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la Fille du Pharaon


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#1 Solor

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Posted 13 October 2002 - 06:54 PM

I recently read that the Bolshoi took Lacotte's reconstruction of La Fille du Pharaon out of the repertoire.....WHY??????

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 13 October 2002 - 07:53 PM

It's only a guess, but considering the somewhat chaotic state of Russian ballet archives for many many years, it is just possible that a more complete version of the early version of the choreographic script has surfaced and may render the LaCotte version superfluous.

#3 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 02:19 AM

"La Fille du Pharaon" remains in the repertoire of the Bolshoi as far as I know. The company performed it last season and there are bound to be more performances next year.

It is true, however, that when Gennadi Rozhdestvensky became director of the theatre in the summer of 2000, the ballet wasn't performed and it was even said that it would be dropped altogether. The reason given was that maestro Rozhdestvensky didn't like the score. Luckily that didn't happen. Rozhdestvensky has in the meantime left the building, but "Pharaonka" is still there.

#4 Mel Johnson

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 04:44 AM

That's good, Marc, I kind of thought so, but the old archivist in me would love someday to get hold of the archives of both the Maryinsky and the Bolshoi and try to arrange and describe them so they can at least be used more easily than they are today.

#5 doug

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 11:19 PM

Mel - in order to clarify, the choreographic script of DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH lies in the Harvard Theatre Collection (and partially in my closet). In the end, Lacotte decided to create his own choreography, save for one or two brief dances, so his production is a pastiche "in the style of..." :cool:

#6 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 11:43 PM

Absolutely, the use of Lacotte’s modern version was a definite choice, not a matter of lacking the necessary sources (or the access to those sources) for a careful historical reconstruction.

Pierre Lacotte will revive Pugni’s “Ondine” for the Maryinsky this season.

#7 Estelle

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Posted 15 October 2002 - 12:27 AM

Originally posted by doug
Mel - in order to clarify, the choreographic script of DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH lies in the Harvard Theatre Collection (and partially in my closet).  In the end, Lacotte decided to create his own choreography, save for one or two brief dances, so his production is a pastiche "in the style of..."  :cool:


I wonder why Lacotte preferred to create his own choreography rather than using the original one. Do you know why? Didn't he like the style of the original work? Was it too difficult for today's dancers to get used to that style?

#8 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 October 2002 - 03:14 AM

Now, that would provide a reason to drop the current production in order to install one closer to the notated version. I just wonder how much of the work is clearly written down, as I spent a day at Pusey Library at Harvard going over bits and pieces of the notation scripts there, seeing if I could dope out the system, and I think I did, basically. There were some great gaps in the notated versions. My other point about the ballet archive being in need of an archivist still stands, though, as one of the reasons the Stepanov/Sergeyev scores survive is that they did not remain in the old Soviet Union, and the jumbled ballet archives there.

#9 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 15 October 2002 - 03:24 AM

Originally posted by Mel Johnson
Now, that would provide a reason to drop the current production in order to install one closer to the notated version.  


I hope you are not serious about dropping the thing, Mel :cool: Did you ever see the Lacotte version? It's one of the marvels of today's Bolshoi.

Pierre Lacotte always said there didn't survive enough of the original to revive an authentic version, but Doug is the best man to tell us more about this.

#10 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 October 2002 - 03:48 AM

Right, Doug does know best among all of us, regarding the notated material, but my point, I suppose was a bit Off-Topic, regarding the sad effects of 70+ years of chaos in the Russian ballet archives. Since the establishment of the Russian Republic, library and archival standards there have improved vastly. There does exist the possibility that more complete information exists there, but has been unevaluated, because there were few people to treat and process it in proper archival form. Still, the people who were tasked with archiving for the ballets during the Soviet period deserve a great deal of credit, considering the huge job they were given, and the little assistance, equipment, or money allocated them!

#11 glebb

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Posted 15 October 2002 - 03:52 AM

The Harvard Theatre Collection is a must see if any of you are in the Boston area.

The people working there were very kind to show me many sections of these notation scores and then for dessert they brought out a character shoe of Marie Taglioni.

#12 doug

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Posted 15 October 2002 - 06:46 AM

The first thing to know about the collection of notations at Harvard is that they were made by a variety of notators, some were even students, and they vary greatly in level of detail, sometimes even within a particular ballet. In the case of PHARAOH, at least most of the ballet is in Nikolai Sergeyev's hand, and most of his notations provide only ground plans with steps/movements for legs and feet. This makes it possible to recover the "steps", but requires editorial port de bras, etc.

Frankly, I also don't blame Lacotte for not basing his version of PHARAOH on the notation. He doesn't read the notation, so it would have ended up not really being his production. But certainly, a more "authentic" (realizing that word is a Pandora's box in itself) version is possible. But Lacotte's is probably more exciting to watch for today's audience.

My colleague and I recreated the river variations and some of the (I believe) Act II divert dances. Only bits and pieces were actually used by Lacotte. I found the river variations fascinating. Even in Sergeyev's hand (which regularly includes wrong time signatures and a very quirky sort of shorthand for certain steps), the choreography was actually quite clear - these are character variations (very little pointe work though the ballerinas wore pointe shoes) and a lot of fun.

#13 Natalia

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 07:10 AM

Not to worry - the Lacotte/Bolshoi production "Fille du Pharaon" lives on the stage of the Kremlin Ballet, a ten-minute walk from the Bolshoi Theater. I saw it earlier this year with Tsiskaridze as guest principal. The KB seems to have borrowed (or purchased?) the entire production - sets, costumes, right-of-performance, etc. The KB is best known for its mega-elaborate, full-evening story ballets, so 'Fille' fits right into their rep.

#14 ina

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Posted 18 October 2002 - 03:00 AM

Sorry, but nobody borrowed anybody or anything. It was the stage of the Kremlin Palace of Congresses that was rented by Bolshoi for two performances of "La Fille"(Gracheva/Tsiskaridze). Next three performances were given in the Bolshoi in May (Ananiashvili/Filin; Lun'kina/Belogolovtsev(?).


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