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Estelle

RDB Ballet Gala on Aug 21

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My husband and I will be spending a week-end in Copenhagen on Aug 19-22. I've seen

on the RDB web site that a gala was planned on Aug 21, however there is no information on its content; also some tickets princes appear on the Billet Net site but no tickets are available. I was wondering if some people here know more information about this gala- and especially whether the lack of available tickets mean that it's sold out, or if it is for another reason (e.g. no tickets sold online).

Also any advice of ballet-related tourism in Copenhagen would be welcome (and also tourism advice in general, but preferably by PM or e-mail because it'd be off-topic).

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According to "Billetnet" it's sold out. You could try calling/faxing the ticket office of the Royal Theatre when they open on August 1st.

The gala celebrates Bournonvilles's 200 years birthday, with guests from New York City Ballet, Royal Ballet, Bolshoi Balett, Paris Opera etc. I don't know any program details but Alina Cojocaru is supposed to come. Luckily I have tickets!

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Thanks for your reply, jorgen- and heartful thanks too the the people who emailed me or sent me PMs (I'll reply later) ! :P

Pity it's sold out- but not so surprising alas... :cool: I'll try to contact the ticket office when it reopens on Aug 1st.

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It turns out that the gala has been sold out for weeks. A few tickets will be sold on the day of the performance, but there will be only a handful of them, so I'm afraid the queue will be huge... :blush:

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Will this gala be telecast? There's a good chance that it will be, as the national TV regularly does live telecasts of such events. Just this year, we've seen at least two telecasts: the opening of the new opera house in Jan/Feb and the final night of the Bournonville Festival in early June.

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Bournonville Gala 2005

It lists Nina Ananiashvilli as performing, but she had stated previously that she'd canceled all of her performances in 2005. In fact, Alessandra Ferri had been scheduled to perform, (according to Julio Bocca's website), but apparently she has canceled due to her injury.

If anyone finds out any more information regarding program, dancers, and telecasts ( :) ) , please post! :)

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Here is the program for the gala "Tillykke, Bournonville!" on August 21.

Program:

Ouverture: Yrsa af Hartmann

Det Kongelige Kapel

Excerpts from the Bournonville schools

Det Kongelige Teaters Balletskole

Birthday gift from Wiener Staatsoper Ballett

Dancers: Franziska Hollinek and Mihail Sosnovschi

Balanchine: Duo Consertante

Dancers: Silja Schandorff (Den Kongelige Ballet) and Nikolaj Hübbe (New York City Ballet)

Petipa & Ivanov: Pas de Deux from Swan Lake

Dancers: Bolshoi Ballet: Nadezhda Gracheva and Andrei Ouvarov

Balanchine: Diamonds

Dancers: Pariser Opera: Marie Agnés Gillot and Jose Martinez

Neumeier: Pas de deux from Lady of Camelias

Dancers: Hamburg Ballett: Anna Polikarpova and Lloyd Riggins

Birthday gift from the Swedish Royal Ballet

Dancers: Marie Lindquist, Anders Nordstrøm and Pascal Jansson

MacMillan: Pas de deux from Manon

Dancers: American Ballet Theatre: Leanne Benjamin and Julio Bocca

Ripples

Dancers: National Ballet of China: Zhu Yan and Sun Jie

Ashton: Voices of Spring

Dancers: Royal Ballet: Alina Cojocaro and Johan Kobborg

Petipa: Le Cosaire

Dancers: American Ballet Theatre: Paloma Herrera and Gennadi Saveliev

Bournonville: Napoli, 3rd act

Den Kongelige Ballet

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Leanne Benjamin is with ABT now? :flowers:

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Getting a ticket to the gala proved to be a difficult thing, different sites said none was available others that there were. And when i finally sat in the audience, almost half the parterre was empty...

I learned that a big sponsor, who had many free tickets, pulled out at a very late stage which is why there was such a big confusion since the theatre suddenly had tickets to something that was sold out... Anyway

I had a wonderful evening.

The absolute high's were Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg in Voices of spring and Leanne Benjamin and Julio Bocca in Manon

I am becomming more and more a fan of Ashton and Macmillan, I feel that a good technique combined with their excellent sense of fluidity and humble brilliance in the pdd's is getting more and more exciting to watch.

The low's were Andrew Bowman in Corsaire and the Swedish contribution danced by Marie Lindquist, Anders Nordstrøm og Pascal Jansson. The dancers are not bad at all, but they seemed nervous and were not together several times. I saw the general where it was a lot more smooth. but the piece itself was one long preparation for pirouettes wheras the theme was an actual dinner between Jenny Lind, Bournonville and HC Andersen. An interesting subject but unfortunately we got no wiser at the and of the piece.

Andrew Bowman has a beautiful physique, but has only that to offer. I am aware that he was called in on a short notice and that he most have been terrified to stand next to Paloma Herrera. But she is a strong dancer and he should be able to partner her with much more ease. As for his variation i have a hard time understanding why he aims too high in the tricks when the fact is he doesnt have the jump to make them impressive. I wonder who coaches him...

As much as i am a fan of Nikolaj Hübbe i absolutely did not like the Duo Concertante. It is such an uneven and akward pdd. Silja Schandorff looked stunning as usual, but again with some real coaching she could shine even brighter. Even though i don't like the piece there is more to be found in the choreography than she managed. But bless them both, they are wonderful.

Marie Agnés Gillot and Jose Martinez in the pdd from Diamonds were perfect, so perfect that I almost wanted to see them do something completely different. Mats Ek's Carmen maybe?

Ripples danced by Zhu Yan and Sun Jie, was the most poetic moment of the whole evening.

Nadeja Gracheva and Andrei Ouvarov danced black swan pdd. The only comment i have is: was i dreaming or were we back in the 40ies. I had no clue people stil dances like that. They were both really good and strong, but on the whole it was sooo outdated

Lloyd Riggins found himself onstage with the most stunning creature Lucia Lacarra, she really impressed with her sense of style and frailty. Lloyd on the otherside has put on some weight since i saw him last, which made it sort of unlikely that she would ever fall in love with him. And dont give me the Neumeier analysis that its because it's true love... *S*

From Vienna with love, Franziska Hollinek and Mihail Sosnovschi. She was formerly in RDB and he is presently one of the most beautiful men to have danced on Gamle Scene, a pity the piece didn't show them off better.

During Napoli 3rd act, which was really, really danced well i kept on thinking that its a real shame that the danish mr B only created one ballet that is worthy to show at the end of an evening, because by now i think we all know the steps...

Most interesting thing was to see Kobborg, Hübbe, Bocca, Martinez, Sosnovschi and Gillot all dressed in Napoli costumes fooling around at the tables.

But an evening like this does put you on a high, and maybe i was seen dancing Napoli on my way home...

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Thank you for that, Mary! (I think Herr B did create more ballets that were worthy to show at the end of an evening, but they've disappeared :thumbsup: ) I love the idea of your dancing Napoli on the way home! If you see more performances in Copenhagen this coming season, I hope you'll tell us about them.

[Editing to add:] I forgot to ask -- I'd be very interested in knowing what you found outdated about the Bolshoi dancers? Style, technique, approach, all of the above, something else?

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Getting a ticket to the gala proved to be a difficult thing, different sites said none was available others that there were. And when i finally sat in the audience, almost half the parterre was empty...

I learned that a big sponsor, who had many free tickets, pulled out at a very late stage which is why there was such a big confusion since the theatre suddenly had tickets to something that was sold out... Anyway

Thanks for the explanation ! I finally managed to get a ticket too, though it took quite a lot of time (the queuing system was a bit difficult to understant for us non-Danish speaking tourists, so we queued from about 3 PM to 5 PM- were you queuing then too ? Perhaps we were both there at the same time...) As the gala started at 6 PM and ended at almost 10 PM, that was a lot of time at the Royal Theater :) But we were quite happy with our seats (a bit up, but in the center, and it was a good view, especially for "Napoli").

I have to say that in general I'm a not a fan of galas, especially as I find that often a lot of pas de deux or solos which are excerpts of a longer work lose much of their strength when presented alone (and sometimes it becomes a bit too "circus-like", let's count the fouettés, etc. And also all the recent galas at the Paris Opera were awfully expensive.) But as I had seen no ballet performance since last fall, I was eager to grasp any opportunity to see some ballet at last, and also seeing the theater (which reminded me a little of the of the Paris Opera, but with less red velvet) itself was a treat.

There were a few differences between the program posted by Jorgen and the printed program we were given: the printed program listed Galina Stepanenko instead of Nadejda Gracheva in the "Black Swan" pas de deux, and as Mary wrote, the "Lady of the Camellias" pas de deux was performed by Lucia Lacarra instead of Anna Polikarpova, and the "Corsaire" pas de deux was performed by Andrew Bowman instead of Gennadi Saveliev. Also it seems that the pas de deux by the Chinese choreographer Fei Bo was called "Lianyi" instead of "Ripples" (but since the program was only in Danish I'm not sure-

the sentence reads "Fei Bo's bye vaerk har skiftet navn fra Ripples til Lianyi", if someone can help with the translation...) and the order was a bit different from the previous list.

On the whole, it was a bit hard to understand exactly why many of the works of that program were chosen (not being able to read the program notes didn't help): it included two world premieres by Pär Isberg and Renato Zanella, a recent work by Fei Bo, two pas de deux after Petipa, and all the rest were various pas de deux from the 1970s whose link with Bournonville I failed to understand...

The exercises from Bournonville school looked too familiar to the Danish audience, but for

a foreigner like me it was quite instructive, and actually I wished it would have lasted more.

The new pas de trois by Pär Isberg from the called "Sondag den 3. september 1843" (I don't know how to type the o with a / in its middle...) Thanks Mary for providing an explanation for the plot of this ballet, as I had no idea what it was supposed to deal with.

The dancers were good looking with nice white costumes but I'm afraid I don't remember much of it (being quite sleepy didn't help- a delayed flight is partly to blame) and I didn't find the score (by Edvard Grieg) very interesting... And actually I had the same problem with the new pas de deux by Renato Zanella called "From Vienna with love" on some music by Carl Nielsen which was performed later in the evening (starting with a bizarre short comical part with strange exaggerated old-fashioned costumes, and then continuing with leotards).

It was only the second time I saw "Duo concertant" (the previous one was in Edinburgh five years ago, with Nilas Martins and Yvonne Borrée). I have to say I have trouble appreciating Stravinsky's score, I do like some of his other scores like "Agon" or "Apollo" (and of course earlier works like "The Firebird", "Petrouchka", etc.) but this one really isn't easy for the ears. However I enjoyed the choreography more than the first time, and I wish I wish I could see it a few more times again (unlikely to happen, alas :( ) I did enjoy very much Silja Schandorff's and Nikolaj Hübbe's very musical dancing.

Fei Bo's new work, whatever its title was, was a strange mixture of traditional Chinese music, Chinese-inspired costumes and crossover choreography; I was not crazy about the choreography itself by the lightings (unfortunately the lighting designer was unnamed) and costumes were extremely good looking and, as Mary wrote, poetic and so was the music, so it was an enjoyable moment.

(More later...)

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That does sound like a long gala! Not much about Bournonville, but perhaps intended as having dancers from around the world pay tribute to him? I'm sorry you had so much trouble getting tickets, Estelle -- it sounds like a hassle. But it is a beautiful little theater.

Estelle wrote:

Also it seems that the pas de deux by the Chinese choreographer Fei Bo was called "Lianyi" instead of "Ripples" (but since the program was only in Danish I'm not sure- the sentence reads "Fei Bo's bye vaerk har skiftet navn fra Ripples til Lianyi", if someone can help with the translation...)

Could it be "nye vaerk"? If so, I think the sentence would read, "Fei Bo's new work has changed names from "Ripples" to "Lianyi." ("bye" means "towns," I think). My Danish is rather primitive, so please, if anyone really knows, don't hesitate to correct me :(

I look forward to reading the rest of your review!

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Oh yes, it was "nye" not "bye", sorry for the typo ! Your translation makes sense.

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My attention was drawn to the phrase written by Mary:

“Nadeja Gracheva and Andrei Ouvarov danced black swan pdd. The only comment i have is: was i dreaming or were we back in the 40ies. I had no clue people stil dances like that. They were both really good and strong, but on the whole it was sooo outdated.”

SO, WAS IT GOOD OR BAD? Considering that Mary wrote the word “but” it was not good.

I have not attended that gala but I have seen this Bolshoi’s couple dancing many times: Gracheva has beautifully fluid, swan-like movements and Uvarov has very impressive jumps and partnering skills. So, if “they were both really good and strong”, what, in your opinion, Mary, was outdated in their rendition of the Black Swan pas de deux?

Some dancers, as we know, ‘embroider’ the classics now with 6 o’clock extensions, or triple fuettes (regardless of the fluency of their execution), or some tricks which force conductors to ‘rape’ the score, and so on. Is THIS an up-to-date presentation of the classics? Or you mean something else?

Another ballet forum has an interesting ongoing debate at the moment on this issue triggered by the ‘novelty’ seen at the Mariinsky’s “La Bayadere’ in Covent Garden a month ago: the entrance of the Shades saw them raising their leg in penche significantly higher than they were ever doing it before. In my opinion, it distorts the line, leads to more wobbles and ruins the serenity of the scene. Therefore, I am certainly, in favour of the Shades to be danced in the same manner as it was done in 1940-1990s.

Probably, it might become a good topic for an important debate: dancing the classics. Should the presentation of the classics change? every 20 years? or every decade? Should it be modernized? If so, then HOW?

What about repainting Rembrandt and Raphael? Did anyone think of this?

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My attention was drawn to the phrase written by Mary:

“Nadeja Gracheva and Andrei Ouvarov danced black swan pdd. The only comment i have is: was i dreaming or were we back in the 40ies. I had no clue people stil dances like that. They were both really good and strong, but on the whole it was sooo outdated.”

SO, WAS IT GOOD OR BAD? Considering that Mary wrote the word “but” it was not good.

...So, if “they were both really good and strong”, what, in your opinion, Mary, was outdated in their rendition of the Black Swan pas de deux?

Did the ways in which they were "good and strong" seem to conflict with the style? There are several dancers I've seen over the years who seem to be "beyond" a role in technique and almost bridle at the technical limitations of the part or seem bored with it, and they end up looking out of place in the ballet. Other times, it's as if they are dancing outside a style with a more direct, athletic approach, and then "remember" the stylistic context and switch. (The happens all of the time in film.)

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coda, this might be a detail, but from what was written on the program notes, the Black Swan pas de deux was performed by Galina Stepanenko, not by Nadejda Gracheva.

Also, I'd suggest that the debate about dancing the classics would deserve a topic of its own (probably in the "aesthetic issues" subforum of subtexts and contexts"), while the discussion about the gala and that "Black Swan pas de deux" performance should continue here.

I've seen that pas de deux, but to be honest don't remember much about it (partly because I was quite exhausted at that moment, and also I'm really not a fan of that kind of out-of-context pas de deux) so I don't feel qualified to comment...

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Thank you, Estelle, for explaining about the programme.

As ballerinas Gracheva and Stepanenko are very different: while Nadezhda Gracheva is more expressive in dramatic roles Galina Stepanenko excels in her virtuosity. So, which one, in fact, was dancing Black Swan with Uvarov?

The debate of course could be interesting, however, for the time being I am very interested to know Mary’s opinion why this particular performance made an impression of an outdated one? It is of a genuine interest for me and it is within the scope of this topic.

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coda: I cannot be sure of the answer as I had never seen any of those two dancers before. But the programme was more recent that the other listing, so Stepanenko sounds more likely.

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Thanks, Jorgen and Estelle, for your answers.

I just noticed Helene’s posting on the previous page and agree with the point she made (about some dancers dancing outside a required style) but having watched the above mentioned dancers – Gracheva, Stepanenko and Uvarov - in the course of many years, in “Swan Lake” in particular, I know for sure that neither their technique no artistic manner conflict with the style of this ballet. This is of course my own opinion. Perhaps it is also confirmed by the fact that the Bolshoi Ballet has been casting them in these roles for amost 15 years.

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I think it's a great idea to start a new topic on presentation of the classics, and if and how they should change.

The topic is posted here.

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Stepanenko / Uvarov came on stage right after the Lacarra / Riggins Lady of the Camelias pdd, which was danced with great passion and fire seldom seen in galas. After that performance Stepanenko / Uvarov on the contrary looked pretty uninspired, leaving me quite disappointed.

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i just realised that quite a few people are waiting for my response. sorry about that

first i would like to excuse for my mistake with names Galina Stepanenko and Nadejda Gracheva. actually i just did a copy/paste from the royal theaters homepage, so shame on them... any way

i believe there should be a constant developpement in dance, it can be in perfecting the technique, telling the story better, playing with the music etc etc

what happened at the gala in black swan was that i did not believe for one second she was a swan or he a prince in love. i know it is a gala, but one must think that the dancers would be invited because they are great interpretators of their roles.

black swan in swan lake is a pd3 including rothbart, but naturally he is not present at galas. but then normally the prince does his place in the opening so the poor girl is not on her own. i feelhere there has been some progress even the russians should embrace. it looked slightly odd that he was just princing away while she was working as horse to get in the air.

one other thing was her costume, maybe it shouldnt matter, but yet i think it does. if you walk on stage with an almost meterlong feather sticking out of your head it is hard not to look comic. and even if he is a prince does he have to wear more diamonds than the girl?

and the fact that there was not a natural developpement between the pdd, variations and the coda ( codas since even that was cut into pieces ) where nothing happened at all, which ment that us in the audience were staring at an empty stage.

also i felt that they just danced to the music they were not 100% on the music, the raffinement and nuances in the changes of character in her were completely lost, she gave the same value to everything: big big big. spassiba bolchoi :-)

as to the dancing itself it was not bad at all, he jumped really high and she got around as many times as she could, but it was all very rough. as i said before not for one second did i believe what was going on on stage.

but who am i to say all this, they are probably doing their best...

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