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Subject: Re: Crocodiles (was "re Alligators in Opera")
From: ekaterina usilova <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:ekaterina usilova <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 6 Sep 2017 07:57:03 +0000
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...of crocodiles...
I have been reading Prokofiev's diaries. 
At one point he retells his discussion with Massine (Myasin), who was supposed to be the choreographer for one of his ballets, Pas d'assier..
and says that he, Prokofiev, felt that a particular part of the music depicted the surge of masses as a free element (or something to this effect), whereas Massine thought it was a fight between Baba-Yaga (a witch from Russian folk tales) and a crocodile.

Massine got this idea from a book of Russian folk prints collected, described and published by Rovinsky (a most fantastic collection and interesting commentary).
I know a ballet is not an opera, but I still thought this might be amusing and somewhat relevant in this thread.

Katya
http://ghmak.ru/expo/img/big/105.jpg




      From: G. Paul Padillo <[log in to unmask]>
 To: [log in to unmask] 
 Sent: Tuesday, September 5, 2017 8:54 PM
 Subject: Crocodiles (was "re Alligators in Opera")
   
[log in to unmask] wrote (in part):

“In Peter Sellar's' production of Giuglio Cesare all those years ago, 
Cleopatra gamely carried around a blown up plastic alligator... “  

Not to be pedantic, but I believe it's a crocodile, not an alligator.  I only 
bring this up because there are no alligators in Egypt.  

Speaking of Giulio Cesare, “The Crocodile” is one of the principal characters 
in Herbert Wernicke’s production for the Liceu in the early 2000’s.  While I 
hissed in rebellion on first hearing about this, I gave in to the director’s 
concept, reading his thoughts:

"The monster - the great mute protagonist of this production . . . occupies 
the  stage as a symbol of the eternal and immutable myth of Egypt, a 
privileged  spectator of the clash between two cultures, two diametrically 
opposed  worlds, and the relationship, of oppression and submission, they 
finally adopt." 

Well, okay, then. 

As bizarre as it sounds one of the most powerful moments in this 
production is Cleopatra's aria "Piangero;  alone, sorrowful at Cesare’s (supposed) death
(supposed) death and abused at her brother’s hand, the Crocodile slowly makes his way toward the Queen, 
makes his way toward the Queen, and, without fear, she gently strokes the monster 
monster - the symbolic becoming reality, but, more than anything else, a 
moment of striking, heart tugging beauty and theatre.  

Following Cleo and Caesar’s duet, the final tableaux finds the chorus as 
modern day tourists; disposable cameras, sandals, sun hats, loud shorts, 
guidebooks in hand, poring over the Rosetta Stone, all screaming and 
fleeing, as the Crocodile, now sans costume (but not naked) spins speedily 
and dangerously around the stage chasing them all away.  My description 
may sound terrible, but it was a touching, smile inducing, moment which 
had the audience roaring their approval during the final strains.  

p.

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