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Treefrog

Teasing apart the artistic elements

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Some folks like to follow the Richard Wagner concept of the gesamtkunstwerk, or work of total art, which he first championed in an 1849 essay. In it, the total reality of the theater is transformed by the spectacle on the stage. Later gesamtkunstwerkers like Max Reinhardt would redesign the entire interior of the auditiorium to fit with the production. That might be tough to do with a three-bill ballet program. I guess I may be in the total art camp, somewhat, as I often ask, "Is this a unified, balanced program, between choreography, music, decor, and ambience?" If I can at least get a preliminary "yes" to this question at the outset of a ballet, I can get on to more detailed examination of what's going on. If it's "no", then I may dwell on what doesn't work for the rest of the evening.

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