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Everything posted by cubanmiamiboy

  1. Such wonderful news! I'm a hardcore supporter of ballet libretti faithfulness. We need to see the story as it was intended, just as operas. I need to go see this. Thanks, Roberta, for the heads-up!
  2. The article is not accurate. They describe the ballet libretto saying it finishes with Solor visiting Nikiya in the afterlife. Not true. The ballet finishes with a fourth act. A wedding and a temple destruction, death and afterlife lovers final tableaux. The Mariinsky's Soviet production has a truncated staging sans the real finale. But there are companies besides the Mariinsky where the real finale of the ballet can be seen. They also wrongly describe the Kirov "Shades" act in 1961 Paris as the first time this was seen in the West. Not accurate again. The first western production of the Shades act was staged by Eugenia Feodorova at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It premiered on April 12, 1961-(before the Kirov one)-with Bertha Rosanova as Nikiya and Aldo Lotufo as Solor. The author also gets wrong when he praises Ponomarev "stylized sets" to support the apparently "new", more sensitive perception of Indian culture vs what he describes as older assessments of the ballet which might had included westernized ideas of native India. He also muses on the possibility that the company might present this ballet in a more sensitive way for touring purposes. Well ... let's remind the author that the staging he saw uses Vikharev reconstructed designs of sets and costumes of the Tsarist production. Kirov-( and now Mariinsky)- is not the Alpha and Omega of productions. Not anymore anyhow. There is La Scala for Raymonda, the Royal for Nutcracker, Bolshoi for Coppelia, Zurich for Swan Lake and now Berlin for Bayadere. Mariinsky's Ponomarev will always be a truncated staging.
  3. Thanks for the link, dear! Carmen Suite is a wonderful jewel of a short ballet, where Tudorian "perfume" needs to be achieved in order for it to work. The ballet has an interesting history, not devoided of drama. Back when it was created in the 60's, Alberto Alonso had his wife Sonia Calero in mind as muse and potential dancer. Calero was part of the company as a character dancer, and back in the 50's she had been also quite a star in the cabaret circuit of Havana, where Alonso was a prolific choreographer. Eventually the ballet ended up being premiered, as we know, at the Bolshoi, with Plisetskaya as its star. She excelled on the role. At seeing this, Alicia Alonso immediately demanded for Alonso to rework the piece in Havana for her, which he did. This resulted in what I consider to be the ultimate incarnation of the work. Both divas' interpretations were great, but completely different. Videos exist of both versions for comparison. The Russian lineage of the work is out there, and can be seen on YouTube in the likes of Vishneva and Zakharova. Lane got to learn the sultrier Cuban version for Alicia, with the touches that Alberto Alonso's widow Sonia might know where on his mind when she Inspired him to create the work. Alicia didn't allow anybody to dance the ballet for decades while she did it. It wasn't until 2000 that the ballet could be seen again in someone other than Alicia. I saw it. Alicia was 80 at the time. I have a hard time picturing Lane as the powerful Carmen. When I think of her it is her voice from her Black Swan interview the first thing that comes to mind.
  4. I will be attending the Berlin production of Bayadere, which as we know is Ratmanky's effort at giving this much tweaked ballet its much deserved original former self back. For the ocassion I've been revisiting my videos, as a matter of comparison. This are Ponomarev -(Komleva/Abdeyev)-, Makarova -( Zakharova/Bolle)-...Vikharev recon-(can't remember now the leads)- and Ratmansky-(Selina/Simkin). Here are some thoughts. About the Ponomarev we all know its downs. I don't know if his production was the initiation of the ballet sans act IV and the tweaking of the wedding pas into a betrothal pas, but it was certainly the one that paved the path for the general knowledge of this ballet by XX century audiences-(well...mainly Soviet audiences up until Makarova). If anything, I guess we should be grateful that there was Ponomarev and Dudinskaya and Chabukiani for many of the details we might enjoy today-(fierce variations and codas, former miming passages now made into dancing ones etc...)...oh, and Gamzatti's fouettes-( 😉 ). I believe he's mostly at fault with his reworking of the wedding Grand Pas into the engagement nemesis. The pas basically loses all its dramatic power, the whole Nikiya's ghost interrupting is erased and Solor's smiley face while dancing with Gamzatti feels out of place. In every other version I've seen after Ponomarev-(mainly Makarova's at ABT)-, little, if anything, is given as a matter of clues about Solor's possible regret at getting married with Gamzatti. Ratmanky particularly works wonders on this in his Grand Pas. Solor looks very confused and distraught, even more with the logical re insertion of Nikiya's ghost at all times. Makarova then tries to fix some of this mess by the creation of her own act IV. Big round of applause for her, for at least giving due respect to the original libretto and for educating audiences in the real finale of the ballet-(wedding, interrupting ghost, fury of the gods, temple destruction, lovers reunited in the afterlife). I'm willing to bet that the generalized complaint on her production is the lack of Minkus score for the last act and maybe Lanchbery's re orchestration choices. But still...I think it is Makarova the one that really gave Bayadere its missing limbs for the XX century, even with Lanchbery's musical aditions and inventions. Vikharev is next, truly restoring the Grand Spectacle element of the ballet, re inserting many "lost" miming sequences and group dances and of course, his brand "new-old" grand Act IV which this time is very close to what the audiences saw back in Petipa's times. Sets and costumes are his big pluses, his recreation of the lost act with the real music-(or some of it)- and then the icing of the cake being the pas de deux a trois, with Nikiya's ghost in and out of the sequence and the temple destruction. For the first time we get the Grand Pas in its original place. Still, Vikharev seems to still be unable to totally break with Ponomarev. There's still a Golden Idol, there's still an initial dancing duo in the first Solor/Nikiya encounter and there's still Ponomarev choices for the Grand pas' Gamzatti and Solor's variations and final coda. Ratmanky's big bang is the restoring of many original miming sequences and his reworking of the last act , which goes even more true to the original as he re inserts the two variations that were danced by Gamzatti and Solor by the time the ballet was notated. Gamzatti's being Dulcinea's variation for DQ and Solor's being lifted back then from Le Papillon. Ratmanky's Pas de deux a trois/quatre-(with the introduction of Gerdt's substitute for the difficult sequences due to his age at the time)- looks excellent this time, and we even have which I believe is the original music for the coda. So that leaves the question of where the music for Ponomarev's staging for both Gamzatti's and Solor's variations and final coda came from. Now a comparison of the three temples destruction. Makarova's, Vikharev's and Ratmansky's. To be honest...the one that looks more powerful is Makarova's. The bootleg I have of Vikharev's is very grainy, so I guess the sequence might look better at the theater than on video. Ratmanky's is more visible according to my video. But Makarova's is definitely more effective. Also...the concept of the final tableaux with Nikiya and Solor reunited in the afterlife is better presented in Makarova's. Both Vikharev's and Ratmanky's have Nikiya's appearing in the temple and sort of reviving Solor in human form in the middle of the massacre. In Makarova's one can tell in the final pose that they are together in spirit somewhere out of this world. Generally speaking, I give Ratmanky's version the big prize. I can't wait to see it in Berlin.
  5. Nah. For some maybe, but not for all. Bayadere is everything. The Grand spectacle, the elephant, the Gamzatti-Nikiya cat fight, the parrots dance, the jumps, paint and sexiness of the Golden Idol, the temple destruction and even Gamzatti's fouettes for those who still have Makarova's or Nureyev. I wish a long life to the whole production and for the reconstruction to take rooting in other companies! Edited to add: And I TRULY hope that the Kingdom of the Shades never becomes a pseudo Symphony in C .
  6. Some nuances on the quadruple love story might have been lost once the Soviets got rid of much of the miming passages. One thing I appreciate from Ratmansky's recon for Berlin is his attention to those passages and their re insertion. The death scene of Nikiya can be quite confusing if the key players don't do their job properly via gesturing, glances etc. One thing I always find very intriguing is the frenzy dance Nikiya does with the basket. Some ballerinas do it with full ample smile, which makes you wonder what's going on in her head or in the librettist head. Even if she thinks it was a gift from Solor he's still getting married. I don't get that too much. One thing I do is attentively look at Gamzatti, Solor and Gamzatti's father and see what their reactions are while she's apparently happily dancing. And attitudes change from production to production. Sometimes Solor is looking down, as if he doesn't even want to look. Sometimes he sort of look as if he senses something weird and bad is happening. Gamzatti usually looks as if she's on it, and same with her father. But it is still a strange passage. I'm sure the original dancers knew more about the exact reaction the librettist and choreographer wanted from them, but now much of it is lost. Although as I said.... Ratmansky has wonderfully restored lots of it in his production. To me the basket and snake are being given to Nikiya as a plan from both Gamzatti and her father. Solor needs to be surprised when he sees the gift being handled to her for which he realizes that Nikiya believes it comes from him. The priest is not in the plan. He has the antidote with him, yes ..but I don't think that means he's part of the charade.
  7. Act of passion. For a split second in Nikita's head it is a matter of "it's either me or her".
  8. When Cynthia Gregory danced in Havana, she was favored by audiences. I think people detected and appreciated how solid and centered she was. She really embodied the Cuban likeness for such great "a terre" ballerinas . I'm sure Ashley Bouder would be a darling over there.
  9. A taboo subject-( it's not supposed to happen in such an "inclusive" society/"inclusive" company)- , the blatant racism that reigned for decades at CNB is now being brought up and discussed by some.... https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2418860174827695&id=100001112070001
  10. The Cuban ballet company's directorship has gone in a mimicking tour after the country's own government for the past 60 years. And now, even after both the patriarch and matriarch are gone, I really don't think there will be many differences in both "companies"....
  11. It is about the whole concept of the piece as a light comedy probably better suited for audiences in the 40's/50's. I have the same feeling with "Fancy Free", "Company B" or "West Side Story"....
  12. I have my exceptions, though. The Cage, for instance...🐜
  13. Truthfully, there was nothing wrong with the company. They danced passionately, they seemed to really enjoy the piece, and the energy onstage was wonderful. The "problem"-(is there one..? maybe not)- is me and what I enjoy from ballet, what I like and what I don't. Atonality, Stravinsky, contorsions and overall contemporary movements do not appeal to me at all. I have enjoyed Apollo in the past, but not that much in its 70's form..(I had known the ballet from Cuba, but with its 40's aura). So no....it is not the company at fault. It is more about my preferences in ballet enjoyment.
  14. Not really. She never seemed to click down here..
  15. Yeah. I guess that it goes as when the more you try to "get" L.H.O.O Q, the better you can recognize Mona Lisa's timeless transcendence. Quiggin gave us the key word here: the aim to "banalize".
  16. The season opened with a very depleted company. Just three female Principals-(Albertson, Lauren and Karranza) and three males-(Cerdeiro, Rebello and Krenstetter). Gone are Renato Panteado, Reyneris Reyes, the Delgado sisters, Simone Messmer etc. The program included a new for me work: Stravinsky Violin Concerto, which didn't really left a strong imprint on my mind. If anything, it felt like a prolongation of Agon, with the recurrent formula of Stravinsky/black and white leotards/contortions... or even The Four Temperaments...or EVEN Apollo-( am I quoting a certain choreographer...?🤔) Then there was Paul Taylor's "Mercuric Tidings", which drew lots of cheering from the audience, and left me exhausted just by looking at it. Quite enjoyable, given its gorgeous music and high energy. The dancers were sweating profusely by the end. I wish it could had been created on pointes though.... Last, we had Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, which my mom loved-( she's a fan of everything "vintage-Americana", 40's-50's musicals etc), but I found quite a bit dated. I saw two casts on it, soloist Jordan Elizabeth Long and soloist Kathryn Morgan, in what was to be her come back to the professional world of ballet after the longest hiatus that has ever taken place-( that I'm aware of). I'll write a little thing about it on her own thread.
  17. That makes me want to vomit. What an absolute travesty....
  18. I saw their "Tchaikovsky"-(can't remember if in Russia or NYC)- and got bored. They play with recorded music, which is a downer.
  19. I've never seen the Mariinsky's Jewels, but I saw the Bolshoi on it, and didn't like it too much. The tempi was EXCRUCIATINGLY slow, particularly in Diamonds. I think they have a tendency to over do Diamonds, with the mold of Lopatkina in a sort of "Odettesque" feeling in the pdd. I know Khoreva is not very much liked here, but I did like her in Paquita. She certainly doesn't fit the elongated, aloof ice princess so favored by many, but she could be interesting in this role, in an atypical way. Please report back.
  20. That's the Apollo I ever knew until I came to the US in 2001. Never saw the white tights/no birth/no Parnassus/no headdresses version ever, not even on video. You can imagine my surprise when I first saw the 70's version in NYC. It looked to me like a rehearsal with no finale. Very bare. Very odd. This is how Alonso danced it with Eglevsky, as she has said. The staging was/is unauthorized by the Trust-(as it is CNB's T&V). I'm sure many of this productions will change or dissapear now that Alonso is dead, but I'm glad I saw it all. It is like watching POB's Le Palais de Cristal vs Symphony in C. A glimpse of the past .
  21. Odile has always been beyond her abilities.
  22. I attended only one performance of the program, and she wasn't on it. Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Slaughter on 10th Ave and Mercuric Tidings
  23. Let's not forget this are officially prepared ceremonies. People are pulled out of work, students are pulled out of classes and participation is mandatory. Alonso was indeed much celebrated , but also much condemned , politically speaking. Of course, only the laurels will be shown.
  24. Coppelia, USA. 1957 Giselle. Russia 1958. Grand Pas de Quatre. US 1960. Swan Lake. La Habana 1961.
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