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So how "historical" is the historical Kirov production?

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#1 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 10 November 2001 - 01:50 AM

I'm sure we've discussed this at least a bit before, but I hope Doug will chime in on this, as it's his field of expertise.

#2 Alexandra


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Posted 10 November 2001 - 11:09 AM

Good question, Leigh. Doug said he thought he'd have some time this weekend to post -- I hope he sees this one.

I'd also like to know how close the new/old Kirov production is to the old Royal Ballet one (the Serguyev staging). Which, I read once upon a time, was based on the Stepanov notations -- and Serguyev didn't sound like one of those fellows who saw this opportunity as his big chance to tinker.

#3 felursus


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Posted 12 November 2001 - 12:45 AM

I can point to one place where the "reconstruction", as opposed to the "old" Kirov production, concurs with the RB one: in the Grand pdd there is a point where, in the RB/Reconstruction the prince lifts Aurora and carries her across the stage while she does a developpe en avant croise, this is repeated two more times and then is followed by a supported pirouette. The whole thing is then repeated once more. In the old Kirov production there was an entirely different step.

#4 doug


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Posted 12 November 2001 - 01:12 PM

This is a multi-faceted question, of course smile.gif

Let me say first that I like the Kirov reconstruction. I like the look - the sets and the costumes (I love the colors and the Victorian sense of it).

Choreographically, it's hard to nail everything down. The Kirov was able to draw on a lot of different sources, so there were many choices. Basing my info on the Stepanov notations (which were mostly made by Nikolai Sergejev and therefore often sketchy), I can say that the Lilac Fairy variation is not either of those that is notated, although the Kirov states that it is Marie Petipa's - biggest problem here are the grand jetes at the beginning of the variation: they're just not in the notation.

I'm not sure where they got the cavaliers' steps in the Prologue because they are notated (only ground plans are given), but I like the steps they dance.

In Act I, the Waltz is great, but then they've always kept that version in their rep, as far as I know. It's a very good example of a Petipa massed dance.

In Aurora's Act I variation, before the final set of pirouettes in the middle section, they did not reinsert the precipites, and I don't know why. The notation of this variation was even published (1899) and the Royal has had this step all along, too. In the big picture, though, I guess it's minor.

In Act II, I'm not sure about the court dance ... more on that if anyone wants to know. The Vision adagio is sketchy in the notations, but again the Kirov had other sources to go to.

In Act III, the Bluebird pas de deux is problematic. With N. Segejev it's often hard to fit the steps to the music (for example, he sometimes notated waltes in 2/4 rather than 3/4 - something you've got to get used to with him ...). With the Bluebird pas, the problems come in Florine's variation - waiting two beats too long to begin the second combination - and mostly in the Coda, where Florine's entrance is performed at half speed, therefore forcing the opening of a cut in the music to accommodate the rest of the choreography. However, the additional music ends up being too long, requiring some improvisation before the final diagonal. So that pas should be revisited.

The grand pas omits the mime statements that occur at two different points during the adagio.

That's a quick summary - happy to give my opinion on any other points or to elaborate further.

The Kirov is now going to reconstruct Bayadere in the 1877 version. The notations for that are from 1900, and not by Sergejev. They are very detailed. Bayadere is also from a different period in Petipa's ouevre - a completely different animal than Beauty and a much larger reconstruciton project because of the paucity of Imperial-era sources outside of the notations and the Kirov's own archives.

#5 doug


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Posted 12 November 2001 - 01:15 PM

PS: I should also add, in addition to all the things I posted that I thought weren't based on the notations, that I think they did a really good job on Beauty. No one had tried to revive a full-length to this degree. I think the Prologue is the biggest triumph, although I might question the way someof the mime was handled. Finally dealing with the fact that the Konstantin Sergejev Prologue had very little to do with Petipa, after decades of standing by its "authenticity", was a huge step in itself - BRAVO!

#6 cargill


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Posted 12 November 2001 - 03:51 PM

Doug, if you have time and can do it without too much trouble, could you talk about the Prince's last act variation? I know that the Kirov stayed with the K. Sergeyev version, but I have read that you said the N. Sergeyev is very different and difficult, and possibly done for Legat. Could you give a brief flavor of what it was like--beats rather than jumps? Thanks. Mary

#7 doug


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Posted 13 November 2001 - 11:21 AM

Oh, yes - I forgot about the Desire Act III variation. It's very interesting and difficult. I've thought of it as a cross between the older-style man's variation, with small intriciate steps, and the later-style man's variation with just a few combinations of large bravura steps.

The notated variation was danced by Sergei Legat. It seems impossible, therefore, to know what Pavel Gerdt originally danced.

This description is rough (I've not taken the time to really work though it):

The first combination includes right foot tendu derriere croise, tombe, temps leve, degage right foot, pas de bourree to coupe right foot back, assemble, sissonne battu ouverte to long attitude croise - 4 times.

Second combination: glissade left, entrechat cinq, single tour to the left landing left foot coupe front, glissade, 4 sissonne battu ferme - 2 times.

Third combination: double tour, jete forward, a sort of hop to coupe right foot front, assemble - 3 times.

Fourth combination: jete (battu?) to the right landing coupe left foot back, temps leve en coupe, assemble - 2 times.

Fifth combination: 9 entrechat six.

Sixth combination: appears to be a choice of entrechat sept OR coupe jete (seems to be like a barrel turn) - 7 times.

Seventh combination: 12 brise vole [not kidding].

Eighth combination: fifth position, degage to second position, quadruple pirouette.

The Kirov kept Konstantin Sergejev's variation. An explanation was given but I can't remember what it was. The notated variation is very difficult but I would like to see it.

Thanks to Olivier, who helped work some of this out with me months ago. smile.gif

[ November 13, 2001: Message edited by: doug ]

#8 felursus


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Posted 16 November 2001 - 01:52 AM

Wow! And he lived to dance it another day??? biggrin.gif

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