Thursday, March 30, 2017

Two Rival Tribes

I have long said and will ALWAYS say that the Russians just don't "live" the choreography.  They don't sell me on the libretto or the Nijinsky myth.  The seem competent.  But you have to bring more than that to the Le Sacre stage.

Following on their heels is a similar clip of the Joffrey's 1987 debut of Le Sacre du Printemps, recovered by Hodson, Archer and Joffrey in a nick of time too.  A first time out and watch the ensemble just dig right the bleep into each step, each gesture.

I forget I am watching a ballet.  The Joffrey then and now - I have seen them twice and they possess the blessing of Nijinsky's ghost , I know it - but as I said:  then and now and always, Le Sacre will belong to the Joffrey Ballet.

Sorry Russia.

Your bored compatriot,


Maude Sabourin: Les Ballet de Monte Carlo

THIS IS Maude Sabourin
And because Numeridanse does not allow embedding you have to GO TO THE LINK to see her perform.  Worth it.

I know there are a few Chosen Ones that Millicent and Kennth have worked with at Les Ballet de Monte Carlo (2009 - 2011):
Bernice Coppitieres, Mimoza Koike, Anja Behrend & Maude
and I don't even know if Bernice ever really performed. 
Sabourin hits Stravinsky's changing cues and Nijinsky's changing response after that dizzying death spiral turn through the circle.  Pietragalla, my dear Gaia Straccamore and Margarita Simonova have done it.  I have seen no one else pull it off.
In the meantime...and until I find a way to get around it, click on the link and watch this girl dance.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

le zacre du printempz

Props to "The Ballet Boyz" for trying to work with The Rite of Spring. They were onto something with the opening but trust goes so far downhill from here that it becomes embarrassing. I understand what they were trying to do: bring the various elements of street culture into Stravinsky's work. I think it was a great idea but a bunch of goth's walking around making faces at each other for 11 minutes isn't even a sacrilege: it's just uncomfortable and weird. It's like a bad German "comedy" sketch from 1939. Pina Bausch couldn't even have fixed it.

Nonetheless, I give the Ballet Boyz credit for using the Rite as the pulse to a street fight, the soundtrack to an update on "West Side Story". And wouldn't Robert Craft just hate it.

-Fatova Mingus


(I think I am the only person with a copy of this...)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Nobody Likes Robert Craft (ode to Stravinsky)

Robert Craft is an asshole. He was the vulture who ingratiated himself into the Maestro's later life and to watch it on video it is nothing short of predatory. 

BOOM.  Yeah, thought I would just come out with it.

I am serious, though. Try to download The Firebird or Le Sacre du Printemps as a ringtone from TMobile. Look who the composer is: Robert Craft!!

There are lots of little interview clips on YouTube with the Maestro in has older years, the ever present Buzzard, interjecting here, interjecting there and actually speaking FOR Stravinsky in places.  Then in 2013 - against him.

In 2013 Craft came out with the tales of Stravinsky having homosexual lovers.  Really.  You are still trying to make a buck off his name?  The rights to his music wasn't enough? You had to make public something that was - if true - kept quiet for a reason.  God.  He is an ASSHOLE.

I was going to write about Craft and the rights he took from Stravinsky and the drama he caused on the set of that Coco and Igor debacle and the division he caused with the Maestro's children...but I think I would rather write about Stravinsky.

 OH...the Coco and Igor movie:  yes there was an affair in 1913-ish with Coco Chanel and Stravinsky brought his wife and kids along for it, which took place in Coco's house, something the Stravinsky's were in dire need of as the maestro was seriously strapped at the time.  Catherine submitted quietly to Igor.  But it went both ways.  In the midst of his arrogance and insensitivity, he was almost lost without her.

It is a known thing that he loved Catherine and respected her artistically - he would  consult with her on everything he wrote and would not play it until she approved as she had a deep understanding of the young musician's work.

 (Igor and Catherine, circa 1906)

Fifteen years later Stravinsky would meet Vera Sudeikina and expect Catherine to acquiesce AGAIN to this relationship and even have a friendship with Sudeikina.  I don't know how it ended.  Stravinsky mentions Catherine very little in his autobiography (1935) but letters between them confirm this intimacy.  He would have this same relationship with Vera Sudeikina.  When you watch video of the two, they are very much in love and it is quite sweet.  Oh and you will see Robert Craft right up his arse:

Where Stravinsky despised Nijinsky - actually he was indifferent - he would later go on to compliment his choreography in 1960 (in the Russian way which is barely at all). Men tend to soften as they age, artists become humble, the hopelessly arrogant usually die early.

And Stravinsky was arrogant as a young genius!! The accolades came fast and furious in 1914 and he was too young and Russian to show humility.  As he aged he became very approachable, self-effacing, welcoming...happy.  In Darvas' documentary, Stravinsky having tea with - shit - is it Cocteau? - well, he is so simple and kind.  It makes you sort of love him.

THis is the final clip of Janos Darvas' documentary, emotional and of course set to the finale of The Firebird.  You can go watch it if you like.  I watched it too much.

The pas de deux in Scenes de ballet is one of my favorite pieces.  It actually brings me to tears.  So I made a little clip piece of Stravinsky set against it. 


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

More Video - Silvia Azzoni

  Silvia Azzoni, Hamburg Ballet 2009


It is tiny and there is talking over it (Russian and German at the same time.  Who would have thought...)  

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Scene Of The Crime (Part I)

When I first started writing about Nijinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps in 2007, I was studying World War II and reviewing Holocaust Survivor memoirs (not an easy gig). But once I saw the ballet, it was as if I was possessed! So much to learn!  So much to study! Which dancer is this?  What company is that? I dropped everything for a while and went all in.

And all to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring!?

Of course in the beginning I knew little but blogged my heart out. And in that pursuit, driven initially by love of Stravinsky, I amassed a serious  collection of Le Sacre performances on my YouTube channel.  Next time you see a video of the 1987 Joffrey, it's mine.  I am proud of that.  Though some Korean kid grabbed my whole channel and wrote swears on it.

Like everyone else, the 1987 Joffrey was my first exposure to Nijinsky. I had to know everything then write about it.  Watch it again, write more, talk people to death about it... but I'll get to that later.

The second Chosen One video I saw was The Mariinsky's Alexandra Iosifidi.  I wrote often that she was not suited to the role and was harsh about it.  I am unforgiving in my opinions but I should keep that to areas where I actually have the credibility to do it (history).  I wrote to Miss Iosifidi this week to apologize and she was glad I made the apology and "changed my mind".  She knew I wrote negatively about her and so wasn't that was very gracious?  As for her dancing - she is prima and lovely in classic performance.   I couldn't get my head around her Chosen One - too graceful.

Of course,  Marie Claude Pietragalla's performance in The Four Variants was outstanding.  My father insisted there could be no better, in love with her synchronicity to the timpani or the low brass.  Being an adoring fan of Pietra's I agreed. Understanding the music, I agreed more!

Until I saw the video of  Teatro dell'Oper di Roma's Gaia Straccamore.

She was it.  There could be no better.  And that horrible orchestra!  Actually, I liked it. It was like a rusty old thing but she did not miss one rusty old note. I felt it improved on the emotion. There is no way to tell from the video that she is a wonderful person, enormously talented and extremely here you go

Then came Daria Pavlenko.  This girl is kooky, I know it.  I like her and I like the abandon and drama she forces into those 5 minutes.  She kills the death rattle and drop to the floor.  On the whole, she is fantastic and she bails the Russians out.  They will never be that great. But check her out:

Oddly, in an interview with her, she was very sedate, nothing like the character she BECOMES.  It reminded me of how these dancers transform themselves.

And a seasoned dancer can do that.  But sometimes they aren't seasoned at all...

A great example  Margarita Simonova, a gorgeous young Polish girl - an artist in her own right and I can see her going deep into performance art - who was born for this role.

There are some nuances that just grab you.  Small gestures that distract you from the ballet for a moment.  I did a lot of going back to see THIS part of THAT part 3 and 4 times. I love her.  The video quality I don't love but here she is :

( I still love Gaia):
Now comes Rio's Rachel Ribeiro.  This poor girl's video is such garbage quality that it makes it hard to actually see her. I got caught up in the shitty orchestra.  My goodness!  Tempo all over the place to the extent that it seemed deliberate. Musicians. They hate ballet.   But she hangs in there!  It's kind of shocking that she manages to pick out the precise moments in THE RITE OF SPRING for starters...but when it is played so badly and she STILL does it?  I give her SERIOUS credit for that.  

After watching it 3 times, I saw some sweetness in her performance that I hadn't seen before.  A shyness in the "sacrifice".  It's endearing.

Oh and the clips! Like Maude Sabourin of the Ballet des Monte Carlo - or IS IT -  and though in a wide shot you can see she's good!  She seems almost flawless and plugged right in.  I want to see the whole ballet from them.  For now this little Chosen One clip has to do.

 I love revisiting the beginning of my "affair" with this ballet, this moment in history. And there is much more to say:  THE JOFFREY!  But I'll make that part deux.

For those 3 of you who read this thing...

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Photo Thief

My family name is not Mingus.  Though there is a connection to the legendary musician. 

Hungarian, Syrian, Ukrainian and Sicilian.  That's what I am. I don't know how I live with myself.

Aside from this passion for Le Sacre I have kept a blog on History's most unbelievable moments that you don't even know about. I've had book reviews published:  memoirs by Holocaust Survivors a few of which are fakes. Maybe you will find it one day. I can't.

It's a good blog.  Google+ has taken over my content.  I hate them.

Here are some photos:

(Silvia Curti, Rome Opera Ballet)

(Beatriz Rodriguez, original Chosen One, Joffrey)

(Sini Lansivouri, Finnish National)

(Sonia Abrantes, CNB)
(Elizabeth Lopez, CNB)