Question: Which productions have you seen?
Posted 06 November 2001 - 12:34 PM
"Sleeping Beauty" was about the third ballet I saw -- Nureyev's production for National Ballet of Canada -- and I didn't like it! Didn't even like the score. (I don't think I was responding to Nureyev's changes. I think I saw a flat performance.)
The next was a very standard, after-Royal Ballet production by the Stuttgart, which was criticized for being too pretty. I stood every night for that, to learn the ballet (this was at the dawn of the video age, and I didn't have a video).
ABT's revival of the Messel production -- which didn't work; costumes looked dated. Lots of good dancing, though.
All this time I'd been reading about The Great Royal Ballet Version and was dying to see it -- never did. When I got Sleeping Beauty by the Royal it was the Last Attempt To Get Our Tradition Back version (1980?). I certainly liked it better than any of the others I'd seen.
After this, I can't retrace it chronologically. I saw the Nureyev one again (NBoC) in a stupendously great performance that made his tampering almost forgivable (it's not as radical as the later version for Paris).
MacMillan's for ABT -- I think it's sour and anti-fairytale, and often miscast/undercast.
Helgi Tomasson's for both SFB and the RDB. (It was ok for SFB when it was done, but it's a cut-down, simplified version. Watching the Danes deliberately not act -- it was set on them at the beginning of the Video Coach era, and they copied the videos of SFB exactly -- was excruciating.)
Marcia Haydee's for Stuttgart, which I think I'd rank the worst I've seen.
The Dowell's production for the Royal, which I'd rank second worst (not only the sets, but the casting, the dancing, and the choice of which versions of what to leave in and take out).
The Kirov's old production.
The Kirov's new/old reconstruction production.
Regional productions that struck me as small companies trying to get into the big leagues too soon by Houston and Ballet West.
If I think of more later, I'll pop back in.
I saw the Royal Ballet so often in my early viewing of classical ballet, that its style became what I thought was "proper" for Petipa. Finally seeing the Kirov was an eye-opener -- very different from the Royal, and very different from itself 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago (from video evidence). I have no idea what the Proper Petipa Style is.
Posted 06 November 2001 - 02:24 PM
ABT,the Messel designed version, with Gelsey Kirkland and Ivan Nagy.
Martins for NYCB.
The reconstructed 4 hour version by the Kirov as well as a previous Kirov version in the early 90s.
Koplakova for the Kirov on tape.
Some South American company with Bujones, also on tape.
Dowell's for the Royal, both live and on tape.
Posted 07 November 2001 - 12:05 AM
Peter Martins for NYCB in several different seasons (the first time also I think a while back -- could it have been as early as 1993?)
And finally the Kirov's "reconstructed" production, like one of those Russian meals which seems never to end and where course follows course and vodka, red and white wine and Tokaj and cognac are all on the table at once.
Posted 07 November 2001 - 01:29 AM
Posted 07 November 2001 - 02:18 AM
Posted 07 November 2001 - 11:51 AM
When I saw it in the late 1980's, "awaking pas de deux" and "panorama" have been already dropped, but it was still really a lovely and fairy-tale like production for me. That production always
made me very happy.
I especially loved the scene in the end of Act I, when the Lilac Fairy makes all the people sleep and cover the castle with a deep forest. I haven't come across such a beautiful end of Act I ever.
So, I was so sad and disappointed when The Royal Ballet sold it to Boston Ballet and mounted the current production.
I have seen quite a few productions of "Sleeping Beauty", of Bolshoi"s, old and current Kirov's, Kiev's, St. Petersburg Mali's, Paris Opera Ballet's, ABT's, Stuttgart's, Birmingham Royal Ballet's, etc. However my first favourite production is still the old Royal's !!
Posted 07 November 2001 - 02:35 PM
Posted 07 November 2001 - 06:47 PM
On video I have seen the Royal Ballet's Dowell production, with its dizzying sets and wedding-cake costumes. Durante and Solymosi are both fine dancers, but their difference in height is a bit distracting. I understand it was unintentional but still...
I also saw two of the Kirov videos, which were, of course, well danced, but I found the designs rather bland.
Posted 07 November 2001 - 09:10 PM
Posted 08 November 2001 - 08:39 AM
Posted 08 November 2001 - 01:41 PM
Live, I've seen NYCB (tempos were very problematic) and SFB (gorgeous sets and costumes, chorography weird in some places).
Posted 08 November 2001 - 02:49 PM
I hated Dowell's staging from several years ago. The sets were so distracting and made me woozy.
But Dowell wasn't a bad Carabosse.
Posted 09 November 2001 - 10:41 AM
Of these the Ashton/Wright version, which was produced in the late 1960’s, was far and away the best in my eyes. It was set in the middle ages, and had some wonderfully original touches, such as the fairies making their entrance running down a moonbeam, Carrabosse with a huge reptilian tail and an entourage of real dwarves. This was also the version where Ashton’s lovely “awakening” pas de deux first saw the light of day.
It didn’t last though, the critics were outraged at the ballet being transported from the court of Louis XIV to the medieval period and objected to Aurora’s wedding taking place in a marquee. It was dropped, to be replaced by a version by Macmillan that was disliked even more. A few years later de Valois created her own version. It was traditional and looked attractive and was danced until fairly recently when it was replaced by Dowell’s version. In London at the same time we had a very serviceable version of Beauty by Ben Stevenson at Festival Ballet (now ENB), which was replaced by Nureyev’s version in the late 70’s.
Other versions I’ve seen include the Bolshoi and two Kirov ones. For the record, I am not a fan of the Kirov’s “historical version”. In general I think the British productions are more technically demanding for the ballerina and that the Russian ones have somehow diluted the choreography e.g. simplified Rose Adagio without arms en couronne, no fishdives, not rising from the floor en pointe in the final pas de deux and so on.
I know many people regard videos as somehow second rate when watching ballet and I agree they are no substitute for a live performance. But they are a superb record. The Ashton/Wright version was televised about 30 years ago with Sibley and Dowell in the leading roles. It probably lies mouldering in a BBC vault somewhere. I would give a lot to see it again as for me it was pure magic. If it does still exist it really should be released on video. I recommend the Sergeyev version, which has been released on video. It was made as a studio film and Desire makes his entrance on a white horse surrounded by adorable borzoi dogs. Sizova and Soloviev dance the leads with Dudinskaya as Carabosse and Makarova and Panov as the bluebirds. It’s wonderful.
One last point for any future Sleeping Beauty producers. Never even think about substituting the coda of the grand pas with the three Ivans !!!
Posted 11 November 2001 - 04:01 AM
Costumes were just absolutely gorgeous -- when my mom picked me up from school she was just ecstatic and drove me home full speed ahead so I could see for myself. The corps was one entity, and the soloists were so perfect in their roles that I almost cried for all the faults I have. The set itself, with billowing velvet curtains and lifelike statues, served as a transport from my homework-ridden world to this magical fairytale.
What's this about Nureyev staging it for POB and making a dramatic disaster? Is this the same production? For strange reasons, there are no credits on the tape at all, it's just curtain to curtain. And even with the off-and-on lack of acting depth in Marie-Agnes Gillot's Lilac Fairy, and Dupont's sometimes strained smile, I am just amazed every time I watch that tape.
Posted 07 January 2005 - 08:48 PM
Moscow State Ballet
Video / DVD:
Ballet Santiago De Chile (Bujones)
Het Nationale Ballet
The Royal Ballet
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