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Abdallah


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#1 jorgen

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 04:23 AM

Here is the casting for the re-premiere of Bournonville's Abdallah:

Friday May 7
Abdallah: Thomas Lund
Irma: Gudrun Bojesen
Hassan: Gábor Baunoch
Palmyra: Gitte Lindstrøm

Saturday May 8
Abdallah: Morten Eggert
Irma: Amy Watson
Hassan: Asger Schlichtkrull
Palmyra: Haley Henderson

#2 jorgen

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 04:29 AM

About Abdallah from www.kgl-teater.dk

Flirting with the exotic
The story of the poor shoemaker Abdallah and the nimble Irma from Basra is a charming and magical tale about the invincible power of love. When presented with a magical five-branched candelabrum, which can make wishes come true, Abdallah is tempted by dreams of beautiful harem girls and ostentatious riches. But when Abdallah falls from the pinnacle of fortune, his beloved Irma forgives him for his sins nonetheless.

Jens-Jakob Worsaae’s golden oriental design is a delight to behold. Bournonvilles ballet from 1855 was revived by Bruce Marks, Toni Lander Marks and Flemming Ryberg after more than 100 years absence from the stage. The ballet was met with enthusiasm from both audience and press at the revival in Copenhagen in 1986.

Choreographer: August Bournonville
Composer: H.S. Paulli
Set designer: Jens-Jacob Worsaae
Staging: Sorella Englund, Flemming Ryberg and Bruce Marks

#3 aspirant

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Posted 15 May 2004 - 06:19 AM

Dated: yes. Out of date: maybe not!

I've got to go again to figure this one out. An interesting time to be doing this ballet, given the world events.

#4 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 May 2004 - 07:00 AM

Along that line, let me recall something attributed to Clive Barnes while he was both the theater and dance critic at The New York Times:

He had just returned to the office to write his review of a revival of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, when a city desk news-type inquired what he was doing. When Barnes told him, he asked, "Isn't that a little dated?"

Barnes replied, "Dated, yes. Like Mozart."

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 15 May 2004 - 08:50 AM

The DESIGNS were greeted with enthusiasm at the premiere, anyway.

I have to say, even by current standards, I am absolutely stunned by the casting. Irma is a demicaractere role (and Gudrun Bojesen is the least demicaractere young dancer in the company) and Palmyra is the classical role (Mette-Ida Kirk, Silja Schandorff).

Aspirant, re world events, I spoke with Flemming Ryberg about this ballet once in the early '90s and he said the company often invited Turkish school children (there's a large Turkish emigre population in Copenhagen) "so that they would see they have a place in our society too," or words to that effect. A very different attitude towards the American one, which would find the ballet not PC and probably try to keep Turkish children from seeing it, so as not to insult them. (I actually like the Danish attitude...)

#6 jorgen

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Posted 15 May 2004 - 03:30 PM

I enjoy Abdallah immensely. The story might not be the greatest, but still a very good excuse to show off a lot of wonderful dancing. I believe there is more virtuoso dancing in this ballet than usually found in Bournonville works. The second act is both spectacular and amusing. The first cast with Gudrun Bojesen, Thomas Lund and Gitte Lindstrom was outstanding. The second cast with Amy Watson, Morten Eggert and Haley Henderson was very fine too. Henderson impressed with her strong technique and high jumps.

#7 Effy

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 04:32 AM

I think Gudrun Bojesen is one of the best Irmas, we have ever seen. She is really the Gazelle of Bazra re. jumps and floor coverage Re. Thomas Lund, he dances fine, but he do not sell the role as well as Arne Villumsen nor Kølpin or Riggins coul do. Seing arne in the costumes was an added bonus to his superb dancing. Thomas Lund do not pocess the strong masculinity nor the light comic touch that other Abdallahs have brougt to the part. Gitte Lindström was a good Palmyra, without reaching the high level, we have seen in the part previously. The two solos for the princes was danced by Nicolai Hansen (who is probably our next local soloist with a strong technic, but less in styles and looks) and veteran Vincent von Webber, who still can outdance the younger guys, although he still looks scared on the stage. The girls in the last act Wei and Femke Mølbach Sloth was stylish and in the first act Diana Cuni matched Gudrun Bojesen in style and lightness and Cecilia Lassen did not. She is a beutiful girl to watch, but intricate Bournonville is clearly not her force.

Re. the type of the part. Irma is not a Demicaractere dancer. The first Danish Irma was Juliette Price, the creator of Eleonora and Hilda, so Bojesen is probably better casted than demicaracter-dancers like Heidi Ryom and Henriette Muus. What Irma needs and Bojesen delivers is the lightness and beautifull high jumbs. She is really a national treasure and the main reason to see Abdallah.

Abdallah is well designed, carefully reconstructed by people who really knows their Bournonville. Yet it is a bit boring, as the dancing and the drama never really comes together. But we must greatfull for what we get, including Kenneth Greve in a non-dancing role

#8 Alexandra

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 07:46 AM

I think the main reason that Abdallah is dull because it's a reconstruction. There wasn't a continuous performance tradition. So much of Abdallah reminds me of some of the reconstructions of fragments from the 1970s and '80s -- the steps might be there, but the dancing looks bare. I haven't seen "Abdallah" in a long time, though, and I will say that even by the 1992 Festival, the dancers were beginning to add character to it; it was like coming back to a new housing development after five years, when the trees had begun to grow and the place didn't look so barren. I don't count this as one of Bournonville's ballets, though.

On the employ question, my comment was based on discussions I've had with Bournonville stagers and older dancers that Irma is a comic role; by that, and by the class of the character, it's demicaractere (as is Eleanora). It's demi-classique, not coarse and not character, but demi. (That's by Hans Brenaa's way of casting, which I'll take over that of the current direction. But there are several viewpoints of employ and proper casting even among the Bournonville specialists.) I was told that the only truly "classique" ballerina roles (of ballets still in repertory) were the Sylph and Hilda (others had been Astrid in "Valdemar" and the ballerina roles in the mythological and historical ballets). But my main point was that I think the ballet needs a contrast between the two ballerinas, and if you're going to put Bojesen in as Irma, then you need someone other than Gitte Lindstrom as Palmyra. But I would be curious to see Irma well danced by a jumper :)

There are a lot of good mime roles in that ballet, and I've wondered how it would look without Tommy Frishoi and Niels Kehlet. Kehlet's part was tiny, but he made so much of it.

Edited by Alexandra, 19 May 2004 - 09:42 PM.


#9 Ari

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 10:10 AM

I haven't seen "Abdallah" in a long time, though, and I will say that even by the 1992 Festival, the dancers were beginning to add character to it

Abdallah wasn't part of the 1992 Bournonville Festival. The reason, if I remember correctly, was that it was so much a reconstruction that it couldn't really be said to be a Bournonville ballet, at least when put side by side with, say, A Folk Tale and Far From Denmark.

#10 Alexandra

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Posted 19 May 2004 - 10:31 AM

I think you might be thinking of "The Lay of Thrym" which wasn't presented in full in 1992 (because it had been a flop) but I'm sure "Abdallah" was. I agree it's more a reconstruction than a real Bournonville ballet!

#11 jorgen

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 12:57 PM

There is now a videotrailer of Abdallah on the Royal Theatre website (on in the Danish language section):

http://www.kgl-teater.dk/

#12 Drew

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 05:13 PM

Thanks for that link --


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