Sunday, June 23, 2013

Haters gonna hate: Swan Lake edition

The première [of the ballet Swan Lake in 1877] was not well-received, with near unanimous criticism concerning the dancers, orchestra, and décor. Unfortunately Tchaikovsky's masterful score was lost in the debacle of the poor production, and though there were a few critics who recognised its virtues, most considered it to be far too complicated for ballet. Most of the critics were not themselves familiar with ballet or music but rather with spoken melodrama. Critics considered Tchaikovsky's music "too noisy, too 'Wagnerian' and too symphonic". ...

Though the original composition of Swan Lake was initially received negatively, with audiences and critics claiming that the music was too complex to be a ballet piece, currently the work is seen as one of Tchaikovsky’s most valuable, and surged him into the realm of the most important ballet composers. ...

On 26 April 1877 the prima ballerina of the Moscow Imperial Bolshoi Theatre Anna Sobeshchanskaya made her début as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, and from the start she was completely dissatisfied with the production of the ballet, but most of all with Reisinger's choreography and Tchaikovsky's music. ...

[The 1879] production was far more well-received than the original, though it was by no means a great success. ...

Tchaikovsky died on 6 November 1893, just when plans to revive Swan Lake were beginning to come to fruition. ...

The première of the Petipa/Ivanov/Drigo [1895 production] was quite a success, though not as much of one as it has been in modern times. Most of the reviews in the St. Petersburg newspapers were positive.