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The Influence Of Opera On Figure Skating

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    The fact that figure skaters have constructed programs around many of the great opera's just goes to highlight the enormous influence that opera has had on the sport. Moreover, I think that those who have choreographed and executed the programs have done a very good job of bringing out the essence of each opera. Here are some links to some of the opera's and various figure skating programs that they have inspired, so that you can judge for yourself:-

    1. La Boheme (Giacomo Puccini)

    Original Opera - La Boheme (Musetta's Waltz Song)

    Meryl Davis & Charlie White - 2010/11 Short Dance (2011 World Championships)

    Patrick Chan - La Boheme - 2012/13 Free Program (Rostelecom Cup 2012)

    2. Carmen (Georges Bizet)

    Original Opera - Carmen (Habanera)

    Katarina Witt - 1987/88 Free Program (1988 Olympics)

    Sasha Cohen - 2001/02 Free Program (2002 Olympics)

    Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir - 2012/13 Free Dance (Skate Canada 2012)

    3. The Marriage of Figaro (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

    Original Opera - The Marriage of Figaro (Overture)

    Ekaterina Gordeeva & Sergei Grinkov - 1987/88 Free Program (1988 Olympics)

    4. La Traviata (Giuseppe Verdi)

    Original Opera - La Traviata

    Irina Slutskaya - 2002/03 Free Program (2003 European Championships)

    Stéphane Lambiel - 2009/10 Free Program (2010 European Championships)

    5. Madama Butterfly (Giacomo Puccini)

    Original Opera - Madama Butterfly

    Shizuka Arakawa - 2004/05 Short Program (2004 NHK Trophy)

    6. The Barber of Seville (Gioacchino Rossini)

    Original Opera - The Barber of Seville (Figaro's Aria (Largo al factotum))

    Ekaterina Gordeeva & Sergei Grinkov - 1988/89 Short Program (1989 World Championships)

    7. Tosca (Giacomo Puccini)

    Original Opera - Tosca

    Michelle Kwan - 2003/04 Long Program (U.S. Nationals 2004)

    Evgeni Plushenko - 2005/06 Short Program (2006 Olympics)

    8. Turandot (Giacomo Puccini)

    Original Opera - Turandot (Aria: Nessun dorma)

    Shizuka Arakawa - 2003/04 & 2005/06 Long Program (2006 Olympics)

    Shen Xue & Zhao Hongbo - 2001/02 & 2002/03 Long Program (2003 World Championships)

    9. Gianni Schicchi (Il trittico) (Giacomo Puccini)

    Original Opera - Gianni Schicchi (Aria: O mio babbino caro)

    Kristi Yamaguchi - 1996 World Professional Championships - Artistic Program (O mio babbino caro)

    So, what are your favourite opera inspired figure skating programs? Please, if you can, provide YouTube links to them
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
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  2. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    I will have to look for yt later, since I have to go out, but off the top of my head here are some more programs and some more operas:

    Meditation from the opera Thais: Berezhnaya-Sikharulidze (2002 Oly), Gordeev-Grinkov (1991 Pro), Oksana Baiul (Ex)

    I Pagliacci- Gordeeva-Grinkov (pro)- not my most favorite G&G program though.

    Bechke & Petrov skated to a Verdi opera for an exhibition, but I can't remember which one.

    La Traviata: Viktor Petrenko 94 Oly LP

    Madama Butterfly: Kristi Yamaguchi (pro)

    Tosca: Yagudin (2000 worlds), Petrenko (Pro), Irina Slutskaya (2001-2002 season), Navka-Kostomarov (2005 worlds)

    Turandot: Boitano (Nessun Dorma-exhibition), Yukina Ota (Junior)

    Carmen: Plushenko (2002 Oly LP), Krylova-Ovssianikov (98 FD), Petrenko 1992 Oly SP, Navka-Kostomarov 2006 Oly FD

    Alexei Urmanov skated to Rigoletto (SP) and Barber of Seville (LP) at the 94 Olympics
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
  3. lulu

    lulu New Member

    Great thread!

    Kazakova & Dmitriev skated to music from the opera La Traviata for their first season together

    Of course Carmen is an extremely popular choice as well. Besides the ones mentioned, Bestiamanova & Bukin, NavKos, Debi Thomas and Viktor Petrenko

    N&K performed Tosca for the 2004-2005 season.
    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  4. spikydurian

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

    Thanks Maofan7. That's a great collection, and it allows us to watch them again side by side.
    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  5. Belinda

    Belinda Member

    Talking of Pagliacci:

    Janet Lynn - 1972 olympic LP (first 2 mins) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vS581_gagjM
    Kavaguti/Smirnov - 2008/09 LP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9lV_rQfa3I
    And of course:
    Dai's this season's LP

    I like the subtle use of the music (ie not the best known part of the opera) in Lynn's programme
    I really like Dai's LP this season. I hope he will nail it at GPF.
    The use of music in K/S's LP is also interesting. Effective patchwork to incorporate different pieces/moods from the opera.
    I have not seen G/G's before. My first impression - considering the costumes they are not reflecting the characters in the opera (in the opera there is a lot of strife & conflict, but what do they want to portray?).
  6. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

  7. robinhood

    robinhood Active Member

  8. robinhood

    robinhood Active Member

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  9. pani

    pani Well-Known Member

  10. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

    Actually, figure skaters have rarely constructed programs around an opera, they mostly just skate to music from operas, usually only the overtures due to the need to avoid vocals. For example, most Carmen's were not really skated to a recording of the opera Carmen but to Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy. I think the all-time worst example was probably Yagudin's Tosca, where short snippets of music were used repeatedly. Just as my ears were ready for the next bars of the score, the music would cut to something else or back to the same phrase just used. Really annoying.
  11. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    That's the way it should be. The skaters are meant to interpret the music, not play a role in the opera. The overtures offer the best music choice for a skater. I would hate it if they started using vocals from the opera (after the new rules allow vocals) and started making it an ice theater by playing scenes from the opera.

    Sometimes we see a skater playing a role in (for example) a movie, but it's because there is a wider choice of music there. Sometimes they are able to make it work, but to me musical interpretation is more important than playing a character from an opera or movie or a play.

    Regarding Yagudin's music cut, I was not looking for him to play a role in Tosca; I liked what he did to interpret the music through his skating.
  12. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

    I wasn't looking for him to act out the opera either, just to use some decent sections of the music, instead of repeating the same 8 bars over and over again. Whoever cut the music for that program just massacred it.
  13. shine

    shine Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  14. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    I know Kwan was able to sell it, but man, Morosov got free money from her by just giving her Yagudin's old program (music cuts and choreography and all).
  15. skaters04

    skaters04 Active Member

    Of course, Witt, Boitano and Orser did an hour-long (HBO special USA) or hour and a half (theatrical release in Germany) skating special to Carmen. Don't know that this is all of it, but it's all on Youtube and here are a few links:


    Boitano also did a program to Cavalleria Rusticana
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  16. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
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  17. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    I can't believe I forgot Salome, and I can't believe I forgot Die Fledermaus. Many skaters have skated to this, but my favorite is Gordeeva-Grinkov's 1989 worlds LP. It was pure perfection. I will post the yt later.

    Others who skated to Die Fledermaus: Shishkova-Naumov, Davis & White, Jenny Kirk, Todd Eldredge. . I am sure I am forgetting some. I liked S&N and D&W's programs, but not as much as G&G's.
  18. l'etoile

    l'etoile New Member

  19. l'etoile

    l'etoile New Member

    I have this on DVD :D It is really interesting and the drama Katarina brings is none like I've seen ever!
  20. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Exactly. It is about finding a piece of music to skate to. And it seems as if the same pieces keep getting used again and again, going by the number of skaters using various pieces. And not even what gets used internationally but all the other skaters throughout the world.
    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  21. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    An amazing program that ends with the Leonora Overture No. 3, which is often played as part of "Fidelio" productions, usually between the Leonora/Florestan prison scene and the final scene of the opera, although in Seattle Opera's recent production, Asher Fisch used it as the overture to the opera.

    Nexxice's FS in 2010 was set to excerpts from the "Carlos Saura's 'Carmen'" soundtrack, which used the Regina Resnik recording for the classical sections and is mostly vocals. I don't recognize the guitar music played during the first lift from the movie, but that could just be a memory thing. This performance isn't very sharp, but I can't find their Nationals or Worlds performance on YouTube.
  22. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

    Carmen on Ice with The Brians & Katarina is fabulous!

    On a lighter note, I've always loved Dan Hollander's "Barber of Seville" program from the 1990's.
    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  23. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    Has anyone skated to 'Orpheus & Euridice'? I listened to its music on my car radio while driving this morning.
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  24. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    I'm not sure if anyone's skatked to the Gluck, but the most danceable parts are those chsen by Balanchine for "Chaconne": "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" and a peppier orchestal interlude, for contrast.
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  25. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

  26. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    Glinka's 'Ruslan & Ludmilla' - I think Grushina & Goncharov skated a FD to this, but I don't remember the year. I also think that Yagudin skated to it, early in his career (again, I don't remember the year).
  27. l'etoile

    l'etoile New Member

    Google Almighty. Yagudin skated to it in 1996-97 season as SP. He's like a princess! Ruslan and Liudmilla is my favorite fairy tale story:swoon:
  28. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

    I like David Wilson's approach to choreographing opera- last year's "Rigoletto" for Javier, and this year's "Boheme" for Patrick. While there does not seem to be a direct interpretation, the musical pieces are arranged to convey the meaning of opperas, and body movement really corresponds to the emotion of each particular part. For example, Chan's step sequence to Rodolfo's grief at the end of the opera is a beauty.