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Petrouchka


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#16 Clara 76

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Posted 08 March 2004 - 08:29 PM

I'll second that!! Let's have a toast!
Clara

#17 Mel Johnson

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Posted 08 March 2004 - 08:32 PM

Za vyashe zdarovya, Vitale Mikhailovitch, here's to pleasant memories! :(

#18 Clara 76

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Posted 08 March 2004 - 08:43 PM

C'est Perfectement!!!
Clara

#19 puppytreats

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:09 AM

I showed the video of Petrouchka (Paris Opera Ballet does Diaghilev) to a class (adult education) recently


Where did you teach this class? Are other classes of this type generally available? I tried to take one at Juliard but it was canceled.

#20 puppytreats

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:57 AM

I wonder if there have been many objections to the racist portrayal of the Moor? :eek:

Of course, you could say that about many ballets [Raymonda, anyone?] but Petrouchka is more obviously so. Not that I necessarily agree, either...I can see both arguments.


I was shocked when I first saw, "Excelsior", and then I saw "Nutcracker" and I wondered about the difference between reporting accurately, making an homage, and making a racist statement. Is it racist to report that certain cultures were portrayed in a certain way in a certain time, given the context? Is Fokine and his co-creators (including Benoit) commenting on the character and/or treatment of the Moor and the Clown by his portrayal? Are we too precious to observe without having a p.c. censor intervene? I don't think every presentation of caricature is per se racist, or should be forbidden, if they are not allowed to be used for detrimental propaganda, but rather, are viewed within context or as part of the whole.

#21 puppytreats

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:59 AM

The Joffrey production had a lot of detail to it, including a working carousel, and the best damn bear costume that money could buy. It was a wonderful thing, and made the wearer sway and waddle like the animal is supposed to naturally. I oughta know - I was inside it on at least one occasion when glebb saw us do it.


I could not tell if the bear in the Bolshoi production was real or not - the costume was that good.

#22 Jack Reed

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:48 AM

I could not tell if the bear in the Bolshoi production was real or not - the costume was that good.


I had the same response to the one in the BRdMC production I saw here in Chicago in the mid-50s. I think today the way the dancer inside the costume moved is due some credit for achieving that little mystery!

#23 puppytreats

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 11:28 AM


I could not tell if the bear in the Bolshoi production was real or not - the costume was that good.


I had the same response to the one in the BRdMC production I saw here in Chicago in the mid-50s. I think today the way the dancer inside the costume moved is due some credit for achieving that little mystery!

Yes, of course.

#24 puppytreats

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 11:52 AM

Well Estelle, all I can say is that Communism was my word.
Perhaps he said government. I will admit to my memory being a bit foggy but others who were there remember him saying similar things. :shrug:

The main idea that came across to all of us was that it was about the control the government had over the people, and the helplessness they felt. For example, the picture of the magician in Petrouchka's room. That was the symbol of the government. He shakes his fists at the picture, yet doesn't rebel directly against him.
He falls in love with the ballerina who symbolizes freedom.

I am sorry but I don't remember much more about it. What I can remember of his stories did have a strong impact on me.

Clara Posted Image


I have a hard time understanding how the ballerina could symbolize freedom as she is portrayed, unless one defines "freedom" as lacking control or knowledge (and the associated pain or struggle of decision-making). Some define death as freedom, due to the release from physical pain and mental and emotional strain. However, the ballerina is a puppet, kept in a closet, held up on pegs or fixed to a pole, and then taken down to entertain others. She has limited freedom of movement, or freedom to move in certain manners and between certain boundaries. She is perhaps happy to be an object of affection, admiration, or desire, which gives rise to certain freedoms, as well as certain restraints. She seems happy in her "Garden of Eden", and does the limitation of knowledge render her free in a desirable way? Is this the kind of freedom sought by the Clown? Are you suggesting that the Clown and the Moor seek or abuse freedom, including political freedom and the expression of political will, without understanding its risks and rewards?

#25 sandik

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 06:52 PM


I wonder if there have been many objections to the racist portrayal of the Moor? :eek:

Of course, you could say that about many ballets [Raymonda, anyone?] but Petrouchka is more obviously so. Not that I necessarily agree, either...I can see both arguments.


I was shocked when I first saw, "Excelsior", and then I saw "Nutcracker" and I wondered about the difference between reporting accurately, making an homage, and making a racist statement. Is it racist to report that certain cultures were portrayed in a certain way in a certain time, given the context? Is Fokine and his co-creators (including Benoit) commenting on the character and/or treatment of the Moor and the Clown by his portrayal? Are we too precious to observe without having a p.c. censor intervene? I don't think every presentation of caricature is per se racist, or should be forbidden, if they are not allowed to be used for detrimental propaganda, but rather, are viewed within context or as part of the whole.


This is, of course, a variation on the discussion that we often have about artworks that use the conventions of their time, only to have those conventions change after the work is made. The continuing difficulty that schools have with books like Huckleberry Finn is just one example of our conflicted feelings -- I don't think anyone, including the educators and families who object to including the book on high school reading lists, would claim that it is bad literature, but that it is based in a problematic time.

(you can include Balanchine's La Sonambula to the list of works that have stereotyped characters in them)

I just saw a revision of Petrushka this weekend by the contemporary choreographer Donald Byrd, made for Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle. He extends the original work in several directions, setting it in an actual carnival (the audience wanders around the booths in the first act), substituting a minstrel show-style Interlocutor for the Charlatan, and a series of fairly sleazy sideshow acts for the magic act. The physical style of the three puppets is true to the Fokine, but the actual steps are mostly different. Byrd has been tinkering with works from the historic repertory for some time (he's made revisionist versions of Giselle, Sleeping Beauty and Miraculous Mandarin as well as Petrushka) and often mocks or twists the conventions of their original periods. In this Petrushka, his Interlocutor is an African American, and his Moor is danced by a biracial man, in blackface and wearing a large dildo (made, I think, from wicker) Byrd delights in pushing buttons, and he's done it here again -- how this relates to current productions of the historic staging is worth discussing.

#26 bart

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:07 AM

This is, of course, a variation on the discussion that we often have about artworks that use the conventions of their time, only to have those conventions change after the work is made.

Classical ballet is particularly subject to this sort of problem, since most of its classics were created in the distant past. "Other times, other manners."

Another disadvantage is that classical ballet's conventions are, built into the choreography . Classical theater has greater freedom in how it presents (or alters) its stereotypes, visually at least. This is possibly because texts can be cut, or given a different emotional significance. (For example, using irony to present text and situations which earlier audiences may have taken literally.)

(On the other hand, a subscriber to our best local theater company protested vociferously at the inclusion of Athol Fugard's Master Harold ... and the Boys in the subscription series, on the grounds that we are now a multi-racial society so there is no need to revisit plays about racism. Posted Image )

Maybe it boils down to one's personal response to each individual work. The Stravinsky music sucks you in, as does the vividness and stylistic power of productions like the Joffrey reconstruction. The pathos of the characters and their situation somehow make everything seem somehow "right," even if I don't like all the assumptions behind it. The pace actually gives us (or me, anyway) precious little time to think and analyze. I'd love to see an updating, conceived as imaginatively as the Donald Byrd version described by sandik, but with the original Fokine choreography.

On the other hand, isolated bits of ethnic stereotyping -- like the dreadful (to me) Chinese variation in Nutcracker -- are almost impossible for me to watch, both as stereotyping and as choreographical cliche..

#27 Quiggin

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:05 AM

Samuel Beckett liked the ballet. In his Letters he says he saw a performance of Petrouchka by the Woizikovski ballet at the London Coliseum, probably on September 19, 1935.

Beckett says that he did not care for Les Sylphides at all, that Tarakanova danced the Widow (in L'amour Sorcier) and the Doll extremely well, and that ...

Woizikovski does not dance so subtly as Massine... yet the Petrouchka as philosophy was elucidated without any attempt to do so having appeared, the man of low humanity worshiping the earthball and the man of high execrating his creator.




Nina Tarakanova obituary
http://www.independe...va-1423155.html

Previous BA discussion on the Beckett Ietters
http://balletalert.i...__fromsearch__1

#28 pherank

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 07:34 PM

I just wanted to add that of the performances of Petruschka that I've seen (or watched on DVD), the 2002 production named "Return of the Firebird" (shot for film) with Andris Liepa as Petruschka, is outstanding. His performance is physically astounding and emotionally wrenching. I also happen to find Nina Ananiashvili's Firebird interpretation (on the same DVD) to be THE ONE. In fact, all the Mariinsky soloists have taken to mimicking her performance in the latest productions of The Firebird. Kondaurova is closest in feel, but she's not the actor that Ananiashvili was.

Anyway, look for the "Return of the Firebird" DVD (directed by Liepa too, btw), as two of the ballet's on the disc are a most own.

Youtube does still have this video sample:


#29 pherank

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 10:18 PM

1940 footage of Original Ballet Russes/Toumanova in Petruschka:

Stills and live footage:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyhOvGU_uUU

A glimpse of Nijinksy as Petruschka





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