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Laurent

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Everything posted by Laurent

  1. Laurent

    Yulia Stepanova

    What about the journalist removed the paragraph about Stepanova from the interview?
  2. Far more likely this is a sign that while the rest of the Mariinsky troupe is on vacations, somebody had to toil: the show must go on while there are not enough of qualified dancers to make it happen.
  3. Laurent

    Yulia Stepanova

    Yet another little gem from lapetitratdelopera
  4. Laurent

    2017/2018 season

    You may revise your conviction that La fille du pharaon "has zero dramatic value" when you see it danced by the right artists.
  5. Laurent

    2017/2018 season

    Does so well what ? In other variations Smirnova displayed the same defects she has been always afflicted with, her hands defying all attempts to conform to the canons of classical dance. If this is going to stay, she will never be a great classical ballerina.
  6. Laurent

    Royal Ballet Winter 2018-19 Casting Posted

    There are other artistic directors who do the same. With pretty much the same result: lots of "dross" that should NEVER go on stage. A calamity strikes when a newspaper critic, or two, writes a favourable review. Then the piece is guaranteed to stay in the repertoire for a while, even if it is "unspeakably bad".
  7. Laurent

    Yulia Stepanova

  8. A great danger of internet is the illusion it gives of acquiring knowledge fast and with little effort. No one can claim knowledge of the 19th Century ballet without spending hundreds of hours studying the archives and reading through thousands of pages of documents as no one can know much about, for example, the 18th Century France, without devoting to it thousands of hours, studying the sources.
  9. It doesn't have to be wholly irrelevant. It is enough that it is mostly irrelevant. Especially to the question of why actors playing exotic characters in the 18-th and 19-th century ballets had to be accordingly dressed and wear an appropriate make-up.
  10. Nanushka, being a cultural historian on top of being a ballet expert, I would gladly answer your questions, except that this is a thread on the 2017-2018 season at one of the major ballet companies, not on the social history of France (or Russia). A peripheral issue in Pierre Lacotte's re-creation of one of the 19-th Century ballets overshadowed every other aspect of that production. One of the active participants applied a certain term to the 18th and 19-th century in a way that I found misleading and incorrect, that's all, neither the 18th and 19-th century was about "conspicuous consumption". Perhaps the post war U.S.A. was, maybe the "21-st Century man" is (whatever some participants in the discussion of that peripheral issue put into this term).
  11. I appreciate your comment and would like to point out that Veblen applies it specifically to what he terms "the Theory of the Leisure Class". Neither the 18th, and certainly not the 19th Century was about the "Leisure Class".
  12. Seeing everywhere "race" and "racism" seems to be a particularly American, post 1960-ies, syndrom. I don't see any such issues in French ballets of pre-modern era. Classical mythology, fable and exoticisms (full of local, vivid, color, in order for the audience to be engaged) are a staple of the storylines. Let us have at least this right: the libretto is by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges, a collaborator of Théophile Gautier in Giselle, and is based on Gautier's Le Roman de la momie. Gautier was a great poet of the Romantic era and is still celebrated as such today. Saint-Georges was a man of many talents, in particular he was an excellent playwright. Nubians were not some "racialized" Blacks, but the people at the southern end of Egypt who were constant partners of Egyptians, sometimes adversaries, sometimes allies or rulers (there were several Nubian pharaons in the history of Egypt). The appearance of the ballet coincides with the construction of the Suez canal. I don't understand what do you mean here, what "conspicuous consumption … in the 18th/19th centuries" ?!? Another modern, US made cliché applied to a different era, different culture? The 18th and the 19th Centuries were about anything but "consumption" (unless you understand by this a wide-spread menace of dying from consumption, i.e., tuberculosis). When the "21-th Century" man becomes, literally, a slave of rigid and limited perception, unable to make basic distinctions, then, indeed, much of the premodern culture, with its enormous riches, may be inaccessible to him, and lots of things in it feel "unfortunate".
  13. Laurent

    2017 -- 2018 Season

    One of the best moments I had this season anywhere, Shakirova's sublime execution of the female variation from le pas de deux des paysans (Giselle). It warms the heart to see such a deep understanding of what the classical dance is about.
  14. Laurent

    The Bolshoi under Vaziev

    The amount, not the quality. I have had an ample opportunity to observe the company since Vaziev took it over two years ago, and I was positively impressed with Zhiganshina on several occasions.
  15. I am much more scandalized by the majority of opera and ballet productions today that are made to reflect "21st sensibilities", to be concerned by the fact that some self-appointed censors consider Pierre Lacotte and 19th Century ballets "offensive" to those sensibilities.
  16. Laurent

    Promotion of May Nagahisa

    There is sponsorship and "sponsorship". The way it functions at Mariinsky is different from the examples given for American companies.
  17. No, Pierre Lacotte's La fille de pharaon is not a fantasy "based on". It is a recreation aiming to preserve as much of the feel of the ballets of that period as possible, including lost and forgotten "small steps" (petits pas).
  18. If this diatribe is directed at me, then I would like to point out that I am not Russian. When Political Correctness goes too far, it resembles a form of bolshevism.
  19. If Americans are haunted by some ghosts in their closet, I suppose, it is a problem they must be addressing without imposing it on the rest of the world. A Nubian princess who is, by the way, in no way an "African-American", is supposed to look like a Nubian. La fille de pharaon is a wonderful early example of the grand ballet genre, one of the two genres prevalent in the last third of the 19th Century. I love Lacotte's re-staging for an opportunity to experience that genre by modern day audience, including lovely Pugni's music who was a great master of ballet scores. Another reason why one should want to see it is that Pierre Lacotte revives some of the lost, and now forgotten, gems of the 1860-70-ies ballerina craft. My three favourite casts are, in the order of performance, Zakharova/Rodkin, Obraztsova/Ovcharenko, Stepanova/Skvortsov.
  20. Laurent

    Promotion of May Nagahisa

    Ivanova, an outstanding talent, was given by Vaziev La Sylphide and Aurore parts in her first and second years. A colleague of mine in her review spoke about Ivanova's Aurore in glowing terms.
  21. Laurent

    Promotion of May Nagahisa

    Whatever one thinks of the system of "sponsorship" which means that some dancers at Mariinsky are given roles and promotion because a wealthy sponsor pays money to Gergiev, in this case the sponsored dancer is truly exceptional.
  22. Terribly filmed, idiosyncratic performance that doesn't touch me at all.
  23. Laurent

    2017-18 Season

    The season ended with La fille mal gardée and what a treasure it is when danced by l'Opéra. Heymann — beauty, exactness, style and ease, Ould Braham — finesse and grace. Marque and Baulac were not far behind. And what a master Ashton was, every turn of music reflected in a choreographically meaningful, skillfully composed phrase, a ballet composeur, nobody is capable of this today. Heymann and Ould Braham demonstrated that they are made to dance classics, that their element is classics, and they will be dancing classics, wherever it takes them. They will be dancing with other companies because they have so few opportunities at home. After witnessing recently at Mariinsky a drastic erosion of quality, where ballet after ballet was being performed in a lackluster, sometimes lousy, manner, where today even the corps de ballet can be an embarrassment to that famous stage, it seems to be a miracle that at l'Opéra there are still classical artists who aspire to the highest artistic standards, in spite of the repertoire policies hostile to classics.
  24. Laurent

    Are there any great Classicists today?

    Novikova used to be a dancing machine, she is not, however, a paragon of academically pure dance; artistically, I find her often remarkably unappealing, like in her Sleeping Beauty in March.
  25. Dupont's odd and unhappy relation with ballet classics makes her singularly unsuitable to introduce you to the treasures of classical dance. Unfortunately, her recordings are, literally, everywhere, as she was throughout her career a darling of Brigitte Lefèvre. For example, the only currently commercially available recording of the original Parisian La Sylphide features Dupont, in spite of the fact that it is the least desirable of all that you are likely to see in the internet. I strongly recommend the recording with Ghislaine Thesmar, it was issued on the VHS tape. Similarly, I strongly recommend the recording of the original Parisian Coppélia danced by Charline Giezendanner and other students of École de danse. I also recommend any recordings with Carla Fracci (especially her Giselle with Erik Bruhn). Be aware that only a small portion of commercially issued ballet DVDs are well filmed and have high artistic value. For recordings that do possess very high artistic value, one must turn to the internet. The difficult part for you will be how to identify them in the ocean of information noise.
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