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#1 Alexandra


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Posted 08 November 2001 - 06:13 PM

Should this role be danced by a man or a woman? Or does it matter?

I'm adding this -- forgot it the first time: should Carabosse be on pointe or off? Is it a mime role, or a dancing role?

[ November 08, 2001: Message edited by: alexandra ]

#2 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 08 November 2001 - 06:25 PM

i don't have a preference. however the best carabosse that i've ever seen, live or on film, was monica mason at the royal ballet!

#3 Alexandra


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Posted 08 November 2001 - 06:36 PM

I thought Mason was wonderful as well -- both on film and on stage. One of the few performances that's really captured by video, I think.

I amended the original question, adding two more issues wiht Carabosse -- didn't want you to think you were seeing things, Mme. Hermine. smile.gif

#4 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 08 November 2001 - 07:36 PM

It's a mime role, and not on pointe, but I've seen it done effectively by either sex. When done by women, I prefer the glamorous, self-centered approach (NYCB and POB's are both like that) while men en travesti tend to do crones (but always self-centered, that is Carabosse's character! <miming> "You forgot ME!")

#5 Mel Johnson

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Posted 08 November 2001 - 10:20 PM

I kind of like the idea of splitting the difference, where a male dancer en travesti can really make an UGLY Carabosse, and then, thanks to the healing power of forgiveness, she gets smartened up and gorgeous (switch to the female dancer) for the wedding, to which she is invited, complete with rats and amphibians as attendants, but nice white rats this time, and pretty green frogs instead of toads, all in beautiful livery.

#6 Melissa


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Posted 09 November 2001 - 09:13 AM

Did anyone see Merill Ashley's Carabosse at NYCB?
I heard she was very good.

#7 cargill


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Posted 09 November 2001 - 09:29 AM

I think a great Carabosse can be done by either a man or a woman, but it is definitely a mime role. There has to be a huge contrast between Lilac and Carabosse. But it can't be campy, the way ABT currently does it, like a drag Queen Elizabeth I. There is a wonderful description of Cecchetti's version, in Benois' memoires, I think, that sounds absolutely chillling. And yes, I thought Merrill Ashley was a very good Carabosse--I just wish the Martins' version had let her do the complete mime scene.

#8 Mashinka


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Posted 09 November 2001 - 09:47 AM

I don’t have a preference for a male or female Carabosse and have seen some remarkable ones over the years. Apart from those already mentioned I would like to pay tribute to Alexander Grant and Lynn Seymour in various RB versions and Natalya Dudinskaya in the Kirov film from the 60’s.

Dancers such as Monica Mason and Anthony Dowell had of course danced Aurora and Florimund earlier in their careers and it would be interesting to know how their experiences in the other roles coloured their concept of Carabosse.

The dancer I would most liked to have seen in the role would have been Robert Helpmann. Did he ever dance it? I used to love him as the dominant ugly sister in Cinderella and I can just imagine the kind of performance he would have given. I know she isn’t a dancer, but after seeing her study in pure evil in the film “Dangerous Liaisons” I think Glenn Close would be a natural for the role too.

#9 sylvia


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Posted 09 November 2001 - 03:11 PM

[quote]Originally posted by Mashinka:
but after seeing her study in pure evil in the film “Dangerous Liaisons” I think Glenn Close would be a natural for the role too.

Not to mention her study of pure evil in 101 Dalmations! smile.gif Seriously I agree with what you said about Glenn Close 100%.

I am in such awe of Dowell's Carabosse in the recent RB version. Admittedly his is the only one I've seen but he made such a tremendous impact on me and virtually stole the show from Aurora.

#10 linsusanr



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Posted 09 November 2001 - 03:56 PM

I thought Muriel Maffre was a wonderful Carabosse at San Francisco Ballet's Sleeping Beauty. She is a principal dancer with the company, and I thought it was unusual since there are resident character dancers. Parrish Maynard (a principal) was also cast as Carabosse, but not on the night I was in attendance. It's interesting SFB cast both men and women for the role.

What I liked tremendously about Muriel's Carabosse was her capability to show indignance, anger, but also a deeply wounded pride when her character is not invited to the festivities. She really shows she is hurt, yet holds her own. I found it very touching, which is something new for me in watching a Carabosse.

#11 LMCtech


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Posted 09 November 2001 - 04:12 PM

I saw both Maffre and Maynard do Carabosse and both were excellent. Maffre's was a very sexy Carabosse, which was an interesting wrinkle. Maynard's was classic, with a lot of power. The interesting thing was seeing Maffre do Lilac opposite Maynard's Carabosse after seeing her in the role the day before. I imagined all sorts of crazy insights. It was fun.

#12 felursus


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Posted 09 November 2001 - 09:47 PM

My all-time favorite was Alexander Grant - he was all wounded ego and spitting anger. I loved the monkey attendants in the Messel production, too. I really don't care if the role is done by a man or a woman - as long as it isn't campy. Of the women whom I have seen in the role I liked Monica Mason the best - although Seymour also made a good job of it.

#13 Jane Simpson

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Posted 10 November 2001 - 10:15 AM

Robert Helpmann certainly did do Carabosse - in the famous RB Messel production in the 1940s he used to double it with Prince Florimund.

#14 Joseph


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Posted 08 January 2005 - 12:59 AM

I love the scenes involving Carabosse (I've said this on some other post as well.)The music is so exciting and fits her character so well! I strongly feel that the scenes involving her really need to be executed with great artistic skill and acting capabilities. If I go to see (or see on a video) Sleeping Beauty, I really want Carabosse to scare me and send chills up my spine. It is easy in some versions to get bored with her (or him.)

For instance, the Kirov version (DVD with Lezhina.) I think that Carabosse is boring and that there is not enough acting. He/She is not scary enough. I guess in my personal opinion, I would rather a woman than a man to play this part. I like how in the Dutch National Ballet's production (DVD with Sylve,) Carabosse is more of an "Evil Queen" like figure - meaning, pretty and a sort of mirroring image to the lilac fair, only evil. (Even in the Disney cartoon, it looks like she has some makeup on) Ha Ha

The scenes that she is involved in - I say the more special effects the better. Thunder, Lightning, Wind, Smoke, Green Lights, etc etc etc. It should, in a way be a Halloween like scene. (Again, these are all my opnions, maybe I am nuts)

A lot of times, in productions, and actually I have yet to see...Carabosse's death in Act II is not really understood (does she die?) I think there should be more of a dual scene between her and the prince rather than him just being able to slip by her and kiss the princess. I think there should be a well choreographed fight scene in which she uses some magic or something to try to stop him. Maybe something like in "The Phantom of the Opera," (the musical) Act II when the phantom uses pyrotechnics to try and harm Raoul.

Also, I know that Act III can be technically called "Aurora's Wedding," but I wish there was some way that the story could actually be continued and not just be all over and spend a whole act on the wedding. If and when I produce a full lenth SB, hopefully someday :-), I am going to find a way to keep the story line going and yes, like Mel suggested, invite Carabosse, or even have her storm in at the end, to try one last time to ruin Aurora's life because of her bitterness about the invitation. I don't know, something though...Without totally changing the beauty of the third act divertisments, etc etc.

As far as pointe / no pointe, I guess it depends. Pointe is good, but the female has to obviously be extremely technically talented and have superb acting skills. Even on pointe, the production can still use all the scary sets and props, along with lighting designs. Oh yeah that is another thing, I think she should have at least four attendants, these costumes need to be scary as well.

Ok, enough for now... I can't sleep and I saw this thread so I thought I would write a bit. Goodnight! :)

#15 nada


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Posted 09 January 2005 - 09:53 AM

Should this role be danced by a man or a woman?  Or does it matter?

I'm adding this -- forgot it the first time:  should Carabosse be on pointe or off?  Is it a mime role, or a dancing role?

[ November 08, 2001: Message edited by: alexandra ]</p>


The best Carabosse I have seen was Lynn Seymour of the Royal Ballet. Totally dramatic and wonderful. It is a mime role definitely

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