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Will the Real MYRTHA Please Stand Up........?


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#1 Kevin Ng

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 03:29 AM

The young Maria Alexandrova of the Bolshoi is a great Myrtha, dancing the role with the requisite grandeur. She travels like a javelin in her space-devouring jumps.

[This message has been edited by Kevin Ng (edited March 13, 2001).]

#2 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 02:16 AM

Tatiana Terekhova of the Kirov Ballet also gave us a different (and very memorable) Myrtha. She, too, is small, thin and wiry, possessing the most wonderful jump, and dancing with chilling precision, nothing sloppy. The authority of her Myrtha came above all from the quality of dancing.

#3 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 05:12 PM

Andrei, did you ever see Yulia Makhalina as Myrtha? She danced it early in her career at the Kirov (it was one of her very first soloist roles) but somehow never really developed it. I thought she gave Myrtha nobility and a lot of feminine grace, and I somehow always felt that the role suited her better than Giselle which she took on later (although Makhalina herself thinks quite different about this Posted Image)

#4 Alexandra

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 11:38 PM

I didn't see Gregory's Myrtha and always wanted to, because she could be so icy and imperious. ABT, and many other companies, downgraded the role of Myrtha to soloist in the late 1970s. They don't cast it as a ballerina role (originally it was the "classical" ballerina contrasted with the "romantic" ballerina).

I was lucky enough to see Van Hamel many times and I loved her Myrtha (still do) but when I saw Mette-Ida Kirk in Copenhagen, it changed my idea about the role. Kirk was small and fragile and a demon. An absolute demon. (Myrtha has become a "tall girl" role, probably because the part needs authority, but it wasn't originally.) She had a huge jump, was really like an arrow shot through the air every time she jumped. But she was also vulnerable; you could sense that under the ice.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 10:21 AM

I'd forgotten when I posted yesterday that Alexandra Danilova was one of the great Myrthas of her time. Not a success as Giselle, I've read, but absolutely wonderful as Myrtha.

I also saw Silja Schandorff in Copenhagen when she was very young (19). It was still a bit sketchy dramatically, but beautifully danced. When the Danes dance Giselle, especially the act, oddly it looked more French than Russian -- more bound than free, in the few words of "effort/shape" that I can use with any confidence.

#6 Alexandra

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 02:07 PM

Now I'm sorry I missed Terekhova! I think what Marc said is important -- that the authority comes in the quality of the dancing. It's now the custom to give the role to a tall young soloist, because the "star" dances Giselle. Grrrr.

When Myrtha is danced by a star (and Giselle and Albrecht too, of course) then you get high drama!

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 04:36 PM

atm, never fear saying "You should have seen." It keeps us all in our place Posted Image

#8 Alexandra

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 05:57 PM

Yvonne, Myrtha's vulnerability is one of the things that's often missing -- and a quality that all of the great ones named here had in abundance. I've seen lesser Myrthas for whom one could feel no pity -- no wonder she was jilted!!! And villains are always more interesting if you can see that they have a "side" too. There's been another recent trend to give these very young Myrthas the authority they don't yet have by making them look very stern, with lots of black mascara, so that they look like biker molls.

Another Danish Myrtha I forgot to mention was Kirsten Ralov. I never saw her, I've just seen photos and a tiny bit of film, but she was another short Myrtha with tons of authority. She first danced it at 18, when she was very beautiful (another nice attribute for Myrtha to have) and her authority leaps off the page. (She had the same kind of authority as a mature woman in rehearsals Posted Image )

Just to say that typecasting ain't always a bad thing!

I wonder who the great French Myrthas were?


p.s. to 4Ts, I had heard earlier in the year that Terekhova was going to go back to Russia in any event. This is from a very fuzzy memory, but I thought it was to work with the Bolshoi (out of the frying pan....) Perhaps someone knows more about this?

Alexandra
who believes it's just fine not to "get over it" where history and art are concerned Posted Image

[This message has been edited by alexandra (edited March 13, 2001).]

#9 Alexandra

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 10:45 AM

Kirkland was a great Giselle; I don't think she would have been as well-cast as Myrtha.

#10 Alexandra

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Posted 23 February 2002 - 09:20 PM

I would have loved to see Mason's Myrtha; her Carabosse was so wonderful smile.gif Myrtha must have been on the same path. I also miss the weight of the Royal Ballet character dancers (the Bolshoi, too, if what we saw in DC last year was representative of the company.) I think ballet needs both weight and air to work. If it's just air, just lightness, and there's no contrast, then the lightness can seem merely lightweight. I'm sure Mason's Myrtha was not at all lightweight.

Paul's comment on the jumps makes me want to sneak in another plug for Mette-Ida Kirk, who had a lovely jump, and added an element of the demonic to her portrayal. A Myrtha with a big jump AND epaulement -- now, that's a Myrtha.

#11 Alexandra

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Posted 25 February 2002 - 09:49 PM

Obviously, Big Glo was a lost Myrtha, Paul smile.gif

#12 atm711

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 02:57 PM

Alexandra, I'm so glad you mentioned Danilova'a Myrtha. When I read comments about this and that ballerina and their interpretations of Myrtha--I have never commented--because I really hate to say---"You should have seen......" I only saw her do it once and it was near the end of her career---but her TOTAL command of the stage is something rarely seen today in Myrtha.

#13 cargill

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Posted 19 March 2001 - 04:59 PM

Mu ultimate Myrtha, again probably because it was one of the first ones I saw, was Deanne Bergsma of the Royal Ballet. She was tall and absolutely gorgeous is a very exotic way so she looked like a magical creature. Certainly not vulnerable, though. She was also my ultimate Lilac Fairy.

#14 wjglavis

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Posted 14 March 2001 - 05:59 AM

I, too, would have to speak up for Tatiana Terekhova's Myrthe (only watched on video, unfortunately, but watched over and over!): strong, athletic, relentless, angry, amazingly skilled. What a dancer.

Like 4Ts, I was disturbed at her being 'let go' by Boston Ballet. (What CAN they be thinking of??) So I hope you are right, Alexandra, about her return to Russia.

If anyone has any more information on this, I would love to hear it.

- Wendy

[This message has been edited by wjglavis (edited March 14, 2001).]

#15 wjglavis

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Posted 19 March 2001 - 06:40 AM

Thanks very much for the info, Deebugs. I'm glad to hear Terekhova is still 'jumping like a teenager'. In which case, I bet her pirouettes and fouettes are still pretty formidable too.

I hope very much that things go well for her in Boston.

- Wendy


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