Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Diaghilev Ballets Russes Prima Discusses Performing the Role of 'Firebird'

It's a bit like coming across an ancient carved stone in some dusty old castle cellar - a stone on which Noah had put down his instructions for making an ark. Or an erotic love letter ... written by Cleopatre. Or ... you get the picture.

So it is with this footage of an interview, I guess in the 1970s, with Diaghilev Ballets Russes prima ballerina absolute absoluta Tamara Karsavina (1885-1978) ...

... discussing performing the title role in 'L'Oiseau de Feu' ('The Firebird', 1910) ...

Tamara Karsavina 'Firebird' London, 1911

Madame Karsavina says she was fascinated by Stravinsky's music for the ballet but found it very difficult.

Tamara Karsavina 'Firebird' London, 1911

On performing the role, she states she 'never counted the bars' because it 'deflected her attention'.

Tamara Karsavina Adolph Bolm 'Firebird' London, 1911

And then goes on the say Stravinsky was 'really kind' - he would come before a rehearsal and play the piano for her and 'explain me all these different parts' which 'was a great help for me'.

Tamara Karsavina Adolph Bolm 'Firebird' London, 1911

Apart from everything else, what totally fascinates and surprises me about this footage is the quality of Karsavin's voice - deep, dark, rich and resonant ... with such strong and definite self confident accents.

Hope you find this interview as extraordinary as I did!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Alex,

    Thank you for this lovely post. It's a pity that the interview isn't longer.

    I am reading 'Theatre Street' so I was pleased to find the interview. I agree with you about Karsavina's voice!