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International DIAGHILEV FESTIVAL


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11 replies to this topic

#1 Herman Stevens

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 08:03 AM

I'm posting this link to the international Diaghilev Festival incase you're interested.

http://www.diaghilev.../programma.html

Of course it's in a weird outpost in The Netherlands, so most likely nobody here's going but me (thu through sat). Perhaps I'll post some form of report. I'm particularly curious about the Massine ballets Parade and Tricorne, and Lifar's Icare which you don't get to see usually.

#2 kfw

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 08:35 AM

Please do post more, Herman. I see that the Joffrey is dancing Apollo. Is that new to their repertory.?

#3 carbro

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 11:37 AM

Oh, yes, Herman! As you stated, the event is inconveniently located for most of us. Tell all! And enjoy yourself.

--Carley

#4 Treefrog

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 11:45 AM

Please do report back!

kfw, the Joffrey has danced Apollo twice in the last year, but not in the five years or so before that that I've been watching them. I don't know if that makes it new in their repertoire or not.

#5 kfw

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 12:16 PM

Thanks, Treefrog. I hope they bring it to Washington.

#6 Herman Stevens

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Posted 30 January 2005 - 02:00 PM

Well. Let's just say the Diaghilev Festival achieved the main aim a festival has: the sum was bigger than its parts, and some parts were pretty good.

Considering the relative youth of the people who organized this week I think it was a spectacular success. I talked to many people, dancers and choreographers in their sixties and seventies (and younger too, obviously) and they were deeply impressed.

About the shows I have seen.

Joffrey: so so Apollo. Maia Wilkins is a very winning performer. But she was Calliope, rather than Terpsichore, and I didn't think Terpsichore had a whole lot of shaking going on. Calvin Kitten was the shyest Apollo I ever saw, and sorry I don't think shyness is part of being Apollo.

L' Apres Midi was beautiful, spellbinding. Willy Shives was the Faun. This piece can be potentially embarrassing, but there was not a snicker in the audience. (BTW this was in the beautiful City Theatre, which seats maybe a 1000 people.)

I'm not a Sacre fan, never been. The piece is just overwhelmed by the myth methinks. Seeing dancers in the first act move their lips in counting the beat didn't really help. However the sacrificial dance was very effective and affecting. As the Chosen One (Deanne Brown) danced herself to pieces I found myself throwing my scepsis over this piece out the window, overcome with terror and pity, just the way one should.

And, as Glebb says somewhere else, the ovation was astounding. Six curtain calls at the least.

Kirov Awful Les Noces. Just plain awful. Bad ensemble, lacklustre soloists. Just no good. About this the critics agreed, most of the dancers in the audeience I talked to agreed, and god knows what the rest of the audience was thinking.

I should add that on the the second night (or was it the third) Gergiev just upped and left. He decided it was more worth his while to sup with the grandees (and Bono) at the Davos Economoc Conference. There was some booing when this was announced, but not enough.

The Firebird was not too great either. Irma Noriadze was a great Firebird, but the rest just coasted along. The current production is a strange mix of "historical" fairytale costumes for the good guys, and sort of modern goth costumes for the bad guys. Me no like.
But again the ensemble wasn't too great. There was a lot of bad discipline barely masked.

La Valse obviously didn't belong in the Diaghilev Festival, having been first produced in 1951. However, it was the only good item in the Kirov program. I don't know what this tells you, but it tells me something is badly wrong with this company. Daria Pavlenko was a beautiful, thrilling Girl in White. As she died her arms just turned to milk. Admittedly the rest was, again, hiding behind the great soloist, but in this case the soloist was really really outstanding.

Ballet de Bordeaux presented a program of latter day Diaghilev shows: Massine's Parade, and Le Tricorne; Lifar's Icare; and Balanchine's Fils Prodigue.

I loved Parade. Set to Satie music with a lovely Picasso set, and wonderful ironic circus acts it was a revelation. I loved every second of it. Especially the American Girl, Natalia Scherbakova, was fascinating to watch. Well, maybe the funny horse act lasted a minute too long (which is especially strange since there is no music for this part - adding to its hilarious impact - so you can make it as long or short as you want). I believe the Joffrey does this ballet too, and I'd love to see it.

The Tricorne was, of course, quite effective; it's all energy. The Miller, Eric Frederic, was a great dancer, and maybe the Miller's Wife, Stephanie Roublot, lacked just that little bit of Latin fire, but the original Tamara Karsavina wasn't Latin either, and Roublot does have beautiful long limbs. Picasso's costumes are of course astounding.

So these two pieces were a real party. And then came Icare.

Icare is awful. I cannot help but think it is just a narcissistic Lifar vehicle. Choreographically and conceptually it must have been the most stupid thing I ever saw. Ever. However the soloist, Ygor Yebra, has a great bod and since he wore nothing but tiny little briefs the audience went crazy. It was the worst piece I saw, and it got the biggest applause (proportionally) in the entire festival. Just goes to show ya.

Prodigal Son was OK. It was kind of telling the final applause didn't top the Icare hysteria.

I cannot talk about the Dutch National Ballet's Petrushka as performed in the festival. I saw it five or six times in the run leading up to the Festival, which is why I skipped the performance in Groningen. Suffice to say I loved it when I saw it with the cast that danced at the festival.

#7 Herman Stevens

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Posted 30 January 2005 - 02:23 PM

I nearly forgot one of my favorite shows of the Festival.

Le Spectre de la Rose, by the Royal Ballet's Roberta Marquez and Ivan Putrov (supported by the Kirov Orchestra) was gorgeous.

It's only ten minutes but it was perfectly lovely, and the dancers went all out, Putrov's hands moulding beautiful phrases in the air. Maybe he hasn't got the majestic animal power of Nijinsky (we're all familiar with the photo), but he was goshawfully supple and his jumps were a delight, as was Marquez's sweet face when she opend her eyes and saw her dream had come true.

So my three favorites of the Festival were The Spectre, the Parade and the Faun.

Maybe Glebb will tell us his favorites.

#8 Marc Haegeman

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 09:12 AM

Many thanks for those impressions Herman!
It's sad to hear that the Mariinsky still hasn't been able to come to terms with "Les Noces". When they first performed it in 2003 everybody thought it was underrehearsed then and the only plaudits went to the musicians. Doesn't sound that things have changed much. When you mention that something seems badly wrong with this company, I guess we need to pull out the usual excuses: too hectic touring schedule, not enough rehearsal time, the blind quest for the "new" without the proper time to digest it all etc.

#9 Thalictum

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 01:13 PM

In Washington, it was the soloists who were the best thing about La Valse:
Iosifidi, Merkuriev, Sologub, Selina, Scherbakov all wonderful and steeped in the spirit of the piece. They performed it Saturday afternoon 1/22 in DC and then four days later at the Festival. A rough schedule, but I am getting tired of making excuses for the Kirov. The principal roles in the Washington "spectaculars" were almost uniformly badly performed by some of the company's darlings, who are so over-exposed and over-indulged that their performances have a bit of a vanity flavor by now. They know that no matter how badly they dance, they will be cast and cast and cast.

#10 Herman Stevens

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Posted 04 February 2005 - 01:16 AM

I want to add that part of the Festival is / was a rather large exhibition in the Groninger Museum with visual artifacts from Les Ballets Russes. This exhibition runs till some time in March. There are tons of sketches and paintings by all the artists associated with Diaghilev, icluding the famous portraits by Picasso, but lots of sketches by Larionav, Gontcharova and Benois.

There is a catalogue entitled Working for Diaghilev.

And there are a lot of costumes, brilliant beautiful costumes. In many cases I couldn't help but wonder what these designers were thinking. Many costumes are so brilliantly detailed you'd only take in the details from up close.

The one that touched me most was the gorgeous dress for Chiarina in the vanished Fokine ballet Carnaval: a white bodice and a beautiful Prussian blue skirt with lots of layers, from which little white tassels hang, which of course were meant to start flying if Chiarina turned. Unfortunately Columbine's beautiful white dress white the cherry print was not part of the exhibition.

Carnaval has always intrigued me a lot. With its commedia d'ell arte figures it would predate Stravinsky's neo-classicism at least a decade. (There's also a Benois painting with a commedia scene.) And the thought that this music is orchestrated by the same people who orchestrated Les Sylphides gives me the feeling some choreographer should have another go at this piece.

#11 Thalictum

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Posted 05 February 2005 - 04:31 PM

But Fokine's Carnaval could be reconstructed, also.

#12 Natalia

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Posted 07 February 2005 - 10:58 AM

But Fokine's Carnaval could be reconstructed, also.

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It doesn't have to be reconstructed, as it exists in the POB's 'dormant repertoire'...at least, it was filmed/telecast in the mid-1980s (delightfully so). It used to be commonly performed in Russia, e.g., a Kirov staple through the 60s & 70s with Tatyana Legat as Columbina.

I'm sure that it's in the active rep somewhere......


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