Rojo brings this together with efforts for 19th-century authenticity. To reconstruct Petipa’s early ballets, which have been altered over time, the world of dance increasingly turns back to manuscripts in which Petipa’s steps are recorded around the time his term in St.Petersburg ended. Rojo asked a sign expert, Doug Fullington, for help, but didn’t go beyond women’s variations. They are also sometimes given to other characters with Petipa’s instructions, or subtly altered.
There were also many nods to another of Petipa’s ballets, “La Bayadère,” most notably in the beautifully executed first scene “Vision”: an episode that feels like a tribute to Florence. Nightingale, one of Rojo’s inspirations. Nightingale, a British nurse organizer of the Crimean War, whose adorable image appeared on the 10-pound note, was called the Lady with the Lamp, and the nurses in Rojo’s “Raymonda” also wore them. lights through the dark. More often than not, however, war is a distant, barely suggested setting.
While Raymonda is ostensibly more self-determined than in Petipa’s original, she presents an inconsistent character. Even after she’s married (in a boring wedding dress that obscures the choreography), she continues to waver between John and Abdur, who hijack one of the ballet’s great moments: turning Raymonda’s pensive yet authoritative “claque” in the final act, ending her iconic arc.
On opening night, Shiori Kase, a calm and careful performer, portrayed Raymonda as timid and uncertain about her choices until the last minute, when she left her wedding to going to take care of pregnancy – an absurd development, encapsulated in less than a minute.
Rojo’s “Raymonda” is by no means an exception in the international ballet repertoire: It is just the latest in a sea of tangled, half-updated versions of several century-old ballets. 19 remains. It is completely re-imaginable, as Akram Khan’s “Giselle”, one of Rojo’s operational successes, shows, but a serious art form needs to set higher standards for coherence to the canonical versions it presents. San Francisco would certainly hope better.
Through January 23 at the London Coliseum; ballet.org.uk
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/19/arts/dance/raymonda-english-national-ballet-tamara-rojo.html Review: A Skilled Ballet Leader Makes a Messy ‘Raymonda’