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Raymonda in 2004

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Last Summer, Renee Renouf posted on the international forums that "Anne Marie Holmes that she would be mounting a new production of "Raymonda" for the Finnish National Ballet, and later would accomplish the same task with Boston Ballet. This is a natural tie in for the new Artistic Director of Boston is the Finnish born Mikko Nissenen."

According to the blurb on Ms. Holmes on the contributor page of the April/May issue of Pointe Magazine, she will mount the production on American Ballet Theatre in 2004. ABT's Le Corsaire was set on the company by Holmes.

Personally, I think this is great news. ABT had Nureyev's production of Raymonda about 20-something years ago and I didn't think it did the company's ballerinas justice (RN rechoreographed it so the man had the best parts). I can think of several excellent potential Raymonda's in the company right now :) In addition, we haven't seen the ballet in New York in quite a while.

Editing to add that further into the magazine, it says the ballet is a "Finnish National Ballet/American Ballet Theatre co-production." The last co-production ABT was involved with was Kudelka's Firebird (with NBoC and Pennsylvania Ballet, which will show it this Summer). Firebird was to have been shown last Met season in New York, but was cancelled due to budget cuts.

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Calliope, it's got one of those nice confusing plots favored by the Russian classics :) In Walter Terry's book "Ballet," he says, "To sum up a rather complicated plot, let it be said that the ballet tells the story of Raymonda, bethrothed to a knight, and of her difficulties with an ardent Saracen while her lover is off fighting in the Crusades. The knight returns in time to save Raymonda from the unwatned attentions by killing the Saracen and, in Act III, everybody celebrates the happy outcome." We have a section on the ballet in the "ballets in depth" forum.

It originally had chorography by Petipa to the most glorious music by Glazanov, which Balanchine loved and choreographed to several times with the feeling (but not literal) of Petipa. It has lots of Hungarian character dancing and typical Petipa "dream ballet" or white act. The part of Raymonda, at least the only other production I've seen other than the old ABT version, is very large and contains several solos. And the ABT managment will love that it has two big male parts.

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I suspect that there will be more than two male roles! In fact I wouldn't be surprized if Raymonda had a few male friends, and the White Lady somehow develop a White Male counterpart. I see a very extended jumping competition between Jean de Brienne and the Saracen, too. But it has some absolutely beautiful music, and I hope it works out. I remember Ananiashvili years ago in the Bolshoi version, and she was unbelievably lovely. If Part is still dancing with ABT, I think she would be stunning.

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