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Clavigo


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#1 koshka

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Posted 18 September 2003 - 08:20 PM

OK Alertniks, POB is doing Clavigo tonight in Athens, where I am at the moment.
Anybody know anything about this ballet? How hard should I try to go, given that I had my dose of avant garde for the year already?

#2 Mashinka

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 01:20 AM

Clavigo is a ballet by the veteran French choreographer Roland Petit. It is a love story set in the 18th century. This ballet proved very popular when it was premiered a couple of years ago and the reviews I read were very positive. Though I've not seen this ballet myself, I hope to see it when I'm in Paris next month and the Paris Opera Ballet is ALWAYS worth seeing regardless of what they are dancing.

One more thing Koshka, I take it this ballet is being performed at the Herod Atticus Theatre as part of the Athens festival, right? An evening at this beautiful Roman open-air theatre is an experience you will never forget and I very strongly recommend that you go to soak up the unique atmosphere. But beware! As the moon rises above the Hymettus Hills it's easy to become distracted and forget what is happening on stage. The dancers I'm told can also get distracted as their view will be the immortal Parthenon in all it's floodlit glory. I really envy you and will be thinking of you tonight.

#3 Estelle

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 01:22 AM

Well, I have only seen some bits of that ballet on video, so I can't be very informative about it... But from what I've read: the choreography is by Roland Petit (whom I wouldn't really call "avant-garde"- well, perhaps he was considered as such when he started choreographing in 1944 :wink: but in general his choreographies use the classical vocabulary and the plots of his ballets are quite easy to follow, he's especially good at creating strong characters), and the plot is inspired by a play by Goethe, after a true story which happened to Beaumarchais (author of "The Barber of Seville" and "The wedding of Figaro") whose sister had been seduced by a Spaniard, José Clavijo y Fajardo. In this story, a young woman, Marie, falls in love with a debauched man, Clavigo, and gets more or less mad (reminds you of something? ;) ) when Clavigo abandons her; also there's another character, Carlos, who is Clavigo's evil henchman.

From the excerpts I saw on video, I found the sets a bit too greyish for my taste, on the other hand I was happily surprised by Gabriel Yared's music (created especially for the ballet- I've often be disappointed by ballet scores by contemporary musicians). I don't know which cast will dance in Athens, but the original cast was Nicolas Le Riche (clearly one of Petit's favorite dancers) as Clavigo, and Clairemarie Osta (who happens to be his wife in real life) as Marie, there also was a nice role for Marie-Agnès Gillot as l'Etrangère.

Here's a review about it in French (with two photographs):
http://www.imagidans...02/Clavigo.html

a preview in English:
http://parisvoice.co.../html/dance.cfm

a review in English:
http://www.danceinsi...02/f0123_2.html

Well, if you finally decide to see it, I'm looking forward to reading your review here! :)

Edited to add: Mashinka, we posted at the same time. Your depiction of the Herod Atticus Theatre really makes me hope to be able to see it someday, what a lovely place it seems to be! :thumbsup:

#4 koshka

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 05:40 AM

Thanks for the input. I have never seen POB, and the setting is indeed the ancient theater just down the hill from the Acropolis. The setting is indeed amazing (don't know what the sets will be like...) I just went by the office and apparently I just have to go try for last-minute tickets...

k

#5 Estelle

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 05:53 AM

Well, I hope that you can get last-minute tickets- and that you'll tell us what you've seen! :wink:

#6 koshka

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 08:25 AM

...more of the blow-by-blow

I got a ticket--front row, on the side, 60 euros.

You convinced me that I really must go just to see the setting and POB--to heck with whether Clavigo turns out to be my cup of tea.

I must be looking poor or stupid or something, because the ticket seller somehow thought she had to make extra sure I knew the price was s-i-x-t-y euros. I told her that sometimes it hurts a little to pay for ballet tickets. :-)

Of course, what was killing me was that I could hear the warmup class music coming out of the theater. I almost abandoned all pride whatsoever to beg the French-speaking people hanging around outside to get me in there to watch. <Sigh>

I will try to take notes & update tomorrow or possibly Sunday.

#7 Mashinka

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 08:43 AM

You should have asked! They might have let you in. I once watched the great Marina Semenova conduct a warm-up class there when I saw the Bolshoi some years back, courtesy of a friendly dancer. By the way, if you're up to a spot of climbing, try going up the hill towards the Parthenon, around the back of the theatre and you can watch over the wall at the back. It's a long way down but fun.

#8 koshka

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Posted 20 September 2003 - 02:12 AM

OK, so I went, and it was great. It was even better to find out that the Herodus Atticus theater is only open during performances.

Mashinka, next time I will grovel. :-)

Anyway, the ballet was lovely although I really should have read a plot summary before going--it was rather hard to follow. Fortunately (as is often the case in ballet) it was possible to enjoy the ballet without understanding the plot.

I agree with everything in the review linked by Estelle, and the principal casting was the same.

The only thing I have to add is that I thought the ladies' first act costumes were really unflattering. They were too unconstructed or something, and they just didn't flatter--the corps looked kind of dumpy.

I can also report that the Greeks have yet to master the fine art of price gouging on food for captive audiences. A baguette with ham and cheese and a bottle of water was 3 euros.

#9 Estelle

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Posted 20 September 2003 - 02:28 AM

koshka, I'm glad you enjoyed it :) Is it the only program shown by the POB in Athens?
And what kind of sets did they use (I've no idea if the original sets are suitable for
an outdoors performence...)? Who danced Marie's brother?

About food prices: shhh, don't give the Greeks bad ideas! :shhh:

#10 koshka

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 02:56 AM

As far as I could tell, POB did only 2 performances in Athens, both Clavigo.

For sets, they had some furniture-type pieces (chairs, bed, table) but nothing else.
According to the review you linked, Clavigo descends like a spider during the dream scene--obviously this did not happen.

I discarded my program before leaving Athens, so I don't know who danced the role of the brother. But I would not be surprised if it was the same guy who danced it in the performance seen by the reviewer.

#11 Estelle

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 05:36 AM

koshka: it seems that, as they had to perform outdoors, they had to adapt the sets...
I do remember seeing that spider-moment in the video, it was quite striking- but surely
not possible to stage outdoors...
Was the dancer who danced the role of the brother blond-haired? If yes, it's likely to be Karl Paquette (not exactly the reviewer's favorite dancer, and actually not really mine either :grinning: )

#12 koshka

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 06:19 AM

Indeed, the ancient theater is not exactly suited for installation of the gear needed for Flying by Foy. :-)

One of the lead dudes (not Clavigo, one of the other 2) was indeed blond, but since there was no plot summary in the program and I didn't read up before going, I'm not sure if the blond dancer was the friend or the brother...

Haha--one of the reasons I like ballet is that keeping track of the plot is not essential for enjoying the performance.


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