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Raymonda: Waking up this morning... (blog 6)

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Waking up this morning, it dawned on me.

I wanna go back and see it again tonight.

And tomorrow night. And the night after. EVERY TIME.

Let me start from the beginning, just a very simple chronological description of events.



It took me almost 2 hours to get to the Kennedy Center but I still arrived 40 minutes early. It was pouring like crazy, like a typical summer thunderstorm! Lots of lightning, and it wasn't cold at all. Anyhow, I got a drink, just a mixture of vodka, cranberry and orange juice. Didn't actually feel much from it, but whatever. It tasted good!

When I went into the Opera Theater, I could tell I had a great seat. I was 3 rows away from the pit, so when I stood up, I could see everyone inside, including my flute maintenance man! He plays piccolo in the orchestra. I hope he enjoyed playing it, and I hope it was a nice refreshment away from Tchaikovsky.



A Russian family came and sat on my left. They had a little girl with them, maybe 6 or 7, and she even had a booster seat! She seemed really excited and was very chatty, but she was not a distraction. I'm amazed she could have the attention span for such a long work. Then again... it really just flew by...

Well, as soon as it all began, my heart racing of course, thus began my meditation and critique of everything around me. Must I say my final verdict now?

The music held up everything.

Ironically, the most memorable moments emotionally were either the very energetic sections (Act 2!!!), or when there wasn't any dancing at all (the entr'actes or other transitional passages).

There's so much to say about what I saw and heard. Where can I possibly begin?

Scenes that I saw from this particular production:









I will begin with the visuals. I was not impressed with the staging, the scenery, or the costumes. They felt like shadows to the original Raymonda sets. The costumes were probably least bad, and at least Raymonda's dresses and the Arabian costumes were really nice. But everything felt kinda cheap, not lavish enough. Raymonda needs to be lavish! It needs to make your heart ache when you see the stage open up! The more vibrant the colors were, the better, although I can understand that a medieval topic would not use such vibrant colors in their set.

The character of Raymonda seemed... not youthful enough? Sorry to say it honestly. Raymonda really is a bit of a childish character, but the dancer of the evening seemed quite serious even when she smiled. Kinda like me, I guess. I really liked the acting of Prince Abderakhman. He was quite a show! All his gesturing about was quite expected anyhow, but he pulled it off well.

But going into the Dream scene, I realized something quite sad. This production altered the original plot so that there would be no White Lady! It made no sense!! The story is already rather plain, why take out the only touch of magic in the whole story? Then I realized, oh! This is a Soviet alteration, from 1948. Yes, remove Deus ex Machina, and remove any other Christian Symbols, since the White Lady is an angel disguised as a statue anyhow. Well, you got rid of it. Happy? No wonder I heard people in the audience sound confused and disappointed at the plot, that it seems even worse than it could possibly be. HUH!

I guess it would be pathetic not to mention any of the dancing whatsoever on a blog about a ballet, so I will be brief. The Mariinsky Ballet is still at the top of their class, with footwork elegance and accuracy that never makes you worry for a mistake. Fearlessness! The synchronization of the music and the dance was very very good, and made me quite happy. Some super memorable parts were the Grand Adagio (Raymonda dancing with a vision of Jean de Brienne), the Variation sets, the Arabian/Spanish dances, and then of course the Hungarian grand pas which was amazing. Group dances, duets, solos, this ballet has it all, though not necessarily anything too showy. The Arabian dances with the children were adorable! That was such a delight to see them dance so well and so cheerfully. I felt a lot of positive vibes from this sold-out audience at the end of Act 2 because that really has some of the more interesting action.

To be continued in next blog!
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  1. kanishknishar's Avatar
    The Glazumania continues!
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