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About Laurent

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  1. Yesterday's « Giselle » with Ludmila Pagliero and Mathias Heymann brought tears to my eyes. These two are true artists. They are living on stage "dans ce ravissant chef-d’œuvre de chorégraphie”, as the 19-th century critics were calling « Giselle », they don't just represent. I was thinking of that great Muse of Serge Lifar, Nina Vyroubova, when watching Pagliero's Giselle. Heymann is a sublimation of masculine balletic art. In the end, if ballet wasn’t capable of moving you profoundly, if it wasn’t lifting you up, it would not be the Grand Art it is.
  2. Suppose somebody indeed wanted to 'replicate' the 1921 production (on the side: I don't think it is useful to apply the verb 'replicate' to ballet productions in view of what I wrote earlier). The issue of the text immediately arises and I don't see how this issue can be solved on the basis of 'interviewing everyone who had seen the 1921 production' and similar activities. Those folks, if we could find any, would be over 100 years old. How many would be able to describe in detail the steps. In any case, there wouldn't be any need for this, since there are very detailed descriptions and sketche
  3. The 1921 production and the Ratmansky's production were not based on an "earlier source". They were based on the same source. If a person who saw the original production of 1890, the reprise of 1914 and the production of 1921 was brought back to life and shown the Ratmansky's production, he would most definitely think that Ratmansky modelled his on the 1921 production. The difference is, if we are talking about the text, which is only a fraction of the grand ballet-féerie production, in 1921 Serguéev knew well what was in the notation, while Ratmansky and his collaborators were often only left
  4. He couldn't "replicate" it, even if he wanted. But he retained its essential core, plus some inessentials, like the fish-dives. What goes into a ballet production? The short answer is: libretto, music, scenery, costumes, choreography. The libretto was nothing but an adaptation of a classic French fairy tale, "La belle au bois dormant", that saw a number of stage adaptations before, including a wonderful ballet-féerie by Aumer and Hérold with Lise Noblet and Marie Taglioni. Leaving the libretto aside, we are left with the remaining four. Of those four, when we talk about the original "Slee
  5. This is Henri Justamant's notation of "Giselle". Marian Smith's belief that Justamant could have been supervising the last run of "Giselles" in Paris in 1868 is incorrect and that, thus, the manuscript, now at Köln, may be a witness to the final form "Giselle" took in the 19th Century in Paris. Justamant's "Giselle" is, incidentally, for a somewhat smaller ensemble than the original 1841 production at Académie Royale de Musique and, in 1863, the reprise of "Giselle" in Paris, for Marthe Mourawieff, saw the introduction of new dances and increasing the size of some ensembles. Ratmansky
  6. Would you find it more "bearable" if you learned that the music wasn't composed for the Swan Lake and that Tchaïkowsky may have never given permission to use it? At this (and the British) ballet forum it became a matter of good taste to publically express one's disdain for Grigorovich's staging of Swan Lake as if he committed a serious crime against the sacrosanct integrity of the work. Could it be that this attitude is based on incomplete knowledge of the history of Swan Lake? This parallels the situation with the attitude towards the original, "glorious", Petipa choreography for the Sleeping
  7. The original libretto of Théophile Gautier provides a clear answer: Giselle expired as a result of a fatal stab that reached her heart. Nowhere in the libretto Giselle is mentioned to suffer from cardiac problems. elle répète le motif qu’elle a dansé avec son amant ; mais bientôt ses forces s’épuisent, elle chancelle, s’incline, saisit l’épée fatale apportée par Hilarion et se laisserait tomber sur la pointe si Albrecht n’écartait le fer avec cette soudaineté de mouvement que donne le désespoir. Hélas ! c’est une précaution inutile ! le coup de poignard est porté ; il a atteint le cœur et
  8. Many of us in Paris are no more in the mood of commenting on her possible actions, just patiently waiting for Aurélie Dupont to be replaced by somebody who could save ballet in Paris.
  9. You are absolutely right. These tours de force appeared precisely as showcase pieces and during that period it was quite common, and expected, to have encores. Audiences often demanded that a particular variation, pas seul, or fouettés, were repeated. Complaining about "milking" (??) It sounds like uttered by somebody who doesn't understand the genre. The ballet "Sleeping Beauty" is a child of the era that created ballet-féerie, with its glitter, sparkle, little concern for dramatic contents and, as its pinnacle, the étoile-ballerina. This is when this term becomes widely used. Balletoman
  10. I am not sure who may be crediting Petipa with the choreography of the Dream scene but this view is erroneous, and on more than one ground. First of all, the Dream of Don Quichotte in Petipa's version is completely different; in contrast to Gorsky's, it is a "horror vision" in which Don Quichotte is facing one obstacle after another, in which he is battling an army of cacti, in which he is confronted and surrounded by monsters, crocodiles, dragons. He is combatting them bravely. His dream ends with a vision of a garden with Dulcinea reclining on a bed. Her servants wave branches at Don Quichot
  11. The vision scene is considered to be by Gorsky as well, he may have borrowed from Petipa ballonné, his favourite step, no more.
  12. We cannot be certain that in the Don Quichotte we see today there is anything left of Petipa. The dances that Macaulay meant are entirely by Gorsky.
  13. A worthwhile commentary, if you are able to read French, Sergueï Polounine le prince errant de l’âme russe https://www.lecourrierderussie.com/culture/2019/01/serguei-polounine-br-le-prince-errant-de-l-ame-russe/?fbclid=IwAR21s5lGij7denqzVoiS__w-8eLBmdpcAYCE_t8DXjNvWZYKE8JKk2zms7k
  14. Within quotes I would put rather the word "worthwile". In the matters of ballet history Macaulay remains a dilettante, he confuses his own writings with historical realities. In his recent sociological essay he tells us, for example, about Marius Petipa's images of women the following: The dances one can see in "Don Quixote" are entirely by Gorsky, not by Petipa. Ballet history basics, a telling blunder revealing how much or, rather, how little, Macaulay knows about the history of ballet.
  15. Le Cygne (Saint-Saëns) , 22 December 2018,
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