Would a RAVE review make you see a ballet?
Posted 14 February 2004 - 08:37 PM
Just a theory deduced by remembering a not-too-long ago clunker (unanimous by the word-of-mouth I got, anyway) that was greeted by positive-to-tepid press reports. Not raves, but certainly not pans. It was my aforementioned spies, not the critics, who warned me that it wasn't even a good trainwreck.
Posted 14 February 2004 - 09:32 PM
Posted 14 February 2004 - 10:27 PM
The real problem was that the music couldn't stand up to that much attention, and hte whole experience seemed woozy at the time and still does.... But the drug-overdose super-star meltdown (to "Purple Rain," wasn't it?) is an image i will never forget, it crystallized something very true of those times.... a kind of dance journalism....
Posted 15 February 2004 - 04:58 AM
Posted 15 February 2004 - 10:10 AM
The NY critics hardly speak to each other. I remember riding the Gray Bus with a press group from NYC to see the Blue Train (Nijinska's ballet danced by Oakland) up in Connecticut. I almost wrote a short story about the experience, going and returning. There were very few hellos as people boarded the bus and walked down the aisle. The "major" critics existed in different universes, seemingly unaware of each other. Each one sat in a different section of the bus. Yes, they were surrounded by coteries, the "minor" critics, and there was conversation within each group but not between groups. Go to any DCA meeting, usually held in NYC. Who doesn't show up? The "major" NY critics.
Balanchine's Don Q is an imperfect masterpiece. It was changed at almost every performance, far more so than the usual adjustments Balanchine liked to make and that his viewers either loved or hated. It was never finished. I happened to sit behind its composer, Nabokov, at its last performance. At one point he turned to his wife and whispered that now he knew what changes he must make. Unfortunately, he died not long after. I suspect the choreographer's decision to retire the ballet had more to do with his own dissatisfaction with the music than with pressure from the critics. And which critics? I don't remember devastating reviews. There are things in that ballet that are sublime, lots of things. Mainly what isn't sublime is Act 1, before the Don appears. That's because there is no moral point of view, just local color.
I look forward to Don Q's announced revival by the combined forces of the Bolshoi and Suzanne Farrell companies, and would travel even to Moscow to see it.
Posted 15 February 2004 - 10:29 AM
Anyway, if our mini-polls are any judge, fans don't go to see a ballet based on reviews, or at least a pan (how did this get on the rave thread?) won't drive them away.
As for raves bringing in viewers, I can think of two instances in Washington where a company could not have had more favorable press coverage and it had no effect. The first was of Mark Morris, in his early days. Huge preview piece in the Post, rave-rave-rave review of opening night. Result = empty seats. It took a few years for Morris to have enough of a following to fill the house. Also, Bournonville. Every DC critic has written "you've got to see this, there's nothing like it!" pieces about Bournonville, since at least 1976, when I first read them. Kriegsman's review of the 1982 tour were the best reviews the company ever got overseas -- best, not only in the sense of unmitigated raves, but that they are beautifully written pieces that explain the repertory and the aesthetic. Washington dancegoers, after 30 years of propaganda, still do not like Bournonville. Not one bit. (Of course, some do, but generally, from lack of applause and overheard intermission comments, there's not enough dancing and they're too old-fashioned.)
Posted 15 February 2004 - 11:03 AM
I'm more likely to check past (or present) BalletTalk posts if I'm going to see a nationally known company - with thanks to Alexandra for the resource.
Posted 15 February 2004 - 12:09 PM
I don't know what is being talked about. What is the dance, who is the piper, and who are the critics being discussed here? How did they "collude?"Very close! If Mel is talking about what I think he is, said critics, like a colony of rats, followed the tune of the piper.
What did they do, hire a cat herder to get them into the same room, a caterer to feed them so they'd stay there, someone with a whip to get them all to stop bickering, and someone with a gun to get them to agree to agree? I'm really sorry I missed that....
Posted 15 February 2004 - 04:26 PM
Posted 15 February 2004 - 05:09 PM
Nanatchka, I thought (mistakenly) that Mel meant ABT's recent disaster, the Pied Piper. I was trying to make wordplay of it. :shrug:
I don't know what is being talked about. What is the dance, who is the piper, and who are the critics being discussed here? How did they "collude?"
Posted 16 February 2004 - 01:42 PM
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