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 Post subject: Re: "Contrasts" programme in London - 2003
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 10:05 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1752
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
mehunt asked about when Kirov acquired Etudes... it was premiered at the Mariinsky this year in April.

<small>[ 05 August 2003, 12:10 AM: Message edited by: Catherine Pawlick ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: "Contrasts" programme in London - 2003
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 12:14 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review from The Guardian.

Quote:
Nijinsky's Rite of Spring, one of the most notorious ballets in the history of dance, was performed yesterday in London for the first time since 1913.
Last time it ended in catcalls, whistles and jeers. The London audience had heard about the reaction in Paris - where Stravinsky's ferocious score, the folk art-inspired sets and costumes by Nicholas Roerich, and above all Nijinsky's strange angular choreography provoked a riot, with fist fights in the stalls and the police called.

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 Post subject: Re: "Contrasts" programme in London - 2003
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 8:09 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Thanks to a three hour delay on Great North Eastern Railways I missed "Serenade" but just caught "Le Sacre De Printemps". I was very pleased to see it and much of the power came across. However, this is definitely a work to be seen from higher up, as my stall seat did not allow full enjoyment of the complex and varied patterns. Far less balletic than even "Les Noces", it is astonishing that Nijinski was able to conjure up this early large scale modern dance work.

"Etudes" will never be my favourite, but the Kirov magic worked a small spell and I enjoyed it as much as I am probably ever going to.

More later!

<small>[ 05 August 2003, 10:12 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: "Contrasts" programme in London - 2003
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2003 12:08 am 
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Posts: 2172
Location: London
Stuart wrote:

Here is the full cast list for "Contrasts" Tuesday, 5th August

Serenade

Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
(Serenade in C Major for String Orchestra)
Choreography by George Balanchine
Staged by Francia Russell
Costumes by Karinska
Lighting design after Jean Rosenthal
Premiere: School of American Ballet, 9 June 1934, White Plains, New York
Premiere by The Kirov Ballet at The Mariinsky Theatre: 30 April 1998

Waltz Natalia Sologub
Daniil Korsuntsev
Russian Irina Golub
Dark Angel Sofia Gumerova
Elegy Viktor Baranov

and Artists of The Kirov Ballet

The Rite of Spring
Pictures from pagan Russia in two parts

Music by Igor Stravinsky
(By permission of Boosey & Hawkes Music publishers Limited)
Stage plan by Igor Stravinsky and Nicholas Roerich
Choreography after Vaslav Nijinsky
Reconstructed and staged by Millicent Hodson
(Reconstructed choreography © 1987 Millicent Hodson)
Décor and costumes after Nicholas Roerich
Reconstructed and supervised by Kenneth Archer
(Reconstructed costume and décor designs © 1987 Kenneth Archer)
Lighting by Sergei Lukin
Music preparation by Ludmilla Sveshnikova
Premiere: Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, 29 May 1913, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris
Premiere by The Kirov Ballet: 9 June 2003, Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg

The Chosen Maiden Alexandra Iosifidi
The Old Woman Elena Bazhenova
The Sage Vladimir Ponomarv

and Artists of The Kirov Ballet

Etudes

Music by Carl Czerny
Arranged by Knudåge Riisager
(By permission of Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Limited)
Choreography by Harald Lander
Staging by Josette Amiel
Lighting by Alexander Naumov
Music preparation by Ludmilla Sveshnikova
Premiere: Royal Danish Ballet, 18 January 1948, Royal Theatre, Copenhagen
Second version (including the Pas de deux and La Sylphide solo):
1952, Opéra de Paris
Premiere by The Kirov Ballet: 18 April 2003, Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg

Svetlana Zakharova
Andrian Fadeyev
Leonid Sarafanov

and Artists of The Kirov Ballet

Approximate timings:

Serenade: 34 minutes
Interval 30 minutes
The Rite of Spring: 40 minutes
Interval 30 minutes
Etudes: 45 minutes

and for the record, here is the full casting for last night's performance, 4th August:

Serenade

Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
(Serenade in C Major for String Orchestra)
Choreography by George Balanchine
Staged by Francia Russell
Costumes by Karinska
Lighting design after Jean Rosenthal
Premiere: School of American Ballet, 9 June 1934, White Plains, New York
Premiere by The Kirov Ballet at The Mariinsky Theatre: 30 April 1998

Waltz Natalia Sologub
Daniil Korsuntsev
Russian Irina Golub
Dark Angel Sofia Gumerova
Elegy Viktor Baranov

and Artists of The Kirov Ballet

The Rite of Spring

Pictures from pagan Russia in two parts

Music by Igor Stravinsky
(By permission of Boosey & Hawkes Music publishers Limited)
Stage plan by Igor Stravinsky and Nicholas Roerich
Choreography after Vaslav Nijinsky
Reconstructed and staged by Millicent Hodson
(Reconstructed choreography © 1987 Millicent Hodson)
Décor and costumes after Nicholas Roerich
Reconstructed and supervised by Kenneth Archer
(Reconstructed costume and décor designs © 1987 Kenneth Archer)
Lighting by Sergei Lukin
Music preparation by Ludmilla Sveshnikova
Premiere: Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, 29 May 1913, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris
Premiere by The Kirov Ballet: 9 June 2003, Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg

The Chosen Maiden Yulia Makhalina
The Old Woman Natalia Sveshnikova
The Sage Vladimir Ponomarev

and Artists of The Kirov Ballet

Etudes

Music by Carl Czerny
Arranged by Knudåge Riisager
(By permission of Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Limited)
Choreography by Harald Lander
Staging by Josette Amiel
Lighting by Alexander Naumov
Music preparation by Ludmilla Sveshnikova
Premiere: Royal Danish Ballet, 18 January 1948, Royal Theatre, Copenhagen
Second version (including the Pas de deux and La Sylphide solo):
1952, Opéra de Paris
Premiere by The Kirov Ballet: 18 April 2003, Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg

Svetlana Zakharova
Andrian Fadeyev
Leonid Sarafanov

and Artists of The Kirov Ballet

***********************

As always we are very grateful to the good folk at the Hochhauser organisation for forwarding us this material.

When I saw the performance on Monday, I was surprised that the Kirov had not included more detail of the casting in "Etudes" as there were a few instances where it would have been good to know the names of the soloists.

Emma wrote:

Surprised Makhalina was there? Didn't think she was coming.


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 Post subject: Re: "Contrasts" programme in London - 2003
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2003 1:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review from The FT.

Quote:
The final programme of this splendid visit by the Kirov Ballet brings a triple bill whose outer components are superbly well done. The company now dances Balanchine's Serenade with an angelic ease. The patterns of the 17 danseuses ("planted like Florida orange trees," said Mr B) melt and re-form, open out in shapes that are the music's shape and lift the heart by the stylistic grace of the women responding to Balanchinian rigours - and to the bouquets and jewels that his dance offers them
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And from The Telegraph.

Quote:
The Rite of Spring premiered on May 29, 1913 in Paris, to a riot in the auditorium. It was caused not only by Stravinsky's incredible, visceral music, but the avidly pagan, off-kilter movement that Nijinsky put to it (by all accounts). But Diaghilev, the Ballets Russes director, threw out Nijinsky's choreography after only seven performances, though he kept the music.

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And The Times.

Quote:
THE last of the Kirov’s five London programmes showcased recent acquisitions, three 20th-century ballets selected to give the dancers from St Petersburg a new perspective on Western dance. They called the programme Contrasts. Well that’s certainly true. From the slick classical virtuosity of Etudes to the raw primitivism of The Rite of Spring, we are talking polar opposites.
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And the Independent.

Quote:
The first night of The Kirov's Diaghilev triple bill was remarkable for several reasons - not least the wholly unexpected sight of this normally imperious company dancing scared. From the first, strangely muted notes of Chopiniana, a sense of trepidation hung over the proceedings. Mikhail Fokine's abstract ballet was one of the highlights of the company's last visit to London. In lesser hands its gauzy insubstantiality all too easily turns to lint, but these dancers can be relied upon to float through the arrangement of Chopin waltzes, preludes and mazurkas, and create a waking dream of unfold- ing symmetries and effortless grace.

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And The Guardian.

Quote:
When a drop-cloth stuck and the curtain had to be brought down in the middle of the Kirov Ballet's reconstructed Rite of Spring it was as if the spirit of bourgeois outrage had achieved a final furious expostulation. In 1913, the ballet's first night ended in a riot, with the Parisian stiffs in the boxes baying furiously at being denied "proper" toe-shoe ballet (Britain has never held the monopoly on upper-class philistinism), and the artists and literati in the stalls cheering the production on.
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<small>[ 06 August 2003, 03:54 AM: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: "Contrasts" programme in London - 2003
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2003 9:18 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1640
Location: London UK
I’m never sure whether the Kirov dancers dance Serenade so well because of their respect for Balanchine or because the music is by Tchaikovsky. I always get the feeling that once they hear a few bars of Pyotr Ilych they lapse into super-lyrical mode like a form of automatic pilot. I’ve seen a number of companies dance this ballet but no other company dances it as beautifully as the Kirov, their dancers always bring an added depth of meaning to a ballet that is strictly speaking abstract

Rite of Spring was a perplexing experience: I began thinking about the Russian spring which arrives late compared to the rest of Europe, just as the Russian autumn comes early. Both seasons happen in a flash and spring is quite violent in its haste with snow and ice melting almost overnight producing torrents of water swelling the rivers. This inspired Rachmaninov to write his Spring Waters, now appropriated for a virtuosic pas de deux, but for Stravinsky the experience of spring was more atavistic in its intensity and his resulting Rite of Spring remains one of the most extraordinary pieces of music in existence.

The ballet is presented in many different ways, from MacMillan’s massed ranks of aborigines to Bejart’s sixties sex-fest, but it was Nijinsky’s representation of early Russian peasantry that first set the ball rolling and that is what we imagine we saw last night. But the critics are not convinced and neither am I. That this ballet was scrupulously researched I’ve no doubt, but too many aspects of this reconstruction simply don’t ring true for me. The first shock was how much of the music is used as an overture and later for a scene change, valuable dancing time being lost in fact. Perhaps this was exactly how Nijinsky wanted it, but it seems a waste. Whole tracts of music seem disregarded in the relentless shuffling and if this is how Nijinsky imagined it, then his imagination was limited.

All the same, I enjoyed seeing this approximation of such an historically important work and the sets and costumes were a fascinating reminder of pictures in books on the Ballet Russe. Whether what I saw was what caused all that fuss at the Chatelet Theatre all those years ago, I don’t know, but I’ve a feeling this won’t survive as a repertory staple.

We all know that Etudes lives in the Stuart Sweeney “sin bin” along with Le Corsaire, but seeing it last night reminded me of how much affection I have for this ballet. I’m not alone as the Royal Ballet dancer I was sitting with told me he loves Etudes.

After the Kirov Ballet premiered Etudes in April it wasn’t danced again until the performance on Monday, which was described to me as a bit of a shambles, but at the third attempt it seemed to be shaping up fairly well. I can see why this ballet appeared an attractive acquisition as it is a fantastic showcase for that famous Kirov corps and they were very clearly the stars yesterday evening. The three principals fared less well, but Andrian Fadeyev came closest to an understanding of the ballets pace where timing is everything.
Leonid Sarafanov could almost be mistaken for Fadeyev’s kid brother on stage and they made a well matched pair, his much admired technique is impressive by the standard of today, but I missed the flickering feet of a dancer of the calibre of say, Patrice Bart or Neils Kehlet in the role. As the ballerina, the whippet thin Zakharova also danced with élan but she lacks the “Ballerina Manner”, that quality that is so difficult to define but instantly recognized when you see it.

<small>[ 05 September 2003, 05:14 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: "Contrasts" programme in London - 2003
PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2003 7:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Slavs to the rhythm
The Rite of Spring still thrills by Anthony Holden for The Observer

It was too hot to riot in Covent Garden as St Petersburg's Kirov Ballet mounted an awesome recreation of the original Nijinsky choreography for Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, which famously had Parisian first-nighters tearing up the seats in 1913. Traditionalists might otherwise have been tempted; for the Kirov craftily preceded it with George Balanchine's highly conventional staging of Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, offering a strong sense of what had so bouleversed le tout Paris.

This was a major musical moment, essential viewing as a rare chance to revisit a monumental milestone in cultural history. I am no ballet critic, but to my wide eyes Balanchine's Tchaikovsky was all elegance and beauty, a flawless, flowing corps in lace and latex executing high-flying mass movements with effortless grace.

click for more

*******************************

Kirov: The Rite Of Spring
By John Percival for The Independent

A jammed front curtain sabotaged Act II of the Kirov Ballet's first London Rite of Spring. Chaos ensued: stage tabs down, music halted, house lights on, a long pause, the music eventually starting again with a long repeat, but nothing to watch until we reached the same point. Generous applause was the audience response.

Full marks for courage; but the ballet fared less well. This Rite looks great in Kenneth Archer's reconstruction of the 1913 designs by Nicholas Roerich, and Stravinsky's music is played with weight under Mikhail Agrest's direction. So much so, in fact, that it draws attention to the lack of weight in Millicent Hodson's attempted evocation of Nijinsky's original choreography.

click for more

*******************************

Contrasts
By Gavin Roebuck for The Stage

Three contrasting works are performed to a packed theatre. Tchaikovsky's music inspired George Balanchine's fusion of old and new ballet steps. Serenade, his first ballet created in America in 1934, is pure dance with the dan-cers costumed by Karinska, executing it with a more lyrical plastique than usual. Natalia Sologub excels with long-limbed allure.

There was a riot at the first performance of Vaslav Nijinsky's 1913 Rite of Spring, presenting pictures from pagan Russia to music by Igor Stravinsky. Today audiences are more understanding of this neo-nationalist aesthetic, reconstructed and staged by Millicent Hodson.

click for more


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