, She managed to pull two performances back-to-back.
But we'd never know for sure what really happened - to delight everyone - Osipova didn't look injured or strained (not like poor Fadeyev)..............
Isn't there a theme, Osipova/Visheva - trying to get as many ABT performances and running out of steam/or time to perform with the home company. But it's not for me to judge ;-))
PS: I liked them all, but i'd agree with Hans, i liked Gulnara better than Medora

#92 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,127 posts

Posted 22 June 2009 - 12:55 PM

I wouldn't judge Vassiliev solely by Saturday's performance. His Golden Idol a few weeks ago was fantastic and very technically assured.

He might not have looked injured, but there may have been something bothering him on Saturday that showed up in the difficulties he's been described as having.

#93 canbelto

canbelto

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,875 posts

Posted 22 June 2009 - 06:30 PM

I was there on Sunday afternoon and thought that Shipulina was pretty but nothing special. She is what I gather would be the Bolshoi's version of Paloma Herrera -- pretty, professional, but not a real star. I thought Kaptsova was adorable as Gulnare, and stole the show whenever she was onstage. The corps de ballet and scenery were a size too big for the Kennedy Center stage, and I thought at times that the corps de ballet formations would have looked more beautiful on a bigger stage. Nevertheless I loved the reconstruction, from the costumes to the increased mime. I thought Ratmansky did a good job adding charm and flavor to the story, and the Jardin de Anime scene was among the most beautiful things I have ever seen at the ballet.

#94 Mikhail

Mikhail

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 103 posts

Posted 22 June 2009 - 06:50 PM

Just a few remarks / replies to some questions above.

Le Corsaire was adapted because of American trade unions demands. In that case Bolshoi had nothing to do with it.

Another question is what was excluded. I would have shortened the scene on a couchette in the cave, and also children dance there, but not Pas des eventailles – that leaves a void in the third act. Besides, there are two original variations by Petipa and nice Pas de six by Ratmansky. But Burlaka had another point of view, as I can conclude from your posts.

This season Le Corsaire was performed only twice at the Bolshoi – on September 23 and 24 (Zakharova & Tsiskaridze, Osipova & Vasiliev, respectively). The company only had rehearsals at the end of May, when Osipova was already in New York.

On Saturday Osipova danced the first Le Corsaire in Washington with high fever. Bolshoi officials already knew this before the show, but they found no appropriate way out. Alexandrova already left for Moscow, and they had only Shipulina and Osipova as Medoras. So they took a risk and let Osipova dance.

In a few hours after the performance Osipova suddenly fainted and was taken to a hospital by an ambulance. She was probably really exhausted (as was supposed here by Natalia), but Bolshoi gave no official comments up to now. So, Shipulina and Skvortsov performed a heroic act and danced Le Corsaire again.

It is a shame that all these dramatic events were not explained to the audience on Sunday. Bolshoi officials should do this.

I have no further info on Osipova’s state of health. She and the company are in a flight now on their way back to Moscow. Let’s hope she will be OK.

#95 Jeanne

Jeanne

    New Member

  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 22 June 2009 - 07:21 PM

.....
Schipulina Overload.....


I think that I predicted this one right. :)

May be i am growing OUT of admiration for Osipova, but i want to THANK Shipulina. she did FOUR performances, and let me dare to say that Bolshoi's Le Corsaire's Medora is more tenous than La Sulfide or Giselle. So, She managed to pull two performances back-to-back.
But we'd never know for sure what really happened - to delight everyone - Osipova didn't look injured or strained (not like poor Fadeyev)..............
Isn't there a theme, Osipova/Visheva - trying to get as many ABT performances and running out of steam/or time to perform with the home company. But it's not for me to judge ;-))
PS: I liked them all, but i'd agree with Hans, i liked Gulnara better than Medora


I cannot agree more, YID.

As the International Sales Manager for Gaynor Minden, I was in touch with Katya Shipulina throughout the tour (she is a Gaynor Minden Artist). She did indeed dance an incredibly large amount compared to her fellow principals/leading soloists. Last week alone she danced 5 Medoras - count them, 5, in a span of 6 days : Tuesday's General Rehearsal, Wednesday's evening performance, Friday's evening performance, Saturday's evening performance and Sunday's matinee. Not many dancers in the world could pull that off at the end of a three week tour with week two including Odette/Odile & Kitri and still be standing at the end of it. I was with her at dinner late Saturday night when she got the call that she was to dance the Sunday matinee ... she merely shrugged and finished her dinner and wished for a decent massage.

If only every dancer in the world could be as dependable, gracious and easy-going as Katya Shipulina, then she would have the benefit of not having to graciously dance so often for others who bow out at the last minute for 'unknown' reasons. That being said, I thought her Saturday night performance with Ruslan Skvorstov far superior to her Friday night outing with a partner that she had barely rehearsed with and who was evidently too short for her (finger turns were all but impossible!). On Saturday her arabesque at the end of her variation from the pas de deux in Scene II of Act I was divine - she lingered there for a few extra seconds, a look of pure joy on her face.

#96 Alban

Alban

    New Member

  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 22 June 2009 - 07:27 PM

After having seen Osipova in her three performances at the Met I was among those disappointed on Sunday. Sorry to hear her absence from the performance was due to illness. I was consoled somewhat by the fact that I really disliked the Bolshoi's Corsaire. I must be missing something because most reactions I have heard were quite positive but I found it interminable. I found the cast quite a disappointment but was more troubled by the production. I had seen the ABT's Corsaire for the first time a couple of weeks ago and while it's certainly no great shakes I still enjoyed much of the dancing, especially Simkin as Lankedem and Corella as Ali. Which brings me to one bone of contention I had with the Bolshoi's production. In the ABT production Lankendam, no first name is listed for the part in ABT's program, is a dancing part and acted without any trace of anti-semitism. In the Bolshoi's he's a character part and played like the he's the Merchant of Venice. I know very little about the history of the ballet but I was surprised that this new production chose to have Lankendem, Isaac Lankendem in the program, acted in such a virulently anti-semitic way. That may be historically accurate for a nineteenth century Russian ballet, it's certainly par for the course in the literature, at least Gogol, but is it necessary for a new production? Is this common in most productions of Corsaire?

#97 Hans

Hans

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 22 June 2009 - 07:40 PM

Thank you, Mikhail, for that additional information. In that case, I really cannot blame Shipulina for her average-quality performance on Sunday--in fact I would say that given the circumstances, she danced excellently! No one could ask a dancer who both had a fever and fainted to perform, and it sounds as if Shipulina was the only option. I am grateful she was able to dance, and I'm sure we all wish Osipova a speedy recovery. Hopefully Shipulina will have some well-deserved time off after this tour!

#98 Ilya

Ilya

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 173 posts

Posted 22 June 2009 - 07:47 PM

In a few hours after the performance Osipova suddenly fainted and was taken to a hospital by an ambulance. She was probably really exhausted (as was supposed here by Natalia), but Bolshoi gave no official comments up to now. So, Shipulina and Skvortsov performed a heroic act and danced Le Corsaire again.

It is a shame that all these dramatic events were not explained to the audience on Sunday. Bolshoi officials should do this.


Thank you for the explanation, Mikhail. I think if they had provided this three-sentence explanation, they would have won a lot of sympathy and understanding from the audience. On the other hand, I must point out that Kennedy Center's performance manager told me that the Kennedy Center management only found out about the ambulance, the hospital, and the substitution at 12:30 on Sunday afternoon, i.e., one hour before the performance! If this was known the day before, the Bolshoi management should have let the Kennedy Center know immediately, so that the update could have been posted online. This would have saved many of us an out-of-town trip, and would have allowed others who had already seen Shipulina and Skvortsov to donate their tickets. All this is just common sense, good manners, and good business practice of keeping loyal customers happy.

I would also like to point out that, IMHO, having no reserve troops at the end of a long and demanding tour is unwise, as is having a dancer perform with a high fever, especially as difficult a role as Medora. As to the lack of rehearsal time, again, I believe the blame lies squarely with the management, since Osipova's ABT engagement was arranged and announced a very, very long time ago.

Finally, I would like to express thanks and admiration to all the dancers involved, especially Ms Shipulina and Mr Skvortsov for their heroics in stepping in at the last moment despite having danced the night before, and Ms Osipova for her heroics in performing while ill.

#99 Ilya

Ilya

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 173 posts

Posted 22 June 2009 - 08:23 PM

Which brings me to one bone of contention I had with the Bolshoi's production. In the ABT production Lankendam, no first name is listed for the part in ABT's program, is a dancing part and acted without any trace of anti-semitism. In the Bolshoi's he's a character part and played like the he's the Merchant of Venice. I know very little about the history of the ballet but I was surprised that this new production chose to have Lankendem, Isaac Lankendem in the program, acted in such a virulently anti-semitic way. That may be historically accurate for a nineteenth century Russian ballet, it's certainly par for the course in the literature, at least Gogol, but is it necessary for a new production? Is this common in most productions of Corsaire?


Unfortunately, all forms of religious and ethnic intolerance, including antisemitism, have long been and still are part of life in Russia. Byron's poem that the names of the four main characters are taken from does not have any slave traders, Jews, or slave markets. The names "Isaac Lanquedem," "Lankedem," and "Lankendem" are all misspelled versions of the main protagonist from Alexandre Dumas' novel "Isaac Laquedem," based on the legend of the Wondering Jew---however, the actual character in the ballet has nothing in common with Dumas' character, either, as far as I know. I'd be curious to know who it was that introduced this character into the ballet, and when. However, given the virulent antisemitism of the tsarist Russia, it is no surprise to me that the character took root. Clearly, nothing much has changed since then, as the following quote from the Bolshoi's official Corsaire synopsis shows:
"Medora begs Seyd-Pasha to grant her her freedom but, seeing that he is unrelenting, complains of cruel treatment by her guardian; Seyd-Pasha orders the eunuch to send the Jew packing."
(See http://bolshoi.ru/en...nact26=art#dyn)
Miraculously, this was edited in the Kennedy Center program booklet and replaced with:
"Medora begs Seyd-Pasha to grant her her freedom but, seeing that he is unrelenting, complains of cruel treatment by her guardian. Pasha
Seyd orders Isaac to leave."
(In fact, before he orders Isaac to leave, he has him whipped.)
Was it necessary to give Lanquedem a huge fake nose? Apparently so, because it was clearly intended to drive home the point that he is Jewish. Could the Bolshoi have come up with a more repulsive collection of antisemitic stereotypes? Isaac is greedy to the point of selling his young ward, cowardly, weak, repulsive, and rich.

I wish I could say that I was shocked by all this, but I am not. In Russia, racism is business as usual.

#100 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,127 posts

Posted 22 June 2009 - 08:32 PM

I think if they had provided this three-sentence explanation, they would have won a lot of sympathy and understanding from the audience.

Had they made this announcement, I think most of the audience would have been rooting for and appreciating Shipulina 110%. With all of the casting changes, I didn't even realize she was about to do her third performance in 2.5 days.

At least she got the call the night before and not at lunch on Sunday...

#101 Hans

Hans

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 22 June 2009 - 09:30 PM

Unfortunately I was a bit late to the performance on Sunday, so I had to watch Act I on the monitor outside the KC opera house and was therefore unable to see the portrayal of Lanquedem. From the description above, it strikes me as very poor taste, much like the blackface children in La Bayadère. Surely the offensive references could be removed with no damage to the ballet, especially considering that Lanquedem is not portrayed offensively in the productions of the Mariinsky (as far as I can tell) or ABT.

#102 carbro

carbro

    Late Board Registrar

  • Rest in Peace
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,361 posts

Posted 22 June 2009 - 10:17 PM

...I was surprised that this new production chose to have Lankendem, Isaac Lankendem in the program, acted in such a virulently anti-semitic way. That may be historically accurate for a nineteenth century Russian ballet, it's certainly par for the course in the literature, at least Gogol, but is it necessary for a new production?

I would be appalled if a choreographer today were to create such a character, but this is a reconstruction, and I think it's important to keep it as close as possible to the original. Would I have felt uncomfortable, maybe even offended, to see it? Most likely. But I would not want this historical reconstruction to be sanitized to suit some modern sensibilities, even though I recognize the danger of reinforcing certain bigotries.

I hate to think that Osipova arrived ill in DC with something she picked up in New York, where severe respiratory illnesses have been spreading like -- well, like a virus. (One night last week at the Met, you could hear The Cough travel from left to right down my row, like a wave. :rofl: ) I wish her a quick recovery.

Thanks again to all for your richly detailed reports. :)

#103 Drew

Drew

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,234 posts

Posted 22 June 2009 - 11:12 PM

The Lankedem made me feel slightly queasy when I saw the production in London, and it is not my impression that antisemitism is entirely a dead letter in Russia where this revival/reconstruction premiered. I am also not convinced one couldn't modernize at least some points like this in nineteenth-century ballets with no profound loss -- and it certainly isn't as if we are seeing an "exact" reconstruction of the ballet in any number of respects. We aren't. As far as dance history goes, historians can still read about and document how the ballet was done originally. (That said, the whole premise of Corsaire involves a silly orientalism whose political implications don't bear much looking into...)

Very sorry to read Osipova has been ill. Wishing her a swift recovery...

#104 Ilya

Ilya

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 173 posts

Posted 23 June 2009 - 03:47 AM

...I was surprised that this new production chose to have Lankendem, Isaac Lankendem in the program, acted in such a virulently anti-semitic way. That may be historically accurate for a nineteenth century Russian ballet, it's certainly par for the course in the literature, at least Gogol, but is it necessary for a new production?

I would be appalled if a choreographer today were to create such a character, but this is a reconstruction, and I think it's important to keep it as close as possible to the original. Would I have felt uncomfortable, maybe even offended, to see it? Most likely. But I would not want this historical reconstruction to be sanitized to suit some modern sensibilities, even though I recognize the danger of reinforcing certain bigotries.


Ah but there is no "THE original." Petipa himself made several versions, and none fully survived. Even the available notation is impossible to unambiguously interpret. Case in point: as far as I understand, the choreography used for the pdd is mostly by Vaganova and Chabukiani (who, by the way, are not acknowledged in the booklet). I always thought that good chunks of the pas d'esclave are also due to Chabukiani. (Please correct me if I'm wrong!) As has been discussed on this thread, other big chunks of the ballet---such as the pas des eventails that was omitted on tour---are newly choreographed. So, given all these huge liberties taken, why stick to the antisemitism both in the ballet and in the online program booklet? And, if historical accuracy is so important, why edit it out of the program booklet especially for the tour?

#105 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 23 June 2009 - 04:05 AM

Thanks, Alban and Ilya, for your thoughtful and erudite discussions of the racial/religious stereotyping that the Bolshoi chooses to include in this production.

Ilya writes:

Unfortunately, all forms of religious and ethnic intolerance, including antisemitism, have long been and still are part of life in Russia. Byron's poem that the names of the four main characters are taken from does not have any slave traders, Jews, or slave markets. The names "Isaac Lanquedem," "Lankedem," and "Lankendem" are all misspelled versions of the main protagonist from Alexandre Dumas' novel "Isaac Laquedem," based on the legend of the Wondering Jew---however, the actual character in the ballet has nothing in common with Dumas' character, either, as far as I know. I'd be curious to know who it was that introduced this character into the ballet, and when. However, given the virulent antisemitism of the tsarist Russia, it is no surprise to me that the character took root. Clearly, nothing much has changed since then, as the following quote from the Bolshoi's official Corsaire synopsis shows:
"Medora begs Seyd-Pasha to grant her her freedom but, seeing that he is unrelenting, complains of cruel treatment by her guardian; Seyd-Pasha orders the eunuch to send the Jew packing."
(See http://bolshoi.ru/en...nact26=art#dyn)
Miraculously, this was edited in the Kennedy Center program booklet and replaced with:
"Medora begs Seyd-Pasha to grant her her freedom but, seeing that he is unrelenting, complains of cruel treatment by her guardian. Pasha
Seyd orders Isaac to leave."
(In fact, before he orders Isaac to leave, he has him whipped.)

Such things must be talked about. As much, I think, as the skills of the greatest dancers. Either the Bolshoi knows what they are doing or -- worse ! -- are so untroubled by it that they don't even consider it morally questionable. (The Kennedy Center's rewriting of the program notes show that THEY know what is going on.)


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):