Melissa

Who is your favorite Odette/Odile?

88 posts in this topic

I realize this may be a tough question to answer since few ballerinas have the technical and dramatic abilities to dance both roles successfully.

My favorite Odette is Natalia Makarova. No other ballerina I've seen has captured the pathos of the character or brought out the poetry of Ivanov's choreography more eloquently than her. Some may not like her swan mannerisms, but to me they're exquisite.

I've yet to see the perfect Odile. Plisetskaya acted and danced the role to the hilt, so she's probably my first choice. Makarova would be a close second, even though she didn't project Odile's wickedness as effectively as Plisetskaya.

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Of the ones I've seen live, Van Hamel. This is not to say I didn't also love Asylmuratova, but I only saw her once.

Of the ones I've seen on tape, Fonteyn. She's the only ballerina I've ever seen who was not using every muscle in her body to a) act like a swan in Act II and B) look as different from Odette as possible in Act III (while still being, internally, totally different.)

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I'm with Melissa: Makarova. I really liked her Odile. While "dazzling me with her footwork" she also showed that Odile was having a simply grand time vamping Sigfried, and the looks she directed at the audience let us in on her ploy. I smile just thinking of it. Cynthia Gregory comes in second, and Chenchikova (spelling) is third even tho her acting left much to be desired.

Giannina

[ 06-29-2001: Message edited by: Giannina Mooney ]

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No one touches Martine van Hamel in my memory.

Makarova, of course, was great. Ananiashvili, Dvorovenko, Kent.

Across the way, Wendy Whelan, and, years ago, Melissa Hayden.

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I will be boringly predictable and say the absolute gold standard Odette for me is Fonteyn. I saw her very late, but she was so extraordinarily moving--her mime was so wonderful, I didn't care about the dancing at all. She made the work such a tragedy. I will never forget her in the final act going I will die, I will die,just by crossing her wrists.

Susan Jaffe is very good, as well, especially with Careno.

For me, Swan Lake stands or falls with Odette, and the Odile comes second.

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Makarova for me. Her Odette reached right inside me and made me FEEL what she was feeling. No performer in any medium has ever touched me that way. And her Odile was downright sexy. I haven't seen any ballerina who could be as sexy as Makarova could be when that was her intention. (Although Viviana Durante can come pretty close.)

~Steve

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Numero Uno: Svetlana Beriosova. She had to have been one of the greatest Odettes ever, and when she was "on" was a really evil Odile as well. She made it clear how much Odette really loved Siegfried and how deeply she was hurt by his apparent treachery.

Second place: Makarova

Third place: Plisetskaya. No one, but no one, will ever be able to match her style - or those arms! :)

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In the olden days, Beriosova; more recently, Trinidad Sevillano.

[ 06-30-2001: Message edited by: Jane Simpson ]

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MIRANDA CONEY! She perfectly fulfilled Odette's shoes as the helpless, weak, pettiful, beatuful swan and the daring, bold, attractive, dark, seductress of Odile.

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First place: Ananiashvilli

Next, I'd say Kent- she was absolutely wonderous. But for me no one matches Ananiashvilli.

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Then: Makarova, not only for really being a bird, but for having the vulnerability that comes with that imprisonment being REAL.

Now: Veronika Part. For grandeur, intensity of response to Siegfried, Soul, and for the subtle differences that distinguish every performance. And who else can make THAT last Act seem as if it has more than a hint of Petipa/Ivanov?

There is the matter of Mr. B's Swan Lake, which has its own special merits, especially given the other productions now available. It is a bit hard to make the O/O distinctions in a one act version, but a real ballerina can make the Swan original and real.

Then: Darci Kistler, teen, pre-first injury. The swan that flew.

Now (or the last run in which she was allowed to perform it): Maria Kowroski, who gave birth to her own story, making the one-act ballet tell a deeper tale than a certain full-lenth version.

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Maya Plisetskaya! Odette...grace, beauty, vunerability, sensitivity (those arms!)...Odile....sexy, strong, mysterious, powerful! Second place (for me, IMHO) is Cynthia Gregory...all the afore mentioned qualities in the next generation of ballerinas. I've seen both live. I was fairly young when I saw Plisetskaya, but what an impression she made on a young dancer! Video doesn't cut it, really, when it comes right down to it...

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Historical: Natalia Makarova.

Nowadays: Irina Dvorovenko.

I havent seen Diana Vishneva or Alina Cojocaru, but I'd imagine that they are great Odette/Odiles too.

I wish I had seen Asylmuratova.

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Julie Kent :D I've seen her twice and she has given me chills everytime....I've seen alot of others on video and few in person and Michelle Wiles was gorgeous, but obviously has some time to mature, but she is on her way!

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I missed Fonteyn in the role entirely, and for me, the model Odette--and, indeed, model Odette/Odile was the very different Makarova. Like others I admired Van Hamel in the role, but it is not a performance that became fixed in my memory (perhaps because I only saw her dance the role once).

However, another ballerina from an earlier generation, whose name I think should be added to the discussion is Ludmila Semenyaka's. I also only saw her dance the role just once, but for a variety of reasons it was one of the most memorable performances I have ever seen.

Semenyaka was a "cooler" Odette than some ballet goers may like, but I found her magnificent; the sheer beauty of her arabesque at the end of Act IV transcended the somewhat banal Soviet happy ending to become an embodiment of otherworldly purity and beauty. Well...that's how I remember it! (She was also a magnificent Odile and in the third act pas de deux danced the single most exciting coda I have ever seen--utterly secure and exquisitely placed while dancing with simply inhuman speed.)

I see less ballet these days than I used to, but of today's ballerinas I especially regret not having seen Lopatkina, Dvorovenko, and Part in this role--and having seen Bussell only when she was very young. Among the ballerinas today that I have seen (Kowroski, Meunier, Kent, Ananiashvilli and Guillem) only the last two seemed to take command of the ballet and give a fully fledged ballerina performance. For me, though, Guillem's performance was the more distinctive and poetic. (When I see something that qualifies in my eyes as "ballerina" I don't like to get too hung up on rankings, but if I had to rank, I would still name Makarova and Semenyaka as the best Odettes I have seen.)

I certainly enjoyed aspects of the performances given by the other dancers I mentioned. Kowroski at her most moving turns her long, long legs and slowly unfolding extensions into controlled-yet-wild expressions of Odette's desire, but the two time I saw her I didn't always feel that her qualities carried equally through the whole ballet or even through the entirety of the white acts. But she is certainly, along with Guillem, the one person in the list I gave of Odettes I have seen (and still dancing) whom, given the chance, I would be eager to see repeatedly in the role.

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Maya Plisetskaya (on tape)

(Live)

Altynai Asylmuratova

Daria Pavlenko

Olga Thyentchikova

Natalia Makarova

Cynthia Gregory

Dame Merle Park

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You've seen Asylmuratova live, Cygnet? Details please! :thumbsup:

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You've seen Asylmuratova live, Cygnet?  Details please! :thumbsup:

Hi Hans! Search 'Altynai Asylmuratova,' then click to page 3 and the "Backstage at the Kirov" thread :wub:.

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The last time she came to New York with the Kirov, I saw her in Giselle, Sleeping Beauty (1890) and Fountain of Bakchisarai. Before that I had seen her in Swan Lake.

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Antoinette Sibley is the greatest I've seen live..... the freest, most imaginative, most classical, and most beautiful.

It must be said that she had an uncanny sensitivity to Anthny DOwell, who was her partner. Their rapport was so strong you could feel them communicating when their backs were turned to each other. Each had a cool demeanor, but they were attuned like twins, they managed to suggest impossible love in almost every dimension. So the two of them made a single thing, and I can't mention her without including him.

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... they were attuned like twins, they managed to suggest impossible love in almost every dimension. So the two of them made a single thing...

I never had the good fortune to see their Swan Lake, but your words describe their Giselle! I was new to ballet and was disappointed when I read the casting. I'd expected Nureyev. Instead, Perfection.

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Live: Ulyana Lopatkina

on tape: Yulia Makhalina, Galina Mezentzeva

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I'm with you, Silvy! I'd just add Plisetskaya (though I haven't seen her live).

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Live : Daria Pavlenko

Agnès Letestu (for her Odette mostly)

But I haven't had a chance to see so many Odette/Odile. I'm supposed to see Marie-Agnès Gillot from the POB in early January - maybe a future favourite of mine as well.

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I realize this may be a tough question to answer since few ballerinas have the technical and dramatic abilities to dance both roles successfully.

My favorite Odette is Natalia Makarova. No other ballerina I've seen has captured the pathos of the character or brought out the poetry of Ivanov's choreography more eloquently than her. Some may not like her swan mannerisms, but to me they're exquisite.

I've yet to see the perfect Odile. Plisetskaya acted and danced the role to the hilt, so she's probably my first choice. Makarova would be a close second, even though she didn't project Odile's wickedness as effectively as Plisetskaya.

My favorite Odile/Odette was Alicia Alonso, and I should mention also her Giselle, because Alicia was born to prevent Giselle's death.

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