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The Least Foul Swan?


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Poll: The Least Foul Swan? (0 member(s) have cast votes)

The Least Foul Swan?

  1. Martins' -- what's a court without a Jester? (5 votes [27.78%])

    Percentage of vote: 27.78%

  2. McKenzie's -- two Rothbarts are better than one! (3 votes [16.67%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.67%

  3. Both are equally good/bad (Go ahead, wimp out and choose this one!) (4 votes [22.22%])

    Percentage of vote: 22.22%

  4. The one I'm watching at the moment. (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  5. The one I'm NOT watching at the moment. (6 votes [33.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 33.33%

Vote

#1 Manhattnik

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Posted 02 July 2002 - 09:45 AM

While watching Kevin McKenzie's, um, interesting Swan Lake at ABT last night (Yes, Nina A was wonderful, more elsewhere), I was reminded of how both NYCB and ABT recently presented us with new, "rethought" productions of Swan Lake. Whenever I see one of these productions -- McKenzie's or Peter Martins' -- I often find myself re-evaluating the two, trying to decide which I like better (or least).

If BA had been blessed with a poll-making feature back then, I'm sure we'd have seen this poll already, as we spent quite a bit of time hashing and rehashing this very question. However, I've never been one to avoid beating a dead horse, so here it is again.

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 02 July 2002 - 09:50 AM

Great poll, Manhattnik. I don't think either are good. The question down here, after the recent visit by the Grigorovich version, was "which is worse, this or Kevin's?" or "Peter's" depending on who was asking the question.

At the end of the run, I think most of the people I was talking with agreed that, as much as we disliked the Grigorovich, we'd take it, hands down, over either or both of the other two.

#3 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 02 July 2002 - 09:55 AM

While I was certainly less than thrilled with Kevin's, I still think that Peter's tops any poll for worst ever. It's on a par with Kevin's Nuts......almost. That was the absolute worst production I have had the misfortune to suffer through. :(

#4 Ari

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Posted 02 July 2002 - 11:40 AM

Worst ever? Not Martins's. The hand-down winner for me is Nureyev's for POB. That was a horror. Grigorovich's is second. (I haven't seen the Mackenzie, so I can't comment, or vote.)

#5 jude

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Posted 02 July 2002 - 11:44 AM

ms leigh,

i dont mean this sarcasticly at all, but i wonder if u could tell me wat it is that is so terrrible about the production. i live in london and therefore have had no exposure to this production but im intigued to hear that the production made by such a senior person was seen to be such a disaster. (very much i assume like antony doweels swan lake 4 the RB)

#6 Alexandra

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Posted 02 July 2002 - 11:48 AM

Jude, there were many differing opinions on both Kevin McKenzie's version for ABT and Peter Martins' for NYCB. I think a lot of those threads should still be up -- take a look through the ABT and NYCB company forums for some of those posts (set your viewing option to expose all posts), or do a search for McKenzie AND Swan Lake or Martins AND Swan Lake.

#7 cargill

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Posted 02 July 2002 - 02:21 PM

I haven't voted yet (I may wimp out and vote both), but I think McKenzie's was the most disappointing, because ABT had a decent (not great, but decent) version which needed some tweaking and redesigning to be very good. Instead, it missed the point on every angle, time period, story, theatricality (good heavens, theater 101 certainly should talk about creating an entrance for the ballerina and how to focus the end of the first act on Siegfried), moral seriousness, design, etc., etc. Though ABT does have the dancers, which by and large NYCB didn't. But as I wrote in one of my reviews, good Swan Lakes are all alike, and bad ones are bad in their own individual way.

#8 Farrell Fan

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Posted 02 July 2002 - 04:07 PM

Thanks for that last choice, Manhattnik, thereby making it possible to cast an intelligent vote. I did enjoy Brian Reeder's unJolly Green Giant of Rothbart #1 last night, though.

#9 Manhattnik

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Posted 02 July 2002 - 05:41 PM

Yes, Mary, that first-act ending of McKenzie's is particularly incomprehensible. Siegfried slinks off so we barely notice he's gone, then Benno comes charging back to fetch his crossbow, because Siegfried didn't have enough sense to bring it with him in the first place? And I still don't get the point of the flirty girl...

It was awhile before I actually realized what Brian Reeder looks like. He's always wearing that Creature from the Green Lagoon bodysuit, or a bushy moustache as Prince Gremin, or the like.

I wonder if we took up a collection, could we bribe McKenzie to bring back the David Blair version?

I feel a "Swan Lake from Hell" thread coming on. Except after my experience with jokingly imagining an Eifman ballet about Balanchine, I am afraid -- if we name a demon, we may end up summoning it!

#10 Dale

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Posted 03 July 2002 - 12:58 AM

Both are flawed.

A quick take on what is wrong: McKenzie's -- the cutting of much of Act IV, while I think the idea of a two Rothbarts interesting, many people have pointed out that green blob guy is wrong, Rothbart is an owl, not a green blob guy. KM's own choreography is not very interesting to me. I found much of the Act I dances too jolly and Act III boring, though the evil sexy Rothbart isn't that bad, especially when danced by Gomes :D

Martins' -- Glosses over the story so quickly, it loses cohesion; not enough mime; some of his choreography is a little fussy -- hard for hard sake; scenery not the greatest.

Now some good -- McKenzie's -- Nice mime in the Act II, pretty costumes and scenery. Martins' -- I like the choreography, some of it by Balanchine, and the last act, although doesn't make much sense story-wise, is very beautiful.

#11 atm711

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Posted 12 July 2002 - 12:03 PM

The worst ever?--surely Matthew Bourne's fiasco.

#12 Nanatchka

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Posted 12 July 2002 - 06:25 PM

Well, maybe. Matthew Bourne made no pretense of presenting "the" Swan Lake. He was presenting "a" Swan Lake. A version, an interpretation, a recension, what have-you. (Yes, yes, what-have-you can be answered any number of ways.) His is a meta-Swan Lake. Not that I liked it, believe me. I loathed it. But it was a vigorous loathing. I almost yearn for it in retrospect. I wasn't sitting there wondering"What's that?" "Who's that"-- or worse yet--"What Happened?" The NYCB Swan's worst flaw was driving the one act Balanchine out of the rep. (I love that one-act.) ABT's was making you roll on the floor laughing at Von Rothbart. He's always silly. there's no way to be a giant owl without being silly (you enter in a bird suit, you flap your wings, you try to see out of the eye holes in the neck of your owl head; it's not good), but the giant iguana added the unfortunate element of comedic surprise. I remember sitting in the house thinking, "This is not supposed to be funny." But it was, it was.

#13 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 12 July 2002 - 06:34 PM

It doesn't seem that the Martins version supplanted the Balanchine one - it was the one-act Balanchine version back in repertory in winter and spring this year. I was happy to see it too!

#14 John-Michael

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Posted 14 July 2002 - 01:15 PM

I haven't seen ABT's SWAN LAKE (reading the posts I don't want to do so) and I find NYCB's very entertaining but I'd say that any SWAN LAKE that takes as many liberties with the original libretto, score (I think it essential that all stage version adhere closely to Drigo's arrangement), and choreography as most current stagings do are the worst. By the way, are we EVER going to see a White Swan pas de deux with Benno assisting in the partnering. I've never seen it onstage but I've read detailed descriptions of it and seen pictures and not only did it look and sound lovely but it's Ivanov's original intent. Yeah, I know Paul Gerdt was too old to do the lifts all by his lonesome but Ivanov worked around it and apparently created something gorgeous working with the limitations. I remember reading that critics complained when Nicolai Legat took all the lifts on himself when dancing Siegfried so the pas de deux a trois couldn't have been that bad of an idea.

#15 Mel Johnson

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Posted 14 July 2002 - 03:48 PM

Surprisingly, it's not Benno that does the lifts! It's Siegfried from the very beginning according to the Sergeyev notation, and he makes the sort of pas de deux trois that has his buddy turn his girlfriend around in voluptuous promenades, while he sort of telegraphs to the audience, "Oh, there she is; isn't she beautiful!":) That's completely within the purview of that sort of pas de deux, viz: Corsaire! Siegfried is a danseur noble, Benno is a classique, or demi-caractere, even.


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