Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Summer 2014 NYC & Saratoga Tour


mussel

Recommended Posts

Saw SL again last night and thought Zakharova was even better than on opening night. The arch of her back, the gorgeous extension of her limbs - it was all breathtaking. She is gorgeous in this role.

Whereas there was no front door security on Tues and Wed evening, last night they decided to install bag check security at the front door.

Link to post

I confess to serious confusion about which version we are seeing. The program notes say Grigorovich did his first version in 1969, but that the "current production" dates to 2001. This matters in trying to make sense of the strange libretto, with its quasi-Freudian elements or at least its serious psychological emphasis on Seigfried. The Soviets thought Freud and psychoanalysts were quacks and heretics. Here's a source from 1988: http://www.nytimes.com/1988/07/18/world/in-the-new-soviet-psyche-a-place-is-made-for-freud.html

So it would be astonishing if Grigorovich came up with this libretto in 1969, when Cold War repression was at its worst (the Prague spring was in 1968), and I wonder if he came up with this later. The post-Soviet 2001 date might just be the costumes and scenery, but he also would have felt free in 2001 to explore ideas that the Soviets repressed. In the 1980s, when Soviet repression eased up a bit, he also might have felt comfortable with ideas the Soviets apparently loathed.

So, does anybody know? When did Grigorovich come up with this strange libretto? The program notes are no help at all.

Link to post

I confess to serious confusion about which version we are seeing. The program notes say Grigorovich did his first version in 1969, but that the "current production" dates to 2001. ..The post-Soviet 2001 date might just be the costumes and scenery, but he also would have felt free in 2001 to explore ideas that the Soviets repressed. In the 1980s, when Soviet repression eased up a bit, he also might have felt comfortable with ideas the Soviets apparently loathed.

So, does anybody know? When did Grigorovich come up with this strange libretto? The program notes are no help at all.

When this production was shown in HD a few years ago with Maria Alexandrova as O/O, Nikolai Tsiskaridze danced the "Evil Genius". Tsiskaridze also was interviewed during the intermissions and gave the history of the production. He explained that Grigorovich in 1969 wished to reinstate the tragic ending. However, Soviet authorities demanded the positive, happy ending where Siegfried rips off Von Rothbart's wing and decks him and the two bourrée off into the sunset. Grigorovich, always politically compliant, kept the traditional Soviet happy ending intact. (Some Russians are confused when they see the tragic denouement at ABT and other international companies perform "Swan Lake".)

After glasnost and perestroika, Grigorovich was invited back to restage his production and he finally got to put in the tragic ending he always wanted. However, I don't find this ending tragic, just kind of pointless. It seems to be part of a massive rethinking to turn Odette/Odile into a passive, static character with no personal identity or stake in the story. Evil Genius just body slams her on the floor, Prince Sieggy wanders downstage confused, hero and audience say "What the f**k was that about?" and story over. Odette doesn't even have the individual will or strength to commit suicide and there is no lake for her to throw herself into. No Swan, no Lake...no Swan Lake.

Link to post

Thanks, FauxPas. Makes perfect sense. But I think Grigorovich added more than an "unhappy ending" -- good doesn't always triumph over evil. I think there's a definite psychological twist with the Evil Genius as Seigfried's alter ego (or some such) - tormented, unable to read people accurately, and suffering in the end for all of that. That's consistent with the 1988 Times story. It's possible in that interview that he didn't have time to explain all of that, or perhaps wasn't as conversant with that aspect. Grigorovich could have gone back to the original ending, with happiness in an afterlife after suicide, but he took a very different direction.

The Soviets did not oppose all "tragedy" -- they had R&J, e.g. And it has always puzzled me that they tolerated Giselle's otherworldliness, when they squelched all ideas of a religious afterlife elsewhere. Perhaps they just couldn't think of another way to end things!

Link to post

I saw the July 17 performance and liked very much. I have never been a big fan of Zakharova's and must admit that I have severely underestimated her - she has so much grown dramatically in the last few years and is in such a tremendous form technically that I find it extremely difficult to name anybody who in my eyes can compete with her today. Lopatkina is in the same class, but so much different that they are really hard to compare.

I know I'm going to be in a huge minority about this but I think the Grigorovich Swan Lake is a masterpiece - it's a very personal, innovative and powerful take on the original, realized by purely choreographic means and without retorting to the total rewrite a la Neumeier.

I agree with you completely, Waelsung, that "she has so much grown dramatically in the last few years." She has matured into an even greater and more completely rounded artist. I also feel that she should try to keep as much of her youthfulness and freshness as possible.

I join you in liking many things about this production. From a purely performance point of view I find the ballet orientation of the 'character' Brides dances to be very charming and beautiful. I also like the more streamlined feel. The swans dancing in the final act is lovely.

Link to post

However, if we are taking a psychological track then I think the happy ending could be even more valid. In the Grigorovich version, the Evil Genius appears before Odette. He dances behind Siegfried, shadowing his steps or perhaps even controlling his movements. It is almost like the Evil Genius is Siegfried's evil twin or doppelganger. So if it is all in Siegfried's mind, if he kills the evil doppelganger who is blocking him from achieving love and happiness, then that ending works too. Really it probably is a better ending - subduing your inner demons and finding yourself, freeing yourself to find love and happiness.

BTW: I have seen this production on video and haven't hated it as much as when I saw it live on Wednesday night. (It was filmed with Bessmertnova, Plisetskaya, Alla Mikhalchenko and Maria Alexandrova - partial list probably). Close-ups give Odette more presence and authority and make her less of a puppet controlled by or a vision conjured up by the Evil Genius. Certainly Plisetskaya was nobody's puppet or passive object.

Link to post

Yes, you could use the psychological twist with either ending. But I wonder if having Seigfried kill off alter-ego and "get the girl" might send the wrong message in the Soviet Union in the 80s: "This Freudian stuff you're hearing about, fellow citizens, is bunk - destroy it and you will be happy." That sounds like a message from Soviet hard-liners of an older era.

I don't know that we'll ever really know what Grigorovich intended. As Kisselgoff said at her Lincoln Center Festival event Tuesday: "Don't ever ask a choreographer her intention - never, ever!" But I think it's helpful to try to understand the cultural context within which different works were created -- as best as westerners can understand such things.

Link to post

Did anybody who went notice if there are people selling tickets in front of theater?

I'd appreciate if anyone would report...

I almost bought standing room this morning... they sell only 42 of those per performance!

I was told this is due to fire codes - but it seems to me 42 is a v. small redundancy for such a large theater.

Link to post

I was told people were queing up for cancellations from 4PM yesterday - there were none.

Amazing how despite terrible reviews (NYT included) everyone wants to see them.

The Bolshoi is critic proof in NYC. They haven't been here in 9 years. Virtually all the tickets were already sold before they even arrived. I'm guessing they won't be back here for a good number of years, as it is such an expensive undertaking.

The NY Times website just posted an article on David Hallberg. He is apparently the toast of the town this week.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/arts/dance/david-hallbergs-dancing-develops-via-russia.html?ref=arts#

Link to post

There is a comparative glut of Spartacus tickets on StubHub. Perhaps some of the people who bought 3-ballet packages are trying to unload their tickets for that particular ballet, at a nice profit, of course.

Yes, those must be the people who bought their 3 packs on the phone or internet, where you were required to buy each of the 3 ballets. In contrast, if you went to the box office, you could buy any combo of 3 ballet tickets,thereby bypassing Spartacus tickets. I'm actually happy that the Royal Ballet tour next season seems to have nothing to do with Lincoln Center Festival, because the sale of the Festival tickets was done in a very poor and uneven manner.

Link to post

The Bolshoi is critic proof in NYC. They haven't been here in 9 years. Virtually all the tickets were already sold before they even arrived. I'm guessing they won't be back here for a good number of years, as it is such an expensive undertaking.

It's notable that the Bolshoi's Twitter feed is fairly silent. Sold out or no, for now they can't really present the ballet's tour as triumphant. And while it is usual Bolshoi practice to repost and translate reviews during tours, they haven't done it up to this point, since Macaulay's scathing piece in the NYT seems to have been the only print review so far.

Link to post

There is a comparative glut of Spartacus tickets on StubHub. Perhaps some of the people who bought 3-ballet packages are trying to unload their tickets for that particular ballet, at a nice profit, of course.

Yes, those must be the people who bought their 3 packs on the phone or internet, where you were required to buy each of the 3 ballets. In contrast, if you went to the box office, you could buy any combo of 3 ballet tickets,thereby bypassing Spartacus tickets. I'm actually happy that the Royal Ballet tour next season seems to have nothing to do with Lincoln Center Festival, because the sale of the Festival tickets was done in a very poor and uneven manner.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sorry, I am having trouble with the quote function. Below are my comments:

How nuts that people actually want to bypass Spartacus! I’ve only seen it once in it’s entirely, and I’ve been looking forward to it even more than the other ballets.

How interesting that the box office kept changing their rules. I bought my package of three performances in person at the Avery Fisher Box Office, and they were very clear that I had to buy each of the three ballets with the exact number of tickets for each performance. I agree that the sale of Festival tickets were sold in a poor and uneven manner.

Link to post

I loved the "ballet for trumpeters" (first in red, and then in Act II they appear in blue and do the same steps!)

Yes! Grigorovich has some very peculiar ideas about court dances, but male servants of the court always get the same choreography. It's a clunky sort of chassé-pas de bourrée combination, which also appears, for example, in Giselle. The Fred Step it's not. And of course there is his infamous fetish for Things on Long Sticks, preferably candelabras, but in this case really long trumpets.

Given how ugly NYCB's production is, I can't agree that the Bolshoi's is the ugliest ever seen. Yes, the ABT version is looking better and better compared to Bolshoi's.

Perhaps the organizers' insistence on the Bolshoi bringing Swan Lake is really an ABT plot to get people to stop complaining about McKenzie's production. wink1.gif There really are productions far more horrible than ABT's, including Grigorovich's, James Kudelka's for the National Ballet of Canada and many others.

Although he doesn't have ideal ballet proportions, I don't think the costume did him justice either, lengthening his torso and shortening his legs.

The designs for this ballet are irredeemably ugly, but I've always thought the basic structure of Siegfried's costume was quite flattering on most dancers, with the single color top to bottom and the big inverted triangle on the front of the tunic creating the illusion of broad shoulders and a narrow waist, even when the dancer doesn't actually have them.

Link to post

Although he doesn't have ideal ballet proportions, I don't think the costume did him justice either, lengthening his torso and shortening his legs.

The designs for this ballet are irredeemably ugly, but I've always thought the basic structure of Siegfried's costume was quite flattering on most dancers, with the single color top to bottom and the big inverted triangle on the front of the tunic creating the illusion of broad shoulders and a narrow waist, even when the dancer doesn't actually have them.

You may be right, and perhaps the costume actually enhanced his proportions. Whatever the reason, I found his proportions not ideal. This may not matter to some people, but it mattered to me.

Link to post

Mimsyb - Thank you for making me glad I didn't make the trip to NY and for today's big laughs. Very funny but also very sad. If only McCauley were one tenth as entertaining as you.

Thanks. I only report what I see. And I understand that everyone sees things in different lights. And they are pleased with and look for different things when attending a ballet. And are able to forgive a lot. It's the Bolshoi, after all. But that is exactly my point in some ways. It is the Bolshoi and it's astonishing and sad that this is the version of "Swan Lake " they decided to show. Even I had a difficult time seeing the "good" dancing, as everything was caught in a time warp. Maybe in the 50's when this company first came to our shores we all jumped out of our seats. But to present this "throwback" as "art" was disturbing to me. (despite the laughs!). To present Seigfried and his alter ego The Evil Genius as the main thrust here seemed a bit disingenuous. First, because with the lack of mime or story telling here, Seigfried doesn't even have a life of his own, never mind an alter ego. And as someone else pointed out it totally robs Odette of any inner life of her own and thus there is no tragedy that she can't break free of the spell. Is this some kind of sexist message that Grigorovich is sending ? Are all females in total thrall to their male counterpart? Are all guys control freaks? Should we all now don silly Richard III wigs and gesture crazily about the stage? This ballet had no thread or through story line by which the dancers could attach themselves and reveal themselves, either as noblemen or swans turned ballerinas. Or, for that matter, as evil sorcerers or obsequious jesters. It was as if everyone was tossed into one of those salad spinners and never really got out! I have a sneaking hunch that these dancers are better than what we saw here. But if the choreography isn't good, even many great dancers look foolish. Witness what Vishneva did with her "Inner Beauty" tour a few years back. In the good old days, seeing the Bolshoi do their high extensions was a revelation. Now everyone (well, almost) does them. Sylvie Guillen, anyone.? Or any number of dancers after her. We often get caught up in the acrobatics of the presentation. Many ballerinas (I wont name names) begin to resemble a circus act. If I wanted to see the circus, I'd buy a ticket to Ringling Bros. I think Herman Cornejo (when not injured) can out dance every man on the Bolshoi stage. And to watch Gomes do ANY role is surely the best thing since sliced bread. (OK, maybe not "The Tempest"). But without clear and specific story telling, the dancing is pretty much a wash. Even Mr. Balanchine said that as soon as you put a man and a woman on stage together, there is a story. But these dancers just seemed to be so uninvolved, detached. Without energy or purpose. Here an arabesque, there an arabesque. Did you like that? OK, then I'll do it again, and again, and again and........ You catch my drift. Again, I can only report what I saw. But I was so disheartened by it all that I sold my ticket for Thursday night (despite Zakharova) to a very nice lady on the waiting line. I didn't have the heart to tell her to watch out for rising and falling curtains! Me? I took my "rubles" and went across the street to Bar Boulud, where a nice glass of Sancerre told it's own story!

Link to post

I loved the "ballet for trumpeters" (first in red, and then in Act II they appear in blue and do the same steps!)

Yes! Grigorovich has some very peculiar ideas about court dances, but male servants of the court always get the same choreography. It's a clunky sort of chassé-pas de bourrée combination, which also appears, for example, in Giselle. The Fred Step it's not. And of course there is his infamous fetish for Things on Long Sticks, preferably candelabras, but in this case really long trumpets.

Oh, please, please, please may we have the trumpeters do the "Fred Step"? Now, that I would pay to see!

Link to post

It appears that whoever is in charge of selecting the programs for these Festivals does not have discerning cultural tastes. Yes, this Swan Lake is very odd, but at least it sold out, which is important to the bottom line.

Remember that last year, someone somehow convinced the Festival to present about 2 weeks of something called Monkey Journey to the Earth at the Koch. They spent weeks trying to unload all those unsold tickets with discounts everywhere you looked. Maybe the sell out of the Bolshoi shows will help setoff the losses from the Monkey Journey debacle.

Maybe its time for a new festival director with better taste, and also one who can better manage the methods and practices of ticket sales to festival events.

Link to post

I can't really help but compare the Bolshoi Ballet's sold out but artistically empty Swan Lake with the Bolshoi Opera's not sold out, but authentic, well-cast, well-sung, well-played Tsar's Bride. The Tsar's Bride audience was also full of real enthusiasts. Everything was on a very high level artistically.

Link to post

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...