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 Post subject: Re: Swan Lake on video
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2002 10:40 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
My favorite ending is the Nureyev-Fonteyn performance with Vienna State Opera Ballet. There's a moment in the last act when Odette is running toward the Prince, and then in mid-flight (or so it seems) Von Rothbart catches her instead and carries her off. And the Prince holds out his empty arms.<P>Nureyev dies as only Nureyev can.<P>I was thinking of the various princes (and assorted male nobles) in these various classical ballets, and the only one who is truly a cad is Albrecht. The others made mistakes of one type or another (Siegfried, James, etc.) Albrecht knowingly wooed Giselle while engaged to whats-her-name.<P>Poor Siegfried just can't tell his black swans and his white swans apart. He's an easy mark for a woman with wavy arms.


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 Post subject: Re: Swan Lake on video
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2002 5:00 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1278
Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
LOL, Basheva. My kids had the black/white color blindness thing under control, too. You see, as in other good fairy tales Odette was allowed to assume human form at night. So, since the ball was at night, she arrived wearing a different, feathery gown (black is the preferred color for evening feathers...I mean formal wear, and heaven forbid she should come to the prince in the same dress she was wearing the last time she saw him). Only it was Odile, not Odette.<P>I was thinking about the male nobles and their unwise decisions. Albrecht was definitely a cad. Solor was in a bad position because of the arranged marriage situation. Surely he knew about his arranged marriage before he swore his love to Nikiya. The gods got him for that one, and it was deserved. Not so bad as Albrecht, but I'd put Solor in the same category. James wasn't noble and he was tricked, but he was pursuing the unattainable and he was really mean to Gurn (who was no sweetheart him/herself). So I'd put him in the cad category as well. Let's see, how about Sleeping Beauty? That was a happy ending, although I'm not sure that marriage would have lasted without major fairy godmother intervention; Aurora and Desire grew up in different eras and hardly knew each other before they were married (unless you count the 100 years she dreamed about him, oy vey). Corsaire has pirates, not nobles. And don't get me started on Franz in Coppelia.<P>OK, so now we have Siegfried. His love was pure (if you can accept swan infatuation in the first place). He clearly had no other princess on the back burner. He was declaring his love for his one and only. Rothbart had the upper hand. I think Siegfried made a wise and honorable choice, based on the erroneous information supplied to him. He was more a victim, I think, than any of the others.<P>So, what was the topic of this thread? Sorry, folks. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Swan Lake on video
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2002 5:34 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Myabe it's those problems that Nancy delineated above with the male protagonists that captures our attention - because we can identify with them.<P>Who amongst us has not been fooled a la Siegfried? And, let's be honest here, who amongst us can claim we haven't had a caddish moment or two a la Albrecht?<P>James was going for the unattainable, and in that pursuit didn't mean to hurt the sylphide. And Effie was better off with Gurn anyway.<P>And, yes, I agree that Solor was in a tough spot. He wasn't really a mean guy, just out of his depth.<P>So, maybe of all of them, Siegfried is the most sympathic. Actually, I am surprised he found his way back to the Lake....you know he didn't ask for directions.


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 Post subject: Re: Swan Lake on video
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2002 8:35 am 
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Location: San Francisco
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>His love was pure (if you can accept swan infatuation in the first place).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Speaking of which, have you read Woody Allen's <I>A Guide to Some of the Lesser Ballets</I>? In the <I>Swan Lake</I> parody, the prince comes across a creature who is "half woman, half swan -- unfortunately, divided lengthwise." In the ballroom scene, he is infatuated with the Odile-equivalent, who strongly resembles the swan woman, "but with no noticeable drawbacks such as feathers and a beak."<P>The quotes might not be exact -- I couldn't find my copy of <I>Without Feathers</I>, a collection of Woody's short stories and plays.


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 Post subject: Re: Swan Lake on video
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2002 9:53 am 
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Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
Djb, no I have not read that Woody Allen, but it sounds like fun! I'll have to look for it. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Swan Lake on video
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2002 12:48 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
I read the book many years ago when I was visting a friend and couldn't face the long subway ride home with nothing to read. So he gave me <I>Without Feathers</I>, and I was laughing out loud all the way home. Some of the humor is typical, early Woody Allen schtick, but some stories are very funny. I especially liked <I>The Whore of Mensa</I> and two plays, <I>Death</I> and <I>God</I>. <I>Death</I> ended up in one of his movies, whose title I don't recall.<p>[This message has been edited by djb (edited August 07, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Swan Lake on video
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2002 1:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Oshawa, ON Canada
There was Swan Lake on A&E's "Sunday Breakfast with the Arts" this past year. I came on it late and missed quite a bit of the first act. I started taping but during the credits the telephone rang and the tape ran out - so I don't even know what company it was! It was set in the Edwardian era - gorgeous costumes, lots of big hats on the court ladies etc. - and Rothbart seemed to be a courtier who was also the Queen Mother's lover. The Queen seemed to have more than a Motherly interest in her son as well, there was quite a steamy pas de deux between them which annoyed Rothbart considerably and that led to his trapping the Prince with the Swan Queen....I guess was a magician as well as a lover! As I said, I missed a lot! Anyway it had the strangest ending I've ever seen - Rothbart dies, the swan flies away, the Prince drowns and the Queen Mother gets the stage all to herself at the end. Anyone know what production this was? <P>I've also got a copy of Erik Bruhn's 1967 Swan Lake production for the National Ballet of Canada - I remember seeing it on the CBC in about '68 (no VCR's then!). It was re-broadcast this year on Bravo and what a pleasure to have it. I forgot how small the corps was then - every female in the company was utilized to fill in the ranks - and it was such fun to see most of the future principals doing service in the corps. A very young Veronia Tennant did the Tarantella, which I personally think is the best choreography for that particular piece. The Swan Queen was Lois Smith (or as Celia Franca used to always call her "the beautiful Lois Smith") and of course Bruhn as the Prince. I always liked Bruhn but agree he could be a little cool in his approach. But no matter, I at least have Bruhn doing his own chorography to the Act 1 solo which I think is one of the most beautiful pieces made for the male dancer. Bruhn's control, phrasing and precision in dancing that solo is an absolute delight. Has anyone else seen it?<P>The PBS station in Buffalo showed that Swan Lake a few years later (early 70's maybe) and they cut out everything that didn't have Bruhn on stage...totally butchered it. <P>One other comment, this time about the National Ballet video of Sleeping Beauty. It seems that funding suddenly became available and everything had to be done very quickly. It was decided to film during a live performance with very little time for camera set-ups etc. so the director Norman Campbell requested the camera men who worked the live broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada. His instruction to them was simple - Nureyev was the puck! That's all he had to tell them...they knew exactly where their camera should be pointed!


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 Post subject: Re: Swan Lake on video
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2002 1:30 am 
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Posts: 199
Location: California
Earlier this year my wife and I saw ABTs latest Swan Lake staging, and really loved it. We were in a Swan Lake mood for a while, and one rainy day decided to have our own Black Swanathon. We have about ten video Swan Lakes, including the Gregory/Bujones excerpt from "ABT in San Francisco." I cued them all up to the Black Swan and we watched them all in a row. Very interesting to compare all the Siegfrieds and Odiles. Favorites are Nureyev, Schaufus, and Bujones, Plisetskaya, Gregory, Makarova, and Hart.


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 Post subject: Re: Swan Lake on video
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2002 1:35 am 
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Posts: 199
Location: California
Speaking of Makarova's slow Act II pas de deux tempo--In the '70s I saw Alicia Alonso, who was far past the age most dancers retire and reportedly partially blind, perform the duet with a very young partner form the National Ballet of Cuba. I think it was Jorge Esquivel. The tempo made Makarova's look like a tape on fast forward! But Alonso was still beautiful to watch.


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 Post subject: Re: Swan Lake on video
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2002 8:55 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Liscarkat - interesting that you should mention Alonso in Swan Lake. I have her in several ballets, but not Swan Lake. I would have liked to have seen that.

She is quite blind and has been for many years. I was privileged to have seen her take a private class given by her daughter and then rehearse Giselle. Her partner was indeed Jorge Esquival. I also had the wonderful experience of seeing her perform Giselle twice.

You can read about that here:

Alicia Alonso - My Unique Experience with Her


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 Post subject: Re: Swan Lake on video
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2002 3:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1451
Location: San Francisco, CA
I just found out that Breakfast with the Arts on A&E is showing "Swan Lake" with the Berlin Ballet in three parts (started last sunday and it goes on for another two). Sadly, I do not have cable hooked up yet, so I don't get A&E, but anyone who is in the process of taping it,. please let me know if I can get a copy!

Sorry for the late notice. Oddly enough my email notification from A&E only came today. Check on their website for more details though.

Here's more info:
Quote:
SWAN LAKE PART 1 OF 3
This morning, we bring you part one of a stunning production conducted by Daniel Barenboim and performed by the acclaimed dancers of them Deutsche Staats Oper Berlin. Conductor Daniel Barenboim brings this latest version of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" to a new dimension of artistic brilliance, featuring the Staatskapelle Berlin and the Ballet of the Staatsopera Berlin. Patrice Bart choreographs principal dancers Steffi Scherzer, Bettina Thiel, Oliver Matz, and Torsten Haendler. TV G This is about as complete version of the ballet as you will ever see. Due to its length and our desire to show the all of it, we have had to spread it over three weeks. It is also available on DVD from amazon.com.


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