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Favorite variation

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Is everyone's favorite Raymonda variation the final Hungarian dance with the clapping? It is a show stopper, I think. I like them all though. I love one of the variations of one of her friends either Clemence or Henriette in Act 2. I will have to find out which one it is. YouTube has Dorothee Gilbert dancing this particular variation, and it is lovely!

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My favorite moment in Raymonda is the Adagio frm the final act Grand Pas. I've had the hunting oboe melody for days and days after watching it...!

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Yes, I love the entire final act. This is quite beautiful. I could watch Raymonda everyday. I don't know why I like it better than most ballets. I love Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, etc. but for some reason I love Raymonda. I wish it were performed more often in the US!!! It looks like I will one day have to fly to Russia or Paris to see the full length ballet!

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I'd choose Russia over Paris, if it's feasible: Nureyev's version for POB has his choreographic "improvements". If you can get it, there's DVD documentary on "Raymonda" in the "Dancer's Dream" series that will give you a better idea. For me, just to see Claude de Vulpain's dancing made the DVD worthwhile: I loved her in it.

The version that Gilbert dances on the YouTube clip is different than the versions in the Kirov and Bolshoi DVD's; both are productions danced in 1989 (Bolshoi with Bessmertnova) and 1980 (Kirov with Kolpakova). According to Wikipedia, Kolpakova was born in either 1933 or 1935, which would make her either 44-45 or 46-7 when she danced that performance with all of those variations and pas de deux. Bessmertnova was born in 1941, and she would have been 47-8 when she danced the live Bolshoi performance, which has even more choreography.

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Thanks, Helene! I agree! I think Russia would be the best place to see Raymonda. However, there is a grandiosity about Nureyev's Paris Raymonda judging from the clips on YouTube and also the documentary on his Raymonda (yes, I actually do have that and watched it). So even if Nureyev's Raymonda is not as authentic, it probably is fun to see anyway. Supposedly, he includes 7 variations for Raymonda. The documentary shows dancers saying how he would tease them, "You have 7 variations!!!" in a joking but almost sadistic way! LOL So I hope the dvd of the Paris Raymonda comes out eventually, so I can count and see how he comes up with 7 variations. I think it is only possible if the Danse orientale is kept in and Raymonda's entrance is counted as a variation.

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The Bolshoi DVD is one of my favorite ones. Bessmertnova has that "grandeur" that makes her completely believable in her princess role, and her footwork is precious. The only problem with her is that, just as with many other cases of star ballerinas, she totally opaques younger Vasyuchenko. On the other hand, Taranda is just MAGNIFICENT as Abderrakhan.

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The Bolshoi DVD is one of my favorite ones. Bessmertnova has that "grandeur" that makes her completely believable in her princess role, and her footwork is precious. The only problem with her is that, just as with many other cases of star ballerinas, she totally opaques younger Vasyuchenko. On the other hand, Taranda is just MAGNIFICENT as Abderrakhan.

I wholeheartedly agree with all you say, Cristian. My favorite Bessmertnova moment is her exquisite interpretation of the scarf solo. Great chemistry with Taranda too.

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I always liked Vasyuchenko with Bessmertnova in this and other ballets. Taranda is the bomb.

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I am glad to hear everyone's comments, b/c I was hesitant to buy Bessmertnova's Raymonda (Amazon has the dvd) b/c one of the reviews on Amazon says she is past her prime. But I trust what you guys say more than somebody on Amazon!

Now I want to buy the Kolpakova and the Bessmertnova Raymondas.

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Bessmertnova is certainly past her prime, but she is just lovely to watch-(but again, this could be me and my personal taste for ballerinas who have reached certain maturity onstage that can only be achieved with age...)

And now...Mme. Bessmertnova's Raymonda-(the whole ballet. 2H. 15 m.) :clapping:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAYIp0nfl4U&feature=related

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Both Bessmertnova and Kolpakova are past their prime, but they're both competing against their younger selves, and you can't buy that kind of expression. I also love, love, love the Mariinsky version.

I think it's always good to own as many version of a favorite ballet as possible. I managed, through a post of naomikoge's, to purchase the New National Ballet of Tokyo in the ballet on the Japanese amazon site. The guests are Svetlana Zakharova as Raymonda and Denis Matvienko as Jean de Brienne. Asami Maki is the choreographer.

I love this DVD for the costumes alone, and the woman who portrays the Queen is stunning.

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Both Bessmertnova and Kolpakova are past their prime, but they're both competing against their younger selves, and you can't buy that kind of expression. I also love, love, love the Mariinsky version.

I think it's always good to own as many version of a favorite ballet as possible. I managed, through a post of naomikoge's, to purchase the New National Ballet of Tokyo in the ballet on the Japanese amazon site. The guests are Svetlana Zakharova as Raymonda and Denis Matvienko as Jean de Brienne. Asami Maki is the choreographer.

I love this DVD for the costumes alone, and the woman who portrays the Queen is stunning.

Great tip! I will look for it!

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My favorite Raymonda variation is the Act I solo with the chiffon scarf (to predominantly harp orchestration), particularly when a dancer can perform the shifts in orientation without quivering. If done smoothly, it can be pure poetry. Semenyaka does it best, IMO, among the various Raymondas on vid/DVD. Among those I've seen live, Alexandrova of the Bolshoi and, especially, Makhalina of the MT (yes, Makhalina) danced it most exquisitely. Also, a recent Russian TV-KULTURA program showed excerpts of Terioshkina's Raymonda, in which she performed the scarf variation steadily & poetically but, of course, there's nothing like seeing it live.

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Among those I've seen live ["the Act I solo with the chiffon scarf"], Alexandrova of the Bolshoi and, especially, Makhalina of the MT (yes, Makhalina) danced it most exquisitely.

Since the Mariinsky's Raymonda is making its way to the US we'll probably be reactivating these discussions. As sort of a combination of things mentioned here, I saw Maria Alexandrova perform all this with the Paris Opera Ballet a few years ago and it was the best I've ever seen her do. Pure enchantment !

In preparation for what I hope is a marathon of Raymonda watching in Costa Mesa (September) I'm looking at lots of internet clips and will probably come up with some favorite variations (solos). The only other time that I've seen this on stage was a Bolshoi series in Chicago. I do recall liking Maria Allash's 'handclapping' variation very much. For the moment from videos I find Alina Somova's recent debut to be extremely lovely and Oxana Skorik's performances to be exceptional with the poetry and meaning that she infuses into her lyrically beautiful motion.

[typo correction made]

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My favourite variation for Raymonda is the one she dances in the Dream scene - just beyond beautiful! Incidentally, I have recently returned from St Petersburg, where I saw three performances in a row of Raymonda - Skorik, Matvienko and Somova - and Alina Somova's debut performance as Raymonda was just amazing. I really felt she was the embodiment of Raymonda and technically she was perfect. In the "blue" variation she was the only one of the three to perform the entrechat quatre en pointe sequence and she got huge bravas from the audience and was called back for many curtain calls at the end of the performance. The Dream variation was just so lyrical and expressive with those long legs making beautiful lines and flowing arms. It was just a privilege to see this. It's a gorgeous ballet! :-)

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