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Osipova/Sarafanov 3D "Giselle" in movie theaters


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#16 bart

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 06:44 PM

My first 3D was disorienting, making me feel like someone who has spent his life looking at good old reliable Giotto, suddenly thrust into a total-immersion Carravagio experience.

I knew I was in trouble with that first shot of the conductor's back, as seen from the orchestra seats. He was a tiny stick figure, apparently many yards distant from his orchestra and on a distinctly smaller scale. 3D reminds me in a way of a certain kind of collage. The cut-out in front often seems pasted on to the background.

This was especially true for me in Act I -- a visual mishmash whenever the stage filled up. Too much detail in the background made it hard to focus on what Giselle was doing in front. At times, the camera seemed to have difficulty coming into focus with some of the some of the quick cuts from long shots to closer shots.

The miracle of Osipova's balon came across more clearly than I would have thought possible, as did her footwork. I can't think of another Giselle film in which one could see and follow the intricacies and speed of Giselle's feet so easily. On the other hand, the camera did not show Osipova's face or her acting to advantage. She reminded me a bit of Giulietta Massina in La Strada, not a bad thing, but not my idea of Giselle. Sarafanov came across as slight and almost weightless, physically and dramatically. His was probably the least plausible Albrecht I've ever seen. Generally, this Act I was one that left me caring almost nothing about the characters.

Act II was a very different matter. With its dark background, white costumes for the women, andvisual simplicity, Act II worked almost perfectly in 3D.

I agree with others that Kondaurova's Myrtha was a highlight. 3D seems to isolate individual figures from dark backgrounds, allowing you to focus on details of movement. Kondaurova projected a blend of elegance and power was like no other Myrtha I have seen on film. She was not an particularly imperious Myrtha, much less an angry or vengeful one. By showing almost no emotion, she let the choreography speak for her character. Those huge jumps on diagonal, heading towards the audience, were weightless and heavy at the same time. How much of this was Kondaurova? How much was 3D? I don't know, but I suddenly found myself sitting at the edge of my seat during her solos. Something similar happened with Osipova's weightless jumps and with the lifts during the grand pas de deux.

I expect there will be more 3D in all of our futures. After the show, we were talking about what we else wanted to see in 3D and what we wanted to avoid. The white acts in Swan Lake, definitely. But not Acts I or III. Spartacus yes, but Mayerling no. Ballet blanc and leotard ballets, but no Don Q, Corsaire, Nutcracker (though I'd love to see the Snow Scene), Coppelia, or most of Sleeping Beauty. Symphony in C, on the other hand, and Diamonds or Square Dance -- YES.

#17 Helene

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 10:41 PM

I saw it this afternoon with a friend, and I loved Osipova: I now know what everyone has been describing over the last few years.

Sarafanov was a bit of what we'd call on a figure skating board a "blandy blond pup". He almost seemed preppie. Beautiful line, beautiful jumps, beautiful feet, about a hundred thousand beats in Act II, but he didn't make me care one iota. I kept imagining invisible mirrors everywhere, with him looking at himself.

I thought Kondaurova's Myrtha was a bit static. I expected more power and energy from her, but it was beautifully danced.

I really liked the Hilarion and Wilfrid, but didn't catch their names in the credits.

They did not do the Mother's Mime, which is criminal and a huge shame, because the dancer playing the mother could act and mime, and they dropped the Peasant Pas as well. After the PNB production, this one looked empty.

3D was odd and took a while for me to get used to, and I never did on close-ups where they moved quickly, but the cameras cut off a lot of feet, and too often seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

#18 vrsfanatic

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 03:45 AM

Hilarion or Hans was Ilya Kuznetsov. I do not know who was Wilfred.

In our theatre the feet were cut off most of the time. Quite annoying. I was told by someone who knows film that it was due to the person running the projector not doing something correctly. Could you see the feet? All in all a wonderful evening filled with a ballet loving crowd! :clapping:

#19 bart

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 04:45 AM

vrsfanatic. The feet were not cut off at the Boynton Beach Cinemark last night.. Watching footwork was one of the joys of the evening. Everything looked just as the filmakers must have intended.

Like you, I enjoyed being part of an audience that was clearly there for love of ballet. It was rather largish and included a small group of young students Everyone was as silent as humanly possible once the performance began. :flowers:

Question: are the lead males as slightly built as they appeared on the screen?

Sarafanov looked like he was 12; Kuznetsov was the most willowy Hilarion I've ever seen; Wilfried seemed almost without substance, even during his big moment in the graveyard scene. On the other hand, the corps dancers -- male and female -- seemed quite solid and real. The Wilis, in their big white tutus, looked not at all ethereal, especially in when they formed those long diagonal lines. This worked out very well for the drama. Their synchronized rejection of Albrecht -- a wave of movement moving down the line -- was, for my companion, the strongest visual image of the evening. The moral: don't fool with THIS group of Wilis, you poor little man.

It would be fascinating to be able to see this WITHOUT 3D, while the 3D visual memories are still so vivid. Which each of us one like best?


#20 ksk04

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:04 AM

Sarafanov looked like he was 12; Kuznetsov was the most willowy Hilarion I've ever seen; Wilfried seemed almost without substance, even during his big moment in the graveyard scene. On the other hand, the corps dancers -- male and female -- seemed quite solid and real. The Wilis, in their big white tutus, looked not at all ethereal, especially in when they formed those long diagonal lines. This worked out very well for the drama. Their synchronized rejection of Albrecht -- a wave of movement moving down the line -- was, for my companion, the strongest visual image of the evening. The moral: don't fool with THIS group of Wilis, you poor little man.


I agree...I thought Kuznetsov looked like Cary Ewles in Robin Hood: Men in Tights; I've seen this production live before and I don't remember thinking that! I've grown accustomed to the rugged version of Hilarion presented by ABT et al--here the only thing that attempted to make him look "rugged" (his fancy beard) actually made him look more fey! Poor Kuznetsov.


I think the Wili tutu design was very poor: all the green foliage was not particularly attractive or figure flattering. I, too, thought the wave of Wilis was the most striking image from the corps (since they blew the visuals on the Wilis crossing the stage in arabesque), though having just seen the Cubans these Russian Wilis seemed pretty mild and tame in comparison!

#21 puppytreats

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:26 AM

They did not do the Mother's Mime, which is criminal and a huge shame, because the dancer playing the mother could act and mime, and they dropped the Peasant Pas as well. After the PNB production, this one looked empty.


No peasant pdd? Did the corps dance for Bathilde? I can't imagine Giselle without the peasant pdd.

#22 puppytreats

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:28 AM

vrsfanatic. The feet were not cut off at the Boynton Beach Cinemark last night.. Watching footwork was one of the joys of the evening. Everything looked just as the filmakers must have intended.

Like you, I enjoyed being part of an audience that was clearly there for love of ballet. It was rather largish and included a small group of young students Everyone was as silent as humanly possible once the performance began. :flowers:

Question: are the lead males as slightly built as they appeared on the screen?

Sarafanov looked like he was 12; Kuznetsov was the most willowy Hilarion I've ever seen; Wilfried seemed almost without substance, even during his big moment in the graveyard scene. On the other hand, the corps dancers -- male and female -- seemed quite solid and real. The Wilis, in their big white tutus, looked not at all ethereal, especially in when they formed those long diagonal lines. This worked out very well for the drama. Their synchronized rejection of Albrecht -- a wave of movement moving down the line -- was, for my companion, the strongest visual image of the evening. The moral: don't fool with THIS group of Wilis, you poor little man.

It would be fascinating to be able to see this WITHOUT 3D, while the 3D visual memories are still so vivid. Which each of us one like best?


A fey Albrecht? How did he portray the "he loves me/loves me not" flower petal scene? Did he have any humor or justification for his deception, or was he just slimy and self-involved? This sounds so disappointing.

#23 Amy Reusch

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:28 AM

And sadly no hounds....

#24 bart

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 03:12 PM

No peasant pdd? Did the corps dance for Bathilde? I can't imagine Giselle without the peasant pdd.

No peasant pdd. There was extensive corps dancing by a large several groups of dancers, but no individuals standing out.

A fey Albrecht? How did he portray the "he loves me/loves me not" flower petal scene? Did he have any humor or justification for his deception, or was he just slimy and self-involved? This sounds so disappointing.

I wouldn't say "fey," ... would "a cipher" be too strong a word? The petal business was done according to the book but you didn't learn anything about his character from the way he did it. "Slimy and self-involved"? Far from it. There was very little "self" in this portrayal. I am a fan of Nureyev's desperately self-centered reaction to the shock of Giselle's death: pointing hysterically to Hilarion and "shouting" ... YOU. YOU are to blame." Sarafanov politely mourns Giselle and then runs off. His cape flutters nicely but -- I am not kidding here -- with restraint..

And sadly no hounds....

No hounds. Maybe dogs are too spontaneous to risk in 3D.

My favorite part of Sarafanov's performance -- the bit where Albrecht, driven to dance by the Wilis, does a long series of exhausting entrechats. Sarafanov's were high, fast (3D made them very clear to the eye). But he added a touch I liked. As Albrecht begins to tire, Sarafanov's created the illusion that his body was becoming heavy. His arms (5th en bas) moved slightly to the front, as did his shoulders as they would if one were struggling. He wasn't struggling of course. Those entrechats remained perfect. The "look" however was completely in character and dramatically effective. So were his jumps near the end (mirroring Hilarion's desperate movements earlier in the Act). One arm thrusts up, seeming to pull his body along with it and throwing his shoulders out of alignment. On the next jump, the other arm. Again. Again. Hands are uncupped, with fingers spayed. Classical perfection breaks down for a moment, which brings you closer to Albrecht and to what his ordeal-by-dancing must have felt like.

#25 Roberto Dini

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 05:16 PM

I wonder whether there will be an encore presentation?

#26 Amy Reusch

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 05:47 PM

I noticed a satellite reference in the credits... Was this a live broadcast at some point in its history?

#27 sandik

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 06:35 PM

We could see feet in Federal Way (outside Seattle), although they didn't turn the house lights out until about 10 minutes into the first act. This was the first matinee of the day in a multiple theater house -- I have a feeling they were running on short staff.

I had trouble with the 3D -- the glasses made everything just that much darker, and there was, as someone has already pointed out, a problem with focus. The images in the foreground (usually the principals) were clear, and had that slightly detached look that 3D often does, but the background (corps) was often a little fuzzy. I also thought it was actually out of sync with the foreground image in a few places, so that if you were trying to follow several people you wound up bouncing back and forth in time a bit.

Like Helene, I'm glad to have a look at Osipova, and she is indeed as advertised. As I said, we saw feet and so I got a good look at hers -- some very interesting choices about emphasis, rhythm and accent, and very, very pretty bourees. I'm not totally sold on the close quarters shots, but I like to see how things are done, and so I was glad of the hairdressing view in the mad scene.

(And it did make me think of the late 19th century view of women as borderline hysterics, due to the constrictions of corsets and heavy hairstyles. One of the 'first aid' remedies when a woman fainted was to loosen the corset and take down her hair.)


A fey Albrecht? How did he portray the "he loves me/loves me not" flower petal scene? Did he have any humor or justification for his deception, or was he just slimy and self-involved? This sounds so disappointing.


He reminded me of a singer in a boy band, rather like Justin Bieber today or Donny Osmond in the past. A very safe kind of mild sexual appeal. You can play Alberecht as an innocent, gobsmacked by love (rather like Siegfried), or you can play him as a roue who is surprised by his feelings for Giselle once he is confronted with the results of his actions. Both are coherent in terms of the plot, but I think there's more room for dramatic development with the second version.


And sadly no hounds....


Not much of anything, really -- the stage was quite bare, which may leave room for big ensembles, but doesn't really give us a sense of place.


My favorite part of Sarafanov's performance -- the bit where Albrecht, driven to dance by the Wilis, does a long series of exhausting entrechats. Sarafanov's were high, fast (3D made them very clear to the eye). But he added a touch I liked. As Albrecht begins to tire, Sarafanov's created the illusion that his body was becoming heavy. His arms (5th en bas) moved slightly to the front, as did his shoulders as they would if one were struggling. He wasn't struggling of course. Those entrechats remained perfect. The "look" however was completely in character and dramatically effective. So were his jumps near the end (mirroring Hilarion's desperate movements earlier in the Act). One arm thrusts up, seeming to pull his body along with it and throwing his shoulders out of alignment. On the next jump, the other arm. Again. Again. Hands are uncupped, with fingers spayed. Classical perfection breaks down for a moment, which brings you closer to Albrecht and to what his ordeal-by-dancing must have felt like.


I agree, this was a dramatically convincing sequence, conveyed through some very specific and careful choices in sequencing. But for me, it seemed to come out of left field -- I wasn't engaged by him earlier in the ballet.

#28 canbelto

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 06:59 PM

I saw the 3-D and for the first 15 minutes it was completely greenish, dark, and blurry. Someone complained to the theater manager and it was fixed. But there was still this weird, blurry look much of the time. The camera-work was horrific, often cutting dancers off at the feet or knees, or worse, top of the face.

Osipova's Giselle was as I remembered it live, I was really unimpressed with Sarafanov. Completely emotionally blank. Great technique, but just nothing emotionally.

#29 Amy Reusch

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 08:23 PM

I have lots of unkind things to say about the framing, but let's give credit where credit is apparently due... Cutting the feet off seems to have been a talent of the projectionist not the person behond the camera.

And thank you Sandik, I had never thought of the hair letting as therapeutic before...

#30 bart

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 08:35 AM

It seems like there was a good deal of variety in the transmission -- from theater to theater. Much more than I have heard in regards to Met HD/Live. This will require some work to diagnose and solve.

(And it did make me think of the late 19th century view of women as borderline hysterics, due to the constrictions of corsets and heavy hairstyles. One of the 'first aid' remedies when a woman fainted was to loosen the corset and take down her hair.)

Thanks for that information, sandik. The loosening of Giselle's hair by her mother is usually done surreptitiously. Here it was quite visible ... and protracted.


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