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 Post subject: Re: "La Bayadère" (reconstructed production) in Lo
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2003 8:54 am 
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Location: London
Exotic, absurd - but at least it makes sense

Jann Parry
Sunday August 3, 2003
The Observer

Quote:
La Bayadère, Les Noces, Kirov Ballet, Royal Opera House, London WC2
At last, we can see in full how nineteenth-century Russians imagined exotic India in La Bayadère. The Kirov has danced a truncated version of the 1877 ballet since the 1920s, when the last act was dropped. Maybe the scenery was lost or didn't work, but once audiences had stopped expecting a ballet plot to make sense, an inconclusive ending didn't seem to matter
more...


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 Post subject: Re: "La Bayadère" (reconstructed production) in Lo
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 7:46 am 
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Location: London UK
I approached the new “old” production of La Bayadere with some trepidation, as I had not been a fan of the new “old” Sleeping Beauty. The pared down choreography and the garish costumes of Beauty simply didn’t work for me and I feared my reaction to La Bayadere would be similar. It wasn’t: I found this reconstructed work an absolute gem. Before I go any further I have to mention the fact that not everyone I spoke to appeared to agree with me, two people disliked it quite vehemently, a few were undecided, saying they missed certain aspects of the previous production but most were enthusiastic, finding this production far more attractive than anything they had seen before.

For me the strengths of the production are threefold: the reinstatement of original chorography, some of it of great beauty; the far more logical sequence of the drama and the more attractive costumes (I found the previous Kirov costumes mostly rather ugly). The only weakness for me was the reduction in the male dancing.

The first act costumes for the Bayaderes were a danceable approximation of Indian saris, far more appropriate and far more becoming to the dancers than what they replaced, in fact throughout the ballet the female costumes were quite lovely with tasteful decoration and flattering lines. For the Kingdom of the Shades the tutus were a longer length, falling to the knee, always preferable to tutus of the “cake-frill” variety. The male costumes were mostly good too, though I didn’t care for the harsh colours worn by some of the attendants. Solor’s costumes were also a little problematical as despite being historically accurate reproductions of Indian male attire, they nevertheless appeared to rather overwhelm certain of the dancers and only someone who is six foot plus is going to be able to carry them off convincingly.

The sets reminded me of old watercolours or aquatints of the India of the 19th century, with the colours being slightly muted in most of the scenes. Only the Kingdom of the Shades, which had the appearance of a disused quarry didn’t ring true. Shouldn’t the afterlife be a little more than a background of boulders? This scene was more brightly lit than is usually the case and more subdued lighting would have better enhanced the romantic mood that is created by the dancing.

Although there are a number of changes throughout the ballet, the Triumphal Procession in Honour of the Idol Badrinath in the second act is the first lengthy and entirely new sequence in the ballet and would seem to have inspired the later (1948) interpolation of the Golden Idol choreographed by Nikolai Zubkovsky. I have to say I miss the Golden Idol and so did everyone else I spoke to, but the massed parades of dancers in colourful costumes provide a very impressive tableau at this point. The other wholly new sequence is the Dance of the Lotus Blossoms in Act IV and danced by twenty-four young students, to previously unfamiliar music. The other big changes are more a matter of re-arranging with sequences of choreography being moved back to where they were originally intended.

I attended the performance on Saturday afternoon when the leading roles were danced by Sofia Gumerova, Viktoria Tereshkina and Igor Kolb. Tereshkina is a name entirely new to me and I was astonished to be told that she is in her first year with the company and only 18 years old. A baby ballerina in fact. She may be young but her dancing has remarkable maturity and she clearly understands the role of Gamzatti. This princess had always had her own way and was clearly more than a little piqued when she discovered she had a rival, she offers her jewels after Nikiya fails to be intimidated by her regal manner and instantly regrets her pleading with a mere temple dancer. Her inner rage shows in every line of her body and just a glance at her eyes tells you that henceforth Nikiya is dead meat.

I’ve always considered that Sofia Gumerova possesses eloquence but not drama and her gentle Nikiya is less than an ardent woman refusing to relinquish her man than an unfortunate victim of circumstances. She is a sad regretful figure with a melancholy line to her dancing which nevertheless suits this role rather well but she certainly isn’t a match for Tereshkina’s forceful Gamzatti. Gumerova’s duets with Kolb were affectionate rather than passionate but otherwise she has the technique for this taxing role and danced extremely well.

As the cause of all this trouble, Igor Kolb was well suited to the role of Solor, the noble warrior. You can just imagine the Raja running his eyes over his young lieutenants looking for prospective Son-in-law material and deciding that Kolb would fit the bill exactly, regardless of his prowess in killing oversized cuddle toys (rethink that tiger!). Kolb portrays Solor’s torment as he is forced to choose between love and duty very clearly. He is filled with shame over the circumstances of Nikiya’s death and his anguish at being forced to marry a woman he doesn’t love is forcibly conveyed.

Kolb looked wonderful in the costumes that I noticed seemed to swamp the shorter and slighter Sarafanov at the general rehearsal, (surely adaptations should be made to allow for different builds) and although I was prepared for a reduction in the actual dancing of this role, he danced so well that it was a disappointment not to see him dance more. At the curtain calls, flowers were raining down on the stage in appreciation of outstanding dancers, a handsome production and a wonderful company. They deserved every last one.


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 Post subject: Re: "La Bayadère" (reconstructed production) in Lo
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 10:06 am 
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thanks for your review Cassandra - good to have a balanced view of going back to the original!


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 Post subject: Re: "La Bayadère" (reconstructed production) in Lo
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 8:51 am 
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Location: London/Chicago
La Bayadère August 2, 2003

La Bayadère performed by The Kirov Ballet is a reconstruction of Marius Petipa and Sergei Khudekov’s 1900 original libretto and Ludwig Minkus’ original score. The reconstruction team consisted of Sergei Vikharev (choreography), Mikhail Shishliannikov (sets and lighting design), Tatiana Noginova (costumes), and Ludmilla Sveshnikova (music preparation). The reconstruction process benefited from several archival sources. Minkus’ original handwritten score is stored in the Mariinsky Theatre Music Library. Régisseur Nikolai Sergeyev’s Stepanov notation and manuscript répétiteurs provided details regarding dance combinations, entrances, exits and the pantomime synchronised with musical text. Sets and costume designs were archived on canvases, sketches, photographs, and blueprints. Pyotr Lambin’s model for Solor’s dream and The Kingdom of the Shades was stored at St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music. St. Petersburg State Theatre Library was the source for Evgeny Ponomarev sketches of costumes.

The story in a nutshell:
Set in India, La Bayadère is a story of unrequited love. An Indian temple dancer, a bayadère, Nikiya is in love with Solor a noble warrior. The Ragaj decides that Solor is to marry his daughter Gamzatti. Gamzatti confronts Nikiya and seeks to convince her to give up Solor. Their argument leads Nikiya to draw a knife on Gamzatti in defence of her love for Solor. Solor though once seeing Gamzatti betrays his promise of love to Nikiya. A secret suitor of Nikiya, the High Brahim, tells the Rajah about Nikiya’s love for Solor. The Ragaj and Gamzatti plot to kill Nikiya. Ordered by the Ragaj, Nikiya dances with a basket of flowers that contains an asp that bites and kills her. Solor auguished by the death of Nikiya is haunted by her vision, a shade that visits him in his chamber before and during his sleep. In a dream Solor chases Nikiya through the Kingdom of the Shades but never catches her. At the wedding ceremony of Solor and Gamzatti the gods so infuriated by the killing of Nikiya destroy the temple killing everyone. Nikiya it seems wins her love in death.

The ballet lasting some 3 plus hours is an awesome spectacle. The pantomime consisting of arm gestures, use of the back and muscle tone, essentially the telling of the story through bodily narrative, extends from Petipa’s generation to the present. The audience’s snickering at pantomime reminiscent of silent movies at this performance was polite and did not deter from the grace revealed in this particular aesthetic. Daria Pavlenko as Nikiya, Andrian Fadeyev as Solor, and Valdimir Ponomarev as the High Brahmin participated in the pantomime with accomplished ardour. Ponomarev’s articulate arm gestures and differences in carriage could have benefited with a bit more weight but nonetheless revealed the workings of this character’s mind. Each step was an indication of his role in this love story. Pavlenko was gorgeous. Her rebukes of the High Brahmin were indicated through dramatic gesture, complete with bodily tone, twist in her back and intention in the hands, arms, and head. Even in the scenes before her death her dancing was everything one could imagine a prima ballerina to be; long legs and arms that bespoke of Nikiya’s joys and sorrows, her love for Solor, and her rage toward Gamzatti, performed by Elvira Tarasova, that ushers in the events that lead to her death. Fadeyev is impressive as Solor, his carriage and gesture implying his role in the drama. As his character’s name suggest, he is the centre of the universe and in this ballet he is as important as the ballerinas. In this ballet the romantic hero embodies classical lines and exceptional virtuosity along with a depth of character that assists in fortifying the story line.

Act 2 scene 1 is propelled with music and gesture dramatising the rivalry of Nikiya and Gamzatti with act 2 scene 2 containing divertissement that proceed Nikiya’s solo that leads to her death. In the divertissement, Manu performed by Elena Vasyukovich and the Infernal Dance led by Galina Rakhmanova, Islom Baimuradov, and Vassily Scherbakov were special. Act 4 and the Apotheosis presents the Dance of the Lotus Blossoms with students from Central School, Elmhurst School, Susan Robinson School and Junior Associates of the Royal Ballet School. The pas d’action had its mix solo variations interjected in the drama, Nikiya’s shade moving among Solor and Gamzatti’s wedding duets and solos. Solor shows off his dazzling technique with soaring grand jetés and tours en l’airs while Gamzatti dazzles us with 28 fouetté turns.

La Bayadère trading on Western curiosities of the mysterious East conjures a jungle paradise where disparate destinies clash. A temple woman’s aspirations seem no match for the wishes of royalty but Fate brings retribution and love proves stronger than death. A guilty conscious is the weapon that haunts Solor; his apparitions of Nikiya segueing into The Kingdom of Shades. To witness such an awesome display of ensemble dancing was extraordinary. Any dance that illustrates the triumph of a group of 32 dancers moving in complete unison is just breathtaking. I marvelled at the gradual plié in arabesque that sequenced into that slight bend in the back that reiterated over and over down 2 raisers upstage to the deck of the stage. That precarious développé in 2nd in a landscape of pointe shoes, arms and legs of same proportions, soft skirts and subdued light would make any wobble a distraction and surprisingly there were practically none. All power to the corps de ballet!! Their unity was their grace. The soloists were exquisite but the corps made me tear so astonishing was their unified tenacity.

Audience chatter at the intervals gave mixed reviews regarding the amount of pantomime in acts 1 and 2. Those who reconstruct have a choice to disregard the prescriptions of the originators and consider the sensibilities of current audiences. In this case the choice of artistic director, Makhar Vaziev and the reconstruction team to follow the original 1900 production team’s prescriptions is a commendable one. Of course one can say the original team made revisions and then each performer in that generation and currently in this 21st century bring different physiques, innovative techniques and fresh interpretations to prescribed variations. But to say “too much mime” disrespects the context of birth and the vision the work extends from, its particular aesthetic for telling the story in its unique way. Besides, it was performed exceptionally well!!

_________________
THEA NERISSA BARNES


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 Post subject: Re: "La Bayadère" (reconstructed production) in Lo
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 9:03 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
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.


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 Post subject: Re: "La Bayadère" (reconstructed production) in Lo
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2003 12:05 am 
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Location: London
Yulia Makhalina was there Stuart? I didn't think she was coming. How was she in the role?


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 Post subject: Re: "La Bayadère" (reconstructed production) in Lo
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2003 2:53 am 
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Posts: 218
Emma, the Shades really ARE in unison. It truely is amazing. The way their arms and legs move at the same time. I would not be surprised if they even breath in unison. It is spellbinding and certainly can work its magic on anyone. On Saturday night there was a gentleman next to me (in the side stalls circle) who had seemed bored up to that point but suddenly his neck seemed to be getting longer and longer and his gaze did not wander away from the stage anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: "La Bayadère" (reconstructed production) in Lo
PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2003 8:03 am 
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Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Kirov: La Bayadère
When even the Shades dazzle by John Percival for The Independent

Even better is the Kirov's new reconstruction of La Bayadère, which at last reveals the full worth of Petipa's 1900 production. Strange to think that in the 1920s Anna Pavlova abandoned a proposed revival because she thought it old fashioned, and that in 1947 Mona Inglesby didn't persevere with a production for her London-based International Ballet when the second-hand designs fell apart at the dress rehearsal.

click for more

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

A long Indian summer
For pageantry and colour, the Kirov’s revival of La Bayadère will not disappoint, says David Dougill for The Sunday Times


At St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre in 1900, as opposed to London’s Royal Opera House in 2003, they were used to very long ballet evenings. A carriage or sleigh would be waiting at the door: you wouldn’t face the prospect of a sweltering and delayed Tube. To see the Kirov Ballet’s lavish reconstruction of Petipa’s exotic Indian spectacular, La Bayadère, in its full, four-act and almost four-hour length — including the restored final act of the destruction of the temple, which the Russians dropped in the 1920s — was a fascinating experience, but I think once is enough.

click for more

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

La Bayadere
By Gavin Roebuck for The Stage

These are the first performances in Britain of a recreation of the Mariinsky Theatre production of the four-act La Bayadere. There has been much research into the score of Ludwig Minkus, the designs and choreography of Marius Petipa's last version of the work, dating from 1900.

The story of the Indian bayadere – or temple dancer – Nikiya, beautifully danced by Daria Pavlenko, and Solar the noble warrior, strongly danced by Andrian Fadeyev with elegant Elvira Tarasova as Gamzatti the Rajah's daughter, is exotic and colourful.

click for more


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