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Sleeping Beauty. A legend in progress by Tim SchollThe Lilac "issue"


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#1 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 05:14 PM

This is a short but interesting account on the controversial 1999 Vikharev reconstruction. I read in in one long day at the beach, and here are some of its most interesting facts regarding the controversy surrounding Lilac's original role/variation. Character vs. classical dancing.

-Fyodor Lopukhov on dancing Marie. He declares that he was selected as a young corps to support Marie Petipa during the Prologue. There is also a pic of Marie in a tutu next to her attendant and wearing pointe shoes.
-Elizaveta Gerdt in non-dancing Marie. Pavel's daughter, who danced as a child in the original production where Marie Petipa was Lilac, declares that Marius daughter never danced on pointe during the first run of the ballet up until retirement in 1907.
-Peterburskaya Gazeta. This newspaper reviews a performance of Anna Pavlova's debut as Lilac in 1908. Vera Krasovskaya suggests that Petipa arranged a new variation-(not danced by Marie before)- for Pavlova and Karsavina who also debuted in the role the same year. Pirouettes and entrechats are mentioned in this review.
-Fyodor Lopukhov on non-dancing Marie. Lubov Egorova was the first ballerina to have danced the classical Prologue variation as we know it today-(hence contradicting his first statement about suppporting the tutu-pointe attired Marie in the Prologue)-, which he created for a performance at Krasnoe Selo in 1914. Later on Pavel Gerdt requests for Egorova to pass the variation to her daughter Elizaveta, and the directorate of the Mariinsky theater was explained that this was an original Petipa variation which had been cut off by Petipa himself during the ballet early days do to Marie's inability to dance it.
-Stepanov notations. The notations mention two variations. One with Marie's name on it and the other one sans name.

So I hope that Doug is reading this so I can clarify the simple question of:

Which variation was used for the 1999 reconstruction?

#2 kfw

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 05:51 PM

Thanks, Cristian! Some of this short (??) 256-page book is available on Google Books.

#3 Dale

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 07:22 AM

Doug answered at the bottom of this post:

http://balletalert.i...airy-variation/

It's a wonderful mystery. I was fascinated by that role since the 1999 reconstruction came to the Met. It was so beautifully performed by Veronika Part and Daria Pavlenko (and others since). It changed the way I viewed that ballet. The role seems to confound many setters of the ballet since. Sometimes it's a pure on pointe dancing role and in other productions it's completely a walking part. Scholl's book, if I remember, seems to prove that there were ulterior motives by later dancers to denigrate Marie Petipa's balletic abilities. Or maybe it was the duel nature of the role that perplex them; they were happier categorizing it as either a character role or a classical role but not both or something wholly different and special.

#4 Dale

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 07:23 AM

Doug's article on the reconstruction can be found here: http://www.for-balle...om/Beauty1.html

#5 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 08:30 AM

One of the things Scholl mentions is the fact that there seems to be a consensus on ignoring the photo of Marie wearing her Prologue tutu and pointe shoes-(even is it is a studio photo...not a performance one). Then, after reading the various explanations, one get the generalized idea that there was indeed a classical variation created by Petipa for her daughter, which was very simple, which didn't survive too long due to the ballerina's diminished capabilities as a classical dancer, to be replaced for the one danced by Egorova in 1914 and allegedly created by Lopukhov-(which I assume made her way to K. Sergueev staging). Then, at some point in between the two, Pavlova and karsavina danced a different one in their 1907 debuts, of unknown authorship. I personally like the plasticity of character Lilac, and I don't think the ballet looses too much by returning the fairy's original design.

#6 leonid17

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 11:47 AM

One of the things Scholl mentions is the fact that there seems to be a consensus on ignoring the photo of Marie wearing her Prologue tutu and pointe shoes-(even is it is a studio photo...not a performance one). Then, after reading the various explanations, one get the generalized idea that there was indeed a classical variation created by Petipa for her daughter, which was very simple, which didn't survive too long due to the ballerina's diminished capabilities as a classical dancer, to be replaced for the one danced by Egorova in 1914 and allegedly created by Lopukhov-(which I assume made her way to K. Sergueev staging). Then, at some point in between the two, Pavlova and karsavina danced a different one in their 1907 debuts, of unknown authorship. I personally like the plasticity of character Lilac, and I don't think the ballet looses too much by returning the fairy's original design.


We do know a bit more about Marie Petipa's pointe work skills. When an Italian guest star was meant to appear in Le Roi Candaule, Nikolai Bezobrazov recalls
that Petipa re-choreographed her part without any of the pointe work that had previously been assigned to the role.

I am rather sorry that Mr. Scholl did not look closer at The Sadlers Wells Producion of "The Sleeping Princess" which as one can see from the programme
was a complete staging undertaken by Nikolai Sergeyev, given that members of the production were still alive at the time of his writing and some, are still with to this day.

#7 leonid17

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 11:48 AM


One of the things Scholl mentions is the fact that there seems to be a consensus on ignoring the photo of Marie wearing her Prologue tutu and pointe shoes-(even is it is a studio photo...not a performance one). Then, after reading the various explanations, one get the generalized idea that there was indeed a classical variation created by Petipa for her daughter, which was very simple, which didn't survive too long due to the ballerina's diminished capabilities as a classical dancer, to be replaced for the one danced by Egorova in 1914 and allegedly created by Lopukhov-(which I assume made her way to K. Sergueev staging). Then, at some point in between the two, Pavlova and karsavina danced a different one in their 1907 debuts, of unknown authorship. I personally like the plasticity of character Lilac, and I don't think the ballet looses too much by returning the fairy's original design.


We do know a bit more about Marie Petipa's pointe work skills. When an Italian guest star was meant to appear in Le Roi Candaule, Nikolai Bezobrazov recalls
that Petipa re-choreographed her part without any of the pointe work that had previously been assigned to the role.

I think it may have been a pity that Mr. Scholl did not look closer at The Sadlers Wells Producion of "The Sleeping Princess" which as one can see from the programme was a complete staging undertaken by Nikolai Sergeyev, especially so as members of the production were still alive at the time of his writing and some, are still with to this day.



#8 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 10:21 PM

Thanks Leonid for pointing at the Sadlers Wells production. Actually Scholl does indeed mentions it, when listing the sources and productions that Vikharev took into consideration to draw the design of the reconstruction. About Marie Petipa, he chooses to be on the side of those who maintain that she DID dance on pointe, however uncomplex her variation was.

#9 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 08:18 AM

One of the interesting things from this book is the way Scholl makes a comparison between the reconstruction of the ballet and the reconstruction of the old orthodox churches that were destroyed during the terror and now are being completely duplicated to the last detail with new shiny replicas that, according to him, fail to bring an authentic sense of history and credibility to church goers. Nevertheless, he also declares that at the end it is what happens inside those churches what matters and what eventually will give the building the sense of purpose and level of public affection that is entitled to, and so ditto with Vikharev production.
There is also a quote by Diana Vishneva during the days she was dancing the role in which she says that "this production seemed inappropriate for the company, the city and the country", whereas another ballerina reported that "I don't think there's anything better than our old production. Ok, it was not so beautiful, but this splendor now is somehow out of place in our time. It's for New Russians"
What I perceive is the generalized idea that Vikharev production has somehow failed to make itself believable to many dancers and theater goers.


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