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Petipa version v Sergeyev version?

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I've just purchased tickets to the Kirov Ballet's SLEEPING BEAUTY in LA and i noticed in the release [link], they mention that this is based on the 1952 revised version by Konstantin Sergeyev.

Can anyone either tell me or direct me to a place where I can learn more about this revision?



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The Sergeyev version is what the Kirov has been performing for years, so it would probably look more familiar to you than their reconstruction of the 1890's original. Videos of it include performances with Sizova, Lezhnina, and Asylmuratova as well as some others. Don't worry--it's a nice traditional version, you won't get any weird Freudian overtones. My only real complaint about it is the lack of mime.

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The Sergeyev version is what the Kirov has been performing for years, so it would probably look more familiar to you than their reconstruction of the 1890's original.  Videos of it include performances with Sizova, Lezhnina, and Asylmuratova as well as some others.  Don't worry--it's a nice traditional version, you won't get any weird Freudian overtones.  My only real complaint about it is the lack of mime.

Yes, my biggest problem is the lack of mime. Sleeping Beauty loses a lot by having much of the mime trimmed away.

But I also think the Sergevey's choreography is pretty ordinary looking. I'd really, really like to see the reconstructed version.


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me three on the "pretty ordinary looking"--

There's way too much merely bourreeing around -- for Lilac in particular, but in the birthday scene, when the whole country should be falling asleep, 'even hte fire on the hearth,' you don't see any of that, there's just lots of bourreeing around....

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It is too bad they aren't bringing the reconstructed version. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, and really changes the emphasis. Some of the costumes are a bit bright (the yellow fairy!), but for me, it was so so much more complete and satisfying and alive than the newer version. The prince is a real prince, who is a human visiting a magical realm in the vision scene (so he can't dance), not just some stick in tights jumping around. And the additional mime for the King and Queen was so moving. But some people found it very long (about 4 hours of pure heaven!), and it is probably very expensive to tour.

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The 'Soviet' Sleeping Beauty and Bayadere by Konstantin Sergeyev are considered very great & important stagings in and of themselves. Just because we love the Petipa/Vikharev reconstructions of the Tsarist Era doesn't mean that we should not appreciate the creations of the great Soviet-era masters.

We should consider ourselves very fortunate to be seeing both Konstantin Sergeev classics in the US, very soon (Beauty in the fall (California & Detroit) & Bayadere in DC, next summer).

Don't forget - those who poo-poo'ed the fact that the Bolshoi was bringing the Soviet warhorse Spartacus to New York this year ate 'crow' in the end. "Soviet Spartacus" was THE most successful, earliest 'sold out' production at the MET, during the recent tour. Who, among us BalletTalkers, would have predicted that fact?

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Spartacus is an original ballet though, not a re-staging of someone else's work.

There are certain things I like about the Sergeyev staging of Sleeping Beauty, such as his choreography for Aurora's variation in Act II. If the production had mime, I'd be pretty happy with it. I do wish Vikharev would fix the problems with the Bluebird pdd in the reconstruction.

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My point with Spartcus is that a lot of folks tend to dismiss certain works just because they were choreographed (original works) or staged (revisions) by people who happened to work at the Bolshoi & Kirov Theaters during the USSR years.

Some people are blinded by the names Yuri Grigorovich and Konstantin Sergeyev (and many others) just because they are politically incorrect with another, newer group of leaders.

Let's judge the art - not the regime that sponsored the art.

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I'll be seeing them when they come to L.A. too. I'd be surprised if they bring the boat & panorama for Act 2. When they tour the Sergeyev version they usually don't. The Dorothy Chandler Pavillion is really too small to hold the 1890 production, even with a minimal cast. In fact, I don't think there's a stage in L.A. that could hold it. If they ever bring it, the largest venue that might be able to hold it would be the OC Center for the Perf. Arts.

Petersburgers adore this version, and most of the Kirov dancers and the Vaganova teachers. The Russians loathed the new/old revival and revere Sergeyev's version as holy - authentic Petipa. If you have it, check out Tim Scholl's book. My main concern will be the casting and the level of dancing of the principal casts. I never worry about the corps.

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I'll be seeing them when they come to L.A. too.  I'd be surprised if they bring the boat & panorama for Act 2.  When they tour the Sergeyev version they usually don't.

They take the boat but not the panorama. In fact, they don't tour the Panorama in either version. The Panorama stays-put in the Mariinsky Theater, permanently affixed to rollers. You would have to tear down the Mariinsky Theater to take the Panorama anywhere.

In fact, the Panorama has not been seen even in St Petersburg for a while; it was not used in last winter's series of Soviet Beauties. It appears that it is being repaired. I don't know what will happen to "it" (the canvas & gears) during the 2-3 years when the theater is closed down, beginning one year from now. It could be that The Panorama will be out of commission intil 2008 or 2009. Heaven help us!

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I didn't even know the Sergeyev version used the panorama. Natalia, since the machinery is so integral to the theater, do you know if it's from 1895? I do recall my first ballet teacher showing the class a video in which a panorama is used...is this perhaps the video with Kolpakova? I'd kill to see it again.

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Hans, you don't have to kill to see the Kolpakova "Sleeping Beauty" again - it is available on a Kultur DVD that was just released a week ago.

I happened to have appreciative but very mixed feelings about the Vikharev reconstruction of "Sleeping Beauty". Of course the dancing was lovely and the extra mime did help the story. However the look of the production was very heavy and rather overstuffed and Victorian. The set and costume designers used to work separately and I believe there were even different designers for the sets for different act (one designer specializing in outdoor scenes, etc.). The sets and costumes didn't complement each other very well and were stylistically at odds and the color palette didn't blend. Also all the costumes for the corps were very different in color, decoration (too much decoration) and skirt length. It made you see the corps as disparate clumps of individuals rather than as one unit. I know that great ballet aficionados who saw the original 1890 production (Alexandre Benois, Diaghilev) thought it an amazing gesamkunstwerk - a perfect blending of music, sets, costume design, dancing and acting but the visual evidence from the reconstruction was a bit off-putting. I think more recent productions such as the Diaghilev production (Benois sets that were later used by Sadlers Wells Ballet - am I correct?) are more elegant and appropriate. The production that the Kirov toured in 1986 was rather cheap-looking (I think that is the one that was filmed with Asylmuratova?) but the production on the DVD with Lezhnina is rather more elaborate and better. Is that the Sergeyev production that is touring to California later this year?

The current Kirov administration seems to have very mixed feelings about the Vikharev reconstructions but I think they are crucial and should continue. Especially since the Kirov library isn't making the original musical materials and repetiteurs available even to the Bolshoi let alone Western companies, they are the best equipped to do them. Of course there is a lot of Lopukhov and Gorsky reflected in the notes taken by N. Sergeyev at the Harvard Theater Collection let alone individual solos worked up by the dancers themselves with whatever ballet master. However it gets you much closer to the time and the place and the aesthetic of Petipa.

Look at the "La Bayadere" - it really doesn't feel complete or finished without that final act with the pas de trois between Solor, Gamzatti and Nikiya. Having all the mime and dancing and crucial props such as the veena (lute) that Nikiya holds in her Betrothal Scene harem-pants solo adds to your understanding of why certain gestures are there and what the dramatic connective tissue is. Any shortening or recension can then be made from the original work. Instead of just reworking and fooling around with another "after Petipa" reworking, one can rework directly from the original and shorten it to coincide with contemporary taste and developments in dance and stagecraft.

Whenever I see the Vikharev reconstructions I always say "Well Sergeyev (or Grigorivich or Vaganova or Frederick Ashton or Ninette de Valois or Bourmeister and so on) was very clever to cut all that bric-a-brac and nonsense" but then I find myself missing things from the Vikharev version of the original that suddenly become necessary and essential to the work. One could have the best of both worlds.

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What is the panorama?

Sorry, maybe a stupid question...

Hi Joseph! There are no 'stupid' questions :blush:! The Panorama is a rolling canvas of the forest set to that beautiful music of the same name. There's a stationary boat, containing the Lilac Fairy, (in the new/old production - cherubs) and the Prince. The boat 'sails' down a 'river' to Aurora's palace. When the Panorama music is over, the canvas stops. So, the conductor and the machine must be in sync :) . In the Bolshoi production the boat sails and flies :wub: !

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Hans, I'm with you, I WISH they'd put the old SB out on DVD -- but if they aren't allowing regisseurs out to even hte Bolshoi, htey may withold it to make sure the rest of us CAN'T study the text.....

I think it was Bakst who designed Diaghilev's "Sleeping Princess," not Benois --AND, man am I not sure of this, but I believe I've read that Nijinskaadded the fish dives to this version. DOug would know that -- maybe Faux pas also -- what were the original steps in htat part of the Act 3 pas de deux? Actually, in Russia, they do supported inside turns into a swoon rather than a fish (I think it's so in hte K Sergeyev version under discussion here, save the fish dive for the end.)

i SURE WOULD LOVE to see the panorama..... but never have.

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Yes, Nijinska did add the fish dives. Trefilova wouldn't do 'em.

What does go there is a soutenou into a swanny fall-back in sous-sus.

And a funny thing about the Panorama. In the first production, the mechanism for scrolling the thing across the back of the stage kept jamming. It had been designed for the Maryinsky, and that place was being repaired, so it opened at the Grand (Bolshoi) Theater of St. Petersburg. The machine was the wrong size and it didn't work there. They had to cut the music way short.

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Is anyone able to confirm that the Kolpakova dvd does indeed include the panorama?

The videotape of the Kolpakova production contains the full Panorama (music & rolling canvas). Hence, I would guess that the DVD has it, if it's an exact copy of the videotape version.

Beware - The later filming of this same production, ca 1989, starring Larissa Lezhnina, does NOT contain the Panorama. This was videotaped in Canada during a tour....hence, no Panorama (just the music to the Panorama; we see some silly slo-motion film). If you buy a Kirov-1980s DVD of the Soviet Beauty, make sure that it's the earlier one starring Kolpakova!

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Thank you Natalia--I just ordered it from Amazon! I see that Kunakova is the Lilac Fairy, and I'm looking forward to that too.

I knew about the Lezhnina performance (I own the DVD) and I agree, that slow-motion film is ridiculous.

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How can anyone not like the Vikharev reconstruction? The Sergeyev version is so drab! The prologue sets look like finger paintings, the vision sceneis nice, and the 3rd act set looks like a faded picture. When I saw the reconstruction is was a dream come true. I have always wnated the Mariinsky to bring SB to its original form. Seeing SB made me wonder why anyone ever changed anything in the first place. That production is an absolute dream, the sets, the costumes, a REAL imperial production worthy not only of the Mariinsky but its awesome dancers. And true to 'Imperial-ness', the reconstruction is luxuriant and stuffed with gorgeousness. After reading Tim Scholl's book on the reconstruction and the reaction to it, it seemed to me that people just didnt want any change, and didnt want to give up what they were used to.

There is only 1 thing I dont like about the New/Old Sleeping Beauty - the attitude derriere poses that Aurora does right before the turns around the stage at the end of her 1st act variation - they could have left that part out.

Why on earth is the Mariinksy touring with that god-awful Sergeyev production?!?!?!? :yucky:

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