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Carabosse


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#16 Mel Johnson

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Posted 09 January 2005 - 10:17 AM

There is no longer any hard and fast rule about Carabosse being done en travesti. It's just that the precedent was set at the first performance by Enrico Cecchetti doubling the role with the Bluebird. The original list of the polonaise/processional and the guests arriving at the wedding features an entree for the old lady, this time invited! At one time in the Messel production, she did appear in the final apotheosis, once as a threat who is driven off, and in another tinkering, as an Eumenid, who's been transformed into a genteel wedding guest, just with the invitation. The power of love smoothes everything over.

There is a small amount of dancing in the Prologue for her/him, full of character coupé turns and stamping, but sometimes, that's left out. Some productions of the prologue made it actually hazardous for Carabosse to enter in her carriage made from a wheelbarrow (a borrowing from the Russian witch Baba Yaga). The high-speed turns made with the vehicle could have tipped the old girl out, and sometimes, she exited standing up in the thing, shaking her fist at the assembly. Risky business.

#17 carbro

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Posted 09 January 2005 - 02:50 PM

It's just that the precedent was set at the first performance by Enrico Cecchetti doubling the role with the Bluebird.

That surely explains Carabosse's absence from Act IV in the original staging!

#18 Mel Johnson

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Posted 09 January 2005 - 02:55 PM

Actually, there is an entree for her and her rats in the procession, but I've never seen any evidence that this plan was carried out. I've always thought it was a lovely idea. Just substitute a glamourous senior character ballerina and behold the transforming power of love!

#19 glebb

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Posted 13 April 2006 - 05:54 PM

I remember loving Susan Loher in Ben Stevenson's version for National Ballet of Washington.
Her face was exquisite and I loved her bat wings.

Right now I'm watching Anthony Dowell and he is brilliant.

#20 innopac

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 06:16 PM

I found this video is fascinating....

The clip is from a rehearsal with Monica Mason giving her ideas on the role of Carabosse to Kristen McNally.



#21 leonid17

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 02:51 AM

I found this video is fascinating....

The clip is from a rehearsal with Monica Mason giving her ideas on the role of Carabosse to Kristen McNally.


Agreed. I very much like the way effective way she passes on the tradition. Thank you for posting the video. Of course this is interesting, as apart from playing the role herself, Monica Mason had witnessed brilliant performances by Alexander Grant and Stanley Holden.

I would however refer to earlier posts on this subject and my new take on such casting.

There is no longer any hard and fast rule about Carabosse being done en travesti. It's just that the precedent was set at the first performance by Enrico Cecchetti doubling the role with the Bluebird.


However I personally can never get my head around a female Carabosse in The Sleeping Beauty no matter how well performed as for me it interferes with the
symbolism of the good fairies played by women. A contrast is required and Carabosse should so far removed from an ordinary or elevated female and their fairytale positive attributes. Psychologically having a man play in the context of this fairy tale version concretely distances Carabosse from Aurora, the good fairies, Aurora's friends etc.

I have seen three women play Carabosse in a most committed way(perhaps I admired Seraphina Landsdowne most) but they also me for robbed the traditional balance despite their individual excellent performances.

I remember this subject being addressed in "Who are your favorite character dancers, in which roles?" at the end of 1996. I then said my favourite characterisations of Carabosse were Alexander Grant, Anatole Gridin and Stanley Holden. Anthony Dowell's height took him out of the emploi for the role and he was in my opinion too camp.

The precedent for Carabosse being danced by a woman was set by Carlotta Brianza who at fifty years old having been invited to recreate her original performance of Aurora in Diaghilev's 1921 production of "The Sleeping Princess" chose to perform Carabosse and it was in its way a marketing gimmick no matter how brilliantly she played it.

#22 Nanarina

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 03:49 PM

:) I can remnember being on tour in the provinces, and David (Flossie) Gordon, as Carabosse. The Rats came on with such a speed, pulling the chariot, which turned sidewayys onto two wheels, and toppled over, flinging the un suspecting performer out onto the stage.
Fortuinatly he was only a little bruised and battered. He was a real character and made the most of
the episode.. trying to create a laugh from the dancers and straff around him

#23 esperanto

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 02:52 AM

My first Carabosse was Alexander Grant so I'm used to the idea of a man's doing the role. Having said that, I admit that once
i got used to a female as in POB and Dutch Ballet Co's I could see her as a beautiful over-looked and outraged fairy. (although in the original story she was old and had been away "from circulation" so long that everyone forgot about her.)

Monica Mason really sent chills down my spine. [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif][size=1]Elizabeth McGorian's Carabosse was an excellent portrayal. [/size][/font]Yuri Vetrov in the Bolshoi;'s old production reminds me of Bette Davis. But I prefer her- oops, him - to the new one .
I saw a very old kirov production in which the Prince does fight his way with a sword to the Castle.

#24 SamD

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:35 AM

The version with Sir Frederick Ashton - 1955 NBC Television broadcast of the Royal Ballet's Sleeping Beauty - is also a good one I think. (this is a link to part 1 out of 5 on Youtube)

#25 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:47 AM



I liked Celia Franca in it, tho I didn't care for Nureyev's Sleeping Beauty.


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