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  2. I saw Once On This Island the other night: http://poisonivywalloftext.blogspot.com/2017/11/once-on-this-island-rip-dmitri.html
  3. Today
  4. When I got tix for this 3+ months ago I thought I would be seeing something Ratmansky created new specially for the Bolshoy. Being a newcomer to classical ballet I did not know this production had premiered in Canada in 2011 - if I had known I most likely would have given it the thumbs down. I am dead against the great classics being "updated" or "reinterpreted" to start with, and something created for another company which surely doesn't have the human and financial resources of the Bolshoy being transferred to the Bolshoy ???? That said, ex post facto I am so glad that I got tix and made the day trip - not because this "reinterpretation" is imho something unmissable, but because due to this I discovered what a GREAT artist Katya Krysanova is. She surprised me beyond anything I expected, though I have great respect for her art. Juliet is imv a very special role, requires great characterisation : I fell in love with Russian classical ballet after seeing Vishnyova and Shklyarov live just once, and dropped my decades long quest for opera. Before last night I had seen Katya live five times at the Bolshoy, twice as Kitri, once as Mehmene Banu and twice at galas. Her performance last night means I will be actively tracking her scheduling, imho she was great, great, GREAT. Now, Ratmansky's R&J tracks the Prokofiev-Lavrovsky original we all know, another me-too product. I am not well qualified to review choreo or execution but will write what I think regardless, our learned members can fill in any gaps. I found the ensemble scenes in Acts 1 and 2 rather meaningless, uncoupled from the story and not very imaginative. Am not sure but I thought the music of Act 1 was cut in some places (performance lasted 3 hours sharp wit two intervals). The moment Katya appeared I immediately sensed that I was in for a big surprise - last week we were talking about how a great artist can capture you in 10 seconds and imho Katya is in this class, excellent execution, characterisation, oozing self-confidence which makes one think she would never put a foot wrong, and she doesn't !! Lantratov was good as Romeo but not great for me : Shklyarov is my default Romeo, Ovcharenko coming second. Tsvirko as Mercutio was excellent, got big applause at the curtain calls. Some plus and minus points : the balcony scene starts with Romeo dancing solo with Juliet looking down from her window above, in a replication of "Juliet's Balcony" (!) in Verona and I found this imaginative : Juliet is supposed to be a 15-year-old teenager and it would take some enticement to make her come down, then on the pdd is good but so is the original and Macmillan's. On the other hand, the priest joining the dance in the second act PdT I found quite in poor taste and a real spoiler - the originator/s had better taste surely. But the real letdown and spoiler is the finale : it's as if in 2011 someone told Aleksey : "end it quickly otherwise we will go into overtime !" . This ending will not make anyone cry, but Lavrovsky's can and does ..... how do I know - takes one to know one. Lavrovsky's ending for me is the definitive version, requiring great characterisation and technique. Here it ends in crash-bang fashion, no famous overhead lift, no choreo, no nothing. Judging by the number of camera crews in the hall before the performance started the glitterati and politicos of Maskva must have been well represented. The New Stage where this R&J was staged is so nice : much smaller than the Historic Stage but excellent comfortable seating and excellent sightline wherever one is seated. Excellent interval finger food and drinks : can't imagine going to opera or ballet without this . Will post this now and add anything else which comes to my mind later as PS. A photo : https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DPQzuapXcAo-Of3.jpg:large PS : what an injury or other mishap-prone staging ! Daily casting has again changed for the remaining performances, with Katya and Vlad dropping out. Tomorrow Genya will dance as originally cast but with Belyakov. Lantratov is said to be injured. Current casting : https://www.bolshoi.ru/en/performances/4008/roles/#20171123190000
  5. PNB and The Robbins Centennial

    I got a heads up that I forgot that the PNB's French will include participation in the Festival's Robbins week:
  6. POB 2018 US tour cancelled

    I imagine one could do this homework, and get a sense of the complete budget, but I've never looked at their tax forms and have no idea how they itemize -- most summers the festival presented several different things, and I don't know that their 990s would parse each project. Yes, they've done a great deal of fundraising, and many people have mixed feelings for how that worked, but I don't know that anyone made a great deal of money out of it.
  7. Nutcracker 2017

    After stalking the site today to no avail, I just got a heads up that Week 2's casting is up: https://www.pnb.org/nutcracker/ Link to downloadable spreadsheet: Nutcracker 17_11_22.xlsx Five couples dance Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier for the first time this Nutcracker season, and four new for 2017 Dewdrops.
  8. Very interesting about the video length being decided well in advance. The WBD rehearsals of new works may have real historical significance one day, so I hope those videos don't disappear entirely into a black hole...
  9. World Ballet Day Live - 5 October 2017

    It’s complicated But all that also to say that the length of the highlights video is decided well before the livestream occurs and is not up to the video editor nor decided entirely by the company. Rights holders often don’t want full versions up, and many dancers also don’t want unedited rehearsal and class footage online.
  10. There are a lot of tributes on the internet; I'm sure there are hundreds more from opera people across the world. I'm considering this Friday's performance of the Verdi Requiem at the Met as dedicated to him. Michael Fabiano dedicates tonight's "Manon" at San Francisco Opera to him. From Vittorio Grigolo:
  11. Nutcracker Casting

    I have. She has the power for the role and then some, but when I saw her last year she needed a lot of refinement. Was sort of sloppy.
  12. Nutcracker Casting

    I just watched the 1958 televised version of the NYCB Nutcracker on youtube. Marzipan was done by a pretty impressive dancer named Judith Green. I've never heard of her or heard her mentioned in any interview with former NYCB dancers. Anyone know her story? A very young Allegra does Dewdrop. The Sugarplum (Diana Adams) pas is replaced by the Sugarplum dancing with all the male characters - no cavalier. Moderators, I'm sorry if this is the wrong place to mention this. I didn't know if it warranted a new topic, or if a topic existed.
  13. Yesterday
  14. MacMillan "insight" evenings

    We don't get to see much MacMillan in North America, alas. I'm still hoping, however, that Houston Ballet brings its Mayerling to Lincoln Center next July to fill the hole left by the POB cancellation. I can dream, can't I? I think I made that point some time ago during the floods, but I'm hoping that somebody from Houston or LC reads this board!
  15. Nutcracker Casting

    Has anyone seen Kikta’s Dewdrop?
  16. MacMillan "insight" evenings

    Thanks for this very informative report. The Macmillan work I would most like to see again is the Faure Requiem...which was certainly emotionally ambitious though it could not be considered ‘gritty’...Unsurprisingly perhaps, my happiest experience of Macmillan in recent years has been Song of the Earth which, at any rate, has never fallen out of the repertory and seems at no risk of doing so. Unfortunately, the only genuinely ‘pure dance’ Macmillan I have seen —several times when young—is Concerto. And, honestly, I remember being bored to tears by it. (Elite Syncopations also seemed very thin to me even with its original cast.) So it’s intriguing to read Ashton Fan making the case for the ‘pure dance’ part of his oeuvre. I do remember how compelling I found the (neo)classical pas de deux at the end of Prince of Pagodas, so in the unlikely event I get the opportunity, I will be very happy to find out if there are Macmillan ‘pure dance’ works that speak to me more compellingly than Concerto did. After so very many years, it is possible my reaction to Concerto itself might change... On the realism versus artifice front: a former Sadlers Wells (or BRB) dancer in the Insight evening spoke about rehearsing the Invitation with Macmillan and how after rehearsal he came up to her NOT to see if she was emotionally okay, but to say two words, ‘it hurts’, which, as SHE explained it, was his way of conveying that she had to really feel the pain of the rape. This anecdote did not exactly make me feel better about Macmillan’s occasional taste for sexual violence and sexual coercion in his ballets. Um...sort of the contrary. On a very different front: Rather unexpectedly I have tickets to see Macmillan’s production of Sleeping Beauty as danced by the English National Ballet this June. So, if my trip goes as planned, that will be my ‘live’ Macmillan celebration. And I am looking forward to it.
  17. In other words, it's complicated. ;) Thanks for that information, Apollosmuse. I can't help but wonder though about the details (naturally): such as who benefits, and how, from removing rehearsal footage. I'm guessing that both the Robbins Foundation and the Balanchine Trust don't like to make long sections of performance footage available - although the Balanchine Trust finally seems to have relaxed their policies regarding videos appearing on YouTube and similar sites. I think they finally understood that this is free marketing that also keeps interest alive in the ballets. A significant number of people still don't see live performances of Balanchine and Robbins ballets, and online video is one way to inform the public about this work. The only real downside I've noticed is the proliferation of 'commentary' from Internet Trolls - and the truly uninformed but grouchy - but that could all be solved by eliminating comments entirely. That would force the people who genuinely want to discuss the subject to Forums and Blogs. Everyone else can throw things at their TV. In fact, it might be a good idea for the big ballet companies to post videos with comments turned off, while providing a link to a web page listing the many available reputable (hopefully) forums for discussion.
  18. MacMillan "insight" evenings

    I think that one of the main problems with the MacMillan repertory is that we only ever get to see a limited range of his work. We get to see the three full length money spinners on a triennial basis but apart from them we are more likely to see a work such as Judas Tree than we are to see much of his classical choreography.I am not sure whether this one sided approach to his choreographic output is solely attributable to Lady M's views as to where MacMillan's greatness lies.She seems to believe that his most significant contribution to the development of ballet was his desire to achieve a sort of gritty realism in his works and to push at the boundaries of what ballet was deemed capable of doing. Cultivating his image as an iconoclast who challenged the conventions of classical ballet and overturned a repertory in which ballets about fairies played a prominent part is, of course,risible as it ignores the staple repertory of the first half of the twentieth century; the range of works created by Ashton and the works of two of the choreographers who played a significant part in MacMillan's development namely Antony Tudor and Roland Petit. The worst thing about this carefully cultivated version of the choreographer is that it has the effect of suggesting that MacMillan's classically based works, some of which have not been seen in decades are not worth reviving and that their neglect is totally justified. I went to two of the performances in the Clore studio as well as two Insight evenings. I saw Sea of Troubles an evocation of Hamlet which MacMillan made for a small company performing in small venues which had been formed by a couple of dancers who had previously worked for the Royal Ballet companies and " Jeux" a piece that Wayne Eagling had stitched together from some choreography MacMillan had created for a film. I think that "Sea of Troubles" suffered from being performed in an area that was probably two or three times the size of the area in which it was originally staged. This slowed the action down and generated lengthy pauses as dancers who had left the performing area needed time to return to it. The occasional lengthy pause between the sections made it feel more episodic than I suspect was originally intended. As for the style of dance movement employed it was expressionist and on occasion came perilously close to being characterised as little more than rolling about on the floor. I actually found myself thinking that Helpmann had made a far better job of making a dance work based on Hamlet than MacMillan had managed. I found Jeux much more interesting. It had far greater coherence and it had a cast which included Muntagirov, Naghdi and Gasparini. Of the two other Insight evenings I saw one showed dancers from the guest companies endeavoring to get to grips with unfamiliar choreography the other brought together current and former members of the RB to discuss dancing the roles of Romeo and Juliet. The Insight event in which sections of "Gloria " and "Baiser de la Fee" were rehearsed demonstrated the technical demands the choreography makes on the performer and the advantage enjoyed by dancers for whom works like "Gloria" are regular repertory pieces. The event with dancers talking about Romeo and Juliet fell a bit flat. Listening to retired dancers and current members of the RB talking about dancing a ballet like Romeo and Juliet will only take you so far. Once you have heard several dancers say that MacMillan ballets demand truthfulness rather than artifice and that you leave something of yourself on stage at the end of a performance you have essentially learned everything you need to know about dancing in one of MacMillan's major narrative works. The most interesting event for me was the screening of a documentary made by the former dancer Lynne Wake who danced with SWRB/BRB before going to work for Kevin Brownlow the film historian and expert on silent film. Her documentary had originally consisted of interviews with dancers who had worked with MacMillan during his early years as a choreographer. It has now been re-cut to include film clips of the ballets which the interviewees were talking about.The documentary covers works that I saw in my early days of ballet going and others which have only ever been titles and dancers whose work I had heard about but had never seen. The ballets documented included Laiderette, House of Birds, Solitaire,Danses Concertantes, The Burrow, The Invitation, Baiser de la Fee and his version of Agon. We were told that the filmed performances which were used in the documentary were made by Esme Wood who was married to someone senior in the company's administrative team. The films had been handed over to the British Film Institute for safe keeping but by the time that Lynne Wake approached the BFI to gain access to them the BFI had come to believe that the films had been donated to it and were its property. The BFI had demanded quite a substantial sum for access to the recorded material which would have made it impossible to include excerpts from the films in her documentary . It was only when someone found the receipts which proved that the company had paid for the film stock that the BFI backed down and Wake was given access to the material. We were told that the film of Baiser de la Fee used in its reconstruction, was found in a biscuit tin at the Opera House. Most of the films had been transferred to DVD but the transferred images could not be used as they were just so many white blobs on a black background. Wake almost abandoned the idea of using the film but when she inspected the negatives she found that they had crisp clear images. The problem was that the negatives have no sound track. However when she spoke to Antoinette Sibley and Merle Park they were both relieved that the film with soundtrack was not being used as the sound track on the film had not been properly synchronized with the movement which it was supposed to accompany. The film of Baiser is the only record that there is of the ballet. Although both MacMillan and de Valois were enthusiastic proponents of ballet notation in the early days it was not possible to record everything as there was only one notator available. Ballets created for the Touring Company were only notated if they were transferred to the Covent Garden stage. It was only possible to revive MacMillan's original version of Baiser because it had been filmed. Not all of the early ballets included in the film would work today.I strongly suspect that The Burrow was very much a ballet of its time and depended for its impact on its original cast, which included Lynn Seymour, and the cast's and the audiences's shared knowledge of what had happened during the Nazi occupation of Europe. I certainly thought that "The Invitation" lacked real impact when it was recently revived. I can't say how much this lack of impact was attributable to the cast not including Seymour and Gable and how much was attributable to MacMIllan's later challenging works desensitising us. As the revival was strongly cast I think I will go for the desensitising option. There are other ballets mentioned in the film which would still work today and should be revived such as Danses Concertantes and MacMillan's Agon. I can only assume that the reason for their neglect has more to do with the fact that they are, in Lady M's eyes, the wrong sort of MacMillan ballet. Solitaire is charming and tuneful, hangs on by a fingernail at Birmingham and is obviously not the right sort of MacMillan work as it is not "challenging". Danses Concertantes suffers the same weakness. It is a quirky enjoyable take on the vocabulary of classic dance which fits the score perfectly. I suppose that Lady M may have come to feel that she has exhausted the income generating capacity of the works which she has been reviving regularly. Next April we shall have the opportunity to see excerpts from House of Birds, Danses Concertants and the full Laiderette in performances given by a group of dancers described as Viviana Durante's company who are in reality a handful of dancers from the RB including Francesca Hayward and Ed Watson and Ballet Black. We can always hope that at least Danses Concertantes might find its way back onto the Covent Garden stage and that MacMillan's Four Seasons might not be far behind it .
  19. This! And, as others have already said, both of these guys have only themselves to blame if they were put off by canbelto's re-posting of their public feeds.
  20. In 2015 I saw him in one of his three Il Trovatore performances at the Met. During the curtain calls the orchestra members threw flowers at him and Anna Netrebko wept openly. It was a wonderful moment but when I saw how the other singers were crying I knew that the diagnosis had to be very serious. I wasn't wrong.
  21. His Onegin was spine chilling. Thank goodness it is preserved on DVD. A tragic loss of a great talent who died far too young.
  22. POB 2018 US tour cancelled

    I assume that this could be figured out from the 990s filed with the IRS, which has to include grants and gifts, although a lot of other things are on that form and it might not all be itemized. But remember how much aggressive fund-raising went on for the three-company Jewels last summer -- all sorts of high-cost Friends options + very expensive tickets.
  23. Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck...........

    I think it would be a fine thing if people could be low-key about any aspect of their personal lives if they'd rather. The perceived need to have a robust social media presence makes it difficult, although some public figures manage to thread that particular needle quite nicely.
  24. Part of what I don't get is, unless you're Diana Spencer or Katie Holmes, and when you're 16 you tell your friends you're going to marry Prince Charles or Tom Cruise -- and, beloved children aside, look at how well that worked out for them -- it's all a fantasy anyway -- dancers, actors, opera singers, athletes -- for 99% of the human population, so if you're not the gender one of them prefers, that makes about .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% of a difference to your real life, so why let it interfere with a good fantasy (or two or three)? While I don't think anyone should be outed unless they are working against other people's rights, this is much ado about someone who outed himself, repeatedly and publicly.
  25. Yup! Your lips to the gods' ears.
  26. Or a really clueless guy, who had no idea how to choose a new "special gift."
  27. It's a new world, but it's getting here in chunks, depending on where you live and what you do. I'm thrilled when people are publically out, but I can certainly understand when they'd rather be low-key.
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