This is wonderful Natalia, thanks for bringing it to our attention. I wish I could go to Milan this year but unfortunately its not in the cards. Can't wait to hear your impressions!
Thanks. If my flight gets in on time (early morn), I should even be able to make it to the preview-lecture on the evening of October 6. Fingers crossed! Luckily, my hotel is just a couple of blocks from La Scala.
Still no word on who'll be the alternate Raymondas, although we can detect La Scala prima Marta Romagna and 'unidentified Jean de Brienne' rehearsing behind first-cast Novikova/Vogel in a couple of the photos. Romagna is La Scala's strongest Petipa classicist from among the permanent principals (not counting guests like Zakharova). I'd love to know who'll dance the other meaty solos, such as the friends quartet (Henriette-Clemence-Bernard-Beranger).
Among the segments of Raymonda that I'm particularly looking forward to seeing for the first time, compared to 20th-Century versions in current rep around the globe:
1. Bernard & Beranger dancing to their 'male duo variation' music in the A2 Pas de Six . Most modern productions give this music to Jean de Brienne in either Act I/Scene i (where he should not appear at all!) or Act III.
2. Act III Children's Dance (a.k.a. 'La Rhapsodie') actually danced by children, as intended - again, this music is usually cut and/or repackaged as a solo for Jean de Brienne...or, in the POB/Nureyev version, I believe that this music goes to Bernard&Beranger (a funny duo in Act I). This music also appears as a duet for 2 demi-solo ladies in Balanchine's Raymonda Pas de Dix from the 1950s.
3. The full, uncut 'Cortege Hongrois' procession that is supposed to open the Act III Wedding - supposedly one of Petipa's grand 'parades' with 'cast of 100s' walking across the stage with props or on sedans...very similar to the 'parade' that opens the last act of the 1890 Sleeping Beauty or the 'parade' that opens Act II of Bayadere-1900 version. The Raymonda procession is supposed to pay homage to the Hungarian people and culture. [No - Nureyev dancing a new solo to this music, at the end of Act II of his POB version, does not count. ]
Then I wonder: Will Jean de Brienne have ANY solo? He should not, if this is to be 100% faithful to Petipa's 1898 original. It will be interesting to see if Vikharev has been pressured into crafting something for Vogel and the other danseurs essaying Jean.
It's a huge shame that this is not occuring in Russia...but Russia doesn't seem to want the grand Petipa reconstructions nowadays. On the other hand, it is proper that this be occuring in Milan, Italy, given that the first Raymonda was Pierina Legnani and the first Countess Sybil was Giuseppina Cecchetti.
Cubanmiamiboy - Take heart. The Raymonda reconstruction has been announced for the next season (October 2012), once again starring Olesya Novikova. By then, we may even have Svetlana Zakharova fully back from maternity leave and dancing once again at La Scala as the Permanent Guest. Also, maybe - maybe there might be a live simulcast and/or DVD at that time, especially if it will involve 'superstars' like Zakharova with Bolle (who won't be dancing Jean this year)? Who knows. It's a real shame that none of Vikharev's full productions have made it onto DVD yet.
Maybe I need to re-watch the reconstruction (watched it other night on YouTube in between handing out candy to kids). I don't remember a male duo and I think Jean de Brienne did get a solo in the last act. But were the other two items the way you described? I remember children, but I am not sure it was in the place you mention. Was this a faithful reconstruction (choreography-wise), in your opinion? Even if not, I still loved it. I don't mean to nitpick. I just wanted to know. There is probably a push and pull between complete reconstruction and giving people what they want (like a solo for Jean de Brienne, as you mentioned). I followed along with the Wikipedia listing of dances, and it all made sense for the most part. Returning to an old discussion: The danse orientale is listed on Wikipedia as "cut by Petipa from the original production" and this reconstruction did not perform it which makes sense, since it was cut. The Mariinsky does not perform it either and even cuts the music whereas the reconstruction left the music. The Bolshoi performs it as a sort of pdd between Raymonda and Abderakhman. I wonder if it has ever been performed at all in that case as a variation for Raymonda. It is referred to as "Danse orientale-Danse characteristique de Raymonde (cut by Petipa from the original production)" by Wikipedia. I am just curious what this dance looks like, but it may never have been performed by anyone at all and always changed up (used for mime time in reconstruction and original and then dropped altogether at Mariinsky, and turned into short pdd at Bolshoi. I am just wondering if at any time in the history of this ballet someone danced it as a variation. Maybe we'll never know.
Also, could you clear up the confusion about the Pas classique hongrois? Wikipedia's listing of the numbers is:
Grand adage (Pas de dix)
Variation pour quatre danseurs
Variation de Raymonde
It appears that Variation 2 is always deleted and then put in after the 4 male dancers and becomes a variation for Jean de Brienne. Was it originally for one of Raymonda's friends? Do you know?
Also, I noticed in all performances I have seen on video this Pas de Dix seems to have 8 couples plus Raymonda and Jean de Brienne. How is this a Pas de Dix? There are 18 people taking part in it. Maybe I am misunderstanding the term. I thought it meant 10 people altogether dancing.
I know Wikipedia is not always reliable, but I do not have another listing of the dances and have used it as a rough guide when watching performances online or on dvd. And so my questions have arisen. Thanks for any info you have to clarify my questions.