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The 3 Rivers in "Pharaoh's Daughter"


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What rivers are being represented in Lacotte's revival of "Pharaoh's Daughter"? I know in the original Petipa there were 6 variations but in newer version there are only 3 - which rivers do they represent?

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I just checked Rolan Wiley's book "A Century of Russian Ballet (1810-1910)". In it is the orignal 1862 libretto for "The Pharaoh's Daughter"......the rivers represented were the Guadalaquivir, the Thames, the Rhine, the Congo, the Neva, and the Tiber. That is 6 variations.......as well the libretto says that there were dances for the naiads and undines (water nymphs). All of this was perfomed as a Grand Ballabile, sort of in the context of a Grand pas de Six with dances for corphees.

Why on earth did Lacotte make it merely 3 variatons and a coda?

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Perhaps he felt the scene was too long.  I think the variations, as notated, are charming character dances.

This is the one scene in the ballet that should have gone on and on and on. Live, and on the DVD, it is the high point of the ballet (for me), and could stand alone as a component of a mixed bill. (Not quite Kingdom of the Shades of course, but still so good...)

Dream request: Perhaps a pro Petipa scholar-choreographer could be commisioned if M. Lacotte is not interested... With six rivers, what a wonderful "teaching ballet" it could be for young dancers.

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I just find it really tragic................Now, mind you I LOVE Lacotte's staging of "Pharaoh's Daughter", and I think he did an excellent job with the work. But when it comes to authenticity, he had the opportunity to stage this ballet with actual bonafied original Petipa dances, AND HE OMITS THEM!

I find it interesting that in the documentary about the ballet Lacotte does not mention this omition of the river variations. He does mention Doug's help with the notation (you Rock Doug). He says that he (Lacotte is reffering to himself not Doug) salvaged 2 passages from the notation, and I quote - "Firstly Pas d'Action, and a waltz." - (HUH?) what hes reffering to I have no clue, maybe its just the way his french was translated, but that sounds very vague........there is a waltz in the Grand Pas d'action of Act II, right after the Grand Adagio (#12 on the DVD) for 2 girls, one boy, and 12 corps de ballet girls in white tutus. Perhaps its this? Doug stated in a earlier post that-

quote - "I reconstructed 5 of the 6 river variations for Lacotte for his Daughter of Pharaoh, but he didn't use any of them (in the versions I provided). He did use three (I think, maybe it was two with the first being longer - it's been a while now - I should buy the DVD and check!) variations in one of the court scenes. One is for two women and the other is for a man (Lacotte added a double tour at the end)."

There is a double tour performed by the man at the end of this waltz.........

Now as far as the River variations goes, what a tragedy that Doug did this great work, actual bonafied Petipa (at least most of it) and Lacotte didnt make use of it! He crated his own choreography, and then he only used 3 of the variations instead of 6.

Doug stated -

quote - "I reconstructed 5 of the 6 river variations for Lacotte for his Daughter of Pharaoh, but he didn't use any of them (in the versions I provided). He did use three (I think, maybe it was two with the first being longer - it's been a while now - I should buy the DVD and check!) variations in one of the court scenes."

Perhaps hes reffering to the 3 variations (#10 on the DVD - 2 for 2 girls, and 1 for 1 boy) in the Grand Pas d'Action of Act II (in the court of the Pharaoh) that comes after the entree of the Grand Pas d'Action. Lacotte says in the documentary on the DVD that he learned the variation for the boy from Volonine, one of Anna Pavlova's partners. Now it has to be the variation that comes before the Grand Adagio of Aspicia and her hand-held mirror (#11 on the DVD) and after the 2 variations for the 2 girls, as the variation for Taor toward the end of the Grand Pas d'Action (the ony other solo for a boy in this section of the ballet) is from "The Talisman" pas de deux (the music at least).

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Yes, Lacotte used some of the notated choreography for the waltz you mention (the variation for 2 girls and the subsequent male variation), but he added the 12 corps girls (as far as I know -- I only have the notation he sent me). I've not looked closely at any choreography for the Rivers corps, only the soloists.

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