Wednesday, May 10, 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. 


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.

AND at long last Maud Sabourin confirmed that ues, it is her, in the 2009 Numeridanse video.  It is a standout performance. Though shot wide, you can see she is plugged in and evoking her Chosen One. The Rite of Spring

This is a photo.  The video will link to my G+

And now, there is video on Karen Mesquite and Vivian Barretto of Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro.  Soon to come...

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...

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