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La Esmeralda Grand Pas Classique/Fleur-de-Lys act clips

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I found this two interesting clips of the Maly’s production of La Esmeralda. The details are taken from the Youtube poster notes. ( :thanks: )


"Grand pas des fleurs taken from the Mikhailovsky Ballet's (formerly known as the Maly/Mussorgsky) production of the full-length "La Esmeralda".

This production was staged by Nicolai Boyarchikov & the great ballerina Tatiana Vecheslova, who was the last ballerina to perform in Petipa's final revival before the ballet's choregraphy & mise-en-scène became heavily revised by Soviet-era ballet masters".

Grand Pas des fleurs 1 -

--1. Grande valse (Drigo)

--2. Adage (Drigo)

--3. Variation I (Pugni)


Grand Pas des fleurs 2 -

1. Variation II (Drigo)

2. Variation de Phœbus de Châteaupers (Drigo)

3. Variation de Fleur-de-lys—Pizzicatto (Drigo)

4. Grand coda (Pugni)


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according to a Russian language dictionary of Dancers, Balletmasters and Pedagogues, Tatiana Mikhailovna Vecheslova danced Esmeralda in Vaganova's revival of ESMERALDA, w/ no mention of any appearances in Petipa's staging.

Petipa's last revival of Perrot's work was first shown in 1899. I don't know how long it was in repertory, but Vecheslova didn't join Leningrad's State Theater until 1928; in 1935 she created the role of La Esmeralda in Vaganov'a ESMERALDA.

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Thanks rg for the clarifications. These clips came to a surprise to me too, and I don't really know the accuracy of the info attached. I do know that they're not part of the commercially released Maly production. The back cover of this production mentions the help of Vecheslova, who "danced Esmeralda to great acclaim in the early and mid-twentieth century-(and)-provided her own memories of nineteenth-century realizations of the ballet"..

I will borrow your info, if I may, to dig a little more and clarify this with the Youtube poster, who seems very fond of the XIX Century ballet.

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Hi. I have seen this complete production several times during trips to StP from the mid-90s until 3-4 yrs ago. I saved the programmes and inserts. This was not intended to be the Romantic Era Perrot version but, rather, the 1890s Petipa revision which became the standard....for which Drigo wrote several new musical pieces, including the bulk of the Grand Pas Classique in the Fleur-de-Lys act. [Most definitely NOT known as "Pas des Fleurs," as the video-poster cites. These are human characters, not dancing flowers.] RG, it was, in fact, in the repertoire of the Mariinsky-Kirov-GATOB until the late 20s and other Russian theaters 'in the provinces' kept dancing it until recently, maybe even now. Budapest had it in rep during the 1960s, I know. Recent scholarly tomes (Volinsky?) cite that Spessivtseva and others danced it during the 20s.

Vecheslova would have at least seen it throughout her schooling years and perhaps danced one of the four gypsies or a friend of Fleur de Lys during her early career. Vecheslova was known for her great intelligence and ability to memorize.

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good points all, N.

just because TV didn't dance the lead of ESMERALDA before assuming the title role of Vaganova's prod. doesn't mean that she wasn't elsewhere in the large-cast ballet as it existed prior to Vaganova's 'version.'

and yes, duhhh, i have a few photo cards of Spesivsteva in the title role of the staging that predated Vaganova's and that doubtless date from the 20s, when TV was likely very much 'around.'

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Hopefully this isn't too off-topic, but does this mean that Diana's variation from Vaganova's "Diana & Actaeon" pdd is actually by Petipa?

The choreography is by Petipa, as first staged for a Diana character in the ballet KING CANDAULE (specifically, for a divertissement titled "The Amorous Adventures of Diana"). So it was first for Diana, then for Fleur-de-Lys friend, then reverted to Diana in the 1930s, thanks to Vaganova, who once danced that very number in its ESMERALDA incarnation! Crazy, I realize.

to further confuse matters...

"Amorous Adventures of Diana" divert was originally a pas de trois -- Diana, Acteon and a Satyr. No corps girls, as we see in today's stand-alone 'Diana and Acteon' at the Mariinsky. F. Lopukhov laments that the Satyr was removed somewhere along the road...by the 1920s, when Lopukhov wrote an essay about it, the Satyr was gone.

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perhaps Natalia knows more particulars here, but in general, DIANA AND AKTEON came into Vaganova's 1935 staging of ESMERALDA with links to Petipa's Tsar Kandavl' (a.k.a. Le Roi Candaules) - how much of the older work - known in its original context "Les Amours de Diane," which took the form of a pas de deux a trois for Diana, Endymion and a Satyr, is unknown to me, and how much of Petipa'a work Vaganova recycled in her staging is likewise unknown.

(from what i've heard regarding the upcoming staging of ESMERALDA for Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet, there is some indication of interest in re-staging the CANDAULES "Pas de Diane" (a.k.a. Les Amours de Diane) for this production. how much of these intentions will make the 'final cut' and what reliable links any of the choreography will have to Petipa's work is a question mark, so far.)

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(from what i've heard regarding the upcoming staging of ESMERALDA for Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet, there is some indication of interest in re-staging the CANDAULES "Pas de Diane" (a.k.a. Les Amours de Diane) for this production. ...

Thanks, RG. This would be perfect for the Bolshoi, as they already have that wild little Satyr in the Walpurgisnacht Ballet of their version of the opera FAUST. He could simply do 'double duty' in ESMERALDA.

According to Lopukhov, the Mariinsky audiences loved that Satyr. He was constantly trying to get in between Diana & Acteon. It was a comic role....almost a variation on the classic Jester role!

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thanks, N. i dont' know the Lopukhov text, but i have a reproduction of a poster for a mixed program of dance, etc. that included a perf. of this trio from 1922, in which Elsa Vill danced Diana, Viktor Semyonov, if mem. serves, danced Endymion, and Georgi Balanchivadze, the Satyr.

(Note the male character was Endymion. Vaganova seems to have changed the name to Akteon.)

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... Grand Pas Classique in the Fleur-de-Lys act. (Most definitely NOT known as "Pas des Fleurs," as the video-poster cites. These are human characters, not dancing flowers).

Hola, Natalia!! :wink: , and thanks for the info on the proper way to refer to this Pas. I have made the corrections on the topic title.

Now, I was wondering WHERE do this clips come from. Thye are definitely not part of the commercially released DVD. Maybe a televised recording...?

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cubanmiamiboy, no problem -- I was referring to the individual who posted the films on YouTube, not you. If the video-poster was really the authority that he claims to be...well, you get my drift. :wink: No, these clips are not from television, with the occasional "video calibrating" flashing across the screen. Somebody in the audience pulled an 'Ann Barzel' and saved these dances for posterity.

RG et al - I am now at home with my library of Russian books and see in Vecheslova's autobiography, Ya Balerina (I am a Ballerina), that she indeed debuted in 1931 as Esmeralda in the long-standing Petipa-Pugni version at the GATOB Theater (Mariinsky), four years before she debuted the title role in Vaganova's relatively short-lived version.

Very cool about that 1920s poster about Balanchivadze as the Satyr! Right - Diana's lover was Endymion. Wasn't Acteon a rather violent character in Greek mythology?

I can also see from various sources, including ballerina biographies, that the Petipa Esmeralda was almost continuously in repertoire between the Tsarist era and the 1935 Vaganova version, with notable Esmeraldas in the teens, 20s and 30s including Olga Spessivtseva, Elena Lyukom (1923 debut) and -- surprise! -- Marina Semyonova (1934 debut). Vecheslova, though, was THE Esmeralda of her era, especially after Spessivtseva had left the USSR for good.

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Endymion would be a rather different situation; Selene (a Titaness ruling the Moon) caught sight of him sleeping in the moonlight. When the Renaissance Classical Revival came along, his story got switched to the Roman goddess Diana. Not much good for pas de deux. You can't do much with a sleeping man when it comes to partnering. Or maybe that's what the satyr was for; he took over when Endymion went back to the rock to catch forty more winks.

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Late post but I've been reading the English translation of Lopukhov Writings on Ballet and Music which the San Francisco Library has just acquired. It has a first hand account of the original Esmeralda Pas de Diane:

Vaganova removed the part of the Satyr, thereby eliminating the conflict between Endymion and the Satyr that is the culmination of the whole ensemble; as a result, the work has lost its narrative and choreographic harmony. I remember Petipa's Satyr well, as danced first by Georgy Kiaksht and later by Leonid Leontiev. The Satyr's leg jerked as if to kick away Endymion (originally Vaslav Nijinksy) who lept over him in a soubresaut, while Diana (Anna Pavlova) took flight in jetes. Together the three enacted an unforgettable choreographic masterpiece.

Lopukhov describes another lost masterpiece the pas de cinque from The Daughter of Pharoah "an unsurpassed masterpiece of choreographic sonata form" that begins with an adagio for one man and four women, moving from one group pose to another. Fokine danced the male role "devising his own Egyptian-style arm positions" and Lopukhov feels that "the direct influence of the pas de cinq manifests itself in ballets such as Eros, Les Sylphides, and Papillons, in the asymmetry of the grouping (especially true of Papillons, a ballet not forgotten.)"

Anyway Lopukhov is fascinating reading, especially his criticism of Petipa and Ivanov for having lost confidence in Tchaikovsky and for making cuts and changing the order of dances in Swan Lake ("only Act II is good") and not giving the metamorphosis of the girl into a swan to an oboe, as Tchaikovsky had in the full orchestral version -- which Lopukhov thinks Petipa was not familiar with, only a rehearsal trio of first and second violins and piano.

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