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Sebastian

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Everything posted by Sebastian

  1. Might I draw attention to a new one-hour film on Cecchetti by the British ballet teacher Julie Cronshaw? Based not only on Cecchetti technique but also on her twenty years work with the late Roger Tully, this film is as enjoyable and instructive to a beginner like me as it will be to experts: https://youtu.be/ZGT4g7FHSvA
  2. Following two Zoom terms on Russian music and a pre-Christmas special on The Nutcracker, the well-known British music critic David Nice is offering a two-hour exploration of Tchaikovsky's score for The Sleeping Beauty. Tomorrow (Wednesday 30 December) afternoon, 2.30-4.30pm UK time. £10 per household. If interested, please email David on david.nice@usa.net
  3. An article about the Nutcracker by British film-maker Margy Kinmonth appeared online this week, on the "Russian Art+Culture" site. Her article draws on her film "Nutcracker Story" and the Bolshoi transmission tomorrow with Semyon Chudin and Margarita Shrayner. Here's the link, in case this might be of interest: https://www.russianartandculture.com/bolshoi-ballet-cinema-the-nutcracker/
  4. Hi Joseph. Ballet Master and the Score is an essay, not a whole book. If you are looking for an English translation, the review below has all details of a book in which one appears. Incidentally, Fedor Lopukhov was three years old when The Sleeping Beauty was first rehearsed and performed.
  5. What a most stimulating set of ideas Quiggin, thank you so much for your careful reading. And thanks also for the great Chekhov letter, perfect for inspiring a good weekend mood. For those who would like a little more, in English and easily accessible, may I recommend the magnificent Tchaikovsky Research website (no doubt well known to many here). A relevant page, with some good links, is here:- http://en.tchaikovsky-research.net/pages/Anton_Chekhov To return to that most mysterious of masterpieces, The Sleeping Beauty, might I add a couple of comments? You suggest the 1890 audience might seek a return to a time before "complicated social questions". Indeed but in my piece I go further: I suggest that one strength of the narrative for its intended Russian audience is the possibility of a resolution to complicated social questions. In 1890 Carabosse was not merely vanquished (ubiquitous in modern productions) but later also happily incorporated back into the social order (the first production went to some trouble, using a double, to have Carabosse present at the wedding party in the last act). As to antisemitism, this was by no means limited to St Petersburg and Paris during this period. This undercurrent, though undeniably present, may therefore not be particularly helpful when one is trying to understand what was going on between - specifically and only - those two cities. However it may be a theme to consider when looking at (again) Carabosse. The original designs for this character show her not only - as in the version of the story most familiar to 19thC Russians - old and hunchbacked, but also with a prominent "hooked" and pointed nose. There is some less than wholly convincing scholarship about Carabosse from a couple of writers so, as ever, more research is needed. Finally, Lopukhov. To be blunt, it is not a good idea to rely on what he says, however colourful. There seems to be an accidental Carabosse theme to this post so, to finish, it was Lopukhov who insisted - when mounting his revival of Beauty in 1923 - that it was "authentic" to the 1890 production if, on first entering during the Prologue, Carabosse and her rats take the places of the King and Queen on their thrones. The Sergeyev notations have no such scene. Again, more research will be necessary to clarify the extent of the lèse-majesté. As my summary article suggests, this may be important to our overall understanding. On Lopukhov in general, here as so often we can learn from the impeccable and deeply informed writing of Roland John Wiley. It so happens that his coruscating review (in Dance Research, winter 2004) of the translated collection you quote from is currently conveniently available online: https://www.euppublishing.com/doi/pdfplus/10.3366/drs.2004.22.2.207
  6. The critic Mark Ronan has posted my 2019 article about The Sleeping Beauty on his website (with permission from the Royal Opera House: the piece appeared in their programme for the latest revival). Perhaps people might like to have the link:-https://www.markronan.com/2020/06/sleeping-beauty/The article focuses on the first production in order to try and rediscover the original intentions of Petipa, Vsevolozhsky and Tchaikovsky. Although not mentioned in this short piece I also have a personal interest in such issues as tempi and choreographic style, the key research question for me being one of meaning, both of the Sleeping Beauty as a whole and also of the individual scenes, mimes, variations and so on.Please note that the Royal Opera House did not allow me to write this article academically - with footnotes etc - and asked me just to assert my findings. This may be controversial (for example when I appear to contradict well-known books or leave out stories "everyone knows") but as much as possible is drawn from primary sources.I am looking for more material, specifically private documents (e.g. diaries, memoirs, correspondence) that might cast light on what was going on in St Petersburg and Paris around 1890. So if anyone knows of a family archive - even just forgotten papers in an attic somewhere - relating to Russia and/or France during the relevant period, I would be delighted to learn more.
  7. There is a comment online (not on this forum) to the effect that the recent production of Jewels at the Vienna Staatsoper seemed less successful than the performances by the Royal Ballet in London in 2017. Further there has been criticism by others of the recent Jewels in Berlin. So I was wondering if someone could explain these variations in quality, given how seriously the Balanchine Trust supervises everything? Are some authorised coaches more reliable than others? Or is this more about variable standards across different companies (such as the three listed above)? Or just the luck of the draw, subjective opinion meeting the vagaries of rehearsal and production?
  8. I could not agree more. Modern audiences have come to expect ballet to deliver “a psychological journey" or "gymnastics" (misnamed as "dancers are so much better these days": as someone who has watched many dozens of hours of recordings, official and unofficial, of British dancers performing many different versions of Sleeping Beauty from the 1930s to the present day, the experience is far more one of a gradual decline in technique, pace, musicality and meaning). This combination of (ahistorical) expectations produces a rather simplistic and low-grade set of metrics for judging performances when set against the more sophisticated audience of St Petersburg in the 1890s, still in touch with the roots of ballet in Louis XIV and his court, and able to catch the many and various allusions packed into the text of Sleeping Beauty. Ratmansky's experiments are probably the most serious attempts in the world today at re-educating dancers, managements and the public. Bravo!
  9. The title of the article is “Inheritance: an historical overview of the Sleeping Beauty”. It's written by Tobi Tobias.
  10. Many thanks: NYPL do indeed have what looks like a full run so I have written to them.
  11. Wonder if anyone can help. I am looking for an article in the summer 1976 issue of “On Point” (vol.2, no. 1). This periodical was published from 1975 by the American Ballet Theatre, New York, but it does not seem any libraries in the UK (where I am based) carry it. I would be most grateful for further information as to where I might find a copy.
  12. That is probably true, in one sense. However, as the NYPL catalogue entry makes clear, the films have been digitised. They now exist in digital form (as computer files which the NYPL can stream) so things have clearly moved on from the days of rare rolls of film in cans.
  13. This excellent summary of the Victor Jessen "Sleeping Beauty" films dates from 2003. So - as it is now 15 years later - does anyone know if there are any other ways of seeing them without going to New York Public Library? Here is the full link to the NYPL holding: https://catalog.nypl.org/search~S1?/Xjessen+victor+beauty&searchscope=1&SORT=DZ/Xjessen+victor+beauty&searchscope=1&SORT=DZ&extended=0&SUBKEY=jessen+victor+beauty/1%2C4%2C4%2CB/frameset&FF=Xjessen+victor+beauty&searchscope=1&SORT=DZ&4%2C4%2C
  14. There is an extended compare-and-contrast piece here (if the abstract appeals most libraries should be able to get a copy of the original journal article): https://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/drs.2017.0181
  15. There are some contemporary recollections here:
  16. The greatest Lilac Fairy I have seen a recording of is Dame Beryl Grey. Dame Beryl - still going strong at 90 years old (and with a book out for those who want to learn more) - made her debut as Odette / Odile on her 15th birthday, so perhaps she was even younger when she debuted Lilac Fairy. For those who can find the recording, Beryl Grey was just extraordinary. Total control, legs like steel, yet with such grace, musicality and, above all, real expression and meaning.
  17. I know it has been, ahem, fourteen years but does anyone know what happened to this article (the link doesn't work nor does a Google search)? It probably got modified and is now elsewhere: any information welcome!
  18. Westminster Reference Library, just off Leicester Square in London, has long been a happy secret for those interested in researching the performing arts. Their holdings, covering many aspects of performance including dance and ballet, are impressive, comprising a collection of some 15,000 books, a third of which are available to borrow if one joins the Library (which is free).The collection includes Anna Pavlova's personal library of books, which has recently been taken out of storage. Some are only available for consultation in the reference section; but many others were added to the Lending Library. More about the Library here:https://www.westminster.gov.uk/library-opening-hours-and-contact-details#westminster-reference-libraryhttps://trib.ent.sirsidynix.net.uk/client/en_GB/wcc/?rm=PERFORMING+ARTS0|||1|||0|||true&dt=listTo search the catalogue online:https://trib.ent.sirsidynix.net.uk/client/en_GB/wcc/
  19. Amy, congratulations! I have sent you a PM with some more.
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