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La Bayadere returns to KenCen 
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Сообщение Great Nikiyas of the Past – ALLA SHELEST

    Marina Dmitrevskaya,
    Associate Professor of SPGATI, Theater Critic

    Цитата:
    Alla Shelest described Semyonova's Nikyia-Shadow (in a long conversation with the author of these lines) with just two expressive and precise words: "royal detachment." The royal dignity was also given to Alla Shelest, but not of Semyonova's mold - northern, of Tsarskoye Selo, but decidedly southern. It was an exquisite royalty of the young Egyptian queens, Cleopatra and Nefertiti, Aida and Amneris. Petipa possibly dreamed of such a silhouette and face when he staged his "Pharaoh's Daughter".

    Detachment on the other hand, was foreign to Alla Shelest, and even in the act of "Shadows," she remained Nikiya, who failed to cover herself with a monastic veil, and refused to cool down the ardor of her tumultuous, boundless, raving passions. The power of that passion became the power of the role, the most romantic role of the Russian ballet repertoire. And so the twilight of romanticism began to shine anew with bright colors and incredible beauty. The depth of the role was not in the enchantment of passion alone, however, but also in its weight, its disastrous effects from which Solor should have fled in search of a quieter harbor and less weathering shores. With Shelest's interpretation of Nikiya, Solor's motivations became more clear.




    ........................................Изображение..Изображение



25 июн 2017, 18:33
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Сообщение PETIPA'S CHALLENGE

    La Bayadere of 1900.

    Vadim Gaevsky
    Art Historian

    Цитата:
    We tend to revere the past, especially in connection to theatrical events and not tell the whole truth. Let me explain what I mean.

    My colleague Elena today told us a story to how and why "La Bayadere" was restored in December of 1900.

    Because this was a desire of all powerful Matilda Kshesinskaya. This is what is called the unofficial and true story. Quite prosaic, trivial really. This is how it actually happens and not only in ballet world. But we, theater historians - I am a historian of the theater by profession - pretend that this is not the case.

    That the initiator of all this was not Kshesinskaya, but the author of the ballet Marius Ivanovich Petipa. I want it to be so - him, not her to have been the initiator. He wanted to restore his beloved ballet, and so he did.

    The real truth is somewhere in the middle, or rather, there are two truths which just happened to coalesce, two desires - the desire of a ballerina and the desire of a choreographer. Otherwise it could not have happened, the miracle would not have happened. Petipa had his own reasons, purely artistic. Also his pride as a choreographer was affected.

    He yearned to reassert himself. And so did Kshessinskaya who wanted to defeat Legnani. But Petipa's fight was against time.

    He was 82 years old.

    Just this moment I casually looked out of the window - this is the image of what Petipa was up against - new age, here it is. It is very beautiful, this so called new industrial age. And Petipa believed that in this new century it was absolutely necessary to preserve that other century, for otherwise it will be completely soulless, this century of motors and all that... Petipa believed that "that" should not die, that "now" should not erase "then". That is why he restored all his major ballets, he restored them all.

    Thanks to Petipa - all Russian, and not only Russian, but also French ballet classics was preserved, for he believed that it should not perish, new time should not destroy and erase all that. I'll talk about in detail. Present is very beautiful. But so is the past. And in no way one should appose the other. That's the reason why Petipa was so very happy when Kshessinskaya suddenly became enthusiastic about restoring this favorite work of his.

    The second premiere took place in December 1900, and we still dispute - when the new century began - in 1900 or in 1901? Strictly speaking, according to the laws of science, the 20th century began in 1901, and 1900 was the last year of the 19th century. And the performance, which was held in December, in the last month of 1900, was the last performance, the last premiere of the 19th century. And this ballet existed for over hundred years.


    .......Изображение
    .......Matilda Kschessinskaya in the 1900 revival.


19 июл 2017, 18:25
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Сообщение PETIPA'S CHALLENGE

    Around the Premiere (1877).

    Vadim Gaevsky
    Art Historian

    Цитата:
    The original premiere took place in January 1877, in a completely different era. "La Bayadere" was shown at the Bolshoi Theater in St. Petersburg [not to be confused with Bolshoi Theater in Moscow]. Even though a great success, it was not fully appreciated then, and to us looking back through the prism of time, its appearance was pure chance.

    Nothing prophesied it in the two preceding or the two following seasons. Two full-scaled ballets of 1875 and 1876 - "Bandits" and "The Adventures of Peleus" - left no memory and quickly disappeared from the repertoire. Of the two full length "fantasy ballets" of 1878 and 1879, one - "The Snow Maiden" appeared on stage only a few times, and "Roxana, the beauty of Montenegro" had an obvious but not very lasting success, having nothing to do with ballet itself. The latter coincided with the end of the Russian-Turkish war, and the ballet responded to this event. But, like the three works mentioned above, it did not have real theatrical destiny and did not enter the history of ballet theater.

    Above all they offered no artistic discoveries. Ordinary productions, they were delivered strictly on the contract exactly on time (each in January of the coming new year) and designed according to a predefined schema. It required a set of constant features and elements: melodramatic intrigue, most often with abduction, indispensable dream and a holiday scenes, and most importantly - the movement of the plot from a pure pantomime to a dance action.

    And here comes "La Bayadere" - same schema, same rules of the game, same elements of the design, even music of the same Minkus. And yet - an obvious novelty, and as a result - amazing longevity: one hundred and twenty-six years [from the time of this lecture] of glorious theatrical career.


    ................Изображение


20 июл 2017, 16:52
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Сообщение PETIPA'S CHALLENGE

    Novelty of La Bayadere.

    Vadim Gaevsky
    Art Historian

    Цитата:

    What exactly explains the longevity of "La Bayadere", what was its novelty? Is it the abundance of creative juices which excite us now? Sheer wealth of imagination? Or simply the abundance of brilliant dance episodes... or maybe the exotic Hindu coloring?

    Indeed, after that Petipa never returned to Indian theme. There was the Egyptian ballet (The Pharaoh's Daughter of 1862), there were Middle Eastern ballets (Le Corsaire, 1863, The Lebanese Beauty, 1863), there was a Spanish ballet, and not just one; in fact exotic themes were all the vogue in the 60s of the XIX century and a permanent feature of Petersburg's so-called post-romanticism.

    In this respect "La Bayadere" sets a record – of such saturation of exotic rituals, exotic props, even exotic names, the ballet theater had not known. All superficial, widespread and obligatory representations about India are collected into one bouquet, all popular stories about India - the country of fakirs, lotuses, elephants and bayaderes – all there, as proposed by the librettist Sergei Khudekov (who in turn largely borrowed from Theophile Gautier, librettist of the Parisian ballet "Sakuntala") and faithfully realized by Marius Petipa in his production. This, of course, endowed the work with a specific touch of purely tourist exotics with the flair of tabloid orientalism.

    True enough, if not for the great, amazing, enduring Petipa's intuition, if not for his ability to infuse poetry into unfamiliar cultures and remote regions. Here, along with the exoticized Indian element Petipa's ballet is filled with authentic Hindu mysticism - the mysticism of dreams and reincarnations. Of course I am referring to “The Shades”, this most enlightened balletic episode in the history of St. Petersburg ballet, and indeed the entire history of ballet. And although the scene is based on the holy grail of classical grand pas, it's mystery, its enlightening quality is achieved to the fullest.

    Unlike Bejart, Petipa was not a scholar of esoteric dance folklore and beliefs. An almost scientific approach to non-European mentality and non-European plastic language arose only in the twentieth century. To Petipa, a man of the nineteenth century, such approach was foreign. His intention does not cross the boundaries of classical ballet. At the same time he discovers new possibilities, reaches deep into the core of this art form and uncovers extraordinary expressive powers which lay dormant in its constructs and exactitude.


    .......................Изображение



21 июл 2017, 16:50
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Сообщение PETIPA'S CHALLENGE

    Novelty of La Bayadere. Part 1.

    Vadim Gaevsky
    Art Historian

    Цитата:

    Petipa's biography is not as simple as it might appear to a casual observer. On the one hand we have a conservative artist, a conformist, who faithfully fulfilled requirements of the management of Imperial ballet (Petipa writes in his memoirs that he worked with eight directors), mindful to their ever changing tastes, on the other – there is that intuitive genius, lacking total freedom, yes, but keenly aware of the winds of history and the will of art.

    Conservative and innovator coexisted in one person, conformist and creator, and a pioneer. He was a a harmonious individual, devoid of tragic duality or any gloomy reflections on one's own account - such an unique and happy character.

    But that is exactly what allowed Petipa to work as a choreographer for more than forty years and to mark the last years of the nineteenth century with his highest achievements, and not a decline. When Tchaikovsky and Glazunov appeared on the ballet scene, he was ready, although he had worked with Minkus for many years and listened to his advice and that of the librettist of "La Bayadere", Khudekov.

    He was a mystery, and so was the birth of "La Bayadere". And this mystery can only be explained by the fact that all these long years since his arrival to St. Petersburg (1847) he lived another life - the intense inner life where intense spiritual work was going on.


    .......................Изображение...Изображение

    ..................Изображение...Изображение



22 июл 2017, 22:01
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Сообщение PETIPA'S CHALLENGE

    Novelty of La Bayadere. Part 2.

    Vadim Gaevsky
    Art Historian

    Цитата:

    He staged performances, sometimes responding to historical events, he composed ensembles and solo variations - a great number of them, he supplied a repertoire for dancers of several generations, he worked tirelessly, engrossed in everyday worries (as can be judged from his punctual diary) and in spite of that, guided by his inner vision that always remained free, he foresaw the direction where ballet was moving and stubbornly, though very carefully, guided this humongous ship - the Imperial ballet of St. Petersburg - to the distant misty shores.

    It was written and talked about that Petipa was just repeating himself. To a more astute observer it seemed that he was struggling to find his way. Today, having an advantage to survey Petipa's entire life path, rather than separate fragments, we come to understand how right, how logical this path was. We can see how great is the distance he traveled - almost forty years, the distance between his first big ballet, "The Pharaoh's Daughter", choreographed in 1862, and his last big success, “Raymonda”, created in 1898. It is quite obvious that during this long journey Petipa carried out a restructuring of entire ballet performance. To simplify it to the maximum, we can say this: the art form which consisted mostly of pantomime, became that of mainly dance. It is not entirely accurate even in reference to “The Pharaoh's Daughter”, but it is certainly true in regards to his artistic life journey.

    Simplifying, it can be stated: ballet, mostly pantomime, became ballet mainly choreographic. This same restructuring can be explained in another way: the ballet in which the librettist played the most important role, was replaced by ballet in which the composer played the most important role.



    ............The Pharaoh's Daughter

    ............Изображение...Изображение
    ............Olga Spessivtseva.......................................................Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin



23 июл 2017, 17:35
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Сообщение PETIPA'S CHALLENGE

    Collision and Aesthetics of Changing Times.

    Vadim Gaevsky
    Art Historian

    Цитата:

    At this point the appearance of "La Bayadere" is becoming clearer - chronologically it is almost in the middle, an equal distance from "The Pharaoh's Daughter" and from “The Sleeping Beauty" (1890), and aesthetically it is a spectacular turning point, it captures the energy and dramatic nature of the changing times.

    Hence all the qualities: the archaic element of individual techniques and scenes as well as stylistic heterogeneity. Hence the artistic richness and diversity of expressive means: "La Bayadere" is perceived as an anthology of the ballet theater of the entire 19th century. The pantomime ballet is still at its best, and the choreographic theater for the first time declares itself loud and clear. In essence, this is a struggle, a struggle not for life, but for death, struggle between two models of ballet performance - the old and the new.

    The old model is personified by the Brahmin with his hypnotic gestures, a new model - Nikiya-shade with her no less hypnotic dances.

    And the dramatic climax of the ballet - "Dance With a Snake" - likely the only example in the history of ballet where gesture and dance, pantomime and choreography, the great old and great new are one.

    Once again we will be amazed at this unity of the plot collision and that of aesthetics, the way the collision of artistic forms is expressed through the collision of the characters. The symphonic ballet was in embryonic state, and Petipa, preserving all the old, so-called "fragmented" structures, nevertheless, was thinking like a spontaneous symphonist, forcing the two main opposing themes to collide: the theme of violence, fanaticism, blind and raving passion (Brahmin) and the theme of free spirit and love (Bayadere).


    ...................Изображение


24 июл 2017, 20:45
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Сообщение PETIPA'S CHALLENGE

    Scenery.

    Vadim Gaevsky
    Art Historian

    Цитата:

    Going beyond characterization of the two main characters, the two protagonists, Petipa unfolds the main conflict in the two most striking choreographic episodes. Both are his masterpieces: "Dance with the Drums" in the second act and "Dance of the Shadows" in the third. In both cases, the choreographic contrast is complemented by visual contrast of red and white, almost according to Stendhal. "Dance with the Drums" is performed by scarcely clad, fiery red bodies and is physical in nature; "Dance of the Shadows" is incorporeal - ghostly white veils touched by moonlight.

    This is a very important point. Sets were designed by M.Bocharov, M.Shishkov, I.Andreev, G.Vagner, A.Roller in the year of the premiere (1877) and O. Allegri, K.Ivanov, A.Kwapp, P.Lambin in the year of remake (1900). Each one of them had his own specialty and role, but they were all united by their preference for perspective compositions, baroque scale and meticulous illusionism.

    The artists of the "World of Art" movement revolutionized the very idea of ​​scenography. But the example of "La Bayadere" shows that their predecessors, the old academicians, were not complete strangers to abstract scenery and stylistic wholesomeness when working on full-scale stage productions. Five masters managed to coordinate their ideas and achieve unity. They were probably guided by Petipa himself, who never shied away from giving detail instruction even to the most illustrious composers, like Tchaikovsky and Glazunov.


    .......................Изображение



26 июл 2017, 19:02
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Сообщение PETIPA'S CHALLENGE

    Leaving Narative Ballet Behind.

    Vadim Gaevsky
    Art Historian

    Цитата:

    Goes without saying, that glorious “Shadows” is a product of Petipa's genius. It is the choreographer's highest achievement, and particularly in the sphere of the so-called "white ballet", which first established itself in the 30's and 40's, in the ballet of Filippo Taglioni. While a white ballet by Taglioni is a sketch, a foggy prototype, its function is not completely clear, the corps de ballet is used as an accompaniment to the dance of the ballerina, his daughter, Maria Taglioni.

    White ballet of Petipa is of a mature, accomplished form. The corps de ballet comes to the fore, the plot is reduced to a minimum, to a lyrical motif, which, however, receives symphonic and a grandiose development. "Shadows" signify full awareness of the white ballet's powers and charms, and embodies its triumphant procession. It is no accident that in the first part of this dance composition there are so many frozen poses. A beautiful vision is suspended as if there, the art has reached the promised land, the climax.

    "La Bayadère" was created the same year when the ballet master Julius Reisinger staged his ill-fated version of “Swan Lake” at the Bolshoi Theater. The cause of failure is clear to us: the ballet master choreographed the libretto, rather than music. Such a one-sided approach was no longer satisfactory, although it had to be many years before choreographers realized that the age of purely narrative ballet performances is coming to an end and the age of ballets oriented more towards music is round the corner.

    Petipa understood this earlier than others, although he continued to put narrative, plot oriented ballets. But the most impressive scene in "La Bayadere" is “The Shadows,” whose story took only a few lines in a rather verbose program compiled by Khudekov. In contrast the content of other episodes took several pages. Khudekov was a typical balletoman and was guided by traditional ideas of his time. Petipa, on the other hand, looked far ahead (which, by the way, had them part ways at the end). "La Bayadere" with its "Shadows" as well as its pas d'action from the last act is Petipa's insight - this great ballet stands as a precursor of future trends.


    .........Изображение



28 июл 2017, 18:09
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Сообщение PETIPA'S CHALLENGE

    About the Lecturer

    Vadim Moiseevich Gaevsky (born November 12, 1928, Moscow) is a literary, theater and ballet critic, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation (1997). Gaevsky is unique as a scientist, thanks to whom the following generations learn the history of theater and ballet, passed to them through the years and outlined in a highly artistic language. He authored a number of works on choreographers of the XIX and XX centuries: Jules Perrot, Marius Petipa, Giorge Balanchine and Maurice Bejart, as well as some illustrious dancers - Olga Spesivtseva, Galina Ulanova, Marina Semenova.



    The Divertissement........................The House of Petipa...................Choreographic Portraits
    Изображение...Изображение...Изображение

    .........................................................................................................................................................More lectures on Russian ballet



Последний раз редактировалось Octavia 09 авг 2017, 16:35, всего редактировалось 1 раз.



29 июл 2017, 21:11
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