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Swan Lake
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Author:  Francis Timlin [ Wed Aug 27, 2003 9:02 am ]
Post subject:  Swan Lake

Considering the many productions and interpretations of Swan Lake available -- both in live performance and on recording -- which would qualify as your favorites? Studies in contrast always provide an intriguing discussion....

Author:  djb [ Wed Aug 27, 2003 9:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Swan Lake

For the first act, I like the 1990 Kirov video (Makhalina and Zelinsky). It's the Sergeyev version, and I assume it's the same Sergeyev version the Kirov currently performs. I love the costumes in the video, and I like the courtiers' dances and the pas de trois (especially Larissa Lezhnina).

However, this version has the Russian happy ending, and I prefer the united-in-death endings. Of all those I've seen, I think nothing beats SFB's (Tomasson's), with its underwater effect. I've never heard as many people in the audience sniffling as in that scene. Well, maybe Romeo and Juliet...

My favorite ballroom scene is in the 1957 film of the Bolshoi (Plisetskaya and Fadeyechev). The scenery and costumes are gorgeous, and I like the choreography, although the tempi are sometimes too fast for my tastes. Unfortunately, the sound isn't well-synchronized. Another thing I liked about that film was some of the choreography in the second act. The cygnets' dance -- the traditional choreography of which I have never liked -- had six dancers and they actually broke formation and danced around the stage.

In the Grigorovich version the Bolshoi performed when they were here last, I liked the concept of the princesses being the soloists in the national dances in the third act, and I liked the choreography of the Russian dance.

I remember enjoying the ABT and Royal Ballet versions many, many years ago (the '60s, I suppose), but I have no memory of specific details, except for the swan boat that carries Odette and Siegried off to heaven in the ABT version. I'm pretty sure the Royal Ballet version at that time was not the one that's on the video with Makarova and Dowell (I love his dancing in it, by the way).

My all-around favorite is the Sergeyev version.

<small>[ 28 August 2003, 11:27 AM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>

Author:  bgbunhead [ Wed Aug 27, 2003 9:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Swan Lake

Boston Ballets "Glasnost" Swan Lake is my favorite over all production. They are actually performing it this season. Costumes are beautiful sets are beautiful, and it has the elements of a classic Swan Lake...pretty much nothing cut out. A truly grand production.

Author:  Cassandra [ Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Swan Lake

Quote:
I remember enjoying the ABT and Royal Ballet versions many, many years ago (the '60s, I suppose), but I have no memory of specific details, except for the swan boat that carries Odette and Siegried off to heaven in the ABT version. I'm pretty sure the Royal Ballet version at that time was not the one that's on the video with Makarova and Dowell (I love his dancing in it, by the way).

During the 1960's the Royal Ballet had a production by Robert Helpmann that began with a prologue showing Odette being turned into a swan by Rothbart. I think this was the first production to include Ashton's wonderful pas de quatre. Perhaps that’s the version you remember seeing, djb?

Sergeyev also did a version for film with the same idea of a prologue showing Odette's metamorphosis. Its available on video in Russia with Elena Evteyeva and Johnny Markovsky in the leading roles and Valery Panov as the melancholy jester - superb!

For a live performance the best current version is now the Kirov's and the Dowell production at the RB has a good claim to being the worst.

By the way, apart from the Kirov film version I mentioned, I also have a video of Mezentseva and Zaklinsky in the standard Kirov production. Not sure if its available outside of Russia though.

Author:  djb [ Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Swan Lake

The Mesentseva/Zaklinsky SL is available in the West, but I don't own that one.

I have a copy of the Evteyeva/Markovsky/Panov version. I don't especially like the production (I think Rothbart is just plain weird), but I like Evteyeva and Panov very much. That's the only video I have in which the jester doesn't seem superfluous.

As for the Helpmann version, I don't remember the prologue. I do remember the pas de quatre, so it must be the one. Mainly, I remember specific performances by the principals. You'd think I'd remember more about the ballet, since that was one in which I got to be a super.

Author:  mehunt [ Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Swan Lake

Just when I thought I'd never see a "new" take on Swan Lake...I just got a chance to see the Hamburg Swan Lake by John Neumeier, which isn't a traditional telling of the story, but a sort of revamping of the story mixed in with the story of the mad king of Bavaria who built Neuschwanstein castle. Beautiful dancing, and choreography! It was a nice alternative to the traditional ones and also the revisionist post-modern versions.

Author:  corrival [ Thu Aug 28, 2003 6:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Swan Lake

Swan Lake was never my favorite ballet, but I must admit I loved Matthew Bourne's version, especially Act II. The Swan solo is lovely, and the dance of the Cygnets is just plain fun. And the Black Swan never made such a knockout entrance!

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