Birdsall

Danse orientale de Raymonda

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I have come to love Raymonda and have watched it on dvd from the Bolshoi and a full length Mariinsky version on YouTube (watched both multiple times). I also watched excerpts on YouTube from the Paris Ballet's Raymonda. On Wikipedia the structure of the ballet is listed with the dances, and I noticed that the Mariinsky YouTube video omits the "Danse orientale de Raymonda" that would normally come after the Spanish dance (Panderos). On the Bolshoi dvd with Semenyaka, they keep the music and dance, although it is changed into a sort of pdd between Raymonda and Abderakhman if I remember correctly (sent the dvd back to Netflix).

I also watched a documentary about the Paris Opera Ballet's Raymonda by Nureyev, and the dancers tell how Nureyev always teased the ballerina who had the title role, "You have 7 variations!!!" in order to make them nervous in a teasing way. Well, if the Wikipedia listing of the dances is accurate I only count 6 possible variations for Raymonda plus her entrance which I assume Nureyev must have counted as a variation to come up with the idea that there are 7 variations.

So here is my question: I see that Wikipedia shows that some of the variations were cut from the original performance and some interpolations were made through the years. But when one of the variations is cut (like in the Mariinsky's Raymonda on YouTube) is this a dancer's decision, artistic director's decision, company's decision, etc? Does anyone know? Is it common to cut one of Raymonda's variations?

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You picked up quite a hard one to do the "counting" my friend...! :thumbsup: (I feel that Raymonda is still "covered" with a veil to the western eye that only the Russians have been able to lift). Anyway...I have tried in the past to to that too...comparing numbers, placing interpolations, trying to figure out what goes where in certain ballets, and the more I dig the more confusing it turns out to be...! I remember opening a thread a while ago on an interpolated PDD for Giselle Act I-(no longer danced), and at the end it went nowhere. Same with the Fedorova's staging of the Nutcracker PDD in a different thread, which I remember even Major Mel mentioned he knew of that particular variation from a Russian teacher of him linked I believed to the Imperial times. Anyway...keep the digging. It is certainly fun right...? :flowers:

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You picked up quite a hard one to do the "counting" my friend...! :thumbsup: (I feel that Raymonda is still "covered" with a veil to the western eye that only the Russians have been able to lift). Anyway...I have tried in the past to to that too...comparing numbers, placing interpolations, trying to figure out what goes where in certain ballets, and the more I dig the more confusing it turns out to be...! I remember opening a thread a while ago on an interpolated PDD for Giselle Act I-(no longer danced), and at the end it went nowhere. Same with the Fedorova's staging of the Nutcracker PDD in a different thread, which I remember even Major Mel mentioned he knew of that particular variation from a Russian teacher of him linked I believed to the Imperial times. Anyway...keep the digging. It is certainly fun right...? :flowers:

I guess over the years different versions are staged, and then some versions become the traditional version, etc. I know some operas like Boris Godunov have a muddled history so there are different versions that are staged. Even Verdi's Don Carlo (in Italian) or Don Carlos (in French) has a very complicated history. Composed to French, but became more popular as the Italian version and the first act is rarely staged but adds to the whole work, so they sometimes stage it with all 5 acts but in Italian which is not really correct, but traditional! LOL Ballets seem to be even more complicated in their history of performances! But at least I am familiar with this type of thing going on in some operas also! LOL

Yes, it is fun to try to figure things out. I don't know why I love Raymonda so much. I will probably never get a chance to see it live in person, since it is rarely done.

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I don't know why I love Raymonda so much. I will probably never get a chance to see it live in person, since it is rarely done.

So try to make it to Vikharev's upcoming reconstruction at Alla Scala...! Now, THAT will be worth a trip... :clapping:

http://www.teatroallascala.org/en/season/opera-ballet/2010-2011/raymonda_cnt_15362.html

I wish I could!!!! I just came back from a trip to San Francisco seeing Wagner's Ring Cycle, so I need to save up. I might be going back to SF and the wine country in the spring and might be able to time it with SF Ballet's Act 3 of Raymonda (and two other ballets that night).

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Dear Bart,

I agree so strongly with you that I love Raymonda and do not know why. Some reasons I could give would be how much i love the music, all of it is wonderful, and it has a perfume of its own.

A few years ago, the Bolshoi came to Berkeley and did Raymonda in Zellerbach Hall. I'd always heard that the story is incomprehensible and that it's cut-up, re-arranged, and that nothing can save it except making a divertissement out of it as Balanchine did -- but I did NOT feel that way about it when I saw Grigorovich's version -- nor did i find it crude, as I'd always heard Grigorovich's versions of everything were. With new respect for Grigorovich, I watched with continuous delight and became more and more enchanted as the evening went on. I started to get seriously excited in the dance for the four courtiers, who dance with linked arms and do every kind of pas de bourree. i have NO idea why I love that dance so much, but it just drives me wild with delight.

I loved the dream scene -- the demis were ravishing, Raymonda herself has a wonderful variation, the corps dances are lovely.... Abderakhman's act was thrilling - -and Taranda was fabulously dangerous and sexy, but SO wrong for her....

Further thoughts of your own?

DO you have an ideal order for things.

What do you think of the White Lady?

I think the Bolshoi DANCES it better than hte Kirov, who did parts of the wedding act here he following year also and it was -- well, perhaps it was the ballerina's fault, but it was deadly. the Hungarian solo was, and HOW can you ruin THAT, just deadly. Maybe they were just having a bad night....

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I love the music for Raymond, and for me, it is one of the easiest plots to understand. There's not much back story that can be incomprehensible if the mime is cut or mangled, like Odette explaining that she lives on the lake made by her mother's tears or that the Lilac Fairy is mitigating a curse and how. It's a pretty straightforward triangle, where light overcomes darkness, the "right" guy wins, and then they have a big party at the end. It's far more straightforward than the plots of "La Bayadere" or "Le Corsaire".

I wish I could go to La Scala, too, but I've had three weddings in three months, one coinciding with the San Francisco Ring, and another the weekend before the Mariinsky visited NYC, so I had some arts with the marriages!

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I agree with Paul about Raymonda's plot being more comprehensible than others, including Corsaire-(which can get very confusing, and even Gulnare's character one is not totally sure what's exactly going on with her, as she's not really Medora's constant companion or best friend...she completely looks like a filler). I also agree that Grigorovitch version is by far the best in terms of libretto. His decision to present Jean de Brienne in the first act is a perfect idea, and one that solves more or less all the usual confusions. I have the DVD with Bessmertnova, and is one of my favorites. The dream scene is straighforward...one always know that this is Raymonda's dream-(including Abderrakhan's appearance)-and not like in other versions where this is not very clear. In Grigorovitch staging the White Lady is there, but I suspect that she originally had more stage time-(right now I'm laughing because in the Trocks version they mock the libretto's general confusion and at some point everybody is on the stage panicking and running all over chasing each other with no apparent reason, the White Lady among then...looking very confused and running too with her huge conical hat ... :D )

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re: the White Lady - Danilova gave a fine interview to Doug Fullington for BALLET REVIEW in which she said, seemingly w/o blinking and getting to the point, and i'm not quoting from the article but it went something like:

DF: who is the White Lady?

AD: she is ghost.

simple and clear, in my opinion.

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re: the White Lady - Danilova gave a fine interview to Doug Fullington for BALLET REVIEW in which she said, seemingly w/o blinking and getting to the point, and i'm not quoting from the article but it went something like:

DF: who is the White Lady?

AD: she is ghost.

simple and clear, in my opinion.

Isn't she an sculputre...?

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she's part of the household 'decor' as a statue but eventually comes "to life."

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Further thoughts of your own?

DO you have an ideal order for things.

What do you think of the White Lady?

I think the Bolshoi DANCES it better than hte Kirov, who did parts of the wedding act here he following year also and it was -- well, perhaps it was the ballerina's fault, but it was deadly. the Hungarian solo was, and HOW can you ruin THAT, just deadly. Maybe they were just having a bad night....

I first viewed a full-length YouTube video of Raymonda with Lopatkina (google for it and watch). I think it is in 15 or 16 parts. I fell in love with both Raymonda and Lopatkina. I thought she was so fabulous. That was the Kirov/Mariinsky ballet. Then, I saw a Netflix video of Raymonda from the Bolshoi in the 80s with Semenyaka and got so confused, because in the Kirov Abderakhman enters in the first act, and in the Bolshoi, Jean De Brienne enters in Act 1, and I didn't realize this until later viewings of both (comparing and contrasting). I was so confused, b/c while watching the Bolshoi I assumed Jean de Brienne was Abderakham but then he looked different later on! LOL It was so confusing only because I had seen the Kirov version first which was very easy to follow. If you watch the Kirov and then the Bolshoi right after, you get very confused, b/c there are many differences. The Kirov also omits the White Lady for some reason. I wonder why. I thought the Bolshoi's handling of Jean de Brienne by giving him a lengthier role was nice, and they made Abderakhman a more acrobatic role. However, there is also something touching and beautiful about the Kirov's version. Maybe it is because I felt Lopatkina embodied a young, pretty girl so well yet had strength and presence for the wedding finale. I have watched both versions about 5 times each, b/c I enjoyed them both so much, but I have to say I like Lopatkina the best. However, the Bolshoi's version is more acrobatic. The Kirov's seems gentler and daintier. Both are good for me. I am not sure what the White Lady's role is.

Have you seen Les Trockaderos do Raymonda's wedding? I have only seen it on dvd. Raymonda does the clap and the lights go out! I thought that was funny!

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If you can find it, try to find the VAI DVD with Kolpakova in a 1980 live performance. It's the Kirov/Mariinsky version.

This is my favorite performance video of anything.

YouTube doesn't have the complete, but it does have some excerpts from 1976:

Her partner here is Semenov. In the video it's Berezhnoi.

There's also the video excerpt from the DVD, which I missed the first time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prkkyJymx8s

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not the most rare or most clear of illustrations for the time of RAIMONDA's premiere, but here are 2 pix from MARIUS PETIPA, MATERIALI, VOSPOMINANIYA, STATI - a 1971 Russian book.

in the double-frame scan one can see the White Lady in her niche, as a statue (lower frame) and at the top of the stairs in her "ghostly" form.

the book's caption, also scanned is very brief and not esp. informative.

post-848-066703300 1311278217_thumb.jpg

post-848-009641600 1311278235_thumb.jpg

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she's part of the household 'decor' as a statue but eventually comes "to life."

I didn't know she was a sculpture. That makes more sense why she appears. In the Kirov/Mariinsky version they omit her for some reason and instead Raymonda falls asleep and I think she enters the tapestry or Jean de Brienne comes out of the tapestry portrait that was given to Raymonda earlier in the night, and she dreams of being with him and all the dances take place until the end of the dream when it is Abderakhman which scares her. The White Lady is nowhere to be seen. This ballet seems very Freudian! LOL

I have heard the Paris Opera Ballet's Raymonda was videotaped in 2008 and is supposed to come out eventually on dvd. I hope so. That production looks beautiful. I've read that people don't think Marie Agnes Gillot is right as Raymonda. I have seen some clips of her on YouTube and she is a great dancer but does not have the presence of a young girl to me. I just think Lopatkina embodies Raymonda.

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you might like to read the complete, original libretto.

you can find it in the author's own translation in: A CENTURY OF RUSSIAN BALLET, DOCUMENTS AND ACCOUNTS, 1810 - 1910 by Roland John Wiley (1990, Oxford) and other books as well.

Here's the way the White Lady is first noted:

Act 1, first scene, tableau 2: (after noting that the Countess Sybille "reproaches the [household's] girls for their idleness" the Countess is described thus: "'Take care,' she says to the girls, 'Countess de Doris, famous by the name the White Lady, will punish you for disobedience; do you see this statue? This is our revered ancestor, she appears from the other world to warn the house of Doris every time one of its members is in danger, and punishes those who do not fulfill their responsibilities."

Wiley's section on RAYMONDA goes from p. 392 to 401.

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Oh, so then she is both an sculpture and a ghost..! (although she never really materializes in the real world, for which her appearance only occurs in Raymonda's head during her dream, right...?)

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all i know is what Countess Sybille says, as the house's "revered ancestor, she appears from the other world to warn the house of Doris every time one of its members is in danger, and punishes those who do not fulfill their responsibilities" as for whether is this a 'real world' appearance or not, i don't know that know the distinction.

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... as for whether is this a 'real world' appearance or not, i don't know the distinction.

Oh, I meant the real world during the ballet. I haven't watched the Bolshoi DVD for a while, but I think the White Lady is presented in the ballet just as a sculpture during the non-dream scenes-("real world" in my conception)-and only comes to life during Raymonda's onirism-(unlike Giselle or Myrtha, which even being ghosts can be seen by mortals while awake)

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Dear Bart Birdsall -- i LOVE Lopatkina's Raymonda and completely agree with you. Alas, we did not get her in Berkeley. the ballerina who made the Hungarian dance so dispiriting was Nioradze.

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Thanks, helene -- this starts with that courtly pd4 i love so much, and then Raymonda's wonderful scarf variation.

I can't say I'm in love with Kolpakova -- she's too brittle for me. I DO think Raymonda should be delicate -- Semenyaka is beautiful, so is Lopatkina. Besmertnova was very mannered but still beautiful. Plistetskaya also, though she was almost too robust, was glorious as Raymonda. Such SPIRIT she had

What do you think? For every absurdity -- the turned in passe, I DON'T CARE -- there are twenty wonders. I love the way she dances with the scarf, and the clapping solo -- the glorious second position in the arms, the poses on pointe with the standing knee bent; and overall, the portrait of a high-spirited girl. i just love her.

Edited to add -- O I take it back. I had not seen the 1976 video of Kolpakova -- she's astounding.the entrechat-quatres to pointe!!! Among a thousand other perfections -- brilliant facetings. Just STAGGERING. Wonderful Raymonda. The 1980 -- just 4 years later -- is not so wonderful.

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The Danse Orientale is not included in the Stepanov notation of Raymonda. My current thought is that it was cut, either by the time of the premiere or shortly after. Also in Act 1 scene 2, the third variation in the dream scene was replaced by a variation taken from Glazunov's Scenes de ballet (the violin solo variation for Raymonda).

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The Danse Orientale is not included in the Stepanov notation of Raymonda. My current thought is that it was cut, either by the time of the premiere or shortly after. Also in Act 1 scene 2, the third variation in the dream scene was replaced by a variation taken from Glazunov's Scenes de ballet (the violin solo variation for Raymonda).

On Wikipedia (I know that Wikipedia is not the most reliable source) there is a listing of the structure (dances) in Raymonda, and it does say the Danse orientale de Raymonda was cut before the original performances. The Bolshoi keeps it in, but I think it is done almost like a pdd for Raymonda and Abderakham. I don't know if the ballet world is like the opera world though. I am just learning the ballet world. Most major opera houses now attempt to put in everything they can (full length Boris Godunov including scenes that were cut for the premiere......full 5 act Don Carlos nowadays instead of the traditional 4 acts....they used to always cut the first act where Elisabetta and Carlos meet). So in the opera world there is a tendency to include everything possible....a current trend. It may not stay that way. This is fluid. I am just wondering if the tendency in ballets is to keep traditional cuts or open them back up. I know that all this cutting and alternative dances and different choreography over the years probably created so many versions that it is practically impossible to have a truly complete performance of many classical ballets. Opening up all the cuts and including alternative variations might make each ballet 5 hours long! LOL

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