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doug

Editorial Advisor
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Everything posted by doug

  1. I *assume* Wiley got the direction from the notation. I've not looked at the these particular notations too closely, but the Nutcracker notation as a whole (mostly in Nikolai Sergeev's hand ... and he appears to have to be in a hurry) contains at least ground plans for most of the formal dances, and arrows are often used to indicate traveling direction.
  2. Hi Mike, A good source for info on the 1892 Nutcracker is Roland John Wiley's "Tchaikovsky's Ballets," published by Oxford University Press in 1985, and also "The Life and Ballet of Lev Ivanov," same author and publisher, 1997. The original apotheosis of the Nutcracker may sound a little strange. The original libretto included the following description: "The apotheosis represents a large beehive with flying bees, closely guarding their riches." Eight students from the Imperial Ballet School represented bees. We don't know what action, if any, was carried out in this scene; the apotheosis is not included in the early 20th-century choreographic notation of Nutcracker. Possibly, the scene was included as a nod to the Tsar; bees traditionally represent prosperity. Ballets of this period sometimes included apotheosis scenes that seem to us unrelated, at least directly, to the ballet's plot. Raymonda (1898) included a depiction of a tournament, with jousting knights on horses (made of papier-mache!). Raymonda is set in the middle ages, so at least we can make broad sense of that scene. Sleeping Beauty included a depiction of mythological beings set in a cloudscape, with Apollo driving his chariot. That ballet's last two acts are set in the age of Louis XIV, the sun god, so the Apollo reference also makes broad some sense. Nutcracker's apotheosis seems much more of a baffler.
  3. PNB has Valse Fantaisie in its rep. I think they performed it on two different reps in the 90s.
  4. Here are my Balanchine Cortège Hongrois notes (listing the dance numbers, where it is found in the original 1898 Raymonda score and who danced in the 1973 premiere of the Balanchine ballet): Introduction (Procession) Original score - Act III: Le cortège hongrois Dancers - Principal classical couple (Melissa Hayden, Jacques d’Amboise); Principal character couple (Karin Von Aroldingen, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux); 8 classical couples; 8 character couples) Entrée Original score - Act III: Entrée Dancers - 8 classical couples Adagio Original score - Act III: Pas classique hongrois Dancers - 8 classical couples Czardas Original score - Act III: Grand pas hongrois Dancers - Principal character couple (Karin Von Aroldingen, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux); 4 character couples Pas de quatre Original score - Act III: Danse des enfants 4 classical women Variation 1 Original score - Act III: Variation 1 Dancer - Classical woman (Colleen Neary) Variation 2 Original score - Act III: Variation 2 Dancers - 4 classical men Variation 3 Original score - Act III: Variation 3 Dancer - Classical woman (Merrill Ashley) Pas de deux Original score - Act II: Grand adagio Dancers - Principal classical couple (Melissa Hayden, Jacques d’Amboise) Variation 4 Original score - Act II: Variation 3 Dancer - Principal classical man (Jacques d’Amboise) Variation 5 Original score - Act III: Variation 4 Dancer - Principal classical woman (Melissa Hayden) Waltz Original score - Act I: Grande valse & Repreise de la valse Dancers - 8 classical couples w/Principal classical couple (Melissa Hayden, Jacques d’Amboise) Coda Original score - Act III: Coda Dancers - 8 character couples w/Principal character couple (Karin Von Aroldingen, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux) Galop Original score - Act III: Galop Dancers - 16 corps couples w/principals Apotheosis (Procession) Original score - Act III: Apotheosis Complete cast * * * * * More notes: - The choreography of Cortège Hongrois is a mix of new choreography and quotes from the Petipa choreography of 1898. The quotes are often set to different passages of music than Petipa used. - The women’s pas de quatre was a dance for 24 students in 1898. - The pas de deux was a pas d’action for 6 dancers/character artists in 1898. - The coda was danced by the classical couples and classical principals in 1898.
  5. But the Jarvi recording is beautifully performed (and lists the excerpts on the back cover as being from Acts I & II). In my opinion, the best complete Raymonda is the NAXOS recording. No cuts, no additions (not even Petipa's 1898 interpolations) and inexpensive.
  6. I like Orpheus Portrait. It's one of my favorite pas de deux's by Kent Stowell.
  7. Cortege also includes the Act I waltz (classical corps) and Act 2 Pas d'action adagio (classical pas de deux) and male variation from Raymonda.
  8. Lisa Kipp (ballet mistress) is a former dancer with PNB and also has recently work in the PNB Costume Shop.
  9. The score of Le Pavillon d'Armide has been recorded by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and released on Marco Polo 8.223779. The CD includes a variation that has made its way into the Paquita Grand Pas. The choreography for the variation, as danced today by the Kirov, seems to be an embellishment (in this case, technically more difficult but with less overall movement) of what Alexandra Danilova taught in the video I mentioned above.
  10. Hi all - the Stepanov notation system allows for notation of movement for body parts as detailed as wrists, ankles and necks. The Jardin notations (probably among the first notation projects in the 1890s) are uncharacteristically detailed. With most of the Stepanov notations, only legs and feet and direction of the torso are given, but with Jardin all three staves that can accomodate notational symbols are filled. Notations this detailed are very helpful when working with a less-detailed notated work. At least one has some viable options for editorializing. What I love so much about working with the Stepanov notations is learning the vocabulary used for children, corps, soloists/principals. There definitely is a regular vaocabulary in use so when you find something unique it is all the more special. The vocabulary is very academic and musically literal. I am reminded of Bach, who was a very academic composer. Like Petipa, he was considered passe at the end of his life, although later generations found his work expressive, as well as classical/academic. I feel the same about much Balanchine choreography. Hope this hasn't strayed too far off topic.
  11. Just a few random comments: Whether one agrees with Joan A. or not, I believe she does address the big-picture issues. That said, she balances her arguments with specific examples, given her space limitations in the New Yorker. I suppose the same issues keep coming up because she, among other writers, feel they are not being addressed. I think it is possible to be a great fan of the company and like the dancers one is seeing and still appreciate the viewpoint of a critic who wants to see changes in the way the company functions. I would say this is possible just about everywhere in the dance world. It's no big surprise that City Ballet puts ballets on without a lot of rehearsal. They have a huge rep and only so many dancers and hours in which to prepare. One of the issues seems to be how that time is used and how those dancers are deployed, from class (do they still do enough slow tendus) to rehearsals to coaching to casting. I, for one, appreciate all the view points. An anology: in British music, in which I have been somewhat involved for the past ten years or so, there exists an active pool of performers/writers/scholars/enthusiasts, many of whom have voiced their opinion in Gramophone magazine. This ongoing exchange (reviews sparking new research that results in new musical editions and recordings, producing more reviews and criticism) has generally been very healthy for the state of music making and music research in London and beyond.
  12. I don't have Roland John Wiley's A Century of Russian Ballet at hand, but Pavillon is the last libretto included in the book. It premiered in Russia and maybe parts of it were kept in rep in the Company or at least in the School during Danilova's days.
  13. The video documentary about Alexandra Danilova, Reflections of a Dancer, includes rehearsal clips of her staging of excerpts of Pavillon d'Armide for SAB. You could watch the Workshop performance from whatever that year was at the NYPL. One of the variations is a Soviet Paquita standard and is given complete in the documentary. So interesting to see Danilova's version -- faster and more fleet -- compared to the Soviet version - slower and more technical. Really demonstrates one of the major differences between Imperial-era choreography and Soviet-era revisions in a nutshell.
  14. I haven't seen this position of the arms notated in the Stepanov notations.
  15. Thanks, MakarovaFan. I second your recommendation. Dutoit and Montreal have brilliant recordings of Impressionist composers and also of Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky scores. I always check first to see if they have put out a recording of any particular ballet music I am interested in hearing.
  16. I've been trying to determine the source for the ABT staging in the early 1980s. It doesn't bear resemblance to the Kirov versions I have seen. The television broadcast credits a stager but I forget at the moment who it was. The notated version is for two ballerinas, 6 demi women, 12 korifeiki (between corps and coryphee, I believe), 12 corps de ballet couples, 12 little girls and 12 little boys. The props include 36 garlands, 12 baskets of flowers and 6 flowers for the demis. As far as the relationship between the notated version and the Kirov version, I believe the only similarities are the use of 6 women at the opening of the piece (though the steps are completely different), the support of the ballerina by the demis at the beginning of the adagio (again, different steps) and the diagonal grouping of the dancers in the adagio (again, different steps).
  17. I'm going, too, and am excited. I'll report.
  18. Francia Russell was speaking recently about working with Balanchine. She said when rehearsals were going slowly or choreography was not flowing, Balanchine would start asking whether it was time for coffee and then launch into an enthusiastic discussion of Wonder Woman.
  19. The Act III mazurka (from Glazunov's Scenes de ballet) was apparently added by Petipa for the first performances of the ballet in 1898. It is referenced in the opening night program and is also included in the Harvard Theatre Collection materials for Raymonda. I've found many of the variations in the Grigorovich version to be very close to what is notated for Raymonda (circa early 1900s). As with most Soviet-era versions of 19th-century ballets, some choreography bears close resemble to what we can know about the earliest versions and other choreography is new or very revised.
  20. I'd like to add that much of the Petipa, et al, choreography that I have worked on from Stepanov notation looks like it could be by Bournonville, meaning it is derived from the 19th-century French style. The Danes have kept the old French features much more than the Russians have (Vaganova style changed many features, while retaining others). American neoclassical ballet (Balanchine, etc.) has some features of the old style but, of course, also has many differences (and in other ways than Vaganova is different). When I saw the RDB dance Bournonville in 2000 (those were my first live performances of Bournonville danced by RDB, and I know there were complaints from those knowing much more than I ...), I was constantly reminded of the dances I worked on from Stepanov notation.
  21. Francia Russell staged the pas de trois in Act I. The choreography is said to be "traditional" and not by Kent Stowell. I'll try and find out who wears apricot in the waltz. The Act III national dances are the same as always, just new costumes. Act I was substantially rechoreographed this time around. The Jester was always in Act III, but is now also in Act I. No more Benno. Wolfgang is a young man. 24 swans now rather than 18, as in the past. The Psant Girl used to dance the Act I Pas d'action, but now that is given over to Wolfgang and the female courtiers. In fact, no more peasants - everyone's a courtier. I won't see the production until next week ...
  22. I don't know the answer to that question, John-Michael, but it certainly is a very intriguing idea.
  23. I'd be interested in a description of Canfield's Nutcracker, if anyone would like to post that here.
  24. I don't have anything specific. You might look at Ann Hutchinson Guest's publication with with notation for the Pas de Six and accompanying essays. She has revived the work from St. Leon's own notations.
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