A work from the Stalinist age where values were not quite as we would like them in our own liberal freethinking age. But the music is typical Prokofiev and I believe a large part of this work was recently staged by English National Ballet as their Snow Queen ballet. The stage work by the British ENB was even better than the Bolshoi Ballet's performance on the DVD (though the context was obviously different).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Spectacular production and dancing7 Jan. 2006
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This Bolshoi production was directed by Grigorovich in 1990 at the tail end of his own tenure and that of the USSR itself. As an amateur, I can't say much about the technical aspects of the dancing, but it strikes me as triumphantly spectacular, blending classical and folk elements. The central triangle of Dorokhov, Semenyaka, and Semizorova are brilliant in their roles as lovers separated by a semi-magical nature goddess and harassed by the town ruffian. At one point Semenyaka defends her virtue against Vetrov with a sickle; I wonder if this iconic detail survives in post-Soviet productions. :o)
Only a good Russian troupe can pull off this folk-oriented score with its churning ensembles and breathtaking male acrobatics. The music is second rate Prokofiev, not nearly as memorable as "Romeo and Juliet" but colorful and rhythmic enough to carry the action along and inspire the superb dancers. Their execution is of the highest order--grace, delicacy, musicality, combined with gorgeously expressive gestures and steps that seem, despite their enormous power, to float an inch above the stage.
Good audio and video, reasonably unobtrusive camera work.
I'm hoping Ivy Lin will share with us her thoughts on this "Stone Flower."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
COMPARISONS4 Dec. 2008
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I HAVE BOTH VERSIONS OF THE STONEFLOWER AND THERE IS LITTLE TO PUT BETWEEN THEM,BOTH ARE MOST ENJOYABLE AND I AGREE THAT SOME OF THE DANCERS ARE UNCREDITED WHICH IS A PITY, ANYONE KNOW WHO THEY ARE? IT MAY BE TRUE THET SEMIZOROVA IS NOT A BEAUTY,NEVERTHELESS SHE WAS ONE OF THE BEST BALLERINAS THE BOLSHOI HAD AT THAT TIME.I JUST WISH THAT THE BOLSHOI WOULD RELEASE SOME OF ITS BACK CATALOGUE ie GAYANEH, AND WALPURGIS NIGHT.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful, Memorable Folk-Ballet21 Mar. 2013
Dr. John W. Rippon
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Stone Flower (Kemenni Tsvetok) is a beautiful memorable simple folk-ballet. Delays caused by the Soviet authorities prevented the Premier of the score until after the composers death. The libretto is by Leonid Lavrovsky (also first choreographer) and Mira Mendelson-Prokovieva (composers wife). The story comes from a collection of tales and stories from the gem and ore miners of the Ural mountains region. These were collected by Pavel Bazhov who in 1939 published them under the title of the Malachite Box (malachite is a form of copper ore). Mr. Bazhov is noted as an early environmentalist and conservationist concerned with the destruction of the Ural forests and mountainscapes by the Soviets moving Russian steel factories and heavy industry to that region. Background of the Composition. Sergei Prokofiev (b. Ukraine 1891, d. Moskow 1953) is one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. He wrote great quantities of music: Symphonies, Concertos (violin, piano, cello etc) much solo piano work including masterful piano sonatas (I once attempted to play) several excellent operas, some eight ballets among them Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella and numerous other scores. His own style was often acerbic, brittle and sometimes caustic and he often ran afoul of Soviet authorities. As time went on the totalitarian state became more intolerant of "modernist" ideas and music should glorify the Soviet state. Much as Galileo living in the 16th century Catholic totalitarian state in Italy had to disown his observations and calculations that the earth revolved around the sun because his own life was threatened (several colleagues holding this view had been burned at the stake by the church), so Prokofiev had to "write down" to Soviet taste. As the Stalinist dictatorship became more oppresive more problem arose for Prokofiev and colleagues. Stone Flower was written in 1947-1948 but not staged. In 1948 the Stalinist council headed by Andrei Shadov denounced the Russian "Big Four"; Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Khatchaturian and Miaskovski as "modernist" and irrelavant to the people. Even as his health was deteriorating his life was in danger. It was forbidden to perform any of his music in the USSR as well as some other "Big Four" music. He revised yet again Stone Flower but delays prevented production. He died March 1953 just before Stalin. The ballet was performed on Feb. 12, 1954 with Ulanova as Katerina and Plisetskya as the Copper Mistress. It failed. It was said to contain too much mime. In 1957 it was revised and rechoreographed by Yuri Grigorovich at the Kirov in Leningrad and at a World Youth Congress in Moskow. In 1959 Grigorovich, now at the Bolshoi, gave it with Maximova, Vasiliev and Plisetskaya. It was a hit. This production toured the United States to great acclaim. The same production was revived in 1979 with Vasiliev and Maximova (husband and wife) and recorded and released on DVD which is available in this catalog. The present recording is an excellent version presented and recorded in 1990 at the Bolshoi. It is somewhat dark and a little fuzzy and unfocused but the contents are worth watching. The cast has Nikolai Dorokhov as Danila; the serf stone cutter who dreams of making a beautiful stone flower of the copper ore gem malchite. His fiance Katerina is Lyudmilla Semenyaka is all pure innocence and seeks to find him after he journeys to the Copper Mountain to learn to cut the perfect flower. The Mistress of the Copper Mountain is Nina Semizorova a wily, dextrorse and finally benevolent "spirit". Danila's boss at the mine is Severyan danced with gusto by Yuri Vetrov. The setting is the Polevoye district of Gumyoshki in the Urals. The ballet begins with a chord that starts low in the brass, then winds upword and soars high and lets you know that Prokpfiev wrote it. The music in general in more lyrical than his compositions of the immediate past, doubtless to mollify the authorities but it is good and beautiful music appropriate for this simple folksy story. The Danila is young and trim and quite acrobatic as a dancer; his jetes are swift and quite gymnastic. He is exciting to watch. Katerina doesn't have any showy numbers but her portrayal of the sweet bride is endearing. To me the Copper Mistress stole the show. Her agile partnering with Danila was spectacular. Unbelievable twists and bends that she does are awe inspiring. To a great measure the value of this ballet is the combining of classical ballet steps with folk dance steps in a wondrous amalgam. When Danila and Katerina are dancing they break into a syncopated bent-at-the-knee back step that adds a folk quality. Much of the ballet is Russian folk dances with that knee slapping, out thrust kicking Cossack dancing that no Westerner could ever hope to do. Thus Stone Flower will remain a Russian gem of a ballet. I have come to love watching this lively ballet though I prefer the version done at the Kirov in 1991 with Polikarpova and Gulyaev.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Stone Flower-Ballet Yuri Grigorovich and music by Sergei Prokofiev17 Jun. 2010
Ali Hassan AYACHE
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Prokofiev composed several ballets for the now defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, works with the smell of order. To please the bureaucrats got a tale of love, the Urals and turned into ballet. The result is a simple song, with nice melodies and without depth. When it comes to pleasing Barnabas, the art remains in the background. The Stone Flower is filled with elements of Russian folklore. All sized and taste of the communes. The libretto is simple, love triangle between Danila (character male homosexuality in Russia or think) that Katerina loves, but has fallen by Copper Mountain and ends up going for a walk with her. To warm up, appears out of nowhere a villain, Severyan. This tries to piggyback on Katerina. The scene in which she puts to run out, defending himself with a sickle must have left the communes in ecstasy. An orgasm flowered, lately of the six novel nor so simple. The numbers do not require virtuosity, are mostly simple and often dull. For the experienced soloists of the Bolshoi is bearded. Nikolai Dorokhov and Lyudmilla Semenyaka has the characteristic technique of the dancers of the Bolshoi, the simplicity of the work makes analysis difficult. Copper Mountain danced by Nina Semizorova has a choreography that requires something more. Inspired by the Princess of The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky, shows steps complicated and elaborate. Mysterious and sensual, after all, she must seduce with Danila and Katerina competition is enormous. The scenarios are interesting, a light green that stands out for its beauty and plasticity. The traditional costumes enhance the look. The image is of good quality, the shots are accurate and the lighting does not, but does not help. The Stone Flower is a visual ballet, stands out for Russian folk music and the tale of the Urals. Everything smells of nationalism. Adds beautiful color and the ability of the Bolshoi do numbers with large masses of dancers. The choreography simplistic and a poor libretto makes it a ballet of the second echelon.
Prokofiev compôs vários balés para a extinta União das Repúblicas Socialistas Soviéticas, obras com cheiro de encomenda. Para agradar os burocratas pegou um conto amoroso do Urais e transformou em balé. O resultado é uma música simplista, com melodias agradáveis e sem profundidade. Quando o assunto é agradar barnabés, a arte fica em segundo plano. The Stone Flower é recheado de elementos do folclore russo. Tudo sob medida e ao gosto dos comunas. O libreto é simples, triângulo amoroso entre Danila (personagem masculino, homossexualismo na Rússia nem pensar) que ama Katerina, mas tem uma caída pela Copper Mountain e acaba indo dar um passeio com ela. Para esquentar, aparece, do nada um vilão, Severyan. Este tenta tirar uma casquinha de Katerina. A cena em que ela o põe pra correr, defendendo-se com uma foice deve ter deixado os comunas em êxtase. Um orgasmo florido, ultimamente nem novela das seis é tão simples. Os números não exigem virtuosismo, são em sua maioria simples e muitas vezes chatos . Para os experimentados solistas do Bolshoi é barbada. Nikolai Dorokhov e Lyudmilla Semenyaka tem a técnica característica dos bailarinos do Bolshoi, a simplicidade da obra torna a análise difícil. Copper Mountain dançada por Nina Semizorova tem uma coreografia que exige algo mais. Inspirada na Princesa de O Pássaro de Fogo de Igor Stravinsky , mostra passos complexos e elaborados. Misteriosa e sensual, afinal de contas, ela tem que seduzir Danila e a concorrência com Katerina é enorme. Os cenários são interessantes, um verde claro que chama a atenção pela beleza e plasticidade . Os figurinos tradicionais incrementam o visual. A imagem é de boa qualidade , as tomadas são corretas e a iluminação não compromete, mas não ajuda. The Stone Flower é um balé visual, se destaca pela música folclórica russa e pelo conto dos Montes Urais. Tudo com cheiro de nacionalismo. Agrega belas cores e a capacidade do Bolshoi fazer números com grandes massas de bailarinos. A coreografia simplista e um libreto pobre fazem dele um balé de segundo escalão.