Sunday, December 02, 2012

Where'd They Dig This Up?

Where Diana lives the local movie theater does live broadcasts of cultural events like operas, ballets, and plays.  She invited me to join her this weekend to see the ballet Pharaoh's Daughter being performed by the Bolshoi Ballet.  I always look forward to time together with Diana.

In the introduction the host gave a brief history of the ballet.  It was commissioned by the Bolshoi for a 50 year old prima ballerina whose contract required a work created specifically for her.  Pharaoh's Daughter was written in six weeks during 1862 and performed shortly thereafter.  It opened to mixed reviews.  The dancer for whom it was created performed it for a week then left Russia never to return.  It was last danced sometime in the 1920s.  The producer responsible for this revival said he had great difficulty in his research.  He had to reconstruct large sections of choreography, set designs, and costuming ideas from sparse notes.

As my review allow me to say these various aspects of the ballet's history seemed to make themselves quite apparent.  There may be a good reason why the dancer never showed her face in Russia again, why this particular ballet went so long without being performed by the Bolshoi (or any other ballet company for that matter), and why original choreography notes were difficult to find (destroyed intentionally perhaps?).  Even a company so esteemed as the Bolshoi couldn't save this material.  Imagine a cast of Academy Award winners reviving Joannie Loves Chachi.  It was like that...with leotards and tutus...set in ancient Egypt...complete with dancers in blackface portraying Nubians.

The most entertaining part was listening to Diana's running commentary and listening to her giggle at the prominent bulges in the men's leotards so it wasn't a complete loss.

17 comments:

Beach Bum said...

Imagine a cast of Academy Award winners reviving Joannie Loves Chachi.

I'm a cynic so I would not put it past anyone in the television industry to try such a thing.

That corgi :) said...

I could see why this would't be as popular of a production like say the Nutcracker. Seems like a recipe for disaster from the onset. But who can resist a man with bulging leotards???

sounds like a fun time!

betty

Hilary said...

Sounds like you and your girl had a fun time despite the odd performance.

Stephen Hayes said...

So long as you can talk and say silly things throughout the performance.

Logophile said...

heh heh,
you said bulges,
heh heh heh
:p
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
Now then,
I cannot imagine what sort of philistines would DARE to mock such a brave artistic venture.
I so wish I could have been there too!

Bijoux said...

Too funny! I'm picturing Steve Martin in his King Tut headdress.

~Dragonfly~* said...

Sounds like it was rather entertaining!!!! Not as they intended perhaps.... :) Always good to share time with the kids.

haphazardlife said...

More to the point: WHY did they dig it up?

Craig said...

OK, you remind me of a bit that I once saw in Bicycling magazine, about why cycling shorts should always be black. They photographed the same cycling team wearing black shorts and red shorts; the, uh, shadows on the red shorts left considerably less to the imagination. So, I'm guessing the lighter-colored men's leotards might manifest a, uh similar phenomenon?

But, yeef, let some guy write a ballet review in which he gives even passing mention to the prima ballerina's, uh, bouncing body parts. . .

An' yeef. . . dancers in blackface? Who thought that was a good idea?

Daryl said...

good time was had even if it had nada to do with the actual ballet

Suldog said...

A ballet in blackface? OMG. It sounds like an SNL skit.

Craver Vii said...

Ladies and Gentlemen:
Before this evening's presentation, we feel we must offer a disclaimer...


That's what it sounded like to me; don't you think?

G-Man said...

Russian...
Bulges....
Uncut.....

Kat said...

Oh. My.

Even though it sounds horrid I would have loved to be seated next to you and Diana during this mess. That would be worth the price of admission. :)

(M)ary said...

I wish our local ballet troupe would at least try something besides the Nutcracker and Black Swan!

Secret Agent Woman said...

Ha ha ha. That's really funny, in an uncomfortable sort of way.

coopernicus said...

men in leotards with bulges and The Nutcracker always makes me shudder...maybe that's why the ballet and I don't get along that well...