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Mariinsky Nutcracker


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#16 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:17 PM

Don't forget that the Mariinsky version has little to do with Petipa/Ivanov, with the exception of music and general scenario..


...which is exactly my point about the Mariinsky, Natasha. How is that this Imperial stage has given up one of its jewels...? I can understand that Vainonen's version is still venerated-(every other Russian touring company offering Nuts have more or less a rendering of it)-but...don't we think it is really time for the Mariinsky to show the world the ballet in all its Imperial splendor...? The real candy canes, Mother Commedia's divertissement, the parade of matryoshka dolls, the wonderful, still preserved Grand Pas, even the giant bee in the apotheosis, but more important...the REAL LIBRETTO-(party offered in act II by Fee Dragee to her hosts). After what I saw last night, I could see the old stage screaming for it...

#17 chiapuris

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:20 PM

I just came from the 7:30 showtime. What a disaster...the Mariinsky is in desperate need of a XIX century reconstruction...



Mariinsky (Vainonen) Nutcracker in 3D
Ann Arbor Quality Theatres
Dec 3 2012 7:30 pm
Alina Somova
V Shklyarov

Disaster compared to Shemyakin? Naah! More until later, when I calm my nerves and I can recall some virtues of it.
The 3D was really 3-dimensional.

#18 chiapuris

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:44 AM

Mariinsky (Vainonen) Nutcracker in 3D
Ann Arbor Quality Theatres
Dec 3 2012 7:30 pm
Alina Somova
V Shklyarov

1 the first of its virtues is Masha who is an 11-12 (?) year-old Vaganova student, elegantly trained with beautiful 90 degree arabesques , excellent pointes. All the children in the party scene are charming [no cdb as 'children'].


2 Drosselmeyer does not look 'possessed' and the nutcracker does not look like it cracks nuts. The nutcracker looked like Karagyoze, the Greek & Turkish protagonist of shadow theatre. Where and why does the Balkan commedia del'arte icon locate himself in Russian folklore?


3 The snow flakes scene comes after Somova and Shklyarov 'is dreamed' by Masha and the famous Vainonen scene, with the whirlwinds of snow, headed by two coryphées take over. Charming, yes; a relic.

Balanchine has superceded it. Forever.


4 By the way: the automata for the party are faux-naïve. The harlequin has thrilling jumps and the pink ballerina is quaint.


5 Of all the variations in the konfitenberg, I liked the best the three Vaganova students, with the pdt of the sheperdesses. The female students were dashing with their changements sur les pointes, and the elegant male was virtuosic with his entre chats-quatre. Ah, youth!

The Arabian was likeable, soft-edged, devoid of exotica. I really enjoyed it.


PS I can't really say I enjoyed the pdd with corps de ballet [or pas de six, as Natalia wrote] of Somova and Shklyarov….and Vainonen.

They have no empathy for each other.

#19 chiapuris

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:48 AM

Mariinsky (Vainonen) Nutcracker in 3D
Ann Arbor Quality Theatres
Dec 3 2012 7:30 pm
Alina Somova
V Shklyarov

1 the first of its virtues is Masha who is an 11-12 (?) year-old Vaganova student, elegantly trained with beautiful 90 degree arabesques , excellent pointes. All the children in the party scene are charming [no cdb as 'children'].


2 Drosselmeyer does not look 'possessed' and the nutcracker does not look like it cracks nuts. The nutcracker looked like Karagyoze, the Greek & Turkish protagonist of shadow theatre. Where and why does the Balkan commedia del'arte icon locate himself in Russian folklore?


3 The snow flakes scene comes after Somova and Shklyarov 'is dreamed' by Masha and the famous Vainonen scene, with the whirlwinds of snow, headed by two coryphées take over. Charming, yes; a relic.

Balanchine has superceded it. Forever.


4 By the way: the automata for the party are faux-naïve. The harlequin has thrilling jumps and the pink ballerina is quaint.


5 Of all the variations in the konfitenberg, I liked the best the three Vaganova students, with the pdt of the sheperdesses. The female students were dashing with their changements sur les pointes, and the elegant male was virtuosic with his entre chats-quatre. Ah, youth!

The Arabian was likeable, soft-edged, devoid of exotica. I really enjoyed it.


PS I can't really say I enjoyed the pdd with corps de ballet [or pas de six, as Natalia wrote] of Somova and Shklyarov….and Vainonen.

They have no empathy for each other.

#20 bart

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:28 AM

It was the "3D" factor made me decide to pass this by. 3D filming -- even when not shown in real 3D in a theater -- distorts what one sees in a way that destroys things for me.

I have been trying to figure out what it is, especially, that made the 2011 Giselle so awful (for me) to look at. Alistair Macaulay's NY Times review of Nutcracker, finds exactly the right words. imo, anyway.

As in the 2011 Mariinsky broadcast of “Giselle,” the 3-D format itself remains a serious problem, detracting from the experience far more than it adds. Even in an orchestra pit, it makes space look artificial; the violins sometimes looked as if a film of them were being superimposed onto another film of the harp and other instruments behind them. You can imagine how much worse this made the stage picture look: not like a record of a live stage performance (which it was) but instead like an awkwardly contrived studio construct.


Ballet of all arts is most dependent on the visual. I'd be interested in hearing more from those who either don't mind this, or don't mind it enough to allow it to get in the way of their appreciation of what they are looking at.

#21 Birdsall

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:46 AM

In Jupiter it was not in 3D at all even though the credits said it was. I guess theaters had the choice to make it 3D or not. Maybe I am on crack, but I did not see any distortion of the picture. It was like a regular movie for me. But I did say above that overall the 1994 video is much better. I feel the corps de ballet is THE star of the Mariinsky and the corps is in much better form in the previous recording.

I have to say that I was relieved when it wasn't in 3-D at my parents' local movie theater. I do think 3-D is too gimmicky and distracting. Only good for cheesy movies like horror films, in my opinion. I don't think any serious film has ever been done in 3-D, or am I wrong? I think it is usually action films or horror films. People have an innate sense that it is sort of a contrived gimmick that works with trashy fun films but not serious art. But I could be wrong.

#22 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:49 AM

I disliked the whole thing so much that the 3D factor didn't make it any worse or better. It was very "whatever" to me...

#23 Helene

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:56 AM

Didn't they do the cartoon-based-on-humans blue people movie in 3D? For the life of me, I can't remember its name, but it was very popular. "Pina" was also done in 3D.

I saw the Mariinsky "Giselle" movie in 3D, and it made me dizzy. I've only seen "Pina" on DVD, but it's the only movie so far that would inspire me to see another in 3D.

#24 sandik

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 11:19 AM

Didn't they do the cartoon-based-on-humans blue people movie in 3D? For the life of me, I can't remember its name, but it was very popular.


You're thinking of Avatar, which was indeed shown in 3D, but used CGI technology to transfer human action into an animated environment. There have been many different dance-oriented projects made using CGI, with varying results (Smeagol {sp?}) in the Tolkien films is an excellent example of what it can do) but the 3D part is a separate element.

You mention the Pina Bausch film, and it was a great use of the technology. We've discussed that film on BA before (not enough time to find link) so I won't repeat except to say that it was not a theatrical performance, and so they could plan their camera work in a different way. Director Wim Wenders took considerable pains with the preparation for that project.

I saw the Giselle as well as this Nutcracker, and although I'm not willing to say that 3D will always be a dud in a live theater setting, they certainly have much more work to do. My experience here was similar to the Giselle in that the technology seems to shrink the amount of space that can be in focus in any one shot. Generally, in a 2D film of a theatrical work, I can look between the principal dancers downstage and the corps upstage and feel that both groups are in focus -- with these projects, the window is much smaller, so that if I look away from the principals, the rest of the image is slightly fuzzy. I don't think it has to work this way -- it certainly didn't in the Bausch film, or in Werner Hertzog's film about the newly-discovered prehistoric cave paintings, which is also in 3D (and was made with very small cameras, so it's not a matter of camera size). It's been years since I really knew much about cameras, (Amy -- help?) but as I understand it, there are two different processes in use currently, and the Wenders and Hertzog projects used one, while the Giselle (and I imagine the Nut) used the other.

Aside from the 3D issues, though, I felt there were some real deficits in the filming of this Nut -- the mobile camera that seemed to be located above the stage on stage left was very, very active, and in some cases I felt a little queasy. The ballet was made to be seen from a single point of view, and in some ways I feel that an over-mobile camera can defeat whatever the choreographer was trying to achieve, especially in the corps work.

#25 bart

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:54 PM

By the way, I want to extend a welcome you, Wallis. Looking forward to hearing from you often in future Ballet Alert discussions.

It seems to me that the implications of 3D technogy are huge for the future of ballet film. Visual distortion on this order -- and I like Wallis's comparison to distortions of size and depth in certain Baroque paintings -- seriously corrupts the look of any work, but especially one that is so quintessentially visual..

#26 Natalia

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:50 AM

Thanks for your candid report, Chiapuris!

#27 Stage Right

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 06:34 AM

Wow! After reading all these comments, I no longer feel disappointed that I missed this film when it came to my area!

#28 sandik

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:56 PM

Wow! After reading all these comments, I no longer feel disappointed that I missed this film when it came to my area!


I wouldn't want to give you the impression that I regret watching this -- even with a compromised image it's still well worth seeing, if only to know what the company is presenting now. I've got a large and messy collection of video, much of it vastly worse than this film, and I value every inch, since it many cases it is a record (however imperfect) of performers I will never see live or dances no longer in the repertory.

#29 Cygnet

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 08:43 AM

I saw it on Ovation TV yesterday evening. The roving cameras which cut off the dancers at their waists
was unforgivable. The corps remains the saving grace nonpareil of the Mariinsky. Volodya Shklyarov,
the young Masha, the Vaganova students in Scene 1 and the Act 3 pas de trois (The Mirlitons), were
outstanding. But, in total, it was a dead affair.

#30 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:55 PM

But, in total, it was a dead affair.


Agree. A trip to Harvard seems in need...


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