Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Reconstructions: Pros, Cons, Why, Impacts


  • Please log in to reply
71 replies to this topic

#46 EricHG31

EricHG31

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 116 posts

Posted 14 October 2011 - 09:46 PM

One random thought about the "shoe information"--I was under the impression that all of Vsevolozhsky's costume designs existed in the archives. Was there one for Lilac in a tutu, or just the mime outfit? Of course that doesn't really prove one way or another what was *performed* but... (and I am aware that others have probably wondered this same thing, but am curious about the result).

#47 EricHG31

EricHG31

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 116 posts

Posted 15 October 2011 - 12:17 AM

This discussion, more or less began with Helene's thoughts on the PNB's Giselle. I couldn't find this link in the Giselle threads, or anywhere else, but I came across it while reading reviews. It's an hour (and a bit), lecture, with performances, about the version they did, which has some fascinating little bits with dancers demonstrating one version of a variation over another, etc.

http://www.ustream.t...corded/11925622

#48 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 15 October 2011 - 02:56 AM

One random thought about the "shoe information"--I was under the impression that all of Vsevolozhsky's costume designs existed in the archives. Was there one for Lilac in a tutu, or just the mime outfit? Of course that doesn't really prove one way or another what was *performed* but... (and I am aware that others have probably wondered this same thing, but am curious about the result).


The answer here will probably depend upon the continuing development and modernization of the Mariinsky archives. As with most places worldwide, the Mariinsky kept an Institutional Archive, but it was hampered by the state of archival science and a terrible understaffing which led to things getting preserved which shouldn't have been, information treasures being trashed, stuff surviving but having become separated from its intellectual content, and all the misery that attends modernizing an old repository. Items surface, and information science is so much better now that interpretation can be made, but a lot of context has been lost, never to be recovered. For all we know, photos of Marussia are there, but mislabeled! This happens a lot in archives.

#49 EricHG31

EricHG31

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 116 posts

Posted 15 October 2011 - 11:34 AM

Having worked in a much (much) smaller archive, that completely makes sense.

#50 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,400 posts

Posted 21 October 2011 - 04:01 AM

It just dawned on me...it's time to celebrate the 12th year of the current Golden Era of ballet! Just think of how many Petipa-era ballets have been reconstructed or 'recovered' in various ways in only the last 12 years. Until about 1999 -- the year of the Mariinsky/Vikharev's Sleeping Beauty and the Bolshoi/Lacotte's Pharaoh's Daughter -- the closest that any of us could get to seeing something similar to what the Romanov court saw while Petipa was alive were Soviet or Royal Ballet reworkings, i.e., ca-1946 ballets.

In, say, 1997 or 1998, did ANY of you ever dream that you would one day be seeing all of the following Petipa Era ballets, let alone having DVDs of some or all of these ballets in your video libraries?

From Mariinsky:
Sleeping Beauty-1890
Naiad & Fisherman (Ondine)
Bayadere-1900
Flora's Awakening

From Bolshoi:
Pharaoh's Daughter
Le Corsaire
Coppelia (also in Novossibirsk)
Esmeralda
Magic Flute (Bolshoi Academy)

From Novossibirsk:
Don Quixote (with some portions & costumes later going to the Mariinsky)

From POB:
Paquita (and the one-act "Grand Pas" scene at the Bolshoi)
La Source

From Berlin:
La Peri

From LaScala:
Raymonda-1898
Excelsior (recently revived yet again)

From the Royal Ballet:
Ashton's Sylvia....ok, so it's not Petipa Era but certain has the 19th-C 'perfume' and look...and the lovely Minkus-Delibes score!

From Verona:
The Talisman

In 12 years, we've built a whole freakin' Tsarist repertoire! A cause for celebration for most of us...but I suspect that it irks some, certainly the students of Dudinskaya/K. Sergeyev and others who danced only the Soviet versions in the 50s/60s/70s/80s/90s. (Not that every ballet on the above list falls into the 'Soviet reworkings' category; many had been totally abandoned soon after the Soviet revolution.)

So what's left to reconstruct or rethink in the 19th-C manner? The obvious are 'Swan Lake-1895' and 'Nutcracker-1894,' although at least we can now see elements of those Petipa/Ivanov-era versions at the Royal Ballet, thanks to the work of R.J. Wiley, during Dowell's tenure in the 1980s. Big remaining gaps also include the Pugni/St.Leon-Petipa-Gorsky Little Humpbacked Horse (of which two major 'dansant' scenes have recently been revived: the "Underwater Kingdom" by Burlaka for Chelyabinsk and the "Enchanted Island" for Tokyo Ballet).

My own 'secret wish'? The one-act The Pearl, created for the coronation of Nicholas & Alexandra in 1896...but apart from the portions that were moved to the Underwater Scene of Humpbacked Horse, I don't think that this exists in the Harvard Collection. There's a lot of Humpbacked Horse, though. :)

So three cheers to the noble 'soldiers' who have brought the Petipa Era -- the entertainment of the Tsars -- back to us in a very short span of time. How very lucky we are!

#51 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,269 posts

Posted 21 October 2011 - 07:18 AM

What about the recent PNB Giselle...? Having brought back nice chunks that had fallen into oblivion certainly makes it for it to be included in the list. The one ballet I would love to see being revived is La Fille Mal Gardee. Although I feel really lucky to have Alonso's staging after Nijnska-after-Gorski/Hertel engraved in my head, I wish I could see a major revival/reconstruccion of it one day.

#52 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,400 posts

Posted 21 October 2011 - 08:37 AM

What about the recent PNB Giselle...? ....


That's a good one, cubanmiamiboy. Thanks for the reminder. To its credit, the Mariinsky mainstains a rather decent GISELLE, too. I read somewhere that GISELLE is perhaps the one ballet that stayed truest to Petipa during the Soviet era(tampered-with the least). Of course, it wasn't a 'Petipa' ballet to begin but most of the world knows it in the Petipa-after-Perrot/Coralli version.

Quite a bit of Petipa/Ivanov's Fille (to Hertel's score) exists in the Harvard Collection so, why not?

#53 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,346 posts

Posted 21 October 2011 - 08:49 AM

"Giselle" was a different case, in that it used sources from the original, non-Petipa version particularly for the mime and story, Peter Boal filled in places on his own without source, like the opening scene where three children enact a rivalry for a girl's affection, and even with the notated choreography, Boal made his own choices, like keeping the big overhead lifts in the Act II pas de deux and slower tempo where the notation shows an ephemeral lift at a faster tempo. The resulting production was a hybrid of sources, which made it very rich, and a continuum of collaborative choices.

#54 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,400 posts

Posted 21 October 2011 - 09:16 AM

So Boal did not use Petipa's A2 Grand Pas des Willis and other well-known Petipa 1884 additions?

#55 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,346 posts

Posted 21 October 2011 - 10:02 AM

So Boal did not use Petipa's A2 Grand Pas des Willis and other well-known Petipa 1884 additions?

The dancing was primarily based in the Stepanov notation, however, the notation did not always indicate arm movements, and Peter Boal made pointed choices about the notated choreography, such as the lifts in the Act II pas de deux. I would have preferred the original lifts, maintaining the tempo as written and reflecting the music more, but he said in Q&A's and presentations that he didn't want to lose the big lifts.

#56 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,269 posts

Posted 21 October 2011 - 11:13 AM

Helene...and what did they use as the coda of Giselle's Pas Seul...did they used the diagonal of pirouettes...?

#57 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 21 October 2011 - 12:56 PM

The one ballet I would love to see being revived is La Fille Mal Gardee. Although I feel really lucky to have Alonso's staging after Nijnska-after-Gorski/Hertel engraved in my head, I wish I could see a major revival/reconstruccion of it one day.


Well, remember that whoever's version of Fille is going to be a revival of one sort or another. Ashton's followed Jean Aumer's 1828 staging at least roughly, and even Petipa and Ivanov were working from Paul Taglioni's version for the Berlin Opera! That's the version Gorski revived. Remember, Petipa once said of Gorski, "Will somebody tell that young feller that I ain't dead yet!" Anyway, they all spring from 1789 and Jean Dauberval, although we would barely recognize that presentation.

#58 EricHG31

EricHG31

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 116 posts

Posted 21 October 2011 - 04:35 PM

"Giselle" was a different case, in that it used sources from the original, non-Petipa version particularly for the mime and story,


Would Ondine at the Mariinsky (which seemed to last about one year...) count as well then? I had the impression Lacotte was trying to revert to a pre Petipa era version of the ballet.

#59 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 21 October 2011 - 06:37 PM

Ashton's Sylvia....ok, so it's not Petipa Era but certain has the 19th-C 'perfume' and look...and the lovely Minkus-Delibes score!


You may be thinking of La Source. Sylvia is all Delibes. And it is a lovely score. Tchaikovsky loved it!

#60 Paul Parish

Paul Parish

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,925 posts

Posted 21 October 2011 - 09:44 PM

'Atys' I certainly agree with you there:


Ravishingly beautiful.


This topic has so many facets. It's fun watching it develop. Thanks, Eric, for taking us beyond Giselle and even beyond ballet. I especially appreciate your comments as to design.


I love that there's a venue to discuss this kind of thing. I remember as a kid falling for ballet in the late 80s, I would try to find everything I could about the original productions of many of these ballets, and come up with scattered articles, booklets, and photographs--with descriptions that nearly always contradicted each other. And I have many friends and family members who love ballet, but frankly, questions of authenticity have no importance to them as long as they enjoyed the dancing and performance (which is probably true of most balletgoers, understandably). I've always had a fascination with theatre design, and it does seem to sometimes get forgotten when discussing ballet productions (unless it's particularly awful or ill suited, and distracts from the performance).

But watching something like the reconstructed Sleeping Beauty, I had an entirely different reaction. I imagined this would come across as impossibly fussy, over-dressed, cluttered with design elements. Instead, these works seemed rich, colorful, vibrant, alive. Modern lighting and fabric technology may have something to do with this, but on the issue of design. I have become a convert. You write elsewhere of these ballets as collaborations in terms of choreographer and composer. Obviously those responsible for the "look" of the piece were important collaborators as well, and essential to the success of the work. And this is pre-Diaghilev, pre-Bakst.


Good point! For a long time, the general impression was that this never existed until Diaghilev, I'm sure many people still think this. It's true that he probably took it to a higher level--hiring famous artists, etc--but it's obvious that a lot of thought from the start went into the design. I know that for the ballets Vsevolozhsky actually designed the costumes for (which include Beauty, Raymonda, and I think Nutcracker and the '95 Swan Lake, but am not sure), he did so as early as when the ballet would be comissioned and a libretto worked out.

And speaking of Diaghilev, it was Benois who wrote rapturously about how Sleeping Beauty re-awakened his love for ballet, partly because he saw every element, includig the designs, as a complete whole for the first time, a ballet "Gesamtkunstwerk". So there are several direct connections there.

I admit, I also always thought that one reason these ballets would never have restored productions was that to a modern eye, judging from the photographs, it would look fussy, over-dressed and cluttered, as you say. Also, audiences would have to get used to longer tutus, even more wigs than the Soviets used (;)), those 'modesty shorts" for the men, etc. But when you actually see the results, for the most part the design simply *works*.

Much musical entertainment today -- music videos, Cirque de Solel extravaganzas, the new type of Hollywood musical, etc. -- seems obsessed with richness of color, light, detailing, pageantry. Bodies move in all directions, becoming elements of a constantly changing picture. In this kind of theatrical world, where the pursuit of the exotic becomes the new norm, reconstructions of the 19th century ballets don't seem out of place,


That's a good point I hadn't thought of. It's true the pendulum of what people like tends to swing one way or the other, and currently I think many audiences going to the ballet appreciate, and maybe even expect, the spectacle--which for a while seemed to be the opposite where people felt it took away from the purity of dance. Probably another reason why story ballets, even brand new ones, seem to currently have by fair the most mainstream appeal. For non regular ballet goers, it's so expensive to go to a major production nowadays anyway, that, for good and bad, it might be a bit like the Megamusical trend--people want to see some of their money up on the stage.

As for the future, I suspect that historical reconstructions of much loved works like Giselle and Sleeping Beauty will fade away, to be revived only for special occasions and specialist audiences. Of course there is always the chance that they will leave behind certain elements to be added to or imposed upon the contemporary versions. Our emotional and financial investment in this works is already very strong.

Unfamiliar works -- like Atys as revived recently by Les Arts Florissants, or rarely produced ballets like Raymonda -- do have a chance of survival or at least playing a role in re-defining our idea of what these works should look like.

(I would have killed to be able to see that revival of Atys). I think you're right. These things go in trends, and to repeat myself, the pendulum will probably swing back again. But I suspect a few companies will keep them in their repertoire, if only to pull them out occasionally for special occasions. (This is why I hope the rumours of Raymonda being filmed are true--and I'm still greatly annoyed that we never got a commercial release of the three Vikharev/Mariinsky Petipa reconstructions, back when they were briefly being regularly performed). I hadn't been to the Mariinsky's website in about a year, and they DO still list The Awakening of Flora and Sleeping Beauty in their repertoire (along with the Sergeyev Beauty which they seem to be doing exclusively now), so that gives me a tiny glimmer of hope--Flora certainly would be a good vehicle to show off students. On the other hand, both versionfs of la Bayadere used to be listed, but the 1890's reconstruction has been now removed... No big surprise I suppose (I know the standard version uses many of the same set designs).




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):