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Estelle

3rd Bournonville Festival (June 2005)

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(If it has already been posted in another thread, please feel free to delete this post.)

The program for the 2005 Bournonville Festival of the RDB is available on that page:

http://www.kgl-teater.dk/dkt2002/bournonvi...valen/frame.htm

or

http://www.bournonvillefestival.com/

(Edited to add the following:)

It will include:

"La Ventana" (staged by Frank Andersen)

"Kermess in Bruges" (staged by Lloyd Riggins)

"Napoli" (staged by Frank Andersen, Eva Kloborg, Anne Marie Vessel Schlüter, Dinna Bjørn and Thomas Lund)

"La Sylphide" (staged by Nikolaj Hubbe)

"Abdallah" (staged by Sorella Englund, Flemming Ryberg and Bruce Marks)

"Le Conservatoire" (staged by Dinna Bjørn and Eva Kloborg)

"Far from Denmark" (staged by Flemming Ryberg)

"The King's Volunteers on Amager" (staged by Anne Marie Vessel Schlüter)

"A Folk Tale" (staged by Anne Marie Vessel Schlüter and Frank Andersen)

and a gala "Bournonvilleana"

All work wil be performed only once, except "La Ventana" and "La Sylphide" (twice each).

Alexandra and other RDB specialists, what do you think of it?

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The selection looks great! And the idea to record the Schools for DVD is a good idea whose time has definitely come.

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The selection is all the extant Bournonville ballets, which have been done at all the festivals (except Andersen dropped La Ventana in 1992). It's the productions that are troublesome. It will be interesting to see what Riggins does with "Kermesse in Bruges." He's got good instincts; the problem is he didn't work much at all with Brenaa. Brenaa was ill when Riggins came to the company. Hubbe's "La Sylphide" is wonderful. The rest are the same stagings and stagers who've had a lock on Bournonville since 1990, and they're not very good. "Napoli" was a mess here a month ago, and the senior mime who held the thing together just retired.

Some of these ballets -- the "little" ones that so many of the Danes scorn (Lifeguards and Far From Denmark) have been out of repertory for 13 years and were only in repertory for a very brief time then; they haven't been part of the company's life since 1985.

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Thanks for your comments, Alexandra. Were there some protests when "La Ventana" was dropped in the previous festival?

It doesn't seem very logical to revive some works for one performance only after 13 years- that's a lot of work for the dancers for only one evening, and they don't get any opportunity to get used to the roles... :)

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I think there were questions about why "La Ventana" wasn't done, but not protests. The "mirror dance" and the pas de trois were done at the closing night's gala, but not the full version.

I'm sure that these ballets will be revived next season for a few performances before the Festival, so it won't be just one performance, but they're not part of the repertory. One thing I am glad about is that in 2000, at the Bournonville Week, I spoke with one of the members of the management team, who said that they were considering using a director from the Royal Theatre's drama division to "fix" "The King's Volunteers on Amager." (An absolutely perfect ballet that does not need enhancement, IMO.) There's no sign of this, so perhaps they learned from the "Kermesse" disaster in 2000, when a director was brought in, as well as a new "interpretation" of the score that there are some things that need to be left alone.

The same productions of Folk Tale and Napoli, staged by the same people, were presented at that Bournonville Week, and they were not well-received. There were grumbles that "the Bournonville Gang" -- Frank Andersen, Dinna Bjorn, Anne Marie Vessel Schluter, Eva Kloborg -- had had the repertory for the past decade and it was time for a new team.

The good part about these stagings, from my point of view, is that they are accurate as far as text goes -- they don't set "Napoli" in Milwaukee in 1920, say, and the steps are there. The problems lie in directing and, especially, casting. There seems to be an "if we put everybody in a role, surely one of them will be right!" way of doing things. I don't think these stagings make a good case for Bournonville, and although it's wonderful to have a festival celebrating his life and work, if the result is that the audience (not the foreign critics, at whom the festival is all too obviously pitched) is confirmed in its perception that Bournonville is hopelessly old-fashioned, overly cute and of interest only to American tourists and children, then I think the results are not what the planners hope for and intend.

Of course, there are some wonderful Danish dancers who are well worth seeing, and the "La Sylphide" is at the same level as the best productions of that ballet. The dancers I interviewed all said they were inspired by working with Hubbe, and what they learned from working with him may carry over into other ballets. As always, I live in hope :) During the Revolving Door period, when there was a different artistic director and aesthetic nearly every season, I'd get calls from friends from time to time, when a ballet that the dancers really cared about was on, saying "you could tell that the dancers were fighting for it" -- i.e., fighting to make it work, kind of, I imagined, like pilots trying to land planes in moutainous terrain on a moonless night. I hope the dancers will fight for Bournonville.

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Today I received my tickets for the festival and suddenly June 2005 doesn't feel so distant!

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I was hoping to hear a Danish (or regular RDB viewer) voice! Effy??? What's the take on this over there?

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Tim Rushton and NDDT will also present their new Napoli for the festival, I believe, which will be an interesting (and brave) contrast to so much tradition that typically hasn't done well with major changes.

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Sorry, Have been travelling and not online. My take on the repetoire is that the selectionis fair, but much will depend on whether the company can top the billing. At the recent US tour they did not and we may expect Frank Andersen will resort to his usual casting practises. I used to say last time Frank was around that he get everything right - by the third try. But fair must be fair. the illustrious 1979 Bournonville Festival had some strange castings as well. Very little Ib Andersen, which could easily have been done by letting him dance or act rather Far from Denmark istead of his alternate cast Tommy Frishøj who was about 40 and no longer totally convincing as the young sea cadet.

Last time Ventana was drooped probably due to the fact that it contains two very difficult male parts, which was hard to cast. For this years festival a good cast could be:

The Senor Mads Blangstrup

The Senorita Gitte Lindström

Pas de trois Thomas Lund, Gudrun Bojesen, Sacha Haugland

Kermes in Brügge

Carelis Thomas Lund

Eleonora Gudrun Bojesen

Marchen Christina Olsson

Johanna Diana Cuni

Geert Peter Bo Bendixen

Adrian Niels Balle

Mme Van Everdingen Rose Gad (she would be great in that part)

Pas de deux Kenneth Greve Silja Schandorff

Napoli

Gennaro Mads Blangstrup

Teresina Gitte Lindström

La Sylphide Mads Blangstrup/Kenneth Greve

Gudrun Bohesen/Silja Schandorff

Abdallah

Abdallah Thomas Lund/Kristoffer Sakurai

Irma Gudrun Bojesen/Tina Højlund

Palmyra Caroline Cavallo/Silja Schandorff

La Conservatoire

Thomas Lund

Caroline Cavallo

Sascha Haugland

Far from Denmark

Vilhelm Mads Blangstrup

Rosita Gitte Lindstrøm

Alvares Kristoffer Sakurai

Poul Diana Cuni

Edward Femke Mølbak Sloth

The kings Volunteers

Eduard Kenneth Greve

Louise Silja Schandorff

Pas de trois Amy Watson, Femke Mølbach Sloth, Thomas Lund

Farm girls Tina Højlund

Diana Cuni

A Folks tale

Hilda Gudrun Bojesen

Ove Mads Blangstrup

Birthe Gitte Lindstöm

It shows from my casting suggestion that few of the foreignborn dancers can really do justice to Bournonville and that few dancers can act. Yes I rely much on Mads langstrup and Gudrun Bojsen, but thaat must bethe case as they are the most "Danish" dancers in style and ability. They both have a certain reminicence of the fifties style in their dancing.

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Effy, your casting list looks very good. Please fax a copy to Frank A. :-)

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In my opinion, Tina Hojlund is the most successful Birthe at the RDB today. She recently described this role to E. Aschengreen and the Balletens Vennter as 'therapy'. It would be a shame not to cast her for the world to see next year.

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I have not seen Tina Højlund yet, but I am a great fan and I hope she will get significant parts during the festival. My casting suggestions was probably a bit influenced by getting the balance right between the principal dancers, which she undervedly is not. As both Olsson an Gad are on their second maternity leave and both are getting closer if not close to the retirement age it would be fair to appoint her and appoint a few younger soloist as well

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