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How much Ashton in this Sleeping Beauty


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I watched the following video at the library and the listing says that it's based on the version by Ashton and Sergeev, but lists Kenneth MacMillan as the choreographer. Does anybody know how much remains of the Ashton (or the N. Sergeev for that matter) choreography?

Sleeping Beauty

2 cassettes. 185 min. : sd. color NTSC. ; 1/2 in. (VHS)

Note Telecast via satellite from Covent Garden, London by WNEW-TV on December 16, 1978. Produced by Metromedia Television, Channel 5 in cooperation with the BBC. Producer: Doris Bergman. Executive producer: Paul Noble. Director: Andrea Reiter. Spoken introductions by Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Choreography: Kenneth MacMillan after Marius Petipa based on the version by Frederick Ashton and Nikolai Sergeev. Music: Peter Tchaikovsky. Sets and costumes: David Walker.

Performed by the Royal Ballet, London. Cast: Merle Park (Princess Aurora), David Wall (Prince Florimund), Monica Mason (Carabosse), Marguerite Porter (Lilac fairy), Jennifer Penney and Wayne Eagling (Bluebirds), Robert Jude (King Florestan), Rosalind Eyre (His Queen), Anita Young (White cat), Christopher Carr (Puss-in-boots), Wayne Sleep (Hop o' my thumb), Leslie Edwards (Cattalabutte). Conductor: Ashley Lawrence.

Contents CONTENTS. - Reel 1. Prologue, Act I and Act II. - Reel 2. Act III, The wedding.

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Dale, if this was really recorded in 1978, and is the same one as I have seen, it is the de Valois production from 1977 which superseded the MacMillan version, and so far as I know the only MacMillan choreography left in it was the dance for Hop o'My Thumb in Act 3. The Ashton bits are the Garland dance, the solos for Aurora and the Prince in Act 2, and the Awakening pas de deux at the end of that act. The production also used the Ashton Florestan and his Sisters pas de trois in the last act, but neither that nor Hop o'My thumb were in the copy I've seen. (I think some of the dancing is excellent but unfortunately it was rather too late for Merle Park's Aurora - she was over 40 by then and way past her best.)

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Well, the RB is between versions right now - the Makarova dumped, the next one not yet seen - but I believe we will certainly get Ashton's Aurora's Vision scene solo; not his garland dance (Christopher Wheeldon is doing a new one, I think); not the awakening pas de deux; don't know about the Prince's solo; and we do get Florestan and his sisters - usually attributed by the RB to Ashton, or Ashton after Petipa, but - as Mel says - originally devised by Nijinska.

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Very interesting. Thank you. From the Royal Ballet's site --

Choreography: Marius Petipa

Additional Choreography: Ninette de Valois, Frederick Ashton, Christopher Wheeldon

Production: Monica Mason and Christopher Newton

after Ninette de Valois and Nicholas Sergeyev

Designs: Oliver Messel

Additional Designs: Peter Farmer

Lighting: Mark Jonathan

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i can't speak more authoritatively than anything said above, but i could add that the macmillan lasted only a brief time and was never toured to the states. (croce either wrote or noted in conversation, that it remained the one missing link for u.s. admirers of royal b. BEAUTYs, since we never saw it on our shores and don't therefore have assessments of our own to bring to it and its place in RB SB history. now of course makarova's staging is another 'missing link' as it too didn't tour here.)

i'm only aware of the ashton authorship of the florestan pas de trois but i suppose i'm forgetting something. can someone tell what prod. seems to have first used this trio w/ credit to nijinska. did first come from a version of AURORA'S WEDDING?

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Thank you for all the responses. So, I gather that the citation from the library is slightly wrong. Does anybody know who choreographed the fairy variations and the prologue? The corps choreography looks a bit Ashtonian, while the fairy variations are slightly altered from the traditional versions.

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i have not watched this telecast in a while, but when you say fairy variations altered from 'traditional versions', do you mean british tradition? or soviet/russian tradition?

i suspect the fairy variations are given rather much in line with what was then n.sergeyev/british/petipa 'versions.'

can't think of many other telecasts w/ 'british' variety of fairy variations to check, except the dowell/bjornsson staging?

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I used the wrong word. "Altered" is not right. I mean "tweaked." You make a good point. I guess they look a bit "tweaked" from the "Russian" versions I'm used to. So I'll have to go look at the Dowell production, which I haven't seen in a bit.

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can someone tell what prod. seems to have first used this trio w/ credit to nijinska. did first come from a version of AURORA'S WEDDING?

In the 1921 London production of Sleeping Beauty by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (reproduced by Nicholas Sergeyev) credit is given to Nijinska for "the action-scenes, hunting dances in scene 3, Aurora's Variation in the same scene, and tales of Bluebeard, Sheherazade, and Innocent Ivan." The truncated version, Aurora's Wedding, which followed in 1922 again carried a credit to Nijinska.


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Dale is right. The fairy variations in the British tradition are what I call 'extra cutesy' - for example, more curliqued finger movements by Fairy Violente ('Finger Variation')...more quickened pace, with extra moves, in the first diagonal of the first fairy (Fairy Candide). I've read in more than one tome that Ashton indeed tweaked most of the fairy variations. More movement per measure.

Interestingly, the commercial videotapes of performances by Western ballet troupes that follow the Royal Ballet tradition -- the 1980s Australian Ballet tape, for ex. -- perform these altered variations.

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