plirae

Chopiniana vs. Les Sylphides

16 posts in this topic

Hello!

I've been researching on Les Sylphides for a project in school and found out that the difference between Chopiniana and Les Sylphides is that Chopiniana has a storyline and Les Sylphides is plotless. Just wanted to clarify if this is true, because my teacher says they are both plotless? Thank you!

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Plirae, they are the same ballet, however, the work did evolve over the years. According to Robert Greskovic "...Fokine created Chopiniana in 1907. This suite of dances to orchestrated piano pieces evolved over the years and initially, seminarrative details of Chopin's life and work were part of its theatrics. Eventually, such specifics were jettisoned and in its final form Chopiniana became a hallmark as well as landmark creation. Distancing itself delicately from the aims of narrative, the self-contained ballet blanc asked that a new category be coined to qualify it. One term decided upon was ballet of mood."

 

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Ballet states that Fokine did a new version of the work in 1908, adding more pieces of music, and that the final version was done in 1909 for the Diaghilev Company.

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Hi Ms Leigh! Thanks for the quick response!

Yup, I do know they are of the same ballet, Les Sylphides being the remake. Was confused about whether Chopiniana had narrations because there was very little info about it.

 

So just to double confirm, Chopiniana had semi narrations of Chopin's life and work, but Fokine removed the narrations during the remake to Les Sylphides?

 

I just realised the semi narrations of Chopiniana makes sense cos the title of the ballet has 'Chopin' in it. xD

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That is the way I understand it, plirae. Mr. Johnson may have some additional information for you when he gets here this evening. As you know, he is our resident historian! :(

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The "narratives" were not "narrations", plirae. In the first iterations of "Chopiniana", the sections each told a little story, however simple. Some were "here are a bunch of Italians dancing", "here is a poet being inspired by Art", "these people are dancing a waltz". When Fokine created "Les Sylphides", the narratives grew even more vaporous.

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Ohh I kind of get it now!!!

Thanks so much Mr Johnson and Ms Leigh! :(

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Also, didn't Glazounov fully orchestrate the piece from piano format?

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Yes, I think that is correct, tangerine.

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Yes, Glazunov did the initial orchestration of several Chopin works and titled the suite "Chopiniana". The "Les Sylphides" selections were different, and were orchestrated by Diaghilev's stable of musicians, including Liadov and Stravinsky!

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When I was a senior student, one of the retired soloists from Ballet Rambert came to give us a Masterclass and teach us the Prelude solo. She had been in the company when it was still a purely classical one run by Madame Rambert herself. It was a most enjoyable experience, but we were cautioned never to be too dogmatic about what we had learnt as Fokine had constantly made changes and revisions every time he remounted the ballet. Apparently at times in Europe there had been furious arguments between ballerinas who had learnt Les Sylphides in different companies with both asserting that theirs was the "correct" version as "Fokine taught it to me himself"!

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I love this thread ... fascinating!

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"here are a bunch of Italians dancing" ... the narratives grew even more vaporous.

Gotta love the old ballets blancs! Haha.

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I saw the Kirov dancing at the Royal Opera House in London earlier this month and their "Ballets Russes" programme included "Chopiniana". I can't honestly say that I noticed anything very different from the versions of "Les Sylphides" I have seen. Do you think that they just called it Chopiniana to make it fit in with their Ballets Russes title? I must check the programme to see why they called it that!

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The Maryinsky owned the rights to something called "Chopiniana", but it was Fokine's original with the Polonaise, a group Mazurka, and ending with a Tarantella. They resurrected the title in part to avoid having to pay Fokine or his estate royalties. They use the Polonaise as a sort of overture instead of the Prelude used by most of the world.

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I am doing my senior thesis on this ballet, (particularly the Prelude variation). Does anyone know who danced the original variation? I know it was either Pavlova, Karsavina, or Baldina, but i'm not sure which!

 

Thanks :)

 

GG

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