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Sebastian

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Everything posted by Sebastian

  1. I watched this excellent film last night. It's as enjoyable and instructive to a beginner like me as it will be to experts.
  2. There has been some discussion here: https://slippedisc.com/2021/01/breaking-rattle-extends-with-london-while-signing-for-munich/ https://slippedisc.com/2021/01/is-brexit-the-reason-for-rattles-move-to-munich/ https://slippedisc.com/2021/01/after-rattle-where-does-the-lso-turn/
  3. With apologies for the late notice, here are details of a talk at 12.30pm today which might be of interest. https://courtauld.ac.uk/event/online-addressing-images-niall-billings?dm_i=AHZ,77B12,ML3UKL,T6NJ7,1
  4. The great cellist was also no mean conductor, if that's what you mean Alison: https://youtu.be/UA2R2QR19Bs
  5. Just to report back briefly for those who were not able to join, David Nice's fascinating talk - illustrated with many musical and dvd examples - overran and in the end lasted a full three hours. Very worthwhile. From a host of insights - including where Tchaikovsky's music may contain a hidden reference to Aurora's hundred-year sleep - it is perhaps worth picking out one point, as it has been raised on this Forum more than once in the past. Which is the best recording of the music? David Nice replied that he had once done a BBC Radio 3 "Building a library" episode on this question, when Mark Ermler’s Covent Garden performance came out on top. This is however not currently available, so now he would be torn between Vladimir Jurowski's live recording and John Lanchbery’s Philharmonia CDs. I presume he did not mention Andre Previn's recording as this omits two numbers from the last act (Tom Thumb and the Sarabande). He also repeatedly praised Rostropovich's recording of the Sleeping Beauty Suite. In any case, a seasonal treat for those who were (virtually) there.
  6. Following two Zoom terms on Russian music and a pre-Christmas special on The Nutcracker, the well-known British music critic David Nice is offering a two-hour exploration of Tchaikovsky's score for The Sleeping Beauty. Tomorrow (Wednesday 30 December) afternoon, 2.30-4.30pm UK time. £10 per household. If interested, please email David on david.nice@usa.net
  7. An article about the Nutcracker by the British film-maker Margy Kinmonth appeared online this week, on the "Russian Art+Culture" site. Her article draws on her film "Nutcracker Story" and the Bolshoi transmission tomorrow with Semyon Chudin and Margarita Shrayner. Here's the link, in case this might be of interest: https://www.russianartandculture.com/bolshoi-ballet-cinema-the-nutcracker/
  8. That is a very interesting question DVDfan. Might I recommend that you search the old discussions on here, as some of the highly informed comments on this point in the past have been very illuminating. You might also like to read this post: https://www.balletcoforum.com/topic/21941-sleeping-beauty-fairy-and-other-variations/?do=findComment&comment=308332 From my personal POV, my first Royal Ballet Sleeping Beauty was in 1963, so distance no doubt lends enchantment. However I did have the privilege in recent years to be able to compare a number of Sadlers Wells / Royal Ballet films of the Sleeping Beauty from the 1940s to the present day (including watching some recordings not widely available). This gorgeous experience left me in no doubt about changes over the decades: the company slowed down, in broad terms, from certainly the end of the 1970s onwards (perhaps even from a bit earlier, that’s for experts to comment on). But, yes, I agree: I feel things got better in recent years, perhaps since the arrival of Koen Kessels as music director.
  9. Regarding Royal Ballet “style” we know Diaghilev was most impressed by de Valois when she danced this variation in the 1920s, and asked for her specifically in the role. By way of comparison here is the Kirov’s famous 1964 feature film of the ballet: https://www.ivi.tv/watch/34369 The variation - across the globe from Ashton and behind the iron Curtain - starts around 15:18.
  10. Thank you Angela, thank you Irmgard. I bow to Tim Scholl (though one point on which we differ is elaborated on in the piece I wrote for Covent Garden last year and which is linked to on this site). However, just to be tidy:- - It was as you know Sergeyev who brought the Stepanov notations to the west, so they are only "Sergeyev's notations" in the sense that he had possession of them at the time, rather than that he had done the notations himself. - Even the original Stepanov notations are not uncontroversial (not recorded until some years after 1890, incomplete and so on). - As for the chain of ownership of authenticity from Petipa onwards, it is not entirely clear how much of the detail of the Sleeping Beauty ballet de Valois knew before she teamed up with Sergeyev. She had seen Diaghelev's Sleeping Princess production in 1921 (on which Sergeyev worked) and also worked later with some of the key Russians, eg Cecchetti and indeed Diaghelev himself, for whom she danced a fairy variation and also the not entirely authentic "Florestan and his sisters" in "Aurora's Wedding". Tim Scholl - who tracks the history of Russian productions of The Sleeping Beauty in his book - leaves it to others to follow the development of the ballet outside Russia. This is important research and one always looks forward to new discoveries.
  11. There is a further issue, the question of authenticity to the Sleeping Beauty as Petipa, Vsevolozhsky and Tchaikovsky created it, ie how much of what we see now goes back to 1890, in style as well as detail, even in those sections where there is no new (interpolated) choreography. This goes beyond questions of what was (and was not) notated by Stepanov and bleeds quickly into more general questions about, for example, the tempi the work gets conducted at, something which has been discussed here a number of times in the past. The production you ask about - the Sleeping Beauty we know best in London - grew out of Sergeyev and De Valois working together at Sadler's Wells before and during the war. We have one clue that Sadler's Wells (and then the Royal Ballet) is indeed, whatever else changed over the years, nonetheless some kind of guide to the 1890 production. The argument goes like this. Those who visited Perm and saw what this Russian company was doing with the ballet (isolated as they had been from all the changes in Leningrad and Moscow) noticed striking similarities to the Covent Garden production. Following the same kind of argument as has been used on (for example) the Dead Sea Scrolls this suggests that where the Perm and de Valois productions are similar, there is therefore a likelihood of some kind of authenticity. It is interesting to follow Sergeyev when he left de Valois and went to International Ballet. Mona Ingelsby repeatedly made the claim that their subsequent work was truer, more authentic, than the Sadler's Wells production. Allowance must be made for hype (Ingelsby needed to sell her show) but it would be really good to know what Sergeyev did when he was given the freedom to do what he wanted (and which he said he had not been able to do under de Valois). This has however proved hard to research. We know IB's Sleeping Princess had a full garland dance (ie more people on stage than Madam's) and a more complete final act (with more variations, characters and music). But on the other hand their Aurora's Wedding included a "Flame Fairy", which suggests that, at least so far as names are concerned, Sergeyev wasn't too fussy about keeping things as they had been in 1890 (there is no "Flame Fairy" in the 1890 scenario). And this in turn suggests that maybe he did not know what the Petipa "back stories" for the individual fairies were. As for Stepanov, the notations are not quite as much help as one might hope (although Ratmansky has made magnificent use of them). The notations are sadly silent on anything "above the waist" or indeed on "stage business", which possibly no one notated, not even a stage manager, as everyone at the time will have known what to do. As always, more research is needed.
  12. Maybe you like this work-in-progress from Ratmansky, li tai po? The Blue Bird starts around 3:15 in:— https://youtu.be/ZVQTJFPqvjE
  13. Far be from me to quarrel with Wikipedia (however as it happens French Wikipedia gives the other date). The year is crucial, at least in the rather heated academic field of fairy tale scholarship, because of determining whether or not Perrault produced his collection before d’Aulnoy issued hers (as is now broadly accepted). There were also other writers working at around the same time, but none who had an impact on the Sleeping Beauty. So far as the Blue Bird in the ballet is concerned you might like to look at this PhD from 2017, as it has a whole section on this (pretty good though perhaps hampered somewhat by the sources being restricted to texts in English):- https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/bitstream/handle/2152/47390/BELL-DISSERTATION-2017.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
  14. What a good subject jonac, thank you for raising it. You might like to read yourself further into the stories: other d’Aulnoy characters appear in the ballet (the White Cat, for example). Not sure you have the dates exactly right though (1698 is the publication date more usually given for her work). Christine A. Jones's scholarly introduction to "Mother Goose Refigured" (2016) is well worth searching out as it is up-to-date and deals with far more than just Perrault.
  15. The critic Mark Ronan has posted my 2019 article about The Sleeping Beauty on his website (with permission from the Royal Opera House: the piece appeared in their programme for the latest revival). Perhaps people might like to have the link:- https://www.markronan.com/2020/06/sleeping-beauty/ The article focuses on the first production in order to try and rediscover the original intentions of Petipa, Vsevolozhsky and Tchaikovsky. Although not mentioned in this short piece I also have a personal interest in such issues as tempi and choreographic style, the key research question for me being one of meaning, both of the Sleeping Beauty as a whole and also of the individual scenes, mimes, variations and so on. Please note that the Royal Opera House did not allow me to write this article academically - with footnotes etc - and asked me just to assert my findings. This may be controversial (for example when I appear to contradict well-known books or leave out stories "everyone knows") but all is drawn from - mostly - primary sources. I am looking for more material, specifically private documents (e.g. diaries, memoirs, correspondence) that might cast light on what was going on in St Petersburg and Paris around 1890. So if anyone knows of a family archive - even just forgotten papers in an attic somewhere - relating to Russia and/or France during the relevant period, I would be delighted to learn more.
  16. In case anybody might be using this unusual period to declutter, I am looking for a few magazines for my research collection: Dance & Dancers: 1956: February 1957: July / Sept / Nov 1958: Jan / Feb / March / April / May / June / Sept / Nov 1959: July / Sept / Oct and various issues from 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964 Dance Now: 1/4, 9/1, 9/2, 12/1, 17/1, 17/2, 17/3 If anyone might be able to help - even just with a single copy they don't need - please feel free to send me a PM. Many thanks.
  17. This has been discussed before but if one goes by the text of the novel, Olga is 19, Tatiana 20, Onegin 26, and Lensky 18 when we first see them. Four years later we have the ball where Tatiana is married to Prince Gremin: he shares memories of their youthful pranks and adventures with Onegin (who by then is 30). This makes Gremin maybe a bit older (nobody says exactly by how much), maybe something like 35-40. So perhaps a ten year gap or so between him and Tatiana. Tchaikovsky on the other hand needed a lower voice for the operatic Gremin, so people usually assume he is much older.
  18. Two tickets for Friday 28th February 7.30pm for sale. Amphitheatre C34 and 35, £12 each. Please PM if interested.
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