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"Swan lake" live HD broadcast from Mikhailovsky

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Newsletter_20121121_v3_Swanlake_ENG.jpg09_Paragraph_Mark.gif Emblematic Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake at the Mikhailovsky Theatre, Saint-Petersburg! November 23 at 7PM Moscow [GMT+4], 3PM London [GMT], 10AM New York [GMT-5] join www.paraclassics.com to watch live HD webcast of Pyotr Il'ich Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake from the Mikhailovsky theatre in Saint-Petersburg. Superior interpretation of Russian ballet chef-d'oeuvre by ballet reformer Alexander Gorsky and brilliant Soviet dancer and choreographer Asaf Messerer was staged in the Mikhailovsky theatre by Mikhail Messerer. Swan Lake that sings through its detail, The Guardian. Exquisite and elegant Ekaterina Borchenko, Golden mask nominee for the Best female performance in Swan Lake, the best Odette as per Tatiana Kuznetsova, Kommersant (in Russian), will perform with her partner Victor Lebedev. Stage design and costumes were created by Simon Virsaladze and carefully recreated by Vyacheslav Okunev. Conductor - Valery Ovsyanikov. November, 23 – Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake – Mikhailovsky theatre Watch, enjoy and share emotions with your friends at Paraclassics on your PC/Mac or iPhone/iPad. Join our Facebook page for upcoming webcasts and archive updates!
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Hello, Aqualia,

I have a question - Do I have to register with Paraclassics? I don't see how to do this on the website. Or will it just play when I access Paraclassics at 10am tomorrow? (I live in New York State). Any help you can provide will be helpful and thank you.

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Yuri Faier's recording of the Swan Lake ballet suite with the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra (now available on MP3) was my introduction to Swan Lake. The record notes indicate that the Bolshoi presented Swan Lake with Gorsky choreography during their UK 1956 tour so I assume that this is the production that the Mikhailovsky theatre has revived and has just transmitted (the costumes and choreography of the Spanish dance on the DVD “Paul Czinner's 1956 The Bolshoi Ballet” match those in the Mikhailovsky production).

The video below (no sound) shows the arrival of the Bolshoi company and the scenery in 1956. Yuri Faier is shown at 2 minutes, 40 seconds.


Performances of Swan Lake by the Bolshoi always take me back to my first memories of listening to the ballet suite – the interpretation of the music in the ballroom act is particularly special for me.

In terms of yesterday's live stream from the Mikhailovsky, I loved the production, the dancers/dancing and the music. The ballroom act was my favourite because the interpretation of the music with the dancing brought back so many memories. Other highlights were the corps de ballet in the Gorsky choreography and of course the performances of the principal dancers.

I also greatly enjoyed the competition and the performances by the stars during the grand prix on Wednesday and Thursday.



Grand Pas Classique is a great favourite of mine so I particularly enjoyed the pas de deux performed by Olesya Novikova and Leonid Sarafanov. I was also surprised by how much I enjoyed the performances of the more modern choreography, e.g., the pieces choreographed by Bigonzetti, Edward Klug and Nacho Duato.

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I really enjoyed this performance and watched parts of it a couple of times - will do so more over the weekend if it's available. Borchenko is a lovely Odette, though very cool, and a very capable Odile. I think the corps is stunning.- Borchenko and her swans had lovely port de bras - so soft and graceful - and their feet are gorgeous. I liked the quietness and restraint of the dancing - nuanced and meaningful without a lot of spectacle. Lebedev is very delicate and dances delicately, so graceful and again, quiet power. He is very young but manages to conveys 'young masculine' despite his very delicate aspect, and he will grow as an actor and grow into that role as he matures. So, so sorry no Russian Dance - it's one of my favorites and is either not performed to my satisfaction or not performed at all! I would want to see a really traditional sort of performance with that dance - the prospective bride or something like that in traditional Russian folk costume - a little like Maximova's dancing the Russian dance to Goleiovsky's choreography. And definitely danced en pointe.

I loved, loved, loved the sets, especially Act I, and the costumes were mostly gorgeous. I'm thinking of the white brides and the Spanish dancers and the Queen Mother, especially. It was interesting that Odette's tutu wasn't different then the other swans' tutus. I saw no real difference, anyway. I thought her black swan tutu was terrific. Does anyone know what kind of tutu, specifically? I would say pancake tutu but the tutus did fall over the circumference a bit, forming a kind of fringe. Very pretty.

In Act II, I really liked how the swans came out and surrounded Prince Siegfried in an effort to shield him from hunting Odette - the scene was dramatic and poignant - and then they posed! - how beautiful! The love duet was very satisfying, too.

Well, that's all I can think of right now - anyone else's thoughts?

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Sorry, Goleizovsky's choreography. And one more observation - I thought the ending a bit dull. I favor the ending where Odette is fated to be a swan forever - this is the version I learned early on seeing George Balanchine's shortened version and this is the version I feel works best with the tragic nature of Tschaikovsky's fabulous music. Does anyone know a Swan Lake tradition where Von Rothbart's wing is torn off, besides this restoration?

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A bit of trivia here that interests me: they stayed with the Soviet ending in which the Prince vanguishes Rothbart in this life, eliminating the suicide and the afterlife together. This, more than two decades after the fall of Communism. I saw the same Soviet ending a few years ago with the Slovak National Ballet (which had been part of the Warsaw Pact, of course, until the fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989).

It's interesting that they elect not to return to the traditional ending when they could politically make such a change very easily. (If Ratmansky can revive Bolt and Bright Stream, then the ending of Swan Lake could surely be changed.) Perhaps they think the Soviet ending reflects a more secular contemporary era (although traditional religion has enjoyed a resurgence in at least some of the countries formerly under the communists)? Perhaps they continue to favor the view that good can conquer evil in this life and not wait on an afterlife they're not so sure about?

Have Mariinsky and Bolshoi stayed with the Soviet ending? I'd be interested in thoughts on this issue, especially from BTers familiar with the current environment in Russia.

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From the Mikhailovsky site:

Swan Lake is a ballet that has become has become a symbol of Russian art itself. The version of the famous ballet cannot be seen anywhere else in Moscow or St. Petersburg: the Mikhailovsky Theatre’s Swan Lake is the legendary ’Old Moscow’ production by Alexander Gorsky and Asaf Messerer. For many years it was considered in Moscow to be the standard production, and now it has been lovingly restored by Mikhail Messerer, Ballet Master in Chief of the Theatre.

Swan Lake is a special title in the ballet repertory. We were discussing which version to choose for our theatre and turned our attention to the production by Alexander Gorsky and Asaf Messerer. According to ballet historians, the historical London Tour of the Bolshoi Theatre in 1956 could be compared to Diaghilev's Russian Seasons in the mission of establishing the priority of Russian ballet around the world. It was during the 1956 tour that the version of Swan Lake received rave critical reviews. The appearance of Mikhail Messerer at the Mikhailovsky Theatre made it possible to revive the wonderful production here’, General Director of the Mikhailovsky Theatre Vladimir Kekhman comments.

‘Our major concern was to avoid repeating the brilliant production by Konstantin Sergeyev, which occupies such an important place in the repertory of our great elder sibling — the Mariinsky Ballet. A hundred years ago, a remarkable choreographer from St. Petersburg (who was then just starting his career as a ballet master) named Alexander Gorsky was transferring the production of Swan Lake by Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa to the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. And while basing it on the gracious choreography of the original, transformed the ballet and staged it in his own way. The epoch of Alexander Gorsky saw the next phase in the evolution of dance following the balletic classicism of Petipa and Ivanov. Gorsky was influenced by contemporary art; he was attracted by the innovative methods of the stage direction of Konstantin Stanislavsky and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko and the new style of acting it involved. By the way, Nemirovich-Danchenko participated in a production of Swan Lake by Gorsky.

‘My approach to the production was quite careful, as I adore the version of 1956, but I admit that my contribution, perhaps, modernizes Swan Lake, brings the ballet up-to-date. My alterations in the ballet are minor. They are mostly based on my conversations with Asaf Messerer in 1990. At the time we were talking about possible changes to the production provided he had a chance to stage the ballet Swan Lake once again. In 1956, the sets for the production were designed by the fabulous artist Simon Virsaladze. The same design is being used now: both for the sets and for the costumes. To my mind, the production corresponds to modern society: everybody wants a happy end today, and our Swan Lake will provide it’, Mikhail Messerer says.

Press about the production

Tatyana Kuznetsova, "Kommersant":

... Women corps de ballet has become the central figure of the new production, and the "swan" scenes appeared to be the main breakthrough. Agile, nervous and asymmetrical pattern of Gorsky- Messerer's compositions represented an astonishing contrast with conventional lines of harsh women in ballet tutus, lined up on ground with "goose" above their head (the pose with almost straightened elbow and turned off hand, just like a swan beak, which was created by Agrippina Vaganova). During Adagio of Odette her friends are not standing as if they were made of stone, just like the ministers of our government do on a keynote speech of prime minister. Instead of this they enter into details of the fateful love affair with typically women's curiosity: they move their legs in pas de bourr—e, sigh arabesques, shamefacedly turn aside, hiding their head beneath delicately rounded hand. Such activity of the corps added a charming vividness and warmth to the "lake" scenes. And we can only guess on the amount of efforts it took from Mikhail Messerer to show this kind of women immediateness.

Actually, the entire ballet — harmonious, logical, and dynamic — looks surprisingly cheerful and young for its age. Nothing needless, superfluous or pretentious: skilful stage direction leads action at ease to the optimistic final. And meltingly archaic writhes of the Evil Genius on the forestage only add a grain of irony to the unsophisticated triumph of good over evil. Gorsky's outstanding dances don't lose fabulous magnificence even with its imperfect performance, that's why student's constraint seems to be fully surmountable barrier. Indeed, the main thing is already done: the remarkable ballet is reincarnated, while it is the business of the adopting parents to bring it up and to improve it.

Olga Fedorchenko, "Kommersant-SPB":

... Mikhailovsky's Swan Lake of two Messerers — Alexander Gorsky — Lev Ivanov — is a solid, honestly made traditional ballet in the best sense of the term. The setting by Simon Virsaladze (reconstruction of decorations and dresses by Vyacheslav Okunev) brings us back to the golden age of the native ballet. In the first scene the "realistic" waltz is danced on heels, what highlights extra evanescence of the fantastic episodes on the lake. In the Act One Alexander Gorsky gave Siegfried objectively complex variation oriented on endless technical possibilities of young Asaf Messerer.

... "Swan" scenes chronologically and for a variety of marks are so much closer to the original work of 1895, than "patented" archetype of Mariinsky theatre. The arms and hands of the dancers are rounded according to the canon of 19th century, which provides choreography with special charm and softness. The style of Gorsky is seen in modifications in geography of composition: swans don't line up straight (so the famous "corridor", traditionally formed by two columns of swans, is missing). They form fanciful groups, contradicting the law of symmetry instead. So, if in the right part of the scene five dancers closed the circle then in the left one threesome kneeled down and behind them six dancers lined up in picturesque pose. Art-deco style is also maintained in group compositions: they are full of inexplicable attraction. The head is moved a little bit different, the body is inclined differently, the hands "sing" in a different way. These smooth "vegetative" movements revive an ancient comprehension of gracefulness and "velvety feeling", the term which was used frequently by the balletomanes of the past. Three Big Swans are dancing instead of the traditional foursome and there are four signets as yet, though Mr. Messerer apparently promises to bring this number up to six (as it was in the last Gorsky version).

Acrobatic elements were wisely taken away from the famous "white" Adagio. A shoulder lift became a substitute for caring over the dancer with her legs widely spread, which is not so aesthetically beautiful.

Anna Gordeeva, "Vremya Novostei":

... Petersburg's Mikhailovsky theatre opened the season with the premiere of Swan Lake by Alexander Gorsky — Asaf Messerer and this performance is one of the most vivid shows that fell to your ballet reviewer's lot in the last decade.

... It's been a long time since you can't watch this performance in Moscow, as it was replaced in 1968 by the gloomy version of Yuri Grigorovich; Petersburg is much luckier now.

... The leading part fell to Ekaterina Borchenko. Her white swan amazingly believes in destiny and in this prince who suddenly occurred on the lake. Some kind of adolescent confidence that nothing bad can ever happen and everything is going to be alright. That's why in every movement we see a little condescension towards unduly trembling prince. Irreproachable lines of the dancer and her steady technique force the effect: nothing bad can happen to the girl, who stands so firmly on her feet. And we see the prince (Marat Shemiunov), who dances with placid dignity in the first scene, as he literally starts getting silly when meeting this swan. No, truly, it's performed wonderful. Oh, she is really coming to my hands? Astonishment on the face and eyelashes are fluttering. And the makeover of the prince takes place exactly on the lake, without any former soulful excruciations and strivings to somewhere, as happen in other versions of this ballet. He is alright and no sooner than he falls in love he loses his rest.

Moreover, this performance has delightful character dances rehearsed by Alla Boguslavskaya. — a bright and witty suite, composed by Gorsky (including splendid Spanish dance, multiply quoted by other choreographers.) Tiny Jester (Denis Tolmachev) executing grand pirouette perfectly well. Unlucky prince's fiancées gazing after his every step. The Evil Genius (Vladimir Tsal), flying high in his jumps. All this must be seen at least just to throw off the myth about the museum, boredom and mummy. In St Petersburg? Yes, indeed, in Petersburg — not so far. However, let's hope this ballet will get to Moscow one day.

Kirill Veselago "Fontanka.Ru":

... All in all, the significance of this premiere for cultural life in Russia can hardly be overrated: at the time of numerous meaningless and ruthless "rethinkings", Mikhailovsky theatre reconstructed this piece. The one which had its place in the history of Russian ballet and which was undeservingly forgotten by those people to whom it brought worldwide fame, that is Bolshoi Theatre. Now people who live in Moscow can also see the performance in which some time ago gorgeously appeared Plisetskaya and Fadeechev. Although in the set with tickets for the performance they will have to buy tickets Moscow — St Petersburg.

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23-12 ---I liked Messerer's SL, which I saw in London some years ago. I missed the (Tschaikovsky) aural pantomime.

E.Borchenko, last night, has become a purer classicist , simpler in expression, direct in boldness.

V Lebedev was a caring partner and with thrilling variations in the third act.

I particularly liked the 3rd act scenery, with its colorfree tone and elegance.

The corps de ballet were synchronous and splendidly musical altogether. The tutus are gorgeous.

The jester, in the final count, remained a nuisance. And the swans remained swans.

Tragedy according to Tschaikovsky's score, remained a soviet dictum after its

time. Way after.

Is ballet a conservative art?

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Sorry, Goleizovsky's choreography. And one more observation - I thought the ending a bit dull. I favor the ending where Odette is fated to be a swan forever - this is the version I learned early on seeing George Balanchine's shortened version and this is the version I feel works best with the tragic nature of Tschaikovsky's fabulous music. Does anyone know a Swan Lake tradition where Von Rothbart's wing is torn off, besides this restoration?

The Mariinsky's version.

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Have Mariinsky and Bolshoi stayed with the Soviet ending? I'd be interested in thoughts on this issue, especially from BTers familiar with the current environment in Russia.

The Mariinsky, yes, still has the happy Soviet ending. The Bolshoi had a happy ending until...about a decade ago? Now their ending involves Siegfried being left alone, his ideal dreams gone (Odette is not real).

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Sorry, Goleizovsky's choreography. And one more observation - I thought the ending a bit dull. I favor the ending where Odette is fated to be a swan forever - this is the version I learned early on seeing George Balanchine's shortened version and this is the version I feel works best with the tragic nature of Tschaikovsky's fabulous music. Does anyone know a Swan Lake tradition where Von Rothbart's wing is torn off, besides this restoration?

The Mariinsky's version.

The Cuban version. No suicide, fight between Rothbart and Sigfried, winning the good guy. Maidens are back to human form, including Odette-(with change of tutus and everything). I had a friend in Cuba who used to say "Now it comes the tutu that doesn't get to be used". It was only shown for the very last seconds of the ballet.

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