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Videos of Giselle


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#31 rg

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 11:53 AM

i've just located my seymour/nureyev GISELLE and indeed the mad scene is well filmed and vividly rendered by seymour. for one thing, she employs a detail, which i've long thought should be standard - she seems to have the necklace somehow 'linked' to her hair-do - in this case she's still wearing her crown as queen of the vintage harvest, so when she tears off the necklace, the rustic crown (and her hairpins) all come out in a stroke, leaving her loose-haired as she collapses at her mother's feet, and thus requiring no fidgety help from distraught mum to undo her hair, pin by pin.

#32 carbro

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 12:05 PM

. . . when she tears off the necklace, the rustic crown (and her hairpins) all come out in a stroke, leaving her loose-haired as she collapses at her mother's feet, and thus requiring no fidgety help from distraught mum to undo her hair, pin by pin.

Oh, how I hate the pin-picking! :) I imagine the Seymour method can be painful, but how effective! Everything "breaks" -- her moment of glory, her trust in Loys/Albrecht, her heart, her whole world.

#33 rg

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 01:21 PM

actually there's no 'pain' to be seen in the tearing off of the necklace. i think it would easy and not at all painful to have the undoing of the hair 'linked' somehow to way the necklace is fastened. i'm not even sure that's what's going on here, all i can say is that by removing the necklace in a perceived moment of impetuosity, seymour's crown flies off and apart and her hair comes down, w/ no further need for fussing on her mother's part or on her own part.

#34 carbro

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 02:25 PM

actually there's no 'pain' to be seen in the tearing off of the necklace. i think it would easy and not at all painful to have the undoing of the hair 'linked' somehow to way the necklace is fastened.

Sorry. The yanking of something anchored to the head -- even a bun -- might involve some pulling at the root. Whoever fixed Giselle's hair must have been pretty expert at finding that happy medium between secure enough to stay up and loose enough to fall free when tugged.

#35 Hans

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 02:37 PM

I have the Malakhov/Vasilieva Giselle and I think it is very well done. Every single dancer, principals through corps, is clearly very beautifully and carefully coached, and even though the budget is obviously rather low, it is clear that everyone worked very hard to produce a refinement and attention to detail that I've never seen in a company on this side of the Atlantic.

#36 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 02:23 PM

i've just located my seymour/nureyev GISELLE and indeed the mad scene is well filmed and vividly rendered by seymour. for one thing, she employs a detail, which i've long thought should be standard - she seems to have the necklace somehow 'linked' to her hair-do - in this case she's still wearing her crown as queen of the vintage harvest, so when she tears off the necklace, the rustic crown (and her hairpins) all come out in a stroke, leaving her loose-haired as she collapses at her mother's feet, and thus requiring no fidgety help from distraught mum to undo her hair, pin by pin.

Last night i revisited my old Nureyev-Seymour :) VHS (BTW, it's never been released on DVD, right?), and indeed, the effect of the necklace/crown pulling is quite effective. About Seymor , IMO that for some reason, right from the mad scene 'till the end of the I Act, she looked as she has aged a lot to me. I think she did a great characterization of a suddenly mentally ill woman, but at the same time, when all the "joie de vivre" seems to have drained from Giselle, Mme.Seymour doesn't really convince me anymore that she is a young adolescent. I know that she was filmed way past her prime, but so were Mme.Fracci :bow: and Mme. Alonso :bow: when their respective Giselles were filmed, and i don't find this problem with them. :thanks:

#37 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 03:49 PM

The Cojocaru-Kobborg Giselle is indeed very lovely. Cojocaru is entirely believable - waiflike, insecure, pathetic, utterly moving, just wonderful. And Kobborg is also wonderful. Do recommend it! Their Giselle cannot be compared to Maximova-Vasiliev, it would be totally unfair to say one is better than the other. M-V's Giselle is darker, more Gothic in feel. C & K are a young happy couple and then it dawns on them that this is not to be. Though they are totally different in atmosphere, I have found that I now have not only one, but TWO favourite Giselles. Both versions move me to tears. :thanks: :)

#38 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 07:59 PM

Can anyone tell me which Giselle video does the best job in showing the mad scene? By "best" here I mean in terms of filming/video quality--I want to show it to a non-dance class of students and I want them to see it clearly.


I love Mme. Fracci's :bow: mad scene, but again i still stick to my favorite: Mme. Alonso :bow: /Plisetsky. Like i said earlier, this production is from 1965, but in this scene the angles a wide open, the music goes at a fair tempo, not like other productions that i've seen where it gets truncated or killed in a super fast way, and the madness is recreated by Alonso in such a exquisite way...paying attention to simple and beautiful details (like Giselle following and fingerpointing to a non existent bird, or butterfly on the air :) ).She doesn't overact nor she gets into frenzy runnings, like i've seen too, but simply delivers pure insanity...

#39 nysusan

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 10:06 AM

The Cojocaru-Kobborg Giselle is indeed very lovely. Cojocaru is entirely believable - waiflike, insecure, pathetic, utterly moving, just wonderful. And Kobborg is also wonderful. Do recommend it! Their Giselle cannot be compared to Maximova-Vasiliev, it would be totally unfair to say one is better than the other. M-V's Giselle is darker, more Gothic in feel. C & K are a young happy couple and then it dawns on them that this is not to be. Though they are totally different in atmosphere, I have found that I now have not only one, but TWO favourite Giselles. Both versions move me to tears. :) :bow:


How fortunate you are to have videos of Cojocaru/Kobborg and Maximova/Vasiliev Giselles. The C/K has been on my wish list for ages - I really hope they release it commercially, and soon! Based on the snippets I've seen of Maximova's Giselle I'll bet the M/V is devastating. I never saw her live and my understanding is that she was considered to be more of a soubrette than a dramatic ballerina but the clips I've seen of her in the second act pdd (from one of the Russian ballet compilations) are just stunning. Her dancing is so delicate & ghostly yet fraught with emotion. Another one I'd love to have is the Lunkina/Tsiskaridze video. But my wish list wouldn't be complete without the Fonteyn/Nureyev Giselle. I didn't even know there was footage of this till I saw some excerpts in the new Nureyev special - what I wouldn't give to own a copy of that (but even if a complete film/video exists I'll bet it was never released commercially).

Of the Giselle videos I do have, my favorite by far is the Makarova/Baryshnikov ABT video. Not only were they both such great dancers, but they had such an affinity for the roles, and great chemistry together. Also the video is from 76 or 77 and caught both of them pretty early in their post Soviet careers - just the way I'll always remember them!

#40 rg

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 10:43 AM

so far as i can tell the only footage of fonteyn and nureyev in GISELLE is from act 2 as performed in '62, filmed by the BBC. both of p.foy's documenatries about fonteyn and nureyev respectively include some of this footage.
'perfect partnership' which i haven't seen in some time now also seems to include some of this filming.
the new york public library for the performing arts gives more than a half-dozen listings of films in its holdings that include parts of this BBC footage. i don't know of any vids that show it all. the NYPL has no separate listing for the 'full' BBC filming, however extensive that might have been.
as stated i know of no footage of the two together in act 1.
the attached, undated foto would seem to be from around '62 and shows the two dancers in act 1.

Attached Files



#41 Jane Simpson

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 11:42 AM

The British Film Institute holds a copy Fonteyn and Nureyev dancing the pas de deux from Act 2 of Giselle for a BBC programme, Music in Camera, transmitted on 11 June 1962, which I guess is the source of all the extracts in later films. It lasts 18 minutes.

A footnote in the catalogue of the BBC's holdings says 'This is the only film of Fonteyn dancing Giselle'.

#42 chrisk217

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 07:35 AM

A footnote in the catalogue of the BBC's holdings says 'This is the only film of Fonteyn dancing Giselle'.

Maybe it's the only BBC film but I think there is a pre-war amateur film of Fonteyn in act I.

As for the Cojocaru/Kobborg it should certainly be on dvd. I hate closeups but for once I was glad there were many. The dancing is beautiful but never at the expense of the story. The emoting is subtle and sincere, they both possess great theatrical intelligence and have obviously thought long and hard about their Giselle. I was left with an impression of radiant humanity (for lack of a better expression) coming from both of them.

#43 rg

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 07:46 AM

indeed, i was reminded this weekend by alastair macaulay that there is footage from fonteyn's GISELLE act 1, opposite helpmann from '37. he seemed to think it was in part of the rambert film archive.
the NYPL seems not to have a copy of the film itself but lists that it's included in p.foy's THE MARGOT FONTEYN STORY.
perhaps the BBC meant to note that its film is the only footage of fonteyn in GISELLE opposite nureyev.

#44 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 08:29 AM

The earlier Bolshoi video with Natalia Bessmertnova and Mikhail Lavrovsky is an interesting document. It dates from the early seventies and is much preferable to the later “Bolshoi at the Bolshoi” film, as it gives a better idea why Bessmertnova was one of the greatest Russian Giselles of the last decades. The old-fashioned filming style and the sets give it somewhat of a postcard-image at times, while the very short skirts of the girls in the 1st look rather funny, but the dancing leaves little or nothing to be desired. Especially the 2nd act is breathtaking. Also some great dancing by Lavrovsky (There is no peasant pas de deux).


I went back last night to re watch this production, and again, i understood why do i love it. Is the "old fashioned" feeling of it...the lovely lightness of Bessmertnova, who had a beautiful body and very graceful dancing. I also love the dramatic atmosphere of the betrayal/madness scene, and the well adjusted organic corps. The dancing gets at its very best also because of the wide open stage and minimal sets. Personally, i like Bessmertnova better in Act I, wearing that cute fluffy skirt :wub: , although IMO she does a beautiful II Act too.

#45 volcanohunter

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 02:26 PM

From a staging standpoint, I admire Maina Gielgud's production for the Australian Ballet. I remember seeing it at the Met in 1989(?), and it was completely compelling. As for the DVD, Kelvin Coe is not the greatest Albrecht I've ever seen, and Christine Walsh was considered a technically deficient dancer, though I belong to the camp that believes she had lovely qualities to compensate. Full marks to Joanne Michel's Myrtha, the corps is very good, and the production is solid in every respect.

Theoretically the Faveo/Opus Arte DVD is intended for the European and Asian markets only, but since it's a region-free disc with NTSC picture format, it's practically tailor made for North America. European "mid price" is steep by North American standards, but having compared the Faveo releases of the Australian Ballet with their fuzzier Kultur counterparts, I think they're worth the extra change.


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