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Swan Lake


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#31 abatt

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 03:59 PM

 

Looking at theof NYCB, there are other interesting things to see besides Swan Lake.  For a newbie "leaning in" to Ballet, these might be the most fun to see.  Not sure if you're ready for the modern / astringent stuff, so I'm sticking with the accessible programs:

 

October 5:  3 short stories:  La Sonnambula, Prodigal Son, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

January 22, 23  25, 28, 30, February 2, May 23, 24, 25: Jewels

January 24, February 1, 6, 9: Dances at a Gathering, Union Jack

February 14, 15, 16,17, 22, 23: Coppelia
May 6, 7, 10, 11, 12:  Raymonda, Tin Soldier, Le Tombeau, Symphony in C
May 14, 15, 17, 20: Davidsbündlertänze”, Union Jack
June 3,4,5,6,7,8: Midsummer Night's Dream (the 2nd act is a bunch of divertissements without any storyline, but the ppd is worth it)

 

 I wouldn't send a newbie to Davidsbundlertanze.  I love it, but many people find it tedious.  I would send a newbie to a Black & White program (or a program that contained at least one B&W ballet) because I think that it is essential viewing to have an understanding of Balanchine's neoclassical ballets.



#32 Jayne

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 10:17 PM

I'm not sure I would send a newbie to a B&W evening during their first year - maybe wait for the 2nd year.  I think the choices on the menu are a little too astringent for a rookie.  I'd stick with the more accessible programs to start out.  The first time I saw a B&W Balanchine ballet my eyes glazed over from boredom.  I would start out a newbie Symphony-goer with Mozart and Gershwin - not Glass or Shostakovich.  Those can come later.   



#33 kfw

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 05:14 AM

I'm not sure I would send a newbie to a B&W evening during their first year - maybe wait for the 2nd year.  I think the choices on the menu are a little too astringent for a rookie.  I'd stick with the more accessible programs to start out.  The first time I saw a B&W Balanchine ballet my eyes glazed over from boredom.  I would start out a newbie Symphony-goer with Mozart and Gershwin - not Glass or Shostakovich.  Those can come later.   

 

I think the astringent (great word for it) stuff has more immediate appeal to a lot of young listeners and viewers than "stuffy old" classical music and tutus do. They'd have to work back to those.



#34 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 05:17 AM

 

 

ABT's is THE version to see.

 

I like some things about ABT's version, especially the interpolated dancing for Purple Rothbart in Act III, which gives some great male dancers a chance to show off. I also like the prologue showing how Odette is trapped by Rothbart. (Too many versions leave that unsaid.)

 

 

The overture was meant to be just that...an overture.  No dancing, please... That silly modern prologue is one of the lowest points on ABT's staging.  I mean...after all the work done by both the composer and the choreographer to give the Prima a grand entrance in Act II , it all goes down the drain with this number...and that even without getting into analyzing the stuffed bird segment...yucky.gif



#35 California

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 05:38 AM

 

 

 

ABT's is THE version to see.

 

I like some things about ABT's version, especially the interpolated dancing for Purple Rothbart in Act III, which gives some great male dancers a chance to show off. I also like the prologue showing how Odette is trapped by Rothbart. (Too many versions leave that unsaid.)

 

 

The overture was meant to be just that...an overture.  No dancing, please... That silly modern prologue is one of the lowest points on ABT's staging.  I mean...after all the work done by both the composer and the choreographer to give the Prima a grand entrance in Act II , it all goes down the drain with this number...and that even without getting into analyzing the stuffed bird segment...yucky.gif

 

I don't know if others saw the live streamed Swan Lake Friday and Saturday nights from Uruguay, Julio Bocca's company. That version also starts with the prologue showing how Odette is captured by Rothbart. Bocca was with ABT when McKenzie's version was being performed, and apparently he liked the idea. McKenzie's version, despite its faults, does show us how Odette could be seduced by Rothbart, first with that opening scene and then with the Rothbart dancing in Act III when he seduces the princesses vying for the Prince's hand.

 

I'm not sure about the sanctity of the score. I used to own a "complete" orchestral Swan Lake on old 33-1/3 records (dating from the 1950s) and it was startling to realize how much the music had been rearranged for ballet productions. E.g., music we associate with the black swan PdD was originally in Act I. My memory is a little vague at this point, but isn't some of the contemporary ballet score taken from other Tchaikovsky work? Tchaikovsky himself took some of what we consider  Swan Lake themes from the overture to a failed opera he tried earlier. We do know that the earliest productions of Swan Lake were a mess, with interpolated music from other composers, and Tchaikovsky went to his grave thinking it was a huge failure.



#36 rg

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 06:09 AM

regarding a SWAN LAKE Prologue, i.e. using the overture for a scene to start the ballet, it's of note that for a number of years the Royal Ballet had such a scene staging the enchantment of Odette into a swan, all of Ashton's devising.

ditto Burmeister's setting of a prologue for his Stanislavsky staging.

while i prefer overtures to be overtures, in ballet and in opera, in the case of SWAN LAKE if such staging would keep the audience, and ignorant stagers, from forgetting that Odette is a woman transformed from a swan in the lakeside sc. and not an actual swan, it might not be all bad.



#37 puppytreats

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 06:58 AM

 

I'm not sure I would send a newbie to a B&W evening during their first year - maybe wait for the 2nd year.  I think the choices on the menu are a little too astringent for a rookie.  I'd stick with the more accessible programs to start out.  The first time I saw a B&W Balanchine ballet my eyes glazed over from boredom.  I would start out a newbie Symphony-goer with Mozart and Gershwin - not Glass or Shostakovich.  Those can come later.   

 

I think the astringent (great word for it) stuff has more immediate appeal to a lot of young listeners and viewers than "stuffy old" classical music and tutus do. They'd have to work back to those.

 

Yes. I don't think young newbies would necessarily be interested in Gershwin. 



#38 puppytreats

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 07:00 AM

 

 

Looking at theof NYCB, there are other interesting things to see besides Swan Lake.  For a newbie "leaning in" to Ballet, these might be the most fun to see.  Not sure if you're ready for the modern / astringent stuff, so I'm sticking with the accessible programs:

 

October 5:  3 short stories:  La Sonnambula, Prodigal Son, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

January 22, 23  25, 28, 30, February 2, May 23, 24, 25: Jewels

January 24, February 1, 6, 9: Dances at a Gathering, Union Jack

February 14, 15, 16,17, 22, 23: Coppelia
May 6, 7, 10, 11, 12:  Raymonda, Tin Soldier, Le Tombeau, Symphony in C
May 14, 15, 17, 20: Davidsbündlertänze”, Union Jack
June 3,4,5,6,7,8: Midsummer Night's Dream (the 2nd act is a bunch of divertissements without any storyline, but the ppd is worth it)

 

 I wouldn't send a newbie to Davidsbundlertanze.  I love it, but many people find it tedious.  I would send a newbie to a Black & White program (or a program that contained at least one B&W ballet) because I think that it is essential viewing to have an understanding of Balanchine's neoclassical ballets.

 

Is the Raymonda in the mixed bill an abstraction/distillation or a pdd?



#39 cinnamonswirl

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 08:09 AM

Is the Raymonda in the mixed bill an abstraction/distillation or a pdd?

 

 

The full name is Raymonda Variations and it's a plot-less ballet mostly using music from Act I. It's for 14 dancers (lead couple, soloists + corps) and quite charming IMO. All of the variations are very difficult technically.



#40 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 12:30 PM

regarding a SWAN LAKE Prologue, i.e. using the overture for a scene to start the ballet, it's of note that for a number of years the Royal Ballet had such a scene staging the enchantment of Odette into a swan, all of Ashton's devising.

ditto Burmeister's setting of a prologue for his Stanislavsky staging.

while i prefer overtures to be overtures, in ballet and in opera, in the case of SWAN LAKE if such staging would keep the audience, and ignorant stagers, from forgetting that Odette is a woman transformed from a swan in the lakeside sc. and not an actual swan, it might not be all bad.

 

No and no, sorry.  Then what...do it too with Sleeping Beauty also to show who's leitmotif is who's...? 

 

If the ballerina is already showing and dancing onstage before her real entrance, then why applaud her in her grand jete sequence...? Are we applauding the white tutu...?

 

One of the wonderful things about Tchaikovsky's scores is that they REALLY tell you about the story, the characters...we can certainly imagine by listening to this overture all the drama that has happened in the past before the story starts unfolding with dancing onstage.  It is even more wonderful in Sleeping Beauty. This overtures are brilliant.  Please, stagers...leave them as they are.

 

I know it is hard sometimes to get all the swan mannerisms off from the minds of both stagers and dancers, for which they usually treat the women, including Odette, as a bunch of birds at all times, when in reality by the time they reach the stage, at down, the transformation process is finished, and what we see are maidens in their human form.  Something should convey the idea and swan qualities, true, but it should me more subtle.  Many times people think that the guy onstage keeps falling in love and dancing with a bird, and no...that's not how the story goes...

 

F. Gaanen design for the 1877 maidens entrance.

 

19cef69e.jpg



#41 abatt

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 12:40 PM

Since most audiences at ABT  talk at full voice durng ballet overtures when nobody is actually dancing on stage, I regard the ABT prologue in SL as a blessing because at least the audience is quiet and you can savor the music, even if you don't care for the McKenzie  prologue choreography.



#42 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 12:44 PM

Since most audiences at ABT  talk at full voice durng ballet overtures when nobody is actually dancing on stage, I regard the ABT prologue in SL as a blessing because at least the audience is quiet and you can savor the music, even if you don't care for the McKenzie  prologue choreography.

 

 

Bad, bad.  The audiences should be educated to respect the art, not the other way around.



#43 California

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 12:51 PM

 

 

One of the wonderful things about Tchaikovsky's scores is that they REALLY tell you about the story, the characters...we can certainly imagine by listening to this overture all the drama that has happened in the past before the story starts unfolding with dancing onstage. 

 

 

I'm always wary of the accuracy of Wikipedia, but I found a pretty impressive and detailed list of all the changes Drigo made in 1895 to the 1877 Tchaikovsky score. Apparently, Tchaikovsky, before his death in 1893, liked Drigo's idea of importing several other Tchaikovsky works into Swan Lake -- music not originally intended for Swan Lake. But it doesn't appear Tchaikovsky knew about the extensive re-ordering of the score Drigo eventually settled on. The version we are most familiar with today is the Drigo version, which is why it's so startling to hear a recording of the 1877 original. I don't think we know what Tchaikovsky was thinking dramatically when he wrote his original score and apparently Drigo thought the score wasn't working well, which is why he did such extensive reworking.

 

Whether or not overtures should be performed exclusively with music intact and no choreography ever is a specific question worth discussing, I suppose. But I don't know that overtures have to be sacrosanct. In the film version of West Side Story, we see some very interesting visuals during the overture, e.g. 

 

Why do we have the tradition of applauding Odette's entrance in Act II? Because she is entering as Odette The Swan Queen -- a character we haven't met before, who dominates the rest of the ballet.

 

http://en.wikipedia....ovsky.27s_score



#44 California

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 12:54 PM

Since most audiences at ABT  talk at full voice durng ballet overtures when nobody is actually dancing on stage, I regard the ABT prologue in SL as a blessing because at least the audience is quiet and you can savor the music, even if you don't care for the McKenzie  prologue choreography.

 

Even worse, I've been to far too many theaters where ushers think it's fine to seat people during the overture, right up until the curtain starts to go up.



#45 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 01:07 PM

 

 

 

One of the wonderful things about Tchaikovsky's scores is that they REALLY tell you about the story, the characters...we can certainly imagine by listening to this overture all the drama that has happened in the past before the story starts unfolding with dancing onstage. 

 

 

Why do we have the tradition of applauding Odette's entrance in Act II? Because she is entering as Odette The Swan Queen -- a character we haven't met before, who dominates the rest of the ballet.

 

http://en.wikipedia....ovsky.27s_score

 

 

So then who's the woman running onstage during the overture,,,? Isn't that Odette too...?

 

Of course we applaud Odette's entrance in Act II.  That's how things should be.  That is her entrance, and not during an invented segment composed not to be danced. 

 

Tchaikovsky was dead by the time all the changes for the '95 version took place.  Apparently brother Modesto gave the green light to the Petipa/Drigo project.  Still, when one listens to the '77 recording-(there's a wonderful rendition by Dutoit, which is my ultimate idea of the score)- it is then when you realize that the changes, cuts and substitutions were not always the best idea.

 

In any case, no choreography was ever devised that I know off, either by Reisinger or by Petipa for the overture.  But maybe Kevin knows better...




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