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1 hour ago, Fonty said:

I haven't seen this new Swan Lake, but I know when Dowell did a new production, Ashton was livid that his work had been removed. 

 

It's before my time, but I always understood that Ashton disapproved of Dowell's production and wouldn't let his work be performed in it?

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Dowell's was a 'back-to-Petipa/Ivanov' production so he took out Ashton's waltz and Act 4 - he wanted to keep the Neapolitan but Ashton was miffed and wouldn't let him. He (Ashton) gave all the discarded bits to ENB and you can see them in the film with Evelyn Hart and Peter Schaufuss in the leads.

 

Dowell's production was widely admired for the authenticity of the choreography but less so for the staging (truly awful in parts) and the designs, which some people loved but others thought too fussy.

 

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33 minutes ago, Sim said:

I loved Dowell’s Act IV, especially the ending.  


Oh yes me too, it was so lovely and utterly heart rending. 
 

The Scarlett version (choreography and ending) has destroyed the emotional impact of Swan Lake for me - the only good thing is that I can leave after the Black Act and get home earlier !

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4 hours ago, ninamargaret said:

It seems to me that we have little detailed information about Petipa's choreography and that most productions of his ballets have been a combination of dancers passing on their memories and teaching younger dancers, notes left by Petipa plus assorted photographs, memoirs etc.

 

This is an interesting topic that I'd love to learn more about from my fellow forum members. I will share the very little bit of information I've learned from the internet and a book I enjoy revisiting before attending one of the ballets discussed in it: "Tchaikovsky's ballet" by Professor Roland John Wiley.

 

From what I have read, an authoritative record of Petipa/Ivanov's 1895 revival of Swan Lake is the notes made by a certain Mr Nikolai Grigorievich Sergeyev, the regisseur of the Imperial Ballet between 1903-1917, during which the 1895 production was being staged at Mariinsky. Mr Sergeyev later came to London and created the first full-length british Swan Lake production for the Vic-Wells Ballet (1934) based on these notes (and presumably his own recollection from seeing it for a number of times). According to ROH Collections, it was only after Mr Sergeyev's death in 1951 that a new production was staged by Dame Ninette de Valois and Sir Frederick Ashton (1952). It perhaps can be posited that Mr Sergeyev, having worked in both St Petersburg and London, played a crucial part in linking the productions we have been seeing in London back to what Petipa/Ivanov created.

 

Mr Sergeyev's notes have since been obtained and owned by the Harvard University Library.

Edited by KyleCheng
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11 hours ago, annamk said:


Oh yes me too, it was so lovely and utterly heart rending. 
 

The Scarlett version (choreography and ending) has destroyed the emotional impact of Swan Lake for me - the only good thing is that I can leave after the Black Act and get home earlier !

 

I loathe the new ending; I only stay for the music - and of course the curtain calls, so I can applaud the dancers.  

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40 minutes ago, Anna C said:

 

I loathe the new ending; I only stay for the music - and of course the curtain calls, so I can applaud the dancers.  

I so agree

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13 hours ago, annamk said:

The Scarlett version (choreography and ending) has destroyed the emotional impact of Swan Lake for me - the only good thing is that I can leave after the Black Act and get home earlier !


I know the ending is not generally liked but I’d find it very hard to leave Swan Lake without seeing Act 4. There is much in Scarlett’s Act 4 that I find extremely moving - notably the Odette/Siegfried pdd. I also very much like to see the Swans give Von Rothbart his comeuppance. As I’ve said before, I find the ‘Giselle like’ ending personally very attractive and just wish the last few moments were a little extended (I think Odette’s spirit may only be visible for a couple of seconds and in some parts of the theatre may nit be visible at all). Having said that, I thought Bonelli incredibly purposeful in bringing Swan Lake to its conclusion at Friday’s matinee and that performance confirmed for me the validity of this production.

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2 hours ago, penelopesimpson said:

Has anyone noticed changes from the first run to this time round?

 

It's really unfortunate that Liam Scarlett has not had the opportunity to revisit this production because second thoughts are often helpful.

I see that Kevin O'Hare has staged it and I think that some details in the mime may have changed slightly. Unfortunately, as far as I am concerned, Benno remains far too prominent (however well-danced) and the Prince far too dimly lit in his green costume.

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16 hours ago, annamk said:


Oh yes me too, it was so lovely and utterly heart rending. 
 

The Scarlett version (choreography and ending) has destroyed the emotional impact of Swan Lake for me - the only good thing is that I can leave after the Black Act and get home earlier !

 

I also loved Dowell's version of act 4.  Good to know it wasn't just me :-) It was one of the things that got me hooked on ballet as a kid.

 

 I must confess to ducking out after act 3 on the first night the other night, even thought the whole thing was brilliantly danced etc. Too tired, and am not keen on the current act 4 at all (to put it mildly), although I do quite enjoy the current act 3.

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I feel as though I have sat through so many Swan Lakes, with so many different endings, I can't remember the Dowell one.  Was that the one where you see them jump off a cliff and drown to break the spell, and they are reunited in death afterwards?

 

I saw a old film of the RB where Von Rothbart triumphs, Odette is turned back into a swan, and Siegried sinks beneath the waves.  It was very moving, although the film close up didn't do many favours for the cloth waves, and it seemed to take a heck of a long time for him to drown.

Is it the Russians who have a happy ending?  

 

 

Edited by Fonty
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1 hour ago, Fonty said:

I feel as though I have sat through so many Swan Lakes, with so many different endings, I can't remember the Dowell one.  Was that the one where you see them jump off a cliff and drown to break the spell, and they are reunited in death afterwards?

 

 

Yes, although the speed of the thing they are in isn't fast enough to get off the ground let alone up to heaven

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1 hour ago, Fonty said:

I feel as though I have sat through so many Swan Lakes, with so many different endings, I can't remember the Dowell one.  Was that the one where you see them jump off a cliff and drown to break the spell, and they are reunited in death afterwards?

 

I saw a old film of the RB where Von Rothbart triumphs, Odette is turned back into a swan, and Siegried sinks beneath the waves.  It was very moving, although the film close up didn't do many favours for the cloth waves, and it seemed to take a heck of a long time for him to drown.

Is it the Russians who have a happy ending?  

 

 

 

The Kirov/Mariinsky does, yes - Siegfried pulls Von Rothbarts sleeve wing off which kills him, the Swans and Odette wake up and and everyone lives happily ever after. 

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1 hour ago, Fonty said:

I feel as though I have sat through so many Swan Lakes, with so many different endings, I can't remember the Dowell one.  Was that the one where you see them jump off a cliff and drown to break the spell, and they are reunited in death afterwards?

 

 

 

 

 

SPW & Galina Samsova's production for BRB has Odette diving into the lake to drown and Siegfried has to mortally wound Rothbart to join her in death and be reunited in heaven.

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5 hours ago, capybara said:

 

It's really unfortunate that Liam Scarlett has not had the opportunity to revisit this production because second thoughts are often helpful.

I see that Kevin O'Hare has staged it and I think that some details in the mime may have changed slightly. Unfortunately, as far as I am concerned, Benno remains far too prominent (however well-danced) and the Prince far too dimly lit in his green costume.

Yes, I was hoping that LS might have made some changes before he stepped back.  I do not understand the Benno thing at all.  For newcomers it is some times hard to work out who the Prince is, and the beefing up of Benno for no discernible reason, has diminished the Prince.  Strange.  Not keen on the ending, either, but can live with that more than Benno.

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I think the view you have of this production’s ending is inevitably shaped by your emotional response to the experience of seeing the ballet for the first time. Quite a few of us here have been ‘suckled’ by a reassuring apotheosis in which the couple, clearly reunited in an afterlife, would glide gently upstage across the lake watched over by the flock of swans. I like that Scarlett’s ending challenges this trope -it suits the sentiment and complexity of the time we live in. However, from my single viewing of the production, it did leave me flat, let down and a sense that it was out of kilter with the nuances of the music. I am uncertain to what extent this was a harking back to sentiments associated with early memories or whether it was that the choreography or the acting didn’t carry the moment. I look forward to hearing more about any discernible differences in the way the various Siegfrieds approach this during the run.

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I am not familiar with the Royal Ballet previous version, but am not a giant fan of the ending either. My personal POV is that I would rather see the lovers both die together, to reunite in the fairy tale afterlife, or (dare I admit), both survive in triumph having slain the evil Rothbart. 

In praise of Benno, I have to say that I am delighted this version has another strong male dancing role. The Prince may be the hero and his dancing may be breathtaking, but he is a character I can't admire. (Yes, it is silly to look for logic in a ballet like this, but it has always irked me that the Prince is such an idiot that he falls for his enemy's daughter, no matter what she looks like.)

 

I love the sisters, too, and enjoy every moment they are on stage. I only wish the four Princesses danced more. It is a bonus that every cast has other principles  / first soloists that I love to see. (Even if the ROH web site won't tell me who they are, lol.)
 

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20 minutes ago, Candleque said:



In praise of Benno, I have to say that I am delighted this version has another strong male dancing role. The Prince may be the hero and his dancing may be breathtaking, but he is a character I can't admire. (Yes, it is silly to look for logic in a ballet like this, but it has always irked me that the Prince is such an idiot that he falls for his enemy's daughter, no matter what she looks like.)

 

 

 

I have always had exactly the same opinion of the Prince.  Nice dancing but rather stupid in my view. 

 

There's a fascinating youtube video showing all of the different possible Swan Lake endings.  I particularly like the Danish ballet version where Rothbart makes the Prince keep his vow to marry Odile.  That's a different take on it from the usual.  

 

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2 hours ago, Fonty said:

Not having seen this version, from the descriptions it sounds a bit like the ending of Giselle.  

 

 

 

 

It’s a lot like the ending of BRB’s Giselle.  

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4 hours ago, penelopesimpson said:

Yes, I was hoping that LS might have made some changes before he stepped back.  I do not understand the Benno thing at all.  For newcomers it is some times hard to work out who the Prince is, and the beefing up of Benno for no discernible reason, has diminished the Prince.  Strange.  Not keen on the ending, either, but can live with that more than Benno.

At least we don't have Benno helping Siegfried in the Act2 pas de deux as used to be the case.

Edited by ninamargaret
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On ‎06‎/‎03‎/‎2020 at 17:09, JohnS said:

Lovely to see so many cast take their curtain calls at the end. It may be because it was a matinee or perhaps more likely  because the performance was being filmed, I assume for Japanese television -  what a fortunate audience they are as they will surely enjoy this most exquisite of pearls.

 

If, as does seem to be the case, Takada's (and Hirano's? and possibly Kaneko's in due course?) performances are regularly being filmed for Japanese TV, I hope that doesn't end up meaning that she will tend not to get chosen for the worldwide cinema broadcasts in favour of other dancers.

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59 minutes ago, alison said:

 

I hope that doesn't end up meaning that she will tend not to get chosen for the worldwide cinema broadcasts in favour of other dancers.

 

I agree. Takada is a jewel. She did get the cinema relay of Don Q last year, though!

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Was something wrong with Lauren Cuthbertson during the Swan Lake rehearsal on March 4th?  She walked off very awkwardly and flat footedly  a number of times, and did a really strenuous and unusual climb to jump to her death.  We were concerned she must have been injured in act 1, but managed to carry on to the end.  Applause was very muted, which was a shame, because her dancing was spectacular.  It's a shame that she and William Bracewell didn't get the reception they deserved for a beautiful performance.

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Hi Bubblebuddy.  As an unwritten rule we don't usually permit discussion of rehearsals on the forum because they are just that, rehearsals.  However, your question is a valid one, so we thought it should be answered, especially for those who might be new to ballet or general rehearsals.

 

What happened during the rehearsal to which you refer is called marking (and the audience is always told on the blurbs that dancers might mark all or part of a general rehearsal).  Although most dancers take a general rehearsal in front of an audience as a chance to do a run-through of a performance, there are occasionally some who don't.  Sometimes they still treat it as a rehearsal more than a performance.  This can be due to many things, such as:

 

Fatigue

Not feeling well

At the last stages of recovering from injury or illness

More rehearsals later in the afternoon

Walking through the steps to really get them into the head and soul of the dancer

Costume/s not ready

Needs more studio practice with the partner before trying complicated pdd, lifts, etc. in front of an audience.

 

In any of the above scenarios, the dancer may be more comfortable walking through (or marking) the steps.  They don't put the full effort in because they don't want to risk injuring themselves prior to the official performance/s.   You were worried about Lauren Cuthbertson's partner, but dancers usually talk to each other before the rehearsal and she no doubt would have warned William Bracewell that she was going to be marking some of the steps, and perhaps even which ones, so that he was prepared.  I can't guarantee this was the case as I wasn't there, but I know that dancers do usually discuss these things prior to going onstage. 

 

I hope that the above has allayed your fears about Miss Cuthbertson sustaining any kind of injury during the rehearsal;  she must have had a good reason to mark when she did, and hopefully this means that she will be in fabulous form for her upcoming shows.

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3 hours ago, alison said:

 

If, as does seem to be the case, Takada's (and Hirano's? and possibly Kaneko's in due course?) performances are regularly being filmed for Japanese TV, I hope that doesn't end up meaning that she will tend not to get chosen for the worldwide cinema broadcasts in favour of other dancers.

 

Yes alison, that horrible thought did cross my mind  too, in a weak moment - since it would be a struggle for  us here to get to see Japan TV  - at least so I imagine, unless anyone here has some bright ideas about access?  As well as Swan Lake (potentially), I believe her recent  R&J  has been, or will be,  available in Japan. 

She did get Don Q as capybara points out, but I am disappointed that there seem to be no plans for a DVD/Blu-Ray.

Sorry, straying off topic....

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46 minutes ago, Sim said:

I hope that the above has allayed your fears about Miss Cuthbertson sustaining any kind of injury during the rehearsal;  she must have had a good reason to mark when she did, and hopefully this means that she will be in fabulous form for her upcoming shows.

Let us hope so - I was also there and have had the same concerns as bubblebuddy notwithstanding that I know "marking"  can occur at rehearsals. But do we not avoid this sort of speculation here? I thought an earlier thread, raising  this aspect of the  SL general rehearsal, had been later deleted.  

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Back to some of the earlier discussion on Swan Lake versions....

 

I have only seen the 1987 Dowell version on DVD (Osipova/Golding) but it is no surprise to me that the RB felt, 30 years on, that it could be significantly improved - which I think the newer Scarlett version (2018) achieves, in spades.

 

Much of this was discussed before  on the Forum  here and elsewhere, with  probably  more different opinions about the finale, as there are different endings in the various SL productions referred to above.

 

Not least,  I think Scarlett has made  much better choices musically. For example he uses the dramatic ending of the main overture, previously confined to the orchestra alone, to show us  the cursed transformation of Princess to Swan; and again uses the striking main SL theme to blend the end of  Act 1 into the start of Act 2, accompanying   Siegfried’s emotional solo, and  allowing  the magic to build as we move towards  Odette’s entrance. In the 1987 version  the main theme, here, is limited to the orchestra’s overture for Act 2 after a fairly feeble end to Act1.

 

In Act 4 of the 1987 version  I find the inclusion of the waltz music incongruous; it is   pleasant enough, but better suited to the  ballroom, being  too light in tone to convey the impending crisis and sorrow. After the opening of  Act 4 to “No 25 Entr’acte Moderato”  the 2018 version moves into a lovely corps dance to an appropriately  restrained,  mournful but beautiful rendering of “No. 27 Dance of the cygnets: Moderato”.  I am afraid I don’t know the name of the waltz used at this point in the 1987 version.

 

A  wonderful 2018 addition is the use of a slower rendition of music previously found in other versions in  Act III “No. 19, Pas de six III Variation II Andante con moto”- to accompany the Odette/Siegfried PDD. I find that the 2018 Odette/Siegfried Act 4 PDD, which references back to their ACT 2 PDD, is enhanced by this music,  so as to fit the mood and poignancy of the story,  much better than “Un Poco di Chopin” (albeit lovely music in itself)  which went with the 1987 Act 4 PDD- the choreography of which also seems far less successful to me.  

 

 

Edited by Richard LH
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