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Nureyev's Falling Out at POB - Why ??

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Posted (edited)

 Although I should like to see the Royal Ballet stage  Nureyev's Kingdom of the Shades I am not in general a great fan of Nureyev's full length stagings of the nineteenth century repertory. They tend to be crammed full of more choreography than they can sustain with expanded male roles which distort the structure of Petipa's original stagings.  Nureyev obliterates vast sections of the original text in favour of  interpolated tracts of choreography so full of technical challenges that they are reduced to  fiendishly  difficult exhibitions of technical skill akin to show jumping courses rather  than the demonstrations of elegant ease which Petipa intended them to be. Please correct me if I am wrong but I thought that the POB  entered the twentieth century with very little to show in the way of active historic repertory apart from Coppelia. Giselle was staged for it in the 1920' s nearly fifty years after the company had last danced it and Lifar staged act 2 Swan Lake for it. As so much of the nineteenth century repertory which is danced today originated in  Russia I am left wondering whether the POB would have acquired such an extensive Petipa based repertory if Nureyev had never been its director.  Granted that all of Nureyev' a productions are "after Petipa" stagings  and some are so far removed from his ideas that Petipa would  struggle to recognise the ballets staged in his name the fact is that we only have the luxury of arguing about the form which the POB's stagings of the nineteenth century classics should take because Nureyev staged them there in some form.

Edited by Ashton Fan

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1 hour ago, Ashton Fan said:

 Please correct me if I am wrong but I thought that the POB  entered the twentieth century with very little to show in the way of active historic repertory apart from Coppelia. Giselle was staged for it in the 1920' s nearly fifty years after the company had last danced it and Lifar staged act 2 Swan Lake for it. As so much of the nineteenth century repertory which is danced today originated in  Russia I am left wondering whether the POB would have acquired such an extensive Petipa based repertory if Nureyev had never been its director.

I appreciate your thoughtful, informed comments on this and other subjects. Allow me to make just two remarks. At the turn of the 20th century, the ballet troupe of the Opéra was still big, they were dancing frequently, even though separate ballets were performed less frequently, and there were few new ballets, compared to the pre-1867 period. Coppélia, La Korrigane, La Maladetta*, L’Etoile*, Danses de jadis et de naguère*, Bacchus*, Le Lac des aulnes*, La Ronde de Saisons*, Namouna (in new redaction by Léo Staats), Javotte* (with absolutely wonderful music by Saint-Saëns), La fête chez Thérèse* were the ballets performed (I marked with asterisk those that were premiered between 1893 and 1910). Of these, the first three were practically all the time on the affiche. In Javotte Olga Preobrazhenskaïa was performing twice as a guest artiste. It is very unfortunate that La Korrigane, La Maladetta, Javotte, all disappeared. Thanks to Lefèvre and Dupont, unfortunately, the brilliant original Coppélia met the same fate now.

My second comment: Marius Petipa's three great classical works, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, were all in the repertoire of l'Opéra  before Noureev, so he cannot take credit for them. Noureev replaced those productions with his own.

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16 hours ago, Gnossie said:

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

Petit was always a friend and supporter of Nureyev, Bejart?  Nureyev danced very successfully in his company earlier in his career, perhaps there was a falling out.  The examples given are certainly bizarre.

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Aside from putting that in the context of POB school standards, which make the Navy Seals look lazy and sloppy, many dancers find their niche later, and if Dupont was, indeed, lazy and sloppy during her school days -- must have been the influence of living in Bethesda as a child ;) -- she certainly made up for it as a dancer, becoming a premiere danseuse in nine years and l'Etoile in 11, as well as winning a junior gold medal in Varna three years after joining POB, as well as other awards early in her career:

http://www.browsebiography.com/bio-aurelie_dupont.html

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Posted (edited)
On ‎12‎.‎4‎.‎2018 at 10:25 AM, Ashton Fan said:

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.

Not meaning to divert the topic, but the claim in the beginning with Diagilev and the rediscovery of Ballet is somewhat outdated and has gone under some revision over the years. Classical ballet was never dead in France. 

Giselle was performed By Diagilev's Ballets Russes in 1910, to warm reception but it was rather mild compared to other "exotic" works in the press reviews. The classics such as Giselle did raise some nostalgic feelings among french audience but the general view was that the romantic ballet was old and out of fashion. This I found when I analysed reviews from several prominent french newspaper from 1909-1914 for my bachelor thesis.

There was a reason why unclassical repertoire  were created. Those unclassical works were solely created for western audiences.

I mean books about Diagilev and Ballets Russes usually highlight their successes but their success did not come without problems especially during 1909-1914 period.

Edited by Lam

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12 hours ago, Laurent said:

My second comment: Marius Petipa's three great classical works, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, were all in the repertoire of l'Opéra  before Noureev, so he cannot take credit for them. Noureev replaced those productions with his own.

THIS.

 

10 hours ago, Mashinka said:

Petit was always a friend and supporter of Nureyev, Bejart?  Nureyev danced very successfully in his company earlier in his career, perhaps there was a falling out.  The examples given are certainly bizarre.

As explained on the first page of this thread, there was a fall out with Bejart.

 

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On 4/13/2018 at 2:11 AM, Gnossie said:

She makes no comment about the disgraceful situation of L'opera

Posted short while ago extract of yesterday's Figaro article on "the situation at POB" !

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