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The ROH shop has the Linbury Elizabeth DVD for release on 28th October at £24.99, a lot to look forward to, as Amazon are so expensive now it will be cheaper for me to buy things at the ROH with no postage and the Friends 10%.

 

Me too - I'm saving up for a big splurge on my next trip down - and have now added the Elizabeth DVD to the list so thanks for that.

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I can't help feeling that somewhere someone has the complete Sibley and Dowell Sleeping Beauty. Perhaps the company should consider issuing RB historic performances and begin by making an appeal to members of the public to fill in the gaps by making a tape of that production available for restoration. just as the BBC did for missing episodes of Dr Who.There is the 1978 Park, Wall, Beauty which represents de Valois final thoughts on the ballet. Then there are all those documentaries which contain priceless material and one off celebratory performances such as the Queen Mother's eightieth birthday celebration at the ROH.

 

 

I would give a lot to see the Sibley/Dowell Sleeping Beauty as it is a production that has stuck in my mind as being the most magical - going upon what I have read about it. I know that it wasn't very popular, due to I think, it following close on the heels on the Messel Sleeping Beauty which people regard as being the definitive Sleeping Beauty.

 

I think that there is room for different takes on Sleeping Beauty - surely it doesn't have to take place in the 17th to 18th Centuries. Actually if you move the period futher back in time, there you could very well believe that fairies exist in that universe.

 

Be interested to know people's thoughts on this?

Edited by CHazell2
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The Wright/Ashton version surpassed all others in my view, too many productions are now simply a sterile exercise of classical steps strung together.  I'll admit I was a bit shocked when posters here named it as their least favourite ballet, but I think I can understand why.  No one is telling a story any more, magic used to be a feature of the ballet but these days it's evaporated.

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I think that there is room for different takes on Sleeping Beauty - surely it doesn't have to take place in the 17th to 18th Centuries. Actually if you move the period futher back in time, there you could very well believe that fairies exist in that universe.

 

Be interested to know people's thoughts on this?

 

Placing Sleeping Beauty in the idealized world of Louis XIV is an essential part of its charm. This is the reason why the proper costumes and the decorations are so important. There is a room for different takes, especially in terms of arrangement of the choreographic text, as Konstantin Sergeev's version for example demonstrates, but not by "modernizing" the content.

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The Wright/Ashton version surpassed all others in my view, too many productions are now simply a sterile exercise of classical steps strung together. I'll admit I was a bit shocked when posters here named it as their least favourite ballet, but I think I can understand why. No one is telling a story any more, magic used to be a feature of the ballet but these days it's evaporated.

I, too, loved that version, which also gave us Ashton's exquisite awakening pas.

And I would give up a limb to see that Sibley-Dowell performance in its entirety.

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I, too, loved that version, which also gave us Ashton's exquisite awakening pas.

And I would give up a limb to see that Sibley-Dowell performance in its entirety.

 

It was broadcast by the BBC in its entirety, I remember going over to my brothers to watch it because he had a new-fangled colour telly.  I'll never forget the fairies entrance when they appeared to run down a moonbeam, nothing has ever touched that production.

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It was broadcast by the BBC in its entirety, I remember going over to my brothers to watch it because he had a new-fangled colour telly.  I'll never forget the fairies entrance when they appeared to run down a moonbeam, nothing has ever touched that production.

 

 

It was broadcast on 3.00pm Christmas Day 1969 by the BBC. 

 

FULL CAST: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/3311511be3634273b918fd863992d802

Edited by SwissBalletFan
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As another poster has mentioned the beautiful awakening pas de deux that so perfectly bridged that gap in the story between the kiss and the wedding and  the romantic rapport when it was danced by Sibley and Dowell.  I remember too the silken marquee in which the wedding was held, a nod to the fact that a castle left to rot for a hundred years is in no condition to hold a wedding.  The costumes were amazing, never have medieval costumes harking back to that period looked so authentic, above all Aurora's tutu edged with royal ermine: glorious.  I'd give a lot to have the DVD of that.

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Placing Sleeping Beauty in the idealized world of Louis XIV is an essential part of its charm. This is the reason why the proper costumes and the decorations are so important. There is a room for different takes, especially in terms of arrangement of the choreographic text, as Konstantin Sergeev's version for example demonstrates, but not by "modernizing" the content.

 

That is very interesting. I know that that was the period of the 1890 production but I think that the 1921 production set it entirely in the 18th Century.

 

So in your opinion, productions should always be set in the Louis XIV period?- why do you think that?

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 I seem to remember (it was a long time ago!) that Frankenstein was promised for October?

 

 

 

My understanding now is that this is provisionally scheduled for around March/April next year. Good news if confirmed but a long time to wait! No sign so far of Amazon discounting their arts discs but I continue to hope!

Edited by David
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I suppose it depends on what you think that Sleeping Beauty was intended to be and whether you think that anyone reviving it should do any more than dance some or all of the original choreography. As originally staged in 1890 it was a tribute to the order,elegance and dominance of French culture created by, and for, a Russian francophone elite. It was created by artists working for an absolute monarch who set it in the most absolutist monarchistic period of the past, the reign of Louis XIV. Now you can ignore this if you want to but the order imposed on everything including nature by the French of this period goes a long way to create the atmosphere which the Sleeping Beauty demands. The fairy tale from which the ballet takes its name was written by Perrault, and the characters who originally appeared in the ballet's third act belong either to the works of Perrault or Madame d'Aulnoy who both wrote their fairy stories in the 1690's during the reign of Louis XIV.The sense of balance and order which is essential to the ballet is lost if the action is transposed. That was certainly the opinion of the critics of Peter Wright's production of Beauty in 1968.

 

I recall a great deal of adverse criticism of the choice of vaguely medieval costumes for the ballet and a surprising amount of discussion generated by the choice of tutus of a shape more suited to Coppelia than Beauty. They were deemed too romantic and insufficiently classical. It was seen by many as an unnecessarily radical departure from the text set by Sergeyev. The gothick revival costumes were thought to be dowdy and unflattering while the awakening pas de deux was held to be too lyrical. The over all effect of the production and its design was held by some to have "domesticated" the ballet's grandeur and .dissipated its magic.I should add that the next production was even more of a disappointment largely because a lot of people had admired the production which MacMillan had staged for Berlin. If you are old enough to remember MacMilan's production it looked as if it had been set at the bottom of a swimming pool.

 

 In spite of its shortcomings I should love to see Sibley and Dowell in the 1968 production as they were both magnificent dancers at the time the recording was made.

Edited by FLOSS
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I suppose it depends on what you think that Sleeping Beauty was intended to be and whether you think that anyone reviving it should do any more than dance some or all of the original choreography. As originally staged in 1890 it was a tribute to the order,elegance and dominance of French culture created by, and for, a Russian francophone elite. It was created by artists working for an absolute monarch who set it in the most absolutist monarchistic period of the past, the reign of Louis XIV. Now you can ignore this if you want to but the order imposed on everything including nature by the French of this period goes a long way to create the atmosphere which the Sleeping Beauty demands. The fairy tale from which the ballet takes its name was written by Perrault, and the characters who originally appeared in the ballet's third act belong either to the works of Perrault or Madame d'Aulnoy who both wrote their fairy stories in the 1690's during the reign of Louis XIV.The sense of balance and order which is essential to the ballet is lost if the action is transposed. That was certainly the opinion of the critics of Peter Wright's production of Beauty in 1968.

 

I recall a great deal of adverse criticism of the choice of vaguely medieval costumes for the ballet and a surprising amount of discussion generated by the choice of tutus of a shape more suited to Coppelia than Beauty. They were deemed too romantic and insufficiently classical. It was seen by many as an unnecessarily radical departure from the text set by Sergeyev. The gothick revival costumes were thought to be dowdy and unflattering while the awakening pas de deux was held to be too lyrical. The over all effect of the production and its design was held by some to have "domesticated" the ballet's grandeur and .dissipated its magic.I should add that the next production was even more of a disappointment largely because a lot of people had admired the production which MacMillan had staged for Berlin. If you are old enough to remember MacMilan's production it looked as if it had been set at the bottom of a swimming pool.

 

 In spite of its shortcomings I should love to see Sibley and Dowell in the 1968 production as they were both magnificent dancers at the time the recording was made.

 

Thank you Floss for that thoughtful reply, Strange how people's perceptions differ - some people like one production, other people like other productions.

 

I think that the concept of balance and order needs not necessarily belongs exclusively to the Louis XIV period as I think that can apply to any period of history - if you take the idea that Good and Evil needs to be held in balance. If on the other hand, you hold the idea that balance and order refers to the social order then I can see where you are coming from.

 

The way that I see it, is that the Sleeping Beauty is first and foremost a fairy tale - I think that it needs to be filled with magic and wonder - and I think that the belief that the Sleeping Beauty is nothing more than "a Mass at the high altar of ballet" to be frankly absurd. Also I have no patience with those people who think that each production of the Sleeping Beauty must be set in the same period as the original production - it must get a bit boring sometimes to see similar types of costumes in every production.

 

The trouble is that the ballet world is fundamentally conservative and would much rather stick to the productions that they like - which I think was the case with the ROH audience - no production of the Sleeping Beauty have ever measured up to the Messel production except for the David Walker production.

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The trouble is that the ballet world is fundamentally conservative and would much rather stick to the productions that they like - which I think was the case with the ROH audience - no production of the Sleeping Beauty have ever measured up to the Messel production except for the David Walker production.

 

I don't remember the Messel production that well, but I do recall it being formal and rather static.  Why it is some sort of yardstick I've no idea and don't forget anyone with first hand memories of that production is probably well over sixty now.  I loved Matthew Bourne's version of SB, so original and such imaginative use of the music.  Most versions around are dreary and sleep inducing without much beauty, let alone magic.

 

I couldn't agree more with your comment about inherent conservatism, we don't get it in opera or Shakespeare plays, though sometimes in opera a little more conservatism might not be a bad thing. Of the seven or so RB productions I've seen the Wright/Ashton version was the outstanding one, though I had a soft spot for Makarova's too.

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My understanding now is that this is provisionally scheduled for around March/April next year. Good news if confirmed but a long time to wait! No sign so far of Amazon discounting their arts discs but I continue to hope!

They do regularly discount Opus Arte discs.  They have already done so with Rhapsody and Two Pigeons - my Blu-Ray arrived this morning and had £5 off, although the price has temporarily returned to full price today; it will undoubtedly come down under £20 from time time (although I don't think I have seen them go much under £16).  Especially if you have Prime and don't have to have the disc the day it comes out, I think it is much cheaper to get them from Amazon than through the ROH shop (even if you have a friends discount).

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It was broadcast on 3.00pm Christmas Day 1969 by the BBC. 

 

FULL CAST: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/3311511be3634273b918fd863992d802

 

I can recall almost nothing of this (I was five years old at the time) beyond being allowed to watch with my parents who thought I'd get bored but sat entranced throughout it and then demanded to go to ballet class (which didn't happen for nearly a year) although a trip was expedited to Nutcracker at the RFH and I do remember asking my father as we walked out of the matinee if they would ever do it again and when he replied"This evening" asking if we could go back in. The following year, there was a matinee of Giselle. It was Sibley's London debut in the role and my most abiding memory of that is the sheer number of flowers on stage afterwards.

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Apologies if I've missed it, but is the Rojo/Acosta Manon still the only RB recording available from Opus Arte? Having had such a successful run in 2014 (?) I still can't understand why they haven't released a more recent blu-ray.

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One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how surprised people are by the effect that a new production can have on the impact of a ballet where no change has been made to the text and the only change that has been made is to costumes and sets. I am not sure that this is entirely attributable to the audience's innate conservatism.The adverse effects that redesigns can have. could be seen in  Ashton's Daphnis and Chloe. It was given fresh designs during Dowell's directorship which altered the impact of the work because they altered the stage picture.

 

Now good design assists the dancers by setting the scene, telling us when and where the ballet is set and creating mood and atmosphere. In the case of Daphnis and Chloe the ballet was shifted from a "modern" 1950's Greece in which the ancient gods were ever present and still potent to a Greece which was clearly classical in spirit The nymphs no longer had a cave but a temple. The female dancers who had previously been dressed in costumes which amplified their movement  now wore costumes based on the chiton which constricted and limited their movements in every scene but was most obvious in the final scene of rejoicing where the stage was no longer full of swirling colorful movement. The whole thing was at variance with Ashton's intentions which may not have been known to those involved.It had the effect of reducing the ballet which had been full of sunlight, sun baked landscape, atmosphere and life  to a stodgily earnest attempt to stage an ancient story in balletic form.In the Craxton designs the ballet lived in the more modern ones it lost its vibrancy and died on stage.

 

I think that most of us rarely notice a ballet's designs unless the ballet fails to please. We rarely consider the effect that cut, choice of materials and colours have on what we actually experience in the theatre in performance.If an individual believes that design choices have reduced the effect of the choreography then it is a valid point to make. I think that the point being made about the designs for the 1968 Beauty was that they were too tasteful and finely toned and did not make the dancers stand out sufficiently from the scenery  in the theatre and that they reduced the grandeur of the ballet by dressing it in victorian gothick inspired costumes and making it sweetly domestic . If this production was less effective theatrically than the one it replaced it seems perfectly reasonable for those who saw it to search for the cause of that failure. It is noticeable that the next production was also seen as unsatisfactory and it was not until de Valois' 1977 production that the company was thought to acquired a production of the ballet which worked in the theatre with designs which did not undermine the ballet's choreography.

Edited by FLOSS
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Apologies if I've missed it, but is the Rojo/Acosta Manon still the only RB recording available from Opus Arte? Having had such a successful run in 2014 (?) I still can't understand why they haven't released a more recent blu-ray.

 

I'm afraid so, although of course there is the Penney/Dowell one from an earlier era.  Personally, I'd have loved to have had the Cojocaru/Kobborg one which was relayed to the big screens as well, but I don't see that ever happening.  There haven't been that many broadcasts of the ballet, actually, have there?

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