doug

Raymonda-1898 - premiere reports

103 posts in this topic

I'm waking up to answer a couple of more QQs that were posted on the thread; the PMs have been answered privately.

Bingham - I'd love to see the POB La Source but alas it's too soon after Raymonda...a little stretch of the budget. La Source is supposed to be headed to cinemas on November 4 with a DVD soon after...and POB has been quite fast in issuing the DVDs, a-la Petite Danseuse de Degas. Not the same as being there live, though.

Eric - re. the souvenir book, perhaps it can be ordered through the La Scala online shop?

http://www.lascalashop.it/index.asp

I saw many past souvenir books of operas and ballets in the actual La Scala Shop withn the theater so I am guessing that the online shop also offers these? Warning: the cost of postage may make it pricey, as these programmes are quite heavy! The book may cost 10 Euros but I'm afraid to guess on the postage.

Here is some contact info for the shop. Perhaps they could help you acquire it even if it is not specifically listed in the online catalog.

E-MAIL CONTACTS

•Publishing issues and books catalogue:

libri@lascalashop.it

•Customer Service, news and events organized at the shop: info@lascalashop.it

PHONE AND FAX

•Offices Switchboard:

tel. (+39) 02.43.43.59.01

•La Scala Shop ( the store): tel. (+39) 02.45.48.32.57

all of the staff who I met at the sales desk speak English & other languages...and they are super nice!

MAIL ADDRESS

•Skira Classica S.r.l. Via Matteo Bandello 6 - 20123 Milano

ACTUAL STORE ADDRESS

Store at Teatro alla Scala in Milan

Milano, Largo Ghiringhelli (Piazza della Scala)

Opening days (daytime): From Monday to Sunday

Opening hours (daytime): from 10:30am to 7:30pm

Opening hours (evening): on evenings when there is a performance in the theatre, the store is only open to audience members

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Thank you so much for going through the trouble to get all that information. I'll work on seeing I can get a copy this weekend, and report back in case anyone else wants one. While it's not too important to me--do you recall if there were editions in different languages, or were they all in Italian (or, maybe one edition with several European languages)?

*edit* On re-reading, I see that you wrote it was in Italian. I spent a Summer there, and my first language is French, so I could probably figure parts of it out anyway--though I want it for the illustrations as well. Sorry about that!

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-do you recall if there were editions in different languages, or were they all in Italian (or, maybe one edition with several European languages)?

!

Eric, I asked about different language edition, they told me the synopsis was in english (pp. 10-11). Even some titles are in French but the texts are in Italian.

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Thank you! I've sent them an email about foreign purchases, but the language doesn't bother me too much, although I'll propbably spend hours trying to read as much as I can. I assume it's still fairly photo-heavy, and I hope I'll be able to get a copy.

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A new clip:

Thank you for posting.

I was really disappointed with this film of Novikova not because she lacked technique of the legs, because she doesn’t.

Novikova’s arms in terms of characterisation on this occasion were frail, lacking both in weight and the stylistic necessities required for the appropriate plastique of the Hungarian influenced choreography.

If that is how the arms were set, it is clearly an error of judgement. The variation requires the touches that give the sense of the style implied in the music and to also to comply with the historical performance of the role.

Novikova regrettably appeared to be more of a soloist rather than someone fitting the shoes of a ballerina and it would seem possible, that some of the blames lies with the coaching of the role.

Of course Novikova is new to the role and it is a long role and thank goodness, she is young enough to develop a deeper stage presence.

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Stunning. From a purely visual point of view--restoration or not--I think this production looks like the most visually pleasing one we have (funny feather hat and all). I'm always struck about how gorgeous, and even novel, the piano (an instrument I usually dislike in orchestral compositions) sounds coming near the end of Raymonda--a bit like the piano glissandos in the Sleeping Beauty PDD.

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Raymonda 14-10-11 lLa Scala

Choreography Marius Petipa 1898

Reconstruction Sergei Vikharev

Research Pavel Gershenzon

Libretto Lidia Pashkova and Marius Petipa

Set design Orest Allegri, Piotr Lambin, Konstantin Ivanov 1898

Costumes Ivan Vsevoloski 1898

RAYMONDA Olesya Novikova

JEAN DE BRIENNE Friedemann Vogel

ABDERAKHMAN Mick Zeni

HENRIETTE Antonella Albano

CLEMENCE Petra Conti

Conductor Mikhail Jurowski

------------------------------------------------

The second viewing of Raymonda was all-together a time to relax;

thumbs up or thumbs down?--- the hurried anticipation of a premiere was over.

At least in my mind...... and likewise our foreign correspondent’s mind: it’s a hit.

So the second time around there’s nothing to do but to relax and enjoy. Our seats,

ten rows from the orchestra, were acoustically ideal. The first night’s box seats,

rather near the orchestra, missed visually the upstage right, where certain entrances take place. La Scala box seats are narrow. Sometimes you have to crane the neck to view the entire stage.The couple who had stools in our box had to share a space by standing up next to the stool. (There are only two high-priced chairs per box).

The orchestra (platea) seats seem better. I enjoyed the full-toned music from there.

The first act, with its first scene, started with a tableau of mime to set the actors with their milieu. Then the introduction of the protagonist and some four variations.

My companions felt that Novikova fared even better tonight than the premiere evening.

The first act and its second scene sets the vision scene properly as a prologue within a narrative whose raison d’etre gives the substance of the White Lady’s mission: noblesse oblige or some such thing.

Here Raymonda becomes aware of her destiny in the magical garden that the White Lady fore-ordains as she tells her: ‘Look and see what awaits you’.

Firstly, the crusader Jean de Brienne and Glory, and the Knights,and their Celestial Maidens and the golden palms, and the flower-strewn maids and girls in swirls and in pairs.

Secondly, the antinomial Other, all swagger and power , he of the exotic Otherland.

As the synopsis writes, ‘The frightful vision disappears along with the White Lady’.

Mick Zeni, by the way , is splendid as Abderakhman.

The second act fulfills Raymonda’s cour d’amour and the prophetic entry of Abderakhman and his retinue.

Raymonda with her red tutu dances her entre-chat quatres sur les pointes......... thirty in all.

Clemence and Henriette (Francesca Podini and MariaFrancesca Garritano in the premiere performance) were different dancers tonight.

Both are extremely likable.(their names on top)


The third act of the Hungarian banquet and wedding is my favorite. The joyful cacophony of colors in the ensembles,and the veritable individuality of humankind

warm and wake the senses.
Novikova in the pas classique is glorious.

Bravi to all participants.

Mikhail Jurowski led the orchestra in Glazunov’s bright ballet.

Still no flowers offered during curtain calls. Am i missing a tradition?

jc

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Still no flowers offered during curtain calls. Am i missing a tradition?

Flowers are never offered on stage. You can send flowers to dancers but they will be delivered in the dressing rooms.

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.....Of course Novikova is new to the role ....

No, she is not, Leonid, sorry. Novikova debuted Raymonda at the Mariinsky several years ago and has danced it as a guest elsewhere (don't recall city now), as has Obraztsova, who has yet to essay the role at home. Marta Romagna (2nd cast in Milan) danced with exactly the same port de bras as Novikova, so they are following Vikharev's instruction, based on the Harvard notes. I suspect that the 'stronger' effects in the port de bras come from decades of changes, as we see at the Marinsky and POB nowadays...POB even instituting loud slaps.

Happy to read chiapuris' report that, at the 2nd outing, Novikova may have been even better. Brava! Yes, where one sits can make a difference. I was lucky to get a front seat in one of the central 'palco' boxes -- just beneath the Royal box, one level above the stalls -- at both of my performances. One really doesn't have a choice when ordering online, at least I did not with my server...I only got the option of requesting 'cost category' and general location (e.g., stalls, or first ring of palcos, or whatever).

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.....Of course Novikova is new to the role ....

No, she is not, Leonid, sorry. Novikova has danced Raymonda at the Mariinsky and elsewhere (don't recall city now) before. Marta Romagna (2nd cast) danced with exactly the same port de bras as Novikova, so they are following Vikharev's instruction, based on the Harvard notes. I suspect that the 'stronger' effects in the port de bras come from decades of changes, as we see at the Marinsky and POB nowadays...POB even instituting loud slaps.

Of course I should have said Novikova was new to the role as in this reconstruction.

I can well imagine, Legnani and Kschessinskaya performing loud slaps and I cannot believe that Petipa set such a loose epaulement when conjuring up an otherwise characterful Hungarian flavour. It just doesn't fit the fullness of expression that Petipa brings to the other roles.

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And of course, it may be that the original ports de bras are not notated. But I agree with Leonid that on this video the variation seems to be all on a single note. I also think that I saw Marcia Haydee do the entrechats on pointe when she danced the role in Zurich many, many, years ago. But my memory may be faulty here.

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In the "better late than never" department, La Scala has now published the names of all soloists in each of the past and upcoming La Scala performances. Even the playbills at my performances didn't offer this level of detail. Note that the two Dream Variations are not danced by the characters Henriette and Clemence (as in POB).

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

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I also agree with Leonid about Novikova missing something of stylistic weight in that specific variation. Personally I think it also needs sharper accents, like Pontois so well demonstrates here.

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Masculine 'slaps' would not have been in keeping with the ladylike demeanor of a noblewoman. This is part of what Pavel Geshenzon (Vikharev's collaborator in this staging) explains in the long interview in the souvenir book. Not that we don't love to watch the 'tougher' manner in the 20th & 21st centuries. Aggressive women would not have been heroines in Tsarist Russia. Gentility runs through the Court de Doris.

Somewhat in line with this, I found it interesting that, during the 'Combat' between Jean and Abderahman at the end of A2, the two supporters of each combatant stand to each side of the stage, each behaving very differently whenever its fighter strikes a blow. The 'non nobles' are wildly expressive when Abder strikes a blow; the nobles simply stand and barely smile when ever Jean pulls ahead.

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Re the SLAPS

It would be great if we could all read V Krassovskaya's study of the work and influence of Agrippina Vaganova in changing the style of Russian ballet. To summarize, Krassovskaya says that Vaganova created a heroic Soviet style, that was derived from her own slightly out-sized way of dancing (which had not found favor with the management in her dancing days; she was never advanced to the highest rank -- she did not recach the heights in the Tsarist era because her body, and her style were not pretty enough -- she was very clear, but too strong for the aristocratic era. She showedhte techique too nakedly. It DID work, however, for the Soviets, who wanted a way of dancing that was amazing, heroic, austere, where every aspect of the technique was made visible and therefore made the dancer larger than life.

The recreations of 1890s ballet that we've seen (Sleeping Beauty, now Raymonda) have struggled to create an image of a more delicate way of dancing while not stifling hte much larger way of dancing that has developed in Russia since Vaganova's day. THe issue has been blurred by the recent aggravation of high extensions -- but in fact, Vaganova started long ago to make the technique more salient, at roughly the same time as Balanchine was doing the same thing (but each in their own ways).

in 1890, Petipa's "Raymonda" was a princess, not "the people's princess" -- she did NOT do a double pirouette in the Hungarian variation. Pontois is amping it up.

It's pretty clear that Petipa wanted his heroines to "display their coquetterie." it's a phrase he uses over and over. The style of Pontois is much coarser than that -- she is not gracious at all; she's commanding, impressive, sexy, challenging, borderline dominatrix -- very Nureyev. it puts me in mind of Rudi's thigh-high crocodile boots. It's wonderful in its way -- the technique is of course mighty fine. But.............

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Now for the BEST news: La Scala has announced the LIVE TELECAST on October 27, which happens to be the 4th and final performance of the first-cast duo of Novikova/Vogel. "Plan accordingly." :)

Hello everyone! It is my first post here, though I've been reading and enjoying this forum for quite some time now.

I'm Italian and I live in Italy, I'm not a ballet expert just someone who used to take ballet classes as a you girl and never stopped loving ballet.

I thank you for the informetion you are giving about this production. Here in Italy I noticed there was a bit of controversy about it, so I was really curious to read your opinions. I'm going to attend the performance on the 25th and I'm really excited about it!

As for the live telecast, this will be on Rai 5 (one of Rai DTT channels) and also on the website of Rai 5 on the 27th of October at 9.30pm

http://www.rai5.rai.it/dl/Rai5/home_r5.html?refresh_ce

Once again thank you all for this great forum :clapping:

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Masculine 'slaps' would not have been in keeping with the ladylike demeanor of a noblewoman. This is part of what Pavel Geshenzon (Vikharev's collaborator in this staging) explains in the long interview in the souvenir book. Not that we don't love to watch the 'tougher' manner in the 20th & 21st centuries. Aggressive women would not have been heroines in Tsarist Russia. Gentility runs through the Court de Doris.

Somewhat in line with this, I found it interesting that, during the 'Combat' between Jean and Abderahman at the end of A2, the two supporters of each combatant stand to each side of the stage, each behaving very differently whenever its fighter strikes a blow. The 'non nobles' are wildly expressive when Abder strikes a blow; the nobles simply stand and barely smile when ever Jean pulls ahead.

Masculine 'slaps' would not have been in keeping with the ladylike demeanor of a noblewoman.

When I said, I can well imagine Legnani and Kschessinskaya performing loud slaps, it was a reflection of their exhuberant stage personalities it was not a literal statement and that is why I used the word imagine.

Aggressive women would not have been heroines in Tsarist Russia. Gentility runs through the Court de Doris.

Actually there were plenty of examples of aggressive and less than wholesome portrayals of women in operas performed on the St,Petersburg stages throughout the 18th and 19th century.

Somewhat in line with this, I found it interesting that, during the 'Combat' between Jean and Abderahman at the end of A2, the two supporters of each combatant stand to each side of the stage, each behaving very differently whenever its fighter strikes a blow. The 'non nobles' are wildly expressive when Abder strikes a blow; the nobles simply stand and barely smile when ever Jean pulls ahead.

Its a ballet not real life.

This is part of what Pavel Geshenzon (Vikharev's collaborator in this staging) explains in the long interview in the souvenir book. Not that we don't love to watch the 'tougher' manner in the 20th & 21st centuries.

As there is no film record of early performances of Raymonda so how can we judge whether its a tougher manner or not.

I would suggest that there is a traditional performing manner at work throughout the history of this ballet in St.Petersburg.

What is remarkable of course, is that the French Raymonda has learnt how to dance in an Hungarian dance form so quickly. Oh I forgot, its only a ballet.

For further fun reading see: The Petipa Code or searching for Raymonda

by Ivan Semirechenskiy and Harlequin

http://balletbase.com/en/ballet/petipacode/

http://balletbase.com/en/ballet/petipacode-2/

http://balletbase.com/en/ballet/petipacode3/

http://balletbase.com/en/ballet/petipacode4/

http://balletbase.com/en/ballet/petipacode5/

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I saw three performances and really enjoyed them. The production is beautiful. The Harvard notes include virtually no port de bras, save for the few variations that are notated twice. The second notation of each of these, interpolated into the main body of notations, includes choreography for the entire body. That said, those "complete" notations are mostly the notation work of students and must be considered accordingly.

Raymonda's Act Two variation is notated twice. In the notation that is in the main body of the notation of the ballet, the variation is notated as danced by Preobrazhenskaya. The passage that has been under discussion is notated as a plie in fifth position (left foot front), followed by a jump up onto pointe, still in fifth (left foot front), followed by a hop on pointe, still in fifth (left foot front), with no entrechat quatre or changement. this is followed by a hop onto the right pointe with the left leg extended behind at 45 degrees high with the knee bent 45 degrees (a long, low attitude). Then the dancer plies in fifth and begins the combination again. She performs this twelve times, traveling from USC to DSC. No notation is given for head, arms, or torso.

In the second, "complete" notation of this variation (which also includes Preobrazhenskaya's name, omits a combination included in the main notation, and therefore appears to be incomplete, and which also includes several variants of combinations from the main notation), the passage in question is notated as 24 hops on pointe with changement, beginning with the right foot front and traveling forward on the diagonal from USL to DSR. The dancer's head is turned to the left and her arms are in first position. After the first four hops, the left arm opens to the side and the head faces forward, i.e., in the direction she is traveling. After six hops, the right arm is raised overhead and the dancer's head is bent back as though she is looking up at her raised hand. After 8 hops, the notation indicates the sequence of 8 hops should be repeated twice for a total of 24 hops.

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Re the SLAPS....in 1890, Petipa's "Raymonda" was a princess, not "the people's princess" -- she did NOT do a double pirouette in the Hungarian variation. Pontois is amping it up.

It's pretty clear that Petipa wanted his heroines to "display their coquetterie." it's a phrase he uses over and over. The style of Pontois is much coarser than that -- she is not gracious at all; she's commanding, impressive, sexy, challenging, borderline dominatrix -- very Nureyev. it puts me in mind of Rudi's thigh-high crocodile boots. It's wonderful in its way -- the technique is of course mighty fine. But.............

Perfectly stated, Paul! In fact, the first time that I saw the POB version of the variation, by Guillem in one of the early Guillem documentaties, my first thought was "kinky"...not exactly what would have been seen in a gracious court (Romanov or de Doris).

Magpie74 - Benvenuto/benvenuta a BalletAlert...and 'mille grazie' for the wonderful information about RAI5 being accessible via the web!

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....Marta Romagna (2nd cast in Milan) danced with exactly the same port de bras as Novikova,

How was she?

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The variation, here, is about the earliest one I can find on YouTube, and that's fifty years after the beginning. I wonder if there are earlier ones.

http://www.youtube.com/user/niku60#p/search/1/wnEkZPgFZso

I don't have my souvenir programme in the office but can check after work, as Gershenzon or Vikharev cite all of the documents utilized in the reconstruction, including various old film bits. What really piqued my interest is their mention of a ca-1946 Bolshoi filming of the A2 Pas de Six, which seems to include the only known record of the 'Bernard & Beranger' duo before the music was moved by K. Sergeyev and others to Act III to provide a solo for Jean de Brienne. I'd love to find that 'B&B duo' on YouTube! A very young Nikolai Fadeyechev is one of the two B&Bs, as mentioned in the article.

Puppytreats - I wrote a bit about performance #2 (Marta Romagna) in post #22 of this thread. I'll copy here -

...with regard to the 2nd performance, it was a triumph for La Scala's own prima, Marta Romagna, who was quite technically capable and charming, if a bit tentative in the A1 Scarf solo and A2 'Trumpet variation.' Her line is leaner and, in some ways, more 'poetic' than Novikova's, although the latter is the undisputed queen. Eris Nezha provided elegant support as her Jean de Brienne. As at the opener, the corps de ballet and children were extraordinarily fine.

Special kudos to Claudio Coviello as the troubador in blue/yellow, Beranger (Nikolai Legat's role in 1898), who dances an impressive "mini solo" of high cabrioles and entrechats within the coda of the A2 Pas de Six. Kudos, too, to the uncredited (!) four gents who dance the A3 male pas de quatre...

Interestingly, even with the new-and-improved detailed casting lists on their website, La Scala ballet has not published the names of the four demi-solo men who perform the A3 Pas de Quatre (!). An Italian fan told me that the opening night's Abderakhman (the versatile Mick Zeni) is appearing in every Pas de Quatre, even after 'dying' as Abderakhman..pull off the beard, pull-on the tights...LOL!

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