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  1. No ballet in the desert, please stay!!! 😘
  2. Ecriveur, I think the "labels", as you call it, are directly from Tschaikovsky's partitura. He is a composer, not a choreographer; I guess he had a scenario or libretto, by which he worked in 1876/77, and he wrote titles over the parts he composed. I know that later, when he worked with Petipa in St. Petersburg, he was given exact instructions what scenes or forms he had to compose, but I don't know how it was for Swan Lake which premiered in Moscow and was Tschaikovsky's first ballet, so he had no experience. I don't think you should take these "labels" as a choreographic instruction, they are Tchaikovsky's attempt to put some kind of order in his partitura, to follow the scenario he was given. I think the book "Tchaikovsky's Ballets" by Robert John Wiley might help in this regard, and check Petipa's memoires, you'll find more about the choreographic nomenclature there. I don't think there is a book which outlines how to call a scene or a form in a ballet, the labels were made by tradition and conventions.
  3. Hamburg Ballet has published the cast of John Neumeier's new creation "The Glass Menagerie", a ballet "freely adapted from the Drama and Life of Tennessee Williams": Alina Cojocaru as Laura Wingfield, Patricia Friza as Amanda Wingfield, Félix Paquet as Tom Wingfield, Christopher Evans as Jim O'Connor, Edvin Revazov as Tennessee, David Rodriguez as The Unicorn and Marc Jubete as Malvolio. The premiere is on 1 December. https://www.hamburgballett.de/en/schedule/index.php
  4. This is really interesting considering the fact that Stuttgart Ballet was not allowed to change a single step in their version with new sets and costumes by Jürgen Rose. And he really wanted to change some small details - nothing essential of course, but fitting to his sets. So how does Lady MacMillan decide who changes scenes and who does not? Anyhow, it is a smart approach to make small changes in every new Mayerling production you assign to another company...
  5. This is simply a fact, I've heard it before from other teachers and ballet school directors. It's especially hard in Russia, because in the Soviet Union, a career in ballet used to be something important and it could make you rich, if you were good. They could chose among many, many talented kids in the ballet schools, who now prefer to seek other careers. The director of the Vaganova Academy is Nikolai Tsiskaridze, and he is from the Bolshoi school tradition, which caused a huge scandal in the Russian ballet world, when Tsiskarzidze was appointed in 2013. Vaganova and Bolschoi are two different traditions, the Vaganova Academy used to have directors from their own tradition.
  6. I fear there is no high court for reconstructed ballets, but only our opinion as avid balletgoers. I don't think there is a wrong and a right in staging old ballets, only a better and a worse. How can you be faithful to the old style by chosing the wrong designer, over and over again? For my part, I just can't believe that the steps are those of the 19th century if they are wrapped in polyester floral prints or in glittering materials. But enough of Vikharev vs. Ratmansky.
  7. Paquita is not a Grand Ballet, but a "ballet-pantomime en deux actes"; compared to works like La Bayadere the work has a certain operetta quality, which I perceived in the Paris production by Lacotte and, with all due respect to Ratmansky and Doug Fullington, with all my deep interest in ballet history, also in the extensive mime scenes at Munich that more than once looked like a silent movie. Did I really care for the original historical background of Paul Foucher’s and Joseph Mazilier’s libretto, some long forgotten war between Spain and France? I didn’t. Did I really care for the murderous, clichéd baddie Inigo in the original plot? I didn’t. I thought Smekalov’s new story, which he adapted from a Cervantes novel, was much clearer and funnier. As most other ballet librettos, it will certainly not qualify for a Pulitzer Prize, but it is credible and easier to understand as the original plot. It makes the dramatis personae more sympathetic, more likeable, it changes Paquita from the typical shy, in her case even submissive girl that needs to be saved by a prince, to a prouder, self-confident young woman. That may not be true to the original concept from the 1840s, but it suits a wider audience of today that might not be interested in the details of ballet reconstruction and ballet history. Smekalov uses the operetta quality as a ploy; he infuses it into his story instead of taking a plot full of clichés too earnest. In the end, you laugh with the figures of the story and not about them. I admit that you must like this sense of humour, but I did. I simply had much more fun seeing the Mariinsky Paquita than the Munich version – from the Mariinsky I remember lots of dancing and not endless mime scenes. I also liked the colours of the sets and costumes of the Mariinsky production, compared to Jerôme Kaplan’s glitzy and flashy materials at Munich that just don’t suit a historical reconstruction. With all respect for the Munich dancers of the premiere in 2014, I would not dare to compare their reliable, solid technique to the refined style of Tereshkina and the Mariinsky soloists. Where Sergei Vikharev’s reconstructed Raymonda for Milano was a glimpse of lost paradise, Ratmansky’s Paquita at Munich proved for me that with some ballets it may be better to move on and change the plot, the choreography, the mime. And along came Yuri Smekalov who did exactly that. Maybe Paquita was never a work of the quality that we see in La Bayadère or Le Corsaire, that might explain the disappointment.
  8. I have seen the production in 2017, when the Mariinsky brought it to their annual residence at Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, and I loved it, especially compared to the Munich reconstruction by Ratmansky. In one sentence, there is much more dancing than mime. Yuri Smekalov re-invents the storyline by using the novel "La Gitanilla" by Cervantes, he changes the male protagonist from the refined Lucien d’Hervilly into the handsome, adventurous aristocrat Andres. As in the original, the hero falls in love with the gypsy Paquita, but here, she tempts him to come with the gypsies and become a dancer, a rather romantic turn. Smekalov still keeps the original contrast between the strict and noble world of aristocracy (with the huge festivity in empire costumes at the end) and the gypsies on the other side, who are proud, independent and funny. He makes Paquita an even more interesting character: she loves to dance, just like Giselle, and she has a noble heart. She is a self-confident person from the beginning, not like in the original, where she obtains her identity only by the revelation that she is of noble origin. Smekalov’s version has a clear storyline which he recounts with admirably few mime scenes. It is lighter and brighter than the somber original with the political entanglements from a long-forgotten conflict between two countries that nobody understands today; sometimes you may even detect a whiff of irony. Smekalov made new choreography for most of the ballet, but he keeps that famous Grand Pas Classique of act 3, it was reconstructed by Yuri Burlaka after the Stepanov notations. He also keeps the famous Pas de trois from act 1 that Petipa made as a divertissement for three solo dancers; Smekalov gives it to Paquita, Andres and another gypsy dancer, so the prinicipals can shine in Petipa’s steps. Compared to Ratmansky’s Munich version, Smekalov keeps a nice little touch of Soviet ballet (I know that some people will cry out loud now) – his version is breezy and sweeping, it has pizzazz, the virtuosity of his choreography is not confined to small, gracious steps. Compared to the reconstructions of Vikharev and Ratmansky, it is a step back and at the same time a bolder step - the kind of adaptation of the classics that we have known for so many decades before: trying to make the storyline more plausible, cutting the mime scenes, giving the men more to dance. I thought it was a challenge to the reconstructions: Do we, as an audience, like to see the real thing with all the excessive mime scenes, or do we prefer to adjust the classics to what we have known in all the classic productions from the 1950s to the 1980s, with more dancing? Hold out for the huge portraits that hang over the stage in the opening scene: there’s Petipa, Cervantes, Minkus and, I’m not sure, Kshesinskaya in Baroque costumes – then a servant walks in with a feather duster to mop the dust away. Right at the beginning, Smekalov winks an eye. It has beautiful sets and costumes throughout. I saw Tereshkina and Askerov, I thought they were great.
  9. Lizbie1, in the scene you mean, it is Johann Sebastian Bach himself who plays the Cello - so of course he seems older. It is the beginning of the ballet, first we see Bach directing an orchestra of human instruments, then they leave and one women comes back, obviously the cello, because we hear a cello and he plays on her like on a cello. So we had "male" and "female" instruments before. I don't know if that softens your impression... Here are the scenes, the second scene follows directly after the first, but I can't find a video with both.
  10. Some more casting news for Munich's Coppélia: Osiel Gouneo is out. Swanilda: Laurretta Summerscales, Virna Toppi or Maria Baranova. Franz: Yonah Acosta, Denis Vieira or Dmitrii Vyskubenko.
  11. There are so many ways to see this ballet and the famous small hand gesture of setting something free, that all ten dancers wave in the air at the end: is it a farewell to the innocent, playful days of youth, to a carefree life? DaaG marks Robbins's return to pure, classical ballet after a very long period of musicals and show dance. It was made in 1969, when the Judson Dance Theater and postmodern dance had emerged and thrived in New York, maybe Robbins felt that dance would move in a different direction from now on and he made one last hymn to classical dance, with a gentle sense of farewell and goodbye. It was the time of the hippie movement, love and peace for all, somehow you can see those ideas reflected in there, too. Right, Floss: it is a ballet about community, about decency, gentleness, friendship. Robbins makes ballet look like it is the natural way of movement for these young people, just watch the first solo, how easily it develops from a normal walk into dance steps. No posing, no bland virtuosity, just pure joy. I could watch it over and over again.
  12. Casting for Roland Petit’s Coppélia at Bavarian State Ballet: Luigi Bonino, who is also one of the coaches for the production, will play Dr. Coppelius. Swanilda will be danced by Laurretta Summerscales and Virna Toppi, Franz by Osiel Gouneo and Yonah Acosta.
  13. More news from Munich: Andrey Kaydanovskiy, a former dancer and now choreographer at Vienna, will be appointed Resident Choreographer at Bavarian State Ballet, a Munich newspaper writes today.
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