Kirov in NY
Posted 09 July 2002 - 07:53 PM
I'd agree with Dancermom that the children weren't to blame for the results on stage, but I'd also agree with Jeannie that a lot of outside-the-company work, including most of the supernumeraries, who were making a lot of opening night flubs, looked underrehearsed and not that carefully selected. It's good to know both sides of the story, but it's also important to remember the only thing a ticket buyer legitimately knows is what s/he sees put in front of them, and this production had many opening-night kinks to work out.
This might be a topic for another thread, but I'd love to discuss the libretto of La Bayadere further. It's not one I have a real fondness for - I don't really have any sympathy for the protagonists - Gamzatti is arrogant and vengeful, but then again Nikiya attacks her with a knife, and Solor seems weak-willed, although Kolb helped mitigate that simply by the way he comported himself. Deos anyone have a more broad or sympathetic view of the characters or libretto?
Posted 09 July 2002 - 08:38 PM
the scene that precedes the 'kingdom' scene, the one called 'the appearance of the shade' in 'solor's room in the rajah's palace,' clearly notes, upon ending that 'clouds descend' and then after the shades scene plays out it concludes, following 'A large concluding dance of the shades' once again the same direction: 'clouds descend'
all that's done in the current 1900-ish production at these points is a lowering of a plain greenish-gray scrim, with no cloud indications and certainly no 'tulles' at all.
odd, especially as so many of the libretto's directions are duly followed. i wonder if somehow, like the full-panorama missing from the kirov's new/old 'beauty' on tour, these clouds and/or tulles weren't packed up for touring. tho' it seems unlikely. if the company could pack and ship the temple pillars that come assunder in the 'wrath of the gods' cataclysm it would seem fairly easy to pack up some 'tulles'.
but then again karsavina goes on a good deal about the light of the scene, in her phrase that 'blue transparency of night' and this shades scene is definitely not bathed in a blue-cast light of any kind. also no attempt has been made here to re-do another detail she emphasizes, that is the 'flying up' (the the flies?) of the veil from scarf dance. this version simply repeats the effect we've seen for years, in which solor just whisks the veil away himself during his exit, leaving nikiya to dance her solo manege.
Posted 09 July 2002 - 11:45 PM
Not all of the 1900 costumes/wigs/footgear were ready in time for the May 31 premiere so, in fact, those costumes were 'premiered' at the Met, e.g., Manu & 2 little girls; Act I Fire Circle Dance of bayaderes, etc. [Curious note, though: Zakharova obviously chose to wear some Soviet-era costumes for Acts I & II, rather than the 1900 costumes, with more fabric, that were worn by Daria Pavlenko at the premiere. I guess that the famous Zakharova Torso simply cannot be covered up with those prudish 1900 costumes, can it?]
However, there was quite a bit more dancing at the Mariinsky, e.g., Golden Idol (who was mediocre on May 31, so we were spared that in NY); Dance of the Thai/Balinese Slave Girls; Act I Nikiya/Solor adagio twice as long; etc, etc.
p.s. - re the scenario - RG, I too consulted the Wiley book for a libretto & list of stage action, re the 1877 version. It appears that the 1877 version was significantly altered in 1900, e.g., the 1877 Procession in Act II, scii, included a group of "penitents' brandishing hot irons on themselves, self-flagellants, etc. Even Petipa had the common sense to alter his ballets from time to time.
Posted 10 July 2002 - 06:19 AM
I will agree that the supers look like they were pulled in off the street at the last minute. I don't have a problem with the kids in the garland dance; I thought they were sweet. And if they looked local instead of Vaganova-ized, well, so what?
Loved the elephant, and thought the tiger was endearingly absurd.
Interesting that Fadeyev didn't deliberately step on, and over, the tiger as Kolb did. Also interesting that Fadeyev did the double assembles that Kolb omitted. So what DID Chabukiani do? In Act IV, there was a loooong, disquieting pause before Kolb's big variation -- I imagine it took them a long time to find the bow he held through most of it. Funny that last night there was a similarly long silence before Fadeyev did the solo (doesn't "Solor's solo" flow trippingly off the tongue?), but apparently the bow couldn't be found this time. Who knows?
I loved the corps, both in Shades and the silly dances in Act II and IV. It's so rare to see a corps de ballet that dances like a single organism, as the Kirov is doing here, that I just want to see it again and again, while I have the opportunity. "Stars" are a dime a dozen, but a real, organic corps de ballet is a very special and rare creature indeed.
Posted 10 July 2002 - 06:31 AM
The renowned Animal Laboratory can be seen and heard at full throttle in the current, incredibly beautiful, Bruno Besson production of the "Magic Flute". I always find animals, particularly dogs, but I try to be broad-minded, very absorbing, and have thus been recommending this particular Magic Flute to everyone, mainly on account of the Feathered and Furry, as the singing is somewhat under the weather all round.
The final scene, with gracefully undulating, diminutive Lions, is an absolute show-stopper, at least in my rather puerile book.
I forgot to mention, now that we are on the subject of Parrots, that Papageno's costume was the finest, most elegant imitation of a Parrot I've ever seen - it was astounding, without being risible, if I may be so bold as to say so. There were just enough feathers to be credible, but not so many, as to be thoroughly bizarre.
Which brings us back to the Parrots. I wonder whether the ones in La Bayadère belonged to the same species ?
Posted 10 July 2002 - 09:24 AM
By the THIRD intermission, at least one quarter of the people on the Grand Tier had bolted. There is too much pantomime and too little dancing in the 1st two acts. Gamzatti didn't strap on her point shoes till Act 4. Remove the point shoes from the ballerinas and you've lost me. No one can possibly sustain interest with that many intermissions - two is pushing it, three is ridiculous.
I bought the tickets a few months ago and hoped to see Vishneva in the flesh, but no such luck due to casting changes. Svetlana Zhakarova (sp??), despite her distractingly high extensions, was a lovely Nikiya. The legendary corps was less than I expected - have seen better corps work from the Bolshoi and Paris Opera Ballet.
There were many Russians in the audience (and none of them left during intermission). Perhaps we Americans do only have the attention span of a gnat. As my husband muttered during the third intermission -what this thing needs now is a car chase and some gunfire. I hated to admit I was as sick of it as he.
Posted 10 July 2002 - 10:28 AM
But Kristen - I hear you and truly understand whence you cometh. And it wasn't only in Grand Tier. About one-third of front-orchestra left after the second intermission...including 'neighbor' Liza Minelli and her hubby and a couple of other celebs sitting with them. Really too bad.
One really must be *into* the old-style mime to enjoy it through the late-night. Or have spent a heck of a long time in Rus or Denmark or other places with a long-standing tradition of this. It's a shame that the Kirov didn't open with one of the more dancey works on the bill.
Posted 10 July 2002 - 10:32 AM
They did start other performances this week at 7 p.m. instead of 8, I guess perhaps b/c Monday was opening night, they decided to leave it at 8.
Posted 10 July 2002 - 10:34 AM
Posted 10 July 2002 - 10:45 AM
By the way, I have 'personal e-mail' link on this board. It's a neat feature.
Posted 10 July 2002 - 12:04 PM
I haven't seen the Kirov's, unfortunately, but from what I'm reading, both here, in the press and in the press kit materials, it sounds quite different. The Universal's doesn't have the fourth act, and, like every production I've seen, moves dances from the fourth act into the second. The Universal's first act, however, did emphasize rather than apologize for or delete the mime, and made the whole ballet, to me, seem more serious, a classical tragedy consciously written after Greek models.
Posted 10 July 2002 - 01:04 PM
Honestly -- I recall the many similar, negative comments on the 1941 version of the Kirov's 'Bayadere' during the first intermission at the Met, when it was presented on a tour in 1992 or 1993. Same old-same old comments on "Doesn't this ballet contain any dancing?" Did anyone else attend the Met's 'Bayadere' performances on that early-1990s tour?
Compared to the 1941 version, the 1900/2002 version's mime is much more intelligible & clear. The story is more intriguing; the characters are further developed, especially the High Brahmin.
Bottom Line: I'm amazed that so many folks are just now discovering that 'Baya' is a mostly-mime ballet...should be no surprise if you've seen the 1941 Soviet version performed for so many years by the Kirov (& long-available on commercial video-cassette from 1977 telecast, by the way...Terekhova's Gamzatti on that video is to do for!). Watch & compare.
Posted 10 July 2002 - 01:36 PM
Hearing from a friend about those off-pointe dances in the second act, I wondered where Fokine's complaints came from? It seems that Petipa was using shoes appropriate to the characters' situation and dance form.
I also have a suggestion, for those who are about to encounter this Bayadere for the first time, or for anyone who didn't like it the first time and is going back for a second look -- it helps to look at what IS there instead of what isn't. I can remember my first year or two watching ballet, I'd also "wait for the dancing to start" -- and, in some cases, this would mean that I missed the whole ballet. When I started to watch what WAS there, and try to understand why -- if only virtuoso dancing is important, then why are they doing all this other stuff? It must mean something, there must be a reason. I want to find out what it is -- that I began to understand it, and then my definition of what dancing was began to become more broad.
Posted 10 July 2002 - 08:29 PM
Although I don't have insight knowledge and experience in ballet, I still believe 'much mime&less dance' is fit quite well to any dramatic ballets. Take Fokine's Scheherazade as an example..where are pointe shoes? But I really love it (please..
don't throw eggs on me! ). I think this is how the story is told.
When I encountered La Bayadere (by POB) for the first time, the only scene that struck me was the mime in ACT II. While I found Shades scene a bit tedious (just like Kirov's Swan lake Act III).
Now back to the Met Season. It's very discouraging to hear that 1/3 of the audience left the hall. It's too bad if they were only looking for excitement.
Can anyone kindly describe me the reaction of the rest of the audience during the curtain calls? And how about the casting for Wed. matinee and eve.?
Posted 10 July 2002 - 08:39 PM
Kolb was even better than opening night, and the corps was finally the Kirov corps I'd come hoping to see. No wobbly ecartes tonight! Just heavenly dancing.
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