perichoresis

Sight unseen

39 posts in this topic

It has been an age since I've contributed, but the thought occurs to me, which ballet/ballets, would you most dearly love to see but as yet have not.

There are more than a few on my list but Ashton's "Enigma Variations" is a work I have long desired to see. For a start I adore this composition of Elgar, the portrait of friends within.The great noble "Nimrod" variation has become a signature for state and solemn occasions.England had not had a great composer since Purcell , and when the Enigma Variations ( Elgar's first masterpiece) was heard, England realised that here was a composer of international stature.

The Edwardian evocations of courtesy and wonderful eccentricity, portraits in music of Elgar's circle of friends, inspired Ashton to realise this marvellous music in a work so quintessentially "English" I understand that a bicycle has a "role" in this ballet( The composer called his bicycle "Mr Phoebus" ) I think the ballet ends with a telegram given to Elgar , conveying the conductor Hans Richter's agreement to conduct Elgar's first symphony in Ab. At its rehearsal, Richter said to the orchestra "Gentlemen, let us rehearse the greatest symphony of our time, and not only in England" But that is another story...

It would be most interesting to see what readers have in mind.

Share this post


Link to post

You're right - it's a masterpiece, which Ashton caught in his choreography. They found Elgar's daughter and had her see the ballet, and she said, "They were all JUST LIKE THAT! However did you find out?" Ashton answered gently, "It's all in the music, you see...."

My own favorite wannasee is Nijinska's "Le Train Bleu".

Share this post


Link to post

Some of Petipa lost ones. Specifically "Cinderella" and the highly controversial "The Magic Mirror"-(Snow White and the seven dwarfs). I always think of them as the long lost sisters of "Sleeping Beauty".

Edited to add:

Also: The Mariinsky revival of "Ondine", Lacotte's "La Sylphide", Ashton's "Sylvia", "Esmeralda"...

Share this post


Link to post

Lots and lots, perichoresis.

I want to second Mel's vote for Train Bleu, which I've seen only on the Paris Opera Ballet video Picasso and Dance. I would add two other Nijinska works, if never seen but have read about Les Biches and Jeux. Plus the chance to compare her Renard with Balanchine's.

Tudor's Pillar of Fire. I'd like to see this with the eyes and preconceptions of someone who came upon it when it was new.

Jones Beach (Balanchine and Robbins). Train Bleu made me think of that. Plus all those visits to Jones Beach when I was a kid.

Balanchine's Tyl Ulenspiegel. And Caracole. (hyperdog's photo of Diana Adams made me think of that.)

Share this post


Link to post

"Biches" is still around, it's recoverable. "Jeux", however, is her brother's choreography. I believe that Millicent Hodson was trying to recover it some years ago, but there were only three dancers, and one was Nijinsky himself, so that may be lost. Did Bronia do her own version of "Jeux" ever? I recall looking at the arcs drawn in Nijinsky's diary, and noticed their similarities to the floor patterns in "Sacre". I wonder if this were a crypto-notation for some of Vatsa's choreographic ideas?

Share this post


Link to post

This is easy, at least the 'most want to see'. 'Wuthering Heights' live with POB. I'm praying they'll bring it to New York in 2012, and I'm already saving for their engagement here.

My second 'most-want-to-see' is 'A Month in the Country' with RB (only, for several reasons, including that they keep hold of it), if they can get it back up to Seymour/Dowell standard (apparently they haven't, acc. to Alexandra and others.)

Share this post


Link to post

"Caracole" too for me, because it's Balanchine to Mozart. And "Serenade" in its original version.

Share this post


Link to post
You're right - it's a masterpiece, which Ashton caught in his choreography. They found Elgar's daughter and had her see the ballet, and she said, "They were all JUST LIKE THAT! However did you find out?" Ashton answered gently, "It's all in the music, you see...."

My own favorite wannasee is Nijinska's "Le Train Bleu".

Share this post


Link to post
You're right - it's a masterpiece, which Ashton caught in his choreography. They found Elgar's daughter and had her see the ballet, and she said, "They were all JUST LIKE THAT! However did you find out?" Ashton answered gently, "It's all in the music, you see...."

My own favorite wannasee is Nijinska's "Le Train Bleu".

extraordinary!!! Elgar once said "I have sung the trees' music, or have they sung mine? His nickname for his daughter was "fish-face" Poor girl!

Share this post


Link to post
"Biches" is still around, it's recoverable. "Jeux", however, is her brother's choreography. I believe that Millicent Hodson was trying to recover it some years ago, but there were only three dancers, and one was Nijinsky himself, so that may be lost. Did Bronia do her own version of "Jeux" ever? I recall looking at the arcs drawn in Nijinsky's diary, and noticed their similarities to the floor patterns in "Sacre". I wonder if this were a crypto-notation for some of Vatsa's choreographic ideas?

Jeux was reconstructed by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer for Verona and staged in 1996.

His sister Bronislava's other ballets are:-

Le Renard (mus. Stravinsky, 1922), Les Noces (mus. Stravinsky, 1923), Les Biches (mus. Poulenc, 1924), Les Fâcheux (mus. Auric, 1924), and Le Train bleu (mus. Milhaud, 1924), Le Baiser de la fée (mus. Stravinsky, 1928), Bolero (mus. Ravel, 1928), and La Valse (mus. Ravel, 1929), Variations (mus. Beethoven, 1932) and Hamlet (mus. Liszt, 1934)(with herself in the title role), dance sequences in Max Reinhardt's Hollywood film of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Les Cent Baisers (mus. d'Erlanger), Chopin Concerto, Palester's Le Chant de la terre, and Kondracki's La Légende de Cracovie, she also staged La Fille mal gardée (mus. Hertel, Ballet Theatre, 1940), The Snow Maiden (mus. Glazunov), Brahms Variations, and Pictures at an Exhibition (mus. Mussorgsky, Ballet) for the Grand ballet du Marquis de Cuevas she staged the extravagantly designed The Sleeping Beauty in 1960. PS There may be more works.

We have to thank Sir Frederick Ashton for her works being remembered at all and I was overwhelmed not once but twice at seeing her in the flesh when she took curtain calls for both Les Biches and Les Noces.

I would also like to see Lopukhov's "Dance Symphony' to confirm or otherwise his influence on other choreographers.

Share this post


Link to post
We have to thank Sir Frederick Ashton for her works being remembered at all.
I'd love to hear more about this, leonid. I've noticed that Ashton and Nijinska have been mentioned more often than other choreographers on this thread. What did Ashton particularly value in Nijinska's work? Is there an affinity between the two choreographers' styles or views of ballet?

Share this post


Link to post
"Biches" is still around, it's recoverable. "Jeux", however, is her brother's choreography.

I heard the score of "Jeux" last night during this week All-Debussy Festival by the New World Symphony. Wow...that's some music to dance to... :excl: Those tempi kept changing the whole time, and the agógica was just crazy!

:o

Share this post


Link to post
We have to thank Sir Frederick Ashton for her works being remembered at all.
I'd love to hear more about this, leonid. I've noticed that Ashton and Nijinska have been mentioned more often than other choreographers on this thread. What did Ashton particularly value in Nijinska's work? Is there an affinity between the two choreographers' styles or views of ballet?

I am going to cop out of answering you today, but will do so later.

In the meantime I thought you would find this article of interest as it relates in part to one source of both Ashton and Nijinska's aesthetics, Enrico Cecchetti. Although Ashton, was initially introduced to Cecchetti second-hand, via Leonide Massine. He did of course spend two years with Nijinska in the late 1920's.

http://www.ballet.co.uk/followingsirfred/r...i_on_ashton.htm

Share this post


Link to post

I'd love to see Le Carnaval, Le Dieu Bleu, Les Papillons, The Three Cornered Hat, La Chatte and also Les Algues by Janine Charrat. We learned it at the Harkness, but never performed it. It was very bizarre, we were all inmates in a lunatic asylum. It was one of the first ballets that I had to learn, after just getting into the company and being a trainee in the school. At the time, I seriously questioned my choice of career.

Share this post


Link to post
We have to thank Sir Frederick Ashton for her works being remembered at all.
I'd love to hear more about this, leonid. I've noticed that Ashton and Nijinska have been mentioned more often than other choreographers on this thread. What did Ashton particularly value in Nijinska's work? Is there an affinity between the two choreographers' styles or views of ballet?

Ashton had already choreographed The Tragedy of Fashion (1926) through the encouragement of Marie Rambert when he was danced with Ida Rubinstein’s company in London in 1927. The following year joined her company in Paris where Bronislava Nijinska was choreographer and his fellow dancers included Anatole Vilzak, Ludmilla Schollar, Nina Verchina, David Lichine, William Chappell.

The wide range of subject matter in the repertoire of Rubinstein’s company (where Massine was also a choreographer ) also perhaps influenced the wide range of choreographic style he would later adopt.

Something of a legend, Nijinska mentored Ashton which contributed to his forming of a wide range of choreographic styles and he readily acknowledged Nijinska’s influence as he did the plasticity and the dramatic power of Anna Pavlova.

Regrettably I have only two ballets of Nijinska to absolutely confirm her choreographic influence and as I have only seen something like thirty Ashton ballet’s less than half of his oeuvre my assessment therefore can only be called incomplete. However their is some similarity in the various subject matters they both used.

Ashton was influenced by the Nijinska’s use of picturesque rounded arms and non-academic epaulement together with a freedom of a flexibility of the torso. In this Les Biches was an example, whose neo-classicism undoubtedly led to Ashton's essays in this genre and is also reflected in "Les Rendevous", "Symphonic Variations", "Monotones", "Marguerite and Armand", etc,etc,etc.

Both choreographers staged versions of Romeo and Juliet, Pomona, Le Baiser de la Fee and La Valse.

What was obvious that both on and off-stage was that Ashton had a kind of adoring reverence in respect of Bronislava Nijinska.

Further info at:-

http://www.ballet.co.uk/followingsirfred/j...two_letters.htm

http://www.brb.org.uk/masque/index.htm?act...son&urn=292

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you, leonid, for your post and your links. I appreciate your answers to my questions.

Ashton was influenced by the Nijinska’s use of picturesque rounded arms and non-academic epaulement together with a freedom of a flexibility of the torso. In this Les Biches was an example, whose neo-classicism undoubtedly led to Ashton's essays in this genre and is also reflected in "Les Rendevous", "Symphonic Variations", "Monotones", "Marguerite and Armand", etc,etc,etc.

[ ... ] What was obvious that both on and off-stage was that Ashton had a kind of adoring reverence in respect of Bronislava Nijinska

The Richard Glasstgone article on "The Influence of Cecchetti on Ashton's Work" was very helpful making in conceptualize these points. Next step -- after acquiring a concept -- is to learn how to look for and appreciate the concept in performance. Ashton has become almost invisible in U.S. ballet performance today and, I assume, in studios as well. So, of course, has Nijinska.

I have always been fascianted the expressiveness of epaulement, arms and torso. This, however, is sometimes lost or or underplayed in Balanchine-influenced choreography that I grew up on. I see that I will have to will have to start looking more closely at YouTube clips and other sources so I can get a better feel for what you are talking about. This will be a good project for the long, hot summer. As someone who's first and most important ballet experiences were Balanchine, it's fascinating to spend time looking quietly at this alternate (but not TOO alternate; I mean it's not Cambodian court dancing :excl: ) way of expressing the body's potential for beautiful movement.

Share this post


Link to post
[ ... ]and also Les Algues by Janine Charrat. We learned it at the Harkness, but never performed it. It was very bizarre, we were all inmates in a lunatic asylum. It was one of the first ballets that I had to learn, after just getting into the company and being a trainee in the school. At the time, I seriously questioned my choice of career.
duffster, that sounds like something worthy of a thread of its own. :o The title "Seaweed" suggests many things, including sinuous entanglments. Do you recall anything like that?

Googling this ballet is not easy: lots of short references, but no full-length account, at least so far in my searches. Nevertheless, here is some of what I found. (I LOVE Google.)

First of all, I didn't realize how important Janine Charrat was in the post-World War II ballet world in France. The plans for the Harkness production were in 1967. The ballet itself -- created by (Louis) Bertrand Catelli, later producer of Hair in the US and worldwide -- had premiered in 1953. Charrat herself was burned seriously when a candle set fire to her costume during a performance of the ballet in 1961. The only summary I can find goes something like this: "a young man feigns madness in order to free his beloved from an insane asylum" (or something like that)) :excl: )

There's a documentary about Charrat:

JANINE CHARRAT L'INSTINCT DE LA DANSE - réalisation Luc Riolon et Rachel Seddoh - 2001 Documentaire de 54 minutes. portrait de la chorégraphe Janine Charrat Née en 1924, Janine Charrat est un enfant prodige de la danse dès 7 ans. Dès son plus jeune âge, elle crée et invente des chorégraphies. On l'appelle le "Mozart" de la danse. A 12 ans elle tourne le film de Benoit-levy "La mort du Cygne" et devient une star. Elle devient le partenaire de Roland Petit pour des duos réglés par Serge Lifar ou Jean Cocteau puis monte sa compagnie "les Ballets de France" et fait le tour du monde. Coproduction ARTE - LES FILMS PÉNÉLOPE - RTBF - TSR. Diffusion ARTE le 14 novembre 2001.

This was screened in NYC in 1998 as part of a film festival devoted to French ballet. Another film shown was "La Mort du Cygne," (1937) in which 12-year-old Charrat co-starred with Yveette Chauvire and Mia Slavenska, then both in their early 20s. Charrat and Chauvire were on hand in NYC for a panel discussion, moderated by -- here's a coincidence -- our own rg.

Does anyone know about the availability of Mort du Cygne on cmomercially available video? It sounds, in Kissselgoff's review, as a ballet drama definitely worth watching and owning.

http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res...752C1A96E958260

Share this post


Link to post

If you have a copy of Cyril Beaumont's Ballets of Today, you can read an extraordinarily detailed 6-page description of the action of Les Algues - and also learn that Castelli, fascinated by this true story and wanting to make it the basis for a theatre work, spent 2 months as a voluntary inmate in an asylum before deciding that ballet would be the most suitable medium.

Share this post


Link to post
"Biches" is still around, it's recoverable. "Jeux", however, is her brother's choreography.

I heard the score of "Jeux" last night during this week All-Debussy Festival by the New World Symphony. Wow...that's some music to dance to... :excl: Those tempi kept changing the whole time, and the agógica was just crazy!

:o

Glad you mentioned this. I've known the piece most of my life, and then people mention it here from time to time, and even so I don't get around to matching up that it's the same music. Yes, I'd quite like to see that too. It sounds like one of the several important works made for Debussy.

Share this post


Link to post

Bart, I also tried to find out more info about Les Algues, I wonder if it was ever filmed. In the ballet, there were no sinuous entanglements, the choreography was,as I recall, very simple. Janine Charrat was lovely to work with- extremely patient, very commited to the piece, at times she saw some of the senior members snickering at the choreography, she never showed any sign of temperment. She never covered up her scars from the horrible burning accident that she endured. At rehearsal she wore a typical v-necked leotard, where you could see the burns from her neck all the way down to her chest. As for the ballet, we only learned the first act. The first scene took place in the asylum where you had several characters, who each had a short solo-a thief, a magician, a nympho, young children,and several others who were clearly crazy. I swear I'm not making this up. The lead Lone (Isaksen) had long passages of wandering around the stage and staring at the audience, while Larry(Rhodes)was fighting other creatures in the asylum to get to her. At the end of the first act there was a turning competion between the magician and Rhodes. The turns were a la seconde, (like the fouette competion in Graduation Ball) The way this ballet was rehearsed (especially by Rhodes and Isasken) was with such commitment that was truly impressive. I think in the wrong hands this ballet could have been a quite a comedy.

Share this post


Link to post
I heard the score of "Jeux" last night during this week All-Debussy Festival by the New World Symphony. Wow...that's some music to dance to... :excl: Those tempi kept changing the whole time, and the agógica was just crazy! :o

Thanks for getting me to listen to this again, which definitely makes me want to see it through Nijinsky's eyes. I need to visualize music, and am having a hard time with this. So I found an image to help me get started:

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=htt...;tbnw=105&p

And this: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_bTB3HGcehy4/SaDM...ina+in+Jeux.jpg

And this: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_bTB3HGcehy4/SaDM...ina+in+Jeux.jpg

Millicent Hodson's "reconstruction," based on rather limited evidence, images, etc., was performed by the Royal and later by the Joffrey. Here is Anna Kissselgoff's NY Times review of the Joffrey's performance in 2002. It gives a sense of the libretto of the work.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/04/arts/bal...riple-kiss.html

A program note emphasizes the idea that the choreography is ''after Nijinsky,'' not directly his.

Share this post


Link to post
I heard the score of "Jeux" last night during this week All-Debussy Festival by the New World Symphony. Wow...that's some music to dance to... :excl: Those tempi kept changing the whole time, and the agógica was just crazy! :o

Thanks for getting me to listen to this again, which definitely makes me want to see it through Nijinsky's eyes. I need to visualize music, and am having a hard time with this. So I found an image to help me get started:

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=htt...;tbnw=105&p

And this: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_bTB3HGcehy4/SaDM...ina+in+Jeux.jpg

And this: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_bTB3HGcehy4/SaDM...ina+in+Jeux.jpg

Millicent Hodson's "reconstruction," based on rather limited evidence, images, etc., was performed by the Royal and later by the Joffrey. Here is Anna Kissselgoff's NY Times review of the Joffrey's performance in 2002. It gives a sense of the libretto of the work.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/04/arts/bal...riple-kiss.html

A program note emphasizes the idea that the choreography is ''after Nijinsky,'' not directly his.

Here are some views on the recreation of Jeux.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2000...atures.review87

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2000/may/0...ce.artsfeatures

http://www.nytimes.com/library/dance/08270...nsky-dance.html

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2001/05/0...507crda_dancing

My own opinion is that the re-construction was a worthy attempt to reveal something more about Jeux than that which I had known since the 1960's, having read both historic descriptions and seen the photographs of the dancers in costume.

The Hodson/Archer production appealed to me as I am mostly interested in the 1909 to 1913 period of the Diaghilev ballet and I found it an insight into a work about which we know little, compared to “The Rite.........”. Their realisation of Jeux, informed in a way that the written page and photographs do not.

It was a production by two of the leading archaeologists of ballet, which has opened a door somewhat wider than before, broadening our understanding of this historic work. In this recreative process they have added to the analysis of Nijinsky as a choreographer. Yes, I think there was enough there to say this and for me it added to the vision I had held of the original performances, vividly recreating the historical account describing Nijinsky flying on stage in pursuit of tennis ball. Hodson and Archer in this reconstruction, gave flesh to the historical record.

As Jeux is a work reflecting Nijinsky's take on elements of social life of his era, I did wonder if many of today’s audiences were aware of the historical context and the real people thought to be depicted in this work. To know something of this background to Jeux, may for some of the audience added more to their understanding of this work. However, this was not a problem for people I spoke to after the performance and I felt through this Royal Ballet production, we had experienced much more than seeing through a glass darkly.

I am sorry however that I did not witness either the Verona or Rome productions.

Share this post


Link to post

*Balanchine's Scotch Symphony, The Four Temperaments

*Bournonville's A Folk Tale

*Mariinsky Ballet's Shurale

*Ratmansky's On the Dnieper

Share this post


Link to post

For those with a curiosity about Nijinska, you might want to look at Marcia Siegel's new anthology of her ballet criticism, "Mirrors & Scrims." She wrote several times about the Hodson reconstructions and the place that kind of research holds in the larger repertory. Her descriptive powers are excellent -- it isn't as good as being there, but it is a big help.

And as far as what I'd like to see, this weekends performances of New York Theater Ballet for Capriol Suite and Three Virgins and a Devil (which I've only ever seen on tape). Alas, I have no travel budget...

Share this post


Link to post
For those with a curiosity about Nijinska, you might want to look at Marcia Siegel's new anthology of her ballet criticism, "Mirrors & Scrims." She wrote several times about the Hodson reconstructions and the place that kind of research holds in the larger repertory. Her descriptive powers are excellent -- it isn't as good as being there, but it is a big help.

And as far as what I'd like to see, this weekends performances of New York Theater Ballet for Capriol Suite and Three Virgins and a Devil (which I've only ever seen on tape). Alas, I have no travel budget...

I have been tempted to buy the Marcia Siegel book and your recommendation has pushed me closer to acquiring it.

Share this post


Link to post

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead