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Maximova's Raymonda

Paul Parish

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Did any of you see her? It must have been wonderful -- what WAS it like?

How did she pace the role? What were the qualities of the variations? How private was she at the beginning? She must have openend up (I'm guessing) -- when did it happen?

I wasn't aware that Maximova had ever danced Raymonda. I thought that this was Plisetskaya's & Struchkova's role during the 1960s.

As far as I can confirm in the Russian Encyclopaedia of Ballet, her recent biography ("Madam Nyet") & other sources in my personal library, Maximova's only leading roles from the standard 19th-C repertoire were Aurora, Masha (Nutcracker), Odette-Odile, Kitri, and Giselle. Paul, what leads you to believe that Maximova danced Raymonda? [Not that she wouldn't have been fantastic in the ballet.]

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i can't seem to find in any of the chronologies i have on hand for maximova and for struchkova that either danced in RAYMONDA, so i suppose if either did, it wasn't for long and wasn't worth noting.

golovkina seems to have performed the title for some time, likewise semyonova, but i can find nothing listing maximova's or struchkova's connection to the ballet.


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I agree with rg: neither Struchkova nor Maximova danced Raymonda.

In the 1945 production by Lavrovsky - Semyonova and Golovkina danced Raymonda, then Plissetskaya;

In 1960 (by Lavrovsky again) - Yelena Ryabinkina.

From 1984 (by Grigorovich) - Bessmertnova and Semenyaka.

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Nothing made me think she'd done it except my wish to see her do it, and my sense that the current Bolshoi ballerinas don't seem to have -- maybe the stamina, maybe hte experience of pacing the role, maybe the radical strength -- to make the character shine. but Maximova (whom I saw live only once, past age 50 then, though she looked really 17) seemed forever young.

I didn't realize she was considered only a soubrette -- her Giselle was certainly great of soul.

I should say I'd bet Ananiashvili is wonderful. (We've just seen Antonicheva and Allash, of whom I preferred the latter. I understand Gracheva is highly regarded in hte role, wish I'd seen her.)

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Re soubrettes and "Giselle," a friend once told me that in Paris, "Giselle" had long been cast demi-caractere. When I got to Denmark, I learned that, until recently, the great Giselle was also the great Swanhilda (Margot Lander) -- who never danced the Sylph. So perhaps there's a soubrette "Giselle" tradition in Russia as well.

Re Maximova as "Giselle" -- Paul, if there were only more ballet fans, think of the wonderful video simulation games one could do. Plug in a few videos of a dancer and through computer magic, we could see Suzanne Farrell dance "Theme" with Igor Youskevitch, say, or Alonso in "Square Dance."

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THank you Thalictum, for those kind words.

Wouldn't you have liked to see Maximova as Raymonda?

I'm still not down from my high after Grigorevich's Raymonda -- I was told it would be very fine, but I was not prepared for how intensely I enjoyed almost every moment of it. I'm kind of wild to keep seeing it. Don't let them GO!!!

Grigorevitch didn't try to fix what wasn't broken -- unlike Nureyev, whose 4th act we've got in the rep at SFB, with all its ludicrous extra little stomps....

THe only thing missing was a ballerina really at her stride. I'd love to see Ananiashvili in this production.

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I think we need to rehabilitate the word "soubrette." It's not a slur! (It's not limited to describing chambermaids in ballet) Charm, champagne lightness, etc. etc. Qualities that could stretch, easily, into a lyrical Giselle.

Paul, I saw Ananiashvili in "Raymonda" when she was quite young (early 20s) and liked her very much. She certainly was strong enough for it, and built the role, was different from act to act, which we don't often see now.

Edited by Alexandra
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Thanks, Natalia --Riabinkina and Plisetskaya -- did you see THEM? What were they like? Did you think P was de trop (as some have suggested elsewhere)?

Paul, I saw Plisetskaya a few times...first in the early 1980s as Carmen in the Alonso version & in something by Bejart...title escapes me now. I thought back then that she was an ageless miracle. Then I saw her at the Rodion Schedrin gala a couple of years ago, dancing much less -- basically, just moving her arms -- and still thought that this was one incredibly 'powerful' artist.

Ryabinkina had retired well before I began my balletic travels.

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