Frederic Franklinan appreciation on his 95th birthday - July 9
Posted 07 July 2009 - 06:21 AM
His persona changed quickly when performing the Favorite Slave in 'Scheherazade'--a commendable performance--ending with the famous Nijinsky spin on-the-back-of-the-neck; and also as Johnny in the controversial 'Frankie and Johnny'. He was not a classical dancer but braved his share of Nutcrackers and Swan Lakes. I saw him once as Albrecht to Chauvire's 'Giselle'.
His most well known role is perhaps the Baron in 'Gaite Parisienne'. He was captured on film by Warner Bros. in the 1940's (The Gay Parisien). Before I saw my first live ballet performance I saw this film many times in the foreign movie houses on 42nd Street. There is also a candid version made up of actual performances of the Ballet Russe.
Thanks for the memories, Mr. Franklin---and thanks to ABT for giving us the priviledge of seeing him once again on the ballet stage.
Posted 07 July 2009 - 11:08 AM
Posted 07 July 2009 - 12:06 PM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, YOUNG BOY!!
(Edited to add: I've always been very fond of the Ballet Russes/early Ballet Theater era, so by getting to talk to Mr. Franklin, I felt very honored to have been able to connect with such an important member of this past. He is a living treasure, and I had the same feeling as when I spoke to Mme. Alonso at one point during a book signing in Havana. Both are SO clever and they definitely project this special charm and glamour from that ballet past that I so love...Sometimes I wonder if we are talking full advantage of them while they are still with us...same with other that are still around, Zoritch, etc...)
Posted 07 July 2009 - 02:57 PM
Posted 07 July 2009 - 05:42 PM
Posted 07 July 2009 - 07:53 PM
Posted 08 July 2009 - 03:26 AM
Posted 08 July 2009 - 09:38 AM
I asked him once what his most difficult ballet was to perform, he told me it was The Red Poppy.
He performed the famous Russian Sailors' Dance (to the Gliere music) and this Englishman was brilliant. He did the deep knee bends (there is a name for this step which I do not know) and then rose triumphantly on his heels with his arms overhead. He regularly brought the house down with this solo. The Ballet Russe did a one-act version (by Igor Schwezoff) of the three-act Soviet ballet. It also included a ribbon dance by a bare-chested Igor Youskevitch (probably on leave from the U.S. Coast Guard during wartime)---and, of course, Danilova as Tai-Hoa. There was grumbling in some newspapers about putting on a Soviet themed ballet---but who could resist such a cast.
Posted 08 July 2009 - 09:55 AM
Friar Laurence is a small but pivotal role but, as Franklin proves, there are no small parts.
"The entrance, one would die for!" he says. "I open that little door and I'm on this huge stage alone -- there's no one but me!"
Posted 08 July 2009 - 10:31 AM
Posted 08 July 2009 - 12:59 PM
One of Kevin McKenzie's great strong points is knowing how not to waste talent.
I anything could make me forgive him for Swamp thing, it's his knowing that Franklin's presence in Romeo and Juliet will give real weight and stature to the performance. Friar Lawrence has a profound sympathy with youth -- 'Our Romeo has not been in bed tonight" or "Such a light step will ne-er wear out the everlasting flint" -- he loves these kids, and Franklin has exactly the temperament for the role. It's a great part, and often given to people who can't give it any weight. Franklin's got the capacity for awe and for study, without which you can't believe that Friar Lawrence would know how to brew these potions.
I'd also love to see him as the Charlatan.
Thanks, Dale, for posting those articles.
Posted 08 July 2009 - 01:29 PM
Posted 05 March 2010 - 02:06 PM
Stick with it until the end (just a shade under 8 minutes) for a precious story I hadn't heard before.
The accompanying photo collection is small but well chosen.
Posted 05 March 2010 - 07:01 PM
A very poignant moment when Franklin talked about performing:
"I can walk onto that huge Met stage... and there is always somebody out there that remembers... which is lovely...."
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