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Osipova/Sarafanov 3D "Giselle" in movie theaters


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#31 Helene

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 10:08 AM

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.

My apology for blaming the camera when how visible the feet were was a projection issue. We saw it at the AMC 25 in NYC, and by noon, there were at least ten other films playing. It may also have been an issue of not much staffing.

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

Many thanks for the id.


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.

There was no corps dancing for the nobility. They were already offstage.


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.

"By the book" pretty much describes his entire characterization. He didn't look lost, though, which is often clear when there's 20 seconds to do mime or a portrayal, the dancers haven't been given or developed something logical to do with every second (which can include pauses), and they either start to look desperate or they rush back and forth "dramatically".

I would call "cipher" too strong because I've seen cipher: we have a dancer at PNB, Batkhurel Bold, who can make his face a mask and give up nothing, but you see the energy behind him deliberately not telling. I would call Sarafanov a blank.

"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..

Sarafanov and Kuznetzov did do the "You!", "No, you!" accusations, but the camera had pulled back by that point, and while their arms and fingers "said" that mime, the rest of their bodies could barely care, and like just about the rest of the mime, except for the Albrecht/Wilfrid entrance, where at least Wilfrid got to explain his objection (although he didn't get the repeat), it was over in a second, like removing the petal, and you could have missed it if you blinked.


And sadly no hounds....

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

I watched the Bolshoi "Giselle" with Lavrovsky and Bessmertnova last week before I left. They don't have the hounds either, and the sets were as sparse as the Mariinsky's in the 3D production. I thought that the Bolshoi version might have been a TV version and the sparse sets and cutting the peasant pas were to fit into a TV format and time slot, but even if it was, the live version wasn't much different in these respects.

While the peasant pas was in the original, thanks to Doug Fullington's and Marian Smith's excellent presentations in Seattle, I learned it was a last minute insertion. It's also to different music. By the funereal pace at which the orchestra played and what has become the traditional orchestration, had they added the peasant pas it might not have been clear that the music was by Burgmuller, not Adam, because with the original orchestration and tempi, the music for the peasant pas is jarringly non-specific to "Giselle". (Hearing the original orchestrations in Seattle in June, it was like a painting was cleaned, and suddenly, after years of scholarship describing the painters' choice of somber colors as a reflection of his viewpoint on life, it is revealed that the original colors are bold and vibrant.)

I could see a deliberate choice to remove something that is thought to be a result of last-minute pressure to give a part to at least one of the original dancers. At least recently the ballet hasn't been paired with another, like Royal Danish Ballet does with "La Sylphide"; I could see leaving peasant pas out for time if "Giselle" were two of three parts of an evening bill, but this wasn't the case here.


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.

You hit the nail on the head with this, bart. If you watched his legs, it was like a day in the park. His arms showed his exhaustion and his predicament.

(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.)

I wish that the mother had made this look like it was part of the drama, especially with the close up. Instead, it looked like she was the one charged with making Giselle's hair flow for the mad scene. It reminded me of the Met broadcast of "Die Walkure" at the end of the first act where Jonas Kaufmann was struggling to get his hair down.

Osipova did look like she was feverish with consumption for much of Act I.

#32 Amy Reusch

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:02 AM

Which reminds me, why is it Osipova who is dancing? Isn't she with the Bolshoi not the Mariinski?

(I'm happy it is Osipova, but still wondering... if it was to bring in a big star to anchor the movie, why did they not bring in another major star to play Albrecht?)

#33 sandik

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 02:31 PM

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.


I think that the HD projection technology isn't as complex as the 3D stuff -- I remember the first few Met programs here had occasional frozen moments, but the difficulties about the 'special effect' here was more continuous.

#34 Amy Reusch

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 06:38 PM

If it is satellite delivered, did it play at different times across the US?

I'm also curious how admission prices varied across the country... It was $12 for the Matinee here not far from Hartford.

#35 sandik

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 09:30 PM

If it is satellite delivered, did it play at different times across the US?

I'm also curious how admission prices varied across the country... It was $12 for the Matinee here not far from Hartford.


Noon and 7 pm in the Seattle area. $15, and then the usual carrying fees.

#36 Helene

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 09:54 PM

Same at the AMC on West 42nd Street in NYC, where I saw it.


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