Jump to content


La Sonnambula is approaching......and I need some input...!


  • Please log in to reply
53 replies to this topic

#1 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,239 posts

Posted 04 January 2011 - 09:56 PM

OMG...only three days before curtain rises to give way to MCB program II. Once more, I'll face three new to me ballets, two Balanchines and one Tharp-( :dry: )

In this thread I would like to gather ANY info/input you can give me about "La Sonnambula"...anything, from past performers to what to expect, what do you recall...you know, whatever can shred some light on the ballet. I thank you guys for always being so responsive to my inquiries. I will open two other threads for the other two ballets on the program, Western Symphony and the Tharp one...( :dry: )

:flowers:

So..who wants to start...?

#2 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 05 January 2011 - 07:57 AM

Cristian, this is an old-style Ballet Russe work -- originally called Night Shadow. It's heavy on atmosphere and mystery. To give you an idea of the piece, here's the cast list from the 1946 premiere to which I've added the 1960 NYCB premiere cast (in parenthesis. Finally, I have added the MCB dancers I saw when the company last did this, in March 2005.

The Sleepwalker; Alexandra Danilova (Allegra Kent) -- MCB: Haiyan Wu, Jennifer Kronenberg
The Poet: Erik Bruhn (Nicholas Magallanes) -- MCB: Luis Serrano, Carlos Guerra
The Coquette: Maria Tallchief (Jillana) -- MCB: Patrica Delgado, Callie Manning
The Host, or Baron: Michel Katcharoff (John Taras) -- MCB: Bruce Thornton, Isanusi Garcia-Rodriquez

#3 rg

rg

    Emeralds Circle

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,436 posts

Posted 05 January 2011 - 08:11 AM

if you can locate these vids, the following were filmed and telecast (the second was commercially released).

Balanchine and Cunningham: an evening at American Ballet Theatre / co-produced by WNET/New York and Danmarks Radio ; produced by Judy Kinberg and Thomas Grimm ; directed by Thomas Grimm. 1988.(60 min.)
Host: Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Danced by members of American Ballet Theatre.
Writer, Holly Brubach ; lighting, Jorgen Johannessen, Tim Hunter.
Duets / choreography, Merce Cunningham ; music, John Cage (Improvisation no. 3) ; design, Mark Lancaster ; danced by Melissa Allen, John Gardner, Jennet Zerbe, Clark Tippet, Amy Rose, Robert Hill, Amanda McKerrow, Gil Boggs, Kathleen Moore, Ricardo Bustamente, Christine Spizzo, and Wes Chapman.
La sonnambula / choreography, George Balanchine, staged by John Taras ; music, Vittorio Rieti after themes of Vincenzo Bellini ; scenery, Zack Brown ; costumes, Theoni V. Aldredge ; danced by Leslie Browne (coquette), Michael Owen (baron), Mikhail Baryshnikov (poet), Alessandra Ferri (sleepwalker), Johan Renvall (harlequin), John Gardner, William Stoler, Robert Wallace (acrobats), and others.

Dancing for Mr. B.: Six Balanchine ballerinas [videorecording] / a production of Seahorse Films in association with WNET/New York ; produced and directed by Anne Belle ; co-directed and edited by Deborah Dickson. New York, N.Y. : WNET/Thirteen, c1989.(90 min.)
Notes: Narrator: Marian Seldes.
Executive producer, Jac Venza.
Dance contents (choreography by Balanchine except where noted otherwise). Excerpts from: Serenade / danced by the ensemble -- The nutcracker / danced by Moylan -- Rehearsal (1947) of The four temperaments / Sanguinic danced by Moylan and Fred Danieli ; Choleric danced by Le Clercq -- Firebird: Berceuse and pas de deux / danced by Tallchief and Michael Maule -- Concerto barocco / danced by Diana Adams and Le Clercq -- Scotch symphony / danced by Tallchief, Eglevsky, and male ensemble -- Don Quixote pas de deux / choreography after Marius Petipa ; danced by Tallchief -- Stars and stripes / danced by Hayden -- Agon / danced by Kent and Arthur Mitchell -- Symphony in C / danced by Kent, Conrad Ludlow, and ensemble -- Tchaikovsky pas de deux / danced by Hayden and Edward Villella -- Apollo / danced by Farrell and Peter Martins -- Ballo della regina / danced by Ashley -- Swan lake: Act II / choreography staged by Alexandra Danilova after Lev Ivanov ; danced by Kistler and Cornel Crabtree -- The four temperaments: Sanguinic / danced by Ashley and Daniel Duell -- Rehearsal of La sonnambula, danced by Kistler and Ib Andersen.

additionally, over the years some scans of early stagings of THE NIGHT SHADOW were posted here, variously.

#4 rg

rg

    Emeralds Circle

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,436 posts

Posted 05 January 2011 - 08:15 AM

this was also telecast but not released commercially, to the best of my knowledge:

Confessions of a corner maker 1981. 49 min.
Notes: Telecast on CBS Cable, New York, June 15, 1982. Producer: Catherine Tatge. A production of CBS Cable and the Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation, Inc. Executive producer: Merrill Brockway.
Choreographed, written and directed by Twyla Tharp. Lighting design: Ralph Holmes. Costumes: Santo Loquasto. Performed by members of the company of Twyla Tharp and Dancers.
CONTENTS. - Bach duet. Music: J. S. Bach's Suite no. 3 for orchestra. Performed by Christine Uchida and William Whitener. - Baker's dozen. Music: Willie "The Lion" Smith, adapted by Dick Hyman. Performed by Rose Marie Wright, Tom Rawe, Jennifer Way, Shelley Washington, Christine Uchida, Raymond Kurshals, William Whitener, John Carrafa, John Malashock, Mary Ann Kellogg, Sara Rudner, and Gary Chryst. - Short Stories. (Part 1) Jungleland, music: Bruce Springsteen, performed by Jennifer Way, Tom Rawe, Sara Rudner, and John Malashock; (Part 2) Lover boy, music: Supertramp, performed by Shelley Washington, Raymond Kurshals, William Whitener, John Carrafa, Katie Glasner, and Mary Ann Kellogg.

#5 Kathleen O'Connell

Kathleen O'Connell

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 759 posts

Posted 05 January 2011 - 09:24 AM

A note about La Sonnambula's music: the score was composed by Vittorio Rieti, and is based on themes and arias from a number of Bellini operas (I Capuletti ed i Montecchi, Norma, I Puritani, and La Sonnambula). The plot, however, has absolutely nothing in common with Bellini's opera of the same name. Since I know the operas well, I find it very disconcerting to watch a ballet set to what sounds like a mixtape of Bellini's greatest hits -- minus the words and the voices to boot! It's not all that different from the music for Western Symphony, come to think of it ....

I wish NYCB and / or the Balanchine Trust folks would go back to calling it Night Shadow -- a much more evocative title, IMO, and more in keeping with the ballet's mood. Bellini's opera has a happy ending and there isn't a poet in sight ...

#6 kfw

kfw

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,269 posts

Posted 05 January 2011 - 09:41 AM

Christian, you might want to pick up a copy of Nancy Goldner's little book, Balanchine Variations, which has wonderful essays on at 22 Balanchine ballets including La Somnambula. I easily found copies through the Amazon link at the top of the page.

I'm looking forward to your impressions of the ballet once you see it.

#7 richard53dog

richard53dog

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,401 posts

Posted 05 January 2011 - 09:57 AM

if you can locate these vids, the following were filmed and telecast (the second was commercially released).

Dancing for Mr. B.: Six Balanchine ballerinas [videorecording] / a production of Seahorse Films in association with WNET/New York ; produced and directed by Anne Belle ; co-directed and edited by Deborah Dickson. New York, N.Y. : WNET/Thirteen, c1989.(90 min.)
Notes: Narrator: Marian Seldes.
Executive producer, Jac Venza.
additionally, over the years some scans of early stagings of THE NIGHT SHADOW were posted here, variously.



Just to add to rg's comment, I noticed the other day that the Dancing for Mr. B program is now available from Kultur Video on DVD. It's been out two years but me, wrapped up in my own world, didn't realize that it was commercially available again. So if anyone else was looking for this, you can go through the Amazon window above and order a copy.

#8 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,239 posts

Posted 05 January 2011 - 10:10 AM

Kathleen...your post was very enlightening. For some reason I always thought that this ballet followed Bellini's opera pattern.

#9 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,132 posts

Posted 05 January 2011 - 10:11 AM

It's got a story, but it's not like most story ballets. It was the first Balanchine I saw, and to put it mildly, I didn't like it at all, and avoided Balanchine until "Bouree Fantasque" was on a program I wanted to see at ABT, and which hooked me. Years later, I came to like "La Sonnambula" very much. It is not typical of the Balanchine rep, at least that which has survived.

#10 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 05 January 2011 - 11:20 AM

Here is Jennifer Kronenberg as la sonnambula, from the last time MCB danced the work:
http://3.bp.blogspot...asonnambula.jpg

... and Allegra Kent, NYCB, 1979
http://www.nycballet...Shop/kar-04.jpg

The part requires the ability to communicate a sense of vulnerability but also amazing internal strength.

Kent was the best in my experience: the otherworldliness, the strange ability to feel the presence of obstacles without seeing them, the ability to impersonal gossamer while also being strong enough to move forever on point. Kent was down at MCB to set the ballet last time around; I wonder if she will return (as she did for the reprise of Bugaku.)

Kronenberg is a taller dancer than Kent, with less of the gossamer. But she also combines strength and vulnerability. Haiyan Wu, the other sleepwalker of 2005, is a slight dancer who seemed to lack the stage presence and strength the role requires, most visibly in her obvious struggle to carry the Poet's body in her arms.

And .... piece de resistance ... Danilova and Magallanes, in the original Night Shadow:
http://xoomer.virgil...aMagallanes.jpg

#11 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,239 posts

Posted 05 January 2011 - 12:24 PM

Christian, you might want to pick up a copy of Nancy Goldner's little book, Balanchine Variations, which has wonderful essays on at 22 Balanchine ballets including La Somnambula. I easily found copies through the Amazon link at the top of the page.

I'm looking forward to your impressions of the ballet once you see it.


A copy is being place in my amazon shopping chart as I'm writing! :thumbsup:

I will definitely be back to report.

bart...thanks for those pics. Kronemberg looks beautiful... :wub:

#12 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 05 January 2011 - 12:47 PM

Cristian, here's a link to MCB corps member Rebecca King's blog. This post (1/04/2011) discusses preparations for La Sonnambula and includes comments by Allegra Kent:
http://tendusunderap...sonnambula.html

Moderator note: To avoid confusion, here is a reminder about the Ballet Alert rule re linking to blogs. Although we permit linking to blogs of dance professionals, dance critics, and mainstream press, we do not allow linking to fan blogs, however excellent they may be.

#13 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,239 posts

Posted 05 January 2011 - 01:44 PM

Danilova and Magallanes, in the original Night Shadow:
http://xoomer.virgil...aMagallanes.jpg


aah...the One and Only Danilova... :wub:

Lovely indeed, bart...

#14 atm711

atm711

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,424 posts

Posted 05 January 2011 - 02:18 PM

Chrisian, one of the interesting things of the original production (yes, Christian, I saw that) were the elaborate masques and head pieces. They were quite beautiful and added a lot of mystery to the surroundings. Best of all the dancers was Tallchief as the Coquette---never to be equaled in the role. My favorite sonnambula though is Allegra Kent---so out-of-this-world.

#15 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,239 posts

Posted 05 January 2011 - 02:19 PM

The blog's info is very helpful, bart...thanks for posting it...but I just couldn't help but to notice this...

[font="Comic Sans MS"][size="4"]"So, there always has to be drama right? So cue drama. The Croquette ,jealous of the Poet's interest in the Sleepwalker, informs the Host of the Poet's flirtations throughout the evening".[/size][/font]

Oh, I'm so silly... :rofl:


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):