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Othello on PBS

35 posts in this topic

Off-topic, but. . .

Steve! You came by for a visit! Hey Steve!

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I caught part of this on PBS Wed. (competing with Cunningham and Juilliard, at the same time but different PBS channels - is Wed. Culture Night on PBS?) It is a very effective theatrical piece, but - and I've been waiting a long time for the opportunity to say this - Othello, and Lar's story ballets in general, seem "all story and no ballet" to me. His mad gesticulations drive me mad, too.

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I did watch the tape again. As compelling as the principals are to watch, with the exception of Maynard Parrish, I always felt I was watching them play the role. I never forgot I was watching Mr. Richardson the dancer or Ms. Tan the dancer, play the role. Did these people ever love each other? I understand that this flaw my not reflect the dancers' abilities (rehearsal time, direction, choreography, etc. all play a part...), however, the result is almost a caricature. I believe that Mr. Parrish also managed another small, but crucial detail... his character showed some age ! Time passes and the other principals are still as athletic and supple in movement. There is no more 'weight' to their steps. Yes, it is hard to ask dancers, so beautifully in their prime to relinquish those qualities for the sake of the storyline, but isn't that the point?

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I am with the 'negatives', I saw it live with ABT a couple of years ago. It is because of my experience with this ballet, and later 'Pied Piper' that I did not rush into seeing "Herfeafter" this season. (Once bitten, twice shy?) A wise decision, from what I have r ead on this Board. I was happy for the opportunity to see Yuan Tan, a much different interpretation from Sandra(?) Brown of ABT. Tan was very 'Juliet-like girlish', whereas Brown had a more mature interpretation. I liked them both---but the ballet was not worthy of their talents.

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I too watched this "Othello" on PBS and have also seen this ballet live with the same cast (althought, Yuri played the lead role in the stage viewing). I agree with much of Leigh's review. However, when I remember this ballet, I see Parish Maynard. His characterization is so amazing and his dancing is brilliant as Iago. Parish is a brilliant artist and will be deeply missed. He retired this year and I am glad that there will be a lasting record of his amazing artistry. I have never seen Desmond Richardson before and thought his performances was 'lighter' in character than Yuri's but notheless, a beautiful dancer in his own right.

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It was so beautiful, as far as bloody tragedies go that is. I absolutely love Yuan Yuan Tan! Her feet are gorgeous and her legs just go on and on for miles! And she contrasted well with Desmond Richardson, I thought. He's very built and she's so wispy and delicate.

For those who hated the music, just bear in mind that Othello is a very dark story full of jealosy, revenge, plotting, murder, and all the gore that goes with a good Shakespearean tragedy. So it makes sense that it sounds like horror movie music.

I don't get out to many live ballets, since I live in a rural area, so thank God for PBS, right? And my brother, too. I was at freshman orientation at ECU, so he taped it for me.

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Thanks, socalgal, for your post (and you too, Mike and Arak).

Cabriole, I think you're right about a certain undercharacterization in the pas de deux, but I suspect the fault, dear Lar, lies not in our stars. :)

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Maybe through Ms. Leigh's experienced ears the Othello score by Elliot Golbenthal's is horrible :eek:, but to me it is everything that ballet music should be. The score was larger-than-life and with exciting mixture of sound that created a wall of sound to compliment the choreograph. It's one of only few ballet music I can listen from start to finish without falling asleep. Othello has earned a permanent spot in my iPod.

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Thanks, Maxi3D, for forcefully expressing another view. I suspect that I may be unconsciously biased against the ballet, if only for so signally failing to live up to Shakespeare and Verdi. (Yes, I know, Lubovitch went back to Cinthio and not Messrs. S or V, but much as I try, comparisons are unavoidable.)

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I have to be honest. I really did not enjoy the music. Being a dancer, I tried to find some sort of beat to the music and wondered how the dancers knew when to start dancing. The music seemed to go on and on. Some of the music was easier to hear.

Typically, story ballets are done in classical ballet. I don't know how I feel about the the contemporary movement. It's just my opinion, but I feel like stories seem to be portrayed better through classical ballet.

The dancers were gorgeous! I particularly liked Parrish Maynard. Great job SFB!

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