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mnacenani

Nureyev's Falling Out at POB - Why ??

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This may be old hat for seasoned membership but maybe there are some nouveaux like myself who are/were not sure as to the reason why Nureyev had to leave POB in 1989 after just six years. From watching docus and interval interviews over the years I had learned that he had a falling out with Pierre Bergé, but wasn't sure whether the reason was administrative, artistic or "personal", Bergé being the "partnyor" of YSL. The marvellous docu "Constellation Nureev" recast by Mezzo some days ago also did not shed much light on this matter, so doing a web search I found a NYT article from November 1989 which sets it all out, and it is here for anyone who may be interested :

https://www.nytimes.com/1989/11/02/arts/nureyev-and-head-of-paris-opera-hold-a-peace-conference.html

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I thought he left when he did because of his deteriorating health.

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7 hours ago, Mashinka said:

I thought he left when he did because of his deteriorating health.

For a long time I was under the impression that POB management did not want an AD whose AIDS was an open secret although he never admitted it. However the issue was almost totally administrative it seems. Ballet lovers must surely be thankful to Nureyev for having staged Bayadere at POB after being dismissed. It seems incredible to me that this great classic was unknown in the West until Nureyev smuggled out the score and notation after a trip to Russia. Are you familiar with the "Dancer's Dream" docu series on dvd, the "making of" of Nureyev's ballets at POB after his death ? Wonderful stuff imho.

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32 minutes ago, mnacenani said:

Ballet lovers must surely be thankful to Nureyev for having staged Bayadere at POB after being dismissed. It seems incredible to me that this great classic was unknown in the West until Nureyev smuggled out the score and notation after a trip to Russia. 

Nureyev's version for POB was in 1992: https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/season-15-16/ballet/la-bayadere

Makarova staged the entire thing for ABT in 1980: http://www.abt.org/ballet/la-bayadre/

and for Royal Ballet in 1989: http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/la-bayadere-by-natalia-makarova

I don't know what she used as the basis for her version or how it differs from POB's, but it's not fair to say that we would not have known Bayadere in the west without Nureyev.

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Posted (edited)

I think that you have to remember that when Western Europe rediscovered ballet as a significant art form in the early years of the  twentieth century the rediscovery was  prompted by Diaghilev's Ballet Russes which for the main part presented new works rather than historically significant repertory. The only company in the West which maintained a significant amount of nineteenth century repertory was the Royal Danish Ballet. The POB performed Coppelia but it had last  performed Giselle in the late 1860's. The newly kindled interest in ballet in the West was essentially an enthusiasm for new works.

Although today a lot of companies in the West have a repertory which includes a mixture of twentieth century ballets and  versions of some of Petipa;s ballets this was not the norm in the 1930's.  When the company which eventually became the Royal Ballet acquired its nineteenth century repertory in the 1930's the ballets which De Valois selected for her young company were all works which had historically important scores as well as good choreography. The idea was that these works would develop the company technically and artistically and be a means of maintaining the company's technical standards long term. They were not intended to dominate the company's repertory as it had been established to be a creative company rather than a choreographic museum. As the intention was to establish ballet as a serious art form and Minkus' music tends to support the  prejudice that nineteenth century ballet and its music are sweetly vacuous ballets with scores by  Minkus were the last things that De Valois and her music director would have wanted to stage and that is before you get into the practicalities of the diminutive size of the stage at Sadler's Wells and the fact that the company did not have the resources to stage a ballet like La Bayadere. I think that the first that the West saw of La Bayadere was the Kingdom of the Shades scene which both major Russian companies had as part of their touring repertory . That is the section of La Bayadere which Nureyev staged for the Royal Ballet in the 1960's.For years it was the only bit of that ballet which the company danced. As far as I am concerned I should be quite happy if the company were to revert to dancing it with its full compliment of  thirty two shades and dump the Markarova staging. But that is another story.

Edited by Ashton Fan

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Franklin Stevens' "Dance As Life" describes the Makarova's rehearsals for that ABT staging of Bayadere.

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3 hours ago, Ashton Fan said:

As far as I am concerned I should be quite happy if the company were to revert to dancing it with its full compliment of  thirty two shades and dump the Markarova staging. But that is another story.

Seconded.

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Just now, Mashinka said:

Seconded.

I thought no complete reconstruction existed, though. At least I was told so at a lecture.

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1 hour ago, Vs1 said:

I thought no complete reconstruction existed, though. At least I was told so at a lecture.

???? Sergei Vikharev reconstructed it for the Mariinsky in 2002. Alas, the soviet guard refused to dance most of the reconstructed choreography but the full Fourth Act with the Temple destruction saw the light. The temple destruction is on Youtube. 

 

I have no idea what Ratmansky plans to do and am sad to see Malakhov's production go, it was his only decent production. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Gnossie said:

the full Fourth Act with the Temple destruction saw the light. The temple destruction is on Youtube.

If I may be allowed to express an opinion : I attach as much importance to the drama, if not more, as to the execution. Imho the fourth act of Bayaderka is an anti-climax and spoils the preceding drama. The drama ends when  Nikiya dies, and the third act is a "vision" where the "descent" is so effective and emotional that the variations (in effect divertissements) are tolerable. The fourth act is totally superfluous (imho). It's akin to a third act being added to Giselle, where the second act stands on the intense drama of the first.

Edited by mnacenani

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Back to topic: Nureyev had problems with the general direction of L'opera and with many dancers (including the etoiles Michael Denard, Cyril Atannasoff and Patrick Dupond), the "Nureyev Etoiles" might talk talk about him as if he were a saint but many powerful ballet people like Claude Bessy and Roland Petit (or it was Bejart?) did not like him at the helm, it's a surprise that he lasted so much.

 

I will throw the biggest party the day his offensive versions of the Petipa ballets are dropped forever out of the POB repertoire. That may not be happening any time soon, sadly.

 

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, mnacenani said:

If I may be allowed to express an opinion : I attach as much importance to the drama, if not more, as to the execution. Imho the fourth act of Bayaderka is an anti-climax and spoils the preceding drama. The drama ends when  Nikiya dies, and the third act is a "vision" where the "descent" is so effective and emotional that the variations (in effect divertissements) are tolerable. The fourth act is totally superfluous (imho). It's akin to a third act being added to Giselle, where the second act stands on the intense drama of the first.

Well, tell that to Petipa! He was the one who created the ballet ( and I always find myself telling people that with the real Petipa experience there may be lack of coherence because that's how his ballets were, Petipa was no Jules Perrot after all) but I so disagree with you in this particular case, Bayaderka isn't Bayaderka without Act 4, that's where the real stuff is!, Bayaderka is my favorite ballet and I CRINGE when It ends with the Kingdom of the Shades, the gods are suppose to punish Gamzatti and her father for what they did to Nikiya, Solor must be put out of his misery and Nikiya and Solor must end in the Himalayas, but this time together and forever with no one bothering them!!!!

Edited by Gnossie
typos

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16 minutes ago, Gnossie said:

I so disagree with you in this particular case, Bayaderka isn't Bayaderka without Act 4, that's where the real stuff is!, Bayaderka is my favorite ballet

It's my favourite ballet too, minus the 4th Act :D. I really could see all performances of a 4 day run at the Bolshoy. If you will excuse me for saying so, Nikiya chasing Gamzatti around in the Makarova staging (hope I remember correctly, has been some time) is a farce.

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13 minutes ago, mnacenani said:

It's my favourite ballet too, minus the 4th Act :D. I really could see all performances of a 4 day run at the Bolshoy. If you will excuse me for saying so, Nikiya chasing Gamzatti around in the Makarova staging (hope I remember correctly, has been some time) is a farce.

I don't know why would I have to excuse you, I hate Makarova's version which is really an invention of her own...and not a good one! 

Yuri Nikolaevich's staging of Bayaderka is the least offensive of his "after petipa" stagings, although if you want drama to be "spoiled" talk about his modification of the fight scene........jeté here jeté there...oh just STOP IT! But otherwise is a decent production. 

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24 minutes ago, Gnossie said:

I don't know why would I have to excuse you, I hate Makarova's version which is really an invention of her own...and not a good one! 

Yuri Nikolaevich's staging of Bayaderka is the least offensive of his "after petipa" stagings, although if you want drama to be "spoiled" talk about his modification of the fight scene........jeté here jeté there...oh just STOP IT! But otherwise is a decent production. 

Agree about that terrible Grigorovich fight scene - definitely too many jetes across the stage and the drama of the fight itself is completely lost.  Also agree that Bayadere (I am another for whom it is my favourite ballet, although along with Shurale!) NEEDS that final act with the destruction of the temple etc, in order to have dramatic credibility. 

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Ah, but y'all have probably never seen the abomination Stanton Welch staged in Houston, where all of Nikiya's variations are rechoreographed, Aya wears pointe shoes and a costume practically indistinguishable from Gamzatti's, the D'Jampe music is used for a male quartet, there is a fire god and a dream god, as well as a golden idol, although he doesn't dance, and where the shades make their way down the ramp in a weird syncopated rhythm. The fact that the temple comes crashing down at the end (because Gamzatti stabs Solor for refusing to marry her) does absolutely nothing to salvage the production. Plus Welch uses the gawd-awful Lanchbery orchestration. After that, I promise you, Nureyev's version looks a lot less offensive.

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Posted (edited)

Volcano, you're lying!!! Such a thing can NOT exist! 😱 

Madonna santa it sounds like the worst ballet production of all time....and I never thought the God-awful Mariinsky Les Noces of circa '98 by Alexey Miroshnichenko in which the Bride and Groom did fouettes was going to be overpassed. 🤢

Edited by Gnossie
Finally remembered the choreographer's name!

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2 hours ago, Gnossie said:

Back to topic: Nureyev had problems with the general direction of L'opera and with many dancers (including the etoiles Michael Denard, Cyril Atannasoff and Patrick Dupond), the "Nureyev Etoiles" might talk talk about him as if he were a saint but many powerful ballet people like Claude Bessy and Roland Petit (or it was Bejart?) did not like him at the helm, it's a surprise that he lasted so much.

Funny you should mention this. Writing in the April issue of Dance Europe about the recent Benjamin Millepied/Maurice Bejart double bill at the Opera, Francois Fargue had this to say:

"Millepied ascended to the actual position of artistic director . . . , while Bejart, who never made it that high, still famously acted like he was the director as he once upped and named the young Manuel Legris and Eric Vu An etoiles on stage following the premiere of his Arepo on 22 March 1986. An all-the-more unorthodox initiative as both young men were only sujets. Bejart had only forgotten that he was just a demigod. True god Nureyev cancelled the 'nomination' the very next day. Those were fun, eventful times. Who's a god these days?"

Speaking of Claude Bessy, how are she and Madame Dupont getting along these days?

 

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12 minutes ago, Gnossie said:

Volcano, you're lying!!! Such a thing can NOT exist! 😱 

Madonna santa it sounds like the worst ballet production of all time....and I never thought the God-awful Mariinsky Les Noces of circa '98(by a mariinsky dancer whose name I don't remember) in which the Bride and Groom did fouettes was going to be overpassed. 🤢

It's even worse than you can imagine. Nikiya loses her big entrance down the temple steps, the High Brahmin does solo dancing and standard pas de deux choreography, so his interactions with Nikiya are practically indistinguishable from her interactions with Solor, there is no oath over the sacred fire, the Rajah does some of Solor's parterning in the engagement party grand pas, Aya is the one who attempts the stabbing...of Nikiya, the snake is put into the flower basket at the end of the fight scene, which rather spoils the shock at the betrothal, there is no offer and rejection of the antidote. Ay, ay, ay... :speechless-smiley-003:

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24 minutes ago, miliosr said:

Who's a god these days?"

At L'opera? No one, didn't you saw how Hilaire was sacked? There's no respect, man😭

I understand Bejart's behaviour, it must have been frustating to see an outsider, in this case a russian with no respect for french ballet, at the helm. If you come to think about it the people who should have run certain companies, never did, Lacotte was never AD of the POB, Selyutsky was never AD of the Mariinsky, Villumsen is still not AD of the RDB, sad but true...

 

24 minutes ago, miliosr said:

Speaking of Claude Bessy, how are she and Madame Dupont getting along these days?

She makes no comment about the disgraceful situation of L'opera. She has been present at the farewell of HER étoiles, but she's been on one side of the stage and Dupont in the other.

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23 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

Aya is the one who attempts the stabbing...of Nikiya,

Ma che dice!???? :blink:

STOP IT! I'm going to have a heart attack!😥

 

It should be punished by law to destroy such a beautiful ballet! 

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26 minutes ago, Gnossie said:

She makes no comment about the disgraceful situation of L'opera. She has been present at the farewell of HER étoiles, but she's been on one side of the stage and Dupont in the other.

Poor Manuel Legris! After all the trouble he went to trying to secure the Peace of Vienna:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BDQvpJooWWt/?hl=en&taken-by=manuel.legris

Yes, I'm kidding . . .

 

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4 hours ago, Gnossie said:

It should be punished by law to destroy such a beautiful ballet! 

Nureyev and Grigarovich had the good judgement (imho) to know where to stop, but once again "chacun a son gout".

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5 hours ago, Gnossie said:

but she's been on one side of the stage and Dupont in the other.

Wasn't it Bessy who said in an interview at the time of Dupont's farewell that at ballet school she was "lazy and sloppy" ??

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