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Kirov Sleeping Beauty - 1890, #2


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#16 Natalia

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Posted 01 July 1999 - 04:22 PM

Manhatnnik, the false proscenium is indeed in the original designs. Did you notice how, at the end of Aurora's Act I solo, Diana Vishneva ran into the downstage-right (audience-left) "stone" pedestal with the giant urn, as she did the final arabesque? Thank goodness it was just a flat.

Another fun-type detail (for the readers who love such things): Did you notice how Andrian Fadeev wore a very long Goldilocks wig in Act II, yet Igor Zelensky did not? Igor wore a shorter, less-curly pageboy style. I supposed that Fadeev looks natural with the wild curls due to his "baby face." Zelensky--with his macho-man jaw--would have looked downright absurd as Goldilocks.

Another fun detail: I loved those little pearl chocker-necklaces worn by the Dryad corps de ballet girls. Very chic, a la Marie Taglioni in SYLPHIDE.

Best color combination: Act II Dryad scene - Lilac Fairy's outfit against the aqua (blueish-green) tutus of the Dryads.

Corniest prop: Again, Act II Dryad scene - the little seashell on the floor, into which Aurora steps to perform a miraculous balance at the end of the adagio. Several long flowered ribbons are connected to the seashell, each held up by a Dryad. (The garlands radiate from the seashell.)

There is a great photo of Brianza stepping onto that seashell-and-flowers prop in the delightful SLEEPING BEAUTY souvenir programme sold at the MET. It's a great buy at $8 - full of photos of the original 1890 production, plus a number of interesting essays on Petipa, Tchaikovsky, etc. On the other hand, the 1998/99 Mariinsky Theater Season Souvenir program, at $12, is almost useless....80% of the color photos are devoted to opera. Teeny-timy thumbnail photos of the current BEAUTY production. Chock-full of ads for St. Petersburg firms. I bought one only because it contains an updated Kirov company roster, by categories (principals, soloists, corps, and "reserves"). Also, buried in the programme, in tiny print, is the announcement that the long-awaited Kirov premiere of Balanchine's JEWELS will be this October. Otherwise, the $12 programme a disappointment.

[This message has been edited by Jeannie (edited July 01, 1999).]

#17 wjglavis

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Posted 02 July 1999 - 10:00 AM

I've really enjoyed reading all these reviews; it's great to see the bubbling over of enthusiasm. And it's been great, too, to be able to hear so much about the other performances.

I went to the matinee and really loved it. In fact, I've been way too high to be able to come here to Ballet Alert and talk about my impressions....and now I find that EVERYTHING has been said already!

If some Good Fairy ever granted me three trips in a Time Machine, then one of them would have to be to see `Beauty' at the Maryinsky (though I'd have to think about which year I'd go there, and who I'd want to see. Probably Kschessinska.) People are always telling me that you can't go back to the past. Well, maybe not, but you can give it a good try - as the Kirov have done this year. (Of course, if you really went back to 1890 or so, you'd probably be seriously disappointed by the standard of dancing, but that's another story.)

Thanks Jeannie, for answering one of my biggest questions - which was whether they had a real panorama in Russia. (Any more details? Is it like thee original?) But what about Carabosse's disguise at the end of Act 1? Isn't it supposed to disappear down a trap in the original production? And, though I LOVED the fountain in Act 1, what about the fountains in the last act?

Have just read Anna Kisselgoff's review in today's New York Times, which I found annoying. The last sentence, for instance:`how to make the classics come alive to a modern audience is still the problem.' For the modern audience I saw on Wednesday afternoon, the problem seemed to be to keep from jumping up and down with excitement.

(And there are times when I get the distinct impression that Anna K. is not familiar with the earlier Kirov versions of this ballet.)

Thank you to the Kirov for a thrilling production - which could have been a lot longer as far as I was concerned. And thank you Altynai for a gorgeous performance.

#18 Natalia

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Posted 02 July 1999 - 10:55 AM

Wendy - Wow, I'm sorry that I missed Assylmuratova at the Wed. matinee. (I can only stretch "time off" work just so far! )

To try to answer & comment on your QQs -

I have not seen the new BEAUTY production at the Mariinsky & am only going by a couple of phone conversations with someone who did see it. Yes, there is a new Panorama in this production. Yes, it is an exact duplicate of the 1890 original, as are all of the other sets and costumes. The details of the new-old Panorama are different than those in the 1952 Panorama designed by the Soviets (Virzaladze), most notably the "bend in the river effect" (first spot Beauty's castle from afar; optical illusion in the scenery makes it appear as Lilac's boat is going around a riverbend; suddenly the castle appears close-up). Sleeping dogs and horses--presumably models & not real animals!--are seen at the castle's entrance.

The Mariinsky does have a trap door in the center. The disappearance of Carabosse's cape could occur through the trap door; it did in the 1952 production! I'll guess that the MET does not have such a trap door &, thus, this effect could not occur on tour.

The Act III backdrop scenery is a flat. It was designed as a flat in 1890 and that is what was replicated in 1999. Ironically, it's the old Soviet (1952) Act III that incorporates real fountains with real water...but I'll take the brightness & color of the 1890 scenery any day! I remember reading a story about George Balanchine reminiscing about the real fountains in BEAUTY, when he was a child. We now know that he was referring to Act I & not Act III.

Like you, I am a bit perplexed at both Anna Kisselgoff and Clive Barnes' negative comments on the "problem" of staging an old-fashioned ballet in 1999. I've always known them to be great admirers of the classical style. Maybe they've become too acquainted and cozy with the accellerated New York City Ballet style of dancing the classics? In all fairness to them, I, too, was a bit skeptical at how the "NY Ballet In-Crowd" would react to the Kirov's new BEAUTY...but that was before Monday night. What puzzles me is that, even after the all-embracing reaction of the Monday opening night crowd, these two critics still feel this way. [Hmmm...wonder if they really attended the Monday opening night or if they wrote reviews only based on the rehearsal that afternoon?? Nah...just a dumb thought!]

By the way, even I am starting to tire of discussing BEAUTY. How about turning the focus to the current Kirov production, GISELLE, with a new thread? Would love to read everyone's impressions of Vishneva (last night), Zakharova (tonight), Sologub (tomorrow night)& Assylmuratova (Monday). I'll be able to join in discussions on Dumchenko's performance (tomorrow matinee); saw Zakharova & Assylmuratova in the role in past years.
[This message has been edited by Jeannie (edited July 02, 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Jeannie (edited July 02, 1999).]

#19 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 02 July 1999 - 05:26 PM

Many thanks to all for providing these fascinating impressions about the Kirov's "Beauty."
But on top of all these Goldilocks wigs and cute little cherubs, I'd still like to read some more details about how it was actually danced. I suppose that besides these fearful extensions the Aurora's did have some real dance qualities as well ? Also who danced what and how in the supporting roles (the numerous fairies, Blue Bird, Florine, Cinderella etc)?

Thanks again (and sorry for those of you who are already focused on "Giselle").

#20 verdura

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Posted 15 April 2002 - 11:20 AM

Hello Marc i am thrilled and impressed by the sensible and
rather thoughtfull comments of everyone , by the way thanks
to all , but i keep wondering the same thing i feel a bit lost
for not reading any regards concerning really detailed comments about the dancers thecnique and qualities.:P
Anyway again thanks everyone !:)


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