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Petipa's choreography for Don Quixote

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Hi!!

As far as I know, much of what we know today as "Don Quixote" has come to us through Gorsky's version for the Bolshoi Ballet of Moscow. As far as I know, gorsky was Petipa's pupil and Petipa was very much annoyed when Gorsky's version was staged in St Petersburg.

I am curious to learn what happened to Petipa's original version - has it been preserved in notation or is it lost?

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as previously noted on ballettalk, Don Quixote is not among the ballets in the sergeyev/maryinksy notations now held in harvard's archives.

w/o claiming precise research, i think gorsky's re-vamping of petipa's ballet concentrated a good deal on the 'crowd' scenes, and incorporated moscow art theater 'realism' into their presentation.

clive barnes tells a story he heard when he visisted the soviet union in the 60s, i think. this came from someone in leningrad, who noted that when gorsky was at the maryinsky re-doing some aspects of Don Q on the maryinsky stage, petipa was on the premises and in the wings, and is reported to have said: 'will someone please go over there and tell that young man [i.e. aleksandr gorsky] that i'm not dead yet?'

petipa is usually, if casually, credited with the extant choreography for the dream scene and for the final pas de deux, tho' the 'classical variations' videos and booklets put out in soveit russian during the 1980s? specify that the male solo is vasiliev's choreography. as noted, these are general observations gathered and made over the recent past, i've done no specific research on the petipa vs. gorsky elements in Don Q as it's come down through soviet times.

the earliest film i've seen of soviet Don Q is a rehearsal segment photographed on stage of the kirov theater in the late 1940s in a soviet movie called SOLISTKA BALYET - and distributed around that time in the U.S. as RUSSIAN BALLERINA. nonna yastrebova is, if mem. serves, the scene's ballerina, performing as the street dancer and surrounded by some of the first act's toreadors.

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To add to Rg's post --

I haven't re-read it, but Souritz's excellent book "Soviet Choreographers of the 1920s" made it clear that the Kirov's version of Don Q is closer to Gorsky's than the Bolshoi's, because Lopukhov admired it and was a diligent curator and tried to keep the "sparks" of it exact while at the Bolshoi it was undergoing "whatever" -- so it seems reasonable to think that it would be closer to Petipa's.

as rg said -- the main changes Gorsky made were in crowd interactions.

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To add to Rg's post --

I haven't re-read it, but Souritz's excellent book "Soviet Choreographers of the 1920s" made it clear that the Kirov's version of Don Q is closer to Gorsky's than the Bolshoi's, because Lopukhov admired it and was a diligent curator and tried to keep the "sparks" of it exact while at the Bolshoi it was undergoing "whatever" -- so it seems reasonable to think that it would be closer to Petipa's.

as rg said -- the main changes Gorsky made were in crowd interactions.

Oh, my god I think there are a lot of changes in the Gorsky version. Cyril Beaumont's "Book of the Ballets" has a synopsis/scenario for the original Moscow staging by Petipa in the 1860's with Lev Ivanov as Basil and Anna Sobeschanskaya as Kitri. There are whole scenes and characters and plot elements in the scenario that are missing from any modern version. There must have been more changes again when this production transferred to St. Petersburg with Ivanov and Alexandra Vergina as Kitri. One element that must have been in the original is the series of turns that Kitri does and then leaps into Basil's arms on her side (tavern scene?). Evidently Vergina wasn't very musical and jumped the beat on her jeté. Ivanov was practically blind and very musical and he was waiting for the orchestral beat and didn't see her to catch her in time. Vergina hit the floor hard and badly injured her arm and the performance ended there. Astute balletomanes knew that Ivanov was a scrupulous partner and blamed Vergina who was lacking in other ways as Kitri. Also Ivanov was famous as a caractere dancer of national dances but was not a technical virtuoso in the mold of a Vasiliev or Nureyev. The emphasis on male dancing probably came much later with the Gorsky version and later restagings.

The Don Quixote character has whole mime scenes taken from Cervantes that would not be notated anywhere. The Don Quixote character is more of a dramatic protagonist rather than a cameo walk-on. Most of the versions of the Petipa ballets that exist today come from turn of the century original productions of late Petipa masterpieces like "Raymonda" or revivals or restaging by Petipa, Ivanov or Gorsky of older works like "Le Corsaire" or "Le Bayadere". I don't know how late Petipa revived his "Don Quixote" but I would agree that to my thoughts only the the Dream Scene with the Dryads and Cupid and the final PDD is pure Petipa.

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Faux Pas, I'm sure you are right --

All I'm saying is that the Kirov's current version is closer to Gorsky's than the Bolshoi's -- NB the Bolshoi's grand pas de deux has clearly degenerated FAR from Petipa's, has quite a boring variation for kitri, no pas de cheval's

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the libretto from which beaumont works is likely the original, from the 1869 Moscow prod. of some 3 acts and 8 scenes, or so.

petipa's own revival for petersburg's bolshoi th. in 1871 was arranged in 5 acts and 11 scenes. (i know of the libretto from the moscow prod. but don't know of any published in english from the petersburg version, which was led by aleksandra vergina & lev ivanov. (i find it odd - i haven't double-checked - that beaumont pairs sobeshchanskaya w/ ivanov, when her basil in '69 was sergei sokolov.)

i would not venture to suggest any part of today's DON Q productions as 'pure petipa.' some sections are likely more directly related to what petipa arranged than others, i.e. the dream, etc. but i suspect there were adjustments, etc. all along the way.

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regarding Petipa and the revivals staged while he was still alive of his own ballets -

Petipa HATED anyone tinkering with his 'compositions' as he called them. I know that during the presentations of the Mariinksy reconstructions of Bayadere and Beauty there were those who said how Petipa probably would not have approved of his works staying the same, without changes......In fact I think he would have been pleased! I wish he were alive today so that he could scold the Mariinksy company on how they handeld the revivals, not to mention how they waste their archives......WHOOPS, Im getting off topic.......

Petipa hated Gorsky's revivals of his "Pharoah's Daughter", "Don Q", etc, as well as those of Pavel Gerdt.

After reading his diaries I learned that Petipa only wanted himself altering his works, and no one else.....as he grew old he worked more and more....I really wish that somehow his dances from this time were filmed/notated, I bet they were masterpieces!

It was Gorsky who interpolated into the "Don Q" Dream Scene the variation for the Queen of the Dryads to the music of Anton Simon (this variartion was danced by Fonteyn in the Corsaire pas, and before her Sizova w/ Nureyev). I believe that the variation for Kitri as Dulcinea in the dream scene is a later insertion from Gorsky's 1903 staging of his version of "Don Q", put in for Kschessinska (who danced Kitri) to the music of Drigo, as well as the famous 'fan variation' w/ the harp solo (ruined by Lanchbery in his reorchestration) in the grand pas, again to the music of Drigo. The only solo that is by Minkus is the one for Cupid.

How much of the Dream scene is Petipa anyway?

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as a professional dancer, it is so interesting to read things like this, because so often we are just told to "do", no history or anything else divulged. as an aside (well maybe, maybe not), i understand that ballets change with the dancer, meaning, variations and things change because dancers get better, i.e., they can do more. i have a tape of a nina ananiashvili gala type thing from japan of a mass group doing excerpts from don q, gorsky is the one who is credited. however, the pdd is cut short in the beginning, and there are variations for both men and women from paquita and to some other music i've not heard before...nina herself does the grand jete variation from paquita. pisarev does the "cup dance" from don q...is that originally in the ballet? baryshnikov does it in his abt version. also, i've seen terekhova do a different variation in the pdd....it's in the version she does with ruzimatov...where is that from?

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as a professional dancer, it is so interesting to read things like this, because so often we are just told to "do", no history or anything else divulged.  as an aside (well maybe, maybe not), i understand that ballets change with the dancer, meaning, variations and things change because dancers get better, i.e., they can do more.  i have a tape of a nina ananiashvili gala type thing from japan of a mass group doing excerpts from don q, gorsky is the one who is credited.  however, the pdd is cut short in the beginning, and there are variations for both men and women from paquita and to some other music i've not heard before...nina herself does the grand jete variation from paquita.  pisarev does the "cup dance" from don q...is that originally in the ballet?  baryshnikov does it in his abt version.  also, i've seen terekhova do a different variation in the pdd....it's in the version she does with ruzimatov...where is that from?

I know exactly what you mean!!! Thats why I became so invloved as far as learning the history of the classical ballets. As I got older, and more knowledgable, I used to pi** my teachers off, as most of the time I knew more about the variation/pas they were teaching than they did!! HA!

I decided to bust out my trusty-dusty DVDs of the 'Nina Ananiashvili & International Stars' performances filmed in Japan (the first DVD is from 1991, the second is from 1993 - these were originaly released to video in 4 volumes, as I have those to). I dont think one should ever take it as fact when one sees the credits on any given ballet video/DVD....for example the first DVD in this series credits the music of the Pas d'Esclave from Corsaire (danced by Vadim Pisarev and Inna Dorofeyeva) as being by Adolphe Adam, when its really by Prince Peter Von Oldenbourg.....such errors occur on nearly every DVD/video ballet performance I have!

Regarding the perfomance of the "Don Quixote" Grand Pas de Deux on the second DVD, with the whole ensemble participating, the choreography is by ALOT of people, not just Gorsky. If they were to have credited everyone involved the screen would have been FILLED!!

The variation after the adagio is from Act I of "Don Quixote", danced traditionally by Basilio and the 2 'flower girls' (danced by Inna Dorofeyeva, Rose Gad, and Alexander Kolpin). The music is by Minkus.

Terekhova dances what today is treated as the 'supplemental' variation for Kitri in the "Don Q" Grand Pas de Deux, which I think was the 'real' variation written by Minkus for Kitri in the pas - Terekhova also dances this variation in the Kirov film of the full-length "Don Quixote" with Rouzimitov. This variation is sometimes danced in modern times by a lone female soloist in the context of the "Don Q" Grand Pas, as in Nureyev's production. On the first volume of the "Nina Ananiashvili and International Stars" DVDs this variation is danced by Rose Gad during the "Don Q" Grand Pas performance of Rouzimitov and Ananiashvili.

Yuri Possokhov dances a mysterious variation I have never seen or heard before....I actually posted a question once here on ballet talk about this variation. Also in this same post I asked about Alexander Vetrov's mysterious variation in the Act II Grand Pas from the Bolshoi's film of the full-length "La Bayadere", but for both questions I got no replys. Heres a link to that post -

http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...topic=21045&hl=

Elisabeth Platel dances the next variation - the 'fan variation' to the harp solo, which in modern times in known as THEE variation for Kitri in the "Don Q" Grand Pas - this is the solo that, I am almost 100% sure is really by Riccardo Drigo, not Leon Minkus as usually credited, as it was added into the pas for Kschessinska in 1903, way after Minkus left Russia.

Vadim Pisarev dances what dnznqueen called the 'cup variation', also danced on film by Baryshnikov in the 'tavern scene' of that 1984 film of his version of "Don Q" for ABT. This music is really by Adolphe Adam, and comes from his ballet "La Diable a Quatre" (AKA "The Willful Wife"). The music used for Pisarev's performance sounds like a reorchestration to me. This variation is more well-known as the male variation from the "Paquita" Pas de Trois (AKA Minkus Pas de Trois). There are only 2 films I know of where this Pas de Trois is performed. One is of the Kirov Ballet, called "Kirov Classics" on DVD (or "The Maryinsky Ballet" on the previous VHS release). In this film the Pas de Trois is danced in the context of the entire "Paquita" Grand Pas Classique. The other film is that dreadful yet still interesting revival by Pierre Lacotte of the full-length "Paquita", danced by the Paris Opera Ballet. Both of these have the good ole' 'cup variation'.

Ananiashvili dances the 'grand jete/saut de chat' variation from the "Paquita" Grand Pas (the music used in this perfromance sounds like a reorchestration). As far as I know this is the 'real' variation for "Paquita" in the Grand Pas, as the other variation traditionally danced by the lead ballerina in the "Paquita" Grand Pas is by Riccardo Drigo (the 'harp' variation), choreographed by Petipa especially for Anna Pavlova's performance in "Paquita" in 1904. Drigo originally wrote this variation for Vavara Nikitina (the first Princess Florine in the 'Blue Bird pas de Deux') in 1892 for Petipa's revival of Taglioni's orignal "La Sylphide"

Last Zelensky dances the traditional solo for Basilio in the "Don Q" Grand Pas. Thankfully this variation doesnt have any complex history....or does it?

Confused Yet? Believe me it gets worse! :tiphat:

dnznqueen - I know you will find this post very intersting.....it concerns "Paquita" and who scored what, etc., w/ links to older posts on the subject -

http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...topic=20768&hl=

well, its saturday night, time to go boogie-woogie at the clubs!

--Solor :wink:

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Solor, Thanks for all that info --

The questions concerning who wrote the music are nothing conpared to the questonis as to who choreographed the dances -- and the "fan" variation, for example, may have the fan as a staple, but what the steps are can vary a GREAT deal from Bolshoi to kirov...

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On ‎2‎/‎22‎/‎2006 at 8:00 AM, rg said:

petipa is usually, if casually, credited with the extant choreography for the dream scene and for the final pas de deux

I am not sure who may be crediting Petipa with the choreography of the Dream scene but this view is erroneous, and on more than one ground. First of all, the Dream of Don Quichotte in Petipa's version is completely different; in contrast to Gorsky's, it is a "horror vision" in which Don Quichotte is facing one obstacle after another, in which he is battling an army of cacti, in which he is confronted and surrounded by monsters, crocodiles, dragons. He is combatting them bravely. His dream ends with a vision of a garden with Dulcinea reclining on a bed. Her servants wave branches at Don Quichotte, Dulcinea raises, approaches him and crowns his head with a laurel wreath. At this point the vision and the dream end.

There is no Queen of dryads, no dryads, no Cupidon.

Secondly, the choreographic text of the Dream scene is alien to the patterns used by Petipa. Gorsky made absolutely no secret that he considered those patterns dated and "obsolete", and that he had no intention whatsoever to follow them.
 

Quote

It was Gorsky who interpolated into the "Don Q" Dream Scene the variation for the Queen of the Dryads to the music of Anton Simon (this variartion was danced by Fonteyn in the Corsaire pas, and before her Sizova w/ Nureyev). I believe that the variation for Kitri as Dulcinea in the dream scene is a later insertion from Gorsky's 1903 staging of his version of "Don Q", put in for Kschessinska (who danced Kitri) to the music of Drigo, as well as the famous 'fan variation' w/ the harp solo (ruined by Lanchbery in his reorchestration) in the grand pas, again to the music of Drigo. The only solo that is by Minkus is the one for Cupid.

How much of the Dream scene is Petipa anyway?

None. The Queen of Dryads variation, danced for the first time in 1900, in Moscow première of Gorsky's ballet, by Mme Gratchevskaïa 1ère, was indeed set to music by Simon, Simon also composed music for the dance of Mercedes.

The ballet ends in Gorsky's version completeley differently than in either of the Petipa versions.

A general comment that may help understand that Gorsky's version was a new work, not an updated version of the work by Petipa. Petipa's ballet was about Don Quichotte, he was that work's central figure, the story of Basile and Quitterie was woven into it as a secondary thread. In Gorsky's ballet, Basile and Quitterie are the protagonists, the figure of Don Quichotte is so diminished that it becomes dispensable.

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