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

Recently Discovered Materials Regarding the Original Swan Lake


abatt

Recommended Posts

the Russians can be proprietary about their rare musical scores.

the re-construction of LA BAYADERE for the Vikharev staging was copyrighted as a new score because it had to be re-pieced together and as far as is now known, it was not published.

i suspect there will be articles about the information found in these documents, but as for the documents themselves and the score itself, there's no telling at this point.

Link to post

The Bolshoi and the Kompozitor publishing house have published it in book form. The presentation took place yesterday at said conference.

Unfortunately the press release is available only in Russian, but here it is:

http://www.bolshoi.ru/upload/medialibrary/2a7/2a7ae8c758d5c87d542e52396a758918.pdf

A short segment on the materials was included in the Bolshoi's portion of World Ballet Day.

Link to post

The Bolshoi and the Kompozitor publishing house have published it in book form. The presentation took place yesterday at said conference.

Unfortunately the press release is available only in Russian, but here it is:

http://www.bolshoi.ru/upload/medialibrary/2a7/2a7ae8c758d5c87d542e52396a758918.pdf

A short segment on the materials was included in the Bolshoi's portion of World Ballet Day.

Does anyone foresee the book form being translated to English?

Link to post

I suppose that would depend on whether the Bolshoi and Kompozitor think there is a market for it, or on an offer from an English-language publisher to co-produce a translated version. In the World Ballet Day segment interviewer Katerina Novikova implied that the print run of the book was not large--too small, in her opinion. If the books fly off the shelves, the publishers may conclude that potential demand could make a translation worth their while.

Link to post

A short video about the publication with subtitles

What's interesting to me is that the first page of the discovered score includes a stamp that reads GABT SSSR, or State Academic Bolshoi Theater of the USSR, no. 339, Score Library. Does this mean that someone catalogued the score decades ago without realizing what it was?

Link to post

What's interesting to me is that the first page of the discovered score includes a stamp that reads GABT SSSR, or State Academic Bolshoi Theater of the USSR, no. 339, Score Library. Does this mean that someone catalogued the score decades ago without realizing what it was?

It wouldn't surprise me in the least!

Link to post

I wonder if this score differs somehow from the recording of Dutoit, which I believe contains what is so far known as the 77 original music.

Hi Cristian,

That's the recording I have, too.

On the thread in general, fascinating! I do hope this book is published in English.

Link to post

While it's all well and good that these documents have been found, I hope that nobody is contemplating a reconstruction of the 1877 Bolshoi SL that bombed. Not to pooh-pooh this discovery but, still, let's put it in context in the history of ballet. I can't imagine any ballet company throwing money down the drain, as if the 1877 were such a holy treasure...or any scholar spending more than a couple of hours on a rainy afternoon reading this.

The 1895 Mariinsky SL was the hit and the beginning of the version that we all know and love...and what, correctly, Ratmansky Team is in the process of reconstructing in Switzerland.

Link to post

While it's all well and good that these documents have been found, I hope that nobody is contemplating a reconstruction of the 1877 Bolshoi SL that bombed. Not to pooh-pooh this discovery but, still, let's put it in context in the history of ballet. I can't imagine any ballet company throwing money down the drain, as if the 1877 were such a holy treasure...or any scholar spending more than a couple of hours on a rainy afternoon reading this.

The 1895 Mariinsky SL was the hit and the beginning of the version that we all know and love...and what, correctly, Ratmansky Team is in the process of reconstructing in Switzerland.

They can't reconstruct the 1877 Swan Lake because Reisinger's choreography is lost; when the choreography for a ballet is lost, then a reconstruction is impossible. The only thing anyone could do if they wanted would be to recreate the 1877 production by retaining the original scenery and costume designs, the libretto and the original music score. But the choreography would have to be completely new and made from scratch.

But yeah, like you Natalia, I don't really want to see a recreation of the 1877 Swan Lake and I am really looking forward to Ratmansky's upcoming reconstruction of the 1895 Swan Lake; that's a reconstruction I've wanted to see for years!

Link to post

They can't reconstruct the 1877 Swan Lake because Reisinger's choreography is lost; when the choreography for a ballet is lost, then a reconstruction is impossible. The only thing anyone could do if they wanted would be to recreate the 1877 production by retaining the original scenery and costume designs, the libretto and the original music score. But the choreography would have to be completely new and made from scratch.

But yeah, like you Natalia, I don't really want to see a recreation of the 1877 Swan Lake and I am really looking forward to Ratmansky's upcoming reconstruction of the 1895 Swan Lake; that's a reconstruction I've wanted to see for years!

I feel a sense of pride from the Bolshoi about this discovery, as if they have now a completely different animal that REALLY belongs to them vs. the Mariinsky history, Petipa and everyone else. I could be a minority here, but I would certainly applaud the idea of the Bolshoi retaining a "recreation" of the 77 version using the WHOLE of the music plus scenery and costumes. As I have said before, it is the Dutoit and his rendition of the original score the one that I identify Tchaikovsky's music with, and when I hear the Drigo version it looks definitely minor on my ears. The biggest thing if such recreaton was to be done would be to have the fourth act as it was originally intended, musically speaking. Drigo's arrangements and additions here really made for an over done and sometimes boring act..(all that Valse Bluette and the like), vs. the streamlined original, which makes for a quicker ending. That being said, it is a fact that Girgorovitch production is awful, but sadly..I don't think the Bolshoi is ready yet to put it away.

Regarding Ratmansky's reconstruction. YES. The ballet word really needs to see the real bones of this warhorse. There are whole generations who have been exposed to all sorts of choreographic malignancies and the most ridiculous endings, being the original, double suicide one almost extinct from current productions, included in Mother Russia.

Link to post

I feel a sense of pride from the Bolshoi about this discovery, as if they have now a completely different animal that REALLY belongs to them vs. the Mariinsky history, Petipa and everyone else. I could be a minority here, but I would certainly applaud the idea of the Bolshoi retaining a "recreation" of the 77 version using the WHOLE of the music plus scenery and costumes. As I have said before, it is the Dutoit and his rendition of the original score the one that I identify Tchaikovsky's music with, and when I hear the Drigo version it looks definitely minor on my ears. The biggest thing if such recreaton was to be done would be to have the fourth act as it was originally intended, musically speaking. Drigo's arrangements and additions here really made for an over done and sometimes boring act..(all that Valse Bluette and the like), vs. the streamlined original, which makes for a quicker ending. That being said, it is a fact that Girgorovitch production is awful, but sadly..I don't think the Bolshoi is ready yet to put it away.

Regarding Ratmansky's reconstruction. YES. The ballet word really needs to see the real bones of this warhorse. There are whole generations who have been exposed to all sorts of choreographic malignancies and the most ridiculous endings, being the original, double suicide one almost extinct from current productions, included in Mother Russia.

Yeah actually, I take back what I said about a possible 1877 recreation because now that you mention it Cristian, I suppose it would be interesting to see, just as long as the choreography is creative and imaginative, which is something that Reisinger's choreography apparently lacked in.

It would be great to see both the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky reverting back to their true heritage, but unfortunately, it seems they've been very much brainwashed by the Soviet myths... hopefully they can be un-brainwashed because there's a few Mariinsky dancers who I would love to see dance in Ratmansky's reconstructions.

Link to post

I agree with many of the thoughts expressed in various posts above--including how interesting it would be to see certain Mariinsky dancers in Ratmansky's productions. But I still take exception to whole-sale dismissal of Soviet ballet and its meaning for Russian companies. Like it or not, Soviet Ballet is part of the "true" Russian ballet "heritage."

I think it would be artificial and ahistorical for Russian companies to try to erase the Soviet past. That doesn't mean there isn't value in "reconstructions" and also value in attempts to recover some theatrical aspects of the imperial past. But just dismissing Soviet Ballet tradition tout court seems problematic to me. Ballet tradition is just that, a tradition: it gets handed down and it wears the traces of that process. Living tradition makes ballet ballet. And, despite globalization, audiences still can experience different traditions in the US, the UK, France, Russia etc as well as traditions elsewhere in the world (Latin American, Asia). That seems to me a good thing, though I realize we may lose it in the coming decades.

Since imperial productions were, pre-Soviet times, themselves subject to revision and tinkering (and not always by their original choreographer), other questions can be raised as well. Ballet lives, breathes, grows, decays, gets reborn etc. in the theater. If "piece of the true cross" Petipa or Ivanov can be recovered legitimately then I am all for it. I liked and publically defended the Ratmansky Sleeping Beauty. But I wouldn't want to lose much of what Soviet Ballet has also brought to the table.

The Soviets a)kept alive a lot of choreography completely ignored and unknown in the West b)produced remarkable, standard setting dancers c)produced at least a handful of important ballets that are still engaging and enthralling on stage--and musically many more, as in the scores that Ratmansky dug out for The Bolt and Bright Stream d)included technical innovations in elements like partnering that had an important influence on the West as well. A real Soviet ballet historian could say more. My own tastes are formed by Balanchine and (to a lesser extent) Ashton and in the classics, British and British influenced productions such as the David Blair Swan Lake for ABT. But that's not the same thing as saying that I see nothing of value in, say, the Sergeyev Sleeping Beauty, or the Kirov/Mariinsky way of dancing Les Sylphides. Or the Bolshoi Don Quixote with all of its hokey later additions. And the way dancers danced in the 19th century would, I think, look rather foreign to me, however charmed I might be or however much the historian in me was intrigued.

I also find myself thinking of the D'Orsay museum in France (when it first opened, it may be different now) which made a great point of featuring popular 19th-century taste and relegating much impressionist and post-impressionist paintings that late-20th-century audiences liked, to smaller rooms; when I was there all the tourists, including myself, were crowding in to see Monet and Van Gogh, not dreamily looking at academic painters prized in 1870. I remember thinking, this museum is an art historian's fantasy, not an art lover's. One difference is that Petipa is a master that we all do want to see, but how Petipa is danced has changed and I can't quite agree that all of those changes are simply 'bad.' In fact, I think some of them emerge from a logic inscribed in the choreography itself. Ratmansky has said he no longer likes to see Petipa danced except in the manner he recreated for his Sleeping Beauty. I liked his Sleeping Beauty a lot--and I would love to see his Swan Lake--but I can't agree.

Link to post

All the brou-ha-ha concerning this discovery must be about the music, given that this consists primarily of scores and a financial book. Until the Fedotov-led CD recording of the Mariinsky's 1895 SL 20 years ago, all recordings of the ballet were basically of the 1877 sequence numbers. (I'm still thanking Viktor Fedotov for this.) So it's not as if musicologists or the public at large didn't know about the 1877 score. Maybe a bit of the stage action of the 1877 production may be gleaned from the annotations in the score but not much else, from a choreographic and staging point of view.

Link to post

I agree with many of the thoughts expressed in various posts above--including how interesting it would be to see certain Mariinsky dancers in Ratmansky's productions. But I still take exception to whole-sale dismissal of Soviet ballet and its meaning for Russian companies. Like it or not, Soviet Ballet is part of the "true" Russian ballet "heritage."

I think it would be artificial and ahistorical for Russian companies to try to erase the Soviet past. That doesn't mean there isn't value in "reconstructions" and also value in attempts to recover some theatrical aspects of the imperial past. But just dismissing Soviet Ballet tradition tout court seems problematic to me. Ballet tradition is just that, a tradition: it gets handed down and it wears the traces of that process. Living tradition makes ballet ballet. And, despite globalization, audiences still can experience different traditions in the US, the UK, France, Russia etc as well as traditions elsewhere in the world (Latin American, Asia). That seems to me a good thing, though I realize we may lose it in the coming decades.

Since imperial productions were, pre-Soviet times, themselves subject to revision and tinkering (and not always by their original choreographer), other questions can be raised as well. Ballet lives, breathes, grows, decays, gets reborn etc. in the theater. If "piece of the true cross" Petipa or Ivanov can be recovered legitimately then I am all for it. I liked and publically defended the Ratmansky Sleeping Beauty. But I wouldn't want to lose much of what Soviet Ballet has also brought to the table.

The Soviets a)kept alive a lot of choreography completely ignored and unknown in the West b)produced remarkable, standard setting dancers c)produced at least a handful of important ballets that are still engaging and enthralling on stage--and musically many more, as in the scores that Ratmansky dug out for The Bolt and Bright Stream d)included technical innovations in elements like partnering that had an important influence on the West as well. A real Soviet ballet historian could say more. My own tastes are formed by Balanchine and (to a lesser extent) Ashton and in the classics, British and British influenced productions such as the David Blair Swan Lake for ABT. But that's not the same thing as saying that I see nothing of value in, say, the Sergeyev Sleeping Beauty, or the Kirov/Mariinsky way of dancing Les Sylphides. Or the Bolshoi Don Quixote with all of its hokey later additions. And the way dancers danced in the 19th century would, I think, look rather foreign to me, however charmed I might be or however much the historian in me was intrigued.

I also find myself thinking of the D'Orsay museum in France (when it first opened, it may be different now) which made a great point of featuring popular 19th-century taste and relegating much impressionist and post-impressionist paintings that late-20th-century audiences liked, to smaller rooms; when I was there all the tourists, including myself, were crowding in to see Monet and Van Gogh, not dreamily looking at academic painters prized in 1870. I remember thinking, this museum is an art historian's fantasy, not an art lover's. One difference is that Petipa is a master that we all do want to see, but how Petipa is danced has changed and I can't quite agree that all of those changes are simply 'bad.' In fact, I think some of them emerge from a logic inscribed in the choreography itself. Ratmansky has said he no longer likes to see Petipa danced except in the manner he recreated for his Sleeping Beauty. I liked his Sleeping Beauty a lot--and I would love to see his Swan Lake--but I can't agree.

You're right Drew, the Soviet Ballet is part of the Russian heritage, just like Ashton and MacMillan are part of the British heritage.

My view is that the Russians should by all means keep Soviet choreography in their repertoires, but only in the forms of the ballets that were actually created during the Soviet-era - ballets like Shurale, The Young Lady and the Hooligan, Leningrad Symphony, etc - but it really is high time for them to take Soviet choreography out of the classics! Let's face it, people like Sergeyev did not do Petipa's ballets any justice; he may have helped to keep them alive during the Soviet-era, but his changes completely stripped away the true beauty of Petipa's ballets. For example, he replaced Petipa's splendid pas d'actions with such standard pas de deux that look like they just came out of an advanced pas de deux class and of course, there is the issue with the mime, but in his defence, that was due to Soviet commands. With the road Ratmansky has taken in terms of reconstructions, it's high time for the Russians to restore the classics to their former glory, especially when they were premièred in that very country.

So yeah, it really is time for the Russians to start balancing their true heritage, which is both the Imperial Russian Ballet and the Soviet Ballet. I am aware that it would quite difficult due to all the Soviet myths that still exist about ballet in Russia, but maybe someone should try to set the record straight.

Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...