Jump to content
DD6948

Bolshoi's Flames of Paris Broadcast Mar 4

Recommended Posts

I'm not sure where to post my review as there are a number of Bolshoi Flames of Paris broadcast threads on the site.  I'll try here.

I saw the broadcast this afternoon at my local cinema on the West Coast.  There was a large chunk of the "ballet within the ballet" missing -- from about midway through the pas de deux to the beginning of the male variation.  Since that was my least favorite section it was not too great a loss, but even so....

The orchestra was fabulous, as usual, as was the corps.  Loved the character dances -- Karasyova and Sharova were especially wonderful in the Auvergne dance. As for the main roles, Chudin (as the Marquis) and to a lesser extent Ovcharenko as the actor, were head and shoulders above the others.  Oh, wait, maybe that's because they were the only principals in the cast?  Turarashvili was very moving as Adeline, although she seemed somehow too large scale (not fat) for Savin -- perhaps just not a good match.  Tsvirko and Schrainer were energetic, with Tvirsko showing a much greater sense of showmanship than his partner.  She had pretty much the same expression on her face throughout (wide open eyes) but no major mistakes.  She's very fast and may wind up giving Krysanova (the most presented ballerina) some opportunities to rest. Would need to develop some dramatic range to do that.

And then there's the miscast Kretova as Mireille de Poitiers. She's an excellent technician, but this role calls for more, namely classical elegance and finesse which she totally lacks.  On the screen she appeared petite, with short arms relative to her head size, or perhaps just an inability to give the impression of length, and in a role choreographed for tall ballerinas, it looked odd.  The part is meant to be ironic so perhaps casting a dancer who can't dance the style was intended as to enhance the irony.  I can't think of any other reason why they cast her when there are a number of other excellent Mireilles including Ovcharenko's wife Tikhomirova who got rave reviews performing it in London, or an elegant Vaganova trained dancer like Stepanova (who danced it on March 1 with the Krysanove/Lantratov cast that should have been broadcast).

I just don't understand why the Bolshoi shows us casts that may be good but are obviously not the best that Bolshoi has to offer.  Do they think we don't notice?  Is there some sort of agenda?  I just don't get it.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

I thought Kretova could have done more with her role as well--though at least she looked assured and relaxed in the big lifts and in the various hopping on pointe sequences --but I enjoyed all the others a lot. Tsvirko seems to me to bring the right virile energy to Phillipe and for the first time I really enjoyed Shrainer (whom I only know through video)--I thought she danced with wonderful lightness and speed. A mature ballerina? Certainly not yet, but I thought she did very well. And I genuinely loved the easy height of her jump, the way she just elevated without seeming to put any muscle into it. Overall I thought it was a very enjoyable, very fresh performance.  Enjoyed Savin and Turazashvilli too --  both compelling performers. Always a pleasure to see Gennadi Yanin...rather amused to hear during intermission that he modeled elements of his Louis XVI on the more decadent Louis XV.

Ratmansky's grafting of his melodramatic critique of revolution on to Vainonen's lighthearted if also melodramatic celebration of revolution still seems to me to produce an oddly toned and rather flawed ballet. Among other things, this version effectively "steps" on two of the Vainonen's biggest and most joyous dance moments (the Basque dance and the pas de deux) by immediately following them with episodes demonstrating that these happy revolutionaries are really just murderous fanatics.  I must admit that I still enjoy watching this staging--I should say I have only seen it on video/film--and I thought the whole company from top to bottom looked in this broadcast...well...like the Bolshoi I love.  Small parts, character dancing, corps de ballet, mime parts all seemed profoundly alive and energized.  I left the theater very happy.

We were informed before the broadcast began that solar flares would interfere with the broadcast in North American about 36 minutes in (and later possibly during intermission)--I believe that was the cause of the interruption during the divertissement at court.

Edited by Drew

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Quinten said:

I just don't understand why the Bolshoi shows us casts that may be good but are obviously not the best that Bolshoi has to offer.  Do they think we don't notice?  Is there some sort of agenda?  I just don't get it.

I don't get it either. I agree that a different cast should have been filmed. I would have been very happy to see the dancers who performed on March 1, except that I would have grafted Savin into that cast and had someone like Stashkevich as Adeline.

However, I don't agree about Ovcharenko and Chudin. I thought both were weak. At least I've seen much stronger performances in those roles from other dancers. Ovcharenko was unmusical, flaccid and slow. Chudin was also a little slow, and acting is not his strength, to put it mildly. The role of the Marquis can be very compelling, and today it was not.

I don't think Kretova's problem is primarily her height, although her feathers are very high. It's that she has a tendency to hold her arms very straight, so the quasi-Baroque port de bras, with all that wrist and elbow work, does not come naturally to her. Turazashvili, whom I find not exactly mannered, but exaggerated and precious, would probably fare better as Armida than Adeline, provided she can hop on pointe.

Shrainer was okay, but nowhere near Krysanova or Shipulina class. Tsvirko has lots of energy but little in the way of style.

I enjoyed Nelli Kobakhidze's Marie Antoinette. I actually preferred the men in the Auvergnese dance; the women were too glamorous by half.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Quinten said:

I just don't understand why the Bolshoi shows us casts that may be good but are obviously not the best that Bolshoi has to offer

If I may be allowed to express an opinion :  I think I am getting Vaziev's frequency, and his mark is 100/100 in my book for his management of this HUGE company. Imho Urin made a masterstroke in bringing over Vaziev after the events of 2013. If I remember correctly Vaziev suddenly cast Shreiner as Kitri on the spot during London tour of 2016. He cast "CdB dancer" Kavalyova as Odette/Odile last September. After Kryuchkov offered Vaziev a demo of his "Zloy Geniy" during rehearsal he was cast for this role (I saw him and he was excellent). For yesterday's livecast Shreiner and Tsvirko were cast - what an excellent and effective way of telling his company "airtime is not exclusive to Zaharova-Rodkin and Krysanova-Lantratov, I am willing to put anyone on the air as long as I am convinced she/he is up to the job". I am sure it will work wonders for motivation - Shreiner must be over the moon !

Edited by mnacenani

Share this post


Link to post
17 hours ago, Quinten said:

I just don't understand why the Bolshoi shows us casts that may be good but are obviously not the best that Bolshoi has to offer.  Do they think we don't notice?  Is there some sort of agenda?  I just don't get it.

I think it is positive to show other dancers during the broadcasts. This may not have been the "best" cast but otherwise we would have a cinema season only of Krysanova for this season. I would think the Bolshoi management is aware of that.  It shows the range of the company and what others have to offer in a role. I see many people on this forum and social media complaining that too much of one dancer in a cinema season leaves everyone bored. It's exciting to see fresh faces, rising talent that can sustain a production like Margarita did yesterday in some ballets and of course mature, experienced dancers in others.  This has always been a quality of Makhar, so it cannot be surprising. I was pleased to see new faces.

Share this post


Link to post

Krysanova should have danced Jeanne in the broadcast; it's her role, clearly head and shoulders above any other Bolshoi Jeannes.  That is not the case with the other broadcasts this season.  Bolshoi has better Medoras and Juliets than Krysanova. Vaziev boxed himself in by giving Krysanova those roles earlier in the season instead of "saving" her for Flames of Paris.  Perhaps Ratmansky had something to do with those choices, but it's not his theatre, it's Vaziev's.  

There are several interests at stake.  Vaziev's interest is in building a new company and that is completely understandable. However, the audience has an equally valid interest, and that is in seeing great dancing from one of the world's premier companies. The Moscow audience pays high ticket prices and is apparently tired of seeing performances marred by a parade of newbies.  The international audience is left with a false impression that the Bolshoi is not that good after all.  These audiences don't care much about Vaziev's hopes and ambitions, they just want to see the Bolshoi at its best.  Hopefully in the 2018-19 season Vaziev will take audience preferences more into account in his casting decisions.

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, Quinten said:

Krysanova should have danced Jeanne in the broadcast; it's her role, clearly head and shoulders above any other Bolshoi Jeannes.  That is not the case with the other broadcasts this season.  Bolshoi has better Medoras and Juliets than Krysanova. Vaziev boxed himself in by giving Krysanova those roles earlier in the season instead of "saving" her for Flames of Paris.  Perhaps Ratmansky had something to do with those choices, but it's not his theatre, it's Vaziev's.  

There are several interests at stake.  Vaziev's interest is in building a new company and that is completely understandable. However, the audience has an equally valid interest, and that is in seeing great dancing from one of the world's premier companies. The Moscow audience pays high ticket prices and is apparently tired of seeing performances marred by a parade of newbies.  The international audience is left with a false impression that the Bolshoi is not that good after all.  These audiences don't care much about Vaziev's hopes and ambitions, they just want to see the Bolshoi at its best.  Hopefully in the 2018-19 season Vaziev will take audience preferences more into account in his casting decisions.

If you remember correctly, Krysanova was not supposed to dance Corsaire for instance. Smirnova was. She was listed in the cast list. Then she pulled out and Krysanova was put in. This was followed by Krysanova's encore of Taming of the Shrew, and of course she was in Romeo and Juliet which I'm sure Ratmansky and Vaziev collectively decided on once production started on this ballet. The cinema season titles are planned way in advance of casting decisions. Point is, things change in a theatre no matter how much you try to plan ahead.

I don't think anyone doubts that the Bolshoi is good or not based on one production. I am an international audience member and I can say that since I have been watching the Bolshoi broadcasts year after year, I don't mind seeing a new cast member even if she is not the absolute "best" ballerina for that role.  Everyone brings something new to a role and I think that is important to see.

Share this post


Link to post

Actually, Rodkin and Stepanova were originally slated for Corsaire, but Rodkin became unavailable and Tvirsko, who replaced him, is not tall enough to partner Stepanova. Smirnova was a late replacement and ultimately, wisely, chose not to perform.  The only remaining Medoras short enough to dance with Tvirsko were Nikulina and Krysanova, the latter being more ready for prime time. The problem was in choosing Tvirsko instead of Lobukhin or Volchkov, both of whom could've partnered Stepanova.  But Tvirsko was to be the "flavor of the season", presumably per Vaziev's decision, so....

20 minutes ago, DD6948 said:

This was followed by Krysanova's encore of Taming of the Shrew, and of course she was in Romeo and Juliet which I'm sure Ratmansky and Vaziev collectively decided on once production started on this ballet.

Well yes, if that's true, then Vaziev boxed himself in by going along with Ratmanksy to choose Krysanova, when there was another even better Juliet available.  At that point he surely could've seen the problem of too much Krysanova, and as I said, it's ultimately Vaziev's theatre, not Ratmanksy's.

39 minutes ago, DD6948 said:

Point is, things change in a theatre no matter how much you try to plan ahead.

 

It's Vaziev's job to cope with changing plans, for goodness sake, that's why they pay him the big bucks. :)  He had many excellent choices for Jeanne -- Shipulina, Kretova, Obratzsova, Kosyreva.  He decided that an inexperienced, one-note and exhausted Jeanne would be better.  That's on him.

Perhaps everybody can bring something to a role, but not everybody should be given the world stage, especially when they replace wonderful dancers with short artistic lives. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
5 minutes ago, Quinten said:

Actually, Rodkin and Stepanova were originally slated for Corsaire, but Rodkin became unavailable and Tvirsko, who replaced him, is not tall enough to partner Stepanova. Smirnova was a late replacement and ultimately, wisely, chose not to perform.  The only remaining Medoras short enough to dance with Tvirsko were Nikulina and Krysanova, the latter being more ready for prime time. The problem was in choosing Tvirsko instead of Lobukhin or Volchkov, both of whom could've partnered Stepanova.  But Tvirsko was to be the "flavor of the season", presumably per Vaziev's decision, so....

Well yes, if that's true, then Vaziev boxed himself in by going along with Ratmanksy to choose Krysanova, when there was another even better Juliet available.  At that point he surely could've seen the problem of too much Krysanova, and as I said, it's ultimately Vaziev's theatre, not Ratmanksy's.

It's Vaziev's job to cope with changing plans, for goodness sake, that's why they pay him the big bucks. :)  He had many excellent choices for Jeanne -- Shipulina, Kretova, Obratzsova, Kosyreva.  He decided that an inexperienced, one-note and exhausted Jeanne would be better.  That's on him.

Perhaps everybody can bring something to a role, but not everybody should be given the world stage, especially when they replace wonderful dancers with short artistic lives. 

 

It's not Vaziev's job to only give opportunity to the principal dancers who have danced these roles since 2008. His job includes preparing the theatre for future generations. And Obratzsova and Shipulina are hardly excellent choices for Jeanne. 

Share this post


Link to post

I'm not saying new faces should not be presented in the theater (although there has been a lot of criticism of that from Moscow audiences because it has been excessive during the last year). Broadcasts are another matter, imo. In balancing the "rights" of young dancers to be seen on the world stage against the "rights" of the audience to see the best Bolshoi has to offer, I come down on the side of the audience. It won't kill young dancers who are not quite ready to wait until they are, while older dancers have limited shelf lives and we may never have the opportunity to see them in the cinema if they are prematurely displaced.  On the broadcast, I was delighted to see many of the younger dancers in smaller roles, like Kovalyova as a friend of Armida.  Great experience and exposure for her without the weight of carrying a production.

Shrainer may well turn out to be a prima some day and I look forward to seeing her as she improves and matures as a dancer.

Share this post


Link to post
On 3/4/2018 at 4:03 PM, Quinten said:

Loved the character dances -- Karasyova and Sharova were especially wonderful in the Auvergne dance. .... Tsvirko and Schrainer were energetic, with Tvirsko showing a much greater sense of showmanship than his partner.  She had pretty much the same expression on her face throughout (wide open eyes) but no major mistakes.  She's very fast and may wind up giving Krysanova (the most presented ballerina) some opportunities to rest. Would need to develop some dramatic range to do that.

And then there's the miscast Kretova as Mireille de Poitiers. She's an excellent technician, but this role calls for more, namely classical elegance and finesse which she totally lacks.  ... The part is meant to be ironic so perhaps casting a dancer who can't dance the style was intended as to enhance the irony. 

I'm late to the discussion, and so am folding all my replies into one post.

I don't know this production very well, and so don't have the luxury of comparison.  I'm also not so familiar with the Vaionen original, and though I heard the host's very impressive description of what Ratmansky kept from the earlier production, I don't see the margins very clearly.

If I heard correctly, the Basque dance is the original choreography?  I'm very interested in the development of technique at the time this was made -- especially the shift in virtuoso male dancing.  I was grateful to see this done in a folk-dance style, as opposed to some of the national dances in other productions which have been "balleticized" past their roots.

I agree that the Jeanne and Phillipe were very engaging as young revolutionaries.  I didn't feel that she was too one-note, though it's possible that the choreography depends on a certain kind of spunky energy that can overwhelm you if you're expecting more nuance.

It seemed to me that the Actress was danced with a kind of sly knowing-ness that read very well with that character.  Perhaps this is as much a part of the irony as a straight classical style?

On 3/4/2018 at 7:04 PM, Drew said:

Ratmansky's grafting of his melodramatic critique of revolution on to Vainonen's lighthearted if also melodramatic celebration of revolution still seems to me to produce an oddly toned and rather flawed ballet. Among other things, this version effectively "steps" on two of the Vainonen's biggest and most joyous dance moments (the Basque dance and the pas de deux) by immediately following them with episodes demonstrating that these happy revolutionaries are really just murderous fanatics.  I must admit that I still enjoy watching this staging--I should say I have only seen it on video/film--and I thought the whole company from top to bottom looked in this broadcast...well...like the Bolshoi I love.  Small parts, character dancing, corps de ballet, mime parts all seemed profoundly alive and energized.  I left the theater very happy.

We were informed before the broadcast began that solar flares would interfere with the broadcast in North American about 36 minutes in (and later possibly during intermission)--I believe that was the cause of the interruption during the divertissement at court.

Perhaps it's just because I'm not familiar with the work, but I didn't feel the disconnect that was bothering you here.  There was a sense of contrast, but I'm always aware of the heightened theatricality of the dramballet -- that kind of big shift between light and dark just seems like part of the territory for that work.

Solar flares?  Wow!

On 3/4/2018 at 8:01 PM, volcanohunter said:

I don't think Kretova's problem is primarily her height, although her feathers are very high. It's that she has a tendency to hold her arms very straight, so the quasi-Baroque port de bras, with all that wrist and elbow work, does not come naturally to her. Turazashvili, whom I find not exactly mannered, but exaggerated and precious, would probably fare better as Armida than Adeline, provided she can hop on pointe.

 

I see what you mean about T, but I'm not sure I would have liked her better in that role.  I'm thinking she's got too much natural hauteur
 for that kind of sly characterization.

9 hours ago, Quinten said:

Perhaps Ratmansky had something to do with those choices, but it's not his theatre, it's Vaziev's. 

It depends on what is in Ratmansky's contract -- he may have had casting rights written into the agreement.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, sandik said:

Perhaps it's just because I'm not familiar with the work, but I didn't feel the disconnect that was bothering you here.  There was a sense of contrast, but I'm always aware of the heightened theatricality of the dramballet -- that kind of big shift between light and dark just seems like part of the territory for that work.

Solar flares?  Wow!

 

 

Mr. Drew was incredulous at the notion that whoever was responsible for the Bolshoi broadcast would be keeping track of solar flares--but apparently they were!

I can't claim any real familiarity with Flames of Paris either--your reading it as a (21st-century) dramballet is suggestive. My sense of 'disconnect' in Ratmansky's version is partly just my intuitive reaction to the Ratmansky (as seen on video/broadcast), but perhaps also influenced by my experience with Mikhail Messerer's production for the Mikhailovsky which I saw  when the company came to New York a few years back. Plus maybe a few scraps of video of the original...

As I understand from interviews and publicity that surrounded the Mikhailovsky production, Messerer keeps to the original libretto, preserves as much of the "original" choreography as possible, and tries to revive/reconstruct the rest based on research, his own knowledge of the production or people who were in it, the original arrangement of score etc.  But I am in no position to make an independent assessment of Messerer's accuracy--perhaps it's just his concoction. I can say I thought his production worked delightfully in the theater and did so without having the pretensions to greater historical complexity that Ratmansky's does.

 One reason the Messerer worked for me -- other than the fact that it was unabashed fun -- was that it made more sense to me as a story of revolutionary fervor and one got to enjoy the big dance highlights without irony, except insofar as perhaps the whole ballet has to be enjoyed at something of a historical distance. Messerer's version certainly makes clearer that Louis is out to betray the revolution, which is the reason for the attack on the Tuileries, and includes a clearer revolutionary role for the court performers (the actor/actress in Ratmansky's version) who act as spies and bring news of the aristocratic counter-revolutionary conspiracy to the masses in the streets.

The basque dance in Messerer's version is danced by character artists, and the woman in the dance leads the way to the Tuileries Palace and becomes a revolutionary martyr, shot as she is tearing across the stage with flag in hand and dying in a spectacularly heroic image  (an episode absent from Ratmansky though partly taken up in the way Jeanne, having danced the Basque Dance, then leads the charge through the Tuileries with flag in hand).  And of course there is no charming aristocrat's daughter for a love story with Jeanne's Brother...let alone a story in which we see her cruelly taken off to the guillotine.

Of course, in whatever version, one does hear the melody of the revolutionary song Ça  Ira in the score which, if you know the words, certainly points to revolutionary violence.  There may be other such allusions--that's the one I picked up.

But honestly, I think I would feel a certain "disconnect" in Ratmansky's version even if I had not seen the Messerer.  To put it differently, I feel as if the ideological seams show in Ratmansky's version.  At just one moment, the revisionary approach kind of works for me...when Jeanne and Phillipe go over to comfort Jerome after Adeline has been taken away. And, in the broadcast performance, I thought Tsvirko in particular conveyed a kind of sudden awareness of the costs of revolution that made the character deeper, more psychologically interesting. But it's still the case, for me, that Ratmansky's version ends up being a tale of two ballets ... I happen to enjoy it anyway. And I'd also like to see what I would think seeing it live in the theater which is always a very different experience.

Edited by Drew
Typo/grammar

Share this post


Link to post

I shall have to think about this -- and hopefully find more of the original choreography online somewhere...

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, sandik said:

It seemed to me that the Actress was danced with a kind of sly knowing-ness that read very well with that character.  Perhaps this is as much a part of the irony as a straight classical style?

Yes, Kretova was quite the minx, to use an old fashioned word. That aspect was successful, however, I think the irony comes from the contrast between the knowing looks and a demure dancing style. Kretova's dancing style seems too modern and straightforward.  I've been looking around the web for the "correct" style of dancing for a non-ironic version of Lully's gavotte and this might be a good example (Vorontsova in Messerer's version of Flames):

Now who can add onto this some Kretova minxiness to achieve the requisite level of irony?  How about Voronsova herself in this video from 2012 of the Bolshoi production? 

 

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Quinten said:

Yes, Kretova was quite the minx, to use an old fashioned word. That aspect was successful, however, I think the irony comes from the contrast between the knowing looks and a demure dancing style

Taking characterisation and dancing style together I will opt for Kretova. By this time it's no secret that I have rather unrefined tastes !  :P:P

Share this post


Link to post

This is not just a question of tastes, this is a question of difference in class. Vorontsova is a dancer of a different class. She was the best dancer to emerge from Moscow ballet school in many years. Her Mireille de Poitiers remains an unsurpassed model.

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Laurent said:

This is not just a question of tastes, this is a question of difference in class. Vorontsova is a dancer of a different class. She was the best dancer to emerge from Moscow ballet school in many years. Her Mireille de Poitiers remains an unsurpassed model.

In your opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

In New York, I adored Irina Perren as Mireilles De Poitiers in the Mikhailovsky's production -- that's equivalent to the "actress" in Ratmansky's version, but with more of a story line as well as dancing. (Vorontsova danced Jeanne on that tour.)

Edited by Drew

Share this post


Link to post
16 hours ago, Quinten said:

Yes, Kretova was quite the minx, to use an old fashioned word. That aspect was successful, however, I think the irony comes from the contrast between the knowing looks and a demure dancing style. Kretova's dancing style seems too modern and straightforward.  I've been looking around the web for the "correct" style of dancing for a non-ironic version of Lully's gavotte and this might be a good example (Vorontsova in Messerer's version of Flames):

Now who can add onto this some Kretova minxiness to achieve the requisite level of irony?  How about Voronsova herself in this video from 2012 of the Bolshoi production? 

 

"Minx" is a good descriptor here, particularly in her interchange with her fans after this section.  While Vorontsova may actually embody the dans d'ecole style more clearly in this excerpt, I didn't get the same sense of knowingness in her performance -- it's about a character as well as a classical style. 

(I did have a thought about her arms in the new production, which was a concern for someone earlier in this thread.  The headdress really does add a lot to her height -- I imagine she's got to create as much length as she can in her arms so that she doesn't knock it over).

I don't follow the company as closely as some, and so don't have as complete a sense of their strengths and weaknesses.  Those of you with more knowledge will likely have more specific comments.

Share this post


Link to post
18 hours ago, Drew said:

Mr. Drew was incredulous at the notion that whoever was responsible for the Bolshoi broadcast would be keeping track of solar flares--but apparently they were!

I can't claim any real familiarity with Flames of Paris either--your reading it as a (21st-century) dramballet is suggestive. My sense of 'disconnect' in Ratmansky's version is partly just my intuitive reaction to the Ratmansky (as seen on video/broadcast), but perhaps also influenced by my experience with Mikhail Messerer's production for the Mikhailovsky which I saw  when the company came to New York a few years back. Plus maybe a few scraps of video of the original...

As I understand from interviews and publicity that surrounded the Mikhailovsky production, Messerer keeps to the original libretto, preserves as much of the "original" choreography as possible, and tries to revive/reconstruct the rest based on research, his own knowledge of the production or people who were in it, the original arrangement of score etc.  But I am in no position to make an independent assessment of Messerer's accuracy--perhaps it's just his concoction. I can say I thought his production worked delightfully in the theater and did so without having the pretensions to greater historical complexity that Ratmansky's does.

 One reason the Messerer worked for me -- other than the fact that it was unabashed fun -- was that it made more sense to me as a story of revolutionary fervor and one got to enjoy the big dance highlights without irony, except insofar as perhaps the whole ballet has to be enjoyed at something of a historical distance. Messerer's version certainly makes clearer that Louis is out to betray the revolution, which is the reason for the attack on the Tuileries, and includes a clearer revolutionary role for the court performers (the actor/actress in Ratmansky's version) who act as spies and bring news of the aristocratic counter-revolutionary conspiracy to the masses in the streets.

The basque dance in Messerer's version is danced by character artists, and the woman in the dance leads the way to the Tuileries Palace and becomes a revolutionary martyr, shot as she is tearing across the stage with flag in hand and dying in a spectacularly heroic image  (an episode absent from Ratmansky though partly taken up in the way Jeanne, having danced the Basque Dance, then leads the charge through the Tuileries with flag in hand).  And of course there is no charming aristocrat's daughter for a love story with Jeanne's Brother...let alone a story in which we see her cruelly taken off to the guillotine.

Of course, in whatever version, one does hear the melody of the revolutionary song Ça  Ira in the score which, if you know the words, certainly points to revolutionary violence.  There may be other such allusions--that's the one I picked up.

But honestly, I think I would feel a certain "disconnect" in Ratmansky's version even if I had not seen the Messerer.  To put it differently, I feel as if the ideological seams show in Ratmansky's version.  At just one moment, the revisionary approach kind of works for me...when Jeanne and Phillipe go over to comfort Jerome after Adeline has been taken away. And, in the broadcast performance, I thought Tsvirko in particular conveyed a kind of sudden awareness of the costs of revolution that made the character deeper, more psychologically interesting. But it's still the case, for me, that Ratmansky's version ends up being a tale of two ballets ... I happen to enjoy it anyway. And I'd also like to see what I would think seeing it live in the theater which is always a very different experience.

Coming back to this with a couple of thoughts.  The dramballet was a solution to a problem at one point -- how do you justify maintaining an art form that was so firmly associated with the aristocracy?  (not only the Russian imperial family, but the idea of aristocracy in general)  By creating work that reflected the current political zeitgeist, and emphasized physical virtuosity, they could, in part, finesse some of the more unacceptable aspects of the art form.  Many of these works have been re-made or revised since they were first created, so that we don't really see them in their more avant garde form -- current examples, like Red Detachment of Women, and White Haired Girl, are over the top as I understand it (in my family, we call it "happy tractor art"), but the 1930s and 40s were full of narrative, expressive works with social content.  Spartacus is probably the closest we have now to that period and style.

More later...

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
On 3/6/2018 at 1:35 AM, sandik said:

I shall have to think about this -- and hopefully find more of the original choreography online somewhere...

Original Basque Dance at 3:50
 

 

 

Edited by Gnossie

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×