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Manhattnik

Great Moments in Dance History...

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I'm steeling myself for my second encounter with Eifman's Tchaikovsky in a few weeks by reading Anthony Holden's fascinationg biography of the composer. After reading the following passage, I have suddenly decided that Eifman is the soul of restraint and rectitude, compared with what he might have done. As Holden describes, speaking of Tchaikovsy:

By late autumn [of 1875] he could again afford to be seen in high spirits, not least because of a visit to Moscow by Camille Saint-Saens -- a fellow composer of growing renown, but also a fellow homosexual with whom he established an immediate rapport. To his delight, he discovered that the Frenchman even shared his penchant for impersonating female dancers. A wide-eyed Nikolay Rubenstein, at the piano, was thus the sole witness of one of the unlikelier moments in the history of late nineteenth-century music, when Tchaikovsky and Saint-Saens teamed up to perform, on the edge of the [Moscow] Conservatoire concert hall, a short ballet entitled Pygmalion and Galatea.

There are, of course, no reviews of this particular Conservatoire performance. By Modest [Tchaikovsky]'s account, no doubt based on his brother's, thirty-five-year-old Tchaikovsky danced Pygmalion, while forty-year-old Saint-Saens undertook the role of Galatea with "rare dedication."

Ah, the things an inspired modern choreographer might do with such material.

[ March 11, 2002, 03:57 PM: Message edited by: Manhattnik ]

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dirac   

I'm sure Eifman's Tchaikovsky has nothing on Ken Russell's. smile.gif

For no reason, I'm reminded of something I once read about Generals Grant and Longstreet. They were great friends before winding up on opposite sides of a certain inter-state dispute, and during the previous war against Mexico they entertained their comrades with amateur theatricals, and on one memorable occasion, Grant played Desdemona to Longstreet's Othello. No dancing involved, however.

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I really must get myself a video of The Music Lovers. It's been way too long! Perhaps Eifmann and Russell could collaborate on "Tchaikovsky on Ice...."

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dirac   

Even better, Toller Cranston emerges from retirement to enact the role of the tormented composer on ice.

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