Act IV problems
Posted 28 September 2001 - 05:17 PM
I remember reading that Kenneth MacMillan was unhappy with the libretto of "The Prince of the Pagodas," but there was only so much tweaking he could do, because the tight construction of Britten's score would not permit it. "Swan Lake," on the other hand, perhaps offers too many allurements to those inclined to wholesale revision.
Posted 01 October 2001 - 05:08 PM
Prince of the Pagodas was originally a Cranko choreography. I think Cranko may have had strong control over the project; I seem to remember reading something about this.
I have re-discovered a programme I have of Swan Lake as performed in Prague in the 1994/5 season, using the 1982 production by Jiri Nemecek in collaboration with Olga Skalova. I haven’t seen the production; the programme was given to me by my son who was visiting Prague with fellow art college students at the time.
For the fourth act, the following summary is given (just love the translation!):
“In the middle of the night the swans are waiting for Odetta. She is coming with her heart broken. The Prince has not kept the oath. The Red-beard brings the wild storm. He is celebrating his victory but the Prince is coming back. He is begging Odetta and her mates to forgive him. He fights with the Red-beard for the last time. The love gives him superhuman strength and the Prince wins. However Odetta cannot be saved. Both lovers have to die because of love-betrayal. Prince’s victory over the Red-beard brings redemption to others. The swans have been transformed into the girls – they will live on and remember for ever the love of Prince and Odetta”.
It’s interesting to compare this with the Soviet version, because in 1982 Prague would still have been strongly under Soviet control. The programme states that Nemecek, who was trying to preserve the legacy of Petipa and Ivanov, staged the ballet in 1963 in collaboration with Ruzena Mazalova. This followed productions in Prague by Soviet artists.
Posted 18 June 2005 - 10:07 AM
Posted 18 June 2005 - 02:46 PM
1) after the confusion of Act III, the poor prince really can't tell black from white anymore, making it all the harder to find his own beloved swan queen among all the Odette/Odile lookalikes and heightening his state of angst as he tries to sort out good from evil, which thrills the audience with the .....
2) exciting visual choreography: black swans counterbalanced by white, traveling in opposite directions, encircling and prohibiting access to Odette, which initiates the .....
3) psychological effect, particularly as they auger the coming (usually) tragic climax, which promotes the idea that .....
4) everything in life is, after all, simply black and white -- and that is something that even a child can understand!
Posted 18 June 2005 - 03:08 PM
Posted 18 June 2005 - 06:25 PM
Looking for the deeper meaning is what I do to reconcile the fairy tale with real life, as fairy stories often have a moral to them. Choreographers who revamp traditional ballets do the same, sometimes mercilessly toying with the elements of the original. Has anyone seen what James Kudelka did to Swan Lake?
Posted 19 June 2005 - 08:21 AM
I know in one upcoming version of Swan Lake, due to premier next year, the "stager" has been talking about making the four little swans black as well (in he second act.) So, the cygnets theory would make sense, though all the points listed do...
Posted 19 June 2005 - 08:24 AM
Posted 19 June 2005 - 08:33 AM
'The rest of the waltz proceeds as sequence of episodes alternating the corps with soloists; the black swans enrich the complexity of Ivanov's figures to excellent effect (one wonders if the rose-colored swan maidens, contemplated by Petipa, would in fact have been any improvement).)'
real cygnets, i believe, are a kind of mousy brown hue, thus perhaps this was the color that the intended 'rose' hue was meant to suggest. i suppose we'll never quite know...
Posted 19 June 2005 - 10:23 AM
Posted 20 June 2005 - 05:11 AM
I've seen just about everything happen to this poor old ballet, which seems to be wrenched about partly because, "Everybody knows the original." Well, it's been so long since anybody did a standard version, that now there is a large audience that DOESN'T know what the original looks like. One of the most revolutionary things a company could do right now is produce a plain-vanilla Swan Lake, with no additions or corrections.
Amen. I'm so tired of everyone putting their own spin on Swan Lake - it really stands on its own. I would love to see a plain simple SL with the 4th act intact and no modern interpolations or "streamling" of the Petipa/Ivanov choreopgraphy. I think the ABT Blair staging is probably the closest to the original I've ever seen. Of course, I've never seen the original so I don't know for sure. I love the Kirov's version, though I know the Jester is an addition and of course, the ending is wrong. Reading these archives has made me realize that I don't even know the music as well as I thought I did. I always thought the music of the apotheosis justified the "united in heaven" ending, rather than a straight tragedy. Now it seams that music was an interpolation, too. I would love to see (and hear) a reconstruction like the Kirov's reconstruction of Bayadere.
Posted 20 June 2005 - 08:41 AM
i for one have never swallowed the undocumented (so far as i am aware) assertion that balanchine wanted this scheme devised under kirstein's watch.
i know balanchine's SWAN LAKE fantasy in I WAS AN ADVENTURESS, w/ vera zorina, shows that swan queen in black but she's also wearing black tights and toeshoes, something that does not pertain in the current NYCB 'black-scheme' staging.
in addition to the new setting and new costumes this post-balanchine re-do involves a corps de ballet of increased numbers, a detail i find unconvincing to the choreography as set by balanchine for a smaller ensemble.
Posted 23 June 2005 - 12:15 PM
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