RDB in Washington -- Napoli
Posted 14 January 2004 - 10:12 AM
Half-price tickets are on sale at ticketplace -- Ari has been posting this in the News forum. Good seats for $41, which is a real bargain.
If you've never seen "Napoli" I'd recommend it; there are very few ballets like this around anymore. It's a hard sell iin D.C.; few people have heard of the ballet, and Bournonville, despite "good press" from every local critic for the past 30 years, is not an audience draw. But like it or not, it's still something to see.
I'll be very curious to read reports
Posted 14 January 2004 - 04:21 PM
Posted 14 January 2004 - 06:19 PM
Posted 14 January 2004 - 08:05 PM
Posted 14 January 2004 - 10:53 PM
Posted 15 January 2004 - 09:08 AM
I have to agree with practically everything written by others, above. Although the presentation was not nearly a magnificent as what I recall from the mid-1980s shows here (also at the Kenn Cen), the latest version is fine enough, particularly Acts I and III. I adored the character performances, especially Flemming Ryberg as the wide-eyed Beppo -- the town gossip. [He is to the RDB what Vladimir Ponomaryev is to the Kirov, IMO!] Other favorites included tall & dark-haired Kristoffer Sakurai in Act I Ballabile group and leading the Act III Tarantella; the expressiveness and below-the-waist dancing of the leading ballerina, Caroline Cavallo, as Teresina; Kirsten Simone's character acting as Teresina's mom, Veronica; Thomas Lund's generous & light solo in Act III (triple 'wow' there!); Diana Cuni's 'kissing solo' in Act III; and the silken manner in which tall & gorgeous Silja Schandorff performed her brisk Act III solo.
On the other hand, there were problems a-plenty with this relatively-new (two-yr) production of Napoli:
ACT II - a pox on the Goon Platoon that took it upon themselves to wipe away 95% of August Bournonville's choreography for this act & replace it with some Balanchine-goes-amateurish choreography. Even the tutus of the Nereids, which used to be very 19th-century in style, have been replaced with late-20th-C chemises a-la Ballo Della Regina. And whose bright idea was it to make the Sea Monster Golfo the most handsome hunk in humanity? (Peter Bo Bendixen, last night.) In the past, Golfo wore a grotesque mask (or make-up); last night, were I Teresina, I would have dumped Gennaro for Golfo!! I don't think that Bournonville planned such a reaction.
The Act III Pas de Six - with the exception of the great solos noted above, this was a shadow of the softness & gentility fo the 1980s (& prior) version. Having attended Lund's Bournonville-Style Master Class earlier in the day, I knew that one of the tricks to performing this style correctly is to hold the arms down by the side in a certain manner, not moving them while leaping...there was lots of movement & effort among the Pas de Six dancers last night.
The six girls in the Act I Ballabile were all over the place, too; for example, the segment during which the six girls are next to each other in a straight line (holding each others' waists) was synchronized but contained a lot of bopping up & down. The 1980s corps, I recall very well, was smooth as butter. Besides, in the 1980s, six girls of equal height were selected for this piece; the 2004 girls are of disparate heights.
It was a joy to see this 19th-C treasure in its entirely, so I'll stop my complaints. Any bad feeling was dissipated when I watched the merriment of the final march (gallop) around the stage by all cast members. Most audience members, myself included, left the auditorium with smiles.
- Jeannie Szoradi-Nabatov
Posted 15 January 2004 - 10:55 AM
Victoria Leigh, on Jan 15 2004, 12:05 AM, said:
Posted 15 January 2004 - 11:22 AM
Saturday matinee is Gudrun Bojesen and Thomas Lund (with Lis Jeppesen as Madge).
There will be a different Effy (Amy Watson), Gurn (Morten Eggert) and Madge (ette Buchwald).
Posted 15 January 2004 - 11:39 AM
Posted 15 January 2004 - 12:14 PM
nysusan, on Jan 15 2004, 07:39 PM, said:
Posted 15 January 2004 - 12:57 PM
hockeyfan228, on Jan 15 2004, 04:14 PM, said:
Hockeyfan, it's kind of funny cause his screen name is very similar to yours - are you guys ganging up to try to trick me into chasing a fantasy over my nice, happy bourgeois existance?
But seriously, everyone I know thinks I'm insane for going to see 4 performances in a row of the same ballet, which I often do. I think most of the posters here share my enthusiasm, but I realize that most of the ballet going world is more in tune with my husband's point of view. And he's such good company that I will have to make do with just 2 performances of La Sylphide if he prefers to spend Saturday afternoon at the Smithsonian.
Hopefully the RDB will come to NY soon and then I will go to as many performances as I can! :jump:
Posted 15 January 2004 - 01:11 PM
Posted 15 January 2004 - 01:12 PM
Reviews of the Royal Danish Ballet at the Kennedy Center:
What is different about "Napoli," Danish choreographer August Bournonville's tale of lovers and water nymphs, is that the folk doing the dancing are the same ones doing the fabulous virtuosic turns, who are also the same ones milling around the Naples marketplace toting buckets and sampling sausages. Unlike in other ballets, here the native dance is not a separate interlude performed by a contingent in boots.
The dancing, by contrast, is not at full strength when compared with the level seen 10 years ago. It is not only technique that has to be executed differently than in other repertories: niceties of style must be maintained. There were no faux pas, but the power of projection in the dancing, as opposed to the acting, was often missing in this first of several casts.
Posted 15 January 2004 - 01:33 PM
Posted 15 January 2004 - 08:31 PM
I don't recall the details of the earlier production well enough to do a point-by-point comparison, but one obvious difference here was the second act. This has always been the ballet's weak spot — famously, balletomanes in Copenhagen used to while away the time in a local bar. I don't know what Bournonville actually choreographed, but he was in the difficult position of having to make the Blue Grotto look unpleasant without alienating or boring the audience. Apparently he didn't succeed. Modern restagers are in an even more difficult position, because audiences have been trained by Petipa into seeing a supernatural atmosphere with a corps of girls and thinking, now comes the good part! But the eroticism Petipa brought to these scenes is alien to Bournonville's esthetic. Whoever choreographed this scene attempted a Petipa-style dream/vision/whatever scene (although the actual choreography, as Jeannie noted, is more Balanchine in style). But instead of being the artistic and emotional high point of the ballet, it has to be rejected in favor of the third act celebration. This would make it fall flat even if the choreography had been better. But it doesn't even work as mime: there's something unsatisfying about Golfo not being vanquished. He just kind of takes the attitude that, well, he lost out on Teresina but what the heck, he's got lots of others. But maybe that's a modern reaction, too, borne of too many Swan Lakes. Trouble is, we live in a post-Swan Lake world and can't go back.
Time to go back to my tape of the 1980s production. :shrug:
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