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odinthor

Sergeyev Collection's Choreography for Operas

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We see among the works of Petipa preserved in Stepanov notation in the Sergeyev Collection a handful of works intended, as I understand, for the ballet sequences in a number of operas--LakméAïdaLes Contes d'Hoffmann, and so on.

I can imagine, even aside from their being included in opera productions, that these would provide in and of themselves a most interesting suite or suites for production simply as ballet presentations.  They would add further diversity to the classic ballet repertory.

Have any of these Petipa opera-born works been reconstructed from the Stepanov notation, and presented?  Perchance have any survived by tradition in the presentations of their operas (in other words, through performance tradition rather than through reconstruction from the Stepanov notation)?

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I would be very interested in the answer to @odinthor's question -- and very interested if any choreographer or company wanted to stage a suite from Petipa's choreography for operas. (Allowing that the source material is detailed enough, workable as pure dance outside the opera etc.)

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I think Vaganova Academy staged and performed an excerpt of Petipa's ballet for opera choreography ("Dance of the Hours") from Ponchielli's La Gioconda as part of its 2018 graduation performance - agreed these could be some rare gems to see. 

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Thanks for the interest!

I glanced over the collection and have made a hasty stab at listing the items which appeared to indicate the holdings of Stepanov notations of Petipa's choreography for operas.  These are the operas concerned, which I list by composer:

Berlioz, Les Troyens

Bizet, Carmen

Borodin, Prince Igor

Cui, Prisoner of the Caucasus

Dargomyzhsky, Rusalka

Delibes, Lakmé

Glinka, Life for the Tsar

Glinka, Ruslan and Ludmila

Gounod, Romeo & Juliet

Massenet, Esclarmonde

Meyerbeer, Huguenots

Meyerbeer, Prophète

Nápravnik, Dubrovsky

Offenbach, Les Contes d’Hoffmann

Ponchielli, Gioconda

Rimsky-Korsakov, Snegúrochka (The Snow Maiden)

Rimsky-Korsakov, May Night

Rimsky-Korsakov, Serviliia

Rimsky-Korsakov, Sadko

Rimsky-Korsakov, Tsar’s Bride

Rubinstein, Demon

Serov, Judith

Tchaikovsky, Queen of Spades

Tchaikovsky, Cherevichki

Verdi, Aïda

Verdi, Rigoletto

Verdi, Traviata

Wagner, Tannhäuser

 

Some heavy-hitters there!--with a few intriguing obscurities.  The nice thing about resurrecting these "for-opera" ballet sequences is that the would-be restorer wouldn't have to confront the Mt. Everest of a bulky manuscript for a full-length three-hour ballet; surely most of these pieces are ten or twenty minute performances, a less daunting investment for a restorer or dance company, and in almost all cases making use of published and currently available music scores from known and appreciated composers, with works mostly having names (both composer and opera) of a familiarity which would make them appealing to the Public.  It's not an all-or-nothing:  If one such modest effort would go well, then the restorer/company could embark on the next such modest one with increased confidence and likelihood of success.  Lastly, I can't imagine but that Petipa's personality would mandate that he enter into these pieces with extra zest, and put his best foot forward to show off in his choreography for these, for the pieces to function as, so to speak, calling-cards in one genre giving a taste of what riches he had to offer at full-length in his other, "native," genre.

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The two that intrigue me most are Carmen, since Petipa live in Spain and was interested in, at least, Spanish classical and folk dance, and the music isn't all the traditional Flamenco-friendly, and Les Troyens, which was recently one of the Met streams and which featured Aaron Loux, who is from Seattle and trained at Cornish College of the Arts, where Cage and Cunningham met, before Juilliard.  (He now dances with Mark Morris.)

Sadly missing from the list are Don Carlos, the French version with the ballet, which Balanchine used for Ballo, and I Vespri Siciliani, which Robbins used for Four Seasons.

The Balanchine Catalogue is full of listings for opera ballets choreographed by Balanchine, and not just during the couple of years he was choreographer for the Met Opera ballet.

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