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Raymonda-1898 tv & online telecastOct. 27 - 9:30pm, Milan time


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#31 Natalia

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 03:28 AM

I'm glad that you share my passion for this lovely production and understand the frustration at the current Mariisnky management's stance against the Petipa-era recons, Eric! Posted Image ITA about the White Lady. I found her 'role' in Acts I and II especially fascinating and a huge part in making this ballet understandable, unlike anything else concocted in the 20th C. Here's my theory why the Soviet Kirov banished the White Lady: Religion, plain and simple. She was a metaphor for Christianity (a Madonna-like symbol); all religious allusions were banished in the USSR (like the Royal Danish Ballet now?). Same reason why Raymonda no longer plunged Jean's sword into the ground to form a cross. Same reason why the crosses on Jean's knights vanish from costumes in the Kirov production. On and on and on. Atheists and PC-afficionados are likely among the folks who would hate this production.

I've PM'ed you on "something relevant."

#32 Birdsall

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 01:27 PM

Thanks for alerting me that there are threads on the reconstruction already, Natalia. I did not see them before. This whole site is so different from the opera websites that I frequent.

#33 Birdsall

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 01:41 PM

"Mariinsky, you are The Biggest Losers!"

Ha, I couldn't have put it better myself! Posted Image It's too bad that the Mariinsky, which partly for sentimental reasons is still my favorite ballet company, seems to be stubbornly missing out on the potential that these works have brought the Bolshoi, Scala, etc--especially since they pretty much started the trend.

This production is *stupendous*, surely the ballet event of the year. I hate to complain, but I can't wait to be able to see a better quality version than what's on YT, but even so, I've watched it all the way through twice, and certain sections countless times now. It honestly is a dream come true to be able to see the original (more or less) intention of this ballet--and so well danced and performed (and with a pretty decent filming as well, no fancy "arty" camera angles or shots).

It's always interesting how often when one returns to the source, you realize that what people for years have said makes no sense, only to find that it *does* all work. (This makes me think that the K Sergeyev Petersburg production getting rid of the White Lady was a huge mistake, particularly when her theme is so clearly stated in Glazunov's music). A beautiful testament to all involved, in 1898 and now--and thrilling to see (I admit I even teared up a bit, something I rarely do in Raymonda even though I've always loved the ballet and score).



Eric, when the Mariinsky was still called the Kirov Maestro Gergiev was championing Russian opera in the West and bringing glorious "traditional" productions to the West on tour and getting them filmed on video. I am sure more people than Gergiev were involved but it seemed like he had a huge influence. But recently I have noticed that the Mariinsky is staging very "modern" versions of its operas and also releasing something like Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor on CD with a french soprano Natalie Dessay and a Polish tenor Piotr Beczala. There are so many recordings of Lucia out, that I question the reasoning behind a Mariinsky cd release of the opera with an international cast. Surely, there are some homegrown talent he could use, but I guess it is all about making money. Dessay and Beczala will sell b/c they are big names. It also seems like he or the Mariinsky overall wants to become "international" and be considered in the top rung of opera to compete with the Metropolitan Opera. I personally think this is going to lead to a decline of the special aspects Russian performers have been bringing to both opera and ballet since the end of communism. I hope I am wrong. I hope Russian performers can keep their special place in these art forms. Anyway, my point in all this is that I think this may also be why the Mariinsky is frowning upon reconstructions. Maybe they want to stop being a niche ethnic performing arts center and draw huge international stars from all over. That is my guess. If the Mariinsky fills up its schedule with reconstructions it would be harder to get international guest artists who want to just pop in and do the traditional Aurora or Nikiya that they already know how to dance. Just guessing. I could be totally wrong about this. But the problem with becoming global and international is that the specific traits of Russian dancers or French dancers fall to the wayside. The opera world has complained of the total loss of the french style of singing for a few decades already.

#34 Paul Parish

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 04:22 PM

I'm kinda out of my mind.

THis is SO BEAUTIFUL. And so intelligible!

Thank you thank you for hooking me up.
I've only watched the first scene and THAT only intermittently -- but I love the relationship between pageantry, mime, "social" dancing, and he revelatory variations

Vaganova says in her intro that allegro is the real dance because adago is insufficiently revealing -- only in allegro variations do we REALLY see into the heart of hte dance. ANd Novikova's variations just made me feel the force of what she said. Even the "slow" ones, like the one withthe scarf, are disguised alegro -- the way she throwsthat scarf when she piques to attitude!

or her entrance, when she bends down toe get the flower and springs up into attitude! Yep, that's how you bring on a ballerina! You REVEAL her!

What a great ballet!

#35 sergek26

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 10:29 AM

ITA about the White Lady. I found her 'role' in Acts I and II especially fascinating and a huge part in making this ballet understandable, unlike anything else concocted in the 20th C. Here's my theory why the Soviet Kirov banished the White Lady: Religion, plain and simple. She was a metaphor for Christianity (a Madonna-like symbol); all religious allusions were banished in the USSR (like the Royal Danish Ballet now?). Same reason why Raymonda no longer plunged Jean's sword into the ground to form a cross. Same reason why the crosses on Jean's knights vanish from costumes in the Kirov production. On and on and on. Atheists and PC-afficionados are likely among the folks who would hate this production.
I've PM'ed you on "something relevant."

You're partly right though White Lady was first banned in one of the Bolshoi revivals in the beginning of 1930s. But in 1890s such figures in ballets were a kind of cliche and later, in 1920-1930s the mystic was banned almost everywhere in Europe theatre performances without any government instructions so, Prince Hamlet spoke with his sick mind but not with the spirit of his father and Banco was showed as simple hallucination of Macbeth. On the other side Petipa's production was in Kirov's repertory in the same sets and costumes until almost 1938. In 1948, UK critics were completely satisfied with Lavrovsky's 1945 Moscow staging (see The Rose and the Star by Phyllis Winifred Manchester and Iris Morley) and it was stated that Raymonda is a kind of productions which are too close related to their born-place and it is senseless to stage it anywhere else. Given that it was not of the great importance to maintain the mystic than choreography most part of which survived due to Lopukhov, Lavrovsky and Sergeyev. You know that Petipa spoiled his 1869 Moscow Don Quichotte restaging it in 1871 for St.Petersburg but that was the only way to maintain this production in repertory which thirty years later got another life.

#36 EricHG31

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 03:16 AM

*double post*

#37 EricHG31

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 12:07 AM

That makes a lot of sense re: lack of religion. When I was going to a used bookstores I found a french book titled "Rudolf Noureev L'avant Scene Ballet Danse" which describes (if anyone wants me to list all the Mariinsky and Bolshoi productions, they list please, just ask--I had no clue that the Bolshoi apparently never performed Petipa's version) a March 1938 production by Vainonen that actually made Aberakham the hero and de Brienne the villain. The same book says a more conservative version was in the company by April 1948 (K Sergeyev) (Grigorovich's beautiful, but self congratulating, book on his own new production from 1987 mentions Vainonen's version and calls it dramatacially inept. Personally i am glad Grigorovich reinstated the White Lady but I think he did it clumsily--but that's left up to others to decide).


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