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Everything posted by cubanmiamiboy

  1. That's exactly the same sequence done in the DQ Adagio. Very tricky, given that the dancer has to quickly get into the ballerina's space while she's doing a double pirouette a la seconde to get her into a deep penchee. I have always thought "what if the guy's timing is not the sharpest and he hits her on pirouette"...Well, I finally saw it, and HEARD it-( the hitting was loud).๐Ÿ˜ถ
  2. One thing I noticed was that the Mariinsky omits the final number -("Finale")- that the POB uses after the final tableaux of the grand pas, which is like a grand ballabile in a "jota aragonesa" form. @ 1:36:02
  3. It is so interesting to see how whole assessments of the ending gravitate around what we believe to be a "happy" ending versus a "tragic" one. What some might consider "tragic"-(the double suicide)- didn't have to be so necessarily in Petipa's or Tchaikovsky's minds. The fact that the music changes to a major key to a triumphant tune to the souls of the two lovers reunited in heaven-(ABT)- is more than enough to be seen as happy by many, particularly those with religious beliefs. The whole happy=human form/stay on earth idea was Soviet, although I can see how many in the audience who don't share such religious beliefs see it as the only "happy" possibility. I myself have always considered the original ending, as ABT does it, perfectly happy. Evil Rothbart is defeated by the power of love and faith. The kingdom is restituted and the two lovers are reunited in a place where only goodness exist. Which is exactly the same in La Bayadere. Fair enough.
  4. Ooh..so now I might understand what Smekalov was trying to tell me about "50% original, 50 % mine". He kept telling me how HE had tried to add military hints to this variation, but that it was "based in the original". The original being what Burlaka learned from his teacher. So the variation was not notated, but rather passed down since La Vestale, although probably not used in a full length ballet ever since. Then Burlaka used it for Esmeralda, and years later Smekalov twisted it a bit for this Paquita.
  5. I will echo Drew's assessment of Khoreva. I saw her the three times she danced, and if on the first performance she looked disengaged during the acting/miming scenes, she made up more than enough with her great fouettes. Sharp, leg in perfect a la seconde in beautiful ronde de jambe-( unlike the very favored by Russians kick in the front , much used by Somova). Her fouettes were the best among the three ballerinas. Tereshkina is definitely a diva already at the Mariinsky. Her dramatic skills are over the top, and she's not shy at showing them. But....I have a problem with those uber accents she does with her mouth and head whenever there is a big "boom !" variation finishing. Almost as if saying "YEAH!!!" to elicit more reactions from the audience. I have seen many dancers do this, and never been too much of a fan. Khoreva looks definitely shyer-( although not insecure)- onstage, but her "lack" of big drama faces didn't really bothered me. Batoeva had the unfortunate event of getting Parish on her way while he tried to catch her on her double turn a la seconde . Her leg hit him hard, and she looked pissed for a second. Last night I watched Lacotte's production. It is definitely superior, libretto, sets and costumes wise, although he goes by Petipa's original 88 staging with only one variation for Paquita in the Grand Pas.
  6. I echo Mashinka's opinion. Too short if it's only Carmen. It is an enjoyable piece, but sans orchestra...?? Nah.
  7. Well....I was in all performances, and it looks to me she danced every day! I could be wrong ..but the woman danced A LOT. Quite a trouper Some thoughts on this Paquita. 1- I retract my words on the libretto. I read the whole synopsis of Cervantes' La Gitanilla, and Smekalov really followed through. Andres indeed desserts his post, becomes a gypsy, learns how to steal, kills another officer and then gets re instated and marries Paquita. 2- The secretary variation for Act I doesn't seem necessary. This character is way bigger on the novella, but here is way simplified, and his appearance doesn't really adds that much . He could had been just a mime character 3- The maid carrying the basket with the silver in act II was, from Tuesday to Saturday matinee, an honest servant who felt ashamed about being part of Carducha's plot. She hesitates , tries to stop her and then runs away in shame. Then on Saturday evening she becomes a conspirator, helping Carducha hide the goods in the cart and looking very eager to blame the gypsies. I wonder why. 3- The moment when Paquita and Andres are in shackles, the black curtain comes down for a change of scenery happens sans music...in an akward dragging of the culprits by officers that lasts for too long, while one can hear the noisy background of scenery change . 4- The cross handled by the priest over the lovers, which happens just for a sit of a split of a second, but still feels very significative, considering the times we're living. 5- The horrible sets of the Grand Pas. All that pink folliage, and the tacky two jardinieres with flowers on the top...and the hanging portraits from previous acts. Too much, and lacking elegance . And I would pick Paquita any time over Le Corsaire .
  8. If only for the Mazurka des Enfants I take Paquita anytime over any Corsaire, Esmeralda or even Sylvia. Seeing this beautiful kids onstage so proper, the boys as miniature cavaliers showing the type of chivalry quite extinct from today's world so full of vulgar behaviors always gets me. I truly get emotional at seeing the gallantry from the little gentlemen, and the responsive curtsies from the lady-like elegant girls...something that's basically non existent anymore, even in the adults world. I know it is a fantasy setting, but it still puts me in a better place for an instant. Bravo to the Vaganova kids!!! ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—
  9. Well....I went in a different direction today, and approached the orchestra pit. Then I asked a group of three musicians from the strings section, and asked them. Once again ...they didn't know. The music on their paper doesn't state individual authors for each variation. It just notes what we all know. That there's a mix in between Deldevez, Minkus and Drigo.
  10. I will have to go and find if Cervantes actually backs up this messy libretto. If it does, then I keep my mouth shut. One doesn't argue with the Spanish Shakespeare.
  11. My biggest problem with Smekalov's "Paquita", again, is the twisting-( as I prefer to call it instead of changing)- of the libretto. The way Paquita was conceived, with the whole political background and how the original librettist placed the story, makes complete sense vs what Smekalov proposes. My biggest points of complaint being: - Andres is a proud officer who comes to Madrid's plaza in the company of his four officer friends. - Then officer Andres decides to dessert the army and run away with the gypsies. No shame or regrets-( oh...Carmen) - ex officer, now gypsy Andres is introduced in the art of goods looting-(he's not good at stealing techniques, as we can see in one scene) - Gypsy Andres kills one of his ex fellow officers during the fight at the inn. His ex officer friends are there, and somehow they don't recognize him, even if he's not trying to disguise himself. - For all of this gypsy Andres is reinstated as officer Andres and given Paquita's hand in marriage. He's again a proud uniformed officer at the wedding, with his four officer friends in attendance. Someone with an army background, no matter the time in history, would laugh at this. Why re invent something that doesn't need re invention...? Why adding, varnishing, twisting-( as in a masterpiece painting)- just to have to reverse the whole process at some point in history to be able to see the beautiful original....? Isn't that enough that many people believe that La Bayadere's Grand Pas happens in some invented betrothal scene or that Odette turns into a human...or that Raymonda is just in the middle of a triangle, where two cavaliers are competing for her love..?-( ABT's) This is not a good thing for the holiest of holy stages.
  12. So let me rephrase my earlier statement into "...by an unknown-(to me)- choreographer".๐Ÿค—
  13. I keep thinking that Paquita didn't need a "re imagined" libretto. So officer Andres deserts to become a gypsy. Then he kills one of his own fellow officers, only to be re instated as an officer to marry Paquita. Oh...and the quartet of uniformed men he comes with in Act I don't recognize him later on when he's with the gypsies. Non sense. The original libretto with the French officer is way more logical. I will try to read "La Gitanilla" and see if all this absurd business can be validated.
  14. I sat again next to Smekalov, and asked him about it. He kept saying that he created the choreography, with a 50/50 "traditional/his own. And he kept mentioning Burlaka as reference. I tried to press him about how "original" was, or if he had based it on notations, or anything that would be a link to a previous variation from the older Petipa catalogue. But he didn't understand, and kept telling me about how he wanted this variation to have a military flavor. I also asked him if the music was Minkus or Drigo, but he said he didn't remember. I will try to ask an orchestra musician about it tomorrow.
  15. BTW...I have the suspicion of the twisting of the story to be, maybe, a bit politically motivated. See...it looks to me as if the new librettist was trying to avoid the whole concept of the French hero vs the bad Spaniards. And yes...they could had just turned d'Hervilly into officer Andres without changing anything else, but then it would had look like an obvious travesty a la ABT's Raymonda. Napoleon and his bloody conquests are not too kindly seen by our modern world's popular anti-imperial views... And because the whole thing as Paquita being of noble birth, abducted by gypsies, her medallion and hence being able to marry the hero at the end still stays intact.
  16. Nagahisa received the biggest applause for her Kalkabrino variation lady night.
  17. Just coming out of the theater. Tonight we had Batoeva and Parish as Paquita/Lucien-(yes...I know the name/character change, but a Paquita in the Grand Pas goes with a Lucien, and from then on). Batoeva was indeed more expressive and engaging than Khoreva, and I was already declaring her a winner...until her fouettes and variation in the Grand Pas. She sort of stumbled on her fouettes, and didn't finish on music or on pointe. Khoreva was definitely better, technically wise. Xander Parish looked strained during his circle of jete cupe en turnant....his face grimacing and all. The one ballerina that really caught my eye tonight was Renata Shakirova as Carducha. Very promising dancer. There have been many problems with the moving backdrops. Last night the jail panels didn't come down at all after several failed attempts, and tonight the black backdrop that conceals the change of scenery-(with the silly moving trees in the front)-wasn't coming down either. A very angry Smekalov-(sitting next to me)- stormed backstage to fix the mess, and shouts could be heard. I asked him afterwards about it and he told me "I'm killing someone. This is NOT high level". To be continued.
  18. I'm watching all performances all the way until Sunday, but I feel comfortable to say that this is quite a mess. Someone asked me this morning what had I seen, and me best answer was, and I will repeat my answer here. I saw two acts of some boring stuff by an unknown choreographer, much looking like the editing left overs of Esmeralda and DQ, and then I saw Petipa's Paquita Grand Pas. Maria Khoreva-( my first time seeing her)- felt to me like a completely underwhelming dancer. I was quite distracted by the big size of her pointes compared to how little she is. In all fairness, I have to say that she did great fouettes... clean, not rushed, minimal traveling and she finished them on pointe and on music. I understand that this Grand Pas tries to capture the correct variations used by Petipa on his last revival of the work, but I really miss the very two variations I love the most, which pop out here and there in other productions: the Celesta variation from Pavilion d'Armide and the "Harvey variation"-(๐Ÿ˜ˆ), with the big diagonal of saut de chats. Given that this is the only context in which we get to see this rarities performed, I felt their absence as a miss. Oh well... More to come. I'll be by the Kennedy bust tonight.๐Ÿค—
  19. Ok. So I'm here, at intermezzo after Act II and...what a mess. Will elaborate later about this Esmeralda...I mean, Don Quixote...I mean, Paquita.
  20. I'm in! Just arrived in DC. Where is the ballet pack getting together....? By the Kennedy bust....? I'm going tonight.
  21. Hi Roberta. I really hope there are updates on this, as it is quite a monumental task to touch this important work. If the muses would behave , then they would work to inspire Ratmansky to reconstruct two scenes. One being the "Fugue des Willis", which I have always visualized, and then the very ending "Lever du soleil et arrivee de la cour (Sunrise and the Arrival of the Court)", in which a totally different dramatic turn would had to be employed, with Giselle pardoning Albrecht in front of everyone, including Bathilde, and sort of releasing him to go with her before ascending to the heavens. Bathilde would then be a completely different animal than the short lived imperious princess we all came to know. According to the written sources, in this scene she's seen weeping and trembling, while Abrecht is supposed to get at peace with his fiancee. Cool, right....?
  22. My favorite variation is definitely this one at 36:16. I haven't check the different sources that identify the variations. There are so many!-(and they vary from version to version). But I'm very haunted by the music, with the use of the Celesta. I believe this is quite the only instance I've heard this instrument in a ballet variation aside from the uber known Fee Dragee variation of The Nutcracker. Isn't there a story of Tchaikovsky being very mysterious about the use of the instrument in his ballet, for which he wanted to get a first hand grabbing at it, due to being quite a novelty at the time? And if is the case .. is this Paquita variation a pre or post Nutcracker....?
  23. Yes...I know the original "La Esmeralda" libretto. Re: "The Little Mermaid", it could be that I grew up not only reading the original fairy tales, but also watching a beautiful Russian cartoon from 1960 that is faithful to Anderson. Disney's version came up in my adulthood, and because it sort of erased the original-(ask around to millennials)- I felt it like a bombastic fake. Same with Swan Lake double suicide. Whole generations of ballet goers, principally in Russia, do not know it. Russian Bayaderes case is different.. more like an omission than a change.
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