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Grand Pas de Quatre


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#1 glebb

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 08:33 AM

I dug up and watched my old video of THE GRAND PAS DE QUATRE last night. Alonzo, Fracci, Thesmar and Evdokimova seemed perfect in their roles.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the above performance?

Though I'm pretty sure that we BA posters were not there, would anyone have anything to say about the original performance?

[ February 13, 2002: Message edited by: glebb ]



#2 Alexandra

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 01:01 PM

Unfortunately, I missed those original performances, Glebb. I was over in Copenhagen at the time, watching Napoli rehearsals smile.gif

What always bothers me about "Pas de Quatre" are the ballerina jokes. I don't believe they were there at the time -- those women wouldn't have given each other little sidelong evil eyes, nor been reluctant to leave the stage. I'd love to see a performance of this staged straight!

#3 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 09:20 PM

So are you saying, Alexandra, that you don't think the rivalry was really there? That the controversy over who would do the last variation, and who was the "reigning" ballerina, and the competition among them was brought in later? It very well could be, but I wonder...

In any case, I rather like that bit of rivalry, an the idea that there was a little bit of competition there, albeit a friendly one and they all work together in the end smile.gif

#4 Mel Johnson

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 10:14 PM

We get the recollections of the rivalry from Benjamin Lumley's memoirs of his life as the producer of Her Majesty's Theatre, which was sort of a genteel Victorian "tell-all" about Life Upon the Wicked Stage. From the contemporary reviews, most particularly in the Illustrated London News that there was no display of rivalry onstage. Keith Wilbur kept it pretty straight, but the Dolin stagings sometimes were pretty campy, especially during the 1960s, when that sort of humor was fashionable.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 13 February 2002 - 11:56 PM

I'm sure the rivalry was there, Victoria, I just don't think it was on stage, in the choreography. I think it would have been quite the opposite. They wouldn't have deigned to show rivalry. They'd just "beat" the stuffings out of the rival.

#6 Alymer

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Posted 15 February 2002 - 02:46 PM

I'm sure you are correct Alexandra and it seems to me a pity that nobody puts a stop to the increasing tendancy for the Pas de Quatre to be performed as a big comedy number.
However, historically there was a considerable dispute before the curtain went up as to the order in which the Goddesses should appear. Everyone concerned agreed that Taglioni should have the place of honour and appear last. However, Cerrito and Grisi had a real spat over who should take precedence for second place. The theatre manager, Benjamin Lumley solved the dilema saying "The question of talent must be decided by the audience", but as to precedence "Let the oldest take her unquestionnable right to the envied position". Since neither lady was prepared to own up to that, Perrot got to decide the order in which they appeared.

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 15 February 2002 - 02:50 PM

Hello, Alymer, good to see you again smile.gif Yes, I know the story -- I've assumed that's what everyone has been referring to when referencing "the rivalry." But what goes on backstage doesn't have anything to do with what went on in the choreography. I've never read anything that indicated that "Pas de Quatre" was a cat fight. If the Trockaderos do it, that's funny, but when it's worked into a serious production, I find it annoying.

#8 glebb

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Posted 15 February 2002 - 09:34 PM

At a gala in Miami many years ago, I saw an all male version put together by Ben Stevenson who also portrayed Taglioni.

I was very young and couldn't help enjoying the part where the other (male dancers from National Ballet of Washington) ballerinas ate the marshmallow necklace of Taglioni.

Taglioni also pulled out a gun and shot Cerrito for taking an extra bow.

I have to say that certain balletomanes did not enjoy this parody.

#9 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 February 2002 - 10:31 PM

Aw, darn, and I wasn't there for that one! wink.gif

Even when Dolin was staging his version campy, he'd sometimes cut back, and go, "No, no, we're over the line here. It's too hammy." Problem is, he's gone, and the succeeding generations don't know how and where to cut back when it gets "too hammy". frown.gif

#10 glebb

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 08:33 PM

My big color print of the opening tableaux arrived today! It's beautiful!

Thanks Victoria, for helping me locate it on Ebay.

#11 novamom

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Posted 07 March 2002 - 09:29 AM

Glebb, would you mind posting this info. re Ebay? Thanks very much.

#12 Paul Parish

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Posted 10 March 2002 - 04:22 AM

I'd love to see a video of Pas de Quatre....

I remember the Trockadero versoin as a deliriously beautiful thinfg, actually beautifully danced, and hte jokes about th e odd things ballerinas DO (like walking on high half-toe, were at least as funny as the cat-fight, and hte funniest thing of all was how much I enjoyed seeing the final tableau over and over and over --
I didn't want it to end, life would be too too ordinary, and I was delighted to have applause milked out of me if they could just keep it from ending...... "Don't leave me," I could almost hear myself say it, I realized they'd made me aware that I felt it, and it made me realize what a contribution they were making....

#13 rg

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Posted 10 March 2002 - 08:29 PM

are you saying paul, that you're unaware or 'le grand pas de quatre' being on commercial vid?
when i put my videography togeth. for my book there were 4 different versions (two incomplete) round (p. 563) and i didn't mention the one that was on the 'era of romantic ballet' as that tape had at that point been discontinued, tho' it's still around in any number of collections.
i don't know if the trocks are putting that version on the vid. they've either just released or are about to release. but it's probably worth exploring this avenue too.

#14 glebb

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Posted 13 March 2002 - 08:44 AM

Sorry Novamom, I have no ebay info. A good friend linked me to that particular auction.

I have a little trivia to share. In Tommy Tune's NINE the famous tableux pose is done during the song The Germans at the Spa.

#15 Paul Parish

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Posted 20 March 2002 - 09:55 PM

Dear Robert,

I am confessing my ignorance of that fact -- which is kind of embarrassing, since I not only could have read it in your book, I DID read it in your excellent book -- but I have not been around anybody who had a copy to borrow or sell. I'd love to see one.


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