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The Siren in Prodigal Son: Who are/were the best?-- and how should this character be performed?


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#46 bart

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 05:31 AM

I don't agree with Bart about the end of the ballet! For one thing, he couldn't have the Father run to the Prodigal, because it's not in Prokofiev's score, which suddenly goes all soft and gentle.

Good point. Prokofiev was not, I believe, a religious man in a an orthodox sense, though he was influenced by Christian Science,

Actually, I'm not big on the idea of the Father running forward. I object not so much to the stillness of the Father as to the stark, static quality which is a feature of many productions (including those by Miami City Ballet, directed by one of the greatest of Prodigals, Edward Villella).

The Rembrandt painting linked by kfw captures what I'm think the part needs. It does depict a moment of perfect stillness. But the father's face, as well as the positioning of his hands, has gentleness, sadness, consolation ... in other words, life. The Prodigal can't perform this big climactic moment in a vacume. He needs a father who is experiencing and depicting feelings of equivalent weight.

Shaun O'Brien, in the early NYCB performances, certainly conveyed much of what you see in the Rembrandt without altering the choreography or violating the music. It was a great stage performance. Other less talented dance-actors don't always handle it quite as well.

Sorry to keep this thread so Off Topic. Thanks, AnthonyNYC, for bringing us back to the Siren. So please: let's have more Siren sightings, Siren critiques, and Siren theories?

#47 jsmu

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 11:39 AM

Can't agree about Kistler in this role; vastly preferred every other NYCB ballerina whom I saw in it. Lopez would probably have been great in this but to my knowledge was never given it. Thought Alexopoulos, who was a gorgeous femme fatale to begin with, was excellent, and oddly enough Ashley was very good (which rather presaged her Carabosse); probably the best I've ever seen live was the sadly soon retiring Ariana Lallone, who was positively glacial--and utterly controlling. Lallone was like the descriptions of Adams and Gregory in this role--'ice cold'--and so strong in the difficult choreography that she could devote all of her attention to the character, not the steps or the cape.

#48 bart

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 06:16 PM

rg has posted a photo of Suzanne Farrell's Siren (first post on the following thread):

http://balletalert.i...174#entry282174

Also, regarding the way the final scene should be played -- I just came across Alastair Macaulay's 2010 review of the Ballet Arizona performances:

Mr. Andersen staged all three ballets himself, often making fascinatingly shrewd choices of textual options ignored today by most other Balanchine regisseurs. Although "The Prodigal Son" is now danced across the globe, where else today is it evident that when the Father (Sergei Perkovskii) enters in the final scene, he is now blind?



#49 kfw

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 07:22 PM

Also, regarding the way the final scene should be played -- I just came across Alastair Macaulay's 2010 review of the Ballet Arizona performances:

Mr. Andersen staged all three ballets himself, often making fascinatingly shrewd choices of textual options ignored today by most other Balanchine regisseurs. Although "The Prodigal Son" is now danced across the globe, where else today is it evident that when the Father (Sergei Perkovskii) enters in the final scene, he is now blind?

That's interesting. Without having searched through all my Balanchine books, I'm wondering if this was in the original text. In the Biblical parable, God's grace to the wastrel is dramatized by the fact that the father runs to meet his son. I've always been a little sorry Balanchine didn't include this element in his ballet. But if Balanchine made the father blind, that casts a different light on what he left out.

#50 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 07:28 PM


Also, regarding the way the final scene should be played -- I just came across Alastair Macaulay's 2010 review of the Ballet Arizona performances:

Mr. Andersen staged all three ballets himself, often making fascinatingly shrewd choices of textual options ignored today by most other Balanchine regisseurs. Although "The Prodigal Son" is now danced across the globe, where else today is it evident that when the Father (Sergei Perkovskii) enters in the final scene, he is now blind?

That's interesting. Without having searched through all my Balanchine books, I'm wondering if this was in the original text. In the Biblical parable, God's grace to the wastrel is dramatized by the fact that the father runs to meet his son. I've always been a little sorry Balanchine didn't include this element in his ballet. But if the father in the ballet is blind, that provides a different explanation.


I recall from either an interview with Danilova or from "Chura," [and I may have mentioned this on the board previously] that in their hotel room, Balanchine was considering the ending. He was at his wits end about how to deal with the very long (lyrical) stretch of music from the time the sisters drag the Prodigal in through the gate until he is taken up in his father's arms. The Prodigal's long, slow, hobbled walk with his hands behind his back (a sign of shame???) was his solution as to how to fill those bars.

#51 kfw

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 04:30 AM

I recall from either an interview with Danilova or from "Chura," [and I may have mentioned this on the board previously] that in their hotel room, Balanchine was considering the ending. He was at his wits end about how to deal with the very long (lyrical) stretch of music from the time the sisters drag the Prodigal in through the gate until he is taken up in his father's arms. The Prodigal's long, slow, hobbled walk with his hands behind his back (a sign of shame???) was his solution as to how to fill those bars.

Thank you!


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