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EricMontreal

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About EricMontreal

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Fan, with some experience as a dancer in my youth.
  • City**
    Montreal
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    Canada

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  1. Cubanmiamiboy--Wow! I grew up watching a French version of that exact same cartoon! I had forgotten all about it. Anyway, your point makes sense and is fair enough (the Disney's Little Mermaid came out when I was 9, but as mentioned I knew previous versions--the live action one from Faerie Tale Theatre as well which also kept the original ending). And it's interesting you bring up Swan Lake--I still don't understand why the Soviet tradition of a happy ending started (especially since it was Soviet authorities who persuaded Prokofiev to abandon his original idea for Romeo and Juliet to get a happy ending--thankfully). Roberta--I didn't even know about those Ballet Review articles (a magazine I would buy when I'd see it at dance stores, but that was pretty random--I also didn't know it was being put on "hiatus"). They have the Harlequinade article on their website but nothing going back as far a the Vikharev back issues... Hrmm, I wonder if I can find back issues for sale anywhere.
  2. https://www.nypl.org/about/divisions/theatre-film-and-tape-archive/access My background is in musical theatre, and in New York there's been a system where shows get filmed (for the most part) and are viewable for educational and research reasons at TOFT, NYPL's Theatre Film and Tape Archive. It goes back to some amazing works--when I was writing about the original Hal Prince/Michael Bennett production of the Stephen Sondheim/George Furth musical Company, from 1970, I was able to go and view a video of the original staging (albeit shot on tour in Washington) and have some sense of what I was writing about. These archives, BTW, are easy to view for anyone interested--there is a lot of Blanchine video there, for example. You need a valid NYPL library card, but one is easy to get, even for international students like myself. However, some directors back when it was being established did not approve of it. Bob Fosse refused to have any of his shows filmed for the archives, although they ended up including audience recorded bootlegs of his final musical, the flop Big Deal, as well as his revival of his original staging of Sweet Charity, and Jerome Robbins, as you mention, was against filming his work, including his Broadway retrospective, Jerome Robbins' Broadway--which also exists in the archives in "bootleg" prints. All of this causes me to shake my head. I have no right to tell a creator that they shouldn't have their work preserved, except... I think that they should have their work preserved. I suppose there's the worry about plagiarism, but I think that is already going on, in an unfortunate way, in the dance world. I think the greater worry is that either original works or such great recreations simply get lost, without a recording.
  3. I have to comment on this. I am OK with changes for different mediums, etc. As much as I love Anderson's Little Mermaid, it's so different from the Disney version anyway--an unhappy ending in Disney's version would make zero sense (maybe they could have her commit suicide to a reprise of "Under the Sea" 😉 ). And, speaking of ballets, have you seen La Esmeralda? Do you know how Notre Dame de Paris ends? 😉 (Of course it's true that Victor Hugo himself had already written the libretto of an opera based on his work which was a hit, though now forgotten, which similarly had a happy ending.)
  4. I can't find a source anywhere, but I swear in one interview I read of Ratmansky's, he strongly implied that he was against releasing filmed versions of these reconstructions and they should be saved for people to savour in person. Which, given the fact that I can hardly afford to travel very often to see these works, is very frustrating (further more, he actually posted a link to the YouTube of the streaming film of his production of Paquita for the Bavarian State Ballet when they apparently destroyed the sets--which implies on some level he must understand the importance of having an available professionally filmed version of these works). It is too bad. For whatever faults one might find in the choreography reconstruction or performances, I cherish the BluRay of the Vikharev Raymonda--it's honestly one of my most watched ballet discs (and I have a hard time with the major changes made to other productions of Raymonda now that I've been spoiled with one that follows the original scenario, even if performances from the Mariinsky and the Bolshoi have stronger overall dancing). Similarly, I was thrilled that we finally got a commercial release of the Vikharev/Bolshoi Coppelia, faults and all (I know obviously there are less than legal ways to see their past semi reconstructions like Esmeralda, which seems to be long gone from the repertory, and Le Corsaire, thanks to the live cinema streams and people saving them, but I would love to have official releases. Perhaps with Le Corsaire being screened in cinemas again in November, they will follow through with a DVD release like they did with Coppelia). And similarly, now that the Vikharev Sleeping Beauty seems to have a semi permanent (we'll see, I guess...) home at the Mariinsky again, I can only hope that they think to make an official video release of that, as well. If Ratmansky really is against releasing DVDs of his reconstructions, I doubt the Mariinsky feels the same about their Vikharev reconstruction (we did get an edited Act III of it streaming earlier this year--and of course the full Act III was released years back on a New Year's Eve Gala disc). No matter what one thinks about the pros and cons of these reconstructions, I think for a myriad reasons that it's genuinely important to have good commercial releases of them to document them (I am sure that the theatres, at least, have filmed copies of them, but...) And it will make me feel less guilty for watching shaky phone camera footage Roberta, thanks for your report! You said: " On the whole, Berlin-Ratmansky seems to be far more faithful to the Harvard notes than was the St. Petersburg-Vikharev edition, as Vikharev most likely caved into Mariinsky coaches' (and sr dancers?) pressures to retain most of the beloved Soviet-era steps. " I thought Vikharev even owned up to this--that, even much more so than with Sleeping Beauty for whatever reason, there was far more resistance to changing the established Soviet choreography in his Bayadere.
  5. Thank you everyone for your extremely helpful recommendations in regards to Sleeping Beauty. Birdsall--that actually makes a lot of sense (and, looking at the schedule, seems to be right) that the Vikharev staging is danced at the old stage and the Sergeyev at M-2. So I appreciate the reassurance. It looks like the Novikova performance will be more convenient for me so, while I will have to confirm with a friend, I think I will try to get tickets for that in the next few days. I know both ballerinas, but only through video. However, I have seen Novikova in the Vikharev reconstruction of Raymonda at La Scala, which is one of my most watched ballet DVDs, so it would be interesting, as well, to see how she interprets another major Petipa role. As I said above, it's been my dream since the reconstruction first was announced, to finally see it live so, even if the "revival of the revival" has issues, I already am sure I'll be overwhelmed just to see the production. I really appreciate all of your replies (and thanks for the interesting link, Drew!) and will keep everyone up to date.
  6. Thanks Drew--what did you think of their Flames vs the Ratmansky one most of us know? I think with their Cinderella, which seems to be a hit, that they will tone back the effects--and some videos I've seen seem to show this. Cinderella always interests me--Prokofiev apparently did change some of his music for the original Zakharov production--but it wasn't like, obviously, Petipa and Tchaikovsky, or even Delibes and his choreographers, where he would change music all the time for the production. That said--a lot of the actual choreography felt "right" to me, in a way that it hadn't before. The Bolshoi film with a great Struchkova as Cinderella, is in the public domain so I find no reason why not to link it here. It suffers--at least in this print--for many of the main reasons other Soviet ballet films do. But does seem to correspond with the basic choreography of the Mikhailovsky production, including the in-joke with Prokofiev's The Love of Three Oranges, and the general set details..
  7. I'm going to be in Russia on business in early November (Moscow), but it's been my dream to see the reconstruction of Sleeping Beauty. I see that it is being performed twice, according to their website, on November 9th and 10th. I was wondering if anyone had any advice about which cast to choose, and if there is a likelihood this is mis-information and it will just be the K Sergeyev Beauty (which I've seen, and I wouldn't mind seeing again--but wouldn't change my travel plans to see). https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/repertoire/ballet/spkras1 Thanks!
  8. In my stupidity as a "newbie" I posted my own experiences seeing Cinderella nearly a year ago in the Cinderella thread. I *hope* it's allowed to repeat my thoughts here. I had posted: " I was lucky enough to see Mikhailovesky Theatre's production of Cinderella when I was on my business trip a while back. I found it extremely impressive. I was wondering if anyone has recollections of the original Bolshoi production from Zakharov, or Sergeyev's rival production. " And when asked for details of what I saw (with questions about any links to info), I replied: | Yes, I will link you to their web page for the production. I will say that a lot of it at least reminded me of the old Bolshoi edited film version of the show--the look of it, but also some choreography details (Cinderella being courted by princes from different kingdoms--sound familiar?--at the ball, before the prince comes, the guests coming in and out of the ball...) I have to warn you that I'm still rather a novice when it comes to dancers--when I read reviews of ballets or of ballet on DVD, and someone says "Well of course it's "..." so she must be great" I have little knowledge of who people mean. I know the greats I grew up seeing either live or more often on TV--but few of them are dancing anymore, so I am of little help there. But the actual choreography and production of ballets, does deeply interest me. Victor Lebedev was the Prince--and I know this because my companion was excited to see it because of him (he did impressed me greatly--more in his solos, where I felt he and the choreography matched the demanding score perfectly, than in the partnering which had a LOT of lifts that were impressive, but lacked a bit of emotion). I'm not sure who Cinderella was as I don't have my program, but, the performance was late last year. I thought the production was beautiful, with a few caveats. For the most part, I thought the projections and digital effects only added the the magic. However, in the scenes with the fairies of the seasons, the transitions of the seasons, while beautiful, somewhat got in the way of the dancing itself. Similarly, I felt during the ball in Act II (which was the best ball scene I've ever seen in a Cinderella ballet), the constant need for the night sky in the background to flash little "fairy lights" of magic, was a bit distracting. And something that I could see my mother finding completely distracting. Happily, they kept most of the effects away from the big dance highlights--and I really think the staging of the ball, and all of its transitions, is masterful. It has some of the, what I call, over the top mid 20th C Bolshoin jumps and lifts, but they really felt earned by the romance between the two main dancers, and there was a constant feel of Cinderella not wanting to believe that this was real and running away. One of the big "effects" sequences, with the booming Prokofiev "clock theme" when Cinderella realizes she's cut it short, was really well done with a scrim and projections--and made me wonder how the Bolshoi originally did it back in 1945. Similarly effective was the sequence of the Prince searching the world for the woman who would fit a shoe--a sequence I always hate being cut from the standard Ashton version (it's a short ballet, anyway!). Overall, I am sure you can read better takes on the production elsewhere on here. There is one official video on online but it's by the people who do the effects and so focuses on that, but is easy to find. I am just curious from people who remember the original Bolshoi version (or even the alternate version done a year later for the Kirov by K Surgeyev) as to how the actual "look" and the choreography compared. For me? Out of 6 Cinderellas that I've seen, it was the best. That may have to do more with the dancers than the production, but I think sometimes it's best to treat these pieces in a relatively traditional (though exciting) way. Oh, I forgot the link--which has images and the promo video. (As well--it has reviews that, of course, are positive, but mention its similarity to the original staging. Yet, none of the people who reviewed it seem to have seen that staging, which is why I ask...) When watching the trailer now, unless things have changed, I will say that the special effects were neither that elaborate, nor as intrusive as they seem there (though the fireworks scene was very well done) https://mikhailovsky.ru/en/afisha/repertoire/cinderella_ballet/# "
  9. Yes, I will link you to their web page for the production. I will say that a lot of it at least reminded me of the old Bolshoi edited film version of the show--the look of it, but also some choreography details (Cinderella being courted by princes from different kingdoms--sound familiar?--at the ball, before the prince comes, the guests coming in and out of the ball...) I have to warn you that I'm still rather a novice when it comes to dancers--when I read reviews of ballets or of ballet on DVD, and someone says "Well of course it's "..." so she must be great" I have little knowledge of who people mean. I know the greats I grew up seeing either live or more often on TV--but few of them are dancing anymore, so I am of little help there. But the actual choreography and production of ballets, does deeply interest me. Victor Lebedev was the Prince--and I know this because my companion was excited to see it because of him (he did impressed me greatly--more in his solos, where I felt he and the choreography matched the demanding score perfectly, than in the partnering which had a LOT of lifts that were impressive, but lacked a bit of emotion). I'm not sure who Cinderella was as I don't have my program, but, the performance was late last year. I thought the production was beautiful, with a few caveats. For the most part, I thought the projections and digital effects only added the the magic. However, in the scenes with the fairies of the seasons, the transitions of the seasons, while beautiful, somewhat got in the way of the dancing itself. Similarly, I felt during the ball in Act II (which was the best ball scene I've ever seen in a Cinderella ballet), the constant need for the night sky in the background to flash little "fairy lights" of magic, was a bit distracting. And something that I could see my mother finding completely distracting. Happily, they kept most of the effects away from the big dance highlights--and I really think the staging of the ball, and all of its transitions, is masterful. It has some of the, what I call, over the top mid 20th C Bolshoin jumps and lifts, but they really felt earned by the romance between the two main dancers, and there was a constant feel of Cinderella not wanting to believe that this was real and running away. One of the big "effects" sequences, with the booming Prokofiev "clock theme" when Cinderella realizes she's cut it short, was really well done with a scrim and projections--and made me wonder how the Bolshoi originally did it back in 1945. Similarly effective was the sequence of the Prince searching the world for the woman who would fit a shoe--a sequence I always hate being cut from the standard Ashton version (it's a short ballet, anyway!). Overall, I am sure you can read better takes on the production elsewhere on here. There is one official video on online but it's by the people who do the effects and so focuses on that, but is easy to find. I am just curious from people who remember the original Bolshoi version (or even the alternate version done a year later for the Kirov by K Surgeyev) as to how the actual "look" and the choreography compared. For me? Out of 6 Cinderellas that I've seen, it was the best. That may have to do more with the dancers than the production, but I think sometimes it's best to treat these pieces in a relatively traditional (though exciting) way. Oh, I forgot the link--which has images and the promo video. (As well--it has reviews that, of course, are positive, but mention its similarity to the original staging. Yet, none of the people who reviewed it seem to have seen that staging, which is why I ask...) When watching the trailer now, unless things have changed, I will say that the special effects were neither that elaborate, nor as intrusive as they seem there (though the fireworks scene was very well done) https://mikhailovsky.ru/en/afisha/repertoire/cinderella_ballet/#
  10. As someone (born in 1980) who never had another boy in his class until he was 14, this really interested me. Ideally, of course, I hope it evens out--but it's always exciting to see that dance is seen as more of an "ok" thing for boys to get into. As much as I deride reality TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, I think they have played a big part in this change.
  11. I was lucky enough to see Mikhailovesky Theatre's production of Cinderella when I was on my business trip a while back. I found it extremely impressive. I was wondering if anyone has recollections of the original Bolshoi production from Zakharov, or Sergeyev's rival production.
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