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ABT To Unveil New Sleeping Beauty For 75th Anniversary


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I can't help but wonder how willing Svetlana Zakharova will be to play along with this approach once the production reaches La Scala. I love the idea of not seeing the underside of the ballerina's tutu.

In an interview with Wilfried Hosl for Munich "Paquita", Ratmansky said, "You can't show your underwear to the Tsar! Just common sense, you know. Dont need to be an art historian to understand that."

There were a few 6-o'clock penchees. I'm not sure how prevalent that was. I also just read the LA Times feature on it, and Ratmansky does say how difficult it was for the dancers to adapt to the different style.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-ca-american-ballet-theatre-sleeping-beauty-20150301-story.html#page=1

Look at the juxtaposition of:

Ratmansky has had a similar reaction as he discovered how the choreography evolved from "then" to "now." "All the changes, I feel, went from sophisticated and complex to simple," he said. "From the graceful to the pushy and athletic. From feminine to unisex. It's not progress, it's just changing the style."

to:

For Gillian Murphy, who will dance Aurora on Wednesday, "The interesting challenge is to bring the contemporary knowledge that we have, that's been handed down through generations — and the evolution that we've had as dancers over that time — to make that material come to life in a way that honors the original intention. But also I think our modern use of footwork and port de bras will only enrich and enhance the original intention of Petipa."

I'm not so sure whether the Imperial ballerinas who danced the work originally would have thought that Petipa needed enhancement wink1.gif, especially the Cecchetti-trained ballerinas whose footwork created a sensation.

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Helene's comments remind me that the pointework in SB is really intense. It's all compact, intricate, and elegant, but so beautiful to look at. Throughout the night, I was thinking of the Danish style or maybe Ashton when I watched the footwork in the new SB.

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That is an odd thing for her to say. If we take her at her word, the exemplars of the modern port de bras are Balanchine's and Forsythe's, neither work of which she's especially known for. I'd characterize both as taking the classical port de bras to ever more stretched out extremes, with Forsythe being an even more extreme version of what Balanchine did. There is more contrapposto in the body, with the shoulders and hips twisted apart each facing more disparate angles. The head is tilted and turned more. Basically everything is bigger, more exaggerated, and more aggressive, and the lines are longer. But that's kind of what we already have today with other Sleeping Beauties compared to Ratmansky's. So I'm not sure what she's getting at.

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Murphy has also done Ashton, and we can only hope that she's embodying Ashton's virtues. Ashton's idol was Pavlova, and his most influential teacher was Vera Volkova, with whom Ashton and Sadler's Wells dancers, including Fonteyn, defied de Valois and took class. Volkova was a student of Vaganova, but before Vaganova became Artistic Director and five years before she published her book on pedagogy.

Bournonville and Petipa were weaned on the same breast of French ballet. It's not surprising that the roots are similar and that especially the variations for men were similar in style to Bournonville. Doug Fullington said in the Works & Process presentation where Jerome Tisserand demonstrated Desire's last act variation -- linked above by volcanohunter to start at that moment -- that it had everything in it and showed the transition from petite allegro to grand allegro at the time the variation was notated.

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Thanks ksk, Josette and Andre for your wonderful reports. I felt joy just reading them. ABT finally has a production it can be proud of. May is such a distant future, I am not sure how I'll survive the wait.

So Cabinet des fées characters that actually dance the variations are Cat & Puss, Florine & Blue Bird, Red Hood & Wolf, Cinderella & Prince Fortune, Ogre/Ogress and Hop-O-My-Thumb in addition to the Precious Stones. While Bluebeard & Ariana, Porcelain Princesses, Mandarin, Scheherazade, Shah & bros. are walk-through characters. Correct? This production has more act 3 variations and walk-thru characters than RB's, which many considered as the Western production the closest to the original one.

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So Cabinet des fées characters that actually dance the variations are Cat & Puss, Florine & Blue Bird, Red Hood & Wolf, Cinderella & Prince Fortune, Ogre/Ogress and Hop-O-My-Thumb in addition to the Precious Stones. While Bluebeard & Ariana, Porcelain Princesses, Mandarin, Scheherazade, Shah & bros. are walk-through characters. Correct? This production has more act 3 variations and walk-thru characters than RB's, which many considered as the Western production the closest to the original one.

Well, look at it this way -- Aurora has been asleep for a long time, so she had a lot of scope for dreaming.

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Thanks for the reports, Josette and ksk04! It's so good to hear that this version might be an audience winner AND good for the company's growth. I agree, Cassandra Trenary and Leann Underwood are both rather special: I'm glad you think so too.

And any time I'm reminded that Vishneva and Gomes are at the top of their game (in one of the harder ballets in the canon, no less), this little balletomane sleeps a little more soundly.

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The more I hear or read about this production, the more I want to see it. A friend who attended last night called after show to tell me that Murphy and Abrera were far-stronger Aurora and Lilac, respectively, than the first cast. The goofy airs described by the LA Times and OC reporters were no longer in evidence.

The designs look beautiful in the photos of bows. No 'El Cheapo' here!

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How I wish ABT would film it with the original cast! My real fear is that LaScala will do it with Zakharovainnocent.gif

There are many ballets I would like to see filmed with Vishneva, but Sleeping Beauty isn't one of them. That ship has sailed.

Vishneva was filmed as Aurora more than a dozen years ago, at La Scala in Nureyev's production with Roberto Bolle. The telecast was never released on DVD, and it really wasn't her finest hour. But if La Scala thinks it can do better with Zakharova...

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Osipova works with La Scala too, right? She may end up in the mix for the performances at La Scala with Sarafanov. Very odd that Bolle's previous casting with Herrera in SB for her farewell is listed as "TBA".

It will be a shame if Herrera, after 20 years at ABT, ends up doing her farewell with Nedak, who has zero previous relationship with her and virtually no relationship with ABT.

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That's assuming La Scala has the rights to film as part of the package.

Zakharova sells DVDs in Europe, NA, and Japan. While she might not not be ideal, at least there's a lot more to "Sleeping Beauty" than Aurora's solos, and who knows the extent to which she will be committed to the style. From descriptions here and professional reviews, it sounds like Vishneva's style on Tuesday was a lot different than her style in Berkeley when she toured with the Mariinsky in the 00's.

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At the moment La Scala has scheduled nine performances in the autumn, of which four are to be danced by Zakharova and Hallberg, assuming he has returned to performing by then. No other guest artists are listed at the moment, so presumably the plan is to give the other performances to La Scala's own dancers. (Incidentally, La Scala has not yet announced who will replace Hallberg in Giselle opposite Osipova in April.)

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The last time I saw Vishneva dance SB was with the Mariinsky at the Kennedy Center. I think it was in 2006, and I believe Shkylarov may have been her partner. Her style then was classic, refined and beautiful. There was none of the idiosyncratic interpretation issues that have been mentioned in reference to her performance in the new ABT version.

(I also recall that there was a blizzard that night in DC)

Correction: I was way off on the date. It was 2010, not 2006. Here was the review of the Washington Post of that 2010 performance.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/10/AR2010021003477.html

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That's assuming La Scala has the rights to film as part of the package.

Zakharova sells DVDs in Europe, NA, and Japan. While she might not not be ideal, at least there's a lot more to "Sleeping Beauty" than Aurora's solos, and who knows the extent to which she will be committed to the style.

I hope PBS steps up and films an ABT performance, because it's been a long time since the last telecast. On the other hand, RAI broadcasts La Scala's ballet company once a year, and a new production would be a strong candidate for 2015.
Zakharova certainly sells DVDs and show tickets. When I elected to pass on the Bolshoi's last visit to New York and put my tickets up for resale, Zakharova's performances were snapped up lickety-split; the others took quite a bit longer. But I'm still mildly traumatized by memories of the cinemacast of Sleeping Beauty from the Bolshoi, a performance I never revisited on video. I cringe every time a clip of her Aurora whacking her legs around shows up in a trailer. A webstream of Nacho Duato's production from the Mikhailovsky wasn't any better. Perhaps I'm not giving her a fair shake. When the Bolshoi brought its production to London I had tickets to her performances, but ultimately couldn't stomach using them, although I did go to see the remaining casts. I would like to hope for the best and the possibility that Zakharova will conform herself to Ratmansky's conception, but I have to admit that the prospect of another film of her Aurora fills me with dread.
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