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Raymonda la scala


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#16 Cygnet

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 08:23 AM

...The New Years DVD you mention is a great document of Act III (as well as the brief scene before), The documentary about the Mariinsky, Sacred Stage also shows most of the vision scene from the previous act, albeit filmed more from the wings which I find annoying. I do wish the entire production had been filmed (it's still listed on their website repertoire so maybe it still can be) at the least to have a visual document of such a reconstuction. Honestly, at my most cynical, it seems like a wasted money opportunity for the company.

I'm ITA with you. The Mariinsky should film it for the historical record, if nothing else. The 1890 reconstruction was one of the productions to get fully funded and designed before the financial crisis really hit Russia in the late 90s. Unfortunately, the current leadership, the old guard in the company and the Theatre, the pedagogues and coaches looked, and continue to look at the reconstructions as illegitimate. They believe that they can't be trusted
as "authentic." They were brought up to believe that Nikolai Sergeyev stole the notations from the Mariinsky when
he brought them to the West. Actually, in retrospect, he was trying to save and preserve Stepanov's notations.
He was also painted (after the Revolution), as a despised ballet master in the company. N. Sergeyev was a traitor, thief and "villain" who stole Mariinsky Theatre property; that was the official narrative. Lenin, with much persuasion, eventually changed his mind about the ballet and the opera, seeing their value as propaganda tools, and
decreed that these performing arts should be for all people, not the elite few. Ballet was considered to be an
art of the nobility. Everything associated with Imperial Russia had to be destroyed.

I remember that it wasn't only the 1890 "Beauty" that was controversial, this was also the issue they had with 1900 "Bayadere" recon staged in the early 2000s. Fydodor Lophukov 's and Konstantin Sergeyev's redactions were approved by the Soviet authorities as they were intent on rewriting everything, history - as well as Russian ballet history - i.e. starting from scratch. Konstantin Sergeyev's "Beauty" is especially beloved by the company and Petersburgers, because it was this production, as well as his redactions of "Raymonda" and "Swan Lake," that helped the city recover after the 900 day siege it endured during World War 2. These productions gave the people hope, color and joy after alot of suffering and sacrifice. This is why the Sergeyev productions remain beloved and are sentimental on a lot of levels for the dancers and the people. This is also true of the Vasily Vainonen "Nutcracker" (1934), which they still perform and tour frequently. It's performed much more than the recent Simonov Chemiakin "Nutcracker." All subsequent reconstructions have been staged at the Bolshoi, La Scala and in
Tokyo by Sergei Vikharev. Both he and they have been welcomed in these theatres, but not in the Mariinsky Theatre. It's very sad.

#17 Helene

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 08:48 AM

The reconstructions were not uniformly accepted by all of the Bolshoi dancers: Tsiskaridze was very vocal about doubting their authenticity, especially the "based on Petipa" new choreography. Given what's come to light about his recent petition/coup attempt, thses remarks could have been as self-serving.

#18 EricHG31

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:07 AM

Cygnet--I am sure somone here can correct me, but the reconstruction of Bayadere was played even less than Beauty. I've read the book about all the issues behind the Beauty reconstruction--and I understand the thinking behind some of it. What I meant about my cynical thought was I think a DVD selling itself as a reconstruction of the original Sleeping Beauty--even if that could, and has been debated--would sell better than a lot of current ballet DVDs.

#19 Birdsall

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 06:18 AM

I agree. I think most people probably want reconstructions preserved on dvd. They are fascinating. Seems a shame to go to so much trouble to reconstruct and then not preserve it.

#20 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 09:06 AM

I can understand the uneasy feeling on presenting this reconstructions, but if anything...what has been done to make up for otherwise "lost" fragments that were reinserted in this "new-old" stagings...? I'm thinking mainly about the last act of Bayadere. Does that mean that if going today to the Mariinsky one ought to watch a truncated ballet just as if lack of machinery-(the main issue for its suppression during Soviet times)-is still an issue, when in reality it is not...?

#21 Cygnet

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 09:20 AM

Cygnet--I am sure somone here can correct me, but the reconstruction of Bayadere was played even less than Beauty... What I meant about my cynical thought was I think a DVD selling itself as a reconstruction of the original Sleeping Beauty--even if that could, and has been debated--would sell better than a lot of current ballet DVDs.

Yes, the "Bayadere" recon had even fewer performances and was retired long before the 1890 was abandoned. In fact, the
only thing they've kept of the "Bayadere" recon are the costumes, which they still use today. They immediately went back to the Vahktang Chabukiani staging. I'm ITA with you that should have recorded the 1890 "Beauty" when they had the opportunity, not only for the reasons you mentioned, but for history's sake. Had they done so, it would be an ongoing source of income for the brand.

#22 canbelto

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 03:16 PM

I love the 1980 recon of SB and wish it had been preserved on video as well. The Sergeyev production of SB however has its charms and although it deletes a lot of mime it's a decent, pretty production. What sets my teeth on edge is the Sergeyev Swan Lake and the changed ending. In that case, there wasn't any artistic reason behind it -- it was purely to satisfy the tastes of TPTB that only wanted to see "happy" things onstage. I've seen sublime performances of Swan Lake from the Mariinsky and then there's the finale where everyone is just standing around awkward as Rothbart writhes onstage. The concept behind the fairy tale is COMPLETELY gone -- what happened to Siegfried's vow that he broke? What happened to the idea that Odette is a prisoner forever since Siegfried broke the vows? What's more, the heart-rending dances for the swans and Odette/Siegfried in Act Four are just sort of gone to waste. Everyone stands downstage smiling.

#23 Birdsall

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:55 PM

The Bayadere reconstruction has pros and cons, in my opinion. When I saw the reconstruction of Bayadere I missed the Golden Idol big time. Even though this is a later addition it has almost become iconic. There are other little things as well. There are definite pros but there are also cons. With these reconstructions you gain some things and lose other things.

I read that another theory about ending Bayadere after Kingdom of the Shades is that the Soviets did not like the sort of religious aspect of the final act. Who knows what the real reason is for the Soviets truncating it. There are various theories. The final act did not need much machinery or labor force to make it work (from the looks of it) at least not in the reconstruction. I think Russian audiences are so used to it ending after the Kingdom of the Shades that they went back to the Soviet version. Some of the dancing in the final act was actually placed into the Engagement Scene long ago, so it is really a mixed bag and problematic. When doing the reconstruction you are placing some dancing in places where people are not used to it.

I think these reconstructions should be preserved on video, but I think there is an element of taking an eraser and deleting the traditions that slowly came into play as years went by if you replace traditional productions with brand new reconstructions that may or may not be accurate to Petipa. One case in point is the lovely way the fairies enter in Sleeping Beauty in the Sergeyev version. I actually prefer that over the SB reconstruction fairy entrance. I would hate for the Sergeyev fairy entrance and ensuing choreography to be lost to history also, although there is a commercially available video, so I guess it wouldn't be.

#24 EricHG31

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 05:00 PM

Cygnet, one thing you mentioned was Vikharev stagings for Tokyo--what productions have been done there?

As I think I already said, I have a big soft spot for the Sergeyev Sleeping Beauty. I miss the mime (particularly in Act I), but I think it's a very good production overall, and I get why they want to keep it--I was fine with them keeping both it and the reconstruction, maybe just for special occasions, in the repertoire.

The Kirov's La Bayadere already used the scenery from the 1900 production--right? (I could be wrong about that, but I thought it did.) That's a good point that we basically have been told that the final act was dropped due to the special effects--so why cut it now? But maybe they just feel it's too long... Regardless, there obviously are very strong feelings against these reconstructed productions--otherwise why go through all the expense of staging them, and then dropping them so quickly? Is the beautiful one act Awakening of Flora still ever performed?

ANd I absolutely agree about the Swan Lake. While I'm not as keen on his production, Grigorovich did go back and change his happy ending for the Bolshoi after the fall of the Soviet regime--I wish someone would do the same for the Mariinsky's at the least. That said, I saw the Mikhailovsky production, based on the old Bolshoi staging, in Vancouver this Summer which has a happy ending. I largely loved the production (even the Jester...), but would have prefered the sad ending--but still thought the ending as staged worked better than it does as staged at the Mariinsky. But beyond your valid points, Canbelto, about the fairy tale elements now not making sense, Tchaikovsky's score doesn't support a happy ending either, IMHO. Yes, it goes to a major key change at the very end, but for me that supports the apotheosis with them reunited in death--not this grand ending with Rothbart killed.

#25 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 09:06 PM

What I believe should had been done since the beginning was to create a healthy mix of whatever had worked in soviet productions with elements that could be added and/or substituted in favor of a better offering. As I said a while ago, I don't think modern audiences are very able to give up Lilac's pointes and tutus in favor of the XIX century "Miss Columbia Pictures" lady, but I'm sure these same audiences would be happy to be offered the temple destruction and proper end of Bayadere.

#26 Birdsall

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 06:16 AM

What I believe should had been done since the beggining was to create a healthy mix of whatever had worked in soviet productions with elements that could be added and/or substituted in favor of a better offering. As I said a while ago, I don't think modern audiences are very able to give up Lilac's pointes and tutus in favor of the XIX century "Miss Columbia Pictures" lady, but I'm sure these same audiences would be happy to be offered the temple destruction and proper end of Bayadere.


I agree about Lilac Fairy. I forgot about that. You do miss the pointe and dancing in the reconstruction.

The Bayadere reconstruction temple destruction is not as beautiful as the Makarova version's temple destruction in my opinion. Makarova's staging that has Solor following Nikiya up the steps after the dust settles is just so gorgeous! I know Makarova's version has its own problems, but that last apotheosis is better done than in the Mariinsky reconstruction, in my personal opinion. I do agree with you that audiences probably do want the temple destruction for some sort of closure. Despite its own problems I think Makarova's version is a decent compromise even if the dancing in the last act is sort of modern-ish and doesn't flow with the rest of the ballet. Maybe if the Mariinsky had more money to redo the apotheosis I would like it better.

#27 Cygnet

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:18 AM

Cygnet, one thing you mentioned was Vikharev stagings for Tokyo--what productions have been done there?

He staged "Don Quixote."

The Kirov's La Bayadere already used the scenery from the 1900 production--right? (I could be wrong about that, but I thought it did.)

They preserved the Soviet designs. Since then they've mixed and matched the costumes at home and on tour. When they produced the recon they spruced up the designs and scenery based on the 1900 sketches. One of the main controversies was the restored last act, as well as the pdt between Nikiya's Shade, Gamzatti and Solor. The modern cut of the Shades' tutus in Act 3 was changed to the 1900 pattern, and they wore wigs. Thankfully, they got rid of the wigs first, but they've kept the tutus which are cut the same as those seen in La Scala's Raymonda. They alternate between the 1900 tutus and the modern cut at home. They tour "Bayadere" with the modern cut tutus. Nikiya's lamentation variation costume was also different, a long skirt with plume pants. They went back to the Soviet design. Nikiya's fire dance costume also had a skirt and plume pants and showed less midrift. I remember that Nikiya also danced holding a sitar. Daria Pavlenko danced the first Nikiya at the recon premiere.

Is the beautiful one act Awakening of Flora still ever performed?

No. After Vaziev left, Fateev filed it away, preferring to concentrate on the Balanchine repertory, Ratmansky and Sergeyev's redactions. Evgenia Obraztsova danced Flora at the recon premiere. Katya Osmolkina also danced Flora but it was rarely staged and is 'done' now. If it ever comes back into the rep, it's tailor made for dancers like Valeria Martynuk and Maria Shirinkina, and would probably be performed in the Mariinsky Concert Hall.

And I absolutely agree about the Swan Lake. While I'm not as keen on his production, Grigorovich did go back and change his happy ending for the Bolshoi after the fall of the Soviet regime--I wish someone would do the same for the Mariinsky's at the least.

The Sergeyev production has been running for 62 years. The current production, staged in 1982 with Igor Ivanov and Galina Solovieva's designs, has been onstage for 30 of those 62 years. The current Regime will not change it. Plus, the 'culture' of the Mariinsky Theatre is that the successor(s) to the current Regime and it's Classe Politique won't change it either. Hopefully, this will change in the future.

Grigorovich's latest ending (circa 2001, which butchers the score's penultimate finale by repeating the overture), doesn't resolve the plot or the protagonists' issues either. Messerer's finale for the Mik and the Bourmeister staging for the Stanislavsky in Moscow are extremely well thought out and executed compared to the Sergeyev and Grigorovich finales. I've always thought that Tchaikovsky's score dictates the tragic ending - you can hear it in the overture. If the Mariinsky management ever decides to upgrade it's finale, it could restore the final bars from the original 1877 score which were cut from Drigo's 1895 edition. Then O/O and Siegfried can drown as written in the libretto, and have Rothbart go up in flames a la "Götterdämmerung." The Writhing Rothbart looks ridiculous.

#28 Helene

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 11:15 AM

I don't miss the Lilac Fairy's pointe work at all in the reconstruction, particularly when dancers like Lopatkina develope up to their ears in her variation. The long dress gives the Lilac Fairy more stature, in my opinion. She manages; the rest dance (en pointe), except for Carabosse, and the set-up is between the two of them, not between Carabosse and Aurora.

#29 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:46 PM

Actually there's no so much of a change in between the recon and the NS version. In the recon Lilac goes tutu'ed too in the Prologue, having decided for the "Marie DID dance on pointe" idea and whatever was in the notations for her waltz. The main change goes in the Vision Scene, where she shows up in the recon with her Columbia Pictures appearance, vs.the little stuff she does on pointe and tutu in the NS production. I can live with that change, only for the beautiful restored details like the shell balance for Aurora-(THAT is a shame that we don't see it again...). The other fragment that suffers I think is the complete display of the fairy tales characters and variations in the wedding act, usually so truncated, but so complete in the recon.

#30 Birdsall

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 03:15 PM

Recent Sergeyev SB performances have a much more complete final act with more of the characters if I remember correctly. I think the Mariinsky has unfortunately deleted the first part of the first act in which the King forgives the peasant girls with knitting needles. I was just talking with a friend, and we think that this deletion is a mistake. It is important to see the King (instigated actually by the Queen) forgiving their subjects, because forgiveness makes Carabosse look worse, b/c she is the opposite of forgiveness, so I think that scene where we see the King as benevolent is very important to the actual story of Sleeping Beauty.

I could be wrong, but from what I have seen the final act is more like the reconstruction even when they do the Sergeyev version. I also think the famous Waltz before Aurora enters is done more like the reconstruction also. Maybe someone else who has just seen the recent performances this month could let us know for sure.

I think these are the current changes in the current Sleeping Beauty performances at the Mariinsky:

1) King's forgivenss scene is deleted.
2) Act 1 begins with the famous Waltz instead of the forgiveness scene.
3) Act 2 includes much more of the hunting scene with the Prince than in the commercial video from Canada.
4) Vision scene no longer has the fairies keeping the Prince away from Aurora at the beginning. It goes straight into a PDD for them.
5) The final act is more like the reconstruction with a lot more fairy tale characters (although I could be wrong).

If anyone went to the performances this month, please let us know if this is what is going on with the Sergeyev version. I would be interested to know.


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