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Everything posted by volcanohunter

  1. The Royal Ballet announced its 2016-17 season today. http://www.roh.org.uk/news/ballet-and-dance-201617 There will be six live-to-cinema transmissions. 2 November: Anastasia 8 December: The Nutcracker 8 February: Woolf Works 28 February: The Sleeping Beauty 11 April: Jewels 7 June: The Dream / Symphonic Variations ( ) / Marguerite & Armand But y'all know how this works. If you want your cinema to carry Symphonic Variations, you've got to go see Anastasia and The Nutcracker, otherwise cinema owners may give up on the season long before June 2017. I will be curious to see what American movie theaters do with The Sleeping Beauty, given that this season's broadcast of Frankenstein has been embargoed in the U.S. and replaced with an older recording of Beauty.
  2. I no longer remember it all that clearly, but it turns out I posted about it at the time. The premiere featured live music, and it could be that the company cannot afford to hire an orchestra, chorus and soloists at this point. The vocalists were on stage, but I don't remember them being integrated into the action, so I think the piece could be adapted to canned music. On the matter of budgets, if I were on the Alberta Ballet Board, I would demand to know why the company's administrative costs ($3,017,018) are nearly equal to those of the National Ballet of Canada ($3,139,550). There's no earthly reason why this should be the case. I would be demanding that they be halved to bring them closer to the levels of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens ($1,356,771). Perhaps them the company wouldn't be in a financial hole and could afford more dancers and more live music. But anyway: The final work was Emily Molnar's new "Carmina Burana," which now replaces the John Butler staging in Alberta Ballet's rep. She divides the piece into three sections: Society, Tavern and Court of Love. The dancing takes place on a white oval in the center of the stage, and the choir, dressed in basic black, stands in back. There is another white oval above the stage used for video images, though I don't think these add much to the piece. In Society the dancers wear gray tanks and bottoms, skirts for the women, shorts for the men, and soft shoes. There is an Archpoet, performed by handsome Kelley McKinlay, one of the company's most popular dancers, and a Bearer of Time, danced by Jonathan Renna. Tanya Dobler, who has decided that her 14th season with Alberta Ballet will be her last, appears as the Figure of Instinct, dressed in a long-sleeved red leotard. The dancing is expansive and energetic. In Tavern, an all-male section, the dancers appear shirtless and wearing black trousers. Molnar seems to have a particular view of the way men interact. As in her "Portrait of A Suspended Grace," she depicts men as fundamentally unsympathetic to each others' distress and pain. The scene then shifts to the Court of Love, where the women, now on pointe, look like bathing beauties in their red leotards. They provide the Archpoet with the comfort and sympathy the men in the Tavern had denied him. At the end, the scene returns to Society, though it no longer seems so joyous. Generally, I think that Molnar's ensemble dances are more interesting than her solos and duets. I was a little disappointed that the emotional climaxes between the Archpoet and the Figure of Instinct culminated in conventional kisses and embraces. I would have preferred a little more movement invention for those moments. Jonathan Renna, who had the unenviable task of dancing the biggest and loudest sections of "O Fortuna" as solos, has been given one of his best roles, with the possible exception of his Knave in Edmund Stripe's "Alice in Wonderland." Molnar uses his forcefulness and high arabesques to great effect. In the ensemble sections, Christopher Gray, Igor Chornovol and Blair Puente, who had worked with Molnar on the creation of "Portrait," and newcomer Hamilton Nieh seemed particularly attuned to her movement vocabulary. Among the women I liked sensual Laëtitia Clément, statuesque Leigh Allardyce, fluid Galien Johnston and Alexis Maragozis, who easily takes the prize as Alberta Ballet's sexiest asset. Because Pro Coro is a relatively small ensemble, and the acoustics of the Jubilee Auditorium, while improved in recent renovations, are still not great, the singing was amplified and inevitably sounded "canned." Baritone Doug MacNaughton struggled mightily with his part, and I would have preferred a soprano who sounded less matronly than Laura Whalen, but the musical shortcomings didn't detract from the excellent dancing.
  3. In the reference section of a library I came across a souvenir booklet published on the occasion of Alberta Ballet's 25th anniversary in 1991. It was the season Yumiko Takeshima, one of the more illustrious dancers to pass through Alberta Ballet, joined the company. The booklet's compilers admitted they lacked information on what the company performed for the first 15 years of its existence. (Another example of ballet's disposable attitude toward its history. ) But the repertoire list indicated that the company performed Allegro Brillante in 1985, Glinka Pas de Trois in 1987 and Donizetti Variations in 1989. So credit for introducing Balanchine to the company's repertoire should go to the late Brydon Paige. Other noteworthy additions to the repertoire included Gsovsky's Grand Pas Classique (1984), Ashton's Façade (1985), and Cranko's Pineapple Poll (1986) and Holberg Pas de Deux (1987). 1990, when Ali Pourfarrokh was director, seems to have been a banner year: Cullberg's Miss Julie, Lichine's Graduation Ball, and Tudor's Cereus and Continuo. In 1991 the company first performed Butler's Carmina Burana, a work that remained in the repertoire for a long time, until Emily Molnar was commissioned to create a new version for the company's 40th anniversary. Sadly, Molnar's version was never revived.
  4. A separate thread on the subject is ready to roll. http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/42403-2017-18-bolshoi-cinema-season/
  5. Oh Lord, not the Holmes Corsaire again. It only manages to make the ballet as tacky as possible. Not that La Scala cares about my opinion, but I wouldn't travel to see this season.
  6. Yes, I think it does. The dancers I've seen in Onegin, primarily at the National Ballet of Canada, have never seemed particularly alike in their interpretations. I haven't watched the Ballerina program in eons, but I vaguely remember Fracci saying that Cranko was very responsive to dancer input. She also mentioned that prior to starting rehearsals, she and Cranko went to the cinema to watch Ulanova in the Lavrovsky version, and then stayed to watch the film a second time. I can't say I see a lot of similarities between the Lavrovsky and Cranko's Stuttgart version. However, I think the MacMillan version relies heavily on the Cranko, so much so that I think Cranko should get co-choreographer credit.
  7. Cranko created his first version of Romeo and Juliet for La Scala in 1958. In Natalia Makarova's Ballerina TV series, Carla Fracci gave a charming description of how they set about working on the ballet. In 1962 he created a new version in Stuttgart. Unfortunately, I have not seen the La Scala version, but judging by the clip Fracci filmed for Ballerina, the tomb scene was revised substantially.
  8. I think both yes and no. Five years ago Clairemarie Osta's last Giselle in New York was not nearly as emotional as her last Manon in Paris seems to have been, simply because prior to the tour, most American audiences had never seen her. Someone did sneak a large bouquet of roses into the theater and threw it onto the stage, but most people were unaware of the occasion. Pujol withdrew from that tour because of injury, so it will be another "first and last time" scenario, and the audience won't have any sort of emotional investment in the event, especially if her last curtain call will be followed by two other ballets, and "Emeralds" isn't Giselle. Still, if I were to choose a performance to attend, it would be that one, because of Pujol, because Lopatin is better suited to "Rubies" than Ovcharenko, and because Mearns is the class of the field in "Diamonds." But at these prices, I'm still more inclined to fly to Paris for a full POB Jewels, having already seen NYCB and the Bolshoi do it. The fact that NYCB is contributing exactly one cast to "Rubies" and one cast to "Diamonds" means I can't shake the feeling that this "event" is a money-saving gimmick at outrageous prices.
  9. The National Ballet of Canada announced its 2016-17 season today. This is the main season at the Four Seasons Centre. November 12, 13, 16-20 Kudelka/Prokofiev: Cinderella November 15 12th Erik Bruhn Prize competition November 23-27 Cranko/Tchaikovsky: Onegin December 10, 11, 13-18, 20-24, 27-31 Kudleka/Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker March 11, 12, 15-19, 23, 24 Tuckett/Englishby: Pinocchio (world premiere) March 29-April 2 McGregor/Talbot, Deru: Genus Robbins/Chopin: The Concert June 3, 4, 7-10 Neumeier/Prokofiev, Schnittke: A Streetcar Named Desire June 6 Mad Hot Ballet gala June 15-18, 21-15 Kudelka, after Petipa, Ivanov/Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake Robert Binet will present a work inspired by the paintings of Lawren Harris to music by Lubomyr Melnyk at the Art Gallery on Ontario on August 31-September 10. World Ballet Day will return on October 4 with the usual participants: Australian Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, San Francisco Ballet. The annual visit to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa will take place on January 19-21 with Onegin. http://national.ballet.ca/Media-Room/News/The-National-Ballet-of-Canada-Celebrates-65th-Anni
  10. No, all principals will be appearing in the season at some point, even if only at the gala. In particular, Hodgkinson, Lobsanova and Yu, who are featuring prominently only in the gala, recently appeared in a new ballet by Guillaume Côté in Ottawa, as did Lunkina and Rodriguez. (The ballet is a dud, but the dancers gave it the old college try.) Hodgkinson and Rodriguez are both over 40 and effectively removed themselves from Swan Lake. Yu needs a strapping partner the company doesn't have anymore. If Lobsanova is doing the pd2 from Coppélia, I doubt she's nursing a bad injury.
  11. I mean simply that Fischer is fairly tall, long-limbed and her arms are quite flexible. Nowadays practically all Swan Queens look like that. (Although just having seen Oksana Skorik do the "white swan" adagio this evening, I know all too well that the results of this thinking can be horrifying. ) In this instance I think Kain can do whatever she wants, because people will come see Swan Lake no matter what, regardless of who's dancing, and more importantly, no matter how horrid the production. P.S. Queen Victoria's birthday, which is always moved conveniently to the second-last Monday of May. Because Canadians need a stat holiday in May.
  12. I have a feeling that in Karen Kain's world Isaac Hernandez wouldn't pass muster either. It's absurb, I know. Two years ago Lunkina wasn't cast as Aurora until Lobsanova's injury forced Kain's hand.
  13. Greta Hodgkinson, the original Odette-Odile in Kudelka's ghastly production, had said during the previous run that it would be her last. Likewise, I think for Sonia Rodriguez the moment has passed. Xiao Nan Yu lost her (hulking) partner to An American in Paris, and no hired gun from ABT is available because its season is running simultaneously. A gala one-off is not the same as a week-and-a-half run of an idiosyncratic production, and so it seems possible that Yu may never dance the ballet again either. Sadly, Jurgita Dronina, like Jillian Vanstone before her, seems to have fallen victim to perceptions about being "not right" for the part. (I think the company is wrong on both counts.) That leaves Elena Lobsanova as a real mystery. I'm insufficiently familiar with her technical skill set, so I don't know whether her fouettes are too feeble for Odile, for example. Or maybe she doesn't want to dance the part. Who knows: maybe Ebe and James would rather be dancing Benno, too. It would involve less partnering, which may be a consideration if a dancer is battling a back injury, although given that James is preparing Stanley Kowalski at the same time, it's safe to assume he's up for heavy-duty partnering. Fischer would be considered "right" according to contemporary orthodoxy, and Saye is the obvious person to partner her. I have enjoyed Hawes in the small parts I've seen her dance, and she's having a lot of big debuts this season. A year ago Gerty was among the male corps members who danced the peasant pas in Giselle, although at the time I thought only Laurynas Vejalis had been successful in the assignment. But a year is a long time in the life of a young dancer, and perhaps he's made great strides. Frankly, I don't think any of the company's first soloists is principal material, so in that sense I'm not surprised Karen Kain is looking further down the roster for princesses and princes. But surely the schedule could have been jiggled to fit in another cast (or two), rather than giving the opening-night crew four performances, which would be pretty exhausting over a ten-day stretch. It turns out that for Hodgkinson, Lobsanova and Yu, the gala will be their only big assignment of June, which hardly seems satisfactory.
  14. Here's what Sara Mearns thinks of Burke's piece.
  15. Casting for Swan Lake Honestly, the company is beginning to resemble the POB in how few of its principals are dancing Odette-Odile and Siegfried. (Well, at least they're not casting principals as the Wench any longer. Back in 1999 watching Martine Lamy being subjected to simulated gang rape was perhaps the greatest outrage of a generally loathsome production. My sympathies to the soloists who will be doing the role.) Odette / Odile Heather Ogden (June 15, 22, 24 at 7:30 pm and June 18 at 2:00 pm) Hannah Fischer* (June 16 at 7:30 pm and June 24 at 2:00 pm) Emma Hawes* (June 17 at 2:00 pm and June 23 at 7:30 pm) Svetlana Lunkina (June 17, 21 at 7:30 pm and June 25 at 2:00 pm) Siegfried Guillaume Côté (June 15, 22, 24 at 7:30 pm and June 18 at 2:00 pm) Brendan Saye* (June 16 at 7:30 pm and June 24 at 2:00 pm) Christopher Gerty* (June 17 at 2:00 pm and June 23 at 7:30 pm) Evan McKie (June 17, 21 at 7:30 pm and June 25 at 2:00 pm) Rothbart Piotr Stanczyk (June 15, 22, 24 at 7:30 pm and June 18 at 2:00 pm) Ethan Watts* (June 16 at 7:30 pm and June 24 at 2:00 pm) Ben Rudisin* (June 17 at 2:00 pm and June 23 at 7:30 pm) Jonathan Renna (June 17, 21 at 7:30 pm and June 25 at 2:00 pm) Benno Naoya Ebe (June 15, 22, 24 at 7:30 pm and June 18 at 2:00 pm) Trygve Cumpston (June 16 at 7:30 pm and June 24 at 2:00 pm) Jack Bertinshaw (June 17 at 2:00 pm and June 23 at 7:30 pm) Harrison James (June 17, 21 at 7:30 pm and June 25 at 2:00 pm) Fool Robert Stephen (June 15, 22, 24 at 7:30 pm and June 18 at 2:00 pm) Kota Sato (June 16 at 7:30 pm and June 24 at 2:00 pm) Francesco Gabriele Frola (June 17 at 2:00 pm and June 23 at 7:30 pm) Dylan Tedaldi (June 17, 21 at 7:30 pm and June 25 at 2:00 pm) Wench Tanya Howard (June 15, 22, 24 at 7:30 pm and June 18 at 2:00 pm) Jenna Savella (June 16, 17, 21 at 7:30 pm and June 25 at 2:00 pm) Jordana Daumec (June 17, 24 at 2:00 pm and June 23 at 7:30 pm) * Debut http://national.ballet.ca/Productions/2016-17-Season/Swan-Lake
  16. Hello, Canadian! I hope you'll jump right into the National Ballet of Canada forum. http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/forum/64-national-ballet-of-canada/
  17. Repertoire for the Mad Hot Ballet gala on June 6 SurgeChoreography by Robert BinetPerformed by Students from Canada’s National Ballet School TarantellaChoreography by George Balanchine Performed by Sonia Rodriguez and Skylar CampbellWorld PremiereThe Sea Above, The Sky BelowChoreography by Robert BinetCostume Design by Erdem MoraliogluPerformed by Xiao Nan Yu, Harrison James and Félix Paquet Pas de Deux from CoppéliaChoreography after Arthur Saint-LéonPerformed by Elena Lobsanova and Naoya EbeNuagesChoreography by Jiří KyliánPerformed by Greta Hodgkinson and Marcelo Gomes, Guest Artist and Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theatre Pas de Deux from Le CorsaireChoreography by Marius PetipaPerformed by Jurgita Dronina and Francesco Gabriele Frola http://national.ballet.ca/Gala-Content/Repertoire
  18. Thank you. That makes sense.
  19. Casts for John Neumeier's A Streetcar Named Desire Blanche DuBois Sonia Rodriguez (June 3, 7, 8 and 10 @ 7:30 pm) Svetlana Lunkina (June 4 and 10 @ 2:00 pm) Jurgita Dronina (June 8 @ 2:00 pm and June 9 @ 7:30 pm) Stella Jillian Vanstone (June 3, 7, 8 and 10 @ 7:30 pm) Chelsy Meiss (June 4 and 10 @ 2:00 pm) Emma Hawes (June 8 @ 2:00 pm and June 9 @ 7:30 pm) Stanley Guillaume Côté (June 3, 7, 8 and 10 @ 7:30 pm) Piotr Stanczyk (June 4 and 10 @ 2:00 pm) Harrison James (June 8 @ 2:00 pm and June 9 @ 7:30 pm) Mitch Evan McKie (June 3, 7, 8 and 10 @ 7:30 pm) Donald Thom (June 4 and 10 @ 2:00 pm) Jack Bertinshaw (June 8 @ 2:00 pm and June 9 @ 7:30 pm) http://national.ballet.ca/Productions/2016-17-Season/Streetcar-Named-Desire
  20. I am a little surprised that Neumeier should have chosen Letestu to rehearse these ballets, as she never danced in Song of the Earth. Neumeier created it for the Paris Opera Ballet, but after Letestu had retired from performing. Had she acted as an assistant during its creation?
  21. At the moment a smattering of returned tickets for the program are for sale on the ROH site, including a handful of prime orchestra seats for the ex-Polunin performances. Yanowsky's final performances are still solidly sold out.
  22. The company has just announced that Polunin won't be performing after all. http://www.roh.org.uk/news/cast-change-marguerite-and-armand-on-5-and-10-june-2017
  23. Have you checked the authorized ticket vendors listed on the ROH site? I once resorted to them in desperation. www.roh.org.uk/visit/tickets#authorized-ticket-vendors These tend to be more expensive than what the ROH box office offers, and pickings can be slim, but the UK version of Ticketmaster seems to have some Amphitheatre seats for June 8, and these tickets are legit.
  24. Yes, in the theater world women are the majority only among stage managers and costumes designers (and, oh yeah, the audience), so having women designing costumes is really very conventional.