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Bolshoi Ballet photo: DON QUIXOTEa mid-20th c. link to Gorsky's 1900 staging


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#1 rg

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 08:34 AM

as the yellowed caption notes, this is a publicity shot, probably at least one generation, print-wise, from the original photo, of the Don and Sancho, as portrayed by Viktor Smotlsov and Vladimir Ryabtsov, in Gorsky's DON QUIXOTE.
the picture's distribution date is 6/17/44; the date of the photo itself is not give. (interestingly the copy doesn't use "Bolshoi" in identifying the picture, but freely translates the orgazination as The Grand Opera and Ballet Theatre of the U.S.S.R. in Moscow.
odd tho' it seems nowadays, the multi-act DON QUIXOTE (opening tonight at ABT) would have been an unknown at this time outside Russia.

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#2 leonid17

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 09:32 AM

as the yellowed caption notes, this is a publicity shot, probably at least one generation, print-wise, from the original photo, of the Don and Sancho, as portrayed by Viktor Smotlsov and Vladimir Ryabtsov, in Gorsky's DON QUIXOTE.
the picture's distribution date is 6/17/44; the date of the photo itself is not give. (interestingly the copy doesn't use "Bolshoi" in identifying the picture, but freely translates the orgazination as The Grand Opera and Ballet Theatre of the U.S.S.R. in Moscow.
odd tho' it seems nowadays, the multi-act DON QUIXOTE (opening tonight at ABT) would have been an unknown at this time outside Russia.


Thank you for posting the photograph.

Although the caption says it is Gorsky's production, it was in fact a revision of the 1906 Gorsky production by Rotislav Zakharov staged in 1940, with Kasyan Goleizovsky contributing choreography for a new Gypsy Dance.

Anna Pavlova staged a two-act version of Don Quixote in London in 1924 and I saw the first full western in production in 1962 when it was staged by Ballet Rambert.

#3 rg

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 10:25 AM

i suppose the caption's wording could be considered correct in saying "was staged by" meaning "originally staged by."

curiously, two different historical records in my collection (both in Russian) publish conflicting data regarding the casting of the 1940 staging of Gorsky's DON QUIXOTE.

The RUSSIAN BALLET ENCYCLOPEDIA, 1997, says M. T. Semyonova (followed by Lepishinskaya) as Kitri opposite A. M. Messerer as Basil; REPERTOIRE OF THE BOLSHOI THEATER 1776-1955 Vol. II 1856-1955, by Vassily Fyodorov, with an introductory essay by Vyacheslav Nechaev, Director of the Central Research Library of the Russian Theatrical Performers' Union, Commemorating 225 years of the Bolshoi Theater (2001) gives C. M. Messerer as Kitri opposite her brother Asaf. additionally the entry on the 1940 staging in this volume makes no mention of Zakharov, or any other post-Gorsky balletmaster, tho' someone other than Gorsky, who died in '24, had to be in charge of putting the old work on stage. perhaps it's not the intention of the latter reference to name re-stagers, certainly the RUSSIAN BALLET ENCYCLOPEDIA names Zakharov.
to be sure both references name Smoltsov and Ryabsev as the Don and Sancho.

[as this later book was recommended to me by the scrupulous Elizabeth Souritz, who was one of 4 editors of the RUSSIAN BALLET ENCYCLOPEDIA, i assume she trusted its data to be more or less accurate, tho' it's likely there are errors in both publications.]


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