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Bolshoi's "Jewels"


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#16 bart

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 12:35 PM

I've known a few people who are fluent in three and even more languages -- but none who could move so quickly and accurately from one to another to another, both listening and speaking.  Phenomenal language skill isn't often accompanied by such speed, flexibility, and personality.  She was awe-inspiring.



#17 Buddy

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:48 AM

For me, one can notice these differences while still loving the performance.   

 
Hi, bart. I do agree with you. I'm not nearly as acquainted with closer to the source (American) companies as some others here, but I thoroughly enjoy the Mariinsky interpretations of George Balanchine. They add a lyrical poetry that I find wonderful.
 
At last year's Mariinksy Festival, Ekaterina Kondaurova performed all the leads in Jewels. I was *Astounded* by the brilliance of her interpretation. It was equal in 'American style' acting prowess to anything that I've seen on the US stage or screen. Such things can happen !
 
When I find a video clip (usually a duet) on the internet that I really like I may watch it a hundred times. I'm into about 30 viewings of Olga Smirnova's Diamonds. This is a signature work for her. She's been at it for about three years and it grows more compelling and beautiful with each new performance. I truly look forward to her Swan Lake, which she's only worked on for about a year, as it progresses. She's also debuting Sleeping Beauty in about a week.
 
In the paragraph that you mentioned from Alistair Macauly, he wrote about her performance of Diamonds:  
 
"She doesn’t just have the long limbs and neck of the ballet ideal, she also moves those legs with *startlingly fluency* and generosity of style. She has natural grandeur and a *stage persona* that compellingly suggests both remoteness and drama." [my *s]
 
Alway looking for better ways to describe her, I agree with this totally. She also transcends categorization.


#18 Helene

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 01:20 PM

PNB tweeted this photo in honor of George Balanchine's 110th birthday:

 

https://twitter.com/...2895104/photo/1

 

I don't remember ever seeing that "Rubies" tutu design.



#19 bart

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 01:23 PM

Why is Suzanne Farrell simpering in this photo?  speechless-smiley-003.gif     It's nothing like any other Farrell photo I've seen, and certainly nothing like the way she looked in Diamonds.  Come to think of it, Patty McBride seems to have caught the mugging bug as well. dunno.gif



#20 sandik

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 03:01 PM

PNB tweeted this photo in honor of George Balanchine's 110th birthday:

 

https://twitter.com/...2895104/photo/1

 

I don't remember ever seeing that "Rubies" tutu design.

I wonder -- I remember in Toni Bentley's first book she mentioned some designs for Jewels that were cut lower in the bodice so that the plastic 'gems' looked rather like pasties -- perhaps this is part of that set?



#21 Helene

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 03:06 PM

It must be, because that was my first impression of the "Rubies" and "Emeralds" bodices.



#22 sandik

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 03:28 PM

It must be, because that was my first impression of the "Rubies" and "Emeralds" bodices.

Except that I think Bentley was talking about a design for Diamonds -- maybe it was the whole set of costumes.  I'll have to go back and find the reference at some point.



#23 Jack Reed

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 08:44 PM

Agree with bart about Farrell's and McBride's poses - very affected, in contrast with the ease of the other three.  

 

But as to McBride's Rubies costume, it looks very familiar to me - I began to see the ballet frequently in the early '70s, with Emeralds and Diamonds in those days, and it seems to me to match the photos of McBride in Haggin's Ballet Chronicle (c. 1970) and in Reynolds's Repertory in Review (c. 1977).

 

(The earlier parts of this thread make interesting and helpful reading.  They confirmed my hunch that a polar expedition to exurbs of Chicago like DeKalb or Elkhart was not warranted, but these cosmopolitan cultural centers - which are no doubt well known, like Paris and London - were the only towns here on the edge of the central North American cornfields to see this production at the same time as the rest of the world.  

 

(In another three and a half weeks, though, normal suburban theaters, including one where I enjoyed a showing of Fille by the Royal, with Cojocaru and Kobborg, if memory serves, within the past year, will show this Jewels production, too.  All things in time, I guess.)  



#24 emilienne

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 04:55 AM

From videos and pictures, there seem to have been multiple versions of the Rubies skirt.

 

1. The White Puffball: seen here. You can see it in action in The Man Who Dances. It is very frilly and looks like a ball of cotton candy. This seems to have been the first version of the costume, seen in the promotional photographs.

 

2. Red Overskirt: A red overskirt with a red tulle underskirt underneath. I think this is a precursor to the modern version with separated panels (flaps?), though my memory insists that there was also a version with an a-line skirt without any separation between panels. You can see the flaps-with-underskirt version in the truncated Rubies third movement in Ballet with Edward Villella.

 

3. The modern version, now seen everywhere except at the Bolshoi and POB: I want to call it a heraldic something-or-other, which isn't right, so instead I'll just call them bejeweled flaps. smile.png

 

Why the costuming change? I once posted this question to BA!, actually, but there were no theories. Perhaps it's finally time to send off that inquiry to the costuming department at NYCB.



#25 Jack Reed

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 07:03 AM

I was wondering whether emilienne would sign in on this topic!

 

From videos and pictures, there seem to have been multiple versions of the Rubies skirt.

...   ...   ...

Why the costuming change? I once posted this question to BA!, actually, but there were no theories. Perhaps it's finally time to send off that inquiry to the costuming department at NYCB.

 

Or to the dancers who wore the costumes, or others on the scene at the time.  Do we know whether the costuming department has anything more than some old costumes, or the designs for them?  We're wondering what was in Karinska's and Balanchine's minds at the time, aren't we?

 

(In the old pictures, the boys already have on the "bejeweled flaps," the resemblance to something from Roman antiquity or something we've noted before, IIRC.)



#26 rg

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 08:09 AM

Karinska was not known to do costume sketches, per se. Edward Bigelow, her good friend and longtime NYCB staff member said that she would sometimes do costume sketches AFTER the fact because individuals asked for them, as keepsakes, one assumes.

there's a color photo from the same session as the one from twitter noted above, from Bentley's KARINSKA book, (see black&white scan further down in this thread). 

the frou-frou skirt on McBride's tunic was used for the first or first few seasons and then seeming changed at Balanchine's and/or Karinska's behest to the more "Roman" one that came after.

Villella's "Roman"ish costume, with kilt-like skirt and tunic, might be a descendant of Karinska's design for him as Oberon; one NYCB follower in the time of MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM said that Karinska was said to be very taken w/ Villella.

as to why the costumes were altered, detail-wise over the years, the ones made in Balanchine's/karinska's time must have been made according to their sometimes changing tastes. i imagine a dancer might suggest something for a change but sense it was the designer's and/or choreographer's actual choice in the end.

i rem. however a post-Karinska, post-Balanchine comment from a balletmistress to me when GOUNOD SYMPHONY was being prepared for a revival, mostly with notes made by Vida Brown when the ballet was transferred from City Center to the Palais Garnier. when asked about the costuming, i was told that the Karinska costumes were being re-done but, said the NYCB staff member, more or less rolling her eyes, "not with that ball-fringe on the skirts' hems," which really gave me pause. i wondered how a balletmistress's taste and personal preference could overrule the wishes and design scheme of the designer being credited with the costuming. sure enough, when the production was remounted the edging detail in question was nowhere to be seen.

in sum, and in general, one can presume that costume designs get rethought when being rebuilt to the satisfaction of the current regime with no particular reverence for what was specifically done before.

 



#27 kfw

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 10:58 AM

in sum, and in general, one can presume that costume designs get rethought when being rebuilt to the satisfaction of the current regime with no particular reverence for what was specifically done before.

 

The sets for Jewels have been redesigned twice now, if I'm not mistaken. Were they really worn out? Perhaps the next time Martins wants a fresh look for sets or costumes he could commission copies of the originals, which were good enough for Balanchine, and which fewer and fewer people in his audience have ever seen.



#28 abatt

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 11:26 AM

I find the feathers in the hair of the corps women in Diamonds particularly distracting in the current version of the NYCB costuming.  I don't think the old costumes had feathers.  However, I can live with the feathers, as the most urgent costume change must be for the corps in Who Cares.  A rare disaster for designer Santo Loquasto.



#29 Dale

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 12:54 PM

 

in sum, and in general, one can presume that costume designs get rethought when being rebuilt to the satisfaction of the current regime with no particular reverence for what was specifically done before.

 

The sets for Jewels have been redesigned twice now, if I'm not mistaken. Were they really worn out? Perhaps the next time Martins wants a fresh look for sets or costumes he could commission copies of the originals, which were good enough for Balanchine, and which fewer and fewer people in his audience have ever seen.

 

 

I think the original Jewels sets are used by the Mariinsky. Literally.



#30 cinnamonswirl

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 02:06 PM

I've known a few people who are fluent in three and even more languages -- but none who could move so quickly and accurately from one to another to another, both listening and speaking.  Phenomenal language skill isn't often accompanied by such speed, flexibility, and personality.  She was awe-inspiring.

 

Switching quickly between languages is an acquired skill (and one that must be maintained). It's related to but separate from command/fluency in the actual languages.

 

That said, I also thought she was very impressive. My guess is that she does a lot of translating during the course of her working day.




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