Jump to content

odinthor

Member
  • Content Count

    50
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About odinthor

  • Rank
    Member

Registration Profile Information

  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Avid balletgoer
  • City**
    Los Angeles
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    California

Recent Profile Visitors

653 profile views
  1. Thanks for the interest! I glanced over the collection and have made a hasty stab at listing the items which appeared to indicate the holdings of Stepanov notations of Petipa's choreography for operas. These are the operas concerned, which I list by composer: Berlioz, Les Troyens Bizet, Carmen Borodin, Prince Igor Cui, Prisoner of the Caucasus Dargomyzhsky, Rusalka Delibes, Lakmé Glinka, Life for the Tsar Glinka, Ruslan and Ludmila Gounod, Romeo & Juliet Massenet, Esclarmonde Meyerbeer, Huguenots Meyerbeer, Prophète Nápravnik, Dubrovsky Offenbach, Les Contes d’Hoffmann Ponchielli, Gioconda Rimsky-Korsakov, Snegúrochka (The Snow Maiden) Rimsky-Korsakov, May Night Rimsky-Korsakov, Serviliia Rimsky-Korsakov, Sadko Rimsky-Korsakov, Tsar’s Bride Rubinstein, Demon Serov, Judith Tchaikovsky, Queen of Spades Tchaikovsky, Cherevichki Verdi, Aïda Verdi, Rigoletto Verdi, Traviata Wagner, Tannhäuser Some heavy-hitters there!--with a few intriguing obscurities. The nice thing about resurrecting these "for-opera" ballet sequences is that the would-be restorer wouldn't have to confront the Mt. Everest of a bulky manuscript for a full-length three-hour ballet; surely most of these pieces are ten or twenty minute performances, a less daunting investment for a restorer or dance company, and in almost all cases making use of published and currently available music scores from known and appreciated composers, with works mostly having names (both composer and opera) of a familiarity which would make them appealing to the Public. It's not an all-or-nothing: If one such modest effort would go well, then the restorer/company could embark on the next such modest one with increased confidence and likelihood of success. Lastly, I can't imagine but that Petipa's personality would mandate that he enter into these pieces with extra zest, and put his best foot forward to show off in his choreography for these, for the pieces to function as, so to speak, calling-cards in one genre giving a taste of what riches he had to offer at full-length in his other, "native," genre.
  2. We see among the works of Petipa preserved in Stepanov notation in the Sergeyev Collection a handful of works intended, as I understand, for the ballet sequences in a number of operas--Lakmé, Aïda, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, and so on. I can imagine, even aside from their being included in opera productions, that these would provide in and of themselves a most interesting suite or suites for production simply as ballet presentations. They would add further diversity to the classic ballet repertory. Have any of these Petipa opera-born works been reconstructed from the Stepanov notation, and presented? Perchance have any survived by tradition in the presentations of their operas (in other words, through performance tradition rather than through reconstruction from the Stepanov notation)?
  3. ^^^ Thanks so much! It sounds as if I'd enjoy the Meisner book immensely [grabs credit card and rushes off to Amazon]!
  4. I've made a bit of progress on this. Someone in a position to know, authoritatively, has given me to understand that these wonderful works are from the hand of the mother of Jimmy Gamonet De los Heros. Now to find out what production they represent!
  5. Do we know to what degree Petipa scuttled the previous choreography when he rechoreographed an existing ballet? At times I have the feeling that the previous choreography has at least "colored" much of what Petipa's rechoreography/revision presents. Unless he always completely changed everything, obviously it would vary from ballet to ballet; but I'm interested in knowing what remains of the work of previous choreographers in Petipa's rechoreographies. Perhaps at times Petipa simply fine-tuned what he regarded as occasional miscues in the original. We may have more of St.-Léon or Perrot etc. than one might at first think. (One is also almost tempted to enquire as to what remains of Petipa's choreography in today's production of Petipa's ballets; but that's a separate question!)
  6. Thanks for your thoughts! Surely somewhere--book or research paper--there's an extended study of ballet in South America, with details of productions...? The signature seems to be "R de los Heros". I'd very much like to see more of his/her work. Online searches have yielded nothing applicable, neither text nor images. The theatrical costume design folks in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London are unfamiliar with this artist, yet clearly these were produced by a professional familiar with costume design. The bird symbol on one gentleman's shield appears to be very close to an Incan symbol for a Condor; the designer appears to be drawing on that cultural background. It could be that the production adapted a traditional Greco-Roman tale to make use of local color/national heritage. These works have now been protectively reframed and are hanging proudly in my home, sparking appreciation, comment, and thought. Someday the details of their origin will come to light!
  7. Still trying to pin down something about the production these delightful sketches presumably come from, or who the artist/designer was. The female has something of a Medea vibe; but the story of Jason and Medea doesn't concern rival men, which would seem to be the implication of the spirit of the sketches. Does anyone know someone who has done research on the Ballet scene in South America in approximately the 1950s? (Of course, just because the pictures came from a collector in Argentina doesn't mean that the production was in Argentina or South America.)
  8. Thanks! I was quite charmed by them. Here are close-ups of the other two figures, should they provide a clue about the production/artist: and The lady seems to be holding a length of rope.
  9. I wonder if anyone has any ideas about what production these costume designs were evidently intended for (and who the artist/designer might be)...? Here is the artist's signature (which for the life of me I can't construe): I recently purchased these three gouaches. The seller indicates that they came from Argentina, and guesses a date around 1940; another design expert, not knowing of the 1940 guess, thought "1950s." (I seem to recall vaguely that Massine had a South American tour or two in that era.) Here's a sharper image of one: Any thoughts would be warmly appreciated!
  10. Saw it last night. Was entertained but underwhelmed. No questioning the commitment and ability of the dancers; but I did not feel the spirit of Isadora was evoked. The movements were too tight and nervous. The presentation was too concerned with being symbolic and allusive. The ever-undulating thisses and thats made me sea-sick. Afterwards, I felt neither a greater understanding of Isadora nor--taking Isadora out of the equation--understanding nor empathy with the faux-Isadora. I was unable to set aside the notion that character Terpsichore looked halfway between an Indian in a white-feathered headdress and the figure of Liberty on turn-of-the-century coinage and stamps. The extended Soviet sequences will I am sure resonate more strongly with Russian audience members, which is to say that non-Russian I had had enough of them very quickly. In all fairness, my enlightened audience-neighbor enjoyed the production; and the ever-generous Segerstrom audience gave its customary standing ovation. You see, if we give something a standing ovation, it helps convince us that yes we most certainly must have seen a wonderful show.
  11. Asking forgiveness for presenting a wall of text--I'll restrain myself after this--but I've run across a page which I feel puts across the essence of what Massine was doing with music vis-à-vis dance. (From Massine a Biography, by Vicente Garcia-Marquez, p. 122; the text relates to 1919, London.) "[...] In the evening the company presented its first performance, Les Femmes de bonne humeur, with a new, more realistic décor by Bakst. To Diaghilev's immense relief and deep satisfaction, Les Femmes and its dancers were a sensation. The ballet's cinematic movements and simultaneous action were a revelation to British balletomanes. Wrote The Observer: 'The merry adventures are unfolded with a rapidity of action that only perfect precision can sustain, and it is this precision with which every gesture is linked to its accompanying musical phrase that is the secret of this remarkable feat of stage production . . . The result is not only a brilliant work of art, but the most exhilarating entertainment. Wordless wit is not easy of accomplishment, but Massine's choreography has attained to it.' Still, the work's distinctive style and rhythm took the general public by surprise, and even ballet aficionados found it a bit puzzling. The dance historian Cyril Beaumont described his own first impression: 'I was not sure whether I liked the ballet or not. The unusual speed of the performance was a little bewildering, and I could not get accustomed to the jerky, puppetlike quality of Massine's choreography, so different from the rounded and flowing movements of Fokine's compositions.' Only after repeated viewing did he determine that Massine's 'dances did far more than accompany the music and accord with its rhythmical structure; they really translated the spirit of the music in terms of choreography.'" This is just what I get from Massine: Not dancing accompanying music, but dancing which is a representation of the music and its spirit, an incarnation of the music in dance terms, a presentation in which the music and the dance have become one.
  12. Thanks, Quiggin, for that excellent overview and discussion of Massine! Massine is mentioned in various places, I seem to recall, as being extremely inventive; it's probably a case of having so much to give, and wanting to pack it all in. He became aware, as time went on, that his complexity could be daunting; or at least I recall in his autobiography several remarks from him to that effect. In talking about a revival of his Mam'zelle Angot, for instance, he writes, "In the course of producing this ballet [...], I found that much of the original choreography needed simplification. I also altered much of the ensemble grouping so as to give a less fragmentary background for the principals [...]" (p. 231). I enjoyed that dynamic Symphonie Fantastique clip, thanks, and found it rather enthralling (isn't that part of the rehearsal filming video they did, the one that I believe had Erik Bruhn early in his career, as a non-principal?). My read on Massine's conceptualization is that, whereas we're used to focusing on particular dancers or small groups, he imparts the experience as we experience the wall of sound of a symphonic work: Not violins and trumpets and flutes etc. picked out of the tapestry of sound and enjoyed separately or in little consorts, but all together integrally simultaneously as a unit. An interesting personal vision! Edit: I just ran across the following interesting paragraph, which expands on a passage in Quiggin's post: "Andre Levinson, the prestigious Franco-Russian ballet critic noted for his partiality to the classical tradition, congratulated Massine on his achievement in Les Femmes de bon humeur: 'The inspiration of this humorous ballet is so adroit, the execution so homogeneous and free from constraint, the whole so well composed that I freely surrendered myself to the sweetness of living that exquisite hour of forgetfulness.' He considered the ballet 'a living and original work where the past only appears in the form of a distant suggestion, an echo softened by the passage of centuries.' (Levinson once had severely criticized Fokine for relying in his ballets on 'ethnography and archaeology' when reconstructing the past.) Levinson admired Massine's choreography for combining 'a sense of delicacy with a feeling of fitness in which the laws of the classic dance are rarely abrogated, its normal movements distorted and parodied, heightened and dispersed by the rhythm.' He described Massine's style as 'perpetuum mobile, a movement falling on each note, a gesture on each semiquaver, a continual fidget to which we owe the breathless and spirited animation of The Good Humoured Ladies; now, this restless style, with its insistence on distorted or broken lines, is bound to the imperative of polyrhythmic musical movement or tyrannical syncopation that a Stravinsky imposes on the orchestra'" (quoted from Massine a Biography, by Vicente Garcia-Marquez, pp. 101-102). Thus the "abstract nervousness" of Edwin Denby.
  13. My word. A Parisian friend, on seeing my recent Facebook blather about Massine, writes to me and tells me that one of his clients worked with Massine in one of the late incarnations of the Ballet Russe, has broached my interest to the client, and the client wonders if I have any questions. If I get any answers of interest, and can relate them without any breach of confidence or privacy, I'll share them here...
  14. Outstanding and exciting! I'd feel honored and enriched to see such offerings today. I'm fairly sure I saw the Joffrey in L.A. about then doing at least Parade, Petroushka, and The Green Table. (And maybe I've just forgotten the others; it was about then that I started attending ballet, and I wouldn't yet have been hip to the significance of the various choreographers and their works.) And so, anyone who has any sway: Start talking up Massine, and the serious stuff (I wonder if his own choreography of Sacre du Printemps is recoverable...?) as well as the light pieces. We can't let Massine fall by the wayside...
  15. Yes, it looks like it; or Theodor Massine. See http://massine-ballet.com/html/revivals.php : "For revivals the original Léonide Massine Ballets of the Ballets Russes and Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo have been documented on film and are available for remounting of these ballets. In addition the Massine Ballets have to be restaged in cooperation with a repetiteur approved by the Massine Estate. Restagings have been conducted by Lorca Massine, www.lorcamassine.com. Please send all enquiries to Mr. Theodor Massine."
×
×
  • Create New...