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Michelle Kwan's Dream of Desdemona and use of music

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by BigB08822, May 15, 2011.

  1. MR-FAN

    MR-FAN Kostner Softie

    You know what's really weird? Everyone comments on the "different and unusual" music choice that is Miraculous Mandarin, but to me the music is way more audience friendly and relatable than Red Violin, but is more appreciated and was more successful
  2. MR-FAN

    MR-FAN Kostner Softie

    Oooh, I always wondered, was Kwan the first lady to land both 3lz and 3flip in a ladies SP?
  3. giselle23

    giselle23 Well-Known Member

    I think it was Sarah Kawahara.

    ETA: But now that I think of it a little more, I'm not so sure...Sarah did Fields of Gold in '02. I might be mixing it up with this.
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  4. Ares

    Ares Guest

    What a cool final pose. Love Kwan
  5. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    That might possibly be true. I wonder if anyone can verify this.
  6. Cloudy_Gumdrops

    Cloudy_Gumdrops New Member

    I never appreciated Kwan as much as I should've when she was still skating.

    She just has this undeniable something when she's out there that I don't think any current lady really has. I really noticed it during the airing of that Yu-Na skating show a few months back. She was out there with Yu-Na and I couldn't keep my eyes off of Michelle. And Kim is one of my fave ladies currently.
    Sparks and (deleted member) like this.
  7. falling_dance

    falling_dance Coaching Patrick

    Surya Bonaly landed a 3F at the end of her 1995 Euros SP, but it was underrotated. I don't know who attempted what during the autumn of 1994.
  8. skfan

    skfan Member

    wow. this discussion has given me new appreciation for Dream of Desdemona. back in 96-97 i was way more dazzled by taj mahal than dream of desdemona.

    and yeah, i'm one of the many unwashed who thinks rachmaninov 98 was better to watch, too. it gave me less agita. that seems to do it :)

    still, you have opened my eyes. i have new appreciation for the gem i'd passed over.

    now, if i may be so presumptuous as to beg a favor... can anyone who actually owns the CD's containing bits of her music confirm the music listing, or even better, link me to the CD you own on the amazon database of something like that? i'll buy it. i really love that music.

    thanks in advance :)
  9. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Ahhhh, yes ... only 14 and skating like she could set the world afire. She was not a typical 14-year-old. Judges were in a pickle apparently and placed her fifth. I will admit that back then, I just thought she was cute and a very good jumper (Frank certainly knew he had a gem) ... I didn't really see her budding artistry and great technique, nor how amazing she was until another year had passed and thoughtful music choice, wonderful collaborative choreography between MK and Lori, bold makeup, intricate hairstyle, and gorgeous costume transformed her, or should I say revealed her to be a unique champion ... and the remarkable journey began.


    BTW, didn't the Song for You performance, where Kwan had to compose herself after the McKay tribute, take place at a Marshall's event (not Torino)?

    Here's the Kissing You performance that a previous poster likes:


    Also, I fondly remember this lovely tv special performance -- three Queens of skating, but only one Kween :) Love the Kween's gorgeous swept up hairstyle here. Would have been fun to see her wear it like that in competition, but it might have been difficult to keep it in place with a 7-jump program. ;) Note at the end of this clip, Michelle's prophetic words:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JkZImXf-y8 A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

    Thank you for this from Keats -- so true re Kwan, beauty inside and out.
  10. maureenfarone

    maureenfarone Well-Known Member

    Checked Heather Winfield MK website and Sarah is listed as the choreographer for both programs (Song for You and Fields of Gold).
  11. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Not sure about the last part, as no one, especially no skater is perfect. And some are just plain boring with plenty to criticize. :p

    Yes, nit-pickers abound, especially with Kwan as even if she wasn't nearly perfect, her consistency and courage and the way she touches audiences is so inspirational and uplifting, it has transcended skating. And when someone is consistently that amazing with grace and character to match, it kind of makes a situation where the smallest flaw must be pointed out. Too good to be true, in other words. LOL, Kwan would be the first to point out her flaws anyway -- she has always been modest to a fault. ;) She had/ has an indefinable magic that brings people together and inspires fans who have not only formed lasting friendships, but who have also tried to learn something from the example she's set on and off the ice.

    Many people became fans of skating because of MK, and many people without even a strong interest in figure skating have been inspired by her example to overcome obstacles and achieve their own personal goals. Is MK even human? ;) Very much so, of course, and that's why she's so remarkable for what she's achieved despite all of her minor flaws, one being the not so great leg position in her layback spin, but one season she even achieved an aesthetically pleasing leg position!!! I was proud of her. I wonder why it is so hard to achieve for many ladies.

    Really? I have to listen to both again. Maybe both pieces are different and unusual. I think Red Violin is a more recent composition, that was accompanied by a movie of the same name. Therefore, maybe the story that inspired the music is more familiar to some people than The Miraculous Mandarin was to audiences of its time and to most members of the 2000-2001 skating audience too. Since The Red Violin is contemporary, perhaps the music is more relatable in that sense. Or, maybe there is something more compelling about the sound quality of the instrument (violin), and isn't there more dissonance in the sounds of MM? Both compositions for me are a bit different for skating. Certainly, The Miraculous Mandarin was a departure from the kind of music fans were accustomed to hearing Kwan skate to -- which should have been cause for celebration, or at least patience with her attempt to try something out of the ordinary.

    ETA: I listened to both pieces again. Actually there is dissonance/ discordance in both, alternating with more conventional sounds of the instruments (I detected violins and a passage with a horn in MM, probably some other instruments -- The Red Violin is mainly or only a violin, if I'm not mistaken). In any case, there seems to be more dissonance in MM, that is very ominous sounding. Although there is conflict and chaotic sounds in The Red Violin, the alternating haunting melody almost has a sad romantic quality that tends to carry more resolution than any of the sounds in MM. The story of The Red Violin movie is of a mysterious violin played over centuries and the "anger, love, betrayal, and sacrifice" experienced by its owners. The story of MM involves more conflict, betrayal and violence per what I've read. Anyway, the choreo to The Red Violin is in keeping with what audiences are used to seeing from Kwan, so maybe that's another reason why the music and the program were received better than MM. The Red Violin started as an exhibition, and was later reworked as a lp, so that probably added to its popularity with Kwan fans.
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  12. pollyanna

    pollyanna In denial

    Heather W's site has been mentioned here a couple of times already. It really is a treasure trove of Michelle Kwan information.

    Here is a link to many of Kwan' programs. If you click on the name of the program it will take you to a page that lists all sorts of info, like events skated in, choreographer, name of music, where to buy, etc. etc.

    DoD program information

    I recommend you browse Heather's site, it's a great source of info for us serious skating fans. :)
  13. skfan

    skfan Member


    thank you for pointing out this awesome resource. i've bookmarked it :)

    regarding dream of desdemona specifically, i think there was at some point a comment that perhaps the red poppy adagio wasn't actually featured in the program, even though it's listed on heather's page. and what little herodiade i could find on youtube (mostly the operatic stuff--not the orchestral part MK used) didn't convince me i was on the right track. i am not a very savvy person when it comes to classical music so i figured before i make yet another buying mistake, i'd consult some folks with actual experience, but it's all good. learning about music is fun.

    i really thank MK for broadening my perspective on music that's usable for skating--she's introduced me to pieces i just like to listen to on their own, even without any skating. well, she and frank and lori... back when they were the maverick team :)

    ETA regarding that jim mackay tribute someone mentioned earlier, i seem to recall that was 2006 marshall's.
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  14. belladella

    belladella Active Member

    If you ever go to a skating competition and run into Peter Oppegard, be sure to mention Miraculous Mandarin to him so you can watch his reaction. You'll see that he is genuinely surprised and thrilled that people remember the progam and loved it so much, ...and that it still pops up on skating forums from time to time.

    He regrets three things about its one and only performance; Michelle had to learn the program in a very short time before performing it in competition, she had to leave out some of the finer moves in the program, and the progam was performed only once and it wasn't a clean performance by Michelle.

    I loved that program because it captured the essence of Michelle, her passion and her sensuality.

    I'm loving this thread. Thanks people.
  15. skfan

    skfan Member

  16. Sparks

    Sparks Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I remember watching MM. MK looked tired, but the performance and choreography were breathtaking, nonetheless. :)
  17. viennese

    viennese Well-Known Member

    Great discussion.
    One thing that that these clips bring back - the drama of these performances, not just because of the fascinating performances, but because there was a real "opening night" quality to them. Most of us were not familiar with the music, as Kwan, coach and choreographer were making a point of using pieces that skaters hadn't used before.

    There was a real sense of being there at the Broadway opening - not knowing where the performance might take you, where the highlights would be.

    I enjoy it when a skater or team takes a risk and claims a piece of music this way.
    kwanette and (deleted member) like this.
  18. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    ^^ ITA viennese, thanks for your reflections. :)

    And thanks BellaDella for sharing that information about Peter O, and his thoughts about MM and his appreciation of fans' interest in his choreography for MM. It will be something to keep in mind should I ever be fortunate enough to see Peter in person again someday ... I would also like to ask him whether he'd ever consider bringing back MM for Caroline Z or Yu Na?
  19. pollyanna

    pollyanna In denial

    Here is Beautiful World from the 2000 Keri Lotion Classic. Lovely. Michelle skates with such freedom.
  20. Mayra

    Mayra Well-Known Member

    Dante's Prayer from Hershey's in 1998

    The spins in both directions, the COE Spiral and the general run of her blade are all so :swoon: "Winter" is another early Kwan favorite of mine, but I can't seem to find it anywhere. I can't get over how many exhibitions Michelle had. :lol:

    Ahh... the golden age of skating. I know a lot of people weren't fond of them, but I have to say I miss these cheesefests and pro-ams. There just isn't enough skating on TV anymore. :(
    kwanette and (deleted member) like this.
  21. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    Absolutely loved the promise of Miraculous Mandarin. Too bad she didn't trust it enough.

    The two programs she dumped that season, Rush and Miraculous Mandarin, were both masterpieces and showed off her best, IMO.
  22. pollyanna

    pollyanna In denial

    The music for "Winter" has not been cleared by WMG, so if someone uploads it to youtube, the audio is automatically disabled. :(
  23. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Thanks, pollyanna.
    "Beautiful World" is a treasure.
    The way that Michelle interprets and conveys the emotion/message of the song through her performance is magnificent.

    I'd like to mention another program: "Fate of Carmen" from 1999.
    The precision and dramatic intensity she brought to it took her skating to a new level.

    Two of her best performances were at the 1999 Keri Lotion Classic and 1999 COI.
    Unfortunately, neither seem to be on YouTube.
  24. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Thank you for this. Here's the 2000/01 GPF exhibition version which I also adore:


    There's such expanse and fluidity of movement in this program and it's designed to showcase her lovely running edges and spirals. I think this is one of the programs that really makes Michelle look as though she's floating out there. Absolutely glorious artistic skating which most competing today couldn't hold a candle to. I particularly love the opening of the left hand as she turns the corner into that rink length spiral on a flat towards the end. So simple, but oh so effective.
  25. taf2002

    taf2002 zexy demon

  26. pollyanna

    pollyanna In denial

    Yes, yes that's it exactly! Thank you for putting into words what I was thinking.

    I am so loving this thread. I haven't watched many of these programs in years and it's so nice to re-visit them. It really brings home to me once again what an incredible artist Michelle was/is and how lucky I am to have been around when she was competing.
  27. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    Beautiful World was wonderful even though the vocal was a little annoying for my taste. I had to watch it again this morning just to soak in the wonderful skating.
  28. skfan

    skfan Member

    yes, but the important question is (LOL), which beautiful world costume was the best? the pink lace negligee one? the grey-black powerful and classy one? the gold long sleeve one? :cool:
  29. Triple Butz

    Triple Butz Well-Known Member

    Really? How so?