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Aurora's Act 2 variation - Traditional version vs. Original versio

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Here is another comparison video of mine - this one is a comparison between the traditional version and the original version of Princess Aurora's variation from the Vision Pas d'action of the second act of The Sleeping Beauty.


In this video, we have Maria Shirinkina performing the traditional version with choreography by Konstantin Sergeyev and Diana Vishneva performing the authentic notated version with choreography by Marius Petipa.


This variation has a very interesting history. Petipa rejected the music that Tchaikovsky composed for Aurora's Act 2 variation because he felt that this music did not showcase the talents and abilities of Carlotta Brianza, who was the first Princess Aurora. As a choreographer, Petipa's main priority was always to showcase his dancers, even if it meant making changes to the music score. Therefore, Tchaikovsky's original music was cut from the 1890 production and instead, Petipa chose the music Tchaikovsky had composed for the variation of the Gold Fairy in the Act 3 "Precious Jewels" Pas de Quatre. Now of course, this music did not correspond to the other music of the Vision Pas d'action, so the Imperial Theatre's principal conductor and director of music, Riccardo Drigo was required to add in four new bars for a modulation into the new key to connect the new variation to the preceding waltz.


In my opinion, this was a wise choice by Petipa. I do like Tchaikovsky's original music for Aurora's variation, but it really says "magical creature" rather than "princess" or "royalty". It would make a more suitable variation for a fairy or a nymph or a sylph or a dryad, etc. The music Petipa used, however, is much more suitable for a royal character like Aurora as it expresses a sense of "royalty", as well as beauty, elegance and grace.


Today, however, almost every company in the world has retained Tchaikovsky's original music for Aurora's variation and in fact, Konstantin Sergeyev went further by moving her original variation back to Act 3 and giving it to the Lilac Fairy, which I think is absolutely ridiculous, although not as ridiculous as Nureyev giving it to Prince Desire in his version of The Sleeping Beauty for the Paris Opera Ballet!


Anyway, here's your chance to see the two versions of Aurora's Act 2 variation side-by-side.


Which version do you like better? The traditional version to Tchaikovsky's original music or the original version to the music that Petipa chose?


Enjoy! smile.png




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I have deleted what I wrote as it was mostly addressing things in Amy's original post that have now been deleted.

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Okay Drew, you've lost me... what's the problem?

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Okay Drew, you've lost me... what's the problem?

Your original post has been modified since the time I responded, in particular, the tone/vocabulary which, honestly, I found just plain offensive. And, in view of that, I have decided to delete what I wrote. I'll let others take up the issue of Aurora, Lilac Fairy etc.

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Your original post has been modified since the time I responded, in particular, the tone/vocabulary which, honestly, I found just plain offensive. And, in view of that, I have decided to delete what I wrote. I'll let others take up the issue of Aurora, Lilac Fairy etc.

Yeah thank you for your advice, it was quite kind of you actually; I did go a bit too far with the ranting and raving... lol!!

So, which of these variations do you like better? The traditional one or the original one?

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In my opinion the traditional one has the prettier music and it is the one I'm used to so always wait breathlessly for that variation. I hope the Mariinsky never gets rid of the Sergeyev version of Sleeping Beauty. Love it to death!

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In my opinion the traditional one has the prettier music and it is the one I'm used to so always wait breathlessly for that variation. I hope the Mariinsky never gets rid of the Sergeyev version of Sleeping Beauty. Love it to death!

"The one I'm used to"... oh, that's my bad buzz phrase! pinch.gif

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From a musical standpoint I can't abide the insertion of the "gold" variation. To Amy Tchaikovsky's variation may sound too ethereal, but it is a vision of Aurora, and not the genuine article, that's dancing. I can understand what Frederick Ashton was trying to with his version of variation, by taking Petipa's choreographic material and making it fit Tchaikovsky's intended music.

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"The one I'm used to"... oh, that's my bad buzz phrase! pinch.gif

Ballet (and opera for that matter) has a moving and emotional quality to us. It is not unlike people loving pop music and wanting to see pop concerts and hear the songs they love. When someone who loves Madonna goes to a Madonna concert he/she hopes she will sing his/her favorite songs. If she debuts a brand new song in a concert the fan MIGHT find it interesting and might be excited he/she is hearing a song of hers no one else has, but he/she doesn't jump up and day for joy that this new song is being sung. He/she jumps up and down when one of her "hits" is sung.

Ballet and opera are not that different.....we can't wait to hear a certain aria or see a certain variation that we know and love.

That is just the way it is.

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From a musical standpoint I can't abide the insertion of the "gold" variation. To Amy Tchaikovsky's variation may sound too ethereal, but it is a vision of Aurora, and not the genuine article, that's dancing. I can understand what Frederick Ashton was trying to with his version of variation, by taking Petipa's choreographic material and making it fit Tchaikovsky's intended music.

Oh it was Ashton who choreographed that version of the variation? Thank you.

Do you know which British production was the first to retain Tchaikovsky's original music? Was it DeValois's 1946 production or had it been before that one?

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Ballet (and opera for that matter) has a moving and emotional quality to us. It is not unlike people loving pop music and wanting to see pop concerts and hear the songs they love. When someone who loves Madonna goes to a Madonna concert he/she hopes she will sing his/her favorite songs. If she debuts a brand new song in a concert the fan MIGHT find it interesting and might be excited he/she is hearing a song of hers no one else has, but he/she doesn't jump up and day for joy that this new song is being sung. He/she jumps up and down when one of her "hits" is sung.

Ballet and opera are not that different.....we can't wait to hear a certain aria or see a certain variation that we know and love.

That is just the way it is.

Well when you put it like that, you make a very good point, but in ballet, I still think we should be more open-minded since a lot of things are open to change i.e. different versions of ballets we love; we always have to look out for those and be prepared in case we have to say goodbye to a certain dance passage and/or music piece that we've always loved.

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Well when you put it like that, you make a very good point, but in ballet, I still think we should be more open-minded since a lot of things are open to change i.e. different versions of ballets we love; we always have to look out for those and be prepared in case we have to say goodbye to a certain dance passage and/or music piece that we've always loved.

I don't ever want to say goodbye to the Sergeyev versions (Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and Raymonda). Love them to death and feel they are part of ballet history now. Thank God I have them all on video with multiple dancers so that if someone shelves them I can at least console myself with the videos.

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I don't ever want to say goodbye to the Sergeyev versions (Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and Raymonda). Love them to death and feel they are part of ballet history now. Thank God I have them all on video with multiple dancers so that if someone shelves them I can at least console myself with the videos.

And you would have a lot of good memories if you ever did have to say goodbye to them. :)

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I, too, like the traditional version better. However, Diana dances just marvelously in the 2nd version; if only she danced like that now:(

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Quick response, more later, I hope: I really love the traditional version. tiphat.gif

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I prefer the Sergeev [traditional in the post] to the original Petipa. Consider the Lilac Fairy prologue with sweeping, elegant, benevolent music and movement with the same theme for the character leading off the divertissements.  

We felt the loss when ABT reconstruction Lilac came out gowned in Act 1. Our bereavement lasted in Acts 2 and 3. Sad to base current productions on what might have been constraints of original casts-ie aged male star.

Edited by maps

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Of course she wears heeled shoes in the original/reconstructed Vision scene; she's supposed to be a secondary character, so it actually makes perfect sense that she only dances in the Prologue. It was Sergeyev who made her into a principal role, partly because the Soviet authorities ordered for mime to be removed from ballet, which just goes to show how much they knew about the art form...

As for the Prologue, I like both the original/reconstructed version and the Royal Ballet's version much better than Sergeyev's; both are far more beautifully choreographed and they both have absolutely gorgeous scenery and costumes. Please don't get me started on those ugly costumes and that bland scenery in Sergeyev's version!

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I prefer the K. Sergeyev (traditional) version, due to the more delicate music and steps, in keeping with the ambience of the scene. The Gold Fairy music is too bombastic at the start and the quickly alternating ear-high developes evoke everything BUT nereid or princess. The high developes aren't as jarring in the Ashton because he used the softer music...but I still prefer the K. Sergeyev "traditional" one.

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In my opinion the traditional one has the prettier music and it is the one I'm used to so always wait breathlessly for that variation. I hope the Mariinsky never gets rid of the Sergeyev version of Sleeping Beauty. Love it to death!

I love the Sergeyev version also.

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I'm with volcanohunter. Inexplicable choice by Petipa, but there you have it. I believe Balanchine choreographed the original music for Patricia McBride and I would love to see that.

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yes, Balanchine's version for McBride was for a performance of BEAUTY by the Eglevsky ballet.

as follows:

AURORA'S SOLO, VISION SCENE

Music: By Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (produced 1890).

Choreography: After the choreography of Marius Petipa. Choreography for the GARLAND DANCE by Michael Vernon. Choreography for Aurora's solo in the VISION SCENE by George Balanchine.

Production: Staged and directed by André Eglevsky. Scenery and costumes by Peter Farmer.

Premiere: April 14, 1977, The Eglevsky Ballet, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York.

Cast: Princess Aurora, Patricia McBride; Prince, Peter Schaufuss; Lilac Fairy, Leslie Peck; corps de ballet.

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I'm with volcanohunter. Inexplicable choice by Petipa, but there you have it. I believe Balanchine choreographed the original music for Patricia McBride and I would love to see that.

Yes, even though I do like Petipa's choice of music, at the same time, I do admit that it was very musically inaccurate of him lol.

yes, Balanchine's version for McBride was for a performance of BEAUTY by the Eglevsky ballet.

as follows:

AURORA'S SOLO, VISION SCENE

Music: By Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (produced 1890).

Choreography: After the choreography of Marius Petipa. Choreography for the GARLAND DANCE by Michael Vernon. Choreography for Aurora's solo in the VISION SCENE by George Balanchine.

Production: Staged and directed by André Eglevsky. Scenery and costumes by Peter Farmer.

Premiere: April 14, 1977, The Eglevsky Ballet, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York.

Cast: Princess Aurora, Patricia McBride; Prince, Peter Schaufuss; Lilac Fairy, Leslie Peck; corps de ballet.

I still haven't seen Balanchine's Garland Waltz; I'd love to see that. I know Peter Martins retained it for his Sleeping Beauty production, but did he also retain Balanchine's solo for Aurora that you've mentioned or did he choreograph his own version?

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From a musical standpoint I can't abide the insertion of the "gold" variation. To Amy Tchaikovsky's variation may sound too ethereal, but it is a vision of Aurora, and not the genuine article, that's dancing. I can understand what Frederick Ashton was trying to with his version of variation, by taking Petipa's choreographic material and making it fit Tchaikovsky's intended music.

I prefer the Sergeev [traditional in the post] to the original Petipa. Consider the Lilac Fairy prologue with sweeping, elegant, benevolent music and movement with the same theme for the character leading off the divertissements.

I think Tchaikovsky's original music reflects Petipa's original choreography more than his eventual choice, and, as maps posted, reflects the Lilac Fairy's, which represents the Lilac's gift to her. I can see why Ashton and Balanchine would have made that choice. To me it makes sense for Lilac Fairy is in heels in Act II: the transmission is complete and her work in character-building is done.

As far as performances goes, I agree with Ratmansky: "You don't show your underwear to the Tsar."

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